Category: HR Technology

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

Posted on October 23rd, by Jennifer Payne in HR Technology. No 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. 2 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.

 

 


Technology, Smechtology

Posted on October 14th, by Dorothy Douglass in Business and Workplace, HR Technology. 3 comments

What does the word “technology” do to your blood pressure when you hear it?  How about “digital space?”  “Social media?”

Your answer may be different depending on a few things:

  • Your age;
  • Your geography;
  • Your career choice; and possibly,
  • Any expectations you’ve been given for using (or not using) technology.

For the record, I’m 53.  I’m an HR professional – I am in banking, now for 13+ years, healthcare for 5 years prior, and in small business for 7+ years, with an even earlier working stint in the public welfare sector.  I remember when the fax machine came out – I was ecstatic over the ability to move information faster, but had to wait until some of our vendors and clients “caught up” and caught on to the efficiency.  I remember when I refused to use a computer mouse – I told my husband, “why should I, when  I have all the function buttons memorized?”  Remember F1, F2, F3?

I remember calling my husband (he was so tech-savvy back then!) from work so he could teach me this thing called ‘mail merge.’  Once I had a staff of 35 employees, I wasn’t going to type and retype names & addresses in my quarterly employee newsletter.  And finally, did anyone delete all those requests back around the years 2002 – 2005 to “connect with your colleague Joe Schmoe” on something called LinkedIn?  Yes.  I did.  I deleted them.

I live in the conservative Midwest, and in a smaller community.  Hence, our population in general may be behind in the learning curve and usage of social media.  My age group is, too – I’m often frustrated because I seem to still have close friends (who live thousands of miles away) who refuse to use social media.  Any of it.  I occasionally get a phone call, “did you know that Susie is fighting thyroid disease?  No one told me, I’m so upset.”  And actually, Susie posted the information herself on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere in the digital world. Ce la vie.

At a recent round table of HR banking professionals in my home state, we gathered to discuss HR topics. One of our frustrations was our trade association’s change of communication from a list-serv email to their website.  To ask questions and share dilemmas with colleagues, we need to now learn something new.  And different.  And that is hard – for everyone.  We HR professionals had to take a (difficult) look in the mirror and do what we often coach others to do – get with the program, learn new technology, adapt to change.  Tough one.

I have to say, even for an “oldster,” I was surprised to hear that some of my HR colleagues still use paper applications when recruiting,  aren’t engaged in the digital space, and aren’t on LinkedIn.   I believe I also heard some of our collegial competitors still discourage internet usage and social media usage in the workplace.  For me, I found that sad – even freely stating that I was NOT an early adopter, and I am still fairly tech-UNsavvy.

I contend that for HR to earn that proverbial seat at the executive level table (aka the C-suite), HR professionals need to be disruptors.  Using social technologies can be disruptive and when learned and used in a positive way,  a change agent.  We need to question the status quo, make some decisions then ask for forgiveness, and we need to step up and lead.  Human Resources has been administrative – almost forever, right?  The “Personnel” departments of old were there to support operations, process paperwork, deliver payroll, file employee records, administer benefit programs, and write policies.

We still serve some of those administrative needs, but HR can be so much more to the organization.  We need to ask the question “Why?”  Why are we doing it this way, why aren’t we adapting new technologies, why don’t we invest in an HRIS?  From my small corner of the world, we can help drive cultural shifts and mentalities, albeit slowly, and often with much assistance from other business drivers.  Some of that comes from learning to use technology – it’s not going away.

Here are some ideas for HR professionals to consider:

  • Have an open mind to change.   Most of us no longer hand out cash on pay day, and many of us no longer hand out paper paychecks either.  We have electronic means of delivering pay, so why wouldn’t we want to move along that continuum with everything HR does?  From recruiting to performance management,  HR is getting electronically delivered out there in many places – more efficiently, and often more effectively.
  • Get social.  Take a look, in your off-time, at the social spaces out there.  LinkedIn is NOT just a tool people use for a job search.  Not anymore.  Ease into social media, one place at a time.  It can be overwhelming.  Join Facebook and just look around for a while.  You don’t have to post.  Same with LinkedIn – see what other HR professionals are doing in the social space.  There are a ton of HR blogs out there, many are fabulous to read, and provide good tips.  Seek out one you like and follow them for a bit to get a feel.

To move the Human Resources profession up, each of us has a responsibility to be continuous learners, and mostly, to learn to live in the digital spaces.  Good luck!  You can do this!

[One of these days, I might even get that blog started…. Yes, change happens slowly.]

 

Photo Credit

About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.

 


Tech Tools Are Transforming the HR Profession

Posted on October 2nd, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, HR Technology. 1 Comment

Human resources is the driving component in any organization. HR professionals deal with the day-to-day tasks of every aspect of every employee’s job, and the task list is endless. Job description, wages, pay scale, recruiting and hiring employees, union conflicts, the list goes on and on.

But with the advent of sophisticated software, tools and apps, HR is more efficient than ever before. Here are some of ways technology is contributing to HR growth and development:

Employee screening software

HR software has made it easier to choose qualified employees. Screening software can take a company’s list of potential employees and company requirements for a job and, by using complicated algorithms, is able to screen and sort through the list and end up with the best matches for your organization, both locally and globally.

Mobile apps

Using mobile apps to track employees and the time they spend on their jobs is making the task much less time consuming for HR. There are now mobile apps to approve time cards, access pay stubs, track payments, and even check recruiting activity, all from an employer’s phone. Mobile apps can increase and improve interaction between employers and employees, in addition to giving senior management better and more direct access to the services needed for better decision making, reports the Society for Human Resources Management.

The Cloud

The cloud has completely changed the way companies store their data. With HR, this means not only being able to store and access data in a much larger capacity, but, if done correctly, having the ability to do so more securely.

Gamification

Using game-playing techniques in business to motivate employees is fast becoming the norm. Mariott has developed an online game that gives users a chance to assume the responsibilities of hotel management, and then gives virtual rewards that make the hotel industry more appealing to those users. The game is an excellent recruiting tool and encourages users to demonstrate their abilities and ignite their interest in hospitality as a chosen career.

HR can also employ gamification to train newly hired employees, reports Wired. Instead of having to sit through lectures, new hires can play games that inform them of all the things a lecture would have given them, in addition to giving them ways to interact with other employees in the company they haven’t met.

Video Interviewing

Hiring someone face-to-face (or through a video screen) can produce better results than hiring an employee based on his resume, which is why video interviewing is perfect for HR. If an employer has almost decided on a potential employee, video interviewing can make or break that decision, notes U.S. News & World Report. HR employers can require potential employees to send in their resume and qualifications via a video recording. Most smartphones have amazing cameras, so the technology is accessible to most potential employees. Also, a video interview can be conducted from anywhere in the world; it is not necessary for an applicant to drive or fly to an potential employer’s office.

Indeed, technology has taken human resources into a world that never existed before. It makes completing necessary tasks not only more exciting and efficient, but helps companies hire employees that are the “cream of the crop” of the industry.

Even with the successful advent of technology into human resources, though, we would do well to remember that it cannot provide the human component. Can technology evolve enough to compensate for the lack of human component? Only time will tell.

 

Photo Credit

 

About the Author: Lori Cline is a versatile freelance writer who covers a variety of topics. An accomplished and award-winning writer in various areas, she currently owns and operates a beauty, health, and wellness website and just released her first book. She lives with her daughter in the western United States.


Technology and Data: Friend, Foe, Or…

Posted on September 25th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Technology, On My Mind. 1 Comment

I often draw inspiration for posts from articles in Time Magazine.  It’s fun at times to examine a trend or phenomenon in the world or popular culture and try to relate it back to human resources, business, or the workplace.  In the past I’ve opined about women as breadwinners and mindfulness in the workplace to name a few.  So when a recent issue of the magazine called “The Answers Issue” discussed the idea and ramifications of Big Data, I couldn’t resist.

 

Anyone who has spent even half a second following HR trends knows that Big Data is a hot topic.  Big Data, for anyone who may not be aware, is essentially the multitude of information available through our digital activities and habits that can be harnessed to make predictions about what we might do next….on the consumer side which products we might be interested in buying, movies we might like to watch, songs we may want to download.  Or in the case of human resources and recruiting, when we may be ready to make a job change based on social profile activities…even if we haven’t even realized it yet ourselves or taken any proactive job search steps.

 

The feature article in the Answers Issue, called “The Second Age of Reason” discussed information overload and how it is currently and will continue to make our lives better.  How we’ve become so much more efficient based on the proliferation of information right at our fingertips…that answers to so many questions and the collective wisdom of millions are all within our reach, as long as our smartphone is within reach.  Just as all of this data is available to companies to assist them in operating more efficiently, the answers at our fingertips can make more efficient and help us to make better, more informed decisions in a fraction of the time it used to.  More data equals better answers, in theory.

 

But then the author warned of the downside of this kind of data efficiency.  In discussing the marvel of modern dating apps and how they can make the whole process of dating more efficient…no awkward small talk with strangers at parties or bars, and algorithms that send seemingly great matches right to your phone…he also recognized that there was probably no algorithm in the world that would have matched him with his wife.  Perhaps a little randomness and chance from time to time isn’t a bad thing?

 

So what does this have to do with HR?

 

We are working in an industry that, like much of the rest of the world, now has incredible technologies available to help us do our jobs better, faster, and with more precision than ever before.  Predictive analytics solutions can help us better target potential candidates for our job openings, social recruiting technologies can help us source more (and better candidates), and all sorts of core HR and talent management technologies can help us track payroll, employee performance data, career development plans, or facilitate better employee collaboration and information sharing.  And for the most part, this is a great thing.  I love the possibilities that technology provides, and in fact I’m looking forward to once again attending the HR Technology Conference in a few weeks to hear about how other companies are utilizing the solutions available, the latest trends, and the exciting new developments in the space.

 

But, like the author of the Time article, I also offer this caution:  in our haste to leverage the latest and greatest technologies to make us better HR professionals, let not forget that at the core we are human resource professionals.  Let’s not become slaves to the technology to the point that we forget that we are dealing with people.  And those people are complex, and don’t always fit nicely into an algorithm.  Maybe the best candidate for a job isn’t the one that your ATS delivers to you, maybe it’s a friend of a coworker – someone who on the surface has relatively little direct experience, but upon further investigation, has some of the skills, is trainable, and is an amazing cultural fit.  And the answers or advice to give to an employee whose performance is suffering due to a complicated personal situation….that’s probably not found in a tech solution either.

 

I think the key to remember is to use technology to help us make better decisions, but not rely solely on it.

 

Maybe that’s why Tinder as a dating app is so popular.  It doesn’t rely on a complicated algorithm.  It doesn’t use twenty five factors of compatibility yet at the same time ignore human chemistry.  It simply matches people by a few limited criteria and simple proximity….and then lets the humans do the rest.  The technology facilitates the process of meeting…but relies on the complex human personality and spirit to determine success.

 

Let’s not forget that HR pros.

 

See you at HR Tech!

 

Photo Credit

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.


5 Must-Have Apps for HR Professionals

Posted on May 8th, by a Guest Contributor in HR Technology. No Comments

 

In today’s fast paced world, life on-the-go is part of the job for many HR professionals. Getting the job done entails so much more than simply sitting in an office and pushing paper. Because technology has become such an integral part of so many offices and positions, it’s important to be able to stay in touch and accomplish your daily tasks no matter where you are. Here are a few must-have apps that can help make life a little less hectic for HR managers.

 

CamCard

If you travel to a number of hiring fairs or conferences, keeping track of business cards can be an issue. Losing a card can lead to a missed opportunity. With CamCard, it’s no longer an issue. This app allows you to digitize a business card and store a prospective employees’ contact information in your address book.

 

HelloSign

When you are on the fly, you may not always have access to a printer. With HelloSign, you don’t need one. This app allows you to sign documents without having to print them out first. This includes any kind of document you would like, such as employee contracts.

 

LinkedIn

While social media is all the rage, it isn’t always what it is cracked up to be. If you do plan to utilize social media for work purposes, LinkedIn is one of the best options for HR teams and professionals across the board. This isn’t a platform that is used to update your friends on what you had for dinner. This is a place for true professionals to make real connections and share valuable insights. It’s also a great place to announce new job openings, connect with clients, former (and future!) colleagues.

 

Small Improvements

Performance reviews comprise a key component of an HR professional’s domain. The Small Improvements app aims to make the performance review process easier. This app allows both management and employees to provide feedback in an anonymous setting. This makes for a continual process over time and not a one-time snap shot of an employee’s performance. Goals can also be set for the employee and recognition given when warranted. Information can be viewed in chart form as well as other formats.

 

Mail+ for Outlook

If you use Outlook as your organization-wide email program, this app is a must. It allows you to read your emails and update your calendar on any electronic device you use such as your smartphone or tablet. It’s a great way to stay accessible on-the-go and keep your team apprised even when you’re not physically present in the office.

 

There are hundreds of human resource apps available. Take a few moments out of your busy schedule and see what is out there. Without a doubt, you will find a few HR apps that can make your job easier and save you time.

 About the Author:  Beth Sager is a web copy specialist who writes B2B copy for large and small companies alike. She has two degrees in writing, as well as a degree in business and accounting. She has been freelancing for a number of years. In her spare time, you will find her taking walks with her two dogs, playing tennis, or painting abstract pictures. This article was provided by Drexel University Online, an accredited university that offers online master’s and bachelor’s degrees, perfect for professionals looking to move to the next level of their careers. 

 

 

 

 


HR Technology….Why Should I Care? #HRTechConf 2013

Posted on October 15th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Technology, Personal & Professional Development. 3 comments

I had the opportunity to attend the HR Technology Conference for the first time last week.  It took place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas from October 7 – 9, and for thousands who are active and influential in the HR technology space, it’s an annual pilgrimage anxiously awaited for the opportunity to see, hear about, discuss, and promote all that is the latest, greatest, and yet to come related to technology solutions for HR professionals.  But for the average HR practitioner, this conference may not even be on the radar; until recently, it wasn’t for me.  If you are that typical trench HR practitioner like me, you may ask yourself why you should be interested in such a specific, targeted HR conference when there are so many others from which to choose.  And until recently, I asked myself the same question.  After all, in my day to day job, I don’t really focus on the HR systems side of the business.  I don’t oversee payroll or HRIS, I focus more on talent management and learning & development.  But you see, that’s where I was misinformed.  The HR Technology Conference is not just for “systems” HR folks, it’s for everyone.  Or at least for everyone who is interested in keeping up with what’s next for HR and the tools to make themselves and their companies more efficient and competitive.

It only took a quick glance at the agenda to realize that there was so much more to this conference than just talking about systems.  It was an opportunity to learn from experts in the field about existing technologies, new technologies, and how these technologies can help you, as an HR practitioner, to do your job more effectively and efficiently.  Not everything discussed is right for every company, but it’s certainly worth learning about what other companies are doing and what’s available.

The Expo Hall was filled with a bigger assortment of HR technology solutions than one could ever imagine if you’ve never been there.  Everything from core HR, to time & attendance, to applicant tracking, talent management, learning management, assessment tools, and social recruiting & sourcing solutions.  It’s hard to believe that one of those areas doesn’t touch on something that every HR practitioner handles in some aspect of their job.  Again, not everything is for everyone, but it’s worth knowing what’s available.  You may not need it now, but you never know what you may need in the future.

Attending the NextGen Influencer panel provided valuable insight from several “up and coming” (though they were all already very established in their careers) HR professionals on how they’ve positioned themselves as the next influencers in the HR technology space.  Their real life examples and advice of how they got to where they are now would be useful to any HR practitioners looking to give themselves an edge and make  be just that much more informed and competitive than the next person.

The Awesome New Technologies for HR session offered the opportunity to listen to several companies discuss some truly cutting edge technologies.  Everything from recruiting analytics, to virtual onboarding, to predictive analytics that help you cull through previous candidates already in your ATS to identify those who may be looking again…the abilities these new technologies give us can be almost mind-boggling, yet fascinating to the everyday HR practitioner.

But perhaps the biggest value I received from attending this conference was the opportunity to be around some of the brightest minds in this space. To just listen to them talk.  To hear the terminology and trends.  Because even though I may not be using any of it in my day to day job now, that doesn’t mean I may not need it down the line, and it doesn’t mean the companies we compete with aren’t using it now.  It may be easy to argue that fancy HR tech is just for the “big guys” or for more high tech companies; but then again, there was a time that could have been said about PCs, email, or smart phones.  Technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, creating efficiencies we couldn’t have previously imagined.  Why shouldn’t that be the case in HR as well?  And if I’m going to give myself just a little bit of an edge by attending HR Tech and keeping up with those trends, well, I’ll be sure to be back at Mandalay Bay in October 2014!

 

Photo credit

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 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.


Smart Social Media Policy Starts With Managers: 5 Key Questions to Ask

With social media, what you don’t know can seriously hurt your organization. One 2010 survey found that employees estimate spending roughly four hours every day checking multiple email accounts, with up to two hours spent on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A 2012 Salary.com survey found that 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites daily. And don’t think blocking employee access to social media on company networks is the answer; personal smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, and easily fill the gap.

The rub for today’s organizations is that while social media use at work has definite risks, it also is one of the best ways to empower and engage employees. Increasingly, in our connected 24/7 businesses, the line between work and personal time is blurring. This is especially true for Generation Y employees; as long as they meet deadlines and deliver, these employees don’t feel that it’s particularly useful to distinguish between time spent updating Twitter or engaged in team meetings. Organizations may beg to differ, especially when an offensive or inappropriate blog post or tweet can damage their brand, lower employee morale, and even lead to workplace lawsuits.

Yet, most organizations don’t really know how their employees are using social media, either personally or professionally, let alone what impact it’s having on employees’ overall levels of productivity.

That’s why it’s so important, before you set policy, to know how your managers currently handle social media use at work, as well as how its use by employees is effecting their management. Get at these fundamental issues by asking managers five key questions:

  1. Have your employees’ use of social media ever triggered a workplace lawsuit or regulatory investigation?
  2. What impact have your employees’ personal use of social media during work hours had, if any, on their productivity?
  3. How do you use social media, if at all, to help manage your projects and employees?
  4. Have you reviewed all applicable federal and state laws governing electronic data content, usage, monitoring, privacy, e-discovery, data encryption, business records and other legal issues in all jurisdictions in which you operate, have employees or serve customers?
  5. Could you comply with a court-ordered “social media audit”, by producing legally compliant business blog posts, email messages, text messages and other electronically stored information (ESI) within 990 days?

Social media can speed innovation and collaboration, but ONLY if your employees know how to both use it as well as steer clear of its many pitfalls. Start by asking managers these simple questions; they often surface extremely important information that, especially in larger organizations, you may not have been aware of. Finally, remember that for reasons of both confidentiality and fear, getting access to this sort of information is not always easy. It’s therefore important that organizations create mechanisms by which examples of social media use (and abuse!) can be regularly shared with the broader employee base.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the author: Steve Miranda is Managing Director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), a leading partnership between industry and academia devoted to the field of global human resource management. He is also a faculty author of the new eCornell certificate program,Social Media in HR: From Policy to Practice. Prior to CAHRS, Miranda was Chief Human Resource and Strategic Planning Officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest professional HR association, serving over 260,000 members in over 100 countries.


HR Technology Research and Consulting: Meet Lexy Martin

Posted on June 13th, by Shauna Moerke in HR Technology, Women of HR Interviews. 2 comments

Good morning and welcome to “Inside the Actor's Studio.” I'm your host, James Lipton… nah, not really. I couldn't help myself though.

I am honored though to be heading up the latest Women of HR Series wherein I get to interview some amazing women that we think know you want to get to know better.

I've always felt that one of the true value of this site was the ability to learn from our awesome contributors and the rest of our amazing community. I hope you all feel the same.

First up, please meet Lexy Martin, Vice President, Research and Analytics for CedarCrestone. Lexy is responsible for CedarCrestone’s annual HR Systems Survey, now in its 15th year. She also provides strategy, business case, metrics and analytics services and deep dive benchmarking in all industries.Working with many of the leading HCM vendors, Lexi has helped develop their value propositions and conducted numerous surveys of their customer bases. Few researchers in HR technology can match the experience that Lexy has accumulated during her career in introducing emerging technologies.

Ok, what do you really do?
I’m a wife, step-mother of two grown kids, natural grandmother, gardener, golfer, quilter, reader, lover of all things beautiful and peaceful.

So what does CedarCrestone do? CedarCrestone, headquartered in Alpharetta, GA, is an organization of 800 people focused on implementation, hosting, and management consulting around “enterprise systems.”

How did you get started?
I’ve had three careers. I started as a systems developer in lots of areas including payroll, medical records, and financial systems. Using that experience, I got into consulting at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and then tried my hand in a start-up developing some of the early employee/manager self service solutions. Picking the wrong partner (who eventually saw that self service was the wave of the future), it rolled on us and I returned to research and consulting with The Hunter Group – which has morphed into CedarCrestone. Truly, research and consulting is what I love and do best and this is what I’ve done for the past 15+ years.

So Lexy, please finish the following thoughts for me:

My best advice is … for anyone in IT or anyone in HR to partner with your counterparts. Too many HR people view IT as their nemesis when partnering might be best for them or their organization. Too many don’t partner with the business around HR technologies. I happen to think that IT people, as geeky as they are, are really great people. If HR just reached out, everyone could work for the good of the organization and themselves. And same goes for IT people – love your HR partners!

I challenge …

anyone in HR or IT to pick a technology because they like the company without doing due diligence against your business needs. Vendors are not, or should not be, cults to follow.

I encourage … Years ago, I met Claire Gianini Hoffman, the daughter of A.P. Gianini, the founder of the Bank of America. She had a luncheon for a bunch of us that were bank officers. As a programmer back in 1967, I was considered an officer of the bank. She asked each of us what we did and when I said, “I work with computers,” she said (remember this was in 1967), “I know computers are the wave of the future, but I prefer to work with people.” It changed my view of technology to the point that I emphatically understand and encourage all to remember that technology must serve people not just be implemented because it’s a cool technology.

Not every program … to introduce new technologies will succeed without change management. And deep change management that addresses the WIIFM – the what’s in it for me – of everyone to be impacted by the new technology. Change management is not just about training – technology has become too easy to use for training. It’s about helping everyone impacted to understand why the technology matters and what it’s value is to them and to the organization. It’s about communication and collaboration. I view technology as just a catalyst for change – change for the better.

People like … to have their input reflected in just about anything an organization does. So, seek out representatives from throughout the organization to get their feedback when you get ready to make a change.

One of the best resources … that I’m personally proud of is the annual CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey white paper available for free.  If you are getting ready to implement any new HR technology, please take a look. The HCM Application Blueprint is something that lots of organizations use to guide their HR technology road map.

I lose it … when someone responds to a question of mine with, “I have no idea.” Sheesh. I ask you a serious question that I think you have the capacity to answer and you respond that way. Think better of yourself. If there is a thought you wished I would have included, let me know.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Women of HR?  If you work in an organization of 300+ employees, please respond to the 15th annual HR Systems Survey available here.

You can find Lexy at her CedarCrestone blog and you can follow her on Twitter as @lexymartin.

Lexy, thank you so much for your time!

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