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Archive for the ‘HR Technology’ Category

Participate in the HR Systems Survey

Posted by Mark Bennett on July 3, 2011

Thanks to SystematicHR for reminding me that CedarCrestone is conducting their annual HR Systems Survey. This is a terrific survey that adds a lot to the understanding of trends in the industry. As they state:

The survey collects responses from HR and IT management and business leaders with knowledge of the HR technologies in use and planned. CedarCrestone invites representatives from organizations with over 300 employees to participate. Responses will be kept confidential and only used in aggregate results.

Go check it out and participate if you qualify. In addition, SystematicHR also pointed out that the Bill Kutik Radio Show had an episode a few weeks back where Lexy discussed a lot of interesting facts about the survey.

Posted in HR Technology, survey, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Feb 21, 2012 – Are you ready?

Posted by Anders Northeved on January 26, 2011

According to phonecount.com on Feb 21, 2012 (give or take a couple of days I guess…) the number of connected phones will surpass the number of people living on Earth. For everyone that doesn’t have a phone, someone will have two.
Just think about what people would have said if you predicted this 10 or 20 years ago!
I’m sure this already has a profound impact on most people’s life in many ways, but let me just focus on the possibilities for corporate HR programs.

Self Service
Lots of organizations have ripped the benefits of Self Service in their HCM program.
The administrative work has gone down; the HR data are more accurate; it’s easier for the users to get access to information; the user acceptance has gone up and the cost has come down – all well and good if the employees have access to a computer…
But with more and more people having a mobile, we will see the benefits of Self Service come to a lot of areas where people do not have access to computers like retail, production and transport.

With the widespread availability of phones the management has got a new direct communication line to all of their employees.
Want your employees to know about a new product; a new initiative; reward someone; tell everyone how it’s going… a message on the mobile is the answer. 

It’s now possible to get feedback from your entire workforce whether they have access to a computer or not.

Using mobiles for education for people who would otherwise not have access to education has enormous potential.
I would even go so far as to say that the right use of mobiles for education for organizations with employees without access to a computer could be THE competitive advantage that would define whether an organization would be successful or not!

Even if I find these possibilities very exciting, I’m sure there are other areas that could be added to this list.
I would love to see your comments on what other topics within HCM that could be helped or advanced using mobile devices!

 (Photo by Brandon Hall)

Posted in communication, global, hr, HR Technology, learning, predictions | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Bill Kutik’s Musings on HR Technology® 2009

Posted by Mark Bennett on November 17, 2009

After reflecting on his personal experience at September’s conference and expo and the observations made by many bloggers that attended (including mine), Bill has put together a very good column summarizing his takeaway of the important issues happening in business, HR, and social media. Go check it out.

Bill links together the oft-mentioned “generational issue” with the “digital immigrants and natives” observation and concludes that it might really be different this time. He goes on to make the point that the fear that drives organizations and HR departments to ban social media will put their companies at a competitive disadvantage. I agree and have posted previously how fear can lead to actions that ultimately destroy a company because it can’t learn anymore.

Bill ends his column by asking that those who attended email him with what they’ve learned. Bill is quite up front about his expectations and opinions, but is also just as open to input, so here’s a great chance to have your voice heard in shaping the next conference. This conference has shown to be an important gathering place for not only learning what is going on in HR technology, but also of those in the industry with great ideas and thinking about where and how business and HR can improve.

Posted in HR Technology, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Join the Internal Enterprise Conversation, Already in Progress

Posted by Mark Bennett on October 19, 2009

2866399803_f10bdde231_mConversations among employees (vs. broadcasts from corporate) have always taken place in organizations – they just haven’t always been easily seen by the leaders. These conversations continue to take place inside, outside and across organization boundaries and recently, social technologies have substantially amplified their volume. These amplified conversations then get the attention of management, and not always in a constructive way.

The enterprise’s interests are better served by participating in these conversations, particularly through the effective use of social technologies, rather than by ignoring, rejecting, or banning their use. The result is not only higher employee productivity, more effective innovation, and greater employee engagement. It also results in the organization making more informed business decisions by having a better understanding of what makes the company “tick” and by being more aware of key events and conditions. Finally, the organization can have at least some input into the conversation as well, but only if it participates.

What are the conversations about?

Steve Boese posted a great summary of the findings in an IBM research paper on how employees were using social networks and why. One of the paper’s most eye-opening findings, and one that organizations should note, is that employees appear to use social network within the enterprise more for reaching out to employees they don’t already know and for building stronger bonds with them and their other “weak ties.” This is interesting to know as it is in contrast to what most detractors cite as why social networks within the enterprise would be a productivity drain. Those detractors often label it “Facebook for the Enterprise” and point out that a primary use of Facebook is just to keep current on what close friends are doing and gossip on things that have nothing to do with work, ergo it is a waste of time in the workplace. The research paper shows the error in thinking that is the primary use.

Beyond reaching out to create and build stronger ties, what else is happening? As mentioned in this earlier post on last month’s HR Technology® Conference, Nokia’s Matthew Hanwell related how his company gradually adopted internal use of social technologies. Steve also has a terrific summary of the points from that presentation. It turns out that employees sometimes also used the social technologies for general discussions about work. For instance, they might discuss overall state of the market, business profitability, and so on. They might discuss various benefit programs. In general, topics often on employees’ minds regarding things that impact their employment.

The upshot is that employees use social technologies to discuss the things they would still talk about even if the technologies didn’t exist or were banned. It’s the same thing they have always talked about and for good reason; it’s their career and their livelihood. For instance, the IBM paper shows that why employees have these conversations over internal social networks is reflected in the way they use them. Both developing one’s career and campaigning for a project are particularly assisted by reaching out and strengthening weak ties. That notion was covered in this previous post about the advantages of being more “central” in a given network through the creation and maintenance of diverse networks. You get more benefit from diversity of connections than simply pure quantity. (More to the point of this post, it’s about the diverse conversations and not just the connections themselves – you have to actually use the connections.)

How can the enterprise join the conversations?

Hanwell’s presentation showed that at first, fear drove much of the reluctance to permit social technologies in the enterprise in the first place. What would employees say? Could moderators keep up? In other words, worst-case thinking that in turn triggered further rationalizing rejection – such as governance costs – of the technologies. However, once key stakeholders understood that the conversations were happening anyway (including using external social technologies like Facebook) and that there was much to be gained by observing and participating in them, they gave the green light.

Most obstacles to the enterprise joining the conversation are self-inflicted. During the HR Happy Hour at the HR Technology conference, we talked about how organizations need help in overcoming the fear that puts up obstacles to successful adoption and use of social technologies. Jason Seiden pointed out the “risk-aversion” obstacle – in particular how it surfaces in staff departments like HR – which in many cases see only downside in backing an initiative like this. This is very much driven by how HR is viewed by the organization. As long as a given HR department is exclusively chartered with (and therefore measured on) compliance and governance oversight, and not with maximizing the strategic impact of talent, putting social technologies under its control will likely result in not much adoption, use, or benefit.

How can that perception be dealt with? We’ll hit that in another HR Technology – themed post soon.

Photo by cliff1066™

Posted in conversation, HR Technology, social network | Tagged: | 14 Comments »

Thinking at HR Technology 2009

Posted by Mark Bennett on October 6, 2009

134943545_730adff787_mWhat HR Technology 2009 provided best and better than most conferences was convergence of much of the diverse thinking that’s going on in our industry, and it was energizing. Bill Kutik deserves huge props for balancing expectations with the unexpected, which for the most part kept HR Tech lively and provocative.

Naturally, HR Technology 2009 had a lot of the standard offerings, as always, “table stakes” as it were, including vendors touting their wares, industry rumors, informative sessions, and so on. Of course, the “Shoot Out” is viewed as a major differentiator and it is an interesting exercise to watch. As many have already pointed out, it’s a difficult challenge to provide a head-to-head comparison that covers “real world” scenarios that interest a broad range of customers, in a fair and balanced manner among the competitors, fit it all into a very short period of time, and not have it all appear extremely scripted (and fast!). Kudos to Bill and Leighanne Levensaler for working on developing a great set of scenarios and to Bill for continuing to experiment with the formula in an effort to address the issues people have expressed.

Here’s some standout thinking that was shared regarding getting real business results from HR technology, which will be further explored in upcoming posts:

  • Suite Thinking: This is recognizing the emerging power of an integrated talent management suite. It’s about the challenge of how to have a stable, secure system of record that supports core HR transactions yet also provide dynamic innovation around achieving strategic success through talent. The industry analyst panel with Josh Bersin, Naomi Bloom, Jim Holincheck, and Lisa Rowan, and Leighanne Levensaler’s session in particular raised important thinking about how integration can impact strategic success, what are the key objectives, what are the required components, as well as what are the challenges and tradeoffs (e.g. extracting data vs. initiating HR processes.)
  • Social Thinking: This is accepting and adopting social media’s value and learning its various features, implementations, policies, and practices. It’s also about understanding how compliance and governance issues must be addressed not by banning and rejection, but by promoting purpose and accountability. Once those basics are in place, it’s about how to ignite gains in productivity, innovation and employee engagement. Don Tapscott’s keynote showed how the digital natives coming into the workforce are not a threat or distraction, but rather a source of learning and new, more effective approaches to creating value from talent. Nokia’s session shared real-world examples of how that happens.
  • Business Thinking: This is knowing that while technology is a key component of solving business problems, and some technologies are more capable than others, it’s only if companies are ready and can commit to make the necessary substantive organizational changes and then actually do it, that they’ll reap the full return on their technology investment. The corollary is that technology itself does not cause the ill effects experienced by companies that don’t make the right changes, but it can certainly amplify those effects to the point of getting everyone’s attention. Great points were made by both Josh Bersin and Naomi Bloom in the industry analyst panel and by Naomi again in her closing keynote about how learning and applying key business skills and language like statistics and finance as well as really understanding how your particular business makes a profit and how that affects your workforce strategy are essential for HR if it really wants to play a strategic role.
  • Community Thinking: This is having unity of purpose in improving the effectiveness of human capital, even while participants still pursue their goals and contribute their particular strengths. This is not a re-hash of Social Thinking, but it’s a meta-level of thinking that leverages social thinking. Much of what stalls progress is about people and organizations getting overloaded, which not only “jams the gears” but can also trigger a fear and rejection reflex. Finding sources you can trust who can help process the flood of information and innovation goes a long way to help overcome that fear and rejection, which social networking tools can help address. This takes us back to the initial point about the major value that HR Tech provided us: a way in which folks with all their varied agendas and priorities can gather together and share their experiences, their products, their vision, and even their disagreements, to that major purpose that we all share.

If you haven’t seen them already, here are some excellent observations made by some really terrific folks:

If you want to learn more, have your voice heard by those who would listen, and contribute to this purpose, then join us in whatever way you can that suits you. Comment on our blogs or start your own, create a Twitter account if you haven’t already and follow us. Whatever way works for you. We look forward to getting to know you!

Photo by florriebassingbourn

Posted in community, hr, HR Technology | Tagged: | 19 Comments »