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Social Media really changes the way that ideas flow and tactics are communicated. Within very recent memory, if you wanted to be ‘in the know’ you had to spend a lot of time going to trade shows, local professional association meetings and read the latest book. Establishing credibility as a ‘thought leader’ was a well established path. Finding them was straightforward.
The combination of Social Media and Search Engine technology means that a whole different group of voices are driving market perception.
If you want to be heard today, you need to rise to the top of the search engines, develop traffic to your work and have people refer others to your offerings. Success and visibility are driven by a whole different set of techniques today. The path to the top of the hill changes so quickly that there may as well not be a path.
Just ask yourself, ‘how do people learn new things’? Even ten years ago, if you wanted to know about a new topic in HR, you went to the library, visited a trade show or asked someone in the local SHRM chapter. None of these old fashioned venues are keeping pace with the evolution of communication.
There is an additional complicating factor: Buzzwords evolve more rapidly today.
New industry jargon has a predictable half life. Terms like ‘Collaboration’, ‘Talent Acquisition’, ‘Electronic Recruiting’, ‘Social Recruiting’, ‘Competency’, ‘Assessment’ and ‘Screening’ have very general meanings that continually enlarge. The more people who use the term, the less that it actually means. By the time a new discipline is at the top of mind, it’s almost meaningless.
Talent Management is like that. It can mean anything from ‘Succession Planning’ to ‘a comprehensive program to manage and optimize an organization’s Human Capital’. Every imaginable variation of Talent Management process is now a part of some vendor’s product roadmap.
Social Media is the ultimate ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ universe. In the end, that’s its achilles heel. If you want to be recalled (when people visit search engines to learn about the topic), you have to publish regularly and prodigiously.This creates a flow of material that is simultaneously higher in volume and thinner in overall content. For the time being, if you want to understand what is going on, you have to continuously refresh your understanding. If you want to be seen as a
thought leader, thought is less important than volume.
It’s unlikely that this situation will remain constant. But, it’s going to be with us for a while. Eventually, search engines will evolve to score content quality and relevance but it’s a ways off.
This list is a part of the Influence Project at HRExaminer. We are trying to measure and understand the meaning of influence in the contemporary HR community. The project includes automated measures of online influence and an interview based process (The Top 100).
In order to really quantify the dimensions of online influence, we measure three key variables:
- Reach: A measure of the audience size (number of eyeballs) for each individual. Traffic.
- Relevance: The degree to which content associated with the individual matches a cloud of keywords prepared for the analysis
- Resonance: The number of mentions, inbound links and participation found for each individual.
The process is amazing. Given a starter list of key words, we spider the web based on searches for those search terms. That massive pile of data is then sorted and sifted in Traackr’s analytic sandbox. Links, references, content, name duplication are all identified, assessed and reexamined. Ultimately, after a number of spider-analyze-spider iterations, the list starts to take shape.
Dr. Dewett returns as a member of the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Dr. Dewett is a leadership expert and professor at Wright State University, author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and Harley nut. Full Bio…
Performance Management: Less is More
by Dr. Todd Dewett
The parade of thoughtful performance enhancing tools and structures never seems to end. We set goals for ourselves and have them set for us by others. We collect data for metrics supporting our performance. We attend formal and informal meetings to discuss our performance. We engage 360 assessments. We are coached. We are mentored. We are sent to training. And we participate in a myriad of leadership development programs. It’s shocking we actually get any work done.
All of these approaches can be very helpful. However, we forget two vital realities: each can be used improperly and they can be used too much. The first obvious result is a significant waste of hours and dollars spent managing the ever growing performance management system. Aside from this painful but obvious issue, there are at least three additional reasons to consider downsizing your performance management efforts:
The suspect cost/benefit tradeoff
- On the one hand, we spend a very large amount of hours and dollars to regularly administer and upgrade the performance management system. These quantities are quite measurable. On the other hand, how measurable is the change in performance due to each facet of the system? That is much more difficult to ascertain. Just between us, I know that these investments in the soft side of the performance equation are beneficial, but I can’t blame you for raising your eyebrow once in a while since nobody knows how to calculate a really good ROI.
Too much process analysis, not enough flow
- By process analysis I mean thinking about how you do something as opposed to actually doing it. The long list of devices above assist in the development of self-awareness. Well, they are supposed to. However, they often simply create excess time spent process analyzing. Worse still, depending on the quality of the device (e.g., coach, employee evaluation), time spent on process analysis may not be accurate or productive at all. Most importantly, time spent process analyzing is time not spent lost deeply immersed in the tasks, which is where optimal performance actually happens.
Creating mental extremes: the feedback junkies and the paranoid
- Most normal people find it challenging to positively and productively process performance-related feedback. When too many devices are used to support performance, or they are used incorrectly, unproductive mental tendencies can emerge, regardless of personality. One of the most common is the feedback junky. These are the people who do not feel good about themselves unless someone is overtly affirming their performance. Worse still are the paranoid. They live in a constant state of anxiety, wondering which aspect of their performance is currently being evaluated. These tendencies are reinforced by excessive performance management. Ironic, given their intention.
Here is a simple prescription to consider. First, remember, all things in moderation! The members of your team do not need every single performance enhancer known to man. Think of excessive performance management vehicles as bureaucracy you need to reduce. Less really is more. Second, shift much of the performance management process to informal administration instead of formal administration. Encourage coaching and mentoring, but do not create a rigid and mandatory system. One final thought: if you reduce some of the thoughtful, but not so helpful, bureaucracy surrounding your individual team members, they will love you for it!
Industry Analysts are a key feature of the HR Industry landscape. Operating without more infrastructure than their companies provide, these are the folks who make sense out of market dynamics, trends and information. They are the safari guides and outfitters on the industry journey towards real professionalization.
We had a delightful Analysts Summit with eight of the key players in the industry. It was a solid foundation for the next chapter, this coming May. Each of the analysts who came had an opportunity to get to know the others in a different setting. No pressure, limited agenda, lots of opportunities to learn and understand.
Usually, when analysts go to conferences, they are scheduled rigorously and always working someone else’s agenda. They are there to fill gaps in the content, provide industry analysis and to have meetings with prospective clients or vendors. At HRDemo, we tried to keep their schedules light. The idea was (and will continue to be) to keep the event very different from other HR Technology offerings.
Industry analysts spend their time intensively trying to understand aspects of the market. Massive complexity and a skyrocketing pile of information make it difficult for most practitioners to comfortably grasp the entire surface of the discipline, let alone the deep nuances. Analysts help by continuously looking for and at data about best practices, changing norms, implementation techniques and other mostly quantifiable aspects of HR and Recruiting.
The centerpiece of the summit was a presentation by Brad Warga, the head of Talent Acquisition for Harrah’s. He is doing amazing things that include an analytics dominated approach and a Recruiting Department that turns a profit.This is real cutting edge HR in a challenging setting.
The point of the summit was threefold:
1. We wanted to create a setting in which people who are always under pressure to provide answers had time to think in each other’s presence;
2. We created a place where people who have known of and about each other for years could get a little closer; and
3. We tried to deliver a view of operational HR that is hard to find: successful, proactive and profitable.
We scored big on all fronts.
Over the coming years, the HR Industry Analysts Summit is going to grow. It’s the one place where analysts have the opportunity to get to know each other and share insights without having to compete. I think it’s going to become a very important feature of the HR Demo Show.
Next: What we learned about software and the industry.
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For every 250 bloggers talking to an empty virtual room about nothing, there is one voice delivering value and perspective. The democratization of publishing has made it possible for all sorts of voices to be heard. That so little is being said is only troubling if you don’t agree with Einstein, who said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” In other words, the ability to deliver social media is no guarantee of content quality.
Several factors come in to play when the information quality question involves a profession and its practice. The maturity of the profession itself; the maturity of the author (professionally and personally), the level of understanding of the problem under discussion and the relationship of the author to the audience are each aspects of the way that authors and audiences interact.
As is painfluuly clear in politics (regardless of your persuasion), the level of enthusiasm for an idea has painfully little to do with its legitimacy or utility. The factors that seem to drive influence on a national scale involve a race to the lowest common denominator. Intelligence and maturity are not inherent gateways to influence in the industry. There is infinite room in the infinite universe for the infinitely inane. Influence is not different from that.
And, this is an introduction to a guy who I think is really smart.
Jon Ingham is a British HR consultant and author who rose to global visibility throu his blog. Ingham focuses on enterprise issues and the evolution of Strategic HR. He’s definitely one of the smart social media practioners who are being paid attention. At least some of his strength comes from having deep operational experiences outside of HR.
If our profession has a single major weakness, it’s the inherent lack of grounding in the real work of the businesss. HR’s greatest mentors always preach the importannce of delivering the sort of value the organization needs as a part of its mission. Without hands on experience in sales, marketing, engineering, production and/or customer service, the organization’s work remains theoretical.
Jon says, “I help organisations gain competitive advantage through the creation of human and social capital supported by effective leadership, HR and management practices, OD interventions, and the use of web 2.0 / social media tools etc.”
He began his career as a C++ specialist (that’s software) doing user acceptance at Andersen (now Accenture). The key question became, “How do you make internal change happen in an organization?” Simply delivering technical insight was not enough. Ingham knew there was more.
He moved into HR to learn about change management. Since then, he’s worked internationally (Moscow and Egypt among others) and often in key change management roles. He spent a sifnificant chunk of time doing fundamental HR service delivery.
Jon defines HR as ‘managing people to accumulate Human Capital.” His book, Strategic Human Capital Management: Creating Value Through People, Ingham details the processes and procedures requored by a contemporay organization (Google Books has a 50 page preview). His clear eyed view of smart HR was significantly ahead of the rest of the industry making Jon both articulator and visionary.
His influence stems from his audience, a rekentless travel schedule and the depth and clarity of his thought. Ingham travels the entire HCM waterfront and is willing to take us along on the ride with him. For example,
Collective intelligence isn’t about information flows and processes. It’s about people and their connections. Speed and flexibility isn’t about formal planning processes – supported by social tools, it’s about giving people autonomy to make quicker and smarter decisions – supported by social relationships.
We talked about the trends taht are shaping the industry:
- HR continues to get closer to the business. In doing so, we risk losing the very things that make HR valuable. This tension will shape HR organizations for the next several years.
- Measurement is taking root in the culture of Human CApital Management. This is a good thing. But, you can not forecast the future by measuring the past. Measurement should be balanced with creativity and trust. When measurement becomes about performance surveillance, the culture suffers.
- Ironically, HR should be trying to become more relationship focused. Social Media is at its most useful when it is social.
- HRTech offers extraordinary ways for the discipline to add value. The US understands this far more deeply than the rest of the world.
Ingham is still early in his career. It’s not outrageous to imagine him as the next Ullrich. We’re going to keep following him.