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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: 243
Air Date: November 14, 2019





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


John Sumser 0:14
Good morning and welcome to HRTech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Hi, Stacey. I hear you’re going to Australia.

Stacey Harris 0:22
I am. I’m heading out this afternoon. I’m going down under and my first trip to Australia. So I’m looking forward to it to speak at the HR Tech Fest in Sydney. The thing I love about sort of every time I have a conversation I have with someone about Australia, they’re like, so how much will that be to Brisbane? Or how close will that be to Melbourne in Australia, because even more so than the US where everything is like eight to 11 hours away from each other. So I’ve learned this now, which is it was similar when people you know, come to the United States, they’re like, well, how close are you to New York? I’m like, it’s really not down the street for us everything far away, right? So it’s been fun, getting to talk to people who are in the area and doing HR technology there. So I’ll be here Two Sessions.

John Sumser 1:01
So what kind of uniquely Australian things are you going to do while you’re there?

Stacey Harris 1:07
Now you asked me about the tourism. So I haven’t been told that there is a particular harbor and beach where there are like pine trees but I’m supposed to go visit I have been given such instructions to try and get the opportunity to be and maybe even cuddle with some Koala bears. And I have been told that while I’m there, I should stay away from any place that would have spiders or crawly things because they’re much bigger in Australia than I am used to. Those are the big the big thing people told me about Australia that I should be doing while I’m there.

John Sumser 1:40
Okay, well, we’ll stay away from the spiders and cuddle the koala.

Stacey Harris 1:45
Exactly. So I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be it’ll be good such I’m also going to be speaking at the PSAW the people analytic group that Alan and his friends that I get, they’re doing a session down there as well. So I’ll be spending some time with that too. So it’ll be How about you are you know i’ll just

John Sumser 2:01
Oh, there’s an Al Adams show in Australia I didn’t know that.

Stacey Harris 2:04
That week there is because I think he’s speaking there as well. So they’re they’re putting on a mini session for that, that week, so yeah.

John Sumser 2:10
Oh, what an interesting thing. Wow. So I’m getting ready for a blitzy week, a blitzy week with Ultimate Software and iCims next week at iCims I’m going to be doing a panel conversation about what you need to know about AI in HR with Tarkin Clark from from Google and Amy Loomis from IDC. It’ll be an interesting thing. And I always love going to Florida to be with the people at Ultimate Software. So what’s in the mailbag?

Stacey Harris 2:45
Well, it’s been a busy week. Last week I was or point that actually just Monday and Tuesday of this week, I was in Las Vegas with Kronos that the Kronos works event so we definitely want to talk a little bit about that they had over 3,000 customers at their event and some big announcements. We also saw that Ceridian launched a secondary public offering. So we might want to talk a little bit about that what that means ADP announced a $5 billion buyback, I’m not exactly sure how to take that as well, your you host a commercial limit on it. So those are probably some interesting conversations to have about the businesses that we follow and how that impacts the buyers. We also saw that PeopleStrong This is one of the larger more well known organizations in the Asia Pacific particularly India market, they appointed a new CEO from Aon Hewitt Sandeep Chaudhary, so we’ll probably talk a little bit about that as they’re starting to really push out and try and grow. And then if we get time today, I think there’s definitely some conversations to be had about the HireView lawsuit that’s going on basically we have prominence right group is urging the Federal Trade Commission to take on the recruiting technology company HireView for their facial recognition technology. We talked a little bit about it last week, but it but it came out in the news right after we had had the conversation. And so I think this is well worth maybe discussing because the what you think about this, do you think this is going to go anywhere. And then we also saw last week we didn’t get a chance talk about about Microsoft launched a new knowledge management solution that we probably should be paying attention to on the HR front, Amazon launched an AWS data exchange for tracking and sharing data sets. So again, all those systems going outside of the HR space laying in the HR world a little bit and then Google launches their AI driven management platform to take network complexity. So lots of enterprise applications that are non-HR sort of playing in areas that would be considered HR but that’s probably an interesting conversation to have today. So where do you wanna start?

John Sumser 4:40
Well, let’s hear about Kronos. You know, it’s such an amazing, big successful company, and you went to their thing this week. So what is Kronos up to?

Stacey Harris 4:51
For those who don’t know Kronos, Kronos is probably they are the market leader, right? They really are workforce management application software in the market. They have traveled the largest number of companies and the largest number of employees overall on their application for scheduling time and attendance, leaving apps and tracking those kind of things. But they’re also pushing heavily into the space according to our mess. And so we thought we heard a lot of updates this week about their workforce ready products, which is their sort of SMB and below sort of 1000 employees and below product and the curator MySpace, as well as their workforce dimensions product, which is their new cloud application, which includes a curator Miss and an updated cloud version time and attendance and scheduling. We also spent a quite a bit of time talking about their new time clock. Now I know john media has a conversation a few weeks ago, we were like their time plus we’re dead. Well, I will have to say that Kronos is not taking that statement laying down. They have invested heavily in what they’re calling their intensity icon. Plus, they’ve put all the same capabilities you’d get almost in a computer environment for Workforce dimensions inside this time clock platform. It’s rugged. They’ve done an ergonomic study Figuring out sort of how you want to move and change the clock locations, they’ve made it more user friendly investment in the hardware side, I think more than most people are doing elsewhere in the markets these days. So yes, they spent, you know, a lot of time in this last year really, I think re energizing their organization from what some would have considered a more conservative, older technology environment to focusing on how they’re going to become a new cloud company. So it was quite interesting.

John Sumser 6:24
So how big do you think the actual market is for time quarks, I would have guessed that it is shrinking like water going down a drain. And so they’re investing in so they clearly don’t take those shrinking like where we are.

Stacey Harris 6:40
Now, they mentioned they have 1,000,001 million client clubs around the world and companies, right. And I talked to time clock Club, which is another sort of workforce management organization with 60,000 organizations that they service a lot in the K through 12 industry, but a lot of other industries they serve and they’re missing heavily in their time clock application. I’m not seeing these organizations back over From their time clock investments, I do see that we also saw paychecks came out with a new time clock application not too long ago, right? And the product now what they argue is they’re moving them much more to sort of tablet format, mobile format, biometric analysis, the thing that Kronos was really excited about was that there’s will now also be top tracking activity tracking. So if you want to go in and track how many pieces you did from a manufacturing perspective, or how much time you spent in a certain element, they’re going to do that in a set clock as well. I don’t think they’re done, john. I think that they are growing because bring your own devices are really dangerous thing inside of organizations. And I think organizations may start to realize that eventually, right?

John Sumser 7:38
Well, that’s interesting. So so so now you imagine a world with more time clocks and less smartphones,

Stacey Harris 7:47
in areas where Yeah, I mean, I think eventually the reason smartphones took off and maybe because they were just more accessible, they’re easier. There’s something that you have available with you all the time, right? But having worked in retail, having worked in manufacturing and distribution centers, you run a lot of risk, both in the fact that people aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them, which is a big safety risk. And also in the fact that you have really important company information that could walk outside of that company and be accessed on those personal devices. This is one way of basically saying we can still give you all the same flexibility, but as the system inside our organization, I don’t know if that’s going to be a growing opportunity. But I think it is definitely a real issue for a lot of these organizations with our workforces.

John Sumser 8:28
So places where you a time clock is useful, or places where people don’t have desks, right? Because if you’ve got a desk, then you can do it online. You can fill out your time online, if you’re sitting in you’ve got a machine so I don’t have a really tip of my fingers notion of how many desk lyst jobs there are, but is that a lot you think?

Stacey Harris 8:51
I don’t have the exact number at my fingertips as well. I want to say what led organization to usually have them or courses. They’re very large workforces. All your hospital healthcare environments, think about how fast the healthcare industry is growing right now. It’s all of your utilities and all of your commercial management kinds of organizations like that. It’s all of your manufacturing. It’s all of your sales environments, right? Any of those environments would be areas where you probably don’t have a computer in front of you on a regular basis but might have one someplace you’re going to and you want to track information or do things that Internet of Things is a big part of this conversation as well because these machines can now start to talk to your goals and the things you’re using on the on the floor as well if they do right.

John Sumser 9:31
Oh, interesting. So the Kronos time clock is actually a data aggregator for information on the shop floor is that that’s the story. That’s the direction they’re

Stacey Harris 9:41
heading. Yeah. And I think they’re quite there yet, but that’s settling Jackson reading. Yeah.

John Sumser 9:44
Oh, that’s it. That’s a pretty interesting idea. What’s actually a pretty interesting idea. Well, so what else would they got besides a renewed interest in something that I thought was dead so

Stacey Harris 9:58
that you know something you thought was going away? is still alive and kicking right. You know, I think the big the other big thing is is just the numbers are growing for them. I mean, it took when we think about how long it took book, you know, ultimate or workday or so the other nations to grow their cloud based environment. You know, it’s things Kronos is definitely showing that they are they are trying to sort of leapfrog over some of the challenges that we saw some of the other organizations who went from on premise to cloud environments or who opened up their own cloud shop off the ground. They’re now already at 3500 customers in just seven years since they acquired workforce ready. They’re also already at about seven to 800 organizations who have purchased the workforce dimensions application, they did a full demo of workforce dimension in a session completely on a mobile environment full demo that included scheduling time tracking, figuring out where employees were at understanding activities, people were assigned to skill set requirements all in a mobile environment, the really pushing mobile capability or that new workforce dimensions application, and they’re continuing to use Support worked for Central. So all of this that might be the one concern I have about promos right now is they are you know, I think all of their customers are very happy to hear that but they’re definitely Aaron and who their CEO doubled down on the fact that they are going to continue to put out releases and support work for central for the foreseeable future is not the main kind of an end of life date on that work for central is there on premier primary workforce management solution, which also has the major arm as and some other element to it, and they’re not shying away from that they’re definitely going to be focusing on keeping that up today. And that could be a risk we see with Oracle and the PeopleSoft right, the more time to get people to stay on and older product, specially the product, they customize it and make changes to the harder it is to get them to move to cloud eventually.

John Sumser 11:45
And so it’s inevitable that you become you know, when I think about Oracle and SAP, what I think about is companies who are great understanding the variations between revisions of products because They don’t have cloud configuration control. Right? And so the homework necessary to do development becomes really painful. If you keep that old legacy stuff around, it becomes your Achilles heel, right? Because you stop being a company that’s going somewhere and you start being a company that’s just a guide to the various relationship between functionality and new products. That’ll be interesting. Next year that it’ll be interesting to see how they handle that.

Stacey Harris 12:30
So outside of Kronos, we had a lot of other various system announcements that had to do with the doc market phase. What do you think john about Ceridian launching a secondary public offering and ADP announcing a $5 billion buyback are these things buyers should be paying attention to is this really just for the stock market and the vendor community to be watching when it when things like these means for people who are out there trying to make sense of the nature of technology space,

John Sumser 12:54
Euro I’m not sure that it matters to users and and can I’m not sure that it matters at all in the Ceridian case, there’s a huge legacy indebtedness to the private equity company that finance Ceridian and as a result, they have to have to extract money from the stock market on a periodic basis. I would also be tempted to guess that cash is necessary for somebody to sustain their growth. So this is just you know, imagine imagine it a an old fashioned railroad train and this is the guy shoveling the coal into the fire. And it’s really it really is is call into the fire or it is repayment of debt. The stock buyback thing at ADP is it is a separate thing that you do stock buybacks to firm up the price of the stock. So when you buy stock back there’s less stock and if the company’s worth the same, but you have less stock that means the price of a share of stock goes up and it and the the stock buyback deal. You might remember the famous income tax reduction of a couple of years ago, where the idea was that people would invest in their businesses to make them go faster. And what happened was a whole lot of companies doing stock buybacks, stock buybacks out of that exact backs have a bad name of it, because they tend to enrich the people whose bonuses are tied to equity. So the top of the organization benefits disproportionately with the stock buyback and they’re kind of bad PR these days. Right? So so i don’t i don’t understand the motivations at ADP at all. But generally speaking, stock buybacks are well received by investors not so well received by employees not so well received by the marketplace. And so I’m sure there’s great people at ADP so that I’m sure there’s some great reason here but it’s not apparent to me.

Stacey Harris 14:57
And I think anything’s been through quite A challenging couple of years with activist investors and challenges to sort of their CEO Carlos, but I think they’ve weathered it. You know, one of the comments, you know, I heard from a financial analyst who was covering the ADP space. from his perspective, they weathered that probably better than I’d ever seen any other glamorous weather. So I mean, obviously, as we’re covering the space for a functional and a buyer’s perspective, it’s important to pay attention to these things, because they can have an impact on what happens if they don’t go well. But as long as they’re sort of rustic or strategic reasons, then that generally seems to be where ADP is coming with them. So interesting stuff.

Unknown Speaker 15:33
Yeah. So stock market check

Stacey Harris 15:36
network. So I’m ready for the day. We also have some people changes that you know, people strong, right, you’ve had a chance to breathe with them. They actually pretty nice product in India. Yeah, they’re not huge. They have about 275 Enterprises, a million employees on their product right now. And they’re focused on building out the industry specifically for the industry. market which I think is always an powerful thing when you’re inside a country, you’re in trying to make a statement about, you know, HR technology and how it can be leveraged inside of an industry, but they’re definitely changing out will let Genie out. But adding to their leadership team here, they’ve added XA on Hewitt CEO Sandy Chowdhry, as president i thought was interesting, you know, he had been in a unit for 17 years more, you know, and Gude has much more experience to the services side of things. This could be just a good opportunity to expand on that. They’re talking here about growing the business rapidly in the adding to the customers at a much faster pace with some of these changes. So something to watch and those people trying to fake their,

John Sumser 16:37
you know, it’s interesting in the States, the idea that you would take somebody who was a 17 year veteran of AN Hewitt and make them a CEO, that doesn’t really work. That doesn’t really work, although although Bill McDermott did take over ServiceNow I think, in India, what matters in the credentials of an executive are very different than they are In the United States, and this is a good showcase for them. It’s a really good showcase for that. And it shows that people strong is deeply committed to expanding their Indian business, which is an extraordinary thing. So so many of the folks that I made from India have their eyes on the American prize. And this is an inside game in India, so good for them. Good for them.

Stacey Harris 17:26
Yeah. And I think they have their, you know, their sights on the right place. And then just the sheer numbers in the Indian market are huge. You just got to be able to do it and margins that are different than in the States. And so I think it’ll be interesting to see how the services come background plays into that. So the other thing that we probably want to get a few minutes in talking about john is the tire review days, right? I’m sure you’ve had some conversations with people about this. This is basically the Electronic Privacy Information Center known as epic on Wednesday, last Wednesday filed an official complaint calling on the FCC to investigate Harvey’s business practices during the company’s use. an unproven artificial intelligence system that Dan’s people’s faces and voices constitute a wide scale threat to American workers. What do you think about this job? Well,

John Sumser 18:11
so there is I want to recommend a series in VentureBeat. So that’s VentureBeat. com, about ethics and AI. And it’s a long read. This is not a Facebook post. This is a serious analysis of the ethics question in AI in general, and one of the better there might be 10 long read articles in this special edition. Eventually, one of them says facial recognition regulation is surprisingly bipartisan. But no, think about that patient regulation of facial recognition is something that both sides don’t agree on anything. Yeah. That’s that’s something I don’t think we’ve heard and many a year right by party. Yeah, yes. It’s awesome. It’s awesome. But whether or not higher view is doing something nefarious And that’s you know, that’s the industry undercurrent Is that something bad is going on in the, in the higher view execution, they have managed to get themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. And they are going to end up being the poster child for facial recognition regulation just because they won the lottery this week. And so, so that’s the first thing is that this is way bigger than HR that the analysis of people do. The use of facial recognition is one of the terrifying faces of the next generation of technology. And so people are all sorts of weirded out by what’s possible. And you hear the loudest pushback from parents of people who have a range of disabilities that make it unlikely that facial recognition will treat them well. You know, so people are the autistic spectrum. Generally, people who are not neurotypical, they have a hard time people with lyst the With facial disfigure Asians, that sort of stuff don’t fare well in facial recognition stuff. And then the idea that what you can do is understand what somebody is feeling experiencing or whether or not they’re telling the truth by facial tics that are compromised and that way. That’s the kind of stuff that that engineers do when they need a real ethics board. And then and then how have you made the mistake of building an ethics board that doesn’t have external advisors on it? Right, this is a cautionary tale for anybody in the industry is that if you’re going to build an ethics function, it has to have people from outside of your circle, or you’re just just telling each other the same story over and over again. So part of the problem at higher view is that they’re very busy believing their own rhetoric and not looking hard at the bigger picture. So the pressure is going to Increase on this and it will be a hardship for higher view who I think have done some pretty interesting things over time. I don’t think this is a company that is that that there’s something inherently wrong with but they they moved from being a video interviewing company to trying to Mel assessment plus video interviewing, imagining that video data is just another kind of stream of data that you can correlate with personality data. And it’s kind of a bridge too far, probably

Stacey Harris 21:31
first movers here, right? And it’s always the challenges do you take the risk and be the first mover and get out there and do it and oftentimes those who put their hand up first going to chop down, right, this is the real challenge we’re going to face for almost all of the HR technology environments out there, which is once you start using artificial intelligence, you have to be able to back it up legally and with the details about how those decisions are being made. And in some cases, those decisions are not easily wine. And even though you have all the best intentions, if you can’t explain it, you’re going to end up in a situation like this.

John Sumser 22:07
Yeah, it just creates an interesting window for modern hire, which is the combination of shaker international and montage. The so mantises video interviewing shaker does assessment. And they are melding those two functions in a way that is not the same as higher view. And so they have a safer strategy for this stuff where they won’t have to get beaten up in public, like I’m afraid higher view is going to have to be,

Stacey Harris 22:40
well, it’ll definitely be an area for us to keep watching. We probably want to be want to spend a little bit of time also talking about Amazon doing with their AWS data exchange for tracking and sharing data sets. And this was actually sent to me by Jim Hollen check based on some of the research I’m doing and the space around how to best share data. We’re looking at that conversation. Coursera cedar and this was new. I’ve been looking at a couple of organizations like data world and those who do similar things about data sharing this one is Amazon is it looks like taking the first step towards creating a globally accessible data warehouse or anybody’s data that will that wants to sort of share it in one way or another. What do you think about this job? Is this something that is you think New, or do you think this is just sort of taking some older ideas and rethinking that putting them back out on the market again? Oh, if I was Stacy Chapman

John Sumser 23:33
from scoop college, I’d be going Damn, those guys are smart. They started doing what I was doing 10 years ago.

Stacey Harris 23:40
Yeah. Yeah,

John Sumser 23:45
I think because this is the heart of this group college idea that it’s easy to subscribe to data and you can dump it in the lake and it sort of takes care of itself in the lake and data exchange this simple language for discussion. I’ve been something that’s very hard to do. And you probably should talk about how hard it is to do better than I can, because you’re trying to solve that problem.

Stacey Harris 24:07
We are I mean, I can tell you that, you know, earlier this year, I started on a process thinking that, you know, it would take us a month or two to map just six to seven years of data. We are now on our eighth month of data mapping and cleaning and will probably take another several months to get there. So the technology for sharing is not really the hard part. The hard part is making sure the data is even unstructured data and unstructured even though you have tools that will sort of give you a little bit of awareness based off of new natural language processing and all those things. There’s still an immense amount of mapping that has to be done to make that data valuable. If it’s not something that everybody’s using like a name or an address or you know, where you went to school, simple things like that, that you can figure out right.

John Sumser 24:51
So this reminds me of the joke that I probably have told too many times already, which is in big data and AI work is actually at percent cleaning data and 20% complaining about cleaning data. Yes, I think it was. I think we told it just three weeks ago when I was talking about the same thing. Yeah. Well, I like you know, I can charge on the time saved over until people laugh. So if you want me to stop telling that joke, send us a note.

Stacey Harris 25:21
Then Yeah. Send John a comment. Give him a new note. We need a new dad note or Dad joke for John.

John Sumser 25:30
There you go. Well, so we’re going to be off a couple of weeks. You are in Australia next week. I am in the air next week. And the following week is Thanksgiving. And people want regular stuffing, not HR Tech, Weekly stuffing. So we’ll be back in a couple of weeks. And this was another great show. Thanks, Stacey. As usual, I had a great time. I hope you did too. And thanks, everybody, for listening. We’ll see you back here on the fifth of December. Bye Bye now.