More About the Pulse.

On March 15, 2012, in HRExaminer, by John Sumser

More about the Pulse - HR Examiner by John Sumser

One correspondent went so far as to describe the topic list as being from “Back in the days when HR was the rules police.”

The pushback from people who have often made our influencer lists was interesting. I got mail suggesting that the list wasn’t credible because person X wasn’t on it. (Of course, that was usually the person writing the note.) I wanted to take some time to dig a little further into what we discovered with the most current list.

One correspondent went so far as to describe the topic list as being from “Back in the days when HR was the rules police.”

Any time you hit a nerve, there’s real learning somewhere in the neighborhood.

As a reminder, the ten topics that the algorithm showed had the highest level of activity over the past six months were:

  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution
  2. Wage Garnishment
  3. Service Level Agreement
  4. Unemployment Compensation
  5. Career Podcast
  6. Workplace Bullying
  7. Voluntary Benefits
  8. Americans With Disabilities
  9. Exit Interview
  10. HR Certification

While they are not actually the exact same list as you would have seen 20 years ago, they’re close. That’s because, the concerns of the HR department have some common threads over the life of the discipline. All of the sexy, gee whiz shiny pieces of technology you can cobble together don’t change the fact that the core business of HR involve conflict resolution, payroll, anti-discrimination measures and career management (or internal mobility as they call it in the technical side).

Our core question with this Top 25 list was “what things are HR pros interested in most?”

It wasn’t, “What do pundits wish people were talking about?” or “What’s hot in the HRTech sector?” or “What do the jet-setting bloggers spend their time on?” It wasn’t even “What do people who are trying to change HR thinking about?” or “Which of the people who think they should be on the list should we try to appease?”


This was an attempt to find and measure the heart of HR. We wanted to see whether the topics in the various outlets matched up with the things HR folks pay attention to. The results were pretty surprising.

First of all, the people we’ve traditionally identified as influencers don’t generally cover the material. Second, there are not very many people who cover all, or even most, of the topics. Third, the accumulated voices wo do cover the material are not a collection of the usual suspects.

These are big things to notice. What most caught our attention was the absence of most of these topics from the most popular settings.

There may be a difference between cyberspace celebrity and the appearance of influence and the meat and potatoes business of HR. Democratic publishing may be more democratic than anyone thought. The apparent success of a whole range of social media processes may be short lived and divorced from market realities.

Meanwhile, you might want to follow the Pulse of HR Twitter list. Right now, includes all of the folks on the Top 25: Pulse of HR  list. By week’s end, it will be expanded to all 175 accounts that made into  our scoring and ranking process

In related news, SHR India has released a list of the top 20 Influencers in social media from India. It’s amazing how a good idea can catch on.

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Top 25 Online Influencers: The Pulse of HR
Top 25 Online Influencers: The Pulse of HR

We chose to use the six month window as a baseline for further investigations. The topics covered by the list...