Tag Archive for hrtechconf

The Cultural Relevance of Nathan Lane – #HRTechConf

birdcageAs we kick off the HR Tech Conference I am fully and completely prepared to hear the word ‘culture’ at every turn. There’s a solution for that after all. Well, truth be told, quite a number of them.

In HR speak it’s Culture. With a capitol “C.”

And you know how when you say a word over and over and over again it begins to sound, to your own ear, like it’s not a real word?  We have had quite a few of those emerge in the HR realm over the past few years:  culture, talent, brand, engagement, strategic, social.

These words – these concepts – mean something. They ARE important. They have merit. So we’ve become accustomed to tossing them out in our industry conversations and making sure one (if not all) appear in our conference session titles. To sound smart? Appear current? I dunno.  All I know is we’ve overused certain phrases to the point they’ve become background filler noise – cicadas humming in the nighttime. Charlie Brown’s teacher droning in front of the class.

Maybe it’s cuz we’re in Vegas but I feel the urge to spice things up a bit. Live on the edge.

Therefore, I have decided, for the duration of the week, to say “Nathan Lane’ in place of “culture’ whenever someone wants to discuss the ‘C’ word. Why Nathan Lane? I’ve always liked him, he popped up on a SATC rerun the other day, and he’s been making the rounds of various talk shows lately as his new play is opening on Broadway.

Plus, well, The Birdcage.

So, when an eager young chap at an #HRTechConf booth asks me “What’s more critical when evaluating successful talent for your organization? Should you hire for KSAs or culture fit?” I shall reply “I hire for Nathan Lane!”

While enjoying a tasty apéritif with friends and colleagues at a swank cocktail lounge, if someone poses the question “what is the primary reason organizations fail when trying to drive innovation?” I shall chime in “Nathan Lane of course.”

You’re here to map out some social recruiting strategies? Start by telling your Nathan Lane story.

Looking to expand employee wellness offerings at your company? Make sure Nathan Lane supports your efforts.

Yeah. That’s kind of fun.

Now … what word can I use to replace ‘talent?’

Take Inspiration from Relationships: Years of Service

cakeI’m a big fan of recognizing people at work for their contributions and their efforts. And I’ve talked about the good, bad and ugly of service awards before – one thing that drives me crazy is when we think it’s sufficient to applaud someone just for sticking it out at our crappy company for a given amount of time.

And I really hate it when when the bestowing of service awards becomes just another task-to-do of the HR Manager.

Look…I get it. Sometimes the phrase ‘planning and execution of the company’s annual service awards lunch’ is actually listed on the HR Manager’s job description. It’s a legacy process at her organization, left over from the industrial era, that she has neither the energy nor resources to get changed. The CEO (who inherited it) and his VPs (who could care less) are just not interested in giving it much thought; there are widgets to make after all. So service awards and recognition become something that can, as far as they’re concerned, continue to reside firmly in HR’s domain.

But you know what? If you’re in HR and as fed up with pins and postcards and an annual boring luncheon you can change all that pretty easily.

Service awards, as part of your company’s recognition process, can have a huge impact. It’s easier than you think to ditch the laser-engraved card and polo shirt with the company logo. Make a bold move from the check-listed chore that needs to be squeezed in sometime between the time your EEO-1 Report is due and Open Enrollment kicks off.

If you embrace a holistic system of recognition and celebration, then regular acknowledgement and reinforcement of the behaviors that the organization wants and cherishes will become second nature.

A while back an employee named Patsy who worked on my team celebrated 20 years as an employee. She had been with the company from its origin – a “founding member” if you will – and everyone knew her. We didn’t have much in the way of technology beyond email and our intranet but we had lots of memories. So almost everyone in the building gathered in the employee cafeteria for cake (white cake with white frosting!!) and drinks. A handful of employees brought photo albums and someone from Marketing dug up company newsletters from the mid 90’s. The CEO, choking back some tears, reminisced about the days when she and Patsy shared a desk when the company opened its doors.

What was particularly awesome about this day was that we celebrated Patsy’s service by letting all her coworkers and colleagues honor her. She had spent so much time with everyone in the company and they all had the opportunity to publicly share their stories.

I was reminded of Patsy recently when checking out this video from Globoforce about their new product Service Timelines. I like it a lot. (note: this is an actual Globoforce employee celebrating her 15 year anniversary).



That – to me – says human. That – to me – exemplifies the type of people processes I want to embrace. Honoring employees and making sure they continue to feel connected to my organization in a personal and meaningful way.

You can gather in the cafeteria (like we did for Patsy) or you can take videos and post on message boards and internal networks (cool for a dispersed workforce of course). The key though is to gather input from across the organization. After all, it’s not just the employee’s manager with whom they work. It’s Steve in Accounting. It’s Bill in the next cubicle. It’s Carrie who worked with her on a project team.

That’s the stuff that makes people happy; that’s the stuff that makes people want to stay and work for you. Relationships of all kinds matter. Not just the one with the boss.


note: I’m partnering with Globoforce as a paid contributor and, as I should, am disclosing this to you in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

“Awesome New Startups for HR” – #HRTechConf

hrt_17thannualAs I mentioned the other day, one of the sessions I’m looking forward to at next week’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition is  “Awesome New Technologies for 2014”. Another not-to-be-missed session is “Awesome New Startups for HR” which will be held on the morning of Friday October 10th. This is the first-ever session of its kind at the conference. The session is described as one that highlights innovative HR solutions that disrupt the status quo and, according to conference organizers “The “Awesome New Startups for HR” session will introduce attendees to the best of the best of  these organizations, as each company will demonstrate its solutions and show how they can make an impact, push the envelope and force the bigger, more established players to stay on their toes.”

Exciting! (IMHO)

The organizations selected to present at this session are:

Ajax Workforce Marketing Ajax Workforce Marketing’s BrandAmp shows employees how advocacy benefits them as individuals, gives them the opportunity to opt-in to the company’s brand and uses their choices to get HR and marketing the feedback they need to know which parts of the brand resonate with employees. The results include a stronger, clearer employer brand, tighter integration of the employer brand into the master brand and more effective social recruiting.

BlackbookHR BlackbookHR will be presenting its new Network Insights product called RNA. The solution provides an interactive visualization of the informational and relational networks in an organization. Insights from RNA are used to drive performance in talent optimization, change management and leadership effectiveness.

Data Morphosis The Data Morphosis Group designs and builds interactive, next-generation talent software that transforms human capital information into fluid, visual insight. During the session, the company will showcase its latest module, “Talent Scan” – software that takes talent strategy into the boardroom, delivering commercial advantage using best-in-class data visualization.

Fuel50 Similar to “LinkedIn” for the workforce, Fuel50 enables employees to gain a line of sight into career opportunities across the business, helps managers initiate and engage in better career conversations and provides organizations with the tools to deliver compelling and uniquely customized career propositions to every employee, thereby impacting engagement, retention and even increased revenue per employee.

QUEsocial QUEsocial will provide an overview of its next-generation social recruiting platform,which uniquely blends employer branding content distribution, gamification and analytics into an easy-to-use SaaS Platform.

Zenefits Zenefits is a free, cloud-based HRIS that automates and eliminates time-consuming HR-related paperwork and gives businesses a single place to manage their payroll, benefits and compliance. Employers can sync directly with their current payroll, health insurance and other third-party systems, or use Zenefits to set up and connect with new payroll and benefits providers.

In addition to the “Awesome New Startups for HR” session, attendees can learn more about the newest companies changing the face of the industry in the HR Technology® Conference’s first-ever Startup Pavilion.

The 18 companies exhibiting at the Startup Pavilion are:


I hope to see you in Vegas but if you aren’t able to join us make sure to follow #hrtechconf for all the updates!

Six “Awesome New Technologies for HR” – #HRTechConf

hrt_17thannualOne of the events I’m looking forward to attending at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition is the “Awesome New Technologies for 2014” session. This has always been a popular session at the conference and for 2014 there is a new twist as there will be two sessions; one session will highlight startup companies and the other will allow more established providers to show their solutions.

On Thursday October 9th we’ll get to see the six established companies showcase their products with live demonstrations. Conference co-chair Steve Boese has pointed out that “The HR industry is characterized by constant change and shifting market demands, necessitating that even the most established providers continually develop new solutions and enhancements in order to remain competitive. The companies featured in the ‘Awesome New Technologies for HR’ session have shown their ability to keep up with this evolution and create cutting-edge solutions that promise to improve every aspect of HR.”

Demonstrating their products during this session will be:

Castlight Health

Solving the problem of managing ever-rising enterprise healthcare costs, Castlight provides large companies with a “one-stop” cloud-based enterprise technology platform that enables HR leaders to understand and control spending. The Enterprise Healthcare Cloud starts with transparency and offers analytics, dashboards and reporting to help executives design and manage benefits and enable employees to shop for quality, affordable healthcare in a highly personalized way

Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand solves the age-old problem of forgetting the names and faces of colleagues and managers in a company with its all-new people matching game on Cornerstone Mobile. With the game, players can test their knowledge and get to know fellow team members in a fun and interactive way.


Dice will be presenting #Dice141 job cards, its latest HR technology product innovation. #Dice141 doubles the visibility of tech recruiters’ tweets by combining social, mobile and big data insights to reach the millions of tech pros on Twitter. Recruiters can use these expandable, personalized tweets to break through Twitter’s 140 character limit and showcase all the ins and outs of their positions, making it easier for tech pros to apply on the go.


HireVue InsightsTM, the first candidate and interviewer recommendation engine, examines over 15,000 digital interview attributes to predict which candidates will become top performers and identify which interviewers make the best hiring decisions. Companies can use the power of big data to identify their top candidates and best interviewers based on interaction, hiring and performance attributes.

Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software’s new Talent Acquisition solutions take a fresh approach to recruiting and onboarding to help people find and unlock their potential from the moment they first interact with an organization. Created with state-of-the-art user experience design and accessible from any device, the new solutions deliver a fun, engaging way for people and businesses to connect.


Workday will demo Workday Recruiting, the company’s highly-anticipated application that is seamlessly unified with Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) to equip organizations with complete insight into their talent pipeline, from sourcing through succession, in one system.


I’m looking forward to checking out not just these 6 solutions but also exploring all the other tools, technologies and innovative practices that will be shared during the conference.

I hope to see you in Vegas but if you aren’t able to join us make sure to follow #hrtechconf for all the updates!