Category Archives: #HRTechTrends

Artificial Intelligence and Talent

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I’ve just come across Talent Tech Labs’ Trends Report on Artificial Intelligence, Real AI – Sourcing, Engagement, & Selection. You need to read this. Full stop.

With a chapter each focused on sourcing, engagement, and selection, and a closing interview with the head of talent acquisition of Intuit, this 23 page report will school you on AI and talent.

The most helpful part of the report is the opening section on misconceptions about AI by Brian Delle Donne, the President of Talent Tech Labs. It’s a powerful, demystifying few pages that explains in easily consumable language the impact of AI in the talent acquisition technology space. As a non-scientist, I found the following chart to be the most valuable piece of information I’ve come across in a very long time. It helps me truly understand what we’re talking about when we discuss AI’s impact on people processes within organizations. Take a look for yourself:

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Understanding the levels of sophistication with examples, categories, outcomes and technology descriptions is so helpful. If you read no further – and you should read the entire report – you’ll have become smarter about natural language processing, machine learning, neural networks, and more.

Keep an eye on the reports coming out of Talent Tech Labs if you’re interested in learning about how AI will continue to impact our relationships with our people.

 

 

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, AI, Artficial Intelligence, Brian Delle Donne, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Engagement, HR Tech, Selection, Sourcing

Whatever Happened to Succession Planning?

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Here’s an interesting and quick read by Ben Eubanks and Trish McFarlane for Ultimate SoftwareThe New Realities of Work. Ben and Trish are seasoned HR leaders turned analysts within the HR technology space and this quick read reflects the depth of their in-the-trenches HR experience as well as their knowledge of the HR tech space.

This quick hit has 5 topics:ultimate-1

  1. Strengths-based Talent Practices
  2. Social Influence
  3. Collaborative Innovation
  4. Tools Promoting Partnership
  5. Blending Approaches for Better Outcomes

The first category, Strengths-based Talent Practices has a configuration I hadn’t seen before:

  • Talent acquisition
  • Learning
  • Performance
  • Succession

Talent acquisition, learning and performance management are the usual suspects in these conversations; but I don’t see succession included in these broader discussions any more and I appreciated seeing it here. The concepts of succession and succession planning have given way to the almost singular focus on talent retention and the necessity of doing a better job at managing the various generations in our workforces. Giving succession planning short shrift through the organization has given rise to higher turnover and inadequate preparation of talent to assume higher levels of responsibility. In short, a major part of retaining talent is preparing it for ever greater roles and responsibilities. I may be totally out to lunch here, but I think our focus on retaining talent has made us laggards in educating and preparing our talent for greater responsibilities. We’re taking a very short term view, which, in my opinion, exacerbates the talent retention challenge.

This quick treatment doesn’t shed a ton of light on this issue, but rather includes it in the a broad (and quick) discussion of the new realities of work and calls it out as an area of best practice. Check it out. Trish and Ben have done a nice job.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR, HR Technology, HR Trends

Are You Putting All Your Eggs Into The Engagement Basket?

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George LaRocque, Founder and Principal Analyst at #HRWINS, has published a new report that caught my eye. Where Purpose Meets Performance:  Can HR Tech Solve Culture, is an interesting look at the culture challenges of the U.S. middle market (5,000 and fewer employees) which employs roughly 90% of the U.S. workforce.

Here’s where he grabbed me:

“Studies show that companies with performance enhancing cultures far out-perform those without it in terms of revenue growth, stock price growth, and net income growth. Yet, it remains nearly impossible to tie HR and people programs to business results. Business leaders and HR practitioners have looked to employee engagement as a measure of successful corporate culture but first even defining employee engagement presents a challenge. There have long been efforts to standardize its definition and measurement, and the result has been just the opposite. We’ve seen a proliferation of science and methods narrowly looking at everything from happiness to community embeddedness, social network analysis, motivation and incentives, collaboration, personality and culture assessments, and more.”

What follows is an interesting discussion, with 3 strong case studies, that shows how the acquisition and deployment of core HR technology is supporting the increase in HR credibility and impact on corporate performance, as well as greater employee satisfaction. It’s interesting stuff and incudes results from several surveys that George put out in the field.

At 20 pages, it isn’t a long read and is well organized. The main points cover the following:

  • What employees rate as the leading drivers of their feeling of engagement.
  • What employers feel are the HR and people programs delivering the best ROI.
  • How employee engagement fits in the new world of work.
  • What role core HR technology plays in building culture and aligning with business performance.

The survey work underpinning this analysis lead George to believe as I do:

“…perhaps the strongest component of culture that resonates with employees, of ALL generations, is having purpose and meaning in their work.”

The survey results, as shown below, show that, at least in the vast middle market, Baby Boomers and GenX are the most interested demographic as it relates to meaning and purpose. That’s not what you expected, is it? But it tracks with my research and observations.

#HRWINS 1

This report includes several such graphs and data points that provide solid context for whatever thinking and planning you’re doing regarding culture, engagement and your employee experience. Putting all your eggs in the “engagement” basket will most likely not produce the returns you expect. There are stronger fundamentals that may well have a stronger positive impact on your employees’ experience. Especially if you’re in the middle market.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, #HRWINS, Baby Boomers, China Gorman, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, GenX, George LaRocque, HR Technology, Millennials

The Optimal Technical HR Stack

data point tuesday_500I’ve written previously about the new research coming out of KeyInterval Research here and here. The third report from the dynamic duo that is Tincup and Sumser is out now and it’s a blockbuster! Determining the optimal technical HR stack is big. It’s big and expensive. It’s big and expensive and can make or break an HR leader’s career.

But first, you have to know what a technical stack is. I don’t assume that the majority of HR professionals know what this is, so here’s what Wikipedia says:

“A technology stack comprises the layers of components or services that are used to provide a software solution or application. Traditional examples include the OSI seven-layer model, the TCP/IP model, and the W3C technology stack. Technology stacks are often articulated as a list lof technologies, such as “J2EE with Java Server Faces running against a SQL Server database” or as a diagram.”

So a Technical HR Stack would be the collection of technologies/solutions that HR uses to manage all the people processes across an organization. It’s the payroll, recruiting, performance management, total rewards/recognition, learning management systems – all of these and more. And an Optimal Technical HR Stack would be the best collection of technologies/solutions that HR would use to manage the people processes across an organization.

I read some research 3 or 4 years ago that reported that organizations deploy, on average, 18 separate HR technology solutions – many of which are unable to connect with each other. These days the average may well be higher as HR professionals (and their IT partners) turn to technology to provide more efficient outcomes and the HR vendor community continues to innovate the use of SaaS, analytics, mobile and video.

So how can an HR leader or department make sense of the opportunities to apply technology, much less identify the “optimal” vendors and solutions? Well, the first step would be to buy this report. The analyses are practical. The insights are remarkable. This is a sea change in showing how HR technology is working – or not working – and what is actually happening in terms of finding solutions in an existing suite, looking for new providers or developing home grown solutions. The realities will surprise you.

The report delves into thirteen major areas of HR Technology and reveals 8 separate metrics in each area. The metrics include some of these:

  • Market Penetration
  • Net Promoter Score®
  • How long companies keep their software
  • Whether companies outsource, develop internally or use a tool that is part of an existing suite

The areas covered are:

KIR Optimal HR Stack July 14 2015It’s interesting to note that as a result of their research, nine other areas of adoption will be added to their research agenda for 2016. Some of those are Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Video Interviewing, and Assessment.

Without giving away the groceries here, some of the interesting findings include the following;

  • The components (see above) with the highest and lowest NPS® scores are not what you think
  • The replacement cycle (the amount of time between purchases) might be exactly what you would predict
  • The frequency of developing homegrown solutions is pretty low
  • The market penetration of the components is less than you would have predicted
  • The likelihood that a component is outsourced is surprising
  • Vendor brand recall is pretty high

Let’s look at just one of the thirteen solution components:  Recruiting Systems. The analysts at KeyInterval believe that “Recruiting is where innovation happens most frequently in HR.”

“With between 12 and 20 sub-processes, recruiting operations rarely use all of the same tools in the same sequence. Unlike other HR functions recruiting techniques vary by job, industry, region, corporate culture and, business model.” Because of this, the analysis shows that practitioners don’t much like their recruiting systems. The conflict between the required fast action of identifying, recruiting and hiring the right kind of talent, and the legal requirements to collect and retain hiring data often collide. Indeed, the KeyInterval research shows that no other tool in the HR Tech Stack is so conflicted. HR professionals “routinely expect innovative results and performance from a system that is designed to mitigate legal risk.”

If you’re thinking about going to the market for a new HR technology solution, or you’ve finally decided to replace an existing solution, this report should be your first stop. It will help you see what other organizations your size are doing – buying, building or outsourcing. It will provide a road map for how to begin.

Here’s the thing:  it will make you smarter than you already are. You can order it here.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, HR Technology, KeyInterval Research, Recruiting

Required Reading for HR: Internet Trends 2015

data point tuesday_500Really. I’m not kidding. You may think from the title that Internet Trends 2015 is a report that has nothing to do with Human Resources. You couldn’t be more wrong. It’s ALL about HR. And how nearly everything about business, work and the employer/employee relationship is changing because of what the internet enables.

The report, prepared by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Mary Meeker for this year’s Code Conference, presents the 2015 Internet Trends report, 20 years after the first The Internet Report was published in 1995. You’ve probably heard about this year’s report because every journalist in the world was agog at one piece of data: how Millennials relate to their smartphones. Everyone now knows that 87% of Millennials in the U.S. report that “my smartphone never leaves my side, night or day.” That’s one of several data points on one page of a 196 page report. And while interesting, it is among the least interesting data points in the report. I promise.

But first. You need to know some definitions to get the full value of the report. Here are a few terms and acronyms you should – and probably already – know:

  • MAU = Monthly Active Users (how many users are on an application at least once a month)
  • DAU = Daily Active Users (how many users are on an application at least once a day)
  • Y/Y = Year over Year (compares results from two consecutive years)
  • API = Application Programming Interface (how programs/apps connect to each other)
  • GDP = Gross Domestic Product (total value of goods and services produced by a nation)
  • GMV = Gross Merchandise Value (total sales value of merchandise sold through an internet channel)
  • VoIP = Voice over Internet Protocol (Skype would be a good example)

This report hits on all of HR’s buttons with high impact data: the nature of work, the job market, benefits, age demographics in the workplace, freelancers, government benefits, union participation, employer retirement plans, healthcare, the impact of drones on work, what’s happening in China and India and more. All in a report about internet trends. And almost every page is a data-rich picture of how things are changing. This might be my favorite page because it is the continuous thread of everything else discussed in the report:

KPCB 2015 Trends 2

And this might be my favorite chart because the impact of the data here fuels most everything else mentioned in the report. The connections between economic growth/decline, demographic changes, the internet and business impact every HR person everywhere, every day. Everywhere. Every day. This report shows these connections clearly.

KPCB 2015 Trends 1I’d like to make this report mandatory reading for all HR professionals. If you’re having a hard time grasping what the opportunity really is for HR to keep ahead of the profound changes happening all around us, this report will help you understand. Read it. Discuss some of the findings (pay particular attention to the section at the end, Ran Outta Time Thoughts) in staff meetings and with other leaders in your organization. Develop a point of view about how internet trends are impacting your organization and your people, and begin to strategize responses that will work for your business and your people. You must.

And oh yes, read this report.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Demographics, GDP, Human Resources, Internet Trends, KPCB, Mary Meeker

Moving the HR Industry Forward

data point tuesday_500I love finding new sources of information that shine a light on how organizations can achieve better business results through Key Interval Analysts 2better people practices. This month I found a new source – although the principals are old friends – that is going to make important contributions in the use of HR technology in the improvement of business outcomes. If you haven’t heard of Key Interval Research, you most certainly have heard of John Sumser and William Tincup, the founders and principal analysts. And if you haven’t seen the first of their monthly research reports, let me introduce you to “The Ideal Vendor Relationship.”

The report is based on a survey of 1106 HR and Recruiting professionals conducted in December 2014 and January 2015. The survey respondents were from a broad cross section of titles in HR functions from organizations of all sizes. The survey itself had 85 subject matter questions and 35 demographic questions and the answers were collected online through several methods.

The incidence of “ah ha!” moments are so numerous in this report that sets out to explore, understand and illuminate how HR practitioners and their administrative players work successfully together with HR technology vendors and their administrative players to achieve organizational goals. These are crucial insights because, as William and John believe, “today’s work world requires that HR Departments accomplish their work through outside people and tools.” As we all know, more and more of those people are vendors and those tools are software.

The report is full of surprising findings:

  • The software lifecycle drives relationships
  • Only a small fraction of HR practitioners are dissatisfied with their HRTech tools
  • A majority of respondent companies have terminated an HRTech vendor for cause, but
  • Nearly 80% of respondents like their HR Software
  • The HRTech vendor-practitioner relationships are surprisingly healthy
  • The most important factor in the long term relationship with a vendor is the time required to get an answer

And there are more. Many more surprising findings. I won’t give away most of the good stuff, these guys are in business and want you to buy this report, but the myth busting section was particularly interesting. One of the myths they bust is that what matters most to the customer is schedule and budget. That’s right. A myth. User Satisfaction is significantly more important. This would be important for every vendor to understand and for every customer to own. Here’s the graph explaining…

April 7 2015 Customer MythThe report covers the software lifecycle, discoveries – including the busting of long held beliefs, easily digested findings, notable vendors and a pocket guide. Also included in the report are 4 cases from HR practitioners managing HR software vendor relationships and working on important business issues. The takeaways are critical. (Note: not all of the outcomes are positive.)

These are smart guys asking smart questions that maybe no one else is asking. And the answers aren’t what I expected. They aren’t even the answers they expected. And that’s what makes this report so refreshing and so useful: answers to questions that aren’t being asked and insightful analysis into the surprising answers. Worth the price of admission. Check it out here.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, China Gorman, John Sumser, Key Interval Research, William tincup

Automated Workforce Planning: Tactical or Strategic?

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An organization’s most critical assets are its employees. No one bothers to argue against that point any more. An organization’s workforce is also, however, its most expensive asset, and workforce management (the development of employees, retention of skilled talent, etc.) is consistently cited as one of the top issues facing organizations today. In a recent Aberdeen report, 60% of all organizations reported a need to improve workforce planning capabilities as a driver of their total workforce management efforts.

Pressures Driving TWM

Improving workforce planning capabilities took the top spot for pressures driving workforce management efforts, but better access to workforce data (in order to improve decision-making) was close behind, 60% vs. 52%. In our current “golden age of technology” there are ample workforce management technology solutions that can help organizations with workforce management, from timekeeping and leave of absence management to labor forecasting and analytics. The adoption of automated workforce management solutions though (as with other tech solutions) has been slow among organizations. Aside from the fact that the global workforce is rapidly driving towards a place where technology and automated workforce solutions will be a necessity for companies to remain innovative and successful, we have data that show – on a much simpler level – that workforce management technology is a good investment because it offers organizations multiple financial benefits.

Research shows that the use of automated time, attendance, and scheduling solutions results in 8% to 20% lower replacement costs (as a percentage of annual pay) for hourly workers, which can be attributed to the reduced cost of administration needed to manually manage such functions. Aberdeen’s research also found that average revenue per full time employee increased four times in organizations with automated absence/leave management technology and two times for organizations with automated scheduling, time, and attendance technology.

Automation Impact GraphOrganizations that automate scheduling, time/attendance and leave/absence management also saw increases in customer satisfaction levels ranging from 9.2% to 10.4% (compared to a 2.9% to 6.2% range of improvements for organizations that did not have automated solutions).

Automated workforce management solutions can also help to reduce unplanned overtime. While it’s expected of organizations to experience some overtime, having an inaccurate idea of what employees schedules will look like can quickly increase an organization’s spending. Best in class organizations experience less than 4% of unplanned overtime costs in comparison with 27% for laggard organizations. Automated solutions can help managers with critical scheduling accuracy, freeing them to give more time and attention to core business needs.

Unplanned-Overtime-Costs

Another benefit for organizations that use automated time and attendance software is greater workforce capacity utilization. These companies have employees who, on average, work at 12% more their capacity than those who rely on manual processes or spreadsheets (83% vs. 74%). Automated leave and absence management additionally helps to lower costs by accurately tracking employees’ time off, making sure PTO is recorded as it is taken (ensuring for example, that employees are not owed leave at the end of the year they’ve earned but not taken) and by providing organizations with software to properly submit and track leave and absence requests (mitigating the impact of planned/unplanned losses).

A May 2014 report by Aberdeen found that optimizing scheduling is a key attribute of leading firms. These firms experienced consecutive years of improvement in customer satisfaction by 17.8% compared to firms who did not have a focus on optimizing scheduling and actually lowered their customer satisfaction rates by an average of -3.9%. This should be the key take-away for organizations when it comes to automated workforce management solutions – we know that automated workforce management software can drastically help organizations to improve and optimize scheduling, and this is a key attribute of successful companies. And if the slow adoption of automated solutions comes from a concern that instituting such software could turn into a micro-managing nightmare, organizations should note that, as with all tools, its about how you introduce them and support their adoption. The potential benefits of automated solutions far out-way any cons, so dipping a foot in the automated solutions pool seems well worth the risk, even if it may require an investment in training and change management. We’re already witnessing the expansion of HR and administrative roles within organizations; these functions are providing organizations with instrumentally more strategic value than they have in the past. Free up these departments time and energy from consuming workforce management tasks like monitoring attendance/leave and scheduling, and see what happens when tactical, manual roles become automated and enable more strategic data analysis and insight to enter the mix!

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, Aberdeen Group, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Workforce Management, Workforce Planning, Workplace Studies