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    Entries in HRExec (17)

    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!

    Thursday
    Mar092017

    HRE Column: HCM Trends and How HR Can Take Advantage of Them

    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 the recently released Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report, which was also the subject of a recent HR Happy Hour Podcast we did with Josh Bersin.  This annual report, now in its 5th year, has emerged as one of the HR and HR Technology industry's 'must-reads', so for the benefit of HR Executive readers that may not (yet) have listened to the podcast, I tried to capture the content and the spirit of the conversation I had with Josh in the HRE column.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of the themes or trends that were identified in the Global Human Capital trends Report, and how these trends will help inform and shape the design, development, and deployment of HR and workplace technologies in 2017, and beyond.  This was a fun podcast with Josh, and a fun exercise for me, and I hope you get some ideas and insights from this review as you plan out your year and make your workforce, workplace and HR technology decisions in 2017. 

    From the HRE piece:

    Recently, Deloitte released its annual Global Human Capital Trends Report, which, in just its fifth year of publication, has become essential annual reading for HR, business and HR-technology leaders. The report combines findings from a comprehensive survey of more than 11,000 respondents, interviews with multiple HR and business leaders, case studies from many leading organizations, and insights from Deloitte's human capital management analysts and consultants. The result is an insightful report that sheds light on trends, challenges, and opportunities for HR and business leaders who are all tasked with driving business results through their people.

    I had one of the report's principal authors, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte, as a guest on my HR Happy Hour Podcast on the day the report launched to discuss some of the key findings. For the benefit of readers who have not (yet) had a chance to listen to that interview, I thought I would share some of it here.

    Rethinking the Organization

    Building the "organization of the future" was cited by 88 percent of Deloitte's survey respondents as being an important or very important challenge. What is driving this imperative for many HR and business leaders? Primarily, it’s the need for the organization to become more agile, to be able to adapt more quickly to changing market and competitive conditions, and to increasingly embrace new and more flexible forms and sources of talent. The catalyst for at least some of this need is the increased volume and importance of more flexible labor/talent arrangements, i.e. contractors, consultants and other “gig” workers. As these sources of flexible and contingent labor have continued to evolve, HR-technology solutions such as Upwork, Wonolo and Toptal have become increasingly important sources of talent that HR and business leaders are relying upon to execute their rapidly changing workforce needs.

    But it is not just the increased reliance on contingents that's driving the need to rethink the organization. The way work gets done in organizations today -- increasingly, via short-term, purpose-built and cross-functional teams, and not in formal, functionally defined hierarchies -- is also forcing HR leaders to reconsider how the organization should be designed. The need for increased agility in the assembling and disassembling of these teams requires HR and talent leaders to have better insights into individuals’ skills, as well as any overall organizational skill deficiencies. The need for robust talent-management, workforce-management, learning and development, and organizational collaboration technologies to support these rapid shifts in organizational dynamics places primary importance on a close connection between business, people and IT strategy in order to ensure that the organization can react as the market demands.

    The Employee Experience

    On the podcast, Bersin told me "the employee-engagement market is over." On first blush, you might think that was an odd thing to say, given that employee-engagement levels remain persistently low, and most HR and business leaders have bought into the notion that increasing these engagement scores would be a good thing for retention, morale and productivity.

    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-seen you lawn, take the car for a wash, or help you plant your spring flowers. I especially like alstroemelias.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Feb202017

    HRE Column: What is Driving Innovation in Workplace Technology

    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 the emerging consumer and personal technology trends that are driving and shaping next generation HR and workplace technologies.  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, real-time, personalized), it still can take time, even years, for these consumer tech trends to manifest in HR technologies.

    I like to think that we are entering (or maybe have already entered), an amazing era of innovation and transformation in HR and workplace tech, much of it being driven by evolving and demanding user expectations, and the changing of the what we think about when we think about HR tech.

    In this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of the themes or trends that I am seeing in HR, HR Tech, and the workplace, and how these trends will help inform and shape the design, development, and deployment of HR and workplace technologies in 2017, and beyond.  This was a fun exercise for me, and I hope you get some ideas and insights from this review as you plan out your year and make your HR technology decisions. 

    From the HRE piece:

    I've been working on a couple of new talks that I will be giving this year centered around one key idea that has been talked about for some time in HR-tech circles but is now -- finally -- becoming more prevalent in the design, deployment and impact of HR-technology solutions.

    The idea is a simple one. Namely, that the traditional way HR and other workplace technologies have been designed -- by programmers, then marketed and sold to CIOs or IT managers, and finally deployed and configured primarily for the needs of the power users in the payroll and HR departments -- is no longer that useful.

    The continuing series of tech-driven advances in our personal and consumer lives -- such as e-commerce sites that learn our preferences and make personal product recommendations; smartphones and the emergence of app stores that let us design our own preferred toolsets; "intelligent," crowd-sourced platforms that help us beat traffic jams; and ubiquitous and constant Internet connections -- have combined to create heightened expectations of workplace technologies that look, feel and function like the best consumer technologies we have come to love.

    Most importantly, the next generation of the workforce has never known a time when these personalized, highly adaptable, intelligent and easy-to-use types of technologies did not exist.

    Indeed, before walking into your organization for their first day of work, these new employees might have dressed in clothes that were personally selected for them and shipped directly to their houses by StitchFix; have prepared to meet their colleagues by perusing their LinkedIn, Twitter or GitHub profiles; learned about your industry and their new job functions by watching YouTube videos and reading Quora threads; and traveled to the office by summoning a car to their house via Uber or Lyft, or dodging the traffic using Waze. And they did all this on their smartphones. It is no surprise, then, that these new workers are expecting the same kinds of capabilities, flexibility and ease of use from the technology they will use at work.

    Both HR-technology providers and HR leaders are being spurred on to adapt to these new challenges by creating and deploying modern HR technologies that incorporate these kinds of consumer elements and expectations of personalization, beautiful design and ease of use into the next generation of HR tech tools. The evolution of HR and workplace technologies has begun, and the most effective organizations will look to modernize their workplace tools to meet this new, demanding and tech-savvy employee.

    Let's highlight five current manifestations of how modern HR technologies are adapting to meet these these new requirements, and share some thoughts on how HR leaders can better assess, select and deploy HR-technology solutions to meet these demands.

    Mobile

    The Internet traffic and measurement firm StatCounter recently released a report showing worldwide Internet usage from mobile and tablet devices has surpassed internet usage from traditional PCs and laptops, with 51 percent of all Internet usage via mobile. This is a trend that is showing no signs of abating anytime soon. When broken down generationally, it reveals that younger generations prefer mobile over desktops and laptops even more prominently. Three or four years ago, it was common for organizations and HR-technology-solution providers to have a "mobile strategy." Now it seems almost behind the times to explicitly discuss "mobile" tools as something distinct from traditional workplace applications.

    Connected

    I thought about calling this example "Social" to represent how the growth of social networks in the last decade and their popularity with the younger demographic has influenced almost every type of HR and workplace technology, but I think "connected" is a better term to describe how social will continue to influence HR and workplace technology moving forward. "Social" feels a little superficial to me, and besides, I don't think it adequately represents the importance of community and younger workers feeling like they are a part of something larger that is considerably important to them. They want to be connected at work similar to the ways they are connected in their personal lives -- not chasing "likes" on their latest selfie, but coming together with their peers, sharing their knowledge and ideas, helping and supporting each other, and finally "belonging" to something important.

    A great example of this new trend is in the learning-technology realm, where newer systems provide the capability for all end users to share their expertise and upload their own video tutorials, and for other users to build upon this content with comments, addendum and upvotes, indicating that the content was particularly helpful and useful. Communities end up self-forming around subjects and content that are important for the organization, and people feel more connected and supported by their colleagues as well.

    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 clean out your gutters, take your dog for a walk, or help you plan your summer vacation.

    Have a great week!

    Tuesday
    Dec202016

    HRE Column: HR and AI - Five Things to Consider

    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 I took a look at the emerging technology field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, and review some of the considerations and implications for HR leaders who are evaluating, selecting, and implementing new HR technologies that are based around AI.

    One of the major challenges for the developers of AI solutions is that these technologies can be seen as impenetrable, abstruse, cryptic, and more alarmingly, unfair or unethical. We (mostly), implicitly 'trust' many smart technologies like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix to make the best, most accurate predictions of what content we will like or what products we want to purchase, even if/when we don't really know how these algorithms actually work, how they are configured, and how any original or baseline biases or inaccuracies inform them.

    In this month's HR Executive column I take a look at five fundamental principles of AI for HR leaders to consider. These principles or guidelines provide a starting framework for HR to begin to form questions, challenge solution providers, and assure employees that any AI technologies they deploy will be deployed ethically. From the HRE piece:

    As 2016 has been winding down you've no doubt seen or will see various published or online pieces such as "HR Trends to Watch for 2017" or "Hot Technologies for HR Leaders in 2017." I thought (briefly) of making this last Inside HR Tech column of 2016 such a piece. But then I decided that, rather than contribute to the chorus of prognosticators predicting "mobile will be big in 2017," I would instead dig in a little more to one trend or "hot" technology that most analysts and industry observers are pointing to in 2017, namely "smart" HR technologies. Whether it's called artificial intelligence, machine learning or predictive technology, the development of more sophisticated HR technologies that can evaluate and mine large data sets, make recommendations based on past data and "learn" or adapt over time to become even better at providing HR and business leaders with people-related decision support presents HR leaders with both an opportunity and a challenge.

    Just as some earlier HR-technology advancements failed to produce the desired business outcomes because they simply automated or made a badly designed processes easier to replicate (think about the first time you automated your dreaded annual performance reviews or placed your too-long, candidate-unfriendly application process online), the application of "smart" technology (or artificial intelligence) for HR also presents the very real danger of perpetuating many undesirable characteristics and outcomes of current processes. For example, if a "smart" tool that is meant to help HR leaders predict future high performers based on an assessment of the traits of current high performers has, at its core, a fundamental bias in how managers have rated these current high performers, then the "smart" technology may continue to perpetuate this biased evaluation tendency.

    What are some the guidelines or principles that HR leaders (and solution providers) should consider when developing and deploying these technologies for making HR and talent decisions? I've found what I think is a good starting point developed by the Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning organization that I want to share. It offers five core areas to consider and questions to ask of these "smart" solutions that HR leaders can use to guide their research, inquiry and assessment of these tools. Briefly, the five elements and some recommended and related questions to ask solution providers for each area are as follows:

    Responsibility

    Above all, it is incumbent for HR leaders to ensure any artificial decision-support technologies are operating responsibly. Ask if there are visible and accessible processes for people to question or address adverse individual or organizational effects or impacts of an algorithmic decision system or design. And who will have the power to decide on necessary changes to the algorithmic system during the design stage, pre-launch and post-launch? Finally, can your solution provider make adjustments and changes that are determined to be necessary for the organization to address these kinds of concerns?

    Read the rest at HR Executive...

    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 scrape the ice off your windshield, hang up your Christmas lights, or return your unwanted presents on December 26.

    Have a great day!

    Thursday
    Oct272016

    HRE Column: How to choose which disruptive HR tech solutions to chase

    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, in the aftermath of the HR Technology Conference and still thinking about all the innovative and potentially disruptive HR tech solutions that continue to appear in the market, I thought about how much more difficult it must be getting for HR and business leaders to assess and evaluate and decide which types of disruptive technology to pursue.

    Note, I am not really talking or thinking about specific technology evaluations like, "Which ATS should we license?", but rather larger questions of "Which types of potentially disruptive HR technology would benefit our organization, given our needs and our circumstances?", and "What should be the impact of these technologies on the organization and our people?"

    I came up with three general categories or impacts that potentially disruptive HR tech can (and perhaps should) have on the organization, and some thoughts on how HR leaders can better evaluate new HR tech in this model. I tried to describe what this kind of categorized impact assessment looks like in my HR Executive column. From the HRE piece:

    One of the highlights of the recently concluded HR Technology Conference and Exposition® was the record-breaking Expo Hall, which featured nearly 400 technology solution providers offering an almost dizzying array of tools, technologies and innovative approaches to help organizations with HR, talent-management, employee-engagement and other workplace challenges.

    But such a plethora of modern and innovative technologies also presents quite a challenge for HR and business leaders in that the growth of the HR-technology market and landscape has made the identification, research, assessment and eventual selection of the "right" technology solution all the more challenging. Probably the most frequent type of question I get from HR leaders over the course of the year is: "There are so many HR-tech solutions out there; how can I figure out which ones I should give my time and attention?"

    Note that this kind of question is different from "Which applicant-tracking (or learning-management system, or payroll solution) system is the best one?" I do get those questions too, of course, but probably less frequently than in the past, as most HR leaders today understand that there is never a universal "best" solution for anything, but rather a "best" solution for the individual organization, and its unique goals, requirements and circumstances. Lately the discussions and challenges I hear about from HR leaders seem more focused on trying to make sense of a complex and growing HR-tech market, and how to best take advantage of all this growth and innovation.

    One way for HR leaders to approach these kinds of challenges and determine how to spend their time and resources is to consider innovative and potentially disruptive HR technologies across a set of three criteria or broad categories of impact. I'd like to take a look at these three broad-impact categories and offer examples of how new HR-technology solutions fit into each.

    Category One: If the HR solutions reduce or eliminate organizational barriers for HR and employees

    There are a slew of HR technologies that are necessary and essential for organizations to either own or license for regulatory and compliance reasons. In other words, every organization that has regular employees has to, at a minimum, have a way to pay them, and to complete all the required tax filings and payments. This category is not really about those kinds of technologies. (If your organization has a critical need to solve such compulsory challenges, then you probably should take care of those before entertaining the idea of adopting new or disruptive HR technology.)

    This category is more about enabling organizational success via the elimination or reduction of the friction points that can hold people back from getting work done effectively and efficiently. You can get to the direct impact of implementing technologies in this category by asking questions such as, "Where does our employee's workflow get bogged down?" or "Where do we have data manually replicated in multiple systems?"; or simply by asking teams and leaders can simply be asked to talk about "What is it that makes my job more difficult than it needs to be?"

    Some real HR-technology solutions that help to solve problems in this category include learning systems that can surface content and assets in real-time and in context when employees need them the most or even more technical solutions that better integrate, validate and keep clean key HR-data elements and values across multiple systems. Almost every new HR-technology solution you introduce into the organization should solve at least one important "barrier" problem and eliminate a pain point for your targeted audience once it is adopted.

    Category Two: If the HR solutions help to elevate customer service -- for internal customers or external customers

    At the HR Tech Conference, one of the more interesting technology developments I remember seeing was an example of a deeper integration between an employee self-service type of portal and the company's HR-shared-service-center knowledge base and help-desk functionality. The idea here is that if employees were viewing their payslips or benefits enrollments and needed more information or had a question about the information they were viewing, they could, with one click, launch a "help" ticket or process to indicate to HR they needed assistance. HR practitioners would not only see that the request was made, they would automatically have all the needed context from the page or subset of information the employee was viewing...

    Read the rest of the HR Exec column here 

    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 rake your leaves car or clean out your gutters or even help you pass out the candy on Halloween. 

    Have a great weekend!