HRExaminer v3.09 March 2, 2012
On Friday, March 2nd at 2:00 pm ET, Joe Essenfeld, CEO of JIBE, and Michael Long, Head of Culture Branding at Rackspace, will discuss how organizations can maintain company culture throughout the hiring process. You can view the live-stream at the following locations: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jibe?sk=app_196506863720166 Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/jibe-news
Table of Contents
For all of the noise, Social Technology is slow to enter the HR Marketplace. LinkedIn is nearly a decade old, Facebook is 7, and Twitter is 5. While there are legions of trainers who purport to show how to use collaborative communications tools in organizational settings, there is little real progress in standardization. Armed with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS Feeds, Slideshare, and a host of other accounts, most of the news is hype.
Compared to the first generation of Internet tools and technology, this round is hitting the enterprise at almost half the speed. By this point in the original process, all of the fortune 500 companies had visible pressences. Today that number is still under 10%.
From an enterprise perspective, Social Media is still in its earliest R&D phases. The simple technologies that will ultimately become the backbone of organizational tech stacks are still shaping up. We know what they do, but we are still learning how to turn them into useful applications.
In the first era of software, technology moved from big buyers (like the military and AT&T) ‘down’ to street level users. PCs were not possible until the NASA space programs. Spreadsheets and other user level tools evolved from industry project planning applications. Inventory management and manufacturing operations software have their roots in military planning programs.
For nearly 20 years, the consumer marketplace has driven the evolution of technology. As big companies and government reduced their investments in R&D, gaming companies, software giants and venture capitalists have become the funders of R&D projects.
Technologies move from consumer usage to enterprise applications in the same way that ingredients move into meals. The core technologies are gathered together to solve a specific business problem just like flour, sugar, salt and eggs are assembled to make a cake. In this article, the raw technologies are those found in consumer settings. Applications are the way they are organized to create HR specific value.
The raw social technologies include:
- Short Messaging
(Twitter, Yammer, Facebook)
- Network Development
(Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook)
- Network Visualization
(Social Network Analysis, LinkedIn)
- Community Formation - Admin
(Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Ning)
- Communications Targeting
- Public Ranking and Rating
(Yelp, Netflix, Amazon, Glassdoor)
- Virtual Classrooms
(Webex, GoToMetting, Blackboard)
- Knowledge Assembly
- Knowledge Distribution
(Digg, Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious, RSS)
- Video Creation and Distribution
(YouTube, VIMEO, )
- Democratic Publishing
(Blogging, Ning, Fan Pages)
- Knowledge Marking
- Real Time Video
(Skype, GoToMeeting, Webex)
- Mobile Platforms
(Particularly multi player games like World of Warcraft)
(Human Input, Mobile Phones, RFID)
These raw technologies are associated with consumer platforms that often define the way we see them. We will be watching the impact of this technology wave on HR and business for the rest of the decade.
What You See in Social Recruiting is Primitive:
What you see in Social HR is Stone Age
Today’s social media universe is overwhelming and complex. Hundreds of companies offer HR and Recruiting leaders the opportunity to do business in new ways. Decision makers’ baskets are full of both claims of efficacy and radically conflicting advice.
We are at the primitive beginnings of this new world. For the most part, the vast majority of Social Recruiting and HR products and services are just new paint on an old caboose. There is little, if any, real innovation in the fundamental processes and procedures of HR and Recruiting.
That said, there is every reason to pay close attention to the emergence of new companies under the Social HR and Recruiting rubric.
As was the case 15 years ago, the incumbent providers of tools and systems are bloated and overly complex. Even though the tools are ineffective, and in spite of arduous and complex procurement processes, companies buy them based on brand. The conventional wisdom is that ‘you can’t get fired for buying X.”
That is exactly what makes a market ripe for disruption.
The small companies who have created the face of social HR and Recruiting during the past 24 months were funded by over $400 million in venture capital. As those companies struggle to figure out how the business works and what their value is, they help open the marketplace to new ides and approaches. Investors are clear that HR and its related functions are the logical beneficiaries of emerging technology.
Associated with social media is a series of technologies that might seem incidental at first, among them: Video, mobile, tagging, SEO, 140 character messaging, wikis, blogging, and gaming, sensors. As entrepreneurs define their products, they include technologies that were unavailable even five years ago.
It’s the combination of hidebound incumbents, a huge volume of new technology and ready investors that make market disruption inevitable. While it is only partly clear how it will happen, it is inevitable that there will be significant changes in both what is possible and how we think about it. Just as Job Boards, Applicant Tracking Systems, Enterprise HRIS, Employee Communication Portals, Customer Relationship Management Systems, company websites and intranets emerged over the past 20 years, new tools, techniques and providers are on the horizon.
HR and Recruiting Executives are faced with complex decisions to make about emerging technology. Where technology used to flow from government research labs into the organization, it now comes from the consumer market. Employees want to know why they can’t use the apps on their phone to do their jobs. Executives are faced with making decisions about how to use data and tools that have never existed before.
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. His job is developing and inspiring people in organizations. He accomplishes this by combining a massive dose of energy with world class knowledge to deliver a message that brings leadership to life. Full Bio…
Sometimes the Obvious is Right in Front of You
by Dr. Todd Dewett
Many things we do at work are assumed to be sacrosanct – simple, unquestionable truths. In reality, many best practices (things we should do) are the opposite of the commonly accepted wisdom (things we are actually doing)! Sometimes this is true because established practices have so much inertia. Other times this is true because people are afraid to face the conflict associated with discussing sacred cows. Sometimes we simply fail to consider our changing needs. Here are three great examples of fundamentally flawed – yet very common – organizational practices.
Employee recognition and reward programs. The punch line: we reward too much. In an effort to “be fair” and do nice things for others, we have created work environments where everyone, or nearly everyone, is recognized as Employee of the Month. Cubes are covered by laser printer created certificates. Unfortunately, this merely creates a culture of entitlement – a place where people expect to be rewarded for being average. To become a high performing organization you must rediscover and redefine excellence, and begin rewarding a little less.
The use of teams. Punch line: they are often ineffective and we underestimate the overhead costs. We fell in love with the team decades ago. We were told that for any task, we could build a team to handle it. We were not, however, told that teams have drawbacks. For example: teams must coordinate and have meetings, teams experience interpersonal conflict, and teams promote laziness from some members. A highly functioning team is a thing of beauty, but most teams are mediocre. It is smart to use fewer teams and smaller teams. For teams that must exist, try using individual work and electronic coordination more than group work in meetings.
The hiring process. Punch line: it is not smart to hire people without trying them out first. Would you marry a person when you first meet them? How about the first week? No! Hiring someone is often just as risky as getting married and sometimes even more difficult to undo! When you first meet your new prospective employee, they are managing impressions and you are managing impressions – just like a marriage! Only after a few months will you have the honest data upon which you can make a lasting decision. Start every employee on probation for at least six months and defer judgment until the end of that period.
Striving for excellence is difficult. Give you and your organization the edge by taking the time to reexamine the fundamental beliefs that surround you every day.
When we think of retention, we think of water. The next time someone mentions having a retention problem, ask “Are you bloated?”
It’s a very bad name for a very good idea. The very word retention makes it seem like the organization is the sole actor in resolving the problem of “getting the right people to continue to work at our organization”. The company retains or it doesn’t. The employees are the passive recipients of retention programs.
Even in the current murky environment, employees decide to stay or leave. As long as the cause for termination isn’t downsizing, performance or some other business reason, the employee has at least an equal part in the decision to remain. As the unemployment rate falls, their share in that decision grows.
Although there are certainly a small number of employers who cling to the idea that the relationship is one-sided, most real players acknowledge the change that has happened in the firm’s relationship with its members. In the 21st Century, loyalty is a choice, not an obligation of the employment contract.
We think a better term would be “engagement”. The goal of effective ‘retention programs’ is to improve the bond between employees and the firm; to increase the likelihood that they will stay; to decrease the likelihood that they might leave.
In order to accomplish these objective, the company has to perform several tasks:
- demonstrate the alignment between individual goals and organizational success;
- create a motivational environment that rewards the investment of passion and focus from employees;
- make the benefit of staying higher than the cost of leaving;
- show the employee how to increase the value of their contribution;
- accept and reward passion and commitment when they are demonstrated.It’s surprising how little of the efforts described as “Retention” focus on the actual work that people do. An “Engagement” Program would start at the level of the actual work and improve the organization by making workers more effective. Hassle reduction and the introduction of useful tools into the environment are the essential keys to success.
From an interview with John Sumser in HRExecutive about the HRxAnalyst’s Report, What HR Thinks and Feels:
HRE: The HRxAnalysts finding that HR has become vastly female-dominated doesn’t seem to surprise people, but it has been sparking lots of conversations, hasn’t it?
SUMSER: I am in my late 50s and I remember when it was a big deal for a married woman to have a credit card of her own. It’s not that long ago. It’s a generation at most. The extraordinary continued success of women in the workforce has its first beachhead in HR. That’s really interesting. I’m less clear that the report found that this is a trend that is continuing, but it’s already there — the majority of the people in HR are women.
It’s what often happens in civil-rights movements. The move to integrate the minority into the majority ends up with something that’s simultaneously successful and a ghetto. It happens all the time.
The dynamic is that the easiest place to accomplish the solution to the problem becomes the next place where the problem exists. So part of what you see in HR is that it’s a staff function and staff functions do not have lots of authority in the organization.
Authority comes in line functions. Line managers get to say, ‘Do this, do that.’ Staff people get to say, ‘We think it would be a good idea if you do this or do that’ or ‘We recommend that you do this or do that.’