Category: HR Technology

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.



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.



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.



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 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!