Category: HR Technology

The Human Touch – #HRTechConf 2016

Posted on October 18th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

The 2016 HR Technology Conference has now come and gone; another year, another fantastic show.  This year’s iteration offered all that one has come to expect, and then some.  The addition of the Women in HR Technology pre-conference summit was certainly a highlight (but you can read all about that in my previous post).

The one thing I do love about this show is that it seems to continue to reinvent itself, and keeps pushing forward with new ideas and new concepts.  But at its core, it remains true to its purpose: showcasing how technology can improve the HR function, and how it will continue to shape and reshape the function into the future.  And each year, I see certain themes that seem to appear over and over again throughout the week.  Interestingly this year, at a show focused on technology, the themes I picked up on all seemed to center on humans.

 Read the full post on the HR Tech Insiders blog.

 

 

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Women In Technology at #HRTechConf 2016

Posted on September 22nd, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. 1 Comment

We’re now past the halfway point of September, and summer officially comes to a close this week.  That can only mean that the HR Technology Conference is right around the corner!  This year’s event moves back to Chicago from its typical Las Vegas location, and will take place from October 4th – 7th at McCormick Place.

This show still holds strong as one of my favorite events in the world of HR conferences, which is why I continue to serve as an official blogger, and am even stepping up to speak this year (shameless plug!).  I believe it continues to be more important than ever with each passing year for great HR pros to have a good handle on what technology can do to make our lives easier and businesses more efficient and effective…

 

Read the full post on the HR Tech Insiders blog

 

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Machines, Insights, and Team Leaders – #HRTechConf 2015

Posted on October 29th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

Another HR Technology Conference has come and gone….another year, another great show filled with ideas, predictions, and of course all manners of technological innovations, from the smallest start-ups, to the latest and greatest from the big, established players in the space.

I’ve commented in the past that what I enjoy most about this show is that it’s not just about seeing what’s new from a product perspective – all though of course that continues to be a critical part of it.  But it’s a conference that continues to evolve and offer not just new technologies, but also plenty of examples of exactly how organizations are using technology to solve real-world problems, as well as exposure to what may be coming and how that may impact how we do business.  And as an HR practitioner, that’s really, really important stuff to know.

Read the rest of the post over at the HRTech Insiders blog.

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The Countdown Is On For #HRTechConf 2015 – Here’s What I’m Expecting

Posted on October 14th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

We are now officially less than a week away from the 2015 edition of the HR Technology Conference and I for one am now if full out psyched up mode! Yes, I know I’m an “official blogger” for the show so of course I’d say great things about it, but the truth is, I’ve been a fan of this conference long before I was an official blogger. The content is innovative, the speakers are folks from whom you really want to hear, and the Expo Hall is bigger than anything you’ll see at another HR conference. But you can check out the agenda and see that for yourself.

Read the full post over at the HRTech Insiders blog

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Fear of Technology Is Just An Excuse #HRTechConf

Posted on September 15th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. 1 Comment

As Labor Day has now come and gone, and the long and sultry days of summer begin shifting towards the cooler, brisker days of fall, the change in seasons also brings us just a little bit closer to the mecca of all things HR tech related, the annual HR Technology Conference.  As we approach what is one of my favorite conferences of the year, of course I begin thinking more and more about the role of technology in our lives and in our companies.  Not that it’s a topic I don’t consider throughout the year, but this time of year it tends to get a much more dedicated amount of consideration in my thoughts.

Despite the fact that I blog, regularly musing about the state of HR and how we can make ourselves and the profession better, at the core I’m an HR practitioner.  That’s my day job, the one that pays the bills.  And though writing has become somewhat of a passion for me, a hobby that I think actually makes me a better HR practitioner, and it’s fun to play the role of industry analyst from time to time, I do in fact hold a job where I’m in the trenches day after day, dealing with a lot of the “unsexy” HR stuff, in addition to the fun, more strategic projects on which I have the opportunity to work.

Read the full post over at the HR Tech Insiders Blog

 About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.

 

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Are You Ready To Get Your Tech On? #HRTechConf

Posted on July 30th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

Although it’s still the middle of the sultry summer and it seems like the cooler days of the Fall are still a long way off, like it or not they’ll be here before we know it.  And when I think of Fall, that always brings one thing to mind….the HR Technology Conference.  This year’s show is scheduled from October 18th-21st, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

As an HR practitioner who spends a great deal of my time in the trenches, dealing with the day to day challenges of balancing the needs of employees with the needs of the organization, I often get the question, “Why HR Tech?”  The perception tends to be that HR Tech is just for “systems type” folks, and to be honest, that’s what I always thought at first.  But nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s becoming even less and less so each subsequent year.

Read the full post over at the HR Tech Insiders Blog

 

 About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.

 

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Checking In From #Excellence15 Day 1 – Technology Selection & Implementation

Posted on January 28th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

I’ve arrived in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the inaugural Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Conference, and Day 1 kicked off with two powerhouse pre-conference workshops.  I had the opportunity to attend “Making The Right Technology Choice: Key Practices in Selecting Your Next System,” facilitated by Brandon Hall’s Michael Rochelle (Chief Strategy Officer), David Wentworth (Senior Learning Analyst), and Trish McFarlane (VP of Human Resources, Principal Analyst).

 

This workshop alone was worth the price of admission with its hands-on approach and the framework provided to assist participants in selecting new technology.  Too often, too many of us flounder through selection and implementation, without a solid plan in place.  Or maybe we’ve never had the opportunity to lead an implementation and have no idea where to start.  Either way, without a solid plan the risk of implementation failure is high.  Michael, along with the help of David and Trish, walked us through a very thorough framework for the selection process.

 

Not to give away all of the secrets (hey, you had to be there for that!), but some of the keys to this process included:

 

Planning & Alignment

Build a business case, including a champion and internal team, a list of “must-haves” with a clear focus on the unmet business needs you are trying to meet, and develop a solid change management and communication strategy.  Keep in mind that the best technology solution is useless if you can’t get folks to buy into using it, and good technology doesn’t fix bad processes.

 

Discovery

Educate yourself about what’s happening in the technology landscape.  Don’t rely on vendors alone, but rather take it upon yourself to get up to speed to put yourself on a level playing field with the providers.  And then identify and prioritize your requirements: ask yourself how you are going to use the system most of the time, and focus your priorities on the functionality you can’t live without.  Build a use case, putting yourself in the role of your various stakeholders/users and ask what each needs from the system, and use that to prioritize your requirements.

 

Vendor Evaluation and Selection

The biggest mistake that organizations make in deciding whether or not a provider is the right fit is focusing too much on their current needs and failing to think about what their future needs may be.  Take the time to set your demo agenda, including a focus on features, navigation, ease of use, integration capabilities, technical support, and implementation timelines and responsibilities.  Again, have an excellent and current understanding of the providers in the market, and realize that there is no “perfect provider,” so be prepared to go in with eyes wide open.  Use requests for information to begin aligning your business needs with the solutions that providers offer.  Then use a technology selection scorecard to ensure that your needs and requirements are met and to compare providers, compare pricing, and think longer term when you’re negotiating contracts.

 

Implementation

Have a change management strategy in place that includes stakeholder analysis, a risk mitigation plan, and a communication plan.  Realize that not everything is going to go well, so try to predict the potential pitfalls and be prepared to address and neutralize the naysayers.  Assess your organization’s change readiness, then communicate why the change is happening, the importance of it, and what the benefits will be.  And remember that implementation never actually stops; user adoption is continuous, and winning the hearts and minds of your users is an ongoing project.


2015….Welcome to the Future

Posted on January 13th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, HR Technology. 1 Comment

By now inevitably you’ve seen some sort of media coverage detailing how the “Back to the Future” franchise got it both wrong and right.

 

That’s right, the future is here. In the second installation of the 80’s trilogy, Marty McFly travels to the far-distant future of 2015.  Or at least the 1985 version of what 2015 would look like.  Though some of that 1985 speculation wasn’t that far off (video calls, biometric payment options, huge flat screen televisions), much of it was certainly ambitious thinking (home fusion energy reactors, flying cars, self-sizing clothing).

 

For all of the fun that it is to compare what the movie got right and wrong, there’s also another side to the discussion that hasn’t been explored.  For each of those speculations that have not come to fruition, there are just as many every day components of our reality that could probably never have been imagined in 1985.

 

In 1985, could we have imagined that through the power of smart phones, most people would hold in the palm of their hand more computing power and access to information than was available to entire governments then?  In 1985, clouds were strictly a weather phenomenon; today “the cloud” holds a whole different meaning.  Tablets were pads of paper, a very different definition than what you think when you hear that word today.  There was no concept of or hint to what social networking would become through the vast digital networks and tools we now have available, and how they are being applied not to just our personal lives, but to business effectiveness and productivity as well.

 

For everything that did not happen as predicted in the movie, other technologies have been developed and subsequently improved at rates we could never have anticipated in the mid-80s, or even more recently for that matter.  In many ways, our lives are completely interconnected through technology.  Technology enables the average person today to receive more information in one day than someone would receive in their entire lifetime in 1900; that’s not going to slow down any time soon.  And over the holidays, I had a moment that was a powerful reminded me of that.

 

My 2 year old nephew received a tablet for Christmas.

 

Now you could argue that the “tablet” he received was a simplified version of a fully-functional “adult” tablet.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that my two-year old nephew instinctively knew how to use that tablet.  That he knows how to access Siri on an iPhone – he can’t talk to her yet, but he knows how to find her and what to do with her.  He has seen his siblings doing these things from the time he could comprehend, and is now using these technologies before he can even put a full, intelligible sentence together.

 

We are living in a “future” where kids are using technologies in some cases before they can even talk.  These technologies are ingrained into their lives right from the beginning.  This is certainly not a new phenomenon this year, it’s a shift that’s been occurring for a little while now, as evidenced by the term “digital native” that’s been in use for several years is discussions of generations.  But it’s becoming something that as business professionals we can no longer afford to ignore.

 

As employers, we are soon going to be hiring these same kids who have used technology since before they could talk.  Even sooner for those of us who work in industries that tend to employ teenagers and young adults (retail, food service, hospitality).  Yet as businesses, many still lag pitifully behind when it comes to technology.  Maybe not in the technologies we use to connect with the outside world and our customers, but with how we connect with our employees and future or prospective employees.
We insist on subjecting employees and candidates to mind-numbingly long manual processes, or if we do have digital ones in place, they are exceedingly complex, contrary to the digital simplicity present in our app-laden world.

 

Why do we do this?  Because we can?  Because THEY want to join OUR organization so we call the shots?

 

That mentality can be our downfall.  As we continue into the future, if we as HR pros allow our businesses to remain out of touch and outdated, we risk losing talent to those who keep pace.  It’s our job to be aware, to understand the pulse of those we want to employ, and translate that back to our businesses.

 

The future is here.  It may not look like what we thought it would in the 80s, but in many ways, it’s more than we imagined.  And we need to keep up.

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 


HR Tech Wrap Up: Key Takeaways for HR Practitioners #HRTechConf

Posted on October 23rd, by Jennifer Payne in HR Technology. 3 comments

Earlier this week I talked about my initial impressions of this year’s HR Technology Conference – how upon arriving back home and beginning to process everything I learned I was left feeling a bit overwhelmed, and how that feeling is actually a positive thing.  If you missed that post, you can check it out here.  Today I wanted to touch on some of the key ideas and themes I took away from this year’s show.

 

There’s an App for That

As our worlds outside of work become more and more connected, instantaneous, and mobile, there’s becoming more of an expectation that life inside work will mirror that.  Candidates and employees expect a consumer-like experience with their technologies.  In the session “How Digital Radically Disrupts HR,” Accenture’s Anthony Abbatiello discussed several trends that are reshaping the future of HR, and one of those was new channels for service delivery.  As HR learns to “break away from the desktop,” mobile and social technologies will augment our HR services, allow us to reach our geographically dispersed and extended workforces, drive new ways to engage our employees, and even allow us to better anticipate employee needs when we utilize social listening tools.  Not only do these social and mobile technologies help up to meet an expectation that our organizations are functioning like the outside world, but they allow us much more timely (even instantaneous) reactions to our employee and business needs.

 
Data, Data Everywhere

You cannot attend an HR technology related conference without hearing the term “big data” over and over.  But this year it started to become more of a discussion of not necessarily “big data,” but just data in general and how it can be used to make HR more effective.  Anthony Abbatiello in his session proposed that HR insight is the new leading edge – big data will help HR gather actionable insights for better business decisions, and that theme showed up throughout the show.  Andrew McAfee from MIT, in his keynote “Making the Right Choices in the Second Machine Age,” demonstrated how data based decisions consistently outperform gut based decisions, and talked about how the business world needs to become “geekier.”  As HR professionals, we need to encourage considering viewpoints beyond the “HIPPO” – or the “highest paid person’s opinion” – because they tend to be gut reactions rather than data based decisions.  In addition, we need to continue to encourage input from those that come from outside of our companies and industries, because that’s where some of the truly innovative thinking comes from.  In Thursday’s General Session, “Workforce 2020: How Data and Analytics will Shape the Workplace,” we were encouraged to use data to keep us close to the hearts and minds of our top performers; for instance using data to determine whether or not we’re losing the wrong people who are taking their knowledge and innovative thinking elsewhere.  Which HR professional wouldn’t want to know that?

 
Where Man Meets Machine

No, robots are not going to take over the workforce.  At least not yet.  But as technology gets smarter…to the point that it’s not just spitting out data, but actually manipulating data to tell compelling stories, we need to figure out where the intersection of man and machine is for optimal results.  Andrew McAfee talked about how humans are especially good at complex communication, but technology is getting surprisingly good at it too.  As our technology gets smarter, we’re getting closer to the point we can feed data into machines and get an actual story or narrative back.  Though, despite technological advances, humanity will never be pushed completely out of the picture, as HR pros we still need to start rethinking the balance between technology and humanity and how that affects our business processes.  It will become our jobs to find the best way to combine human and digital intelligence.

 

Every time I think I’m finally starting to understand all of the technology available to us as HR practitioners, and the implications of that technology, I attend the HR Technology Conference and realize everything has changed and evolved.

And THAT’s why I’ll keep going back.  See you in Vegas next October!

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.


HR Tech Wrap Up: Overwhelmed and Loving It #HRTechConf

Posted on October 21st, by Jennifer Payne in HR Technology. 3 comments

It’s about a week and a half since the 2014 version of the HR Technology Conference wrapped up in Las Vegas.  I once again had the opportunity to attend as part of the social media & blogging team, my second time attending the full conference.  I continue to be impressed by the sheer size of the conference, as well as the variety of topics and tracks available.  It’s a conference that’s not just about seeing new technologies or new iterations of existing technologies available to help with our HR needs (though there is plenty of that if that’s what you’re looking for).  But it goes beyond that to offer insights into HOW various companies are leveraging the technology available to address their HR challenges, and WHY we, as HR practitioners, need to be not just aware, but knowledgeable enough to be able to make recommendations as to how our organizations can leverage existing and yet to come technologies to maximize the effectiveness of our employees and drive success for our companies.

I have to admit that I walked away from this year’s conference a little overwhelmed.  You see, I come from an interesting, dual viewpoint.  In my day to day job as it currently exists, I don’t have much opportunity to work with or make decisions about the technologies we currently have in place.  So to take what I hear and learn about at the conference and put it into perspective from a real-life, day to day, life in the trenches outlook becomes a bit of a challenge.  But as a blogger, and someone who is (at least I like to think) a big picture and future focused thinker, I’m fascinated by what’s happening in the space.  So this conference becomes a place where I’m soaking in as much as I can for my own benefit, while at the same time trying to pull it all together, step outside of my day-to-day responsibilities, and think about and share what I’ve learned from a much bigger perspective.  And that can be a little overwhelming, but in a very good way.

You see, that feeling of being overwhelmed is a sign to me that it’s critically important for me to be at this conference.  And it’s a sign that it’s probably important for many more HR practitioners, who are not that much different than me, to be there as well.  Because even though we might not be responsible for technology in our day to day jobs now, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t become more knowledgeable.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make it our business to understand what’s out there and how it could make us more efficient and effective.  Maybe more of us need to take the reins in our organizations and help drive decisions about how technology could and should make our processes and functions better drivers of business success.

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to attend it, there was quite a bit of buzz around the conference and on social media about one of Jason Averbrook’s (Chief Innovation Officer at Appirio) sessions in which he offered this bit of advice and wisdom: “We are all technologists.”

Think about that.  What that’s saying is that as HR professionals, we have an obligation to understand technology.  We live in a world where technology is everywhere, and is constantly changing, and we have a responsibility to ensure what happens inside our organizations mirrors the reality of the world outside of our organizations.  And if we as HR leaders, and our HR teams, don’t have the skills to be technologists, we need to start teaching ourselves and our teams those skills. The HR Technology Conference is a place where we can come to ensure that we stay abreast of what’s happening in the space.  Is all of right for every organization?  No, of course not.  Do we have a responsibility as HR leaders to understand the key trends so that we can make informed decisions about what’s best for our individual organizations?  You bet.

Check back later this week when I’ll share some of the key themes I picked out from this year’s show.

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.