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    Entries in HR (472)

    Tuesday
    Jul282015

    My one piece of advice for anyone trying to demo HR software

    I get to see an almost ridiculous number of demonstrations of HR technologies as a part of the process of selecting the participants for the HR Tech Conference's "Awesome New Technology" sessions in October.

    The specific number of different solutions that I see in the course of a year doesn't really matter, (and I don't try to count), but it is safe to say it falls on the higher end of the scale that starts with 'More than 99% of people I know' and 'All of them'.  And it is particularly busy this time of year as I try to narrow down the field to make the selections/invitations for the show in October.

    So from all of these demos, and the ones that I have seen over the years when I was working in other capacities in the industry, I feel pretty confident as to how to answer a question that I get from time to time. Namely, 'What is the one piece of advice you have for solution providers to help them deliver a more effective demonstration?'

    Here it is, and it is neither profound, complex, or some kind of a secret, but I do get surprised how often I feel the need to offer such advice after a demo that ends up less than satisfactory...

    Tell a story that I can relate to in your demonstration, don't just show me a bunch of software features.

    I know, it seems so obvious, but I can't keep count of how many demos I see that seem to be more or less a rundown of all the different buttons to click, and boxes to check, and menus to navigate, each one promising even more capability. 

    All of that capability is great, don't get me wrong, but none of it means very much without context, particularly context and backstory with which I can easily identify.

    HR pros don't really want to know ALL the things your software can do, they just want to know if it can help them solve their problems, allow them to better compete for talent, and make them look like the rockstars they aspire to be. 

    And for me, selfishly, I want to see the most amazing, innovative, modern, and relevant technologies to showcase for my audience - those same HR pros who want to be able to envision how these technologies can fit and thrive in their organizations.

    Features and functions remain important, no doubt. But they rarely excite anyone at least on their own.  

    What is exciting is the ability to clearly see how a new technology will make my life better, and that is all about the story and has not much at all to do with how many buttons there are to click, or menus to navigate.

    Monday
    Jul272015

    Signs of the Corporate Death Spiral #1 - Talking about dress codes

    We have probably all been, at one time in our careers, in an organization where things were not going so well. Maybe sales were down due to increased competition, maybe our products and services were not in alignment with what the market was demanding, or maybe we flat-out had exhausted the supply of every customer who might want one or two of whatever it is we were offering. There are probably thousands of reasons why once successful organizations can fall on hard times. 

    But often, especially when working in a classic support function like IT or HR, we are not immediately aware of just how bad things are becoming for the organization overall. Sure, the CHRO probably has some idea of what is going on, when he/she is asked to provide some numbers on potential staffing reduction scenarios, but often awareness of these plans does not reach very far down into the organization until, of course, it is too late for impacted folks to react or 'pro' act, if you get my meaning.

    So for rank and file folks, who are always the last to know everything, it pays to get attuned to the signs or signals that things in the organization might not be going as well as they once were. These are smaller, more subtle kinds of things that are not as dramatic as a layoff or a C-level shakeup, but might be as important nonetheless, as they point to a present and future that might not be as fun and gamesy as the past. 

    What are some of these signals? First up, courtesy of our pals at venerable technology giant HP is the 'Dress Code Crackdown'. Check this excerpt from The Register:

    Troubled HP has hit upon what it thinks is a terrific idea to revive its fortunes: tell techies to leave their T-shirts and shorts at home and obey the corporate "smart casual" dress code instead.

    Some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were sent a confidential memo this week reminding them to follow the IT giant's rules against workplace fashion faux pas, The Register has learned.

    "If you aren't dressed like the models in the posters that HP displays around its locations, then your appearance is sapping the productivity of the workers around you," one source, who asked to remain anonymous, quipped.

    The dress code memo was sent out because higher-ups believe customers visiting HP's offices will be put off by scruffy-looking R&D engineers, we're told.

    The order to tuck in shirts and smarten up for guests has not gone down well, apparently: some HP developers, who do not deal with customers directly, were quite enjoying wearing T-shirts and shorts at work during these warm summer months.

    According to HP, men should avoid turning up to the office in T-shirts with no collars, faded or torn jeans, shorts, baseball caps and other headwear, sportswear, and sandals and other open shoes. Women are advised not to wear short skirts, faded or torn jeans, low-cut dresses, sandals, crazy high heels, and too much jewelry.

    The Enterprise Services division employs more than 100,000 people across the world, from the UK and Australia to India and Germany, as well as cities in the US.

    "There are customers around, and HP doesn’t want them to think riffraff work here," one source told El Reg.

    Nice. At least HP is sticking to the script and the classic reasoning of the dress code police - that 'customers' somehow might be offended if they spot a coder in a T-shirt and a hoodie. 

    What matters here has nothing at all to do with customers, or even if there are really some technical folks at HP that are going a little too far with 'coder casual' attire at work. No company has a 'dress code' problem. They might have a few people here and there that need a little bit of guidance, sure. But when organizations, especially massive ones like HP start going off with internal memos about dress codes and posting up examples of 'acceptable' dress, then you can be sure there are problems far, far worse than the Queensryche T-shirt that Jeremy wore last Tuesday.

    It is a signal, and an ominous one at that. 

    When you are talking about dress codes you are not talking about things that really matter. And often it is because you've run out of ideas for how to attack the things that do matter.

    If you are in a company and get one of those memos, take it as a sign that worse news is coming. and maybe sooner than you think.

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Jul232015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 217 - The HR Round Table - Part 2

    HR Happy Hour 217 - The HR Round Table with Hebert and Brennan, Part 2

    Recorded July 9, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlane, Steve Boese

    Guests: Paul Hebert and Sarah Brennan

    LISTEN HERE

    This week on the show, Trish sat down for a HR RoundTable with Paul Hebert and Sarah Brennan.  With Paul's expertise in reward and recognition and Sarah's expertise in HCM technology and research, we had a lively discussion around emerging research in the Talent Acquisition space, thoughts on the recent LinkedIn hack-a-thon, and where reward and recognition fits into the organization of today.

    You can listen to Part 2 of the show on the show page here, or using the widget player below:

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    And in case you missed it, Part 1 of the Episode can be found here.

    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    The show was so lively that we had to record two episodes to fit it all in!  Please be sure to listen to both Part 1 and Part 2 of the HR Round Table episode. It was a fun show and great to have two guest hosts while Steve was out-and-about in China preparing for HR Tech China!

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Jul202015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 217 - The HR Round Table

    HR Happy Hour 217 - The HR Round Table with Hebert and Brennan, Part 1

    Recorded July 9, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlane, Steve Boese

    Guests: Paul Hebert and Sarah Brennan

    LISTEN HERE

    This week on the show, Trish sat down for a HR RoundTable with Paul Hebert and Sarah Brennan.  With Paul's expertise in reward and recognition and Sarah's expertise in HCM technology and research, we had a lively discussion around emerging research in the Talent Acquisition space, thoughts on the recent LinkedIn hack-a-thon, and where reward and recognition fits into the organization of today.

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

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    The show was so lively that we had to record two episodes to fit it all in!  Please be sure to listen to both Part 1 and Part 2 of the HR Round Table episode. It was a fun show and great to have two guest hosts while Steve was out-and-about in China preparing for HR Tech China!

    Have a great week!

    Wednesday
    Jul082015

    HRE Column: Some common questions (and even a few answers) about HR Tech

    Here is 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.

    As usual, the Inside HR Tech column is about, well, HR Tech, (sort of like I used to write about all the time on this blog), and it was inspired by the recent presentation that Trish McFarlane and I gave at the SHRM Annual Conference, (note, you can find those slides here).

    I once again kind of liked this month's column, (I suppose I like all of them, after all I wrote them), but felt like sharing this one on the blog because it touches upon what has been in the past a pretty popular topic with HR leaders today - how to make the most of their HR technology investments.

    Here is an excerpt from the column, Common Questions About HR Tech:

    At the recently concluded Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to co-present to a very large audience along with my HR Happy Hour Podcast co-host Trish McFarlane on the topic of HR technology implementations, and more specifically, on some of the most common myths surrounding the subject of HR technology more generally.

    But rather than use this column to run through these myths and our ideas of how to “bust” them, I wanted to take some time to share and try and dig into some of the common questions I get when presenting on HR technology to HR audiences, in hopes that the questions that Trish and I received during and after the session are indicative of the broad questions and concerns that most HR professionals have about HR technology. And, by the way, if you are interested in the HR tech “myths” themselves, you can check out the slide deck that we used here.

    Question No. 1: Is it better to have a single unified system for all of my HR processes, or should we look for the “best” solutions for each area and then integrate them later?

    Our take: This question, whether a single system is preferable to several so-called “best-of-breed” solutions that support different process areas has been asked for about a decade now, perhaps longer. And the “answer” is still—unsatisfyingly—the same: “It depends.”

    There are numerous and company-specific factors that influence whether the increased capability that many “best-of-breed” solutions say for process areas such as recruiting or learning are offset by the ease with which data is shared, if the user experience is common to all and the vendor-management process is simplified when using a single, unified system.

    Each company has to think about how their workforces create value, their business strategy and then how these influence what kinds of technologies can support them. So there is no single “right” answer, but only a “right” answer for each organization, and this can only be found by prioritizing systems needs in light of where, how and through whom the organization drives value and results.

    Read the rest over at HRE Online 

    Good stuff, right? Humor me...

    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 wash your car or cut the grass for you if you do sign up for the monthly email.

    Have a great Wednesday!