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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: 212
Air Date: March 28, 2019




Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly 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


00:00:14:12 – 00:00:26:10
Good evening and welcome to HR Tech weekly one step closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Hi Stacey, did you notice as the Irish guys started playing something different?

00:00:27:02 – 00:00:34:20
I know they were doing a lot I think that was a James Bond music or something that’s I usually think of the blog talk radio music.

00:00:34:29 – 00:00:38:11
Yeah, well we’ll get these Irish guys back at the end of the show. So how are you?

00:00:40:13 – 00:00:55:11
I’m doing well I’m doing well not at my usual spot it’s evening here in North Carolina. But I am ready and ready and have a good conversation my HR technology. Times are a little mixed up today but hey it’s all good and we’re still getting a chance to talk.

00:00:55:27 – 00:01:02:03
Yeah yeah. Welcome. Welcome to the thing, so, so what’s new with you? What do you see in the world?

00:01:02:14 – 00:01:39:16
Well we are getting ready to launch the annual HR systems survey for Sierra-Cedar so that’s been taking up most of my time. A lot of good stuff going on with new age technology questions a lot of questions that deal with them with news that we got in the news this week with. Benefits and. How people are thinking about outsourcing and what are some of the new emerging technologies that people are actually working on data privacy issues the type of things that we’ll be adding to the survey this year. I’m home this week so I don’t have a lot of insight from all the conferences and events but you’re traveling a little bit this week right. You were in the same family.

00:01:39:21 – 00:02:28:27
I spent some time with some forward looking venders talking about their willingness to help me with my research. So it was pretty productive. And tell what I’m really excited about. I think probably. Monday. My next article for H.R. Executive Magazine comes out. And it’s called. Twelve ways to get fired as a CEO tomorrow if they can get it right. So so. So I’m excited to see what the blowback from that looks like. Right. The basic is that is that H.R. is recovering and so some of you will get on board the trains going to run over you that you need to pay attention to your day that you need to learn how to do some science.

00:02:29:21 – 00:02:40:12
But not everybody might be ready to hear that message. So that’ll be the interesting thing to see to see what you get from the H.R. committee because I think realisations and some people are still struggling with it.

00:02:40:12 – 00:03:01:24
Yeah I think I think I’m hoping to get an interesting and mixed response but it will be of the variety. Yeah I wish my kids were growing up so fast they seemed to rediscovering search. You know just cause you don’t want to hear it it you could go away.

00:03:01:26 – 00:03:03:07
It’s not happening.

00:03:06:22 – 00:03:19:15
Well I I’m hopefully pass some of that stage at this point my kids are old enough now that I’m just assuming that they’re beyond that but I think that there are a lot of H.R. functions that probably are right there. So I think you’ll have a lot of that conversation.

00:03:20:06 – 00:03:26:00
Well it’ll be interesting work I said I’m very excited about seeing the results of it.

00:03:26:18 – 00:03:54:10
Yeah yeah. No really. You know I think the idea of H.R. is a science is a critical conversation. But I also think that the flip side of that as much as it becomes a science that it also become. A data management issue and that’s the side that I’m seeing a lot of which is that organizations have to really. Figure out with all this available data what is their role in making sure that it gets effectively manage. And protected

00:03:54:22 – 00:04:01:24
And regulated. And so yes you want the data to have scientific conversation but there’s going to be the other side of it. Right.

00:04:02:23 – 00:04:59:24
Well I think the same thing. If you don’t take care of your data to appropriate levels of quality. You can’t have storage. Right. And so and so it seems to me that what you’re talking about. Is the very foundation of. How you move H.R. for bigot from being. Used to be the data was always concerned about giving a place at the table. But now that they have a place to table it’s time for them to have something to say. The way that you get something to say is more science and less focus. Well now that we’re out of both tales and the fairy tales of what is a chair that the big bad scary Wolf is coming and coming in the form of the European Union and their copyright and. Data privacy laws were the first topics I know we have on our list to talk about today is the passing. Of the European

00:05:00:02 – 00:05:25:04
Controversial they’re calling it online copyright reform. So. Although that Europe is particularly known for GDP right now and their data privacy requirements around that. They’re also putting in place a lot of. Very stringent regulations around copyright issues for content. Being used and reused across the Internet. And these particular laws where. They tried to pass in July they got voted down they made some minor changes to them

00:05:25:15 – 00:05:27:03
And they just came out again.

00:05:27:08 – 00:05:43:29
And there’s you know the idea that they’re going to start to really follow the trail of where copyrights originated from and start to tax. They call it a link to. Web sites that real you know basically share that information when it’s copyrighted someplace else. Now this is

00:05:44:12 – 00:06:04:29
Doesn’t seem like it would be a big major issue. But I particularly thought of this in as I thought. What happened to all of the content providers particularly in the learning phase. With Learning Technologies who share content that is copyrighted or those who read share research or media outlets. As a learning component what do you think. Do you think that’s going to have an impact on the interface.

00:06:05:19 – 00:07:09:18
I think there’s two pieces to it. What comes to mind and leave you leave for me is sorry. It’s showing the car used to have. An enormous amount of traffic people who came to we’d like to find out what the story should be. Didn’t get that from Google because Google’s firewalls was so spyware so we got say that uses their data the power of the sorriest approach. So one of these places where there’s a directive from the vendors in our community and I’m sure the there is cheering in some quarters that the idea that what makes Google or some other portal different is that they’re not a publisher they’re just a data source and so they’re not subject to the same legislation that publishers are. But this this controversial European law simply holds Internet providers accountable to the same laws that newspapers have been to for 50 years. It could be we’ll see but this

00:07:09:27 – 00:07:21:12
This could have more of an impact on our social networks in some cases as we and as we talked about our content disseminated is right. I think that the big conversation now is not just

00:07:21:23 – 00:07:28:15
Should I distribute it but can’t I distribute it. It’s a lot like this gets passed around the globe. But then ultimately

00:07:28:27 – 00:07:40:13
If it gets changed in any format what is the repercussions of that right. Dependent because right now on social media. There’s not a lot of repercussions for the social media platform itself. If someone el

00:07:41:01 – 00:07:48:07
Puts that content out there there some repercussions maybe for that person who put it out there but there’s not many big questions for the platform at this point.

00:07:48:18 – 00:08:43:13
That’s right that’s exactly what that’s exactly what they’re wrestling with here. No it’s going to have as you were hinting misgiving of long term implications for H.R. departments the supersize news like the H.R. Examiner for instance gets copied terribly routinely into Internet and and we don’t get the benefit of the traffic because the company X passes our articles out to their five hundred members of the H.R. team and we only see a single click and so the question of how do you get credit for the work that you do is work. People who hold copyrights are intrusive and generally speaking the Internet for the last 20 years has been sort of a cornucopia of free content for internal users in companies.

00:08:43:13 – 00:09:00:12
Yeah very much so. Yeah. I don’t know how much of this law will initially touch on it but I think eventually it will get to those type of conversations and I think it leads to a lot of the other conversations we’re gonna have say which is you know who owns the liability of your companies content.

00:09:00:18 – 00:10:00:21
Right. There’s there’s been a big conversation about this. You know one of the news items this week was that Workday has a new CIO. They’re a rich CIO Diana McKenzie is leaving to pursue some longtime personal passions she’s also been put on boards a couple other things that she seems to be really excited about. But they are bringing in new CIO into the organization who is comes originally from Western Union for many years as a long standing I.T. background and Sherrie Rhodes is her name. But when I was thinking is that boy what a role to take these days as CIO of a large public cloud based technology platform. Right. For any company that has an Internet as well as an external facing sort of cloud application component the content that’s on those applications is going to be just as important as the infrastructures those applications going forward. And that was something that we haven’t really thought as much about in past years as we get a it.

00:10:00:22 – 00:10:08:02
I think I think we’ve developed infrastructure and as a result data becomes infinitely more important.

00:10:09:09 – 00:10:28:04
So it will be more difficult roles. And then there’s your motive. The head of H.R. and the H.R. function itself is probably going to have to think differently about their role around the data and the employee information and the content that’s flowing through out their applications that they have decided to use in their organization. Yeah that’s right.

00:10:28:23 – 00:10:31:05
That’s a change on the horizon.

00:10:31:19 – 00:10:34:20
We also saw this week lots and lots of funding.

00:10:34:21 – 00:10:44:16
Oh my goodness the money is flowing the banks are open the cash is out and you know said this week delivery presence is everywhere.

00:10:45:22 – 00:11:07:10
Yeah a major tech base about that we’re seeing lots of investments. Interestingly we’re seeing quite a bit events and investments in the Asia-Pacific market and not small amounts. There was an 80 million dollar series state fund for Chinese online a term management platform called lightspeed. Not to be confused with any other lighthouse or any other names in the market. It’s called lightspeed and this is it.

00:11:07:12 – 00:11:10:07
There is a new base feeling and a lot of money.

00:11:11:22 – 00:12:04:29
Yes yes no I know. I would love to hear you get a million dollars at the lighthouse research but no. I think this is called light speed so there’s not a company I’m familiar with. Maybe we’ll get to hear more about it when both you and I are heading over to Singapore. I’m sure there will be some conversation there about some of these organizations but at the same time we’re also seeing another large short of China based organization called most guy raising twenty seven million dollars with a focus on making hiring more data driven in China. So two large investments in China. We have several in the last couple of weeks that we’ve talked about. This is a pretty big amount of money particularly sort of in the US dollars. Do you think this is something we’re going to see more of the Asia Pacific investments particularly as we get over there or have some conversations are probably getting a little bit more awareness of what’s happening in that market. Or do you think it’s really getting hotter right now.

00:12:04:29 – 00:13:11:13
Well I think I think China is has raised a pretty big commitment to becoming the dominant player in artificial intelligence and so so both of these things are moves to understand specific mismarked hiring and the nature and I much you’ll see a bunch more of this. What’s interesting about it is the V.C. model is new to the economic approach in China generally speaking because if you want to do your 20 years ago if you wanted to do this the government just started the company. And the question of whether or not it made any money and the return over it was sort of a stroke of a pen rather than a banking transaction. And now it has a economy that more resembles a Western capitalistic carving views of which ever before well we all learn more about it as we get deeper into the into the market and hearing a little bit more about what each of these applications do.

00:13:11:14 – 00:14:24:20
But but I think it’s exciting to see that there is like you said investment open conversations and we’ll probably get an opportunity to have that bring back in the next couple of months some interesting stories about what’s happening in the Asia-Pacific market with their H.R. technology and that we’ll be sharing some data from the CRC to report that we break down that area as well. But another area that seems to be exploding right now is benefit. I counted them in the last two weeks just from what I could talk about. These are probably the larger versus all the smaller little investments. There were seven sort of major investments or changes going on in the benefit space. One is a pretty big one. Many of us know about planned stores for is one of the larger benefits technology applications in the market. A lot of organizations actually white label it and use it with their benefits service offerings along as an application. Plan source is being acquired by Vista equity partners. That was a pretty big news to come out this week but we’re also hearing that it’s across the board in all areas of benefits based on Cleo which is a benefits for working parents. Sort of a new organization that is building out some interesting sort of I would say benefit area and they’re just right twenty seven point five million dollars.

00:14:24:20 – 00:15:10:15
We also saw CFA group raising twenty five million dollars in funding their Singapore based provider of predictive data intelligence and data intelligence platform to improve health wellness and wellness choices. So they’re sort of a choice selection technology and the numbers just go on. I mean we’ve got Artemus health raising twenty five million dollars for their their venture partners around the area of continuously helping employers get the most from their healthcare spending. There was also peer fit received 18 million investments and they’re a Tampa based Florida organization focusing on employers full fund fitness experience for their employees. I mean I mean this is just I could go on like I said there’s seven different funding just in the last two weeks. What do you think is driving this explosion and benefits vesting right a job.

00:15:10:21 – 00:16:53:08
Well you know it’s it’s benefits is a a dry topic and it is and it is a least favorite nightmare of most people with a huge amount of money first. And so if you are an insurance company or a digital startup who wants to take business away from insurance companies. This is where to be and because because compensation is some percentage of the cash flow for business which I imagine margin that benefits cash flow is about a third of payroll which means you’re in the company and between temporary symphony where 70 percent of the employees are so the cost has to do with employees then a third of that or you twenty two or three percent of the overall revenue of the company is benefits right. And so and so instead of ten dollars per head per month which is just where lots of service oriented things start you can start with the paycheck per employee per month interest rate right. And if you can keep a percentage of that by living the cash flow through your books. Who wouldn’t want that. So it’s a great place to make a lot of money. And I think I know you pointed for this I think one of the things that I’m seeing is that some benefits providers or B2B technology companies. And that’s because you can give away the software you can give away the or is in exchange for the cash flow for benefits.

00:16:53:10 – 00:17:03:20
None of this is getting very interesting because it’s not just about the tool to provide the benefits which is generally what it has been. You’ve

00:17:03:20 – 00:18:17:09
You’ve always had the service providers like tower block that are Mercer or you know in the larger groups like that who had a platform that you would use to sort of access your benefits information. And you know individual sign and then you have those big ERP systems and some of the major MSA systems. And we see a pretty mixed percentage of organization to outsource all of it who out there some middle who do it through pure technology. But what I’m seeing in a lot of these vendors in these new areas is that they are offering new types of technology that become part of the benefit themselves not just a place where I can go and pick out the package and click a button but now helping me actually make better health decisions right. Helping me through wellness and fitness programs helping me through the one is the new parents program that walks you through how to deal with things like you know breastfeeding and how to deal with issues like finding the right care providers. Those are benefits that expand the idea of what you know an employee is getting in a way that is and it’s all technology based. It’s not something that is services based as much as you would think it is. And to me that’s the most interesting story here. It’s that the technology itself is becoming part of the benefits package.

00:18:17:15 – 00:18:24:00
So is this really technology or is this a clever new way to deliver content.

00:18:24:27 – 00:18:54:19
That’s a good question right. Especially with our content question that we just had earlier right. Like how much of the content that is provided is oftentimes repurposed from other sources. I think it’s a mixture. You know my sense of what what we’re looking at with a lot of these. They told us that the content wouldn’t be valuable if it was provided just as you know event going to a Web site and reading it. It’s only valuable in the fact that I have it available when I need it and it has some action items tied to it and some things that I’m trying to accomplish but that would be my perspective on it.

00:18:54:20 – 00:19:05:11
So that’s the right content delivered at the right time to the right person. Yes. You think this is what version was talking about when he talks about learning and the flow maybe.

00:19:05:15 – 00:19:29:05
I mean I mean that’s that’s an idea I think that has been around for a long time and we just generally haven’t had the real capability to know someone individually to know them personally at a personal level and that’s a lot of what learning and the flow is all about. Is that that idea of knowing someone at a personal level enough to know exactly what kind of learning they need and know exactly where they’re at when they move that learning.

00:19:29:06 – 00:19:54:22
This I think is a lot of that but I also think it is it’s a little bit more about the fact that we’re what is considered a benefit learning is pretty clear. I need to do something. Here’s a scale house. Here’s how I get it done right. Benefits are much more I think there’s a bigger question out there about you know is support for finding the right daycare a benefit right. I don’t know. That’s the question that I have but it’s definitely a good environment right.

00:19:55:10 – 00:20:29:05
Well so. So I want to sort of drive you back to the question which is which is if learning about what the right daycare center is is a benefit. It sounds like it’s just content right. It sounds like it’s personalized content. We know you better so we can deliver this content about how to make your decision about daycare centers or we know you better so we can give you some insight about how to make good decisions about your health. Right. There’s a ton of that stuff out there and it seems like maybe what’s happening is that learning is leaving.

00:20:29:05 – 00:20:58:02
It’s technology and pure functional work focus and spreading out into the rest of the organization the way it relates to the people who are could definitely be the case in this situation where you’ve got you know a lot of focus on on education a lot of things that people have to make decisions about that are really critical to their personal lives and what better way to do that than being educated right now.

00:20:58:19 – 00:21:28:24
It’s a fascinating space but a lot of what I’m seeing in the in these automated course delivery tools that deliver stuff to people personalized basis you know you take out breast feeding information and install how to use the latest piece of software and it seems like it’s the same file that you’re dealing with just on the one hand you’re dealing with the family life with that profile and on the other hand you you’re dealing with sophistication of the job.

00:21:28:25 – 00:22:00:21
Well to me that gets back to to the to the employee data profile and that conversation we we’re talking about earlier who owns that is that the CIO is up to speed to. And how protected does that need to be. And if there are so many regulations around it can I actually get to know my employee well enough to provide this kind of information these benefit platforms I think are banking on the fact that employee data will flow freely with the between the employee and their work related benefits application.

00:22:01:15 – 00:22:05:20
If that doesn’t come to fruition there may regulations cut around that I may not be like that right.

00:22:06:00 – 00:22:25:00
Oh that’s so interesting and really it’s not that far away that employees are going to start demanding ownership of their data. So. So it may not be the CIA or or the CIO the CTO it may be the employee.

00:22:25:07 – 00:22:35:02
There you go. That will be an interesting day when that happens then will the employee be part of the technology decision for the company that’ll really knock your socks off on it.

00:22:36:03 – 00:22:57:06
Well you know I’ve been hearing I’ve been hearing a resurgence of interest in block chain in our world and this gets it this gets it exactly the same. But I don’t understand about how you do block trading which is block change great unless it wants the information removed from the system.

00:22:57:11 – 00:23:07:22
And if the employee wants the relationship removed from the system you can’t do it if it’s what through Well it depends on how you are connecting the dots.

00:23:07:24 – 00:23:18:21
But that is the question right. Can you be truly removed from anything that’s going to block chain component to it. I don’t know the answer to that. And you know there’s a lot of ways anonymous thing are scrambling data and that might be the way around it.

00:23:18:22 – 00:23:39:18
But I don’t know that you have the powers and I think you know the regulation isn’t scrambled the data with us regulation GDP or in California you both say remove it and every answer that I’ve heard about that sounds like sounds like where you were going which is we can we can make it so that nobody could have access to it.

00:23:40:02 – 00:23:44:29
That’s the same without the regulation. That was right. Exactly.

00:23:47:01 – 00:24:05:00
Well I live through some conversations already this week and we and we still have there’s no more bundling that was done but it was mostly in job scheduling and more of the the recruiting base as well. So I don’t know there I think this will be the next couple months we’ll see a lot more funding going on throughout the market as well.

00:24:05:00 – 00:24:14:07
Yeah. And we’ll post to those for the conversation on the website. If you’re interested the funding information trails is that right.

00:24:14:19 – 00:24:16:29
Yes exactly. Yeah. Cool.

00:24:17:00 – 00:24:24:21
OK. Well thanks. This was another great conversation Stacy. And thanks for indulging me in the late night television.

00:24:25:03 – 00:24:43:04
It definitely worked out well for everybody’s schedule. And we’ll be here same time or not actually same time but our regular time next week so everyone can check in and we’ll be able to chat a little bit with everybody. I think both of us will be calling in from the Ultimate event or at least we’ll be just leaving the Ultimate Event next week.

00:24:43:06 – 00:24:45:06
Yup, so I’ll see you in Las Vegas.

00:24:45:06 – 00:24:45:16

00:24:45:18 – 00:24:47:25
And here are those Irish guys. You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly, one step closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser.

00:24:51:14 – 00:25:07:02
Look the Irish guys are back the county to go


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