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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: 235
Air Date: September 19, 2019


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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.

John Sumser
Stacey Harris


[00:00:13] Today’s Show is brought to you by the Human Resource Executive Magazine’s HR Technology Conference and Exposition held October 1st through 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.

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

[00:00:47] Good morning, and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser.

So get out your ukulele and start singing songs.

[00:00:59] Stacey Harris: No, I don’t think you do not want me to me inside and definitely not only illegal but I am in Hawaiian visiting my son who is located over here and the main island of Oahu.
[00:01:09] And in the area of Honolulu and it is five in the morning. So there’s no sun shining on your not saying any beautiful ocean views from where I’m at, but I hopefully will buy, you know for five hours from now, so that is my goal. But it is that I was able to fly in yesterday and get a chance to see him and I hadn’t seen him for almost a year now.
[00:01:29] So what’s your birth and you know, we travel a lot John but there’s a few perks and some of them is getting to see some family on our way over traveling. So and you are you home this week.
[00:01:39] John Sumser: I’ve home, you know last week we sent the report off to publishing and I’ve been editing the pieces as they come back and I’m preparing I did a great webinar on introduction to AI yesterday for lrp.
[00:01:57] That should be pretty easy to find out there [00:02:00] and I’m getting ready for these talks next week and the week after next and having a great time.
[00:02:06] Stacey Harris: Yeah, well, I I got myself a lot to publishing last week as well. So I had a little bit of breathing room. All I was getting laid out and I will have a big flight home on Sunday night to go through all my edits and changes everything.
[00:02:19] So I agree. There’s definitely got to be Time bacon for that. But I think a little downtime right before we get into the craziness of HR check is isn’t necessary. An important step to pull all the things that we’ve learned is is this a years research together. So that’s my approach to it this year.
[00:02:37] So.
[00:02:39] John Sumser: Boy, I think that’s right. I think that’s all right. It’s really it be interesting to try to think about how to describe what we learn as we go through this sort of annual cycle you and I coz coz coz for me my understanding just gets deeper and deeper with every [00:03:00] bit of research that I do and I assume the same thing is true for you.
[00:03:04] I believe that’s why you’re in the process of writing. Angry basic intro text for HR textile.
[00:03:13] Stacey Harris: It is I’m I am working on a book that will that will sort of covers or the primer of HR technology? And it is part of what I’ve learned here every year with the you know, not only this survey and the work we do here at Sierra Cedar but also all the conversations mean you have on the radio show and all the conversations.
[00:03:32] I have and all the various vendors and said this week, you know in the last two weeks you and I have been at ATP and we know who the fuck is going on this week. The thing about I think this industry that set continues to fascinate me and I had an opportunity to sleep to actually talk to a marketing analyst and a finance analyst who read an event together who had very different takes on what their roles were and the their sort of their roles were to sort [00:04:00] of taking information and just sort of report out the things people should be thinking about and I said what we’ve had in these are spaces that we do that we take in information and report on what they do should be thinking about but often times we’re all.
[00:04:12] Trying to figure out. Where you know how people are fitting all these pieces together. It seems to be much more clear and both of those other industries that how all this fits together. It’s just a matter of how you use it, but they’re trying to figure out sort of a better conversation around I think in the HR space the big issue is.
[00:04:34] What even belongs in this industry and how does it fit together? It’s a much more at the much lesser much Messier HR technology or technology environment over also probably a long way of saying that
[00:04:47] John Sumser: you know, well, you know for my money you start with with the fact that HR is never HR right? HR is always a reflection of the business that the [00:05:00] company is in.
[00:05:01] And so in places where there’s plant danger and then real safety issues HR often has a doctor on its staff and runs plant safety and health care programs and and where it doesn’t it doesn’t do that. It does other things and and so you get different feels you have to have a more conservative HR approach when physical safety is the fundamental question.
[00:05:29] Then you do when Innovation is the fundamental.
[00:05:34] Stacey Harris: And I think you put your you know that as well as you near it, and I think what is the most important thing it is very business focused which makes it a much less standardized sort of piece of what would be generally considered support functions in organization.
[00:05:48] Right and that actually gets us to a think some of our conversation today because that was a lot of the conversation while we were at the ATP event and the they did their annual analyst update event in New York. They [00:06:00] have a couple of them every year but the one in New York is all. Sun setting the minister very things they’re doing and a big part of their focus.
[00:06:06] This year was they’re trying to make an HR System. I think, you know whether or not this look seed will get to see in but that I think is the closest that has come yet to focusing on this idea of HR as a business conversation not HR as they HR processes conversation, right? Right, right.
[00:06:22] John Sumser: There’s this there’s this idea.
[00:06:25] I think I think that the. The thing that that’s hardest to get right about how things work in the industry is there’s this idea that every company must have a single clear compelling message at all times and that every HR environment should be the same. And and so that’s to me that’s the sort of operating theory that you run into in.
[00:06:51] The reality is the bigger that you get and the more successful that you are the more complicated. You become. And so having a [00:07:00] single message when you have you no more than 10 billion dollars in sales and more than 10,000 employees. The idea that you can have a singular message is nonsense because because you do so many things for so many different people and so many different contexts that that reducing it to that single message is is where the mistake it’s made.
[00:07:26] And so I think we I think we see that around this and this time of year you and I spend our time with big companies.
[00:07:35] Stacey Harris: We treating we set a time of big companies, but I think we also centered him with a lot of data that’s telling us that not everybody is in the same place. Right? It’s one of the reasons I think why when you look at any other support area, most of them are congenitally support their technology with a series of admins who are just technology admins, right?
[00:07:54] HR is one of the only support functions that has developed or you know out of it has grown [00:08:00] and HR technology. For also a role that fits in a jar that is specifically has a title for this on Technology support and maintenance and implementation. None of the other functions have done that to this point because I don’t think anything of the need is not right and so we are unique in that them said their the complexity the connection to the business the operations element all of that leads itself, I think to to a much deeper, you know set of HR technology environments than most other sports.
[00:08:31] Since require so yeah, and it gives good conversation whether you’re big company real company, right?
[00:08:36] John Sumser: Yeah. I think I think it’s going to get even more complex, you know between between Ai and the rest of the magic that you can do with company data that HR Tech person is going to have a. I don’t know if it’s a boss or a collaborator or a direct report, but there’s going to be [00:09:00] somebody at the heart of the HR department when you’re over a certain scale whose job is to manicure and harvest the data about the workforce that HR stitch on and that’s that’s an extraordinarily different thing from making sure that the payroll system works, right?
[00:09:24] Stacey Harris: Anyway, and I don’t think somebody’s are really ready for this. I mean GDP are required a tooth data-role someone who is responsible for the ownership of data that sat outside of any individual function and I don’t know if that’s the same person you’re talking about but it just having someone who owns the data about knowing your customers, but also your employees and what can and can’t be done with that is still such a new idea for Mojo.
[00:09:52] Innovations and most of them I know is looking at someone had put out a list and said you could kill a lot of them are certain giving it to the IT department as a [00:10:00] role and that’s definitely I don’t think not the right answer right but especially based off of what you’re talking about and it doesn’t feel like it fits in finance and HR should probably the space where you’ll see a lot of it go overtime, right?
[00:10:14] John Sumser: Well in the end the and the questions are all organizational questions, really the things that you can see about the health of the overall organization from the data that work processes and the people inside of those work processes generate is is astonishing and it is a whole system’s kind of question rather than the transactional stuff that operations days to visit.
[00:10:42] And so so I think I think this this can’t be anywhere other than HR and it’s going to be it’s going to make a huge difference in what the field is just will transform HR in a way that all of the talk over the last decade [00:11:00] didn’t come close to
[00:11:02] Stacey Harris: doing what when we. Talk about talent management or when we talk about experience or when we talked about the conversations that that came out about, you know, the business partner rolls, right?
[00:11:14] An HR all that was about sort of fixing a perception or a you know, a role that HR help the transformation will be about reassessing the the actual sort of goal of HR inside your function. I think which will be very different.
[00:11:30] John Sumser: I think the thing that I learned this year and all the research. The one thing that really sticks out is you can’t have a proactive HR department without a strategic Workforce plan.
[00:11:41] You should we camp it’s just reacting to whatever happens until you have a clear direction of where to go and so strategic workforce planning. It’s a complicated subject. But but but the essence of trying to figure out what the best strategy is to take your. [00:12:00] Workforce into the future. I think that starts to become the primary question in HR very quickly.
[00:12:08] Stacey Harris: Vern music got this week actually fits very well into the conversation. You’re having their about the workforce planning. I mean, we’re going to talk to me a little bit both you and I attended UDP event, but I also attended the Oracle openworld event and I think we got some interesting stuff going on with this.
[00:12:24] I think what you’re talking about the companies, who do you work for playing versus those who don’t is almost a tug-of-war between those who as you said, bhr strategically and are doing it through jiggly versus those who don’t we have also a couple stories. Think about I think companies that fall in that letter States as well.
[00:12:40] So there was a scandal out New York of a smaller payroll company, but is there really any Pharaoh company when it’s covering someone’s checks my payroll HR that had gone belly-up and it being the owners had taken money that was supposed to be paid out in payroll the float money that you go through a payroll process with and [00:13:00] took off with it.
[00:13:00] So there’s another company called daily pay that is I guess, you know providing some relief for that or at least provide. Exam ability to access early funds until that money can be recouped and brought back into people’s accounts and everything. That’s a conversation about you know, strategic HR.
[00:13:16] Did you have the right technology to support the workforce that you have? And did you do your financial sort of background checks on some of those companies right also have the rhydian hbm. Once again in the news announcing that they have hired Bill Crawford as the chief in value officer or the organization can assuming is a sales position.
[00:13:34] I always loved the titles they give people but they’ll cross. Was spent 21 years with atp’s their senior VP of sales, so it’s probably an interesting conversation. We have a couple about these update from the events that all of us are will be attending over the next couple of months one is from a leash unleash hiring.
[00:13:52] George Soros is a good friend of all of ours to run the America event as a director. We also have released this week of the [00:14:00] awesome new technologies list at the LR P. HR technology conference that you and I will be at will be launching both of our new research efforts at so there’s probably some interesting conversation there because there’s some names on this awesome new column Technologies.
[00:14:11] That we just talked about 80 a Leo items capacity paycheck stay calm and Thompson’s online benefit. Then we have some funding that can about this week beekeeper, which is switzerland-based but they have the u.s. Offices communication platform raised 45 million series B for their non-deaf workers communication collaboration tool a plan that many people might know that supports an adaption technology or technology that supports sort of the wall.
[00:14:37] Through of learning and accessing your various technology environments received 25 million dollars this week for an investment and I’m not going to say this correctly but dirt be a lands Ser PA. I’m not sure that’s how you pronounce it raised twelve point nine million dollars to expand their HR technology environment their company out of Brazil, which I think we haven’t talked a lot about [00:15:00] companies in the South American market and if we have time the the vectors on this morning, we have the 65 companies.
[00:15:07] Recognized by the candidate experience and Excellence have been announced run by the group. That is the candidate experience or candies Awards program. And we also have some interesting conversation on big releases this week getting ready for the HR Tech events, including higher solved room.
[00:15:23] Basically launching their new release of a powerful recruiting automation software and some interesting things being done by indeed launching something called. Same with a lot of recruiting space all the things you were talking about this table that I just talked about payroll for hrms collaboration Technologies with creating Technologies all in the last two seconds.
[00:15:44] And that’s just half of the news articles that came out this week today. It’s crazy to kind of keep it all connected. Right?
[00:15:50] John Sumser: Well it’s and you know this time of year it rains news like like. Portland Oregon and California and Northern California, rainy [00:16:00] season, it just doesn’t stop and you know, there are there are 450 or 500 vendors at the HR Tech conference and they’re Years also peaked right now.
[00:16:14] So they are they’re coming out with their new ideas and the new ways of talking about their old ideas and you get this by the news. So, let’s see if you
[00:16:24] Stacey Harris: need your professional. How do you design that? Right? So
[00:16:30] John Sumser: yeah, yeah. Yeah, so so so which one do you want to hit first? We’re going to get a couple I would
[00:16:36] Stacey Harris: be interested in your perspective.
[00:16:38] I think some of the conversation about what’s happening in this reading. To the heart of your conversation about Workforce strategy you and having a Workforce plan this new sort of automation from hiring solved that to me seems like an interesting, you know, another recruiting organization supposedly automating the recruiting process at [00:17:00] the same time that we’re seeing companies like Indy, which is a recruiting for the job board launching what they’re calling steam by indeed which seems to be a guild evaluation capability at this.
[00:17:12] Sometime that LinkedIn is also launching a skills assessment and test is recruiting turning into just a matching function. Is that what everybody’s trying to do? Just I mean there’s always been the sort of get the people through the funnel that’s better than figure out if they’re the right fit but it seems like matching in the conversation is coming up over and over again and all these new fundings and news releases.
[00:17:35] Is that the this year’s biggest conversation either?
[00:17:38] John Sumser: You know, you know in in recruiting 70% of the venture capital investment in AI in HR taxes going into recruiter. And so so there is all sorts of interesting stuff going on that that is automation related. The idea [00:18:00] that you can have a better matching capability is is one of the big questions.
[00:18:09] And and so the theory is that you can get to the sourcing process with a short list of better quality people than you used to be able to get and and folks are spending a lot of time and money trying to make sense out of what actually is good searched match criteria, and the problem is that neither job descriptions nor resumes are.
[00:18:36] Actual documents. It’s about marketing documents and
[00:18:43] Stacey Harris: dead.
[00:18:44] John Sumser: Right? And so the idea that you can compare the marketing document for a person in the marketing document for a job and get a match is interesting. It’s interesting. I’m not sure that we have data [00:19:00] yet about how it works and I’m not sure how you’d get started.
[00:19:06] Stacey Harris The other things and then is to on top of the resume add more assessment capabilities, which is why I think we’re hearing so much about assessment so that you can get beyond the marketing tools which is which is what the resumes right, but I’m not sure that works either but it’s a it’s a next level as it’s definitely trying to get it from a different angle, right?
[00:19:26] John Sumser: You know part of the research that we did this year was that was joint project with an Enterprise customer and they built a team who talked to 45 different personality assessment companies and their conclusion their conclusion after demoing all those products and talking to all those people is that there’s no correlation between personality and job, right?
[00:19:53] And and that that that while the owners and operators of those companies to agree job talking about [00:20:00] what they’re doing the sales people generally don’t understand what they’re selling. And so so so the market reality of whether or not these additional things make. Recruiting better or worse is is I think it’s a complicated Mosaic of hundreds of different kinds of vendors offering different kinds of things and I don’t know how you cut through the noise.
[00:20:27] I just don’t know yet.
[00:20:28] Stacey Harris: Well and that I think is one of the things that we’re hearing from the buying Community is that you know, they’re all trying these different approaches and and they’re trying to see which of them work for them. And and I think it gets back down again, too. Well, maybe each type of business organization.
[00:20:44] There is a different approach that works for them better. Right maybe not correlated across multiple levels of different types organizations and different Industries. There are some that might work better than others in your culture there some are better than others near industry. And but I think that was definitely the message I heard this [00:21:00] week from the two big events that we went to which was adp’s event and oracle’s event ATP particularly.
[00:21:06] I think for anybody who has been watching what they’re doing the big announcement from them at the analyst event and they don’t know that was an announcement. I think people have known as been going on but I think they’re finally ready to start showing it is what they’re calling their next Generation HTM hrms or each applicant HR application, which is filled to me more like a framework that’s built on teams and Team Management.
[00:21:29] With a bunch of apps pictures blotted in that are focused on very operational things for a company but to your point, I think their perspective is that everybody will pick the kind of app they want inside those applications based off of what they need and that there is too many for them to be able to tell you what’s the best app for your individual organization, right and very much their glances.
[00:21:55] Enterprise hrms will be a competitor to what is out there today. The [00:22:00] Enterprise a German space and the areas such as working and Oracle and sap and the ultimate since radians and all the other sister have fallen to their bucket. Yeah, I explained that. Well, what do you think? There’s a better way to explain that John is big.
[00:22:12] Is that what you said? Well,
[00:22:14] John Sumser: the interesting thing is ATP ATP is so big 800,000 customers what they see is the same thing that you and I have been talking about today in the show. This is that HR isn’t the same from place to place a charge is a different thing in these different place. And so the kind of tool that you have to build if you’re going to build a.
[00:22:38] Little tool to serve our HR has to be incredibly tailorable and what I’d like what was really interesting about what they did is they said they said, you know what we have the org chart information and we know lots of stuff about everybody is a ground floor of the organization the way [00:23:00] that the organization actually works.
[00:23:03] Isn’t the org chart. It is some ad hoc series of teams that are deployed over time and what you should be able to do with your HR System. Is rapidly changed the teams that you manage and be able to look at measure monitor understand those teams as they actually are not as they appear in the org chart because your turn is a slow-moving thing and the company’s capacity to adapt to the marketplace is a fast-moving thing.
[00:23:32] And so so they offer this view of of HR and they offer this very. I think strong belief that their customers are capable of understanding what they want and navigating to get it that that maybe isn’t shared everywhere
[00:23:51] Stacey Harris: and I think they take this view all the way down to Consumers to the employee with well.
[00:23:55] I mean one of the things that they are at best a lot about which probably hit me the [00:24:00] most is the wisely work that they’re doing so they have a wisely app which kind of wrap together what used to be their sort of. Card business is really get payroll check that the right to a payroll card rates. If you’re a nun Bank individual and some of their financial education components that they had purchased a couple other things.
[00:24:18] They brought them all under the wisely brand as a companion application, which is basically for unbanked individuals away to have a electronic banking environment and instead of. Focusing on the businesses as this being a tool for them and floating the financial, you know funds for payroll through sort of the model that we see in payroll these days they’re using wisely as a tool for the end users to manage their money better right to be educated on how to manage their money and do have their own bank account.
[00:24:51] If they have no other way to get a bank account in the environment that they’re in and that’s again. I think that it’s the same model you’re talking about. Taking it all the way down the employees. [00:25:00] Well, right give you options give you education and let you sort of have the tools. We need to do it if you want it.
[00:25:06] John Sumser: Okay, right. Yep. It’s a it’s a complicated world and it would be nice if it would be nice if it was always easy to simplify the complexity. It’d be really nice. Well,
[00:25:19] Stacey Harris: I think that’s the message. I got four more has also the the I went ATP one, you know, Thursday and Friday hopped on a flight the next Monday and end up at the Oracle openworld environment their take on all this and the word that came out of there and Bank was eponymous autonomous.
[00:25:35] Autonomous the big Focus was that. Oracle is creating tools and hardware and software things that will automate based off of what they have seen most people do over and over again that their servers and their technology as well as our HR environment. They’re going to automate as much as possible to reduce human error and that I think is a different story because [00:26:00] the other side of the picture that we’ve been talking
[00:26:03] John Sumser: about, right, which
[00:26:05] Stacey Harris: is what.
[00:26:06] John Sumser: Oracle believes at the core of its existence Oracle believes that there is a single way to do HR. You know what Joe and so so they they get all of the instead of instead of what ATP does which is kind of a distributed approach to technology Oracle. Does this constant consolidation of technology to get to a central story and that about right?
[00:26:32] Stacey Harris: Consolidation with a lot of configurations that they rolled out I think some very interesting tools that allow you to do very configurable environment. Very sort of editable workload things that go beyond what I was doing some other technology environments in the space, but it is yes the idea is that if you use the Oracle world, you can automate more of this than you’ve ever [00:27:00] done before and by automating it there is a standard way to do a jar then right and it even if he’s got sort of configurations that are different the idea is that you want all your data and you want your access to your data and you want your tools to all speak the same.
[00:27:14] Instead that once you get to a point where you’re ready to automate it can do it, right it is this belief that there is it that that we can automate inside of a company now, what do they think every company is the same or they’re creating enough flexibility that you will learn what your company needs and then you can automate with your company.
[00:27:31] I think that’s probably a little up in the air so. So
[00:27:34] John Sumser: we could we could spend some serious time on this. You
[00:27:38] Stacey Harris: know that
[00:27:39] John Sumser: the ATP Oracle compare and contrast is a pretty interesting pretty interesting topic because they actually have to seem to have actually different views of what the business is who the customers are and how you approach it and that’s interesting.
[00:27:57] I hadn’t really thought about that before but that’s that’s [00:28:00] a it’s a really good comparison.
[00:28:02] Stacey Harris: And and More Than People probably think they have some overlapping hypothesis. Right? A lot of organizations who are doing Global payroll with ADP are also using Oracle products and other areas, right? So there is some people would think they’re two separate client bases on General but you know, although ATP is in seen very often.
[00:28:23] It’s just the SMB and that is the you know, the bulk 600,000. Organizations on their should have hundred and Below employee size products, but the remainder of their organizations are definitely in that Enterprise space and that’s a lot of the space for Oracle place as well. So yeah.
[00:28:39] John Sumser: Yeah. Yeah, we will have to walk to dwell on that a little bit more someplace out in the future.
[00:28:44] So so next week is the week before the torrential downpour of news on everybody at HR Tech. It’ll be an interesting conversation. I think this was a good one. Thanks for taking the time to do it. Is in the enjoy Hawaii,
[00:28:59] Stacey Harris: will I’m very much. So thank you and hopefully you will get a little bit of rest before the the craziness starts and we should I hope we won’t be doing.
[00:29:08] We’ll be doing a special agent big weekly show at me HR tag event on Friday after everything wraps up. So that’s probably something for people that have to keep on their calendars as well.
[00:29:18] John Sumser: So let’s right cool. Okay. Thanks for doing this. They see another great conversation and thanks for everybody for tuning in.
[00:29:24] You’ve been listening to HR Tech weekly One Step Closer was Stacy Harrison Jones Hunter. See you next time.

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