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About a year ago, we started our experiment in the ranking of influencers in online HR. Since then, we’ve profiled the Top 25 in Recruiting, the Top 25 in Talent Management, the Top 25 in Leadership and the Top 25 in HR overall (2009).
The HRExaminer Influence Project has two components. The digital research uses algorithms to discover and validate the influence of people who are actively engaged in online discussions of HR. The analog component of the project involves an interview process. We’re talking to 450 people in hour long interviews in order to identify the 100 most influential folks in HR in the real world.
The theory is that the two lists will start to blur over the next couple of years. It really is getting harder and harder to function in the HR industry without a vibrant public presence in social media. Every single person on our digital lists has a blog and a facebook account. Most use Twitter, LinkedIn and some other form of social tool.
Today, on what is more or less the first anniversary of the digital project, we’re releasing the 2010 version of the Top 25 influencers in HR. The change is dramatic. Many of the people who were prominent in our analysis a year ago have reduced their output, shifted their focus or changed their jobs. They fell off of the list, replaced by new voices with the ability to sustain routine publishing.
It’s been a blustery year in HR.
With the winds shifting towards measurable results and away from the legacy emphasis on process control, many people left the field and or changed jobs. The longer that cloud (or SaaS) technology is around, the less likely it is that HR folks will work in the trenches of administrivia.
The profession is changing.
So is the way people use social media. Last year’s Top 25 Influencers in HR were often early adopters who developed their audiences because they had proficiency with the technology. They may not have had quite as much substance as the new group.
In some cases, folks from last year’s list discovered that their use of social media was a time sink with little in the way of quantifiable impact. Others discovered that the relentless publishing required to sustain a presence was impossible to deliver over the course of years. Still others were the victims of the economy.
In an interesting twist, somebody who calls themselves “Desert Beacon” made the list. In that case, the keyword “HR” was read to include “H.R.”, the designation for legislation in the American House of Representatives. We left that result for you to see so that the fact that this is an experiment making forward progress would be made explicit.
The process of sifting through content and the social graph to figure out whose message resonates where is both scientific and an exercise in progressive failure. Every step towards understanding comes from things we learn from the data. The analysis gets better each time we publish it.
It’s worth noting that this is the ultimate pipeline development tool for talent acquisition projects. By identifying the current crop of influencers on a given subject, it’s possible to seed an audience that can then become the robust source for live recommendations and interactions. Influencer research is exactly how you make serious shortcuts in sourcing.
We’re looking forward to your comments.
In order to compile the list, we begin with a series of keywords. Spiders then scavenge the web looking for pages that contain these words. The whole humongous pile is then sifted by bots that look for occurrences of peoples names. Those names are then ranked in three areas: reach (a measure of audience size), resonance (a measure of participation, mentions on discussions and inbound links and resonance (the degree to which the content matches the keywords).
The resulting list of influencers is a way to grasp who has the power to communicate ideas currently. The list is always a snapshot. Social media is the ultimate “What have you done for me lately?” environment.
Here are the keywords we used as the foundation of the analysis:
“human resources” “human capital”, “human resources” “performance management”, “human resources” development, “human resources” “talent acquisition”, “human resources” “talent management”, “human resources” “workforce planning”, “human resources” recruiting, “human resources” training, “human resources” compensation, “human resources” career, “human resources” “career development”, payroll “human resources”, hr training, hr “workforce planning”, hr “talent management”, hr “human capital”, hr career, hr “career development”, hr “performance management”, payroll hr, payroll benefits, payroll “human resources” staffing, payroll “employment law”, payroll EEOC, hr development, “human resources” “recruitment process outsourcing”, “human resources” “candidate relationship management”, “human resources” “background check”, “human resources” “job references”, hr “talent acquisition”, hr “recruitment process outsourcing”, hr “candidate relationship management”, hr “background check”, hr “job references”
As usual, the only change I made to these computer generated results was to remove my name which came in at number 6. It’s not credible to be included in the results stream even though the process is automated and beyond reproach.
I found him, curled in a fetal position, snoring through his lunch. Looking through his email, as long as he was sleeping, I noticed a folder called “Do Something With This Stuff”. Opening it, we discovered hundreds of incoming emails that had a variety of messages that said “If you are not interested in receiving any more mail like this, complete the following instructions.” Apparently, he wasn’t interested enough to complete the instructions.
Since lunch was ending, I jiggled his arm to wake him.
“You’re not my boss”, he said accusingly. For a moment, I was worried that I’d found a passive-aggressive job hunter by mistake.
“No, no, I was told that you were a passive job hunter.”
“Well, my boss seems to wish that I were a more active one”, he mumbled in reply. “I don’t usually wake up until a half hour after lunch. What’s so important?”
“I’m doing field research into what it takes to recruit a passive job hunter”, I said.
“Oh, that’s nice”, he replied.
“What do you think makes you a passive job hunter”, I inquired.
“Uh, I dunno”, he opined.
“Well, what kind of job would you like”, I interrogated.
“This one’s not so bad”, he articulated.
“Well, tell us about your dreams”, I urged.
“Uh, I wish I had a job where my sleep wouldn’t get interrupted. Then I could have more dreams”, he slurred.
“Hmmm”, I mumbled knowingly, “did you know there’s a whole conference devoted to finding passive people like you?”
“Oh”, he slurped, “That’s nice. Are we done yet?”
“One last question”, I assured him, “What’s your favorite job board?”
“Huh?”, he asked drifting back to sleep, “What’s a job board?”
On November 19 from 12:30pm-1:15pm Eastern, join 3 of the world’s top HR cloud computing experts–Board members of the new HR SaaS Consortium, HRSaaS.org–in a rapid-fire webinar panel that highlights the buying trends in the fast-moving talent management, workforce management and enterprise HRIS markets. Experience this great session from your own desk, moderated by HRO Today Magazine publisher Jay Whitehead. All webinar registrants get an ID Code for 75% off tickets to the HR Demo Show December 8-9 at the Venetian in Las Vegas, the first-ever all-demonstration event for HR SaaS applications. To register now for free for this valuable panel, click here: Free Webinar Sign Up
David Parent, Deloitte Consulting Principal in Human Capital Management.
Dr. Katherine Jones of ICS, HR SaaS Advisor and Author
John Sumser of HR Examiner, Chair of the HR Demo Show and HRO Today Technology Columnist
In this fast-paced webinar, you’ll learn:
- How to avoid the biggest pitfalls in selecting HR software-as-a-service applications
- How the leading companies are deploying HR SaaS apps to gain competitive advantage today
- What HR SaaS applications are hot, and which are not
- The 3 ways HR SaaS is changing HR forever
- Where to see all the top HR SaaS applications compared live, side-by-side, fast and low cost
Click here now to register free: Free Webinar Sign Up. Join the HR SaaS Consortium Free Thought Leader Webinar #2 November 19 12:30-1:15pm. All registered webinar attendees get an ID Code for 75% off passes to the HR Demo Show, December 8-9 in Las Vegas, the first-ever all-demonstration event for HR SaaS applications.
Heather Bussing is a returning contributor to our HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Heather has practiced employment and business law for over 20 years. She has represented employers, unions and employees in every aspect of employment and labor law including contract negotiations, discrimination and wage hour issues. While the courtroom is a place she’s very familiar with, her preferred approach to employment law is to prevent problems through early intervention and good policies and agreements. Full bio…
When a company hires someone to blog, tweet and set up a Facebook page, who owns the content and contacts that are developed as part of that work? The answer lies at the intersection of copyright, employment and contract law.
Copyright and Work for Hire
Generally, when you create something, you own it. One major exception is if someone hires you to create it– the Work for Hire doctrine.
The specific rights then depend on whether you are an employee or an independent contractor.
If you are an employee and blog, tweet and promote your company in social media as part of your job duties, then the content you create belongs to the company. It is considered “Work for hire” and you don’t own it. The employer does.
That means the employer gets the accounts, content, contacts and user names on those accounts when you leave. If you are an employee, this is a very good reason not to use your personal accounts for work and vice-versa.
If you are an independent contractor and are hired to create content for a blog, twitter or Facebook, then the content technically belongs to you unless there is a specific agreement otherwise and the work qualifies under copyright law as “commissioned” or work for hire.
As an independent contractor, the content you write would become the property of the company if: a) the creation of the content is what you are specifically hired to do—as opposed to posting something you previously wrote; b) before you create the work, you and the company sign an agreement that the work is “for hire” and belongs to the company; and c) the work is one of the seven types of projects that can be “work for hire” under the copyright law. The only one of the seven types of work that could arguably apply to blogging or social media would be as a “contribution to a collective work” such as a magazine. My sense is that blogging would likely qualify. Tweets and posting links probably would not be work for hire.
If the work does not qualify as work for hire, either because there is no agreement or it is not the type of work covered, then it is technically owned by you, the author.
However, and this is a big however, since the company paid for the work to be performed, it would have rights to use it. These rights are generally licenses.
A license is when you let someone use your stuff. Licenses can be given or sold. They can be exclusive or nonexclusive, expire after a certain time or have restrictions attached about how the material is used. For example, when you buy software, you don’t actually buy the computer program; you buy a license to use it.
Social media sites are set up based on licenses. Under the user agreements for Facebook, Twitter and Ning you own the content you create, but you grant a license to the website owner to use and publish the content you put there. You can revoke that license by deleting your page, notes or comments.
An interesting question is whether you can grant Facebook a license to content that you don’t own because it is work for hire. You would probably be considered an agent for the company authorized to grant the license as long as creating the content was within your job duties.
If you are a rogue blogger and creating social media content about your company without its knowledge or permission—you may have other problems—like how long you will have a job.
But the bottom line is if you are an employee, the content belongs to the company. If you are an independent contractor, you may own the actual content of the material you write, but the company that hired you to write it will have a license to use it.
This is where contracts come in.
Whether you are an employee or an independent contractor, you can agree in a contract about who owns the content, how it will be used and who gets to use it after the relationship ends. A contract is the simplest way to decide who owns the content—both sides agree ahead of time.
Things to think about:
What is the User Name? If the account is in your personal name and the account belongs to the company, you may have to get a new user name when you leave and the company may not be able to change the name to something that will be relevant to them either. You can change Twitter account names. You can’t change Facebook names. So keep personal accounts in your own name and set up Company accounts in a name that will live past your tenure
What About Contacts? The courts have determined that contacts, followers and friends in social media are not protected trade secrets or confidential customer lists. The reason is that they come and go and change frequently. If your account is work for hire, the contacts would stay with the company. So if you want to “keep” them, make them personal contacts on your personal accounts too.
What About Content? What level of control do you have and does the company have over the content you write? Does everything have to be approved before it gets posted? Do you have complete discretion? Or is it somewhere in between? The best articulation of a social media policy is by an airline company who encourages their employees to use social media. They monitor what gets posted and allow “the good, the bad and the ugly, but not the mean.” When they find something that’s mean, they ask the author to delete it.
Does it Matter?
At the end of the day, it may not really matter who owns what. Companies have no use for your personal Facebook page and twitter accounts in your own name. You won’t really care about using or maintaining a company blog once you leave. If the content stays online, you can always point to it with a link later. If not, keep a copy so that you can use it as a resource for later articles you write elsewhere.
Social media contents come and go often by whim. A social media contact is just a username attached to an email address– not a real relationship. If you have a genuine working or real time relationship with someone, you know how to find them even after you leave your company.
But if there is something important to you that you are creating for a company in social media, the best way to deal with it is to create a contract that says who owns what and what the rights to use it are after you leave.
If you are in the market for HR Technology, it’s an odds on bet that you’re looking at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Most vendors are making some form of claim that their offerings involve SaaS. The definitions vary widely. In a way, SaaS is a return to time sharing. In the early days of computing, dataprocessing was so expensive that much of it was acquired on a partial lease basis.
You bought what you needed.
As the cost of hardware plummeted, organizations sought more control. They bought their own machines. They bought licenses for software. They made lots of incremental changes to those licenses. Tailoring the tool was understood as an inherent part of implementing it.
That was ridiculously expensive. Ridiculously expensive.
And, it hardly ever worked. It turns out that customization forces you to live with outmoded processes until you can afford to fix them. You own the software but have to feed an army of independent contractors. Enterprise software with lots of customization turned out to be a build your own prison kit. You designed it, paid for it, and lived with the consequences.
SaaS is usually presented as a low cost alternative to self-incarceration. With no capital investment and a month to month lease, it’s easy to get in and out of. The best news, according to many sources, is that the software can be rapidly modified.All clients are always at the latest revision.
That’s either a wonderful world or Alice’s Wonderland.
All manner of HR software is now delivered as SaaS: Performance Management, Talent Acquisition, Recruiting, Training, Talent Management, Applicant Tracking Systems, Incentive Management, Compensation Analysis, Payroll. The question is not whether you’ll have SaaS tools but when. It’s not a straightforward change.
Here are the five most difficult realities:
- SaaS software can not be customized to your precise specifications. The cost-savings comes with a loss of control.
- The idea that a month to month lease is easy to get out of is silly. The largest cost of most SaaS implementations is the internal change process. Getting out requires the willingness to implement a new tool.
- Bigger customers get better treatment. Who do you think will get The vendor’s attention? The account with 100,000 desktops or your measly1,500?
- Change at the vendor’s whim is extremely expensive. The idea that rapid change is a good thing is only interesting to someone who doesn’t have to implement those changes in an organization (see #3)
- Since SaaS vendors bear the weight of capitalization, performance willalways lag no matter what the contract says.In this economic environment, no one is going to invest in a capital intensive solution. You’re going to get SaaS whether you like it or not.
So, how do you mitigate the looming di-SaaS-ter?
- Make sure your vendor is offering a true multi-tenant service. It’s not SaaSif everyone gets a custom version. You want to be notified if and when the vendor makes a modification to the software for a specific customer. The business model will break at that point.
- Learn to manage contracts with Program Management techniques. This is the essential subcontract management technique. Navigating an agreement with a SaaS vendor involves a long term, give and take relationship. The contract will fail if taken too literally.
- Get a clear understanding of how your needs and concerns will be handled before you sign the lease. You will have to politic the user base to get some of the things you want.
- Ask five current customers what it’s like to work with the vendor. Do this every year you have the lease.
- Remember that this is a lease. While it may seem useful to feel ownership,that will cause you to make the wrong investments. When an investment is required, expect the landlord to handle it.
SaaS makes all sorts of wonderful things possible. But, it’s early in the life cycle of this new approach. Successful customers understand that they are long term renters and not mortgage holders.
In the Know v1.42 Engagement
You may not have noticed but they make fun of HR people behind their backs. HR people think orthogonally to the rest of the business. The speak differently. Historically they focus on processes and not results. They worry about compliance and misunderstand performance. They use weird language.
This year’s HR buzzword is Engagement.
Savvy employees understand that engagement is a code word for “No raises this year.” That’s because an engaged workforce is less motivated by money and more motivated by the pure joy of work. Which accounts for the sky-rocketing level of executive comp.
Engagement deserves clearer thought than it is currently getting.
Wikipedia defines engagement as “a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage – which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, betrothed, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and grooms are often referred to as fiancées or fiancés respectively (from the French word fiancé). The duration of the courtship varies vastly.” It’s important to remember that when you are talking about engagement, this is what people think of when they hear the term.
It’s also worth noting that Googling Engagement produces a list of bridal services and no mention of alignment between employees and the organization.
- Employee Engagement
Laurie Ruettimann is not a fan of engagement either. She says “Companies have a responsibility to be profitable, respectful to their workers, and to behave in a fiscally prudent manner. Employees get paid to work. They make choices about their level of engagement based on all sorts of factors including values, personal beliefs, and faith in the organization and products/services that are being offered.”
and “When you call it employee engagement, you stick it in the ghetto with all the other employee-focused programs. When you call it organizational or operational excellence, you’ll get somewhere.”
- The Shift To Engagement
Wes Wu is one of the best systems thinkers in the industry. “If you want to drive employee retention, you really have to be looking at how your organization presents itself to your employees and the public market of candidates” That said, it’s good to remember that the best retention rates occur in government organizations. Is that what you want?
- Want to Increase Employee Engagement? Have Some Fun!
Here’s another problem with the Engagement idea. It takes HR back to being the picnic planner and away from being the source of strategic insight into the organization’s Human Capital.
When HR is in charge of fun, you get to make reservations for the dinner table. You don’t sit at it.
- Engagement Crisis – What were we thinking?
Another gem from Bersin. There are three types: Work Engagement – a connection and appreciation for the work an employee is accomplishing, and a connection to performance; Company Engagement – a connection and appreciation for the company, its goals, its leadership, its future; and, Social Engagement – a connection and appreciation for the people an employee is working for and with on a daily basis.