Tag Archive for technology

Desperate, Sweaty, SWM Looking for ‘Love’

DatingGameThe dating/recruiting comparisons are endless and we’ve been drawing parallels for years. The conversation will continue for some time; we’re waiting, after all, for the much-anticipated eHarmony launch of its recruiting/assessment/matching platform later this year.

One thing I’ve never seen dissected though is how one’s approach, to either the dating process or the hiring process, impacts the final outcome. Maybe it’s because at some point enough people find their match, job-wise or romance-wise, so we kind of lose interest. (“Thank God Mary finally found a man. I’m so tired listening to her ramblings about the losers she’s meeting.”) Or, of course, they just stop trying. (“Bob has stopped shaving and just sits around his house in his underwear. All he eats is Papa John’s pizza.”) Either way we’re thankful for the silence when they stop blathering on about how they can’t find “the one.”

But all this starts with some sort of goal-setting, know what I mean?

Let’s take dating. People join dating sites for any number of reasons. Some are laser-focused on finding a spouse or forming a significant relationship while others want companionship so they don’t have to attend events or work parties as the lone single gal/guy. There are folks who just want a partner with whom to sip wine and go for walks on the beach. Quite a number, let’s face it, pony up their hard-earned cash with the goal of satisfying hormonal urges.

As for job seekers, the individuals who take the time to create a lengthy profile on a job board or the soon-to-be-launched eHarmony recruiting site presumably do so for the same reason: to land a job. A job they love! 

People in both camps may be desperate; the out-of-work guy in job search mode needs to start bringing in some income. The why-am-I-still-single? 36-year-old gal who enjoys spinning pottery and singing in the church choir is bone wearingly exhausted being the +1 at couples’ events. Plus she has urges…if you know what I mean.

Candidates and single-people with hopelessness oozing out of every pore. Who hasn’t run into them?

I’ve sat across from job applicants who have begged for a job. “I’ll do anything,” said Rhonda-the-applicant. “I really need to work.”

I’ve also, back in my single days, sat across from sweaty dudes who plied me with cocktails and begged for companionship. “I’m ready to settle down,” lamented one crunchy-granola weirdo hipster dude as he chugged his sake at the Thai restaurant during our first (and last) date. “You want to come and see my house? I brew my own mead and raise earthworms in the basement.” (note: after I feigned an emergency and raced for the safety of my car, I watched him unlock his bicycle and wrap his pants leg with duct tape before he peddled back home to his earthworms).

Where’s the line that one crosses? At what stage does someone move from having a desired (and achingly unrealized) objective into wretched despondency?

Is there a point at which the lovelorn hit a critical juncture and can’t reverse their path? Had earthworm guy, once upon a time, been a tad more circumspect in his quest to snag a woman? Did he change after stumbling through young adulthood on some sort of creepy refection-filled journey?

I dunno.

But I do wonder if the mysterious magical eHarmony recruiting tool will assess “desperation.”

I also wonder if that would that be good … or bad?

 

 

Another View of HR ‘Big Data’

topdown3Last week I read this article explaining that “Big data knows when you’re going to quit your job before you do.” The article relates how VMware is using Workday to predict when and/if certain employees are in danger of leaving the organization. Workday’s Insight Applications, summarized here, are rolling out in 2015 and are designed to predict future business outcomes. Leaders with access to both internal and external data should, of course, be able to take advantage of opportunities while also cutting risk levels using the data patterns, predictions and recommendations that are embedded within the Workday system.

As the original article pointed out “By combining company data on employee hiring, promotions, relocations, compensation, employee satisfaction surveys, managerial decisions and job cuts with public data sets like the standard of living in the region and workforce demand for certain skills, Workday can spot patterns. Businesses can input decades of historical staff data into Workday to inform and customize the system’s recommendations. In one case, Workday analyzed more than 1 million data points for 100,000 employees across 25 years to come up with employment suggestions. To train the software, companies must look back on worker-retention predictions and give the software an electronic pat on the head for ones it got it right and a virtual swat with a newspaper for those it got wrong. The system learns over time how each company works and, like an experienced HR employee, develops a gut feeling for which people the company needs to keep a closer eye on.”

The evolution of HR. The stuff many of us get giddy reading about, discussing and exploring. For those HR practitioners who are able to realize the benefits of technology and big data, such as this, it’s like a whole new world; we feel like we’re sitting with the big boys (finally) when we have this information at our disposal.

Unfortunately though, when Ginormous Corporate Conglomerate A and Large Regional Bank Holding Company B start using this sort of technology, it doesn’t set so well with Sally Lunch Bucket and Joe Six Pack.

Using absolutely no data, algorithms, or regression analysis whatsoever I present to you, unedited, a few of the reader comments (505 as I type this) from the original article:

  • “It’s not a problem for those rare companies that actually value their employees properly and compensate them fairly.”
  • “Yeah, like they care if you’re going to quit.”
  • “Pay your employees better, train them well and treat them well and maybe they won’t quit!”
  • “This will only make employees less trusting of their employers.”
  • “A better idea might be to figure out WHY someone is going to quit… and how to fix the problem they’re quitting to get away from. Bosses won’t like that, though, since 90% of us don’t quit our jobs, we quit our bosses….”
  • “Does it also predict when your company quits you?”

There’s also lots (and lots) of HR bashing….

  • “HR becomes less human everyday”
  • “Over the last few years HR “professionals” have been trying to gain more and more power and influence in the corporate world. They sell unproven or ridiculous ideas and philosophies to upper management or board members and then completely destroy a company from within.”
  • “HR has ruined getting a job in this country, They created a cottage industry on uselessness.”
  • “HR = a parade of clowns”
  • “The ironic part of this whole thing is that this machine will probably be operated by someone in “Human” Resources.”
  • “How about HR just do their jobs? There is no need to rely on a program, they just have to get off of their butts and be active.”
  • “Human Resources. Neither human, nor resourceful.”

Ouch.

So how do we prepare for this tsunami of distrust when rolling out a new technology such as this? Something that brings to mind, for a fair number of people, an Orwellian society?

We pay attention to keeping the human element in mind, that’s how. We communicate across the organization – not just with the C-Suite execs who have given the blessing to our endeavor. We share the why, what, and how with Joe and Sally. And then we share it again.

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Earlier this year I had a conversation with a VPHR for a large regional company that was looking to hire a Regional HR Manager. This position, based in a large metropolitan area, has HR responsibilities (primarily employee relations) across a 3 state region and also serves as an HR Business Partner for a company-wide line of business.

Big company. Big data.

And, as part of this movement to using data to more effectively manage initiatives and projects, the VPHR outlined her expectations that her HR team be viewed as, well, business partners. She didn’t believe a need existed for her HR team to travel to company sites or meet with employees. Unless, of course, it was necessary as part of an investigation.

“We’ve got the technology and the systems and the data,” she summarized. “I don’t need the HR Managers spending their time in the field.”

I wonder what Joe and Sally would think of that? “Human Resources. Neither human, nor resourceful.”

 

Exploring Art AND Science #KronosWorks

testtubeI’m in Las Vegas attending KronosWorks 2014 which is the user conference for Kronos customers. There are about 2,500 global attendees here (including IT, HR, and Payroll professionals) making it to the top of all-time attendance numbers for the event.

Yesterday’s opening general session featured Adam Savage, co-host of the TV series “MythBusters” speaking on the topic “Art vs. Science: Not a Contest.”

His talk took us through a discussion about how we often view art and science to be opposites; one is liberating and warm, while the other is methodical, rigid and cold. His assessment however is that art and science are not opposites and in fact they are dependent upon each other.

I thought this was a fascinating conversation starter for attendees at a technology focused human resources conference. Prior to heading off to sessions about configuring workforce absence alerts or mobile solutions (a bit methodical, no?) we in the audience thought about inspiration and talent and the formation of ideas.

I liked it.

After all, an HR professional, in my estimation, will be successful when she allows imagination and creativity to co-exist with pragmatism and analysis. And I’m not sure if we, collectively as human resources professionals, do that very well. We compartmentalize what we view as conflicting personal skill sets: “I’m a numbers person so I work in comp” or “I’m creative so choose to work in recruitment marketing.” 

This has taken us to a point where HR practitioners and leaders often believe that creativity is only allowed – or valuable – for certain activities: employee recognition or, occasionally, recruiting initiatives. The approach to other HR/people activities – the foundational, functional areas of HR – is often in lockstep with the past as we end up maintaining the status quo: rigid, unchanging, disciplined and structured.

But new discoveries await. Yes…even in HR. Adam Savage put it this way:

  • Start with an idea.
  • Develop a hypothesis.
  • Test it.
  • Learn from it.

Thinking further about this, what it means to me is:

  • Begin with your knowledge.
  • Expand what you know.
  • Question it.
  • Explore it.
  • Don’t limit yourself to art OR science.
  • Let your mind wander.
  • Be curious.
  • Question everything.
  • Ask “what if we do……?”
  • Ask “what if we don’t……?”

It’s neither art nor science exclusively.

They’re complimentary. And they’re both necessary.

“Culture is a conversation and art and science are the mechanisms by which we have those conversations.” Adam Savage

The Circle of (Employee) Life – #EWS2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.50.56 PM(This post is sponsored by my friends at Spherion but any thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone. See below for full disclosure). 

One of the things that drives me mad in HR and in organizations is the tendency to compartmentalize or ‘disconnect’ the elements of the Employee Life Cycle. Sure, this sometimes pops up due to size, scope and scale: as an organization grows, and with it the HR function, in order to get stuff done we end up silo’ing HR responsibilities; Talent Attraction resides over here…Recruiting resides over there…and On Boarding/Talent Management/Performance Management/Career Development and Planning reside in a gazillion other places.

Oh – and we don’t talk to each other. Ever.

Maddening.

It has to stop. And it’s easier than ever to stop it.

Today we have multiple ways (ahem – ‘think social!’) to connect-the-dots as people progress along the pathway from candidates to applicants to employees. All those folks are increasingly using their social networks when deciding whether to enter a conversation with a company (candidate), express an interest in working for a company (applicant), or go to work for a company (employee).

Spherion has released the findings from the 2014 Emerging Workforce Study which was conducted by Harris Interactive earlier this year in which they surveyed more than 2,000 workers and 230+ HR managers/leaders. Spherion has been examining the issues and trends impacting the workforce for 15+ years and this year’s study examines several primary themes aligned with the employee life cycle: attraction, recruitment, engagement, retention, advocacy and leadership.

Check out this infographic for a few key findings:

Spherion EWS Employment Life Cycle Infographic (first 3 phases)

Bottom line for HR and business leaders? Our understanding of these things has been changing, shifting and evolving for a number of years but now – NOW – it’s time to further develop your insight on how these areas intersect across the employee life cycle: things like job satisfaction, #workflex, the changing workplace (how we work!), and social technologies. I encourage you to check out the survey and read up on how you can bridge the gap (an ever widening and disconnected gap) between what employers think and what candidates/applicants/employees think.

It IS a circle! Let’s connect the dots.

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Disclosure Language:

Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.