Social Then. Social Now. #NewWaytoWork

Ibm_px_xt_colorWhile I’m certainly not a proponent of holding meetings for the sake of meetings there is value in getting together face-to-face with co-workers, colleagues or clients to ruminate, ideate, and, perhaps, innovate. Hearing a voice, looking someone in the eye, and making a human connection adds richness and depth to any working relationship.

That being said, the typical “team meeting” is not necessarily the optimal manner in which to accomplish any of that. Over the course of my working life I’ve attended my fair share of excruciatingly painful meetings and recently got to reminiscing about how – not that long ago! – the process usually went something like this:

  • The manager sent an email requesting agenda items for the upcoming weekly meeting; this email chain quickly grew to massive unwieldy proportions.
  • 85% of the invitees replied; the annoying ones used “reply all”
  • Based on the newly projected length of the gathering the manager decided to hold a ‘working lunch’ (11 AM – 2 PM).
  • She then sent another email asking everyone to choose a preferred food item (lunch to be delivered!) from an attached menu.
  • At least two team members responded (“reply all”) and reminded the manager of their food allergy and/or their need for a vegetarian/low-carb/fat-free option.
  • The day before the meeting the manager emailed the agenda to the team and, inevitably, several people requested changes or additions thus resulting in yet another lengthy email chain.
  • One hour before the start of the meeting the manager (or her designee) printed 15 copies of the agenda and all supporting documents (collated and stapled).
  • The meeting began at 11:15 (when the last straggler finally arrived) and lunch was delivered at 1:15 by which time all in attendance were famished. Despite agreements to end on time the meeting dragged on until 2:55 PM.
  • The next morning the cycle began anew.

Note: Naturally before the widespread usage and availability of email (i.e. back in the dark ages when I started working) these tactical planning maneuvers occurred through a combination of telephone calls and memos delivered via inter-office mail.

Obviously, all of this tomfoolery occurred before any actual productive work was done.

Lunch, however, was usually good.

Social Then. Social Now.

Fast forward to 2015 and the new way of working includes social workflow in an entirely different fashion. Organizations are using Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) to communicate, collaborate and work together in a whole new manner.

This is not just taking broken and ineffective processes and layering technology on top of them in some approximation of workflow optimization. Rather, incorporating ESNs and Online Communities in the workplace is about replicating the social and personal interactions that we crave as human beings while using technology to support and enable work. It’s removing the ridiculousness of that 3-hour team meeting yet maintaining the personal interactions and relationship building fostered by gathering together (even virtually) with a shared purpose.

While ESNs offer analytics, dashboards, and repositories for data and documents, many also incorporate video, messaging capabilities, and networking channels that promote real-time interaction. It’s pretty cool stuff; I was once part of a team that implemented an ESN to drive communication and cross-functional collaboration and we saw an increase in both the sharing of tacit knowledge and innovation focused on both short-term project completion and long-term planning and revenue growth.

As a member of IBMs #NewWaytoWork Futurist Group I recently received access to the latest IDC Study entitled: Worldwide Enterprise Social Networks and Online Communities 2015–2019 Forecast and 2014 Vendor Shares. If you want to read it (there’s some interesting information) you can download the report here with a quick registration. Also a shout out to our friends at IBM; they’ve been named the Worldwide Market Share Leader in Enterprise Social Networks for 6th Consecutive Year by IDC.

Bringing the Horse to the Water

Just because we build it – or implement it – doesn’t mean they’ll come though. Horse to water…am I right? If there’s a story I’ve heard many times over it’s “we reviewed products, vetted solutions, purchased a technology, and trained employees. But no one’s using it.”

Implementing anything new into an organization requires that a few key things occur; the initiative must be championed at the highest level while simultaneously being embraced and promoted by employees in the trenches who are gaining the benefit. Are change management skills required? Absolutely. Which sometimes becomes a challenge for leaders and HR professionals who, let’s face it, have often been the slowest ones out of the gate regarding technology; something they’ve viewed as inherently complex, frightening and creating transparency with which they’ve never been comfortable.

Remember though…those leaders and HR folks got just as nervous, once upon a time, about instant messaging, cell phones and email. (I have to go where and check what? I have to keep it open all day?).

Have you implemented an Enterprise Social Network? Thinking about it? How did you reinforce behaviors or promote new actions? What lessons did you learn?

Let’s discuss!

Note: follow IBM Social Business on Twitter and check out the #NewWaytoWork tour; events are scheduled for all over the country!


Meet the #HRTechConf Insiders!

HRTinsider1As summer here in the northern hemisphere draws to a close we’re getting set for the most magical time of year for many an HR, recruiting, and/or technology nerd – fall conference season. Note: I freely admit to being an HR nerd. No shame.

Amongst the smattering of SHRM conferences (chapter conferences, state conferences, national events) and recruiting events there also reside a few HR Technology Conferences. Since, as of yet, no one has extended an invitation to me to jaunt over the pond and attend the HR Tech World Congress in Paris, I’m pouring the bulk of my HR technology learning and networking  into the event that is, quite frankly, my favorite HR conference of the year – the HR Technology Conference & Exposition.

This year conference co-chairs Steve Boese and Dave Shadovitz have upped the ante for on-the-street-reporting (that’s my phrase, not theirs by the way) by creating a team they’ve dubbed “HR Tech Insiders.”

Hey! That’s me! And I’m excited to be working with a fantastic group of friends and colleagues.

We’ll be sharing content before, during and after the conference on the official blog, at our own blogs, and via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, more than likely, Periscope and Snapchat. So let’s meet the team:

  • Heather Bussing – Heather is an employment attorney (let’s not hold that against her; we need people like Heather….am I right?) and she writes and edits HRExaminer. She’s also a stellar photographer and, if you’re lucky, she’ll take your pic at the conference. Also, when you see her, ask about “sofalism;’ trust me.
  • Gareth Jones – I adore getting to see Gareth (at least once!) every year. He’s an HR and Tech guy and you will, I can guarantee, find him immersed in all sorts of sessions and conversations during the run of the conference. He’s also, as those Brits like to say, a bit cheeky. No wonder I look forward to seeing him.
  • Mary Kaylor – Mary, as Manager of Public Affairs for SHRM, writes and edits the SHRM blog and has the oh-so-challenging task of herding hundreds of HR gals and guys through the weekly #nexctchat (including me). You know what I love? The fact that Mary has taken a very active role over the last few years of the HR Technology Conference; spreading the info and knowledge about technology to in-the-trenches HR professionals.
  • Sharlyn Lauby – What can we say about Sharlyn? She is just plain awesome, that’s what! Known as the “HR Bartender” she’s also recently published her first book Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers. And if you want to find the best cheeseburgers in Vegas… ask Sharlyn; she’ll clue you in.
  • Jennifer Payne – Jen has been a long time HR Tech Conference attendee, blogger and knowledge maven. Not only is she one of the cofounders of the popular Women of HR site she’s an HR leader overseeing talent acquisition and development for a regional grocery chain. She will also, undoubtedly, be wearing super awesome shoes while in Vegas!
  • Tim Sackett – I adore me some Tim Sackett and fully intend to get some hugs in Vegas; it’s his thing after all. Not only is Tim a great HR and Talent leader he also hosts a weekly series on his blog called T3 (Talent Tech Tuesday) designed to educate and inform. Great stuff!
  • …and me!

I hope you can join us in Vegas – find me wandering the Expo Hall or hanging in a session and we’ll grab a nosh, sit at a slot machine, have a cocktail, and dive into whatever sort of topic you wish to discuss. Plus, if you use event registration code SCHOOLING you’ll receive a $150.00 discount off the registration fee (including Early Bird rates). Register HERE!

See you in October!


Big Data for Big Tools

toolboxI read an article yesterday from the Wall Street Journal entitled “Are Companies Any Good at Picking Stars?” in which the author stated that despite companies having more data than ever (big data!), predicting which employees will be successful is still more an art than a science. Those of us who pay attention to HR technology trends know that seemingly every vendor out there is scrambling to bring anything they can label as ‘predictive analytics’ to the market. Am I right? (You know I am).

As the article reminds us “makers of HR software are beginning to develop their own solutions, claiming that algorithms built using an array of metrics—from an individual’s 401(k) contribution to promotions to connections on the corporate social network—can yield information about high potentials.”

Yeah. I really want to see the employer side attorney who gets to litigate the class action suit that arises when a bunch of employees decide they were passed over for promotion because their employer was analyzing data that included their 401(k) contributions.

Now, were I the attorney for the company, I imagine I could argue that using this data point had absolutely no disparate impact on any class of protected employees; nothing at all to do with race or age or gender, et al. After all, I might argue, according to an oft cited report from the US Social Security Administration’s Office of Policy, 401(k) participation and contribution rates are not related solely to income and age. Rather, participation and contribution rates appear to be related to an individuals’ propensity to plan as well as the existence of a match (and the rate of the match) as well as access to the right mix of funds in the plan.

The research also finds that Overall, the results confirm earlier findings that age, income, and job tenure increase the probability of participating in a 401(k) plan. Education is not statistically significant, a result that holds regardless of how the education variable is specified. Age has a large impact. An eligible worker between the ages of 25 and 34 has a 14 percent greater probability of participating in a 401(k) plan than a counterpart under age 25, and the probability increases for workers aged 35 to 44. Interestingly, for workers aged 45 and over, the probability of participation is only 11 percent greater than for workers under 25.”

Also… “job tenure has a statistically significant impact; as noted earlier, one additional year of tenure raises the probability of participation by 0.7 percentage point.”

So…we can assume that if Gina is over 40 and has been with the organization 10 years (the mean is 9 years) her 401(k) participation is higher than her coworker who is 34 and has only been with the organization 7 years.

But then we get to contribution rate. According to that SSA report “….age, the presence of a defined benefit plan, and the wealth in that plan are no longer statistically significant, and education remains insignificant. In contrast, a short planning horizon continues to have a statistically significant and important effect: a planning horizon of less than 5 years reduces the contribution rate by roughly 1.2 percentage points. The contribution rate is positively related to wealth, which again suggests that the variable reflects a taste for saving. Household income has a statistically significant negative effect.”

What if Gina, who attended a state university in the Midwest, is competing for promotions against a bunch of Ivy League guys/gals with family wealth? What if Gina, a superstar employee, is not socking away as much money in her 401(k) as Tripp and Buffy? What if Gina, who does not have a trust fund, is supporting her extended family back in the Midwest and thus, at this stage in her life, is not bulking up her personal retirement plan?

Why in the world should ANY of that have anything to do with assessing Gina’s potential?

I’m all for using data to make appropriate decisions; we surely need to do a better job of that in HR. Let’s definitely look at hiring data, performance metrics, employees’ networks and collaborative reach and impact. I want us to pull in organizational data like sales figures and output and production. We need to gather and sync external market and economic data, trends and forecasts.

We don’t need to reach end-ways around our behinds though to make a labored connection that seems to indicate an employee making a 12% contribution to his 401(k) doesn’t have the same leadership chops or mental acuity as the employee who contributes 18% to her 401(k).

Give me a break.


Engaging Top Tech Candidates Doesn’t Have to be a Mystery

Dice May 2015Finding – and more importantly – having conversations with tech talent is an ongoing challenge isn’t it? If you’re looking for an Application Developer with Agile or JavaFX experience (by tomorrow!) it can be tempting to rush in and contact any and all hot prospects in an attempt to get some sort of activity going.

And if you’ve ever done that you also likely saw it delivered lackluster results. Oh sure you broke out into a sweat with all your feverish typing and dialing but you still didn’t end up with any viable candidates.

So what to do?

Fortunately Dice has just published a fantastic resource.


The Definitive Guide to Engaging Top Tech Candidates takes you through the process with 3 Easy Steps to message top tech candidates via email, phone and social media channels. (seriously…go download the guide via Slideshare).

John Vlastelica with Recruiting Toolbox, in partnership with Dice, has put together this guide and he tells it like it is. Download this guide and you’ll learn:

  • John’s three steps to effective messaging: (1) preparation, (2) personalization and (3) persistence
  • How to decide what candidate information to use in your communications and when to use it
  • Rules of engagement for email, phone and social media channels – with templates to get you started

Templates!! I LOVE templates!! Why reinvent the wheel…am I right?

Look…we all make mistakes when, as recruiters, we craft a message to send to the passive-and/or-elusive talent we’re seeking. In this guide you will find out how to avoid making those mistakes and how to create the right messages.

“The best messages are never about you or the job you’re trying to fill.  

The best approaches start with the work that they are passionate

about and how you can connect them to

1) new, really challenging problems in their space, and 2) help them grow in their career.”

Andrew Carges, VP Talent Acquisition, GoDaddy


Hey…we can ALL win in this.

Dice Big Mistakes


HR Technology Next: It’s All About Retention and Re-recruitment

cogRecently I had the opportunity to weigh in on the topic of “The Power of HR Technology in the Quantified Organization.”

How the datafication of HR fits into the quantified organization is the focus of a new paper from LBi Software, which asked me and a handful of other observers of the HCM space to weigh in on this timely topic.

What did we cover? We answered the questions:

  • What Does the “Datafication of HR” Mean to You? More Important, What Should It Mean to HR Leaders Today?
  • Has the Role of HR Technology Changed to Meet the Demands of the Quantified Organization?
  • What Area of HR Technology Is Most Likely to Have the Most Immediate and Measurable Impact on, or in, the Quantified Organization?

In this paper I brought up software that gathers and collects data to help boost employee retention; after all, this may be the year we suffer the double hit when boomers finally retire after the economic downturn and disengaged employees finally exit as the economy continues to at least stabilize.

In my estimation, HR technology that offers predictive modeling can allow HR leaders to get ahead of the game. There may be recognizable organizational value when HR professionals use technology that can track patterns and trends related to work conditions that may lead to turnover — or consider how the use of predictive technology may allow for improvement in employee retention. Some of this requires shaking up the traditional recruiting and HR model in organizations by creating open access to platforms and data across the HR and talent function. Give your recruiters access to the HRIS and LMS and let your Regional HR Managers poke around in the success planning system.

That’s my vision anyway.

So go and check out this interesting and informative paper; also providing insight are Stacey Harris, Steve Boese, Paul Hebert, Lance Haun and Richard Teed.

Analytics? Covered. Assessment tools? Yes. Mobile, trackable and wearable? Yup, yup and yup.

“The quantified organization is here, it’s definable, and the business benefits it offers are undeniable.”



Attribution: Font Awesome by Dave Gandy

1 3 4 5

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.