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    Entries in HRExec (23)

    Tuesday
    Jul102018

    HR Executive Column: Thinking about Design Thinking in HR

    I have been a little slack in posting links back to my monthly column over at HR Executive Online but fear not gentle readers, I have not abandoned this essential public service.

    So without further delay, here is the link to my latest Inside HR Tech piece at HR Executive - How to Make Design Thinking Work for HR.

    From the piece:

    Why are so many HR leaders talking about design thinking?

    Longtime readers might know that I founded and co-host with Trish McFarlane the popular HR Happy Hour Show, a podcast covering HR, HR tech, HR leadership and more. In the last several months, a number of the show’s guests—HR leaders from Red Hat, T-Mobile, General Motors and NBCUniversal, for example—have brought up a phrase that, even as recently as last year, I don’t recall hearing.

    That phrase is “design thinking,” and while you probably have heard the term, you might not have considered it from an HR or HR-technology point of view. Design thinking has been described as an iterative process that tries to understand a business problem, as well as who and what it is impacting. Those using this strategy challenge existing assumptions and approaches to solving a problem, and ask questions to identify alternative solutions that might not be readily apparent. Design thinking is a solution-based approach and usually prescribes a series of specific phases, stages and methods to help designers and business teams arrive at improved, user-focused solutions.

    Since I’ve been hearing so much lately about this idea, I thought it would be a good topic to explore for this column.  I’ll look at each of the typical stages of a design-thinking process, their application, and how we can leverage these ideas as we evaluate, deploy and manage the HR technologies.

    Empathize

    The first stage in the design-thinking process is gaining an understanding of the business or people problem you are trying to solve. This is different than trying to determine the list of detailed technical requirements for a new HR system or the specific elements that need to be included in a new course for first-time managers in the organization. Design thinking suggests that the designer or the project leader thinks deeply about the people who will be impacted by a new solution or process, engage and spend time with them to better understand their motivations and challenges, as well as develop a deep appreciation for any physical or environmental characteristics that are important to the solution. But the key to making this information-gathering stage successful is empathy, which can help designers and leaders to get past their own assumptions and gain insight into users and their needs.

    Read the rest of the piece over at HR Executive Online...

    And remember to subscribe to get my monthly Inside HR Tech column via email on the subscription sign-up page here. The first 25 new subscribers get a new set of steak knives. Well, maybe. 

    Thanks and have a great day!

    Tuesday
    Apr102018

    HRE Column: Getting Personal with HR Tech

    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, after having attended several HR technology solution provider user conferences, I look at the major ideas, themes, and directions these providers, (and others) are talking about, using as design cues for their latest innovations, and are becoming more important for HR leaders to think about and understand. I am not looking directly at individual bits of functionality or capability, but rather more fundamental and cross-product ideas and concepts in HR tech.

    These are some of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of the most innovative HR technology solutions are putting user experiences, personalization, and embedding more intelligent recommendations to users and HR leaders.

    In the piece, I talk about each of these themes in some detail.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    A major part of the planning process in creating the program for the upcoming HR Technology Conference and Exposition® is attending as many industry and HR technology solution provider customer conferences as I can. The primary benefit for attending these events are the conversations: with product executives about their current and future plans, with HR leaders who are using these products in their organizations, and with industry analysts and influencers about what they are seeing in the HR tech market.

    In the last month or so, I have had the opportunity to attend three such events: Ultimate Software’s Connections conference in Las Vegas, IBM’s Think event (also in Las Vegas) and Oracle HCM World in Dallas. (As an aside, while I do believe Las Vegas is the best place for any large conference, kudos to Oracle for choosing a location with great weather and great barbecue.)

    Rather than producing an event report for each conference, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight some common themes across all three events. While every HR technology provider approaches new trends, technologies and customer challenges in its own way, it is useful to assess what kinds of technology developments and “big picture” considerations are being seen across the industry, as these tools and developments are likely to shape much of the HR technology conversation for both solution providers as well as in customer organizations this year.

    Here are the three major themes I took from those recent conferences.

    AI-powered Solutions

    At HR Tech last year, artificial intelligence was the one theme that seemed to emerge out of almost every conversation with a solution provider. This is a good thing for HR leaders, but potentially problematic as well. While the promise of AI and AI-powered HR technology is amazing, the confusing blend of terminology, technology and marketingspeak can make AI in HR tech a difficult concept to grasp, as well as challenging to understand its practical applications.

    At the recent events I have attended, one major theme seems to be communicating more clearly in this emerging HR technology area. Currently, the primary way this technology is being deployed in HR tech is in the form of using AI to create more specific and tailored recommendations to support HR and HCM processes (for example: job matching, targeted employer value proposition messaging to specific, desired candidates, and recommended actions for managerial coaching and development opportunities for current employees). These and other AI-powered capabilities are demonstrating how this advanced technology can be put to work by HR and organizations without having to “learn” how the AI really works or hire AI-savvy HR staffers.

    Expect to see more AI usage, and more examples of AI becoming the “fabric” of HR technology platforms as this technology evolves and organizations become more comfortable with AI-powered HR tools. From what I heard at the three recent conferences, AI offers HR leaders tremendous opportunity and promises to dominate the discussion in HR tech in 2018 and beyond.

    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 plant your spring garden, take your dog for a walk, or change the oil in your lawn mower.

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Mar142018

    HRE Column: Succeeding with HR Tech - Part 2

    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 continue the topic of 'Success with HR Tech' that we covered first in February with a look at some of the external factors that impact HR Technology projects. In the March column, we pivot to examine a few of the internal issues, challenges, and opportunities that perhaps have even more of an impact and influence on success with HR tech.

    These are two of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of 'success' with your HR technology initiatives, and we will focus on the key issues, themes, and considerations for HR Tech projects, vendor relationships, and internal program/project best practices that are essential for success, and that will be covered in more detail at the Conference this year.

    In the piece, I take a look at some of the issues and considerations that HR leaders should keep in mind as they build a business case for HR tech projects, evaluate potential solution providers, organize and staff project teams, execute their implementations, and finally deal with the important topics of change management and user adoption.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    Last month’s column focused on the “success” theme while looking at the considerations and questions you should ask of prospective HR tech solution providers prior to purchasing any HR technology solution. This time around, we will look at some of the internal factors that are vital to customer success in HR tech.

    The organizational elements of success with HR technology will be highlighted this September at the HR Technology Conference and Exposition® in Las Vegas, and the combination of information and best practices on these “outside” (or provider) elements—along with the “inside” (or organizational) elements—will provide HR and HRIT leaders with the foundation for overall HR tech success.

    Here are a few of the key internal elements that organizations must address when planning, executing, evaluating and achieving long-term success with HR technology.

    Creating the business case

    Almost every organization’s HR technology initiatives require internal justification, a budget and executive support, and the means to define and secure these commitments is usually the business case. But for many HR leaders, preparing a technology-centric business case meant to form the basis for HR technology investments is not always easy.

    Here are a few of the key questions that the HR technology program business case should answer.

    The purpose: What specific business problem needs to be solved?

    The importance: What is the negative impact or value of the missed opportunity by not solving this problem?

    The benefit: Stated in quantitative terms, what happens to the business if we do solve this problem?

    Potential approaches: What are some plausible ways to address the business problem?

    Recommendations for action: What are the specific recommendations for next steps? Give special attention to how HR technology will support/drive the business problem’s solution.

    Managing the vendor selection

    Once the organization’s business case has been approved, perhaps the most interesting and difficult process begins: making a technology and vendor selection.  Successful organizations process through and address many of the following considerations when making such selections:

    Identify “must-have” business requirements. Recognize the necessary business-critical capabilities—ones that directly impact the business problem your business case defines—so that you can ensure they can be supported by the selected technology solution.

    Be honest about “nice-to-have” requirements. Take care to understand the difference between critical system capability and other functionality that some users may love but are not fundamentally important to support business processes and solve business problems. No HR technology solution will meet 100 percent of a company’s requirements. The key is knowing that not all requirements are the same.

    Understand the internal factors for success. Who will be the users of this solution? What specifically are their needs? How is their ability and capacity to embrace and adopt new technology? Not all technology solutions are a “fit” with all organizations. Make sure your unique and specific organizational attributes are aligned with the technology provider.

    Gather your candidates. There are increasing sources for HR leaders to create lists of potential solution providers for their HR technology evaluations. From traditional research reports, crowd-sourced software review sites, recommendations from peers, to previous experience with specific solutions, there is plenty of market information available. At HR Tech, we will help you understand how to make sense of all this information to help you narrow down the list that gives your program the best chance for success.

    Assess the providers. Once the short list of technology providers has been created, HR leaders should approach assessment and evaluation in a thorough and consistent manner. Key considerations in this process include the ability of each provider to meet your prioritized requirements, how each solution matches or fits your organization’s user profiles and culture, how the provider aligns with your goals and vision, and finally, how you assess the provider’s willingness and ability to be a true business partner, not just a technology supplier...

    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 plant your spring garden, take your dog for a walk, or re-surface your driveway.

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday
    Feb132018

    HRE Column: Succeeding with HR Tech - Part 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, I talk a little about the one of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of 'success' with your HR technology initiatives, and review some of the key issues, themes, and considerations for HR Tech projects and vendor relationships that are essential, and will be covered in more detail at the Conference this year.

    In the piece, I take a look at some of the issues and considerations that HR leaders should keep in mind as they evaluate potential as well as current HR tech providers in order to have the best chance of making the 'right' HR tech decisions, and ultimately, succeeding with HR tech. This month's column talks about culture alignment, a focus on customer success, measurement and goals and more. Next month, we will take a look at 'success' from the internal point of view, and look at some of the most important organizational factors and decisions that set up your team for success.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    Anyone who has had the good fortune to participate in the full cycle of an HR technology-implementation project knows well that such efforts usually consist of numerous milestones, dozens—if not hundreds—of tasks and components, scores of internal and external resources, significant investments of funds and time and myriad opportunities for sub-optimal outcomes or outright failure.

    Choose the “wrong” solution and your HR tech project could flounder. Forget to ensure some critical capabilities will be supported in the new system in time and the “go-live” date could be compromised. Fail to procure the right experts to serve on the project team and progress could languish. Lose control of the project’s scope and end up with delays and cost overruns. And there are a hundred other reasons why well-intentioned HR technology projects fail to deliver.

    With apologies to Tolstoy for paraphrasing his famous line about families, I would argue that successful HR tech projects are all alike; unsuccessful HR tech projects fail in their own way. While understanding why some projects succeed and others fail is important for any organization, it’s even more vital to prepare for and execute HR technology strategies in a manner that maximizes the chance for success.

    As co-chair of the HR Technology® Conference and Expo, I am focusing on developing considerable content around the “Success with HR Technology” theme. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to examine the nature of customer success and highlight some considerations that HR and HRIT leaders should keep in mind as they continue with workplace technology planning, purchasing, implementation and post-implementation activities in 2018.

    Creating a culture of customer success

    During some recent research, I was encouraged to find that the concept of customer success has gained strength in recent years as an important measure and barometer for HR and enterprise technology providers.

    While each provider may have its own way of defining customer success, the important thing is that more of them are intentionally making the concept of their customers’ success a fundamental yardstick of self-measurement. Prior to selecting any new HR technology provider, HR leaders will not only want to ensure that customer success is one of the important (if not the most important) ways they self-examine, but you will also want to see demonstrable proof of their customer commitment.

    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 your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or scrape the ice off of your car.

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Jan172018

    HRE Column: Looking ahead to HR Tech in 2018

    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 talk a little about the planning process that goes into programming and developing the content for the next HR Technology Conference and review some of the key issues, themes, and the implications for the future of HR Tech that I am thinking about as I look to create the program this year.

    In the piece,  take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that we have been hearing about for some time now, and some newer ideas that have emerged in the last year or so. These issues, challenges, and opportunities will demand continuing focus for HR and business leaders in 2018 and beyond, and I imagine will be a big part of my planning for HR Tech in 2018.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece in HRE Online:

    Some initial themes and topics that could find their way into the upcoming HR Tech conference include creating business value from HR tech, artificial intelligence and digital assistants.

    When talking about raising kids, parents sometimes say, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Even when things on any given day might seem tough, time slips by quickly, and before you know it, the kids are all grown up.

    I was thinking about that expression recently for two reasons. One, my child has an upcoming birthday which made me wonder, just where has all the time gone? And two, while it seems to many (especially me) that last year’s 20th Annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition just concluded, I am already knee-deep in the planning process for the next one, coming this September in Las Vegas.




    A large part of conference-planning process is thinking, reading, researching and talking to HR and industry leaders about the most important themes and trends in HR, workplaces and HR technology, to ensure we are adequately reflecting these at the conference. While the preparation for the event is still in the early stages, I thought it would be interesting and also helpful to me to try and use this first Inside HR Tech piece of 2018 to explore some initial themes and topics. Hopefully, these will also be helpful for HR leaders to reflect upon as you begin your own HR and workplace technology planning, purchasing or implementation activities this year.

    Creating Business Value from HR Technology

    I was doing some research recently and was reminded that the first iPhone launched just over 10 years ago. I mention that for a couple of reasons. Just like in the quote about the passage of time for parents, it does seem as though the iPhone and its cousins have been with us forever. And, after a decade-plus of having access to smartphones and similar technologies, we as consumers have become much more educated and demanding, and our expectations for “value” that we require from these devices (which have all gotten more expensive) have increased substantially. When these new technologies were first introduced, we were excited just to have them and we accepted their capability and functionality at face value, mainly because we didn’t know any better, and didn’t have much of a context or framework for comparison.

    Now that we are (or believe that we are) expert, discerning and informed consumers of these technologies, our demands from them and the pressure we place on the providers of these tools have both expanded and evolved. That is the case with any maturing technology, as well as with much of the HR and workplace technologies that companies rely upon...

    Read the rest at HRE 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, rake up your leaves, and eat your leftover Halloween candy.

    Have a great day!