Tag Archives: HR Technology

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

HR Tech Implementations or Business Tech Implementations?

data point tuesday_500Last month I wrote about the inaugural report issued by the analysts at KeyInterval Research. (You know them as John Sumser and William Tincup.) They have an ambitious research publication agenda – one report a month. And here’s why I like what John and William are doing:

KeyInterval is an experiment. It is our goal to stay experimental for the life of the company. With each new report, we’re experimenting with survey methodology, data sourcing, data screening, the mix of qualitative and quantitative information, and the edges of HR Technology practice. It is a search for standard practices. We are more interested in what practitioners do than what some self-appointed guru thinks they should do. Our goal is to understand the actual experience of the people who use HR Technology.”

There is little independent information about what actually works in the HR tech space outside of vendor sponsored information, that I find their approach refreshing and really useful. Their second report has just been released and it’s another really interesting look, this time at how organizations successfully implement HR technology. The report, Successful Implementations, reveals exactly how successful HR technology implementations happen. If you’ve got an implementation in your future, these findings would be a wise investment.

As with their previous report, Successful Implementations is organized in a way that makes the findings practical and easy to consume. It defines what an implementation is, gives an overview of the important insights and major findings, analyzes qualitative conversations with HR leaders, picks the right data points to share, exposes commonly held myths, identifies notable vendors and shares the study’s methodology. The piece de resistance is the quick Pocket Guide: Successful Implementation Checklist.

Here’s a quick overview of one of the data sets that might be interesting to you:

KeyInterval May 12 2015

I’m interested in all these points, but the first really speaks volumes to me. HR leaders who have sponsored successful HR technology implementations prioritize the fundamental aspects of the projects as:

  1. Quality (user satisfaction)
  2. Cost
  3. Speed

I like the order of these priorities. Putting the user (employee) experience first is just where I’d want HR to be. Putting cost second, means that fiscal responsibility is critical. Ranking time to completion third shows an operational understanding that I like. Together these show enormous business acumen. Perhaps one of the reasons their HR tech implementations have been successful is that the HR leaders on point are really business leaders first and HR leaders second. Perhaps these were more Business Tech than HR Tech. I wonder if John and William could shed light on that hypothesis…

Again, Successful Implementations contains great data, analysis and insight that would be valuable to any organization contemplating an HR technology implementation. Here’s where you can buy a copy.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Technology, John Sumser, KeyInterval, Technology Implementation

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

HR & Video: A Match Made in Heaven?

Data Point Tuesday
A recent global survey “Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends,” conducted by Redshift Research on behalf of Polycom, Inc. dives into recent shifts in the way HR is communicating and shaping business culture. Data for the report was collected from 1,205 business decision makers in four regions and twelve countries. Major discoveries of the report included the ways Human Resource executives perceive and are using video and video conferencing technology. The data suggests that a move towards video provides advantages for talent management, staffing, training, productivity and flexible work enablement.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 2Data from the survey tells us video is widely used by HR departments across the world. Polycom’s study found that video conferencing ranked as a top-three tool for communications, with HR respondents ranking email as the number one preferred communications tool (88%), followed by voice-conference calls at 62% and video conferencing at 46%. Interestingly, HR executives who use video at work today said they would prefer video collaboration to email as their top method of business communication within three years. HR executives that participated in the study saw clear benefits of using video communication tools over other forms of communication – with 98% of the Human Resources executives surveyed reporting that video conferencing helps companies work through issues of distance and cultural barriers to ultimately improve productivity amongst their teams.

Aberdeen Group Research 2014Respondents from the survey who use video conferencing today stated that the top advantages of this method of communication are: better collaboration between globally dispersed colleagues (54%), greater clarity of topics being discussed (45%) and more efficient meetings (44%). 76% respondents report that they use video conferencing at work and 83% of respondents (nearly 90% of those in their 20’s and 30’s) use consumer video conference solutions at home today. Laptops and desktops were the most popular form of business video conferencing, followed by conference rooms, and then mobile devices.

Inside and outside of the workplace, we’re seeing a movement towards video as the newest trend in keeping us better connected. Whether this is the addition of video features to major social media platforms, or businesses using video conferencing more frequently, it’s clear that video is on the rise. When you add in the increased focus on workplace flexibility by many organizations and a workforce that places increasingly more importance on the ability to be mobile and highly connected, integrating video communication tools in the workplace makes a lot of sense.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR, HR Technology, Human Resources, Polycom

Streaming Live: 2014 Great Place to Work Conference®!

Data Point Tuesday

I’m going to deviate from my normal Data Point Tuesday this week to offer you an invitation to attend the streaming keynote sessions from our 2014 conference. The 2014 Great Place to Work® Annual Conference kicks off this Thursday in New Orleans, and we’re very excited to share some of the great learning opportunities of the conference virtually! This year’s conference has sold out with 1,150 registered attendees from more than 400 companies. 39 out of our 45 keynote speakers and concurrent session leaders are business leaders (20) and senior HR practitioners (19). This is the only national event that teaches, inspires and connects professionals across industries and functions to strengthen workplace culture through building trust.

We’re thrilled to bring a packed agenda with a wealth of engaging speakers to those attending in New Orleans this year. If you’re not attending however, don’t worry! We will have free live streaming of our conference keynote sessions here this Thursday and Friday (April 3rd and 4th). Our keynote speakers this year include Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, Terri Kelly, President and CEO at W.L. Gore & Associates, Victoria B. Mars, Member, Board of Directors at Mars, Inc., Blake Nordstrom, President at Nordstrom Inc., and Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. We’re very excited to allow all of you to join us virtually and we hope you’ll take advantage of a great opportunity to take away actionable ideas and learn about best practices from experts at companies recognized for building trust, pride and camaraderie in the workplace! See you there!

Watch the 2014 Great Place to Work® Conference Keynotes Live Here

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Filed under 100 Best Companies to Work For, China Gorman, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Hiring, HR, HR Conferences, Human Capital ROI, Leadership, Leadership Aspiration, Learning/Development

The B2T Revolution

data point tuesday_500

Employees (And Prospects) Are Consumers When it Comes to HR Technology

Mobile devices and apps are no longer the hot new craze. The B2C (Business-to-Consumer) sectors have taken care of that. Mobile devices have become an essential item for communication and internet access, and as Cisco reports, by the end of this year (in three weeks!) the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth. By 2017, it’s predicted there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. We’re now seeing companies like Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker, selling more mobile devices than PCs. And as you’re undoubtedly aware, smartphones are a huge part of this mobile device equation. The growth of smart phone usage in 2012 was 81% and has only increased since. We’re using our smartphones for MUCH more than phone-calls though. Downloading applications, checking email, accessing the internet, getting directions, making dinner reservations, paying for purchases and meeting Mr./Ms. Right are just a few examples of ways smart-phones and mobile devices are being used today by people all ages from all walks of life. The bottom line is people are living their lives on mobile. And as long as the product is intuitive, easy to use and fast, the potential for success on mobile devices is huge.

HR Technology applications are no exception. A 2013 Mobile Consumer Report from Nielsen found that 82% of U.S smartphone users browse the web on their smartphone, and 63% use smartphones for social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. According to Talent Management Headquarters, one billion (1,000,000,000) job searches are conducted on mobile devices each month! Mobile recruiting is well on its way to being the next big thing for talent acquisition. This makes sense when we consider that we can use mobile devices during short moments of down time, on a bus or during a lunch break.  As career sites and job postings become increasing mobile friendly, it’s likely that both passive and active job seekers will turn to their mobile devices before they turn to their desktop to hunt for jobs or job search related information.  And mobile recruiting offers organizations the benefit of exposure to job seekers who may not own or be frequent users of computers.

More importantly, with so many employees working from mobile devices, it has become increasingly critical for employers to provide HR information through vendors with easy to use, native mobile apps. Perhaps this is the new focus:  B2T – Business to Talent! Mobile HR applications offer employees (as well as HR managers) instantaneous interaction and engagement with HR Data like payroll and benefits information, recruiting/talent acquisition services, performance/goal management, and time and labor information – even more so than using a laptop or desktop. And in the day and age when all of us are used to instant access when we are living our non-work related lives, having these important processes and data easily accessible are becoming a must-have not a nice-to-have. In 2011, the ADP Research Institute looked at how mobile technology could make HR mobile solutions a game-changer. Respondents reported a significant benefit in using HR mobile solutions, citing improved workforce satisfaction, improved real time decision making, and improved workforce productivity. So the B2T revolution is here.

Mobile technology has revolutionized much in our lives and for HR leaders and employees there is more change to come. User friendly HR applications for mobile devices will prove an effective way to increase efficiency for managers and employees, just as the popularity of job searching on mobile devices will undoubtedly impact how we recruit. Communicating with talent – current and future – via mobile really could be a game changer for employers, employees, job seekers and HR technology providers.

The B2T bottom line:  employees are consumers. And they expect to have consumer-like experiences with the technology and software at work and about work. And if you aren’t providing it for them, they’ll likely use their smartphone to find another employer!

Mobile-Enabled Process Adoption

*This post is part of SilkRoad’s first annual #HRTechTrends Blog Carnival. A recap of all participants will be posted on SilkRoad Ink on December 20, 2013.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, ADP Research Institute, Business to Talent, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR, HR Technology, Mobile Devices, SilkRoad, Talent Management Headquarters