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    Entries in HR (342)

    Wednesday
    Apr192017

    Creating a Narrative for Talent

    Long flight last night out to Vegas and to pass the time (and I needed to since this flight was not equipped with Satellite TV and thus I was not able to watch the NBA playoffs), I was multi-tasking with Jason Bourne on the screen and the SI.com Media Podcast in the ear.

    On the podcast host Richard Deitsch asked guest James Andrew Miller (author of books on ESPN, CAA, and Saturday Night Live), about an ongoing negotiation between cable sports channel Fox Sports 1 and personality Katie Nolan. When discussing how Fox Sports 1 might look to retail Nolan (who apparently will have other options), Miller said something really, really interesting. Check this out...

    Miller: She is a real talent. I think she knows it. I think Fox Sports 1 knows it. And so I would expect if she does stay, they will have to come up with not only something that is more than what she is doing now, they will have to come up with more money, and so it is probably one of those things where she tests the marketplace.

    But this whole idea about testing the marketplace isn't just about dollars sometimes, it's about other opportunities. She might not know what she wants to do yet. She might not even know what she can do elsewhere. 

    Fox Sports 1 has to realize that this is all about creating a narrative for talent, this is about saying, "Look we want to remain your home, and this is what we can put together for you", and then maybe you even have to go beyond that and start to look more broadly about what they can do in their larger Murdoch empire.

    On the pod Deitsch and Miller went on to debate Nolan's ratings, other shows, and other things, but the important thing to me, and the part of the conversation I replayed three or four times was Miller's concept of creating the 'narrative for talent.' Leave it to a writer to come up with such an elegant and evocative description of a standard employee compensation/development/retention conversation.

    Think about what a 'narrative' implies. A story. A beginning, a middle, maybe some twists and turns. Maybe some conflict or challenges. Maybe a hero on some kind of a journey. Maybe a fantastic and delightful surprise. And then, hopefully, a happy ending.

    A 'narrative' just seems cool, fun, compelling, interesting.

    It makes you want to listen. It makes you want to learn more. It makes you want to keep turning the page.

    A comp discussion? Where you talk about ranges and midpoints? Or a review of goal completion? Where you debate whether or not a goal was 25% or 35% complete? Or a look at next quarter's corporate university training offerings to look for some development opportunities? Ugh.

    Those all seem dull. Rote. Required even by the HR police.

    None of those really want to make a talented person want to hear more of your story.

    So that's what I thought was interesting about Miller's way of describing the way that a company needs to approach a conversation with a talented employee that might be on the verge of something big, but also has a ton of options.

    It's all about creating a narrative. 

    Monday
    Apr172017

    People, not projects

    In between games of the NBA playoffs this weekend and as I was digging through a couple of weeks of 'saved' items in my Feed reader, (anyone still using feed readers?), I came across a link to a Quora thread aiming to address the question 'What made Xerox PARC, (the legendary reseearch shop in Palo Alto), so special?'

    One of the responses, from Alan Kay, offered eight reasons why PARC (and the earlier ARPA) were so effective, and in reading Kay's observations, I thought the first five were pretty applicable to just about any organization that is faced with the need to remain, (or become) innovative and dynamic.

    The first five points are below, I think they pretty much are self-explanatory, so I will just repeat them here and send you on your way on a sunny Monday:

    There was a vision: “The destiny of computers is to become interactive intellectual amplifiers for everyone in the world pervasively networked worldwide”.

    A few principles:

    1. Visions not goals
    2. Fund people not projects — the scientists find the problems not the funders. So, for many reasons, you have to have the best researchers.
    3. Problem Finding — not just Problem Solving
    4. Milestones not deadlines
    5. It’s “baseball” not “golf” — batting .350 is very good in a high aspiration high risk area. Not getting a hit is not failure but the overhead for getting hits. (As in baseball, an “error” is failing to pull off something that is technically feasible.)

    Really solid stuff, I think.

    Start with a vision, but one that is short, cogent, and easily rallied around by the right people. Then set about giving those right people support and space to execute on that vision. And allow 'misses' from time to time, after all, even the best baseball players fail more than 60% of the time.

    Easy, right?

    But much easier said than done. Probably why we still talk about legendary places like PARC all these years later. They are the unicorn stories we keep having to cling to.

    That's it, I'm out. Have a great week!

    Friday
    Apr142017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 281 - Live at Oracle HCM World 2017

    HR Happy Hour 281 - Live at Oracle HCM World 2017

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Chris Kiessling, Royal Farms; Yamini Namasivayam, SRI International

    Recorded at Oracle HCM World 2017, Boston, MA

    Listen HERE

    This week on a special episode of the HR Happy Hour Show, host Steve Boese reports from Oracle HCM World 2017 in Boston, and interviews two Oracle customers about their HR and HR tech transformations. First, Chris Kiessling from Royal Farms, a midsize chain of convenience stores in the Mid-Atlantic region talked about the challenges and opportunities that come with modernizing HR systems and processes to support their high-volume, high-turnover business, and set up the company for future growth. Then, Steve was joined by Yamini Namasivayam of SRI International, a high-tech firm that operates in a number of specialty domains. SRI too was faced with modernizing an aging set of HR tools - with the fundamental goal of turning HR technology into strategic and business advantage and driving revenue growth.

    Both these stories were interesting as they help show how HR and HRIT leaders in the real world are generating value from investments in HR technology. 

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    Thanks to Chris and Yamini for joining the show and thanks to Oracle for having the HR Happy Hour Show at HCM World.

    And thanks to the HR Happy Hour Sponsor Virgin Pulse - learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Wednesday
    Apr122017

    It's better to have a job when you're looking for a job

    As the 2007-2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic recession fade further and further into the distance, we don't in 2017 talk about unemployment all that much. The sustained recovery in the labor market has pushed unemployment to near "full employment" levels of about 4.5% in the US, and in many sectors and job roles most employers would report 'good help is hard to find'. Until the robots take over. But that is a different story for another time.

    Back to unemployment though. In 2008 and 2009, there was plenty of discussion about the best ways to help the many, many folks who were out of work to get back into the labor force. Lots of job search gurus appeared online, plenty of networking and support groups were created, and certainly significant governmental support, (cars, banking, insurance), was marshalled to try and stop the bleeding in the labor markets and help get people back to work (or keep them in work).

    Around that time, as the unemployment rate topped at about 10%, one peculiar storyline emerged, and pretty consistently as well - namely that folks who were unemployed, and 'actively' looking for work, were often characterized as less desirable candidates than say someone who was currently employed, and may not even be actively looking for something new. The dream 'passive' candidate if you prefer that term. Lots of anecdotes about hiring managers passing on any candidate who was out of work were shared, and plenty of folks, (I possibly was one of them), opined about how unfair that this kind of (for lack of a better word) discrimination against the unemployed was seemingly more and more prevalent. And anecdotal or not, it certainly seemed that looking for a job when you did not have a job was much, much tougher than looking for one when you were already employed.

    But just how much tougher is it, really?

    A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York looks to put at least some data around these anecdotes by looking at job search activity by unemployed workers, by employed workers, (both passive and active), and people out of the workforce. The entire report is interesting and worth a read but I thought I would tease out two of the report's most interesting findings about job search, and more importantly, job search outcomes.

    1 - Lots of employed people are actively looking for work - almost one quarter of them 'actively' searched in the trailing four weeks of the survey period

    Not shocking I guess, but also the 23.3% doesn't account for the probably much larger number of employed workers that would be open to at least discussing new opportunities, even if they were not in active search. Said differently, one of the reasons contributing to a bias in favor of employed workers is the fact that just about all employed workers are still in the candidate pool anyway. At least partially in.

    So how does this perceived bias influence outcomes? Here's the money chart from the study, depicting how search behavior and application intensity translate into positive outcomes, i.e. job offers.

    I will help you with the fine print here. Unemployed workers make up about 7 percent of the survey sample. They send out 40 percent of the total job applications, but receive only about 16 percent of the total job offers.

    In contrast, folks who were employed and were actively looking for work make up about 20 percent of the sample but receive almost half of all offers. Further, the employed not looking for work (and who do not apply for any jobs), receive about one‑fourth of all the offers in our sample—more than the unemployed who are the most active searchers and applicants.

    So how much better is it to be employed when looking, (or in many cases not looking) for a new role?

    Well, according to this data, much, much better. Roughly it takes eight times the effort in terms of time spent and four times the application rate for unemployed folks to generate a similar rate of job offers that employed workers realize - many of whom are not looking for work at all.

    Hopefully we won't have another dramatic economic or market shifting incident like the financial crisis that drives up unemployment and will make these findings and their impacts top of mind again. But it is good food for thought for any of us who may not love the job we have now, and are looking for something better.

    We just might want to hold on to that crappy job as long as we can, because having it makes our odds of finding the next (hopefully less crappy) job that much better.

    Monday
    Apr102017

    HRE Column: #HRTech and Diversity and Inclusion

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, I take a look at some of the HR Technology developments that are helping organizations work through the challenges and opportunities of an increased focus on diversity, inclusion, and fairness. Some of this work has been top of mind for me due to the time I am spending on organizing the second Women in HR Technology Summit that will be held at the HR Technology Conference in October. And the continuing focus and spotlight being placed on these issues, especially for tech companies, make this issue and the technologies that can help with it, an incredibly important focus area for HR tech.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of the technologies and trends that are becoming more important in this area, and how these technologies can help inform and shape the design, development, and deployment of programs and initiatives in 2017, and beyond.  

    This is an important issue, that we will be covering in more depth as 2017 progresses, and of course, at HR Tech in October.

    From the HRE piece:

    One of the highlights of last year's HR Technology Conference® and Exposition was our first-ever "Women in HR Technology" summit on the first day of the event. This session was developed to focus on and raise awareness of many of the issues facing women in technology roles generally, and in the HR technology industry more specifically.

    Additionally, we also tried to showcase many of the individual success stories from the many HR and HR technology leaders who participated in the summit, with the idea that their stories of personal and organizational achievement and impact would help educate and inspire the audience. The program was received positively, with standing-room-only attendance, and I have since been acting on numerous recommendations to expand it at this fall's conference.

    Tech firms' ability to attract, recruit, develop and fairly compensate women and other underrepresented groups is an issue that continues to be top of mind for many HR and business leaders. And when there exists a compelling business or workplace need or opportunity, HR technology solutions and services will be developed or be adapted to attempt to meet these needs. Increasingly, a number of HR technology solutions have been created or have been enhanced to deliver functionality and insights to help HR and business leaders attract more diverse candidates, reduce the impact of bias in talent management decision making, and monitor and audit compensation programs and practices for fairness and equity across the organization.

    Let's examine a few of these new and emerging HR technology solutions that help HR and business leaders promote and support the increasingly common and important goals of workplace diversity, inclusion, fairness and equity. We'll also explore how these technologies can help make a difference for organizations working towards meeting these goals.

    Talent Sourcing

    One of the primary reasons cited by organizations for their inability to build more diverse teams -- particularly for technical or engineering functions -- is a lack of qualified candidates at the beginning of the recruiting process. Many organizations say they would love to hire more female engineers or more people from underrepresented groups for these roles, but they simply are not able to find interested and qualified candidates. While there is debate over whether there's truly a so-called "skills mismatch" for these roles that is driving this challenge, there are some HR technology solutions that have been developed to address this "top of the funnel" issue and help HR and business leaders find more diverse candidates.

    Entelo, a past recipient of the "Awesome New Technology for HR" recognition at HR Tech, has a product called Entelo Diversity that allows organizations to find and identify candidates based on gender, race or ethnicity, and even veteran status. This information and these indicators are layered on top of the candidate's skills profile to help organizations see a complete picture of the candidate, which will support diversity recruiting efforts. The Entelo algorithm is designed to help identify candidates who may meet these criteria without relying on specific keywords such as "black," "female," "veteran," etc. Using data about a person's academic history, social affiliations and job titles, the algorithm determines his or her likely gender, ethnicity or race, and whether the person has military experience. Tools such as Entelo Diversity and other advanced candidate-sourcing tools can augment the networks of an organization's recruiters and hiring managers, which may be otherwise lacking members of many underrepresented groups.

    Read the rest at HR Executive Online...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and re-seed you lawn, take your dog for a walk, or help you plant your spring flowers. I especially like alstroemelias.

    Have a great day!

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