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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: 230
Air Date: August 15, 2019

 

 
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Transcript

 

Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused (or extremely confused) and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation and let us know if you find something wrong and we’ll get it fixed right away. Thank you for your understanding.

SPEAKERS
John Sumser
Stacey Harris

FULL TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] Today’s Show is brought to you by the Human Resource Executive Magazines HR Technology Conference And Exposition held October 1st to 4th at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Join me and thousands of your colleagues at the world’s largest exhibition of HR technology, act now using the code HREX and you can receive a $300 dollar discount on your ticket.

[00:00:40] Thanks. We’ll see you there. And by the way, don’t miss the Women In Technology segment.

Good morning and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Hi, Stacey.

Hi John, how you doing this morning? Are you home this week? Right and hold this week? But it’s like a hundred million degrees here.

[00:01:03] I think it’s inhospitable. I think I moved to Mars or something. Yeah, I think what’s there a map? I think you had posted on Twitter. This is this interesting map that showed like the the geographic location of the the areas hardest hit by the truth heat increase or global warming changes. It was quite fascinating to see that obviously your smack dab in one.

[00:01:26] Places, so I am sorry it’s going to get warmer have a feeling. Well a good thing. What was really interesting about the map is it was it was a map that showed where warming had gone towards 2 degrees Centigrade difference and and that’s that’s a dangerous special 2 degree Centigrade difference and the places where that happened were exactly a map of the political divide.

[00:01:52] It was it was stunning. It was just a that warming [00:02:00] is a myth in places where you have an experienced it and so and so you can’t get political belief in the idea because the phenomena doesn’t exist there yet. And I think about that word is yeah, right. Yeah, it’s you know, North Carolina is one of the areas where I live that is not been hit.

[00:02:18] I mean, we definitely get our heat waves but they’ve been the same kind of heat waves we’ve had for quite some time, Ohio Pennsylvania those areas where we’re in sort of the the last Red Zone, they’re all of those and it was it was quite striking. Yeah, and again the power of visualization in that right, you know, I think someone would have shown you the data and it would you you definitely wouldn’t have seen that right.

[00:02:36] It was all because of how it was how it was visualized. What’s that visualization is the is the well, you know, when we have all of this data all around us all the time. The only way you can communicate it. Well is with pictures and I don’t mean pie charts.

[00:02:56] The we still have to use a lot of Fighters. But yes, the the [00:03:00] multitude of I guess approaches to visualization. That is definitely going to be a big I think when we talk about next Generation analytics and Next Generation sort of business intelligence tools, the visualization component of that will be a big conversation.

[00:03:18] I don’t think it’s there yet. I’ll be honest with you most of the time. I talk to organizations about the kind of visualizations that have an impact like that.

They’re still heavily hand developed at some level. Right? I mean you you use might use the data to map it out. But you had to really think a little bit about you know, how you visualize that and sort of hand created the tools aren’t yet doing that kind of visualization off the bat.

[00:03:39] So I’m going to try to explain a thing that I’m starting to see in my research and I’ve taken to calling it the intelligence flywheel. And so here’s how it works you start with your data and they’re all these great tools to look at your data and you can visualize stuff in your data and that does two [00:04:00] things.

[00:04:00] It gives you insights and it creates new questions and the new questions require you to collect data in new ways using new tools great. So this is the second step of the flywheel you have the data. You get the insights the inside scars, you have questions the questions being you need different tools to look for different things and that creates new kinds of data and it creates again new kinds of questions, but you’ve got technology doing that now and then the result of that is you develop new hypotheses about what’s actually going on right?

[00:04:39] And so this flywheel which is which is the faster. I can get it going the deeper. You could understand. Your organization is the heart of how a data science function or an analytic function inside of an HR department will work in the future, right it is [00:05:00] this. But well, I understand. I think the the part that’s not working as well right now is probably this visualization phone it because it’s not automatic that the visualization happens.

[00:05:10] You really have to work at it right? But to me, I love the flywheel example, but I think the visualization is broken still. What will the visualize the visualization will make the visualization is one of those tools that makes the flywheel run better right and it’s it’s counter to 20th century thinking about questions and in 20th century thinking about questions questions have answers and intelligent tool situations and people analytics situations questions always generate more questions.

[00:05:44] We get questions interesting. Well, it’s it may very well be that that becomes the next the next marketing quote for organization. We don’t give you better answers we give you better questions. There you go. Alright the next mixed tag line for someone right? [00:06:00] There you go. There you go. So so what’s going on with you you’re deep in the throes of the research.

[00:06:06] Now, you’ve got all the data in and you’re through the cleaning process. Mostly I imagine so so what’s it what’s it look like down down in that great big pile of data. Well, we are absolutely thrilled inside digging inside of this day to this year because we have so much of it. It’s also a little bit light took extra time to do cleaning this year.

[00:06:28] So I have we have a really sort of announced this yet, but for anybody who’s listening this year we ended up with about 15 20 % more but almost two to three hundred more responses with solid data in them this year that we did not clean out. Normally we clean, you know, when we always clean extensively and we usually lose 22.

[00:06:47] 3,000. People who hit the survey because it’s either not valid or it’s duplicates or it, you know doesn’t have something that we can validate from from a response perspective because we validate all of our data this year. We’re [00:07:00] at 1,895 individual organizations that we’re analyzing so that’s up from 1635 last year.

[00:07:08] So that’s a huge jump for us. And that’s really exciting because that gives us a real diverse group of organizations to sort of analyze and look at the data across. So yeah and. Our big launch. We’re already finding that we’re going to be able to show a year-over-year analysis of the five major factors that have an impact on HR technology Effectiveness and adoption.

[00:07:31] That’s something that we’ve been looking at every year but now because of the building do statistical analysis on it. I’m working on how to do the visualization on it. So this is part of my conversation right now. We are going to be able to show what those are and actually what percentage we’ve seen you over here so we can you know, you can show that this is not a one-time phenomena, right?

[00:07:49] So that’s really exciting. We’re also getting into I think an interesting mix of data this year between. Small businesses and very large businesses are [00:08:00] doing with their HR technology. And at what point there’s a break and sort of when you have to start changing your thinking about HR technology you and I have talked about this there are different levels of maturity and different levels of cultural makeup.

[00:08:15] And then there’s also just sheer size that causes you to have to think differently about HR technology and we’re trying to find those points and some of our research so that should be interesting as well. That’d be great. That’d be great. Having facts in that area would be where usual there certainly is.

[00:08:30] A lot of a lot of the big-name pundits do a whole boatload of smoke-blowing and I’m waving without having the factual underpinnings. And so it’d be nice to bring that to the game. That is what we’re trying to do is definitely worth trying and how about you here? You should be in the middle of your writing.

[00:08:48] I would assume of the amazing amount of demos and briefings you did as the last two months, right, you know, it’s worth it’s worth saying out loud. I did a hundred and [00:09:00] twenty investigations of companies who make AI claims and it took. About 450 hours to have all of the telephone conversation should interview.

[00:09:10] So so so what I’m trying to do right now is just short that it does something that that’s consumable. There’s there’s a there’s a lot to see one of the the primary themes is that that flywheel that I talked about in the beginning. That’s the best way that I have of explaining. It’s not really maturity.

[00:09:30] But as people get into this business. They dig deeper, right and and that flywheel is how they dig deeper. And so and so what’s happening is not all of the companies that started doing the same thing and up doing the same thing and and they develop really interesting detail tiny little expertise.

[00:09:52] One of the one of the companies that began as a chat pod company no imagines itself as a conversations company because what they [00:10:00] discovered is every kind of cover. Station is different. And so what they’re doing is building a taxonomy of conversations and then prioritizing that taxonomy of conversations based how applicable decision tree technology is to it.

[00:10:18] So it’s an it’s an interesting phenomena that lets complicated to explain as I’m figuring out how to simplify. Yeah, I mean, I’m just sitting here thinking about a taxonomy of conversations. Yeah, we used to just the idea of taxonomy of words right of skill definitions the thought seemed so immense to try and just catalog that I can remember doing that by hand back in the days when I was actually working in organizations on competency models the idea taxonomy the amount of complexity that goes into a conversation and then to come up with a taxonomy of it.

[00:10:51] You know, you just have to stop for a minute and think about how far we’ve come. Even though sometimes it feels like we’re still, you know doing very baby steps on those to this. It is [00:11:00] definitely a different place we’re talking about than we were. Ten years ago. Yeah, that’s that’s the thing about this this technology Adventure that we’re on is it seems you’re going really fast and what’s happening is we’re opening up entire new topics of conversation entire new areas of study and and you wouldn’t know that like I spent some time on the phone the other day with Kieran Snyder who is the founder and CEO at text you and their levels of sophistication.

[00:11:32] About. The impact that one’s word have words have on one’s audience is it’s just staggering and it’s got sort of a first application of diversity and inclusion kinds of Dynamics how to get your job ad language so that you don’t push away people you want to attract right and and it’s hard to know the impact of your words without [00:12:00] some sort of feedback.

[00:12:01] And so they offer that kind of. Back, but they’re bigger imagining of their business is that that same quantitative analysis can be applied to every kind of text based interaction so that if I’m sending you a piece of email my might XTO might know you pretty well and make suggestions about about nuancing the language that I’m using so that I communicate with you more effectively.

[00:12:31] Well at that you’ve served jumped right into what is the the first topic of conversation the first article and news piece that we have today is it it may be a slow week in the news with everybody being on vacation still in schools. Just getting started up but they’re still I think along these lines some some news coming out of the market ATP announce their advertising services.

[00:12:51] Which is supposedly new ground and recruitment process Outsourcing and I think it gets to exactly what you’re just talking about. This is sort of [00:13:00] Quantified analysis death of particularly of job postings and job Outreach Peppers, but it’s the same thing. You’re analyzing whether or not someone takes action based on the words, right?

[00:13:12] Yes, a programmatic advertising is you know, this this is where the line blurs in this new wave of Technology. It’s not really artificial intelligence, but it really is complex statistical analysis and that line is much harder to draw than it sounds the difference between something that is.

[00:13:35] Intelligent and something that is a statistical analysis. It may just be a theoretical line. There may be no difference between those two things and sense, but this is really smart because it helps you only spend your advertising dollar for recoupment ads on ads that work in context at work.

[00:13:54] There’s a huge number of job boards. And so so the way this works is. You [00:14:00] write your ad you take it for what you want the ad to be filled by you give it to the programmatic advertising tool and it places Those ads in the places that it thinks will work. It monitors the response rate to those things in a moment to moment basis.
[00:14:17] And where the response rate is working. It keeps it where the response rate is failing. It stops it when it stops you that moves the add to some other place to see if we can get more responses over there and then. When you have all of the applications that you need it stops the ad, right? So this is a this is a way of controlling the results of advertising and minimizing the responses that you get to it had to the number that you need rather than having it out there for all of X.

[00:14:49] Will you get buried in it and responses were ever actually quite smart indeed bought one of these. A couple of weeks ago they are the current [00:15:00] acquisition rage for big companies on the edges of the job market. And we’ve been talking about sort of this mix of marketing flash recruiting Splash technology re you know, recruiting process as we should say and Technology itself summer almost right and like you said, this is definitely the the trend to be picking this up adding this to the picture but it’s not just a recruiting conversation.

[00:15:25] Is it I mean, this is the kind of Technology you could be using all kinds of communications if you do it right when you say. Well, you you know what’s happened when I was growing up like in the Dark Ages there was one phone system and three networks. It’s so so if you made a communication and there was the mail if you made a communication, it’s sort of you could reliably predicted it got to the person and that they heard it or listen to it or sod with technology.

[00:15:58] The success rate of [00:16:00] communications has fallen. So so it’s normal for people to predict that a defective piece of email sent to a lot of people is one that gets opened for five or so. A good traditional response to that is okay. So we got four or five percent the first time let’s send some more eventually you get enough people to look at it because you bombard the whole thing with lots and lots of email right?

[00:16:25] And that’s why your email box is full. That’s exactly what about your folks and how often do we look at the end which makes it even more likely that you’re not going to look at it, right? That’s right. That’s right. Now if you’re an HR department and you’re trying to reach out to the entire employee base, this is a problem.
[00:16:47] Right because we cuz it turns out the people have HR in their unfocused category and sometimes HR has really important things to tell people and so so the question of how do you improve [00:17:00] the effectiveness of outbound conversations from the HR department to the organization is a big deal and it’s got a bunch of these same principles involved.

[00:17:11] But in this case, it’s not as on job boards. It’s 15 different Communications channels that people use and figuring out which one works for which person in which way whether or not they say it’s the way right. So you look at what they tell you and then you look at what they do and you focus on what they do and there are I think I think you told me that guide spark is is working on solving this.

[00:17:42] Yeah, yeah, they you know, this is in the area. We’re calling sort of communications last sort of Engagement platforms falls into this but I you know, it’s really is communication tools and guides bark is definitely building out a tool to not only sort of manage the communications but do exactly what we were talking [00:18:00] about earlier, which is figure out which of those Communications actually create action, right and you know, and then but you’re also seeing organizations like virgin pulse and limeade they’re adding to this picture as well because.

[00:18:11] Although a lot of their tool start off in the wellness space their focus has been communicating and getting action from those Communications again. Similarly. What are my analytics around people taking action with the with the Insight? So yeah, I think we’re going to see a lot of tools that are tailored towards Communications for the HR Market because HR has a little bit different, you know, it has to sort of act a little bit like a public marketing entity because it can’t always force people to sort of do things but in some cases it can.

[00:18:41] Some things are required by company. And so you’ve got to walk a fine balance there and what is most important is just getting the action taken right the other side of this is when does it mean you talked earlier about when does this flip over from Communications to manipulate manipulation, right?

[00:18:55] Yeah boy, that’s that’s that’s a hard one because every [00:19:00] communication between an employer and an employee has a power imbalance in it. And so the likelihood that manipulations of funny funny area. You may feel manipulated even though I didn’t intend to manipulate you right and this is the this is the Paradox of communication in general where I’ve always believed that the meaning of my communication is the result that I get but many people believe that the meaning of their communication is what they said.

[00:19:32] Yeah, and those two different views, right if you’re an employer and you think the meaning of your communication is what you said, then you don’t understand that that’s somebody receiving communication from their employer has Financial Security at risk in that communication. Then you probably miss how manipulative it is.

[00:19:52] I mean it, you know, one of the topics we had on the list today to talk a little bit about is what’s going on. My home state here and lows [00:20:00] lows is a great example of an organization that has been grown rapidly are going through the process right now of basically reorganizing their approach to retail and reorganizing their approach to sort of the the type of roles within their organization particularly those in store environments as well as corporate and they’ve been in the news a lot this week because not only are they laying off a lot of workers, which is a.

[00:20:21] A pretty big thing particularly in that their area they have about 300,000 employees and it looks like they’re going to be laying off somewhere in the range of maybe 10 to 15 percent of their employee base, but they’re also when you think about sort of what’s being communicated right now, there’s a big communication effort.
[00:20:37] There’s some a lot of news articles I should say about how they’re laying off their employees whether or not they’re giving them Severance packages and it doesn’t only to giving them a large ones are giving him a smaller set. Some people aren’t getting any and then. Whether or not they’re actually using funding instead of certain to put it back into the organization from an employee perspective.

[00:20:56] They’re actually buying back stock. And so that conversation we [00:21:00] just had about communication what happens when that communication gets flipped on its head a little bit and become branding and external news about your company and what it’s doing and uh are still in the middle trying to manage a situation like this, right?
[00:21:14] It gets complicated fairly quickly particularly when you have stuff like stock BuyBacks which tend to enrich the CEO and shortchange the investor in the employee. That was one of the things I thought that was really interesting about. This new story is that it actually walked through the regulations that took place that were changed in 1982 the US Securities Exchange rolling that basically showed that financially it made more sense.

[00:21:41] And that there was a lot of up died to pay the CEOs for those kind of things in the stock. For the side back efforts, which we’re seeing across the board almost all public organization. This is not lows in and of itself. This is happening sap was mentioned in this Google all public organizations have been going through this process caterpillar [00:22:00] Dow chemicals, all of them are doing it, but I think particularly this hit home because of each are decisions that Lowe’s was making at the same time as all of this news came out, right they were making decisions about reorganizing or reorganizing their role.

[00:22:13] They were making decisions about who got Severance packages. They’re making. Visions about what level of pay they’re providing which is not the sort of $15 an hour rate that we’re seeing happen across the market as a whole along with those decisions. And that’s a communication conversation. Right?

[00:22:30] Why are is this happening inside our company is what the employee thinks or is what the brand looks like as important. Is that social responsibility issue important right as it is the financial numbers that were working on room. This is where you see what the actual values of a company on you see it in their behavior.

[00:22:49] And it’s it transcends age. Our radiator is just a piece of the overall Behavior interesting times that we’re living in so what’s the last piece of the pile? [00:23:00] Well, I think probably the most interesting thing if we get a chance to talk about is what’s going on with Google right now. So Google is starting to get into some hot water particularly in Europe not surprising.

[00:23:10] They’re getting some antitrust complaints again there. Google’s job search. Now we talked about this probably a year ago to the point right when Google first started thing. They were going to be doing jobs. There’s we’re saying they’re scraping those job and that information from companies who are making money off of it, right?
[00:23:26] You had a fascinating fact about the difference between how Google was previously and what what Google’s doing today and and just clicks, correct? In the beginning Google was a referral service. You went to Google you searched it gave you a list of results you’ve clicked on the results and you went to see the material and so for every search that was a quick the the search to click ratio was a hundred percent in the beginning and that was Google’s business was was being a referral service today.

[00:24:00] [00:24:00] Fifty percent of the searches in Google do not result in a clique because Google answers the question and Google answers the question by summarizing data that it got from the companies that. That created the data, right? And so, you know for all intents and purposes. I don’t think this is a legal opinion, but for all intensive purposes Google is stealing content from the people who can’t afford to not be found in Google and it monetizes that guns and so that when it takes my stuff and gives an answer based on my stuff, that’s a click.

[00:24:37] I don’t get and it’s a click I don’t get for information because Google doesn’t create information. Google is a strip binder of information and so so they take the information from me. They give it to the client and I don’t get anything out of that process and that’s monopolistic behavior and show in Europe where [00:25:00] monopolies are less desirable than they might be in the United States.

[00:25:04] There’s starting to be a boatload of pressure about this particularly in the job board area because because what Google does is it. Scavengers the data on job boards and then presents it so that you click on Google. Right? And and so they’ve they’ve gone into competition with content with their customers and that never really ends.
[00:25:29] Well, well, I mean, I think you know, the the term strip running he called it data strip mining is a really app term here because when you think about strip mining anybody who’s ever lived in Coal country and any place else for strip-mining has been done understands that. When is strip mining is done?

[00:25:44] There’s nothing left. Right? There’s no further things you can end and these companies if they don’t get enough revenue or no number cell leave then who will create or provide the data, right? So this becomes a very, you know, cannibalistic model. I [00:26:00] guess I would thank you again. If you can’t get the data in any other way, you know, and this is not just an HR conversation and we were having this conversation.

[00:26:07] I was just thinking of the day about. We travel an immense amount you introduced me to Google Flights and didn’t even know it was around until a year or so ago. And now I get almost my flight data from Google instead of going to where I might have done previously, which was Expedia or Travelocity or kayak or something like that.

[00:26:24] Right? Did you forget flight times and stuff. Those are those are real challenges for the market, right the real challenges for the market shovel to leave you my definition of evil. It’s not everybody else’s definition of you. Well, my definition of evil is a group of people with good intentions.

[00:26:46] All right. Well good. Okay. So another great show. Thanks so much for doing this Stacey and we’ll be back here [00:27:00] next week. You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumter. Thanks for tuning in. See you next week. Bye Bye now.

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Join John Sumser at this year’s HRTech conference