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    Entries in Technology (308)

    Tuesday
    May032016

    Things you should never say at work #1 - "I'm not technical"

    New series on the blog launching today called 'Things you should never say at work' - hopefully that will focus on the non-obvious but still highly damaging things you should never say on the job.

    Here goes...

    (Slightly) edited for purposes of clarity and anonymity story from a former colleague of mine who has been talking to a potential client about a new (largely) technical project - the implementation of some new, pretty large enterprise systems for a mid-size manufacturing company.

    My former colleague walks into a 'discovery' kind of meeting with the two ostensible subject matter experts in charge of the two most critical process areas of the project - let's call them Inventory Management and Supply Chain Optimization.  The two client folks that run these functional areas are pretty experienced, my colleague guessed they had at least 10 or 15 years each inside the company.

    When my colleague asked them how the early pilots of the new enterprise tech had been going, what the main challenges were, how the systems were being set up in order to support the organization's workflows, etc., both client subject matter experts responded similarly. Something along the lines of: "I really don't know - I'm not technical." 

    A huge red flag for my colleague for sure, as the two primary customers of the upcoming tech implementation were not only pretty disengaged from the process, they were seemingly proud of their lack of expertise and interest in what was going on with the new technology.

    Maybe these two experts are able to get away with this open apathy towards the technology, due to years of accrued expertise and perhaps some organizational stagnation, but you can be sure their (and their kind) days are numbered.

    I would bet that almost no one reading this post today would be able to proudly declare out loud in your shop something along the lines of "That new headcount trends dashboard? No, i have not looked at it. I'm not technical'. Or, "What do I think the 10% bonus pool reduction will do to voluntary turnover? I don't know. I'm not technical.'

    It doesn't matter if you don't know about a specific technology. Tech moves so fast anyway that what specific skills that are in demand now probably won't be the same ones in demand in 2 or 3 years.

    But the approach, the attitude, the willingness to 'be' technical?

    It doesn't matter what kind of job you have now, the 'I'm not technical' card is one no one can afford to play today.

    So you should never say it. I mean it. 'Cause if I find out you did...

    Thursday
    Apr282016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 244 - Global HR Technology Trends from HR Tech China

    HR Happy Hour 244 - Global HR Technology Trends from HR Tech China

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Madeline Laurano

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour show, join hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane as they talk with Madeline Laurano, co-founder of Aptitude Research Partners.   Fresh from the HR Technology Conference in Zhuhai, China, the three talk about the trends in HR technology and how they are similar around the globe.  

    Specifically, the conversation covers having Talent Acquisition as a priority and the Chinese focus on services.  With that focus, there is great interest in acquiring and using the best and most relevant HR technologies.  We also talked about the way that China officials brand their city and the benefits US organizations could gain by having that focus.  

    We also talk about the way that China uses social media in their organizations.  The perception is that they ban most of the sites we use in the US.  And while that may be true, they have alternatives that may be just as effective.  In fact, the US contingent all embraced WeChat and loved it.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widger player below:

     

    This was a really fun and lively show, and we hope you give it a listen.

    And many thanks to everyone at LRP Publications and China Star for putting on the HR Technology China conference and for inviting us to participate as speakers.

    Reminder: You can listen and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, and all the major podcast player apps for iOS and Android - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a new episode.

    Wednesday
    Apr272016

    Who makes better hiring decisions, man or machine?

    Despite two-plus decades of innovation, billions of dollars spent by organizations on HR/Recruiting technologies, and (adding in this one), 139,927,434 blog posts on the topic, hiring still remains stubbornly difficult, is often lengthy and costly, and all too often results in disaster.

    There are potentially dozens of individual reasons why this sad state of affairs persists in 2016, but I want to talk about just one in this post - the question of whether or not hiring could be improved if we relied upon people (mainly hiring managers) less, and machines, (automated job fit assessments and similar instruments) more. The source of the rest of the data in this post is from a 2015 NBER Working Paper titled Discretion in Hiring by Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, and Danielle Li.

    In the paper's abstract, the authors set out to answer a simple question:

    "Who should make hiring decisions? We propose an empirical test for assessing whether firms should rely on hard metrics such as job test scores or grant managers discretion in making hiring decisions."
    A pretty good question for sure.

     

    Who (or as we shall see soon what), should have the final, or at least the most influential voice in determining which candidate to hire for a given role?

    According to the authors, hiring is hard and prone to error for two primary reasons. One, resumes, profiles, even interviews are usually not perfectly complete and able to reveal with a high degree of confidence and accuracy who is the best candidate for the job. And two, the people the firm entrusts to make hiring decisions are simply not that good at making these decisions.


    They start with imperfect information, then apply (sometimes subconsciously), there own views, preferences, and biases that may not be congruent to the organization's goals to the decision process.

    Bad information + inaccurate, possibly biased decision makers = way too many bad hires.

    So what might a remedy be to combat the 'bad information' and 'bad decision makers' challenge?

    How about improving the information, (not very controversial, surely), and removing the decision makers (possibly more controversial, as most hiring managers will claim they like to, you know, hire).

    More from the NBER paper on what they did and what they were able to find:

    In this paper we evaluate the introduction of a job test, and develop a diagnostic to inform how firms should incorporate it into their hiring decisions. Using a unique personnel dataset on HR manager, job applicants, and hired workers across 15 firms that adopt job testing, we present two key findings. First, job testing substantially improves the match quality of hired workers: those hired with job testing have about 15% longer tenures than those hired without testing. Second, managers who overrule test recommendations more often hire workers with lower match quality, as measured by job tenure. 

    This second result suggests that managers exercise discretion because they are biased or have poor judgement, not because they are better informed. This implies that firms in our setting can further improve match quality by limiting managerial discretion and placing more weight on the test.

    Less manager input/discretion in hiring led to better hiring outcomes. Across the board in this study.

    A few caveats worth mentioning, (and you should, if you are so inclined, read the entire paper here).

    This study was performed across a dataset of 15 firms hiring for high volume, lower skill kind of roles - think something like data entry, call center, that kind of thing. The kinds of jobs where it is relatively easier to come up with an accurate job test/assessment, and ones where the primary measure of hiring success is often retention.

    Also worth noting is that the researchers controlled for other measures of employee success like productivity, i.e., they were able to determine that when hiring managers overruled the job test scores in making hiring decisions that they were not in fact sacrificing longer tenure for increased near-term efficiency.

    Essentially, for this category of low to mid-skilled service roles, the researchers were able to show that all things being equal, additional managerial input and discretion into the hiring decision process only served to lead to worse hiring outcomes.

    I will close with one more line from the study's conclusion section:

    In our setting it provides the stark recommendation that firms would do better to remove discretion of the average manager and instead hire based solely on the test.

    But that conclusion only holds true for the 'average' manager, right?

    I'm sure your managers are way above average when it comes to making hiring decisions.

    Right?

     

    Discretion in Hiring, Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, Danielle Li, NBER Working Paper 21709, November 2015

    Monday
    Apr252016

    More from the 'Email is ruining our lives' department

    I have not written about email and how horrible it is for some time, so I was kind of glad that I was reminded of that horribleness (probably not a word, but let's keep going), while reviewing a recent survey about after-work hours email habits published by the enterprise service management company Samanage.

    It's a short, but informative report, and I recommend taking a few minutes to read the entire thing, but if you can't spare the 20 minutes or so (probably because you have to get back to your email), I will just call out the two most interesting survey findings and then because you expect no less, offer some FREE commentary about what these data points should make us think about as HR/business leaders.Ed Ruscha 'Actual Size', 1962

    Finding 1:

    More than 1 in 3 survey respondents (35.2%), said they spend more than 1 hour per day checking emails outside of work.

    Implication: The demands and expectations on many of us are so high that we simply can never get 'caught up', at least to the point where we can enjoy a night, or heaven forbid an entire weekend, without work, (in the form of endless emails), continuing to roll in. 

    When asked why we spend so much time after hours on email, almost all the responses are some version of the notion (and expectation), that if we don't spend at least part of your off-hours dealing with email, you won't be doing your job. That's pretty sad, and pretty frightening at the same time.

    Finding 2:

    20% of survey respondents reported that checking after-hours email produces negative feelings about work, including feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

    Implication: Of all the findings in the survey, this is the one that I think bears the most consideration by HR and business leaders. The long-term, heck even medium-term effects of this email overload into all hours of the day and night are taking a toll on the workforce, at least 20% of them anyway. And that is not an insignificant figure. How would you feel if you knew that 20% of your team was 'overwhelmed and frustrated?' 

    And it is not just the employee's feelings and welfare you should think about. What about their friends and family members who all too often find themselves taking a back seat to your employee having to answer her email during dinner or at the ball game or when they are meant to be doing something, anything that is 'not work?'  

    Ugh. But I know that email is never going away, not in our working lifetimes anyway. I have finally resigned myself to that reality.

    However it can be less terrible. And we can do better to make sure it is not ruining our free time, filling us with anxiety, and tethering us to our work and workplaces no matter where we may be and what we are doing.

    I don't think I am going to write about email anymore, at least for some time. I am kind of tired of thinking about it. But after all these years and the many, many hours I have spent writing about the tool I guess the simplest conclusion or recommendation I have reached to try and make things better is this:

    Before writing another email, especially one after hours or on the weekend stop writing and think for 30 seconds or "Do I really, really need to send this message, with this information, to these people, right now?"

    Followed closely by a this follow-up:

    "How do I want people to feel about me, their job, the team, and the organization when they see this email?"

    Think about both of these questions before you hit 'send' at 11:30PM on Friday night.

    Actually, think about them at 10:20AM on Tuesday as well.

    Have a great week!

    Tuesday
    Apr192016

    NBA team jersey ads are coming - here's the HR tech vendor who should sponsor each team

    A few days ago it was announced that starting with the 2017-2018 season, small corporate advertisements will be permitted on the front of NBA player jerseys. It is estimated that these ads, which initially will be limited in size to a patch measuring 2.5 x 2.5 inches, will generate anywhere from $50M to $150M annually in revenue for the league.

    Since corporate ads on NBA jerseys are now absolutely going to happen, speculation about which companies will sponsor which teams has begun. And since I am all about the NBA and have lots of opinions about all things HR technology, I thought it would be fun to mash up these two worlds in one post. 

    How can such a mash up make sense you may be asking? How about if we pretend that only HR technology companies would be eligible for these NBA jersey sponsorship and then decide which HR tech company 'fits' each NBA team and match the NBA team to the HR tech company.

    Sounds fun, right? Here goes. And note, teams are listed in reverse order of their regular season finish in the season that just concluded a few days ago.

    30. Philadelphia 76ers - Sponsor: SmartRecruiters. No reason other than the Sixers really, really need to find some better players. Linking a company with the name of SmartRecruiters to a team in need of smarter recruiting is a good fit.

    29. Los Angeles Lakers - Sponsor: Aon Hewitt. Aon Hewitt has been no stranger to big-name jersey sponsorship in the past, (Manchester United), so I can see a scenario where Aon would jump into NBA jersey sponsorship with a big time team like the Lakers.

    28. Brooklyn Nets - Sponsor: Infor. Infor is a New York City-based company, and I went to a Nets game this season in Brooklyn and sat near the Infor lounge (to which I was denied entry, by the way).

    27. Phoenix Suns - Sponsor: PeopleDoc. This one falls into the camp of 'I think this company does some cool things, and they should be a part of the NBA sponsorship program'. The Suns play in a big market, have typically been a destination of choice for free agents, and seem like a fit for an HR tech company trying to build its name in the US market.

    26. Minnesota Timberwolves - Sponsor: The Muse. The T-Wolves are a team on the rise, filled with tons of young talent. Good match for the kinds of things The Muse is all about as well, with their focus of helping organizations connect with up and coming talent.

    25. New Orleans Pelicans - Sponsor: Namely. You may not know Namely, but the company has emerged in the last couple of years, raising funds and even advertising on cable TV channels like CNBC. I think that Namely would probably want to be a part of the NBA ad program, and nabbing the team with one of the league's best players Anthony Davis would be a coup.

    24. New York Knicks - Sponsor: ADP. They are both huge, recognizable names in their domains, and have some shared geographical ties as ADP is headquartered in the greater NYC area. I can just 'see' and ADP logo on a Knicks jersey and it would feel like it would make sense.

    23. Milwaukee Bucks- Sponsor: CareerBuilder. The Bucks are a team that many think could evolve and develop into a contender in the next few seasons, they just need one or two more pieces to be in the mix. Pairing up with a vendor that is all about making connections with talent seems like a good fit.

    22. Denver Nuggets - Sponsor: iCIMS. Another HR tech company that it seems would have to be a part of the NBA program, iCIMS continues to grow and expand and the name and brand recognition that would come from being a NBA team sponsor seems to align with these growth plans. 

    21. Sacramento Kings - Sponsor: Globoforce. This one is more about what the Kings need and less about what the sponsor needs. The Kings have been a pretty dysfunctional organization for several years, and they could use a pairing with a vendor who focuses on making work better and more human.

    20. Orlando Magic - Sponsor: Dice. I don't have a super reason behind this match, but I think Dice would have to be in the NBA mix somehow, so I will slot them in here with a Magic team that hopefully has better days ahead of them soon.

    19. Utah Jazz - Sponsor: HireVue. While there are several HR tech companies in the Salt Lake City area, I just associate Hirevue with the area so strongly, they have to be the pick for the Jazz sponsorship. And nothing says 'You're in Utah' more than jazz music.

    18. Washington Wizards - Sponsor: Equifax Workforce Solutions. It only makes sense that the team in the home of the US Federal Government be sponsored by an HR tech company that is synonymous with compliance - Equifax is a natural fit for the Wiz.

    17. Houston Rockets - Sponsor: CivilSoft. Maybe a stretch by me, but I like the idea of pairing the team from America's oil and gas industry capital with one of the few, if not the only, HR tech companies that is HQ'ed in the Middle East.

    16. Chicago Bulls - Sponsor: SAP. Great history, been around what seems like forever. Known all over the world, SAP seems like a match with the Bulls on all these levels.

    15. Memphis Grizzlies - Sponsor: Kronos. The Grizz have long been known as a blue-collar, grind it out kind of team, so pairing them with Kronos, the biggest player in the time keeping space seems like a good fit.

    14. Dallas Mavericks - Sponsor: Glassdoor. The Mavs owner Mark Cuban is famous for speaking his mind, and being incredibly open and transparent. Matches the Glassdoor ethos of making information about work and organizations more open and transparent for job seekers as well.

    13. Detroit Pistons - Sponsor: WorkForce Software. The team from Detroit, the city long-associated with hard work needs to be paired with a sponsor coming from the same place. I like the match of a tech vendor with deep roots in the hourly workforce space with the Pistons.

    12. Portland Trail Blazers - Sponsor: Virgin Pulse. Portland feels like the kind of place/team that is a fit with the vibe of well-being that Virgin Pulse is all about. 

    11. Indiana Pacers - Sponsor: Mercer. I like Mercer for the Pacers as they both give off a feel of solid, stable, trustworthiness. You don't have to worry that they know what they are doing/saying, they just put in a great effort every night. 

    10. Charlotte Hornets: Sponsor: SumTotal. This may be a reach, but the Hornets have had a really, really good season despite not having any 'star' players. They have been, in short, better than the sum of their parts. So matching them up with leading learning vendor SumTotal works.

    9. Boston Celtics - Sponsor: IBM. The modern day Celts are not flashy, but continue to achieve at a high level and feature solid coaching and front-office leadership. Plus, there's decades of success in their legacy. Sounds in some ways like IBM to me.

    8. Atlanta Hawks - Sponsor: Kinetix. Though not exactly a tech company, Kinetix lands the Hawks sponsorship by virtue of their Atlanta HQ and KD's affinity for Dennis 'German Rondo' Schroder.

    7. Miami Heat - Sponsor: Ultimate Software. Ultimate is a South Florida company, so that is a fit. And I once heard Pat Riley speak at an Ultimate user conference.

    6. Los Angeles Clippers - Sponsor: Cornerstone OnDemand. Cornerstone is an LA-area company and it makes sense that they would link up with one of the LA teams. The Clippers just seem a better fit to me than the Lakers. 

    5. Oklahoma City Thunder - Sponsor: Paychex. This one is simply because like Oklahoma City seems to be an unlikely place to be the home of a top-level NBA team, Rochester, NY, (home to Paychex and me too), is also a fairly unlikely place to be the home of a leading HR tech provider. But it is and this one seems like a solid fit.

    4. Toronto Raptors - Sponsor: Ceridian. They have a pretty strong presence in Canada so it just makes sense for Ceridian to connect with the NBA's lone Canadian franchise.

    3. Cleveland Cavaliers - Sponsor: Workday. No other reason than a high-profile team like the Cavs would have to be paired with a big-name sponsor, so Workday gets the nod here.

    2. San Antonio Spurs - Sponsor: Indeed. The right for the Spurs was a little tough to come up with, but in the end I went with a pick that at least reminds me of the low-key, efficient, and fundamental way the Spurs play basketball - the job aggregation behemoth Indeed. 

    1. Golden State Warriors - Sponsor: Oracle. Kind of a no-brainer, since the Dubs play in Oracle arena. Once a team's home gets associated with a corporate brand, a really tight bond develops.

    That's it, your guide to NBA jersey sponsorship, HR tech edition.

    Disagree with any of the pairings? Hit me up in the comments.