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    Entries in HR (342)


    Guess the Corporate Support Function

    Take a guess at what corporate support function, and the nature and design of an increasing number of positions in that function were recently described by a senior executive at a huge, global corporation in the following manner:
    ...new jobs are being created that recognize the importance of both technology and creativity simultaneously.  So, as these left and right brains are thankfully mashed together in a singular role, job titles such as “creative technologist,” “marketing engineer,” and “information architect” are beginning to appear on org charts. We are looking at creativity and technology in the same glance instead of sequentially and that is tempting indeed. My bet is that these early “buds” will flower in surprising work and productive, new ways of conversing with our consumers and customers
    Did you guess HR? Finance? Communications?


    Actually, you probably sorted from the 'marketing engineer' title, that the quote was indeed about Marketing, and was attributed to Dana Anderson, Kraft Foods’ Senior Vice President of Marketing, Strategy, and Communications.  The quote is sourced from an interview of Ms. Anderson on the Forrester Interactive Marketing Professionals Blog here.

    Why does a quote about what a big-time Marketing executive thinks is going to be one of the most significant changes in her field in the next 10 or so years matter to the (assumed) readers of this blog - HR, HR Technology, and perhaps recruiting professionals?

    Perhaps not much. But in a semi-regular effort on this site to make connections between stuff I find interesting (sports, comic books, tech gadgets) and Human Resources issues - I'm going to give it a try.

    If you buy-in to the idea that in HR, much of what you are expected to do as a leader, is quite a bit similar to what sales leaders confront every day;  and if you see the relationship between say something like recruiting and branding, or even performance management to a complex and coordinated PR campaign, then developments in the talent profiles for the next generation of marketing (and likely communications and PR), probably do matter to you in HR.

    Take another look at the Anderson quote. She talks about job titles like 'creative technologist' and describes the next generation of talent in her discipline as possessing a blend of left and right brain thinking that should ultimately produce 'surprising and productive' work, and create 'new ways of conversing with our customers.'

    Would you characterize any of the spots in your HR shop using similar language? Is there any room on your Benefits team for a creative technologist?  Anyone in the training group given the chance to develop and innovate using a mashup of their left and right brained selves?

    If you believe at all in the idea of a 'war' for talent, and that convincing the 'best' or most capable people to come and join your organization, or even for internal talent to join your in-house function will result in competitive advantage, then understanding what the next generation of marketers, sales people, and communications pros will bring to the mix is really important to you in HR.

    I'll spin it this way - if you were just starting out in your career, smart, good education and backround, lots of options to consider, which direction might you go?

    Door Number One - towards the future of marketing, mashing up creativity and technology while creating new and exciting things.


    Door Number Two - leading to the future of HR in your organization.

    Come on, be honest - which one would you choose?

    Have a fantastic weekend!




    Tomorrow's HR Today - Tonight

    Wow, that is a confusing title for a post. Tomorrow. Today. Tonight. 

    What the heck am I talking about?

    Since it is Thursday, it's time for a new episode of the often imitated, but never surpassed HR Happy Hour show.  Let's get the particulars out of the way.

    HR Happy Hour - Thursday September 16, 2010 - 8PM EDT.  Listen live on the show page here, using the player widget below, or calling in on the listener line at 646-378-1086.

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    Have you ever listened in to a webinar given by some high profile executives or attended a conference session presented by one of the top thought leaders in the HR, Management, or Technology space and thought - 'Boy that was an awesome session, but I really wish I could ask a few more questions'

    Well tonight on the show, you will get your chance. 

    Joining us on the show to talk about the future of HR, and what tomorrow's HR leader will need to succeed, will be Leighanne Levensaler, Vice President of HCM Strategy at Workday, and Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Director HR & Talent Management at Chiquita Brands International.

    These are the kind of experts that normally you'd be lucky to dial in to a webcast and maybe ask a question via the chat box, or you would have to queue up with another 38 people to try and have a quick moment with them after a presentation at a Conference Board or HR Executive event.

    But tonight, Leighanne and Jennifer will be live on the Happy Hour, talking with you about the future of HR and talent and technology and whatever else is on your mind.

    I hope you can join us!


    The Best HR City Show

    Is clearly Rochester, NY, right?

    Seriously, I don't know where the 'Best HR City' is, but tonight on the HR Happy Hour show we will attempt to find out.

    HR Happy Hour - Episode 26 'The Best HR City' is live tonight 8pm EST. 

    Call in on 646-378-1086.

    Think your city rocks in the HR and Recuiting world? 

    Call the show tonight and state your case.  The 'winning' city gets a visit in 2010 from the HR Happy Hour, a live on-location show, and the right to wear the 'Best HR City' crown for all of 2010.

    Who will win - DC, Portland, Minneapolis, Cincy, NYC, London, Canada (yes I am calling Canada a city), or some other dark horse location yet to chime in on the debate.

    Here is the criteria we posted on the HR Happy Hour site to get you thinking about how to defend your turf:

    1. The number of talented HR and Recruiting pros that live in the city now. And that means now, you can’t claim people who used to live in your city, went to college there, or stopped in the Waffle House once on the way to somewhere else (Birmingham, this one is directed at you).

    2. Examples of some companies, large or small, doing some interesting and innovative things in the HR, Recruiting, and Talent Management space. And honestly, the way things have been going the last two years these may be hard to find. The city that can claim the least amount of mass layoffs will probably win this category. Since government jobs still seem like they will be plentiful for, well forever, Washington DC has a major advantage here.

    3. How well your city has represented on the previous shows, and if you show up this week. And I am not just talking about volume of calls (although that helps). No, your city has to bring something to the mix beyond, ‘Portland rules!’. And speaking of Portland, you were once the runaway leader in this category, but have since kind of disappeared from the radar.  If it weren’t for some abominations from the 513, they would have this one sewn up already.

    4. Number of active bloggers, tweeters, big time LinkedIn or other online dominators. Some cities definitely can claim pretty high numbers of active participants in the ‘Digital HR’ space. That will carry some weight in the final determination.

    5. Conferences, events, tweetups, random meetings with strangers where you talk about HR or Recruiting. More weight will be given to the smaller and more ‘organic’ kinds of events. San Diego does not get any credit for simply ‘being San Diego’ with perfect weather all year thus becoming a place everyone wants to visit. Same for New Orleans (except for the weather part).

    So that is it - hope you can join us tonight!


    Is HR Dead? - The Reading List

    Thursday night October 29 at 8pm EDT the HR Happy Hour show will take on the topic, 'Is HR Dead?'.

    There is nothing like a little in-depth analysis and self-examination of the HR function to rile up the community and this topic certainly has been poked and prodded for the last several weeks.

    Since the instructor in me wants to be sure everyone is well-prepared and ready to jump in to the conversation I thought I would assign some pre-reading, to get us all on the same page prior to the show. Flickr - KiltBear

    In the blogosphere as far as I can tell, the most recent 'Is HR Dead?' conversation started with this post:

    'Is Human Resources Fatally Flawed' - Lance Haun at Rehaul

    It was followed by numerous responses (or rebuttals if you prefer), a few of which are listed here:

    'HR is Dying: Yes? No?' - Laurie Ruettimann at Punk Rock HR.

    'HR - Not Dead Yet' - Mike VanDervort at Human Race Horses

    'to HR, on news of your death' - Fran Melmed at free-range communication

    'HR is Dead: Some Mourn, Some Celebrate, and Others Say "What?"' - Mike Haberman at HR Observations

    'HR is Obsolete! Isn't It?' - Joel White at Joel's Views

    'Human Resources Departments: I've never understood the point of them' - Sathnam Sanghera at the UK Times Online

    And in the last week or so:

    The Future of HR - Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Point

    'Slow Dancing in a Burning Room' - Maren Hogan on 'Marenated'

    Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series Again, Nietzsche, and Other HR Thoughts - Frank Roche at Know HR

    The HR Profession, Business Leaders and the Future of Work - Sharlyn Lauby at HR Bartender

    But if you think this is somehow a 'new' discussion, it really isn't, the top Google result (at least at the time of this writing) for the phrase 'Is HR Dead' was this piece from 2003 on Workforce.com.

    And of course we should not forget this gem from March 2009 - Memo to CFOs: Don't Trust HR - David McCann writing on remarks from Professor Beatty for CFO Magazine.


    So you have your assignments, catch up on your reading and join the discussion on the HR Happy Hour Show, Thursday October 29, 2009 8PM EDT, call in 646-378-1086. Frank Roche and Mike VanDervort are set to appear, and perhaps another special guest or two as well.

    What do you think, is HR Dead? In need of revival?  Need to be scrapped and re-built from the ground up?

    It should be a great show!


    HR Technology Conference - Take Your Chances

    Finally made it home from the HR Technology Conference in Chicago and still trying to process all the information from meeting vendors, attending sessions, and talking to old and new friends.

    And recovering from Thursday night's Epic HR Happy Hour show.

    One thing I noticed as I walked the massive Expo hall that in the Taleo booth (and I suspect a few others), there was a giant prize wheel that prospects, customers, or random passers-by could spin for the chance to win items like Subway gift cards, Amazon.com credits, or free stays at a popular resort.

    You did have to get your badge scanned and listen to the 10 minute overview of Taleo 10 for the chance to spin the  wheel. It did seem a bit too 'time share presentation-ish' for me, but I get the need for vendors to capture prospect information at the show.

    After the demo I attended was completed, and one lucky attendee spun the prize wheel, (I think he won a free Quiznos Sub), I thought a more fun 'prize wheel' would have all the possible outcomes of a major talent management implementation project.

    Maybe the wheel would look something like this:


    Technology projects, especially large complex ones, are tricky undertakings.  So many things are needed to hit the sweet spot on the wheel, and achieve enduring organizational transformation.  Correct understanding of the important business issues, selection of the correct tool to address these problems, effective project management, executive support, a vendor not only committed to customer success, but also one with a sound and perhaps even visionary product strategy, and managers and users that see the value the real 'What is in this for me' of the solution.

    Missing any one of these key factors might be enough to scupper the project.  But without them, your chance for success are dicey at best, and indeed you are just spinning the wheel of technology fortune and you may not even realize it.