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    Entries in Technology (252)


    SLIDES: Busting the Common Myths in HR Technology - #SHRM15

    I had a great time (early) this morning co-presenting along with Trish McFarlane at the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Trish and I were really glad to see somewhere near 300 folks brave the 7AM start time to hear us talk about HR Technology and more specifically, HR Technology implementations.

    The size of the crowd, the high level of attendee enthusiasm and engagement, and the really long line of folks who came up to chat after the session was completed was a great indicator of the continuing and increasing importance of technology to the HR professional.

    The slide deck we shared is up on Slideshare and also embedded below, (Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through).


    The big messages that Trish and I shared were a few - that even in the age of modern SaaS technology platforms the fundamentals of great project management remain important. Executive support, a dedicated project team, intentional attention to change management, and making sure the 'right' users at all levels of the organization are appropriately engaged in the implementation project are just as important in 2015 as they were in 1995.

    This was a fun session to present, and Trish and I want to thank everyone who came out this morning as well as the folks at SHRM for allowing us to be a part of the event.

    We'd love any thoughts, comments, suggestions any one has on this deck as well!


    Work and the next wave of industry transformation

    I like reading stuff from McKinsey and the other Tier 1 management consultancies out there like BCG, Bain, Booz Allen and the like. Sure, sometimes they are a little behind trend, try to place names (and the ensuing trademarked models and frameworks) on general business conditions or trends, and can be accused of being kind of a relic of the 80s and 90s, and out of touch with the modern age of technology and business.

    But they still do, reliably, churn out some snappy graphics that make for interesting blog fodder, so that is probably why I still love them. 

    Case in point, from our pals at McKinsey the below graphic that they call the 'Industry 4.0 Digital Compass', which "consists of eight basic value drivers and 26 practical Industry 4.0 levers. Cross-functional discussions that will help companies find the levers that are best suited to solve their particular problems." These are the big trends that are impacting manufacturing, (and really all kinds of industries), like digital technologies, the internet of things, the increased use of business intelligence tools, and advances in robotics and other forms of automation, and some ideas of how these trends will be applied in business.

    Take a look at the chart, paying particular attention to the slice called 'Labor', as that is the section I want to dig into next:

    Remember, in this diagram, the items in the inner circle, ('Labor', 'Time to Market', 'Quality', etc.), represent 'value drivers' for the firm, i.e., things that can be exploited to make more profit.  The items on the outer ring represent 'levers' that the savvy CEO or CHRO can pull to unlock that value. Let's take a look at McKinsey's four 'Labor' levers for a second and see what, if anything, they might mean for work, workplaces, labor, and HR.

    1. Human - Robot Collaboration - For hundreds of years many management and leadership ideas centered around trying to find ways to get people to work better with each other and to more effectively collaborate. These efforts, largely, have had mixed results. After all, the other guy is either a buffoon, or is not motivated, or doesn't have the right skill, or is an egomaniac - #amirite? So instead of trying to 'fix' annoying people so that they will be able to collaborate better, the next phase of technological transformation will focus on making us work better with the robots. This is a noble idea, and likely spells trouble for many of us. While we will remain buffoons, unmotivated, unskilled, and egomaniacal, our robot co-workers will suffer none of these conditions. 

    2. Remote monitoring and control - Let's take this one very literally and assume this means increased digital monitoring of workers and workplaces, probably through advances and increased adoption of wearable technologies. These will gain traction in many industrial settings as even today wearable technologies from companies like Wearable Intelligence have created incredibly powerful and productivity, (and safety) enhancing applications for manufacturing and field workers. In fact, the McKinsey piece references a trial of a Virtual Reality technology by the company Knapp AG that allows workers to find, identify, and take stock levels of items all via the wearable VR headset. These are extremely interesting and exciting applications of wearable technology in the workplace and likely will ultimately become the lasting means of impact and significance for a wide range of Google Glass type devices.

    3. Digital performance management - McKinsey (probably) isn't referring to the simple practice of taking very traditional HR-led performance management processes and documents and automated same. Rather, this is probably a trend, in combination with number two above, to leverage sophisticated tools and technologies to actually measure and improve performance. A great example of this is from the world of sports, specifically how the teams in the NBA have adopted a technology called SportVU Player Tracking, which users a battery of digital video cameras to create a massive data set of player movements, ball movements, and individual and team outcomes of every play in a basketball game. This massive data set, and the ability and technology to make sense of it all, has allowed coaches to better prepare team strategy, team leaders to evaluate player performance fairly and objectively, and players to learn how to become more effective on court. These approaches have relevance beyond sports into areas like agriculture, construction, and more.  It is about using data to make people better and organizations more successful and it is coming.

    4. Automation of knowledge work - Now we are getting to something probably a little more near and dear to the minds and hearts of folks who are in HR. The first few trends, since this entire construct has a manufacturing/industrial context, are mostly focused on how technology can improve the work performance of front-line, field, assembly, and distribution workers. While many of these kinds of jobs can be augmented with tech, it is also true that the current limitations of robotic technology in particular make many of them still immune from complete automation. Robots for the most part still are not able to take on tasks that require highly variable movements, fine motor skills, and navigating safely in close, uneven, or unpredictable environments. But knowledge work has none of those physical barriers to automation. If the job primarily involves moving bits of information from one digital format to another, then the algorithms are probably not much farther behind than we think. 

    Taken together, and as a part of the macro-level look at the future of industrial transformation, these labor and workforce trends seem to fit and make sense. Technology will change work in many different and subtle ways, but the undercurrent of all of them speaks towards a future with much closer integration between people and technology - often at a physical level. We will wear technology at work, be tracked in more ways than before, and have to interact with more forms of technology, like robots, than we might be comfortable with.

    And the best, most forward-thinking HR professionals are thinking about and leading their organizations in these directions today. 


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 216 - Keeping HR Data Secure

    HR Happy Hour 216 - Keeping HR Data Secure

    Recorded Friday June 19, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlaneSteve Boese

    Guest : Roland Cloutier, VP, Chief Security Officer, ADP

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, Steve and Trish were joined by ADP's Chief Security Officer, Roland Cloutier, for a fascinating discussion on organizational and employee data security.Roland discussed the primary issues and concerns that HR and business leaders have with data security, the best ways for HR leaders to engage with their solution providers and their internal teams when navigating issues of data security, and offered insights on how to continue to secure critical employee information in an environment of multiple systems, platforms, and data integrations.

    This was an extremely lively and fun show, (don't let the dry-sounding topic fool you), about an important and timely issue facing all HR and business leaders today - keeping your employee and organizational data secure in an environment where threats to that data's security and integrity are just about everywhere.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by 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.

    Thanks to Roland and the team at ADP for making this important topic understandable, relatable, and yes, even kind of fun. Every HR leader's job is employee data security, and as such, you don't want to miss this discussion.


    HRE Column: On Recruiting and the Technology Transformation

    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.

    I 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 readers here - the kinds of transformations that organizations can drive via the application of modern HR technologies.

    Here is an excerpt from the column, The Recruiting Technology Transformation:

    Technology continues to fundamentally transform how, where and when work gets done, and the ways that HR leaders can drive improved business performance. In the HR tech world, recruiting technology is helping to drive that transformation and is making the recruiting function perhaps the most transformed of all HR disciplines.

    This phenomenon was on display at a recent event I attended, HireVue’s Digital Disruption in Park City, Utah. At the event, numerous HireVue customers—spanning a wide variety of industries, including banking and finance, airlines, publishing and national retail chains—shared how technology has impacted and, in some cases, radically altered their talent-acquisition efforts.

    Just a few of the examples from the event reveal the potential benefits of adopting modern talent-acquisition technologies for organizations of all types and sizes:

    Educational and general-purpose publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt adopted a three-pronged approach to improving its ability to identify, engage and hire inside sales staff. That approach resulted in increased quality of hire, faster time to fill their open sales roles and improved business results, which were measured in how many new sales-team members were attained.

    By redesigning the process to better identify the candidates most likely to succeed through a combination of a statistically validated online assessment, video interviews that replaced the former recruiter phone screens and consistently applied behavioral-interviewing techniques for the candidates who passed the assessment and video screen, HMH was able to show top-line and bottom-line ROI.

    The general lesson from this story is this: Applying modern tools and technologies to the talent-acquisition process, particularly for revenue-generating roles, provides HR and recruiting leaders with one of the best ways to help drive organizational results. In this example, HR could show how it was a significant contributor to sales and profits, and not just an administrative cost center....

    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!


    Will you be replaced by a robot? Use this nifty tool to find out

    Will you or your job be replaced by a robot, an algorithm, or some other type of automation technology?

    Of course it will!

    The question should really be 'When?' not 'If?'

    But for something fun to on a Friday, head over to the NPR Planet Money site and take spin on their interactive tool that uses data from a University of Oxford study entitled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?”, and lets you see just how likely your job will be automated away in the near future.

    Here is what the tool says about 'Cashiers', one of the most likely jobs to disappear in the next 20 years or so.

    As you can tell from the charts, the likelihood of a given job becoming the domain of robots is influenced by four factors: the need to conjure up clever ideas and solutions, the amount of social interaction needed in the job, the space the job requires (robots are still not great at navigating tight spaces), and the negotiation skills needed.

    Luckily for many of us, jobs that fall in the 'management' domain still seem (reasonably) safe for now.

    Go have some fun on a Friday, and check out your own odds and see if you should be considering a career move (before it's too late).

    Have a great weekend!