HR Technologists: Don’t be a “duddite” in a company that fosters “Immovation”!!!

No, what you read are NOT typos. A recent Sunday NY Times Magazine (August 24, 2014) – has a regular feature called the “One Page Magazine” – it contains many little segments. One that catches my eye every week is a feature (by Lizzie Skurnick) called “That should be a word”. That week’s entry – “immovation” – defined as “stifling creativity” and also suggesting a second word – “duddite” – which is defined as being “resistant to abandoning a failed technology”. Got me thinking, as you might predict. How many of my fellow HR technologists are either working in, or have the mindset of a “duddite”, or are unfortunately working in an environment that for some reason stifles your creativity? Maybe your management group (within HR?) are not allowing you to progress to meet your personal and professional goals?  Maybe they resist your expressed desire to explore new and exciting technologies available to all of us provided by the many proven, established HCM/HRIS solution vendors as well as many up and coming lesser known providers.  Most in support of such needed and important functionality as ESS and :MSS,  portals, Social Media, best practices,  workflow, metrics and dashboards, and of course delivered over the Cloud. After all, HR or Human Capital is indeed a still “hot place’ to be situated, with more delivery options for underlying functionality and technology than ever before. And yet, either you, yourself are hesitant to move forward in considering new alternatives, or your company, being “immovative’, will not support you in your creative and business improvement driven efforts.  You are frustrated. So, what to do? Submitted for your consideration -Some suggested action steps if you find yourself in a “stifling” environment, or you are feeling as if you (or your peers or even Management) are “duddites”. (which obviously makes the situation worse). Here then is Miller’s “6 step program” for changing “Immovation” to “Innovation”. Step 1 – Create a “Trial Balloon” Step 2 – Get executive sponsorship Step 3 – Take advantage of  ‘me – too – ism’ Step 4 – Build the business case for moving forward Step 5 – Get the “go ahead”, or, Step 6 – see below…. A bit about these steps. Step 1 – With the help of Google, and HR technology information within such key resources as LinkedIn, (their groups) and SHRM, and Workforce (Human Capital Media), you can find EXAMPLES of visually appealing dashboards and metrics related to many HR issues. Many vendors have examples on their home page websites. Grab these. Create a “mock up” of a ONE PAGE – Report card – showing maybe 4 or 5 key performance indices – that you know will be of interest to YOUR senior level executives….. (even if not specific to your company). Then, put it together, make it readable, use color, show future TRENDS. Make it up (remember, whatever you think of, the vendor community can most likely deliver). Create the document. Then attach it to an email memo to your executives, with the subject line – “Would you be interested in getting something like this?” Then see what happens. I can almost guarantee that you will get positive responses, maybe on the order of “wow” yes, I (we) can certainly use this, or “why can’t our existing system do this? Then, go to step 2 Step 2 – ask for a meeting. Sell the need – ask for executive sponsorship – most likely from one of the positive respondents. Step 3 – at the same time.. take advantage of the “me-too–ism.” mentality. Find out what your company’s primary competitors or market leaders are doing with HR Technology. Show how your company is lagging (it should be). Executives do not like to have lesser capabilities than their “cohort’ companies.  They will factor that in, it’s human nature. Step 4 – Find out what you need to do to gain the go ahead, A formal business case?, or just enough to get the agreement to more ahead.   Give your emerging project initiative an identity, a mission/vision, align it with the corporate goals and mission. Suggest members of a project team, Talk it up.  Get interest. “Guestimate” timeframes. Gain some very early and initial costs – yes,  vendors or consultants have those. Even without being a “live prospect” you can get a ball park estimate of on-going costs, usually expressed as a Per Employee Per Month (PEPM) fee. Step  5 – If you get the “go ahead” then move quickly. If you do not, after trying all the above (and more), and you have come to the realization that you are in an “immovation” environment, working...

“It is – what it does”

My fellow HR Technologists, continuing in my admiration of AMC’s TV series “Halt and Catch Fire” – about 1980’s PC startups – the group that reverse engineered an IBM PC to market a “portable” PC (less than 15 pounds!) – see my previous blog post – “The Thing” – I witnessed a scene in a later episode that had a line of dialogue that caught my attention. In the show, the cool female savant “coder’ Cameron, the girlfriend of the main character Joe – the visionary sales guy behind the entire plot line,  leaves a chunk of concrete on the bed besides a napping Joe. He awakens and asks “what is that?” She says it is a “piece of the Hoover Dam” (they are attending the Las Vegas based Comdex – 83” trying to sell their prototype portable PC model). Cameron responds to Joe’s  “Why?” by stating: “I like it, it does what it does. It is simple, no wires, no switches, a form with one function – it is – what it does”. I again found myself thinking about our world, my professional world of HR technology and my familiarity of the many multi-function HRIS / HCM or HRMS solution providers that I interact with daily.  All of whom offer a full spectrum of integrated HR, Payroll, Benefits functionality, along with many other functions such as Time and Attendance,  Performance Management, Talent Management, etc. that fall under the realm of the overall function called Human Resources. As we know, these products are usually effective and supportive of the goal of any company (and especially the function of HR seeking to become more strategic) in influencing the effectiveness and efficiency of many aspects of the operations of the organization. HR Technology that provides features and functions including portability, Employee and Manager Self Service (ESS/MSS), workflow, metrics and dashboards are now making a significant impact on the workforce with proven benefits and (hopefully) improved company financials. However, in recent weeks I have had the opportunity to turn my attention to the  “niche” or “best of breed” HR technology providers. These vendors offer functionality whose product strength is focused and specific – aimed at doing one function or one thing superbly. “It is –  what it does” seems to apply here. I have come across two such HR technology vendors: Archive Systems – for Document Management and HRTMS for Job Description Management. Both these “niche” vendors (who do not claim to be a comprehensive HCM solution) offer the best (that I have seen) functionality and workflow in their respective specialty functional HCM solution. Here is some information and my perceptions about each. Both Archive Systems and HRTMS offer cloud-based solutions with supportive integration via interfaces into most of the traditional HRIS/HCM “system of record” systems (such as Oracle/PeopleSoft, Ultimate, and ADP etc.) Archive Systems (www.archivesystems.com) with their product called “FileBRIDGE for HR” gives HR professionals the ability to find and share HR and employee documents securely, while ensuring compliance with policies and regulations. “FileBRIDGE for HR” streamlines HR processes, including onboarding, transfers, annual reviews and certifications, and oversight audits.  Their system automates HR document workflows, and monitors employee files to check for completeness, and sends alerts about missing documents or needed upgrades for a document within a function. The product eliminates multiple data entry, and streamlines document handling. “FileBRIDGE for HR” is a collaborative environment that creates a single repository of documents that is accessible to anyone with the proper authority.  easy to share securely with internal and external stakeholders.  “FileBRIDGE for HR” delivers controlled, secure links that are fully auditable and automatically expire. The functionality provides workflow to deliver automatic notifications and control the process of updating expiring documents such as certifications and policy acknowledgements.  Additionally, support for mobile applications and web based access from anywhere will help any organization stay in compliance with Federal and Foreign regulations regarding privacy, retention, notifications and financial/operations audits. HRTMS (www.HRTMS.com) delivers a strong software solution to any mid to large size organization seeking to build, maintain and administer detailed job descriptions – for any job you can think of.  Their approach is called “Job Description Management”. Their solution, “HRTMS Jobs” allows users to utilize their own content, or extract job description language from HRTMS’ own content library. They utilize a parent / child concept that takes “parent job descriptions” as the origin text for related jobs in the same job family. They fully use Dept of Labor’s Occupation data base that is updated regularly. Skills and competencies at all levels associated with parent/child job descriptions are provided.  Peer group collaboration and tracking of all “experts” who contribute comments...