HR Strategy

The rise of the SMATE

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Photo Credit – amanda.murphy4 – Flickr

There are times in our recent history where particular events have epitomized the turning-point in global views, perceptions and behaviors ~ like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the “Cold War”, the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of Apartheid, 9-11 and the rise of terrorism, 2008 and the Global Financial Crisis. These events cause “global ripples” and while many people are impacted directly, there are many more people that feel the change in indirect ways. For HR, a turning-point has been Cloud & SaaS solutions, taking center stage in late 2012 – the direct impact is on HR departments from an empowerment perspective, but the real value impact is achieving organisational goals through people.

HR Cloud and SaaS solutions are fundamentally shifting and empowering the HR environment, putting HR in a renewed position to influence organisational objectives and create value through people. But these new solutions are vastly different from the typical ERP products that dominated for decades, and the individuals who became the “life-savers” or “Stars” for those projects were just that because of their experience and insight into managing complex technology tools. They were the technical experts who dominated workshops and discussions to figure out how to set up the HR solution technically.

The latest cloud and SaaS solutions require significantly less technical prowess, and with this we see the client conversation shifting from “how to best configure the software ?” to a more HR flavored discussion of “how do I create value through people ?”. This shift in discussion from technical to people may be easily overlooked, but is more fundamental and deserves greater consideration than perhaps one may think.

HR leaders are starting to take genuine ownership of cloud HR system projects because they are now able to have discussions which are not being dominated by the technology questions (which were all very important by the way) nor left feeling inadequate to contribute in workshops that were driven by the “Technology Stars” using a language and approach which was foreign to them. In HR Cloud and SaaS projects, HR owners will rightly have a different expectation of the project language, approach and outcomes. Cloud and SaaS has lifted the technology complexity for HR and this will spur them on to want to discuss the HR “How” rather than the Technology “How” – the big question is who is best positioned to lead this new discussion with HR….enter the SMATE.

This new discussion with clients and team members will require someone quite unique – an HR SMATE, or an HR Subject Matter & Technology Expert. Many current HR system consultants may be inclined to assume they are a SMATE by virtue of their closeness to HR technology, but the reality is that a true SMATE is a bit like hens teeth – pretty rare at the moment! While many technology educated people have worked in HR systems for years, their point of reference for HR and best practice is mostly framed by the HR technology they know so well – their discussions with an HR professional has been fairly process and system oriented, and most HR professionals will quickly pick up the lack of depth in HR expertise. Likewise many HR people have a mindset about technology that doesn’t go far beyond the UI (user interface) and get lost in discussions on architecture, object management, databases and interfacing. This is frustrating for technology people who understand the critical nature of these discussions to the solution outcome.

HR ERP implementations primarily needed to lead with a technology mind-set ~ the individuals could learn HR/Talent processes to support discussions. It hasn’t however been easy to motivate an HR trained person to learn technology at a level that would enable adequate discussion across coding, configuration and architecture. But cloud and SaaS HR solutions changed that with technical requirements becoming more system set-up (We however still need hardcore techies for integration and custom developments). In a very short period of time HR professionals can learn the ins-and-outs of a cloud tool set-up and confidently introduce these requirements into an HR discussion, The tide has turned and it is easier for an HR professional to become a true SMATE than for a technology oriented person to do so.

We need true SMATE’s to rise up and become the catalyst for new system discussions with HR executives and project owners. To become the driver behind HR/Talent systems delivering value beyond transactional activity. SMATE’s will engage in deep-dive conversations around people behavior and social science thinking in the same way technology people drove technical discussions during ERP projects. Where this happens, we will see greater HR successes.

The organizations and consulting firms that nurture HR SMATE’s will be putting themselves in a strong position to create true HR value and help HR functions become a significant contributor to their organisational goal achievement  – the true HR SMATE is the next HR system “star”

Dear HR Vendors, are you thinking about Personal Data Stores?

keysWe have all seen the headlines regarding the amount of new data we create every year – it’s in excess of Two Quadrillion Megabytes (that’s 2 with 21 trailing zero’s) – by any standards that is a huge number and it continues to grow, spurred on by growing continuous connectivity to the internet, mobile access and tonnes of free storage space . In this process of creating data, we are also breading a new culture of data ownership – one of personal empowerment, which is giving rise to the Personal Data Store (PDS).
When you think about it, organizations have gathered, stored and managed personal data to serve their own benefits, and allowed employees and managers to access the data on a “right-to-see” basis  – they have had to carry the cost of creating and managing this data too, typically through ERP and cloud based HR/Talent systems. Much of the data organizations want from the workforce is now being created and managed by employees in cloud based tools and applications.
Over the next few years these Personal Data Stores will mature and help individuals to gather, store, access, update, use and share their data in a sophisticated and powerful way. In particular these tools will allow individuals to choose what information they wish to share, with who and for what purpose the data can be used, including the creation and sharing of new data based on the initially shared data. Personal Data Stores won’t just contain employee related data, but will help individuals manage vast amounts of data relevant to different business and personal relationships they create. These could include Health records, Scholastic and Education records, Business transactions, Employee transactions, Identity data, Life events, Government records to name a few.
While this may not initially trigger off too many alarm bells, the more you think about it, the more you’ll realize the implications on your relationships with employees created by the shift in power of data ownership from the organization to the employee. The Personal Data Store will become a new epi-center for business opportunity. Personal Data Stores are destined to become the “electricity supplier” of the 21st Century.
What will this mean for future HR systems as data ownership and management become person-centric ? Here are some of my thoughts:
  • HR systems will need to cater for an individual type API – the ability to interface with multiple cloud based Personal Data Stores or to buy into a PDSaaS (Personal-Data-Store as-a-Service) platform;
  • HR systems will need to export new and updated data back to the individual Personal Data Store;
  • Organizations will need to accept an employees “Terms & Conditions” to use shared data;
  • The ability to pay the employee for use of some data or pay for data used to generate business value or continued use of historic data after the employee has left the employ will become necessary;
  • HR systems or other systems will need to accept disparate data elements that could assist the organization eg. a list of Face book contacts that have access to possible job candidates;
  • Sophisticated OCR, facial,voice and other recognition tools to “read” non-text based shared material;
  • The Personal Data Store will in effect become an ESS tool – updating the PDS will update the HR system; and
  • HR systems will need to accept new types of verification that is attached to the shared data eg. a qualification may come with an integrated verification flag provided by the learning institution.
While I’m sure this is a but “far-out” for many readers, there are  some obvious advantages that this new data ownership model could have:
  • The quality and accuracy of HR data is improved;
  • The richness and completeness of employee HR data can be improved;
  • Reduced cost and effort for HR functions to maintain HR systems;
  • Improved reporting and opportunity to leverage new information for the company benefit;
  • Reduced duplication of data;
  • Richer and easier on boarding for employees and contractors; and
  • Lower data privacy risks
We have a way to go before this becomes main-stream, but it is already starting with some social tools such as LinkedIn. Personal Data Stores are more sophisticated than the current social tools, but if our history of the Internet and technology growth is anything to go by it won’t be too long before this becomes a reality. Lets hope the HR Vendors are leading the charge.

The HR Talent Software Bubble

The Year of Change – 2013

bubbleIf 2013 was anything to go by then we are in for another interesting HR software year in 2014. Last year was very much one of excitement and perceived opportunity around SaaS, cloud, mobile and the resurgence of the talent management offerings (Recruitment, On-boarding, Performance Management, Compensation Management, Workforce planning, Career Planning and  Succession Planning)  – the latter being of significant importance from a revenue perspective for vendors. Prior to 2012 most of the large vendors made most of their money from selling core HR and payroll solutions, but were forced to change selling tactics to support the major and expensive acquisitions or new talent focused developments that occurred during 2012. While SAP, Oracle and Workday were popular news items, many other vendors were investing heavily to move their product to SaaS models and support end users with smart phone and tablet access and tools.

HR Technology is a Mirror 

Vendors spent 2013 pushing licence sales at all cost (heavy discounting, license swap deals and low ball implementation fees) for their cloud Talent products, some touting evidence that organizations would have fairly immediate and positive bottom line impacts, with some vendors going so far as to give % improvement probabilities in ROI and growth in stock values depending on how many modules were bought and implemented.

I wonder how many organizations have reaped the benefits they were sold?  – or were they suckered into believing that a software implementation would improve HR services? While I would love to be proven wrong on this, I suspect the improvements are mostly superfluous and if you scratch beneath the surface you will find feats in process compliance from the new software, but not in long terms business and people sustainability. Too many decision makers still misunderstand the importance of having effective HR services, delivery and environments in place prior to investing in new HR technology – HR technology will simply reflect your good or bad HR environment.

The HR Talent Software Bubble

All the vendors realized that tying a client into a 3-year (or more) annuity license agreement was paramount to their survival – so they all went to battle for the limited resource (clients $) and made offers that were hard to refuse – they drove sales through $$ incentive rather than future value. Cloud solutions fundamentally changed the face and structure of HR system implementations. In particular, the time to implement new HR technology is typically significantly reduced with SaaS products and while this is good for many reasons, it’s also one of the reasons for increased risk around achieving people and business sustainability.

I should probably not paint every sale or organisation with the same brush, but what I can say is that there will be far more companies not achieving the proclaimed benefits in 2014 than there are that do – as time progresses these clients will look for something to blame and there is a good change the software will be in the firing line. 2014-2016 is a period of heightened client relationship risk and poses all sorts of challenges for vendors and implementation partners. For most clients I suspect it will be their own period of disillusionment when they realize the software has not been their saving grace. When this bubble bursts, it will be messy and destructive to HR technology vendors, partners and the HR profession.

Light at the end of the Tunnel

There is hope though (there always is), as well as time to fix this. It will come in the form of improved skills, understanding and appreciation in HR & business sustainability from the Vendors and Implementation partners. This must include greater advisory capability in helping to create the right HR environment for the technology to be fully leveraged. The one advantage of true cloud and SaaS solutions is the lower dependency on technology understanding to implement the solutions. The more we can replace the technical implementer with a combo HR professional/tech appreciator who understands what makes HR successful, the more we can mitigate the future blame risk that is bubbling under. HR Vendors and partners need to think long-term and be prepared to invest in HR environmental support, not just technical support, they need to drop the profit motive as the sole approach to measuring  success and be bold enough to include societal value into their success equation. I suspect we will see a host of new partnerships and acquisitions between traditional IT consultancies and specialist HR consultants (ones with deep HR and business understanding).

As a final note on this topic, I had two experiences in 2013 where the vendor led the pitch/ implementation of their cloud HR Talent tool with a Change (Project) Manager (Social Sciences type) rather than a traditional cost/time project manager- These vendors realized the importance of changing the HR environment and the people in order to fully leverage their new HR technology journeys – its paying dividends for those clients and these vendors will reap the long term benefits too.

Retailing outsourcing and Banking “deals”: Two of a (bad) kind

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It didn’t take much time after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) for the truth to emerge – that at the heart of the GFC lay greed for organisational and personal financial gain, and that those organisations were happy to do this at the expense of anything or anyone. The aftermath saw a lot of anger from governments, up and downstream suppliers as well as the general population, who lost jobs, livelihoods, lives and reputations.

 

 

“One would have expected that organisations would learn from these mistakes, even if they were not in the financial services industry but clearly they didn’t. The likes of Coles, Target, Cotton on and many more have once again been blinded by greed.”

 

The retail industry has done something just as bad in my view. They were prepared to hang innocent and desperate people out to dry, and in this case have blood on their hands with the death of many people from the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013. The collapse of the illegally built factory claimed the lives of more than 1,000 workers. This was the clothing retail industries equivalent of the GFC except we can now rename it the “Global Fabric Catastrophe

 

The reaction from retailers has been sickening. To try and cover up the facts and to suggest that the supply chain executives and others were not remotely aware of the physical conditions of employment  which the garments were being produced under, and the wages the employees were earning were not nearly commensurate with the work effort, is an insult to our intelligence. How can retailers believe a monthly salary of $69 for a sewing machine worker, who lives in a single room apartment with her family and shares 4 toilets amongst 100 people, is proper and fair? It’s blatant exploitations, and comes pretty close to slavery.

 

The reality is that if the human disaster did not happen, the plight of these people making the garments would not have been exposed. And just like the financial crisis of 2008, the industry would have continued to feed its greed through new schemes and deals at the expense of anyone.

 

One has to ask what role the HR functions of these organisations played. I would love to know if any one of the HR executives or CHRO’s from these organisations believe they and the HR function are to blame in any way for this calamity. My best guess is that they won’t see the relationship between HR and this event. That’s because their level of HR Maturity is low and they are not a real strategic player in any sense, even though they have an executive seat.

 

The fact that a culture of greed was not identified and properly managed and influenced by HR and others is indicative of the reality that most so-called “Strategic HR” functions are not strategic nor business focussed at all. I wonder if the local organisations would allow their own staff to live under such conditions as the people in Bangladesh – clearly not, but yet HR allowed its “extended” workforce to live in misery, and capitulated in all respects around fairness, quality of work environment, health and safety and its moral obligations to fellow human beings.

 

Dealing with HR and business maturity is becoming a priority. How many more disasters do we need to go through in other industries before we understand that making a profit and giving returns to shareholders is fine, but not at the expense of people and in this case their lives.

 

It’s time for HR service providers to take accountability for what they sell

charlatanCross post from HRmaturity.com  (please visit this site for some great blogs and thought leadership on HR Maturity)
Today I spent some time wandering around an HR conference and Vendor expo in Sydney. I like doing this partly to ensure I’m up to speed with what’s on offer, but also to look for any fundamental changes taking place in the HR industry. On my agenda today was to ask all the Vendors & Service providers I met one pertinent question -“Did they have any accountability for their product/solution success after the sale?”

As I expected, most of the answers contained elements of ongoing support contracts, help with the design/implementation/creation of the solution and similar rhetoric. I couldn’t find any vendor that would categorically take any accountability for the outcomes expected from their offerings.  The key argument was that they were not in a position to take accountability as ownership passed from them to the buying client and decisions made by the client could not be influenced by the vendor.

Here is the problem with these arguments – it’s a convenient “cop out” and smacks of simply wanting to take the money and run! It was a similar argument that many consumer product manufacturers used in the 90’s when they said they could not be held responsible for how a consumer used their wares, and if it killed the consumer in the process, well that was simply not their problem (to be harsh and blunt) – but times have changed and many countries now have strong consumer protection laws in place where the producer of a consumer product is accountable and responsible for ensuring the product brings no harm to the buyer and does what it purports to do. Of course there is an equivalent onus on the buyer to use the product as it was intended and according to instructions.

This notion of responsibility and accountability between the producer and buyer of consumer products didn’t happen quickly. There was a maturing and education process that took place over years to get producers to understand that they could still make profits, but they had to do it responsibly and take accountability for negative impacts experienced by the buyer.

If I look at so many HR departments, they are littered with tools, solutions, ideas, schemes, strategies and other paraphernalia that was procured over years, all with great expectations of achieving fantastic outcomes, but they didn’t.  And so, the failed solution got thrown out onto the proverbial HR solution junk heap, and the search for something better and greater continues. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to push all the blame onto HR solution providers and vendors, but I reckon there are many that would go out of business if there was a legal obligation to ensure their HR wares achieved the outcomes they claimed.

I would like to see HR vendors and service providers playing a far stronger and leading role in assessing if a buyer is positioned to use their tool, solution or idea before committing to selling it to them. The onus should rest with the seller, (who after all is supposed to be the guru in terms of their solutions) to help educate the buyer around the necessities for their solution to be successful, and have the professionalism and guts to withhold a solution if these critical elements are not in place. In short, HR vendors need to skill up in making a professional diagnosis, and assessing any risk and negative impact that their solution will have on an organisation, its employees or associates. There needs to be severe penalties for those that “sell and run”.

Making HR a successful and value adding part of an organisation requires the commitment of all stakeholders and it’s time for the charlatan HR vendors to change their ways or move out of the industry.

The Clash of the (Social) Titans is Near

2012 ushered in a new era for HR software solutions. It will be a year that we saw some really big deals going down as the big boys of the ERP world manoeuvred themselves into  strategic positions within the cloud ecosystem. The writing was on the wall and vendors that didn’t have a cloud based solution and strategy (or at least claim they had one) were likely to  face some difficult times financially and competitively over the next three years.

With the advent of HR cloud based tool, we also saw the introduction of social and gamifcation layers being added directly into these new products. Not just as optional extra’s, but often forming the epi-centre of the product driver. Particularly in areas such as Performance Management, where communication and discussion needs between employee and manager were ripe for something new to spur what was typically a dismal failure in most organisations.

As society was settling down to the acceptance of social media as a legitimate means of sharing knowledge, ideas generation and general chin-wags in the work environment, the HR vendors saw the gap to add this functionality into their solutions to drive out better HR and Talent management. And the good thing is it works ~ you have to be prepared to adapt your work environment, leadership styles and accept that the control that was prevalent in hierarchical organisations may not work in a social environment, but if you get that right, there is a lot of good stuff that HR can do. That’s not the problem!

Who owns the social layer?

While the HR vendors were thinking about how to leverage social layers within their products, the Enterprise social guru’s were making strong headway into major organisations. Tools like Yammer have moved many organisations into a new ‘Knowledge Management” and information sharing era – building stronger communities and starting to see good paybacks on tacit knowledge lying wasted around in their staff’s grey matter.This is good too!

So what happens when Mr HR Director goes ahead and purchases a subscription to a new cloud based HR solution that also uses a proprietary social layer tool?  The reality is that many of these tools rely on the end-user using the solutions social layer, not a third party tool. OK, well having more than one social tool is not a big deal, I hear you say, we have more than one in our private lives like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, so things should work out.

This is where I think the proverbial paw-paw hits the fan and it’s going to get worse. If I look at the emergence of other cloud tools in the Finance, Rostering & Scheduling, Procurement and other business areas~ many of these tools are integrating proprietary social layers into their products just like the HR vendors, and they all have an expectation that you need to use the SM layer.

If I’m a user of the Finance tool and use its social layer, I might find that I’m having to repeat my knowledge post, great idea, message of recognition or piece of gossip on the HR tool – that’s of course if I remember to do that when I next use the HR tool. Not to mention the owners of the Enterprise Social layer who will be putting pressure on all employees to share and discuss on the corporate system. Then of course there is the confusion of whether I said something via email or on a social layer, or was it perhaps a text message.

Who will win the battle?

Maybe someone will come up with a clever technology layer that can plug into all these new emerging social tools embedded within discreet products to help manage the data flow and curb the likely confusion and risks. Until then I can see a number of battles taking place, with someone loosing and someone winning. The looser unfortunately may also see value disappear  from their beloved cloud solution. What we should acknowledge is that custodianship of the social tools is not an HR right!

I think we will be seeing a bit of fur flying in 2013 – a good thing in my view. Its the only way we will see the need for something new to help us manage our changing work places.

Let me know your views.

Iphone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S III – The same “love” is found in HR systems

The lead up to the launch of the iPhone 5 as well as the actual announcement leaves nobody with any doubt that marketing (if used correctly)  is a powerful mechanism to convince and manipulate people into taking a position and influencing future behaviours (in this case buying patterns).

It has an unfortunate side-effect… one that brings out a darker side of the human psyche and has the potential to be destructive to the person being influenced by the marketing spin, but also to other people who don’t hold the same view. Its called Technology-Fundamentalism.

During the lead up to the announcement of the iPhone 5, I would periodically read articles on the likely features and changes to the phone on “balanced-view” websites. What struck me more though, were the comments section at the end of the article, where readers can provide their owns views and comments. To say that it often turned into a ‘war of words’ is an understatement, the iPhone fan-boy club would be absolutely ruthless generally towards anything Android and visa versa – I have no doubt that many of these on-line discussions could turn into nasty brawls if all the contributors where physically sitting in the same location. Why is this, and is this healthy ? – has effective smartphone marketing turned people against each other to the extent that they cannot acknowledge the positives of another product without feeling that they are going against their Smartphone doctrine.

It got me thinking about the world of HR software, which I take a particular interest in. There is a lot of similarity in the dialogue between smartphone owners and HR software users/vendors/consultants. And it is very prevalent in the SAP, Oracle, Workday, Taleo, SuccessFactors space – most people working with these solutions tend to align themselves with a company or a product and fight “Tooth & Nail” to convince you that their chosen product is better than the others.

I have no doubt that in each of the mentioned products there is functionality,  components and  tools that are better than the other products, but they are also likely to have their weaknesses which are either obvious or are not discussed so that they create the impression of “Perfection”.

And people in this space go to extremes (fundamentalism) – I was once hosting an HRIS session at which all the main ERP / SaaS players were in attendance. I spent some time chatting to the country MD of Workday, which obviously offended the SuccessFactor guy, who thought it correct to lay a formal complaint to my employer. Admittedly, these sort of behaviours are extreme, but it shows you how people can be absolutely in love with their technology, that they will go to great extremes to if required.

On a practical level, I have seen functional consultants making fundamental mistakes in trying to convince clients that they can MAKE their product do what the client needs (and often the client agrees because they don’t know better), when clearly there are other solutions and options that are better. You can do just about anything with most HR technologies if you want to, but that doesn’t make it right.

So being passionate about you product (or your phone) is good, it drives one to greater depths of understanding that can be very powerful, but there are limits, that if you pass, you become obsessed and start thinking everyone who is using another HR tool (or uses another phone) is making a huge mistake. That’s the sad part!

To all the SAP, Oracle, Workday and other product fundamentalist – take a step back and explore the other solutions and offerings – you’ll firstly be amazed at the similarities, but also realise that there is other ways to do things as effectively as your product does. Your ability to help your clients will be significantly improved and you can broaden your understanding of HR technology significantly. Who knows, you may even find it easier to switch from your Samsung or iPhone…..

The Future of Recruitment

I presented a paper in Singapore this week on the Future of Recruitment. It’s a topic that touches on so many parts of a corporation, and yet the fundamentals have not changed over the last 25 years. We spend significant time still managing the recruitment and on-boarding PROCESS, believing that this is adding business value, but its not.

The recruitment industry is at a cross-roads. I liken this to the Horse Manure Crisis in many cities in the 1800’s. Recruiters need to think beyond solutions that are simply improving the existing process and the recruitment agents need to accept that charging 10-25% for a candidate is no longer accepted practice… especially when you are finding that so-call-fantastic-resource on Linkedin!. There are some fundamental  shift required to allow the activity of recruitment to add real value to organisations, and we are starting to see some Talent solutions integrating this new thinking.

Here is a link to the slides I presented.

Enjoy

Organisational Structures versus Social Networks

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The fundamentals of organisational structure have been the focus of attention of late, particularly as we see the emergence of social environments in the workplace, and the power that they can yield. Jamie Notter, co-author of Humanize has made a strong case for organisations to move from being “Machines” to more “Human Like” in order to tap into the values that social environments can bring to the workplace. The “Human” principles of collaboration, openness, trustworthiness, courage and a sense of belonging are instrumental and well aligned to the success of social environments and social media tools.

I get that, and agree a new work environment is necessary to create a social enterprise, but there are some flaws in the notion that social enterprise is a necessary replacement over hierarchical structures.

Lets look at the Arab Spring movement that used social principles (and tools) to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak. What we observed was the power of a networked group in achieving a goal of ousting a dictator, but in the end the new Egyptian president was far from being a representative of the people who orchestrator the social uprising, nor did he have anything to do with the movement. The movement itself was seemingly chaotic – there was no formal leadership, but assumed a life of its own, to which individuals were absorbed into.

Recently, one of my favourite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, made this comment, which sums up nicely the view that I hold:

“Networks may start revolutions,but they can’t finish them. Our job is to remind Millennials of the importance of hierarchies as well as networks.”

So, I think the future organisational design model does need to change – but it’s not a complete replacement of existing hierarchies with a mass movement mentality. The future need will be to understand how to leverage the power of the collective but still allow for purposeful and clearly identified leadership. It’s also  far more fundamental than simply installing a Social Media tool such as Yammer or Jam into your organisation, and as a leader hoping that you have ‘done enough’ – absolutely not! there will need to be real shifts in “who speaks”, “who decides” and ‘who acts”.

Finally, as a lover of HR technology, it would be remiss of me to not add a note that the link between HR system’s Org Management solutions/modules and social media tools is a major gap that needs to be addressed. While we have seen vendors integrating SM tools into their HR solutions, they have not truly understood how the Org management tools need to changed in order to create and support the new working environments.

What’s your Position ?

Over the last few months, I have had the privilege of presenting at a number of large HR and HR technology conferences in Australia and the USA – It gave me the opportunity to mingle with a lot of  HR practitioners that I didn’t  know (or are not clients) and to hear first-hand how their day-to-day HR environments are operating.

What I can report is that there is a lot of good things happening out there in HR land ! – practitioners are very much aware that HR’s role is about achieving the business goals (alignment), and that every major HR intervention needs to have “line-of-sight’ to a business objective. This was music to my ears because these are signals that HR is shifting to new levels of HR maturity generally, and realising the importance of seeing HR as a solution provider to business goals rather than doing things for the sake of “HR best Practice”.

So while I see positive movement in terms of understanding the business role of HR, I was still disappointed  that there is not the same ‘growth’ in understanding the value that HR technology can can bring to the organisation. Don’t get me wrong, the HR technology space is abuzz with activity and everyone is chasing after the next best module, tool, social media plug-in or cloud offering. I’m pleased that we have this happening in the HR technology space because it is helping to create fascinating products and help achieve some fundamental shifts such as “HR technology that is simple and easy to use”, but I think there are many HR folk who are still in “transactional” mode rather than building their skill in how HR technology can support strategic HR initiatives.

So I’m on my education drive around levereaging HR technology and have put together a thought leadership paper on position management as a start. Hope you find it useful 🙂