Tag Archives: HR Technology

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

6 Reasons To Attend HR Tech User-Conferences

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I am frequently invited to attend user conferences in the HR Tech space and I am becoming a huge fan of these events. There is something for everyone – from certification to skill building to inspiration to fun! The latest case in point was KronosWorks, the annual gathering of customers and prospects of Kronos, the heavyweight provider of tools and services to manage and engage an entire workforce with a focus on time/attendance management.

With over 2,500 attendees from all over the world, KronosWorks was organized like a well-oiled machine. Based on my experience there – and at a number of others, like those produced by Universum, Smashfly, and Globoforce, here are my top 6 reasons to attend an HR Tech User Conference.

  1. Improve the ROI of your HR Tech investment. All user conferences provide training on getting the most of the product or service. ATTEND THESE SESSIONS! I guarantee you that you aren’t getting all the possible value out of your investment. And think about bringing someone along with you next year. Having more than one person with technical skill in managing the product/service helps mitigate risk.
  2. Learn how it really works. Creating relationships with peers in other organizations can save you time and money. Whether these are organizations that deployed the full stack, deployed the solution before yours did, or those that were similar in purchase and deployment strategy, comparing notes and learning from others’ successes and mistakes will only improve your investment’s impact.
  3. A view of the future. Every user conference has a session that discusses the product/service roadmap. Want to know what’s coming? This is invaluable for planning the next year’s budget. Have suggestions for improvements? Trust me, the vendor will be all ears – and you’ll have access to the most senior leaders of the organization. Come prepared with your product wish list!
  4. Certification. Almost every user conference offers technical certifications as well as the usual HR-related certifications. Why not make this part of your personal professional development plan as well as an organizational effectiveness plan? If PD dollars are tight in your organization, these conferences are solid two-fers.
  5. Inspiration. Most user conferences these days have dynamite keynote sessions – whether, like at KronosWorks, where the topic was generational dynamics, or like others where futurists and other top selling academics and authors speak – there’s always a thought provoking topic that provides complementary current thinking.
  6. Social Activities. All the user conferences I attend have wonderful opening receptions with great food and music, and the opportunity to meet other attendees. Additionally, some provide pretty amazing “outings.” This year KronosWorks was held in Orlando and everyone was bussed over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for an evening of relaxed fun. I know there were lots of implementation discussions taking place over magic wands that night!

These conferences are valuable for anyone who touches the implementation or administration of an HR Tech product/service. And especially for those in the first year or two of a user relationship. You can’t have too many relationships at the top of the vendor’s organization and you can’t know enough about how the technology can work for your organization. And if you’re a long-time or power user, your user experience will be hugely impactful in the continued tweaking of the product and the product roadmap.

The bottom line for attending an HR Tech user conference is that both sides of the relationship get smarter – the product/service gets better, your relationship with the vendor gets stronger, and you get smarter. Not a bad ROI.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Technology, HRM Technology, Kronos, KronosWorks

Talent Acquisition Systems

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Aptitude Research Partners recently published a thorough analysis of the Talent Acquisition landscape. It is a thing of beauty. If you’re looking for an ATS, if you’re thinking about your talent acquisition processes, if you’re wondering who does what to whom in the talent acquisition space, this report is a must-read. It’s meaty, it’s thorough, it’s a complete overview of the providers in the space.

It identifies 10 trends that you must know if you’re tinkering with your processes and systems:

  1. The need for simplicity
  2. Interview scheduling is a “must have”
  3. Do not leave the platform
  4. Recruitment marketing is a critical investment
  5. Not enough candidate feedback
  6. Reporting must be simple
  7. Services integrated into the technology deal
  8. More collaboration between recruiters and managers
  9. High volume is still a differentiator
  10. The marketplace is confusing

While some of those topics are a little opaque, you’ll be glad you investigated them.

But my favorite part of the report was the graphic showing the full HR technology landscape. Take a look:

Aptitude Research 1

This is one of the best one picture overviews of the HCM landscape. While you’re working on the talent acquisition sliver. Don’t lose sight of the rest of the pie!

Madeline Laurano and her analysts have outdone themselves. And they’ve done you a big solid. Take a look at the full report. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Filed under Aptitude Research Partners, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Technology, HRM Technology, Madeline Laurano, Mollie Lombardi, Recruiting Technology, Talent Acquisition

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

Annual HR Systems Survey Analysis Is Here!

data point tuesday_500One of the highlights of the HR Technology Conference each fall is the publication of the annual HR Systems Survey White Paper by Sierra-Cedar. With the retirement of long-time analyst Lexy Martin, Stacey Harris has stepped up magnificently and published a whopper of an analysis of all things HR tech, the 18th since 1997.

Sierra-Cedar encourages the dissemination of this white paper and I encourage you to download it here because it’s full of interesting survey data analysis. Here are a few high level nuggets from the executive summary:

  • This is the year of the Enterprise HR Systems Strategy: 43% of organizations are undertaking a major HR systems strategy initiative

  • HR organizations achieve higher levels of HR, Talent and Business outcomes by embracing their organization’s culture.

  • We’ve hit the tipping point: over 50% of purchased core HRMSs are SaaS solutions.

  • More than 50% of organizations are using new Talent Acquisition tools outside of their applicant tracking systems.

As organizations invest more time, attention and financial resources in HR management solutions, Sierra-Cedar sees three primary outcome models for these investments: Talent-Driven, Data-Driven and Top Performing. It’s good to see organization principles for how business spend their money and time. And these three buckets make good sense. We could probably all tick off well-known brands in each of those buckets. As a business leader, I find it interesting to see the comparison between talent-driven outcomes vs. data-driven outcomes.

Here’s one of many charts in the report that I found interesting:

Sierra Cedar 2015 2It is interesting to note here that the business outcome measures – especially market share and profitability – trend higher across the board. A great reminder that using data and business intelligence to be smart about talent makes the business more successful.

I love reading this report each year. It provides a frame of reference for what’s new, what’s old and what’s coming. If your organization is currently thinking through the effectiveness of any of your suite of HRMS solutions, this is a must read. If your organization is not currently thinking about the availability of HR related business intelligence, this is a must read. If your current HRMS solutions all live on premise, this is a must read. Come to think of it, if you’re in HR, this is a must read.

You can download it here. And then read it. Really. And then send Stacey Harris a thank you note.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, HR Technology, Sierra-Cedar

Conference Attendance 101

data point tuesday_500This was originally published on August 31, 2010 — it’s still valid today. Especially if you’re joining me at the HRTech Conference next week. Especially the part about smiling…

So.  You took advice from my last blog post and decided which conference to attend.  Congratulations.  But now you want to be sure that you leverage your investment by making the most of your attendance.  Here are three proven strategies for making sure you get your money’s worth.

Sessions

Conferences generally have 3 types of content sessions:

  1. General Sessions:  these are sessions that are intended for the full complement of attendees.  The speakers are typically big names in the industry who speak on universal topics relevant to the conference theme or they are big celebrity names meant to draw your attendance to the conference.  Here in Orlando where I’m attending the SHRM affiliated HR Florida conference, the opening general session featured Henry Winkler.  (He was terrific, by the way.)
  2. Concurrent Sessions:  these are the main content tracks that are scheduled throughout the conference.  Each time slot will hold multiple options for your consideration.  Designed for smaller subsets of the conference attendees, these tend to be led by practitioners, consultants or academics and are focused content of a practical nature.
  3. Sponsor Highlights:  these are sessions that feature a sponsor or exhibitor’s product or service, are marketing-focused in nature, and come as part of their sponsorship/exhibitor fee.

In a typical two and a half day conference, it’s important to select the sessions you want to attend wisely – and in advance.  But it’s also important not to over-schedule yourself (more on that later). I recommend attending all the General Sessions.  The big names generally have value and the celebrity speakers are generally engaging, entertaining and motivating.  Then attend concurrent sessions in about 75% of the time slots.

Save time for Networking

One of the particular values of attending a conference in person (as opposed to an online conference or a series of webinars) is the opportunity to meet other like minded people.  Look at the list of presenters.  Look at the list of sponsors/exhibitors.  Find out who else will be attending.  Then target 4-8 people that you’d really like to meet and talk with – and find them at the conference.  Leaving time in your session schedule to set short appointments when you find people on your target list will allow you to be thoughtful in creating new relationships.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from industry pros – who, by the way, also want to network and meet people just like you!

You know how to network, right?  You prepare for these opportunities in advance by identifying what you’d like to talk about with each target and prepare 2 or 3 questions to get the conversation rolling.  You can ask everyone the same questions, or you can customize your approach to each person.  Your confidence will be strong as you introduce yourself to these folks and you’ll be surprised how amenable perfect strangers are to meet and talk with you.

Nothing is more attractive than a smile

As you walk the conference halls and expo aisles, make sure your demeanor and body language is open.  And smile.  Intentionally.  You’ll appear open, friendly, not intimidating or intimidated.  Really, there’s nothing more attractive than a smiling face.  And there’s nothing that builds your confidence to approach strangers than acting open and welcoming.

Attending a conference and getting your money’s worth isn’t hard.  But it takes some forethought and planning.  Both you and your organization want to realize the investment it took to get there.  Make sure you get the full value of the experience.

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Filed under Bill Kutik, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Globoforce, HR Technology, HR Technology Conference, LRP Publications, Steve Boese

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