Category Archives: Business

What’s Killing Creativity in our Students?

HRevolution Official Logo blackIt’s been a week since #HRevolution 2014 wrapped and I’m just now coming down from the high of being around such brilliant people.  It is always the one event that I can’t write about immediately because there is so much information to process.  While there is great value in each session, one that touched me personally was “Sally Can’t Doodle and it’s Your Fault” led by Lois Melbourne.

Lois, Chief Story Officer at My Future Story and thought leader in the industry, has embarked on a career path where she helps students learn about various industries and careers.  This is something Lois has been passionate about for many years and she’s now putting that passion and her knowledge to use by writing books targeted at students.  These books will help them as they determine which career their studies will support.

In this session at HRevolution, several discussion topics emerged:

  • Do schools kill creativity in our students?  Lois encouraged all attendees to watch the TedX talk by Sir Ken Robinson on the topic as a way to get them thinking.  Discussion centered around the current state of the public school system in the US and whether it needs to change.  There was mention that US businesses need to partner with the school system in order to ensure that students are prepared to enter the workforce.  Another discussion was around the fact that we do not have a “business system” in the US so it is hard to partner with the school system.  Since each organization has to decide whether to reach out to schools, then come up with it’s own approach on how to partner, there is a lack of consistency.
  • Do jobs currently posted as “degree required” really need to have applicants with a degree?  Several in the group mentioned that it’s a way for recruiters to single people out of the hiring process.  Others started naming jobs that are traditionally degree-required that would not have to be.
  • What are Maker Faires and what is their impact?  When Lois mentioned Maker Faires, most attendees were not familiar with them so this was a definite learning point.  According to their website, Maker Faires are, “Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.”  I’d encourage you to check them out.
  • What does it means to have tenacity?  She then talked about tenacious inventors and how without them, we would not have many of the innovative, creative solutions and products we have today.  This made me wonder how people become tenacious.  Is it a characteristic you’re born with or can we learn tenacity?

All in all, the session was nothing short of amazing.  It’s not often that I walk out of a conference with more questions spinning in my head then I walked in with.  It’s an energizing feeling.  I’ve spent the last several days using my free time to listen to the TedX talk and to research more about our education system and what we can do to find a new way to prepare students for the future work world.

I don’t have many answers yet, but I know that these themes will emerge in my writing as I think through them.  What do you think?

Is our current education system adequate for preparing our students?  If changes are needed, what needs to change?

Do our children even know how to be creative anymore?

How can we send our children through the same system we went through, yet expect different results?

Share your thoughts in the comments.  I’d love to keep this conversation going.  

*Special thanks to our sponsors: Mercer, Symbolist and Small Improvements for making HRevolution possible and for all your personal and professional support.

 

HCMx Radio- My New Podcast Brings Research to HR Pros

BHG-HCMx-Radio-Logo-1400Today is an exciting day at Brandon Hall Group; it’s launch day for our radio podcast, HCMx Radio. It’s the only podcast in the HCM arena that weaves current market research, HR technology, and industry leaders into each episode.

As the show’s host, my goal is to bring something unique to the HR industry. When I was an HR leader and practitioner, one of the things I always needed was data and understanding how to use it. Now, with this show, that is what we’ll be giving to our listeners.

HCM practitioners such as CHROs, CLOs, CTOs, VPs, directors, and managers will find value in the show’s ability to provide current research data laced with rich perspective that they can use in discussions with their internal organizational leaders. They will also benefit from hearing solution providers describe their product roadmaps and how their solutions can benefit organizations.

Solution providers will gain value by being able to interact with analysts as well as by showcasing solutions that are advancing the HCM market.  Finally, industry influencers will find value in being able to get information quickly that they can turn into compelling content.

New episodes will be shared at least twice a month and will be available on Blogtalkradio as well as www.brandonhall.com and iTunes. In the first episodeStop the Insanity: How to Get Different Results with Your Employee Engagement,

I welcome my colleague, Madeline Laurano, VP and Principal Analyst of Talent Acquisition for Brandon Hall Group, who will discuss her recently completed research on employee engagement and how organizations can leverage the power of their relationships to drive business results.

Other topics in the coming weeks include Recruitment Marketing, Performance Management, and Planning for HR Technology in 2015. I hope you’ll join us and I welcome feedback on each episode as well as what you’d like to hear about in future episodes.

 

Becoming a HR Influencer- 4 Skills to Help You Do It

puppet_masterI’ve been called a HR Influencer.  I’ve been called a lot of things.  In fact, there always seems to be confusion in the HR industry about what we call people: influencer, blogger, expert, guru, advisor, analyst, leader.  The list goes on.  In reality, you can (and will) wear multiple hats and titles in your industry as you interact with different groups of people.

I thought I’d share my thoughts on what it really means to be an influencer in the HR space, or in any space really.  First, you need a common definition of what being able to influence really means.  Being an influencer definitely does NOT mean being the puppet-master.

I  like the definition that Dorien Morin (@MoreInMedia) gave in her recent article on Social Media Today.  In her article How to Increase Your Influence on Twitter, Dorien said, “An influencer affects someone. As in- the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.  So without telling people what to do exactly, or without specific instructions, the actions of the influencer affects the actions of the person being influenced.”

I see many people trying to influence other people to buy things, to start or stop doing something or to be part of something specific.  I’m guilty of all those things.  It’s not bad to do that, but that doesn’t mean you are influential.  I think the fine line you walk in becoming influential involves several less-tangible skills:

  • Sincerity- Being able to tell people what you like and really meaning it.  Not promoting things, products, vendors or people that you don’t believe in.
  • Sharing- In order to be considered an influencer, you must share content.  This means that you not only have to share links to content, but you also need to share your analysis on what the stories mean for your industry.  Whether you read an article then incorporate that into your own blog or whether you just add comments to the article and via sites like Twitter or LinkedIn, you must be sharing your opinion.  Another point that helped me gain status as an influencer is that you have to share (give) more than you receive.  You do this for free, any chance you get.
  • Constant curiosity- You need to ensure that you read a TON on other industries.  When people ask me how I do it, I recommend reading science sites, psychology and/or sociology journals, design books, magazines on specific cities or other areas of interest you’d never naturally connect directly to HR.  You need to start thinking about how your curiosity about other topics impacts your approach to HR.
  • Consistency- This is the most important skill in my opinion.  You MUST be visible consistently.  You must share your knowledge and opinions consistently.  You must give back to your larger community and be helpful consistently.  If you do any of those things on an inconsistent basis, you will either never gain influencer status or if you have it, you will lose it.

If you approach connecting with other professionals in your industry in a manner that is helpful, sincere and consistent, you will gain friends and followers organically.  These relationships will lead to business opportunities as well as true friendships that you would have never made otherwise.

I encourage you to read all of Dorien’s tips in her article because they can be applied to building your influence skills on Twitter as well as other sites.  Good luck and let me know if I can be helpful as you create your own influence in our market.

Big Trends in HR Technology 2014 and Beyond

Today I’m sharing the presentation slides from a Human Resource Executive Magazine webinar that I co-presented yesterday along with Steve Boese.

The title of the presentation is Big Trends in HR Technology 2014 and Beyond.  While these kinds of ‘trends’ talks tend to focus on ‘trends’ that are really just far-future kinds of speculation or are simply repeats of ideas that have been talked about for some time, Steve and I tried to keep the talk grounded in research and the actual experiences of many of the leading organizations that will be part of the upcoming HR Technology Conference in October.

You can check out the slides below or this direct link.

Top 5 Points from the Webinar

1. There are 3 dimensions for potential impact of HR tech – organizational, managerial, and individual – and the most successful HR tech projects resonate and add value at all 3 levels

2. The key organizational decision drivers for the replacement of HR technology vary depending on the type of HR tech. For Core HR systems, better integration is the primary driver. For talent management however, User Experience tops the list.

3. Selecting the ‘right’ HR technology solution involves an analysis and balance of 5 factors: Cost/ROI, Technological fit, Cultural fit, system capability/roadmap, and complexity/UX.

4. For both Core HR and for Talent Management tech, an increased demand for better integration across the HR systems footprint, as well as with other corporate systems is driving investment and the attention of corporate leaders.

5. We are not really talking as much about ‘mobile’ or ‘social’ as discrete concepts, but rather a more comprehensive idea of ‘User Experience’, at its many levels, will increasingly influence systems development, purchase decisions, and user adoption rates, (and therefore, ROI).

Thanks to Human Resource Executive, webinar sponsor Castlight Health and Brandon Hall Group.

Signs and Forks: Behaving Boldly at Any Age

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself.  Be bold.  When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore.  Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.” ~ Alan Alda

fork-in-the-road-2-pathsThat quote really speaks to me.  Maybe it’s the idea that I should not take myself so seriously.  Maybe it’s the encouragement to take risks.  Mostly, I like the part about being bold.

What does that mean?  To me, it means going beyond what others will do or expect.  It means being willing to face my fears and go forward anyway.  Being bold means being decisive and not hesitating.

I have surrounded myself with mentors of all ages, races and genders and have taken their advice throughout my career.  For years, I have attempted to fill my skill gaps, to be a tough (but fair) leader,  and to help teach and promote others along the way.  All this time, I had a vision of what my life would be, but not a crystal clear picture.  Until now.  Now is my time to be bold.

2013 has been a year of great self-reflection.  I have been a HR practitioner and leader all my life.  I love this industry and the people who, like me, operate on the island of HR.  Sure, the pundits talk about how we need a seat at the table and how silly that is.  They criticize the HR practitioners for not understanding things like business nor technology.  But what they don’t realize is they have no idea what it is like to wear these shoes or how challenging it really is.

  • Have they ever had to sit across from someone as they are terminated as part of a “reduction in force”?  Have they heard the stories and wiped the tears?  Have they had to provide the workforce planning advice to the leaders that made the decisions for the RIFs?
  • Have they comforted an employee who just found out that a loved one died or that they have a deadly disease?  Have they had to wade through insurance Summary Plan Descriptions to determine if that illness is covered and what the employee needs to do?
  • Have they fought to ensure that companies comply with legal standards to protect the employees?
  • Have they had to work with outdated technology, or even no technology, and still be able to give leaders enough information to make business decisions?
  • Have they had to convince someone to fund their big ideas or their ability to grow their teams?

No, most have not.

All these questions lead me to where I stand today.  At a fork in the road.

There is the path to continue as a HR practitioner and leader and there is the other path which leads to helping many companies, many leaders, and many employees.

My signs were everywhere.  It was time to move boldly.

I’m thrilled to share that I have decided to leave the practitioner ranks and join one of the top research and consulting firms.  Brandon Hall Group.  Led by Mike Cooke and a brilliant team of leaders, analysts and researchers, BHG has been able to provide unparalleled research, recommendations and solutions to their clients. They have done amazing work in Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Human Resources.  As their new VP of HR Practice, I hope to bring my experience as a HR leader to guide CHROs and other executives they advise.   When you combine quality research with actual experience, the results are spectacular.

So what now?  For me, it’s all about not leaving any of myself safely on shore.  I will dive in.  I will explore.  I will bring my very best forward to you, to Brandon Hall Group, to clients they serve, to HR vendors and to the HR community at large.

If you’re a leader who wants to join me in working together in 2014, please let me know.  I’d love to help start your new year off with quality information and guidance as you plan your 2014 strategy.

2014 is shaping up to be the best year yet.  Now, go out there and be bold!

 

 

 

HR Happy Hour: Using Big Data for Recruiting Success

hr happy hourThis week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve Boese and I sat down with Eric OwskiVP of Product Strategy for Bright.comfor an interesting and informative conversation about how data, Big Data really, machine learning, and really sophisticated algorithms are helping organizations better understand the fit and potential for high performance of their candidates, and increasing the chances of making better hires while reducing the time and expense to make screening and hiring decisions.

It is still a challenge for many HR and Recruiting organizations simply to manage the volume of applicants that they are seeing for many positions, and to have the ability to spend the time and resources attempting to ensure they are engaging with (and hiring) the very best people that they can. The volume can often make expediency win out over making informed decisions, and in front-line, customer-facing roles this has the potential to cause pretty significant problems for the organization.

Bright.com offers an approach and a solution that is based on millions of data points, informed by talent and recruiting professionals’ input, and validated by the companies that have used the innovative ‘Bright Score’ to make more consistent and correct decisions about talent and potential.

Be sure to check out the show and learn more!

 

10 Skills Critical to Business Success in 2014 and Beyond

leader logoWith technology today, the ability to have content at our fingertips is easier than ever before.  One place I continue to look to stay on top of trends is the writing of experts in the HR and recruiting industry.  Andy Headworth, author of Sirona Says, continues to be a favorite for me.  I learn so much about the global recruiting space by reading his work.  I also get ideas from time-to-time that apply far beyond the recruiting world.  This happened last week.

Andy penned a post called Is This What the Recruiter of Tomorrow Will Look Like?  In it he outlines seven skills that recruiters of the future will need to master in order to be successful.  They are:

  • Sales and marketing skills
  • Candidate networks building skills
  • Candidate sourcing skills
  • Social media skills
  • Content production skills
  • Contractor management skills
  • Keeping up with technology

I absolutely encourage you to read his post because the details are well worth knowing.  I want to take those ideas a step further today and expand on them to show that they can be used, regardless of industry, to become a better business person.

  • Sales and Marketing skill-  No longer just reserved for your organization’s marketing department, sharing the employer brand is something that each employee does.  Not only that, they are the face of your company to the clients, to potential clients and to potential employees.  Companies that are leaders in this area ensure that all employees know the positive messages that need to be shared with the public.  Transparency is key in ensuring that your colleagues know how to put the good news about your organization out to the world. Teaching your employees how to share their excitement about your product or services now makes everyone a potential marketer.
  • Candidate networks building skills-  It’s not just imperative that your organization’s recruiting team build networks with candidates, it is important that you encourage all your employees to be ambassadors to keep growing your organization.  Their participation with potential employees can help convince candidates to join the organization.
  • Candidate sourcing skills- One great way to encourage this is to ditch the old approach to referral programs and begin rewarding for introductions.  More to come in a future post on that.  For now, suffice to say that once your employees are company ambassadors, they will WANT to tell people to work with them.
  • Social media skills-  As someone who has been using social media for over six years now, it almost seems impossible that this is still new for some people.  However, it is.  So, if you or your staff are not using social media platform to futher the growth of your business, you are now officially behind the industry leaders.  Whether for networking, recruiting, marketing, sales, etc., you need to be in the space in order to be successful.  It is not a fad, it is a method and tools for doing business.
  • Content production skills-  One of the most exciting changes in the last few years is that we can all be content producers.  This means that employees whom you least expect to wave your organization’s flag can now do so.  Boldly.  Encourage them.  Empower them.  Teach them how to refine their writing skills.  Celebrate and reward them when the share.
  • Contractor management skills-  According to CareerBuilder’s 2013 Jobs Forecast, 40% of employers in 2013 planned to use contract and temporary workers.  This is up from 36% in 2012.  This means that you need to ensure that your leaders know the difference in how to work with them vs. employees.  It’s imperative that leaders know not to create co-employment situations that put the employer at risk.
  • Keeping up with technology-  Much like the topic of social media, technology and the use in business is now “normal”.  Being unwilling to learn or even someone who does not follow general industry trends in the technology space puts you at a disadvantage.  If you want to gain success with customers, internally with communication and data, or even on a personal level, technology now plays a role.
  • Financial analysis skills-  I’ve been saying this for years now.  No matter what type of professional you are, you need to understand how the business you work for makes money.  The best way for you to gain this knowledge is to talk to your supervisor, CFO, Controller, etc.  Also, talk to the salesmen and women in your organization.  They can all give you views of how your organization makes money.  One you understand that, you can educate yourself on the basics of Finance 101.
  • Presentation skills-  I know you may be thinking you can’t do this.  That you are too afraid to speak in public.  Well, when talking about success, you will likely need to be able to share your ideas and vision of the future with colleagues and others.  This skill is key to develop.  Start small.  You can do this at home by speaking in church, for local organizations you are part of, or within your work team.  Just know that each time you participate in public speaking, you improve your ability to use persuasion to get your message across.
  • Project management skills-  Now that most of us get our “work” assignment through series of emails, you need to understand how to manage priorities.  This is always a work in progress so having some formal skills in managing projects can help you manage your day-to-day tasks as well.  You can take classes through local management associations or colleges or you can read up on the subject.

What have I missed?  Feel free to expand on the ideas from Andy and the ones I added.  What skills lead to business success?

#HRTechConf Recap- Technology In Sin City

Are you a business leader looking to make an impact on how efficiently your company performs?
Are you a business leader focused on the intersection of people and results?
Are you a business leader who knows that your organization could be doing more to recruit and retain talented colleagues?
Are you a business leader who does not know how best to educate yourself on how to achieve the results you need from the first three questions?

If you are that business leader, then YOU should be at The HR Technology Conference.

HRTI just returned from my 5th visit to The HR Technology Conference.  As a busy HR leader, I discovered early on that I needed to find a way to condense my learning into short bursts of time instead of constantly taking cold calls from aspiring vendors looking to make random attempts to gain my business.  By intentionally carving time out of my annual schedule to attend this event, I’m able to gain knowledge about all things HR, recruiting and most importantly, how technology plays a vital role in all we do as business leaders.

I attend sessions where my assumptions are challenged- even destroyed- or validated.  I meet professionals from all aspects of human resources.  I speak directly to CEOs from the major vendors in the HR technology space.  And then there is my favorite part- hearing about the new, emerging technology solutions for employers.

It’s all under one roof.  Just picture you and 5,000 of your colleagues at Mandalay Bay there to uncover many of the same secrets.  Just think about how much learning you’ll cram into 2 ½ days.  You’ll hear from the top analysts in the space.  You’ll hear from practitioners, like me, talking the straight talk about what really works in the field.  You’ll forge new relationships that will last for years to come.

And then there’s Vegas.  Sure, it’s “Sin City”, so there is room for a little fun too.  Just remember not to keep your conference badge on and have a strict “no photos” policy.  Seriously, the generous vendors host dinners and parties so that you can meet their teams and get to know them as people.  It’s a great way to not only assess a vendor by the product offering but by the type of people they hire that will ultimately work with you.

What were my highlights from 2013?

  • The Next Gen Influencer Panel- I was honored when Bill Kutik, mentor and leader in the HR technology space, asked me to be part of the panel and speak about where technology has been and where it’s headed from the perspective of a HR leader and practitioner.  We had a packed room of attendees and lots of good questions.  Bill sure knows how to assemble a panel discussion!  Hats off to him.
  • Spending time on the expo floor- Sure, it was a bit of a walk, but I guarantee it was well worth the trip.  *Tip- wear comfortable shoes* Vendors outdid themselves with their demos this year.  I felt more welcome and at home than ever before.  I especially liked my demos from Halogen Software of how they are using Myers-Briggs analysis to bridge the communication gaps among colleagues.  I’m an ESFP and for any of you who have met me, you are probably not surprised!  I also loved the WePow demo.  Any company that by their own definition says, “we are a company passionate about technology and obsessed with recruitment” is a winner in my book.  Seriously, the solutions for video recruiting were really powerful.  And, to be transparent, they gave me my first pair of Chuck Taylors ever!  Thanks WePow!
  • Awesome New Technologies- Here’s where the rubber hit the road for me.  I made sure to get a front row seat for this session because as in years past, it did not disappoint.  New Chairman, Steve Boese, led this exciting session.  Learning more about the six solutions selected really opened my eyes to what is coming down the pike for HR leaders like me and our teams.  It also shows the level of thought that is being put into the experience that people have during all points of the employee life cycle.

What could use some tweaking?

  • Layout of the event- Hosting this event in a casino means lots of walking.  If they can gain access to space so that the expo hall is closer to session rooms, it will be a win/win for attendees and vendors.
  • Tonight Show session- I loved the fun of having a Tonight Show feel to the panel of experienced analysts and leaders.  My only suggestion is to have less scripting.  Whenever you have experts in their field, I don’t think there needs to be a script to strictly follow. Loosen it up and show the knowledge as well as the personalities.
  • Expo “bouncers” that do not look welcoming at all-  Ok, I get that some people may try to sneak into the expo hall, but how many people actually do that?  I’d play the odds and remove the bouncers, I mean, expo welcoming committee, from the door area.  They stare you down like they’ll throw you out.  It’s creepy.
  • Breaks/ snacks-  I know that Mandalay offers theme breaks in various colors.  I recommend having vendors sponsor breaks in their color (ie. HireVue Red Break, Ceridian Blue Break).  All the items in that break are in that color.
  • Blogger vs. Press space vs. Speaker Needs- Ok, this may not impact a ton of people, but for the ones it impacts, it’s huge.  I’d like to see more clarity around who is designated press vs. blogger.  It was horrible attempting to hold briefings in the tiny blogger room.  It was often crowded and very loud.  The press room was also cramped.  Compare that to the huge, nearly empty rooms for several analysts and it doesn’t add up.  I recommend making one huge Briefing Room (for press and bloggers) and then a separate hospitality room for the same group of people to go when they need a quiet place to write.  Now, what about speakers?  I was there in that capacity but was turned away from the press room when I asked to use a printer to print 2 pages before my session that I need FOR the session.  Not good.  It would be great to have a place for speakers to go to prep before their sessions, have a printer to use, etc.

Overall, the final curtain call for Bill Kutik as a chairman of the event was a success.  The collaboration between him and Steve Boese, the new chairman was as close to perfect as you can get.  I am excited to see what 2014 brings!  Thanks to LRP Publications, Bill and Steve for making this one of the most fulfilling events I’ve participated in.

For the full recap, check out Steve Boese and I on the HR Happy Hour show.  Be sure to share!