Segmentation and the Practice of HR

baby guinessI spent a few days last week at the HR Tech Fest Conference (#HRTF16) and enjoyed every moment; listening, learning and talking about the future of talent, HR, technology, recruiting, and work.

I was energized when I heard the stories told by HR leaders including Neil Morrison (Penguin Random House), Jim O’ Gorman (Hulu) and Ambrosia Vertesi (formerly of Hootsuite). I was inspired after numerous individual discussions about new ways to leverage existing (and emerging) technology to connect with candidates, applicants, employees and organizational leaders. I got to talk through the logistics of my beta test at work using Slack as an internal community/platform for our hiring managers. I tried out some messaging ideas I’ve been kicking around for employer branding and TA initiatives back at the shop. I had a conversation about how, potentially, I could make Facebook at Work … well, work. Maybe. Not quite sure if that last one actually fits.

One size…one trend, idea, concept, or forecast … will never fit all because of any infinite number of variables including organizational readiness, the demographics of the workforce, the risk aversion of an industry, and willingness of leaders and employees to experiment or test. I’m more than likely, in my current organization, never going to use Virtual Reality technology and it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever get to the stage of using AI and scientific assessments in our selection process.

And that’s OK.

It’s not just about SMEs vs. Enterprise. I’m not talking number of employees or number of staff in one’s HR Department. It’s really not even about the size of the HR budget or company revenue. Yet those are, quite often, the primary factors in the market segmentation strategy employed by HR tech vendors and solution providers (“oh…sorry….we only work with companies that have 5,000+ employees”). Trust me…I get it. Can’t say as I like it much, but I get it.

So what I need to do is make sure that my team approaches our HR work with a DIY attitude; the reality, by the way, for a huge number of human resources teams. We scrimp and scramble and create using the materials on hand; mixing them up to get the job done. Many HR professionals on the ground don’t have the budget to make a purchase ($$), don’t have the resources to train users on something overly complex (time, staff, and more $$) and don’t have the time to pause and even learn about “what could be.” OK…admittedly some possess neither the curiosity to wonder about “what could be” nor the mental capacity to understand, but that’s another blog post.

As for me, at the end of any of these events, I leave with nuggets of wisdom and ideas for how to scale up/scale down to find the fit, if appropriate, for my organization. Am I going to build an Open Cloud Academy like Rackspace (another nifty thing I heard about at #HRTF16)? Nope. But I got a few ideas from them for something – a ‘tiny” something – that I may be able to create. DIY.

As for that segmentation of HR buyers and users? I always take the opportunity to chat with my friends who are HR Tech company founders or developers or product evangelists or marketing experts and educate them on “real” HR. Quite often they have no idea, whatsoever, what day-to-day real-world blood-and-guts HR is like. And how could they? (Sometimes I show them pictures). Their only experience, quite often, with an HR lady has been with the benefit-enrolling policy-quoting bureaucrat who sits behind a closed door drinking her diet Cokes and warming up Lean Cuisines in the break room microwave for lunch; they certainly never hung out with her consuming rounds of baby Guinness shots. More than likely.

That’s me doing my best to end the needlessly unnecessary segmentation.

You’re welcome.


5 thoughts on “Segmentation and the Practice of HR

  1. “they certainly never hung out with her consuming rounds of baby Guinness shots.” This is much closer to the truth of daily life for an HR “lady” given some of the insanity we deal with on a daily basis. And vendors need to know the truth of daily life if they want to truly create solutions for us. thanks for a great read (from April, I’m a little behind on my reading.)

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