HRExaminer v3.03 January 20, 2012
Table of Contents
In January, 2012, Chris Hoyt is easily recognized as the most innovative recruiter in the business today. The past couple of years have seen him host a variety of events while taking charge of his role at Pepsi where
Chris is responsible for the design, implementation and sustainability of PepsiCo’s global digital and social recruiting strategies inclusive of managing Internet communities, analytics and 3rd party recruitment partnerships. As an industry professional with over 18 years of experience he pushes the boundaries of social and mobile recruiting in big business environments with the help of motivated recruiting teams from around the world. It’s his belief that maintaining an unwavering focus on improving both the candidate experience and job seeker engagement levels has a direct impact on the quality of talent that drives a company’s success.
Hoyt is a practical guy who is comfortable in his own skin. He is the personification of sanguine. Cheery, optimistic and ready to get things done. Unassuming and accessible.
Take another look at his job description (above). Hoyt manages Internet communities, analytics and 3rd party recruitment partnerships while being responsible for an employment brand.. Pepsi is one of the few companies capable of understanding and trying to manage these three things as one. Usually, they are separate. Most often they are not really managed. Typically, they are not all housed in the HR Department.
So, regardless of temperament and initiative, Chris has the great fortune to be in the right place. The result of curiosity, work ethic, experience and timing is an explosion of visibility.
Generally, the limelight has corrosive effects on people their first time through the ringer. Chris appears to have weathered the storm and prospered. It’s probably because he’s less interested in the credit than he is in what he can get done. For some, celebrity (even in the minor forms available in a niche like ours) is an end goal. For others, like Chris, it’s a tool for making progress.
Hoyt is in the enviable position of working for a company with solid resources, a desire to lead and a willingness to experiment. That means that Chris has tried and discarded ideas well before they have turned into the bland, me-too ness of best practices. He works at the front end of the process, trying to identify the next trends and navigate his operation to where they’re going to be.
Once, Chris and I were talking about the fact that innovation rarely comes from our industry. Usually, our new ideas are borrowed or stolen from an adjacent industry (something involving publishing or customer service). It was clear, in that conversation, that the place to look was ‘somewhere else’.
Chris immediately began to figure out how to expose his team to ideas beyond the world of Recruiting and HR. The insight hit him and he began to implement. It was so spontaneous that I almost missed it.
One of the things I’ve noticed about people who influence the industry is that they seem to have budgets with which to influence the industry. Although we’ve been looking at practitioner intensely in the past several top 100 pieces, it’s really the marketers, academics and consultants who have the time and energy for the conference and article circuit.
Somehow, Hoyt manages to slice his time so that he gets it all done.
He influences people by being a public trailblazer. Then he smoothes it out with contagious optimism. It’s a delicious formula.
HR Tech: A universe of sensors will blow the lid off of HR as we know it.
Our current definitions of what is and isn’t HRTech are astonishingly narrow. Generally speaking, the world of HR Technology is limited to the varieties of software and service that execute the administrative end of Human Resources. Talent Management, HRIS, Recruiting, Sourcing, Payroll, Learning and Learning Management, Benefits Management and some elements of Health record keeping are the general limits of the known universe.
Each year, someone wedges new data into our crowded closet. HR manages gift card programs, real time performance feedback, assessments, competency data and more. It’s a great big pile of administrivia that really needs sound record keeping to keep the organization running and the regulators at bay.
And still, the definitions are too narrow.
Right around the corner, hoping to be embedded in the various smart phones and tablets are a universe of sensors that will blow the lid off of HR as we know it. Huge flows of data from health and fitness simulations, which allow employees to take charge of their own health and employers to optimize performance are coming to a cloud computing installation near you
Take a look at A Doctor in Your Pocket from the Wall Street Journal.The article details the rapid rate at which we are moving to be able to really control our own health at microscopic levels. The article envisions a very near future of micro sensors and personal simulation that enable us to optimize human health and performance.
These are not the ramblings of a science fiction crazed futurist hopped up on dreams of the singularity.
It has to start with data collection. In 2004, Dell launched a company program called Well at Dell to encourage healthy lifestyles. Employees receive alerts and information customized to their health issues, incorporating their latest test results and treatments and allowing them to make more informed decisions. A newly diagnosed diabetic, for example, might get information about how to monitor blood sugar and watch out for the circulatory problems that often accompany the disease.
Not surprisingly, these corporate health-management tools have come under fire, with most critics worrying about privacy.
But we can’t expect the health-care industry to continue to innovate and grow if we continue to hoard health information. The federal agency that administers Medicare pays over half of the medical bills in the U.S., but it doesn’t retrieve, organize or mine that data. Imagine how much better the Medicare system could be if all this data were analyzed to improve public health. Or imagine databases from many different sources, private and public, coming together in a centralized network that would look for patterns and try to translate them into new ideas for anticipating and preventing health problems.
Who’s going to win the recruiting contest? The company that helps you live longer or the company that squirrels around with primitive offerings?
Who’s going to have the competitive edge? You guessed it.
Whether it takes the form described in the WSJ or adopts some other approach. the flows of data from personalized sensors and simulations will break the databases and structures we have in place.
Broadbean Steps In To Ease Arbita Customer Transition
It’s the end of an era.
Arbita, in its current incarnation and as the artist formerly known as RecruitUSA, was a fixture on the electronic Recruiting landscape from the very beginning. Built out of the ashes of one of the original America Online job ad publishing businesses, the firm rode the highs and lows of our ridiculously cyclical industry. Investment came in the dot com run up (from the Washington Post).
Arbita, like a number of other firms, made its way as a Job Advertising Distribution company. They offered software that allowed customers to distribute their job postings to an enormous number of outlets, mostly job boards. The industry needs operations like this to act as the go between among a kajillion systems with conflicting requirements.
Arbita is shuttering its operations.
According to CEO Don Ramer, in a letter to customers,
As many of you know, Arbita has experienced technical challenges with our posting platform over the last few years and, despite our best efforts, has been unable to fully resolve them. The technical complexity of the posting business is growing each year and Arbita does not have the resources to sustain the high quality of service [we] pride ourselves on delivering. Accordingly, I have decided to close the Arbita posting platform and assist clients in migration to a more robust posting platform.
Broadbean, a competitor, agreed to take the Arbita customer base and fulfill the remainder of their contract with Arbita for posting services. CEO Kelly Robinson said,
Broadbean recognizes that Arbita is unable to keep up with the tech changes necessary for the continual evolution that must take place in order for a technology-based company to maintain a market presence and, in this particular case, assist clients through the job posting process – all of which is part of the greater process: sourcing candidates. The responsibility we take from Arbita is the tech and time they owe to their current clients.
We see it as the right thing to do, when a customer is using a posting distributor, no matter who that distributor – no matterwhat the technology - if that customer’s needs are not being met, this affects the industry, the job distribution market where we reside.
Please know that while Arbita’s business has failed and their doors have closed, with their technical operations ceasing, Broadbean is here to assist clients by offering to fulfill the service obligation owed to OnePost clients. The greater good is realized. We understand that these clients may not choose to continue on with Broadbean at the time of their contract renewal. This is not our current concern. Our direct concern lies in the immediate needs of Arbita clients being met.
Robinson went on to say,
Broadbean was founded by a recruiter for recruiters. We are on this journey to make the job of hiring quality employees easier, less frustrating, less time-consuming and more affordable. The heart of the recruitment industry is important to us. What the rest of the world thinks about recruiters is important to us. What the recruitment industry thinks about our market – candidate sourcing technology – is important to us. Understanding and engaging with the community we serve is the right thing to do.
Like DMGT, our holding company, our long-term strategy is to be the market leader in the sectors we serve. The only way to do that is to serve. We will fulfill Arbita’s Obligation of Service with the responsibility we feel for our industry.
Broadbean may be a new name to some of this audience. With 33,000 users around the world, the company is the world’s leading job posting provider. The company is committed to providing its customers with sustainable tools for sourcing that work year in and year out. The company is backed by the UK’s DMGT.
Broadbean has neither acquired any of Arbita’s assets nor assumed any of its debt. The agreement is simply to provide customers with service continuation. The Broadbean team hopes to minimize the internal disruption that customers could experience as Arbita ceases operations.
The industry will certainly be ‘atwitter’ with this news today. Arbita was bootcamp and testing grounds for many of our industry’s key players. Over the years, the Arbita diaspora has filled the trade show halls with old friends who shared character shaping experiences.
This is precisely the end of the first era of Electronic Recruiting. The second is well underway and we’re seeing glimpses of the third.
So long, Arbita. and Thank you, Kelly Robinson and Broadbean.
What you should know about religious entities and discrimination laws.
The United States Supreme Court recently held that a church can fire a teacher/minister for her disability in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC 565 U.S. ____ (January 11, 1012.)
What the Case Was About
Cheryl Perch starting teaching at a small parochial elementary school in Michigan. She was originally hired as a “lay teacher.”
The school classified its teachers as either ‘Lay” or “Called.” Lay teachers were not required to be Lutheran, and were hired by the school board for a one year term.
“Called” teachers had to complete training at a Lutheran college, take courses in specific theology, and pass an oral exam by the school’s faculty. The teacher then became a “Minster of Religion, Commissioned,” and was essentially tenured.
Lay teachers and Called teachers had exactly the same duties–teaching. Although, Called teachers also led a school wide chapel service once or twice a year.
After teaching four years, Perch went on disability for narcolepsy. She received treatment and was ready to return to work. The school expressed concerns about whether she was physically able to come back. It had already hired a Lay teacher to replace her.
At a meeting to discuss Perch’s employment, school administrators told the congregation that Perch was not capable of returning. They offered her a “peaceful release” of continued health insurance in exchange for her resignation.
Perch refused and showed up at work. The church sent her home, then fired her for “insubordination and disruptive behavior,” and for “threatening to take legal action.”
There Was Disability Discrimination and Retaliation
Let’s recap. A tenured teacher goes on disability leave and is cleared to return to work. But the employer had already replaced her. When she asserts her rights, she is fired.
Looks like a disability and retaliation claim to me.
The ADA allows religious entities to give preference in employment based on religion and allows a religious entity to require employees “to conform to the religious tenets” of the organization. (42 U.S.C. sections 12113(d).) Although neither of these exceptions applies to retaliation claims.
This makes sense. Religious organizations who teach religion would prefer to have teachers who believe what they are teaching.
Yet, Perch was not fired for her religious tenets or for failing to teach her employer’s religion. She was fired because of her disability and insistence on coming back to work after treatment. This does not fall within the ADA exceptions.
The First Amendment Trumps Discrimination Laws for Ministers.
The Supreme Court never looked whether there was disability discrimination or retaliation. Instead, the Court focused on Perch’s title as a “minister” and asked whether the government could interfere with a religious institution’s ability to select its ministers.
Okay. The government should not be able to tell a church who to appoint as a minister. That is clear under the First Amendment that prohibits the government from the “establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That’s also covered in the ADA exceptions that allow churches to discriminate based on religion.
How did the Court get from churches can discriminate based on religion to churches are exempt from all discrimination laws?
After an exhaustive discussion of the tension between Church and State beginning with the Magna Carta, the Court decided that churches should be able to pick whomever they want in “conveying the Church’s message and carrying out its mission.” Under the First Amendment, churches have that freedom, even if it’s decision is based on discriminatory factors that are unrelated to the religious beliefs.
So in hiring and firing ministers, the First Amendment trumps ALL discrimination laws.
Was This Really About a Minister?
The Court then looked at whether Perch was a minister. They found she was because she taught religion, led students in prayer, and took students to chapel. Of course, these were the same duties Lay teachers had.
In addition, Perch had to qualify with rigorous religious training; she was designated as a minister by the Church; she held herself out as a minister; and she deducted a portion of her home as a “parsonage.” (I guess the word of God and the word of the IRS both hold significant weight in these matters.)
Before the case reached the Supremes, the Court of Appeal decided that Perch was not a “minister.” I agree. There were no significant differences between what Called and Lay teachers did. She was also not in a leadership role in the church. They replaced her with a Lay teacher. She was a teacher with advanced studies in her subject.
However, I do understand that the minute a court gets too specific about the role or duties required to be a “minister,” it begins to tread on church’s territory. And that itself, would violate the First Amendment.
What You Should Know About Religious Entities and Discrimination Laws.
- Religious organizations can discriminate based on religious beliefs in hiring and firing employees. This is true under both federal and state laws because it is based on the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
- Under the Hosanna-Tabor case, religious organizations have wide discretion in hiring and firing decisions when the person is a “minister” or the equivalent role for that religion.
- For non-leadership roles, religious organizations are still generally subject to state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, but can still discriminate based on religion.
- There are also special laws and exceptions that apply to religious organizations that provide health care including hospitals and clinics. Generally, they are permitted to discriminate based on religion and religious beliefs, for example regarding abortion or birth control.
- Since it is difficult to make clear definitions about what beliefs, practices, and roles are exempt from discrimination laws, the cases can be confusing. For example, the EEOC has taken the position that religious organizations cannot pay women less than men even if their religious beliefs sanction it.
- The Supreme Court was also clear in the Hosanna-Tabor case that the ministerial exception would not bar criminal prosecutions for actions that are crimes, and would not bar actions for breach of contract or other tortious conduct by the employer.
Jim Holincheck and John Sumser talk Influence
Jim Holincheck is the head of Gartner’s Human Capital practice. Without question he is one of the most influential people in the industry (when it comes to enterprise HR clients and the vendors who serve them). Holincheck’s influence is so great that when he predicts a trend, that’s often enough to cause it to happen.
The other day, Holincheck tweeted me.
? abt influence since your so focused on it.Influence who to do what? Measures seem to be who is most seen/connected on social
It’s a good question. When measuring online influence, who is influenced, what are they influenced about and what is the concrete result of that influence? The short answer is “I don’t know but I’ll take a stab at it.” With a short caveat, “I’m not sure that there is a specific concrete result.”
One of the risks of trying to learn in public is that smart people (like Jim) will mistake an ongoing experiment for a broad proclamation of the truth. The written word implies a concreteness that is missing from the world of exploration. Scientists often keep their research very quiet in order to avoid scrutiny until they’re ready. Public experimentation (like the influencer lists) is a studied groping towards (and hoping for) some kind of discovery.
Our study never intended to be the final word on influence. Rather it’s an ongoing experiment in trying to understand emergent phenomenon. We’re starting a conversation, not giving a speech or selling a product.
The question makes one of those logical errors that are so easy these days. One doesn’t always begin measuring by knowing what is being measured. Sometimes, you measure to find out what the thing is. I measure my wall to see how much paint I need. But, I measure the ice layers in Antarctica so that I can find out what’s there. Measurement can be either quantification of a known thing (what Jim asks for) or exploration of an unknown like our measures of influence or good experimentation.
Still, after a couple of years of looking, you’d think we’d have some answer to Jim’s question. The HRExaminer Influence Project has grown from an experiment in networking (we interviewed nearly 500 people to discover who they thought were influential and then started interviewing the names that were most often mentioned) to a combination of that earlier action-research with a deeper quantification model. The Top 25 Lists are our experimentation in the measurement of something. Influence is as good a shorthand for it as anything.
One of the phrases you are going to quickly tire of is ‘Big Data‘. Big Data is what happens when our existing databases get overrun by the wash of new digital information that is entering every pore of our organizations. When the computer era began, data was scarce and the important thing was getting it organized. Today, data proliferates faster than we (or our IT infrastructure) can keep up. This is the Big Data problem.
It’s not, as most vendors are claiming, the delicious reality that one can benchmark against anonymized competitors (an idea brought to our market years ago by Infohrm). While it’s really useful to be able to see how you match against the others, that’s a parlor trick compared to wading through the flow of data that cascades from and because of all the technology walking in the front door. Influence is just the first step in making sense of an ocean of new and important data.
The data comes as mobile device information, sensor miniaturization, video packaging, deep network nodal info (from vendors like Facebook and LinkedIn). It’s increasingly the case that many (MANY) external organizations know more about our employees and how they are wired together than we do. They have layers of info that exceed our core processing capabilities. That data is starting to break our primitive software and data structures.
Meanwhile, functionality waltzes in the front door, exploding the problem with rogue apps delivering real local value at the expense of hierarchical control.
The smartest thing to do when you don’t know what’s happening is to start measuring stuff. Understanding what it is will emerge from that simple intention. Measure and measure. That fundamental notion from the Total Quality movement is reusable here and now. When you don’t understand it, save it. It’s sure to be important later.
So, what are we measuring?
Like it or not, a thing is no longer real if you can not find it online. Academic experts, once the talk of the trade show scene, have receded from view (unless they are particularly internet savvy.) The amazing insights of last generation’s thought leaders have disappeared along with the bookstores that used to carry their work. Today, you have to find it online.
Increasingly (witness the kerfuffle over Google’s integration of G+ into search results), data from social transactions in the subject area are weighted as a part of the search algorithm. The people who are the most frequent writers, retweeters and commentators on a particular subject add weight to this or that search result. After all, the most visible participants in a dialog have the biggest impact on the dialog.
As we’ve said elsewhere, your work doesn’t matter much if it isn’t online. The effect we are measuring is the weight that the ‘influencers’ add to a particular idea.
So, who is influencing what? The people who are most read and most retweeted have an enormous impact on search engine results . Since all new entrants begin with simple queries in search engines, that’s where you see the largest impact.
Tweeters and retweeters dramatically alter the accessibility of information. We’re starting to grapple with the degree to which being a transmission node is more or less impactful than being an original content creator. The Beatles owe their success in meaningful ways to the radio stations that played their records.
What are they being influential about? That is as simple as the world in which their keywords are important. Our influencers are curators, gatekeepers, rainmakers and trend setters. As they grow and mature, they are shifting the reality that is our industry.
One of the things we marvel at with each published list is the fact that the critics never bother to read the accompanying articles. If you’ve been following the project closely, there’s not a lot new in this article; we’re just getting better at telling the story. If this is the first time you’ve seen these ideas, dig through the HRExaminer archives.