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...

“The Thing”

A few evenings ago, I settled down to watch episodes of the new AMC channel drama series “Halt and Catch Fire”. It takes place in the early 1980’s and is about a group of people who risk their jobs (and family life) by joining up with, and convincing the owner of a Texas based technology services firm that they can and will make it “big time” by reverse engineering the then hot IBM PC, and thus create a worthy competitor to IBM’s market dominance. It seems realistic and based on anecdotal history (think Dell).  I recommend the show. The lead character, a hot-shot salesman, at one point, is pitching his latest idea to investors. His idea, to make the IBM clone they are attempting to build,  a portable, “briefcase size machine, weighing no more than 15 pounds”.  Imagine that! During his attempt to convince an “investor” (before they were called Venture Capitalists), he corrects a comment made about the machine. He says – emphatically  “Computers are not “the thing”, they are the thing that gets us to “THE Thing!!” Got it? It took me a while, but the funny sounding almost “playful” dialogue captures an important concept. In my work, as an HR Technology Consultant  working at the intersection of Human Resources (or Human Capital Management) and technology (HR Technology, HRIS), this dialogue felt important, and at times clarifying-ly helpful. Therefore, my fellow “HR Technologists;” HR professionals, Human Capital Management professionals, HCM/HR technology software providers (and their staff of marketing and sales professionals), and yes, any person in an executive or managerial position, here is what struck me about that line. Indeed, computers are not “the thing” and neither is HR Software. The software is merely an effective “tool”, an “enabler”, a mechanism, to get to “THE thing”. I believe that HCM software’s features and functions, of any and all types, aligned with a visionary administrator in support of an equally visionary end user and senior executive who seeks “information” is the pathway to get to or achieve “the thing” for a company. So, what is “THE thing”? A simple answer – it is the end result. An improved, quantifiable betterment of any aspect of a company for which the component(s) of HR technology are in play, supporting the company’s practices procedures and mission/vision. The use of HR software technology, of any type, with any delivery mode, must be positioned as the key tool to support the visionary leader(s) of any organization, large or small, simple or complex, helping it to achieve the company’s “big thing” – whatever that is.  And most often, it is improved overall corporate performance – at any measure. By using delivered capabilities such as Employee and Manager Self Service,  Employee Portals, Workflows and Best Practices, portability, mobility of access/input, integration  with Social Media, and especially Workforce Analytics with dashboard and graphical displays of trends and forecasts, the funny sounding dialogue proves to be much more that just a play on redundant repetitive words. The understanding of the sentence’s meaning – when applied to the mindset of HR provider and user alike, becomes a great  message for all concerned about the role  of Human Resources or Human  Capital and its very important, useful and supportive technology. The thing is, (intended use, couldn’t resist) – the tools are already in place – provided by the HR technology community.  It just takes an understanding of “THE thing” for your company. Marc Miller July 29,...

“I DIDN’T GET INTO HR TO DO THIS CRAP!” Inside the mind of an HR Technology Executive.

So, you’re in HR. Maybe working in the vast realm of HR administration performing or overseeing a wide variety of day to day operations carrying out such activities as performance management, succession plan programs, benefits administration, even payroll record keeping. Most likely you are interacting with your company’s HR technology underpinnings whatever they may be: a large ERP (such as from SAP or Oracle/PeopleSoft), an integrated with Payroll HRMS (such as from Ultimate or Workday), a best of breed HRIS with or without Payroll (ADP, Ceridian, PeopleStrategy and many others), or a niche application related to Recruiting and Talent management. Whatever the type of system(s), it is a good bet that you are needing to move data between and among systems and other files – and have to deal with excel inputs and outputs and other customized data aggregations. Sadly, this effort is, more often than not, time intense and frustrating. And it is work that by no means results in anything of a strategic value to your company. After all when do spreadsheets or columns of old static data do that? Maybe your thoughts go something like this: Darn, I am so frustrated, even bored with this job (Your mindset echoes the title of this missive). After all I  have read in many places  about the need for HR to be able to prove and show Value, to anticipate C-level concerns, to be ”Heroic”, to seek “Clout” and  to leverage technology’s best practices and features (such as Employee and Manager Self Service, workflow, effective reporting)  and yes, to generate  forward projections and trending, I seem stuck.  Forget BIG DATA, that’s out of my expertise, seems to be only about humongous and multiple data files, including social media. I will let others focus on that, those darn hot shot recent graduates and social scientists.  I am not sure it even applies to what I want to do with my job here in Human Resource. Oh my, I am at a barrier, I sense this.  Yes, I think I have been able to use the technology that I have available to me to the best of my abilities. Yep, I still have to deal with file imports and exports, data mapping, etc. I have been about to cut cycle time, and have reduced steps in some workflows. In fact I created a bunch of template reports and announced them internally. I even added some simple Social Media interaction to my HR portal portion of my company’s website. And yes, HR is less hands on – doing less “administrivia”. My staff is taking a greater role in policy and program planning.  But am I and my group considered a strategic partner? a valuable business partner?  a member of the Advisory Committee?  Can I ever be elevated to C-level status? Hmmm, doubtful, at least in the foreseeable future. Nope, just got to keep those reports and HR programs running smoothly.  So, I’m in a rut, frustrated, my time is spent watching over data cleansing, data transfers, building reports and making them available. Feedback is minimal. Phones don’t ring much. My internal visibility is ebbing. What do I need? Why did I get into HR in the first place? To be a data manager? No. I (my Department) needs something that is innovative, eye catching and even more importantly, meaningful. Something that raises my personal profile and the influence of the HR function within this company of mine.  Aha, Workforce Analytics – all the rage. That’s the ticket!  But how? My current environment is a mess. Many technologies, files, sub systems, Excel outputs. Nothing connected, nothing integrated. The data is here somewhere, possibly in systems I don’t even have access to, thus not easy to capture and even worse, almost impossible to combine and then generate some kind of meaningful output, no less a “dashboard” which might be of interest to the higher ups to see and understand at a glance.  How can I do that without a whole new HRMS? or at least an upgrade or add on? Gee, another multi year implementation? A new HRT solution provider? I have no un- accounted for budget funding.  OMG.  No way. What the @#@#&*!!@!!!!!  Yes, there is a way.  Well, my fellow HR Technologists, I have some good news. I recently came across a new Workforce Analytics vendor – in Ottawa, Canada. PeopleInsight, that offers a remarkable new capability. With their approach and algorithms, you are no longer dependent on having or needing an HRIS/HRMS/HCM Technology solution in order to generate the needed files leading to graphically pleasing professionally displayed strategic HR value added information as metrics. PeopleInsight will...

FIVE KEYS FOR ANY HR TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS PROVIDER TO “WIN THE DEAL”

FIVE KEYS FOR ANY HR TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS PROVIDER TO “WIN THE DEAL’ By: Marc S. Miller – President, Marc S. Miller Associates May 5, 2014. As many readers might know, as a long time HRTechnology consultant, I have had the opportunity of working with client’s and vendors in providing vendor evaluation techniques thought leadership / business development activities and guidance to my clients and for many of the key vendors in our marketplace. After witnessing and participating in 100’s of vendor sales cycle activities, I have determined that the following might be considered the keys to a successful sale for any vendor in the HR technology space – any type of vendor; those offering HCM integrated solutions, best of breed HRIS, large scale HRMS, and niche players offering specific HR related functionality such as Recruiting. These are my considered opinions, and I offer them in order to see continued success to my fellow HR Technologists, as vendors or users or both.   Listen carefully to the business practices, data management, workflow and reporting issues voiced as areas of dissatisfaction or “pain” by your prospects. For each disappointment voiced or dissatisfaction expressed, strive to develop and demonstrate your products ability to lessen that discomfort by showing your products features and functions and underpinnings. Show it. Create “scenarios of pain” that mirror the activities in place now, and then show how that “pain” is lessoned with your product via your demonstrations – using your demo database. Never force your standard solution or “out of the box’ vanilla solution on your prospect. Rather, show how your solution can be altered to fit the prospects situation and provide a reasonable and manageable solution, one that is almost intuitive by nature and one that can (if needed) allow the prospect to agree to change their process or practice, or at least adapt what you believe is the most reasonable solution for them. One that you have demonstrated reduces the “pain”. Talk frequently of building a business relationship or partnership with your prospect. Show an understanding of their business, and always voice a (hopefully) common belief in the importance of a strategic HR (Payroll and Benefits) role in their organization and how your organization and your product will “together” seek empirical bottom line improvements as a result of your mutual activities. And emphasize your commitment to the power and strategic value of HR related functionality as evidenced by your features and functions now and in any future product enhancements (or releases). Show that all your staff, from your most senior executives (best case, your President or Founder) to your customer service people (post “go live”) know and understand the “Business of HR/Payroll and Benefits”, and that that emphasis has been the underlying focus of your organization’s vision and growth since your inception. Prove it by getting similar client organization representatives to speak of that commitment and proof of action to your prospect. Keeping these five tenants in mind, I believe should go a long way in guiding your activities during any length sales cycle, and should result in your delivering your products’ capabilities to a satisfied and reference- able new client. And, if you are the prospect or “buyer” – then choose the vendor that meets, or otherwise proves to you and your team that these 5 tenants are meaningful to them. Marc Marc S. Miller...

HR Metrics – ideas for some HR Metrics that do not come to mind ordinarily.

Organization wide HR Metrics – some common omissions Here are some HR metrics that can give insight into what and why things are happening in an organization. Of course many of these metrics are typically available in other reports within your organization, but including them in the over-all “report card” or “dashboard” will significantly increase the overall impact of your HR technology and HR’s position as a strategic business partner.  Change in the productivity of the overall employee population  (output less costs) HR customer satisfaction data (courtesy and quality of service) Response time to requests for HR help/ information Quality of our hires (performance of recent hires) “People Profit” The number of people dollars spent in order to get one dollar of profit Employee pulse/ satisfaction. What are the employees saying on Social Media. HRIS related performance and customer service metrics Back fill capabilities in case of turnover and succession planning success Quarterly Human Asset review and overall HR performance index Identifying via metrics those managers who are considered “weak” or show a significant trend in hindering promotions of their direct reports, or how are evaluated poorly by their direct reports. A list of critical terminations and open positions Percentage of employees that feel challenged, believe they are “growing”, and are recognized by manager (for retention purposes) – via specific metrics on “employee engagement”  List of “key” or High performing employees that are at risk of leaving  Competency “gaps’ between needed and actual capabilities – based on corporate strategies and future...

Launching a Successful Onboarding Initiative – how HR technology helps – written for HRCloud

Launching a Successful Onboarding Initiative How to incorporate technology and measure ROI Organizations are using a formal onboarding initiative to gain impressive and important benefits related to improving the longevity of new hires as well as increasing the efficiency of the recruiting process. An effective onboarding program will have a bottom line impact and will result in newly hired employees becoming productive sooner. This paper focuses on the more specific details of the activities that should be included in an organizations onboarding program, and how onboarding can be directly tied to organizational performance. Additionally the importance and impact of needed HR technology in support of the onboarding process will be discussed. FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE, PLEASE GO TO… http://hrcloud.com/white-papers/ Thank you Marc S...