TO HRMS VENDORS – TODAY’S GEOPOLITICAL ENVIRONMENT CALLS FOR A “PAUSE” ! Help reduce some of the extraordinary pressures on HRM.

Thomas L Friedman in his new engaging and educational book “Thank You For Being Late writes that “we are living through one of the greatest inflection points in history”. His premise is that the “three largest forces on the planet – technology, globalization and climate change – are all accelerating at once. As a result, so many aspects of our societies, workplaces and geopolitics are being reshaped and need to be re-imagined. Friedman goes on to say “When there is change in the pace of change in so many realms at once as were now experiencing, it is easy to overwhelmed by it all.” He believes that in such times it is important to pause and reflect, rather than panic or withdraw. He states that pausing is “not a luxury or a distraction – it is a way to increase the odds that you’ll better understand and engage productively with the world around you.” Friedman suggests that we press the “pause button”. As a great fan of Tom Friedman’s musings in his books and columns in the NY Times, I decided to apply this “pause” concept to the industry I work in, HR and its use of Technology. What pressures are we feeling? Are we feeling the same pressures that Friedman is focusing on? How can we lessen those pressures? What can the HRMS providers do to help the HR community and their clients? What if anything can be “paused”? Here’s my thinking. Based on today’s environment especially with the uncertainties surrounding the new US administration (Executive Orders and such), a great many people feel fearful and (in Friedman’s words), “unmoored”. Alongside of CEOs and all manner of business leaders, HR executives must feel the same way. In trying to comprehend the impact and thus pressures on HR that are resulting from this “inflection point in history”. Most will come from two of the three Friedman focuses on, technology and geopolitical impacts, less so than from climate change. In my world this translates to HR Technology, specifically HRMS providers and users of HR Tech working within the function of Human Resources. So, recognizing the recent developments in America’s political landscape and geopolitical impacts, I am asking my fellow HR Technologists – those of influence and who interact with, or work for the many well positioned, highly reputable and highly thought of HRMS providers to take two very important actions: The First: PAUSE IN YOUR ROLLOUTS OF NEW FUNCTIONALITY. Stop thinking about new functionality for a while, unless there is a fix or an immediate capability that can help HR react to the pressures mentioned here or made necessary by new legislation or by government directive. And the Second: ENHANCE YOUR DIALOGUE WITH YOUR CLIENTS. Seriously think about reaching out to your existing clients to find out what they are doing with your product and your support. Simply put, find out how your clients’ are using the power of your products’ functionality/tools. Ask them if they believe they are getting the full value of the investment they have made and continue to make. I suggest these 2 steps because (IMHO) I think that at this point HR executives and staff are OVERWHELMED and are under pressure to react to, or respond to the unusual circumstances brought about by the pace of change in technology and geopolitical events. The pressures on HR – today – now, February 2017, come from many sources: some totally unexpected and on the surface seemly having nothing to do with HR – but they do. Here are some of the pressures that are now adding to HR’s usual role and responsibilities, thus, adding significant stress on those in charge of day-to-day delivery of programs: PRESSURE POINT 1: THE “EXECUTIVE ORDERS” The executive orders which imposed a “travel ban” and then the rhetoric of “extreme vetting” can and have impacted HR and a company’s workforce. Clearly – as we all witnessed the worldwide demonstrations – this created real anxiety and emotional disruption of peoples worldwide. Within the business community many corporate executives are using Social Media to emphasize their carefully worded positions against these Trump Administration actions. In global business, any organization with staff employed anywhere in the world, and traveling to and from anywhere in the world can be affected. In academia, students from the 7 stipulated countries are seriously affected. The presidents of Google, Apple and hundreds of others have come out with statements of condemnation and in support of refugees and immigrants. HR must take the lead along with Legal and Employee relations’ executives in crafting and issuing communications to help allay the obvious fears within their affected workforce....