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    Entries in HRE (7)

    Friday
    May122017

    HRE Column: HR Tech Conference Preview #1

    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, as I have been wrapping up the program development for the upcoming HR Technology Conference that will be held at in October, I take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that have emerged from reviewing about 450 proposals and talking with dozens of HR leaders and technology service providers. These issues demand continuing focus for HR leaders and the spotlight will be placed on them at the Conference this fall.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of these technologies and trends that are continuing to be top of mind for HR leaders and HRIT leaders and that will be on display at the Conference in October. There are of course a few other themes and trends that are important, but I could not fit them all into the HRE piece. I will probably touch upon some of them in next month's column.

    I am super excited of what is in store at the event and plan to share as many of the big ideas that will be showcased there in the next few months both at HRE and here on the blog as well as the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Here's a taste of the HRE piece:

    As I write this, we are about two and half weeks from the official launch of the program for the 20th Annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition, which will be held at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas from Oct. 10-13. Developing the program for the event consists of a combination of reviewing approximately 450 "official" speaking proposals, having dozens of discussions with potential speakers, attending numerous industry events to see speakers in person as well as connect with HR technology providers, and finally, attempting to read and review as many sources of HR tech industry news and information as time allows.

    From all of these activities, I come up with a conference program that accurately reflects the current state of HR technology in organizations, showcases innovative and forward-looking HR and HR tech thinking, and presents an event where HR and HRIT leaders can learn, see and experience all the best of HR tech in one place.

    And each year, as I close up the process of program development, I like to take a step back to examine the overall themes and concepts that have coalesced from the process in order to draw some observations and conclusions about the current (and future) state of HR technology. From that perspective, here are some key observations and themes that I have seen from this process that reveal insights into HR tech, and that act as a bit of a preview of what you can expect at the conference.

    Recruiting remains critical and competitive

    One consistent finding in my five years of conference programming has been that most new technologies that come across my desk are centered on recruiting. When companies are expanding and opportunities for growth often hinge on finding new talent, the need for new tools, approaches and processes to power more effective recruiting becomes essential.  We will continue to explore the evolution of recruiting technology and processes at HR Tech this year, with a focus on how modern technologies are enabling organizations to succeed in meeting their recruiting objectives. One specific area we will focus on is how organizations of all sizes are approaching the design, build and integration of the assortment of recruiting technologies that are available. Additionally, expect to see an incredible array of new and innovative recruiting technologies in our Startup Pavilion as well as being featured in our "Discovering the Next Great HR Technology Company" session.

    Technology powers engagement

    Employee engagement remains an important subject for organizations and HR leaders, as engagement levels have remained fairly constant -- and not very high -- for many years. But this challenge also represents an opportunity and many HR technology providers have developed solutions to address these challenges.

    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-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or help you weed the garden.

    Have a great day and Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!

    Friday
    Jan132017

    HRE Column: Looking ahead to HR Tech 2017 - #HRTechConf

    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, in what has become an annual exercise for me, I take a look at the emerging HR, HR technology, and workplace themes and trends that surface from my early planning for the HR Technology Conference in October.  While some of these themes or trends are just extensions and evolutions of ideas and concepts we have been talking about for a while, (mobile, analytics, engagement), some others like the field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, seem really fresh and new.  I like to think that reviewing hundreds of HR Tech speaking submissions and having dozens of calls with leading HR tech providers and thought leaders provides me kind of a unique perspective on what is really happening with modern HR technologies inside organizations.

    In this month's HR Executive column I take a look at a few of these initial themes or trends that I am seeing in HR, HR Tech, and the workplace, and how these trends will help inform and shape the discussions in 2017, and the program for the HR Technology Conference in October. This is always a fun exercise for me, and I hope you get some ideas and insights from this review as you plan out your year.  

    From the HRE piece:

    I have started the planning process for the 20th annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition (Oct. 10 through 13, 2017, and back in Las Vegas after a quick detour through Chicago last year). To date, the most common question I am asked from individuals and organizations interested in attending and/or speaking at the conference is what the main themes will be this year.

    Granted, the annual event covers an ever-broadening spectrum of technologies, business processes and topics and, over time, many of the primary challenges facing HR and business leaders have grown, changed and evolved as well. Five years ago, the word "analytics" would likely not have popped up in an HR leader's job description. Today, analytics is high on almost every HR leader's list of strategic priorities. And the main themes of HR Tech have evolved as well, along with these ever-changing business challenges and technology-driven opportunities.

    But to get back to the question, here is my very preliminary swing at the answer:

    Artificial Intelligence and HR

    When I initially started brainstorming topics for the column, one thought was to write about the recent Consumer Electronics Show and look for parallels and extensions from the new and emerging consumer tools to how these technologies might manifest in the workplace. While I decided not to do an entire column on that topic, there was one clear "winner" of CES this year, and that was Amazon's Alexa platform. Alexa, via Amazon's Echo device, is a voice-activated, intelligent digital assistant that can perform a wide variety of useful tasks, primarily in the home. The big story from CES was how Alexa is already being leveraged by numerous other devices -- such as in cars, on refrigerators and directly integrated in smartphones. The big takeaway from this, and a trend I am seeing reflected in many of the HR Tech proposals I have reviewed, is the increasing comfort level and capability individuals are developing with intelligent and responsive technologies, in addition to their increasing reliance on them. As these intelligent technologies proliferate in our personal lives (often accompanied by voice-interface capability), we can expect to see them emerge in HR and workplace technology as well. I expect "AI for HR" will be an important topic at HR Tech 2017 and beyond.

    The Employee Experience

    Last year in this space I talked about the evolution of employee engagement as an important topic for 2016. Now that a full year has passed, I think this evolution from the idea of "engagement" to something that has become known as the employee "experience" has made significant progress. More organizations have begun looking past the focus on the "end result," i.e., the engagement score, and have launched initiatives (and looked to supporting HR technologies) that more directly impact the key components of an employee's experience with the organization -- components that ultimately drive what we measure as engagement. A look through my inbox of pitches for HR Tech 2017 reveals topics such as career development, employee well-being, corporate social responsibility and personalized employee learning -- all topics that speak to organizational efforts to enhance their employees' positive experience.

    Platforms and Integration

    Like most technology trends, there is a lag between the introduction of a new technology, the identification and emergence of that technology as a "trend," and the more widespread acceptance and adoption of the technology by providers and organizations. At  the 2015 conference, we began to look more closely at the importance of HR-technology platforms, ecosystems and application marketplaces. No matter the specific terminology, the main idea was that organizations of all sizes had adopted numerous and often disparate HR-tech solutions, and were facing the daunting challenge of integrating these diverse solutions both for process efficiency and productivity, as well as for consolidated reporting and business intelligence. Fast forward to early 2017, and HR-tech platforms, application interoperability, and the "marketplace" or app store concept is now being more fully realized and adopted by providers and customers. At the upcoming HR Tech Conference, I expect we will see and hear stories about some important and early organizational successes that have resulted from applying these technologies and approaches to harmonize their divergent sets of HR solutions.

    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 shovel the snow off your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or help you plan your summer vacation.

    Have a great weekend!

    Friday
    Jul012016

    HRE Column: On Disruptive Technology and How it Changes HR

    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 and that archives of which 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 planning process for a presentation I am giving at the upcoming Inforum Conference in New York City.

    When thinking about how much technology has changed and progressed over the last decade, I was drawn to the idea that these kinds of big changes in consumer and personal tech (smart phones, social networks, messaging apps, etc.), eventually begin to impact and influence the workplace. That is what I will be talking about at Inforum, and was the concept I kick around in the HR Exec column.

    Here is an excerpt of the HR Exec column titled "The Next Wave in HR Disruption":

    There are two ways of thinking about the future, especially as it concerns technology. One way is to see a future in which change is mostly incremental and tomorrow is barely distinguishable from today. The other, and more interesting, way is to envision a future in which technology advances so rapidly and profoundly that tomorrow is almost unrecognizable from today. I think that given the amount and pace of technology change that the latter view is closer to reality than the former.

    I've been thinking about technology change and the disruption it can drive as I've been preparing for a talk I'll be giving at the upcoming Inforum event in New York next month. The focus of the presentation will be digital transformation and the impact it is having on talent, work and HR technology itself. It strikes me as almost incredible just how much most of us (me, for sure) have been impacted in our personal and professional lives by technologies that were either introduced or came into mainstream usage within the last 10 years or so.

    I've selected just a few of the most disruptive tech innovations of the last decade (grouped by a general similarity to each other). For each, I examine how these technologies have, thus far, impacted human capital management and HR tech, and what might be coming in the future of HR tech.

    iPhone (2007), iPad (2010)

    Perhaps the most disruptive and profound technology advancement of the last decade has been the smartphone and its cousin, the tablet, two categories largely created and led by Apple. I don't have to opine on how much these technologies have changed our personal and professional lives -- the fact that many of you are reading this on a phone or a tablet makes the argument for me. The implications and opportunities for HR technology are clear, with many having already been realized. Every major HR-technology solution today has at least some mobile applications, and many of the leading solutions have developed extensive mobile capability -- particularly for the vast majority of employees who use HR systems only sporadically, and only for a few select functions. Simply put, you have to support employees with HR technology solutions that work flawlessly on the devices employees want to use, keeping in mind that for most, the desktop is the least preferred method of interaction. Mobile is now so prevalent that smart technologists don't speak of a "mobile strategy," now it's just a "strategy."

    Twitter (2007), Facebook (2008)

    Can you remember life before social networking? I can. I actually kind of miss it, too. But there is no doubt that the so-called "killer app" for mobile devices has turned out to be social networks, in all their many flavors and permutations. Social-networking concepts have encroached into the organization for some time now with features such as an activity feed and liking, sharing and commenting becoming part of a wide range of enterprise and HR-technology solutions. Specifically, we are starting to see this trend play out in the learning-technology market, where many of the modern learning solutions such as the Oracle Learning Cloud, for example, draw heavily from social-networking concepts such as user creation of learning material and surface the best and most popular content for users....

    Read the rest over at HR Executive... 

    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 take your dog out for a walk or re-seal your driveway if you do sign up for the monthly email.

    Have a great long weekend!

    Friday
    Aug072015

    HRE Column: How Can We Make Email Less Terrible?

    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.

    This month, with a nod to it being the middle of summer when we are/should be taking a little bit of a respite from 'normal' work, I decided to take a look not at HR technology specifically, but at the most ingrained and ubiquitous workplace technology of them all - Email.

    If you have followed this blog for any amount of time you will recognize some of the themes - email is terrible, it keeps us from doing more creative and fun work, and yet we can't seem to lessen email's grip on our work lives. But as I examine in the HR Exec column, there are plenty of opportunities to make email better, and many of the world's largest tech companies, (Google, Microsoft), are investing in improving email. 

    Here is an excerpt from the HRE column, Rethinking Email:

    Email is likely the first and last workplace tool that HR and employees open every day (not to mention the 395 other times during the day you are either reading, managing or composing messages). It is, without question, the most important employee communication technology in the vast majority of modern workplaces.

    So why doesn’t HR think more about how to make email better?

    Well, some technology companies are thinking about and doing exactly that. Take the following three examples; in at least one case, the technology is has the potential to dramatically reduce the importance of email as a workplace tool. All of these examples are instructive and—even if you, as an HR leader, don’t have direct authority to change or update your enterprise email technology and strategy—all of them offer HR insights into how employee communication preferences are changing, and how your communication strategies can adapt.

    Get better management of your workflow inside email.

    If you are a user of Gmail, you might be familiar with Google’s newest smartphone app for Gmail called Inbox. Inbox transforms email management in several ways, chief among them by “learning” about how you use email, and then helping to better triage incoming emails into relevant categories based on your usage patterns, relationship with contacts and message-management preferences. It takes a little getting used to, but Inbox devotees claim it saves hours each week in the time it typically used to take them to manage, sort and classify incoming messages. That said, I think the best feature of Inbox is the “Snooze” feature, which resurfaces a message you’ve opened but don’t have time to properly respond to at that moment. In fact, Inbox even looks for clues in the message (references to due dates, event dates, etc.) to auto-suggest the optimal time to resend you the message so that you won’t miss an important deadline. For HR leaders, a simple takeaway here might be to be sure to include relevant due dates or deadlines in the subject lines of emails, rather than buried in the email body. So “Benefits Open Enrollment” gets replaced with “Benefits Enrollment Open from Oct. 1 through Oct. 15,” allowing employees to better manage their workflow and to-do lists....

    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 weekend!

    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!