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Hosts Stacey Harris and John Sumser discuss important news and topics in recruiting and HR technology. Listen live every Thursday or catch up on full episodes with transcriptions here.

HR Tech Weekly

Episode: 210
Air Date: March 7, 2019




Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and quite accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation. Thank you for your understanding.

John Sumser
Stacey Harris


00:00:15:16 – 00:00:25:09
Good Morning and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, one step closer, with Stacey Harris and John SUmser. Good morning Stacey, How is beautiful Salt Lake City?

00:00:25:25 – 00:00:53:15
Morning John. Well it is cold and windy but it is the first day was really really pretty. So I got to come in and know that it is always amazing when you fly in to Salt Lake City and you see those mountains ring this valley. It’s one of those things where the impression stays with me for a while and I got I came in on a clear morning so beautiful. Today though it’s rainy and cold and I see snow outside my window or close to it. It’s good that I’ll be here through Friday I’m hoping the sun comes I got to.

00:00:54:10 – 00:00:58:06
Yeah well I don’t like snow. You can have my share of that if you like.

00:00:59:22 – 00:01:13:11
Yeah well other real I’m a Qualtrics conference this week and one of the big things they’re doing on Friday is people can sign up to do a skiing trip. I did not sign up for that is that it would be better to stay at home on that day.

00:01:13:13 – 00:01:20:22
So you know people who ski I always want to say, don’t you know that that’s snow.

00:01:22:24 – 00:01:32:13
Yeah I spent many years of my my childhood skiing and snowboarding and falling into snow and it’s not my favorite place to be.

00:01:33:14 – 00:01:36:23
So, the Qualtrics things, Barack Obama was there.

00:01:36:23 – 00:03:16:24
Did you have breakfast with him? t I did not have breakfast with Barack Obama but I did get to sit and listen to him and I want to say that for me personally that was those good of a bucket list either when he was campaigning for both the first and the second election. He did a lot of campaigning in Ohio where I used to live at. And he used to constantly be a break down the road from us dealt with all kinds of traffic issues because of it. But I could never get tickets just never worked out. I would have had to you know stood in four lines but you just can’t do when you’re a working person in general. And so so this was you know I was very excited to get a chance to see him and he didn’t do a presentation was just a Q and A but it was nice to hear from him it’s nice to hear some common sense you know and someone talking about sort of what governments should be doing and how it’s working with businesses and so I appreciated his commentary. They also had Richard Branson. Lord Richard Branson as the first presenter as well and then Ashton Kutcher who was talking about the very socially focused conversation throughout the entire morning for the Qualtrics session as well as a few other presenters from their internal team. But it was definitely a jam packed morning and that was before we even got into the sessions which were filled with names like BuzzFeed and Dropbox and you know American Express and Google and you know really really just a very large company. So it’s been an interesting event and it goes on today to say they’re going to have Opera at the sessions and a couple other big names.

00:03:16:25 – 00:03:17:14
So yeah.

00:03:18:06 – 00:03:23:13
What do those people have to do with surveys?

00:03:23:29 – 00:03:29:10
I know I got yeah I got that question a lot. And I think to some respect.

00:03:29:10 – 00:05:04:22
What you know in some ways is a lot of those people you know they’re on the circuit for speaking or they’re you know they’re focused on I’d say human based issues right. And this is definitely an audience that is the thing about Qualtrics where unlike some of the other events that we tend to go through in the HR space spaces it crosses what I’d say it crosses functional areas. So it’s the marketing audience it’s the H R audience it’s the researching field audience from sort of deep research. And it’s also in many cases sort of the educational audience right to higher education and case you feel education and sort of research from that perspective. And so I think the fact that you’re able to talk to and there were over 14000 people this event this week it is taking over the entire city of Salt Lake City. And I think it was an opportunity for them to talk about to the people who are gathering data. And there was a lot of focus on the ethics and the importance of the work that they’re doing that it is held to the highest standard. And how important it is that organizations realize those levels of standards that go into that kind of research when it’s done well. So that was a big I think focus of the entire presentation out there at some of the social conversations about businesses and they should be doing more for their local communities and their countries and everything else. So yeah it was interesting.

00:05:05:00 – 00:05:06:12
And this is this is Qualtrics now owned by SAP.

00:05:11:04 – 00:05:11:26
What’s the sense about that?

00:05:14:18 – 00:05:25:24
Well you know that you know the argument is talking this morning to everyone is to give his sense of how SAP and Qualtrics are going to fit together. There wasn’t a huge SJP presence at this event.

00:05:25:24 – 00:07:27:14
I think this is probably like the big laughs of but you know the CEO Ryan got up and gave it a really rousing speech in the morning yesterday about why he chose to go with that AP and why he felt like this partnership would work versus going IPO. They were they were I mean they were within weeks of going IPO when when the maybe one day is going IPO when when SFP swooped in and bottom and he said the offer that they made was just you know it made sense for that company they were able to do more with that kind of an offer than they would have been able to do as a public company per say individually. Now what’s interesting is you know when you talk to the Qualtrics employee they are all pretty comfortable that you know as a PE will leave Qualtrics alone to some extent they will allow them to continue to be Qualtrics with all the personality quirks and you know young tech company feel that they have had now they are very you know at this point in time and there are a very large organization they’ve got two to three thousand employees already. They are very culture focused as I’ve already noted they have their CEO is not that he’s planning on stepping down he has no intentions of leaving the company. Part of the company is built around a nonprofit effort that they have for fighting cancer and that’s part of the whole company make up and do that is due to the CEO’s father. And so yeah everybody seems to think that things will be just we’re going to get more money and more resources to do the things we want to do. I don’t know you and I have seen this. We’ve seen this one success factors was acquired. There was a lot of focus initially there about keeping the success factors brand and culture. Do you think that it worked for Success Factors.

00:07:27:15 – 00:07:43:17
Sure sure. So you don’t buy rental properties to leave them the way that they are forever. It really goes to this issue of investment. And it’s going to be consequences of the issue.

00:07:44:02 – 00:08:15:27
Everybody who’s an ethical question where is the percentage of vertical anybody who’s a work day customer could find the time before to to have an integration with those opinions so so they can’t move quickly because it would destroy the customer base but they’re not going to have sales that’s oriented to the insides of the SFP ecosystem and functionality that’s a worry and work when there’s when there’s an improvement that needs to be made.

00:08:15:27 – 00:08:44:22
How do you think this is going to work. Qualtrics customer growth recipe customer research so so over time over time this is recipe. This is not Congress and the theory that. The theory that you can keep for all of the girlfriends and get buried doesn’t make for good marriages you know.

00:08:45:06 – 00:09:47:25
Well that’s a different project but I think I have the same feeling you know I would I me you know I think Qualtrics has done something in the market that no but there’s no doubt that they have created a tool that at this point you know there’s are few that can compete on the research side of things down there. They’ve got a customer you know component they’ve got a H.R. component. And those are all sort of tailored versions of their they’re surveying tool and with variations in their data sharing models and their their capability to do sort of subgroups within them so that people can sort of resell and access various levels of the research. But for the most part I think you know it will be tough to hold on to a culture you know having seen what we’ve seen now what we could be wrong and I would be happy to be proven wrong in that situation. So now we’ll wait and see. So you know a lot of the conversation. Yeah.

00:09:48:07 – 00:11:13:28
Well what was interesting place to be is should we certainly data collection is the beginnings of what’s happening in the world. But I think I think we’re going to see the internal employee survey sort of peak in its in its probably because there’s so many other ways to collect data about. So this is a this is really kind of an old fashioned way of doing things but it’s where you start if you’re going to try to investigate the quality of your internal culture. It’s certainly how you do things where you look at the world as the same as other dial phones think that that the thing that you do is go out and collect a statistically significant survey data from X number of people. That’s the model. This is a tool. This is the tool but that model is is being replaced by smart data science that allows you to correlate things that appear to be unrelated didn’t arrive at the same conclusions without the benefit of a survey which has you know you get what you’d get. Survey is the answer from people who answer surveys.

00:11:14:25 – 00:12:16:12
Exactly. And I it. Yeah that’s the biggest challenge that the organizations that I spoke with here and there are almost every Fortune 100 organization is represented here at one level or another. Their perspective is that their culture tool and what it does is a piece of a much broader data capturing process both whether they’re doing external data capturing or internal data capturing and from their perspective. You know what I’m hearing a lot more of is people creating these very large databases where they’re housing all the various different methodologies of which they’re capturing data which I think gets them to Internet of Things and social scraping and you know information you know in sort of the the eco system that is captured through various activities and work environments as well as surveys. So I think you’re completely on target and that definitely you can hear that throughout the session.

00:12:16:12 – 00:12:23:20
I think you for sure so. So it’s you know what.

00:12:25:07 – 00:15:21:09
Well it’s not a busy week but some interesting stuff. And one of the announcements I think they’re probably making on the stage this morning as well is that Korn Ferry which was originally an executive search firm but also had acquired a lot of leadership development helping them the leaving leadership development content back in the day competency management tool and has done a lot of sort of consulting acquisitions over the last few years. They are announcing a Qualtrics partnership to build a global delivering advisory services to improve employee experience programs at scale. So although this I think it sounds like it’s more of a sort of a a partnership on sort of a sales level but it does look like Qualtrics is agreeing to sort of work with Korn Ferry on creating sort of a services around their platform that can’t very well sell as a holistic thing. And that’s that’s an interesting one and I think part of it is is that the market isn’t quite sure what this employee experience thing is. And so when you when you aren’t sure what something is you generally have to put services around it to explain it to sell it. And that’s my take on that. So that’s definitely happening this week. We we also have some updates from the Rhydian acquiring assets of Clearview logics and PayPal Salesforce releasing my trail has a customizable trading platform jumping into the mix of training Wipro sells off a period to the poor period team as the bells rang a bit. It’s in practice for 110 million to IPO bound to which is part of the group. They just get sold off from previously. So cycle above that wave of lending rate is seven point six million dollars and help their business automate hiring Chatterbox more about right back then. Then we also have paradox another chat bot organization that is announcing the completion of their funding process and then their growth plans for 2019. We also have hacker rank debuting a tool for developers job candidate analysis. So hacker ranks it has been in and out of news a little bit. They tried to sort of be the tool that is for technology hiring. And then if we get a little bit of time online learning sort of filling promises India’s mechanical engineers a job or their money back. So if we get a chance to talk about that John that would definitely be interesting to do we think this model’s working. I’ve heard about this type of a model twice now in the last couple of days people talking about what is the future of learning on the stage. So I think this is maybe an idea picking up and it always does when things get a little bit tight with the talent space. So yes there’s a lot of stuff going on in the news this week. What’s your thoughts on where do we want to start. Talk a little bit about the current theory at all before we move on.

00:15:21:14 – 00:15:48:15
Let’s let’s start with still work have the idea that if you get the education the provider guarantees that you’ll get a job or that you deserve Yeah I know I know utilized college graduates who would love to have that deal.

00:15:50:05 – 00:15:50:15

00:15:53:19 – 00:16:00:04
I wonder how sustainable that is.

00:16:00:06 – 00:16:19:23
Because with the labor market is variable setting up a circle it’s just those steady demand for everything there is cyclicals around for stuff so. So if you just guarantee you then you have a recession. You better have a lot of money.

00:16:21:23 – 00:17:56:15
Well I’m sure that yeah that will be the thing is it sustainable and in a down market. I mean this is very similar to sort of the old recruiting models right and and sort of a mixture of agent concepts right. You’ve seen the talent base as well as for paid or higher education that used to promise a lot of downtime to get more able to come through on it. But this is basically a contract that you’re not paying for that you know if you’re gonna pay for your education you are promised a job. Now how how stable that contract is and whether or not they can put forward for that contract is a whole different thing. Now the other thing that I heard someone talk about today is other startups in the industry that are starting to do you don’t pay anything for education but once you get into your job portions of your salary get pushed back into your education environment which is a little bit like a loan model as well. I think the world’s really trying to figure out like how do you get a lot of these skills. And they’re trying every model they can possibly imagine to figure out a way to do this that doesn’t require the traditional student loan right. And particularly works in areas and in the STEM or the technology space this is mechanical engineering jobs what that’s what they’re focused on. So yeah I mean it feels like we’ve done this before at least to me. I feel like this is not something that is new but maybe we’ll look new because there’s technology around it.

00:17:57:28 – 00:18:00:02
Well what did we. When did we do this before.

00:18:00:03 – 00:18:10:20
Well it used to be the case that when you went to work you paid for your education but that was that was how lots of lot.

00:18:10:29 – 00:18:18:26
First it was the government paid for education. Then employers paid for education and now people were paying for it.

00:18:19:24 – 00:18:23:13
So that is sort of a move back.

00:18:23:16 – 00:18:34:14
But but but the the idea here is that the university guarantees the quality of it for the educational institution guarantees the quality of its work.

00:18:35:12 – 00:18:47:12
And that strikes me as new. That’s a totally different business model for a school except that the the sort of raw technical schools used to do this.

00:18:48:01 – 00:18:51:09
Yeah. And then maybe more like gambling.

00:18:51:17 – 00:20:12:04
Yeah exactly. My dad was in a lot of the educational and technology spaces in the early days when the for profit schools first came out and a lot of them were with the we will promise you a job at the end of this compared to right. You know these technical and they and they were tied very much to business in that they were doing their recruiting. It fell apart and it didn’t work because the the the school didn’t match up their curriculums well enough with what the businesses were doing and that might be the difference here. I would really like to see that happen I think that a great partnership. It just never seemed to work at least I think in the 80s in the 70s and the 90s. Those areas when I knew other people who were doing it and that for profit school market. But this could be this could be a change in the state. I do think the idea of focusing on technical skills is a big shift and needs to be done in the market again. But that’s definitely been a conversation I think across the board in every event I’ve been to in the last probably two years. Yeah. Is this idea that higher education is necessary for everybody and that the idea that there are a lot of jobs going on fulfilled here at least in the States and really around the world that have to do with my technical skills.

00:20:12:23 – 00:20:24:21
So those through the type of things that do. Did you push that in the two of us. It’s about. There was no mention of artificial intelligence of course.

00:20:24:21 – 00:20:26:26
No they were using every word.

00:20:27:01 – 00:20:48:24
Right. Assistive intelligence or reverence intelligence everything that you can do to distance yourself from the term. You bring up the lovers as experts. That’s right. They spent a lot of those those brochures of the CIA.

00:20:48:28 – 00:20:56:27
So there was a definitely. All right circle.

00:20:57:09 – 00:21:51:15
So you got paradox and wave where the there are interesting levels of financing it’s not as big as pie matrix or one of the more tactical job oriented start ups but these are these are 10 million dollar deals both of I think I think about to see some people get really smart as soon as we can figure out how to get the case studies published but it actually costs to implement a check up right. It’s not a simple plan. It’s not a simple thing you know. And the quality of the work itself but to do is entirely limited by how specific the problem is.

00:21:54:20 – 00:22:22:17
If you’ve done all our research there is also limited by how much work your company has already done in sort of identifying all the possible questions and the ways those could be answered. I mean I think about a lot of organizations who have massive help desk environments who have basically outlined all the questions they get and have an already built sort of a database of answers. That seems to me like you would be a step closer than trying to bring in a chap up before something like that was done right.

00:22:24:03 – 00:22:24:15

00:22:24:15 – 00:22:51:25
The idea that you have to have the you have to have so most people go to chat about the two kinds right there is the there’s the process or a thing which is a decision tree and you’ve got just no answers. 10 or 20 yes or no answers to get to a conclusion. That’s great. That’s easy to do. And there’s nothing particularly technical about that.

00:22:52:03 – 00:24:02:10
And that sort of knowledge management tools that theoretically answer questions that are employed. But they really at best at the very very best they could only handle about 80 percent of the questions that they’re given. Which means that you have to set up amendments with infrastructure and staffing to handle the questions that the machine didn’t answer and will always be the hardest. The 80 percent that get answered this is operator with analysis of 20 percent of the equals 80 percent of the benefit and 80 percent of the problem equals 20 percent of benefit. And what the chat logs do is solve the 80 percent of the problem it yields 20 percent. And so so you end up with a real hairball on your hands. You have deployed a chat about that that is supposed to give you 80 percent but it’s the right this sort of brings to mind actually.

00:24:02:11 – 00:24:43:16
There was one comment that was made at yesterday’s event that Obama made that I thought was fit right into what we’re talking about here. Obama was superb at the question of what do you do when you’re at the level that you were at and you were asked Are you asked to make a decision about two bad decision points like there was no good answer right. And his comment was that every decision he made was one of those decisions because if it was an easy decision it would have never gotten that right. And so by the time it got to him there was no good answer to be had at any point. And I think that’s kind of what you’re saying. By the time it gets to whoever is a human being in this situation there will be no good answer to those questions correct.

00:24:43:18 – 00:25:25:26
Right. And what happens is is because Barack Obama and people have the expectations that they get instantaneous answers. You end up needing to staff to get to that level. A board and to have a chat about sets of expectation for a level of responsiveness of the organization that if that’s what if the if the promises only we’ll give you really great responsiveness for the easy questions and then the vision just write all this stuff out put it in sacks and what people use search engines or start that might different.

00:25:26:29 – 00:26:04:02
But what this gives people check marks are on the HRC even if it no longer means artificial terms button and so I’m sure that and particularly these to wait and Wendy and Olivia will will do well in the market and they will sell at a premium and they will do a thing to move the state of the art. Intelligent tools forward.

00:26:04:22 – 00:26:35:08
I think it’s really really hard and I could be wrong on this but I’m happy to be proven wrong here and I think it’ll be hard. You do this kind of level of sophisticated thinking without being part of a bigger database of knowledge right to be just a small chat but sitting as a of doing one or two things in an organization it feels like it would be a very limited role within that environment right like it needs to be attached to a bigger official mechanism. At least that’s what it feels like to me.

00:26:35:23 – 00:27:26:20
Yeah I think it’s very big what we’re about to see is that the push towards machine learning and natural language processing and data collection using servers all of these things everybody would say will cause the people analytics area to mature pretty rapidly because you can’t afford to have a whole array of little rumbles running around squaring with your data it makes it impossible to manage the data you need some sort of some sort of centralized approach to the aspect of data that is the companies that so great to serve the people with the data about the people. That’s very good sense.

00:27:27:03 – 00:27:54:01
And a program that just has like a million little projects going on with no and no real integration is a really big mess. And it ends up it ends up being the case that you end up giving lots of people want different answers to the same question when what do you want to do is give everybody a civil war answer to the same question.

00:27:56:11 – 00:28:26:26
Well we will we will have I think wait and see on this particular topic because I don’t think there’s any one big data architecture yet that has been proven to be true to the end all be all organizations. I know people are trying to create it. We’re hearing another time and whether or not do part of the public cloud market at all or you want it to be completely separate that’s another big question I think a thing asked. But I think if you’re cracked in a whole lack of integration lack of connection that will cause issues here.

00:28:26:27 – 00:29:04:01
Yeah yeah yeah. I don’t think there’ll be one great data architecture for everybody. I think that every company is going to have to do that and it’s not a guarantee problem. It’s a data problem. So when you look at organizations like Cairo which are no you’re you’re really involved in the the Sudan needs to be on data software. Exactly right. And that’s hard for people to get their brains around. Data has become the infrastructure that software used to be Yeah that’s a good way of putting it.

00:29:04:19 – 00:29:44:09
Without a doubt I mean that’s the direction we’re seeing. Almost all of the H.R. I.T. professionals who are working at the highest levels and very large global observations right now. They’re their time and energy is being inundated with data governance data conversations and infrastructure conversations around those data conversations. And so I think you’re right that this is the new the new expansion of wealth. If we want to call it right we’ll be the frontier of data and how do you manage it. What do you do with it and what is it. Who is connect you with not next year all that. Be part of the conversation right.

00:29:44:15 – 00:30:04:14
That’s. It’s going to be it’s going to be a fascinating time. We’re at the beginning of a new era and it was sort of the trumpets were playing to when the new were opened to the real truth about the new era is that its the era of data science.

00:30:04:27 – 00:30:25:20
You need data science. You need data science to do good analytics and you need data science to get the data set in because it’s so so so. It’s data that has come to come to bore us to tears on some levels.

00:30:27:01 – 00:30:37:29
And you well we have whipped through our 30 minutes early and we didn’t get through half of the topics. I’m sure you get just more of them next week. Any any last minute items you wanted to touch on before we wrapped up nice.

00:30:38:08 – 00:30:48:03
No. What a great show. And thank you very much for taking the time out of your big adventure in Salt Lake City to do this and thanks everybody for listening.

00:30:48:03 – 00:30:48:14
You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly, one step closer, with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Bye bye.

00:31:09:11 – 00:31:10:21
Thanks everyone.


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