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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: 251
Air Date: January 30, 2020





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, welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. How are you Stacey?

Stacey Harris 0:20
I’m doing well. And how about you, John? Are you home this week?

John Sumser 0:24
I’m home this week, I’m actually making a point of staying home till I have a better sense of this virus.

I’m staying out of airports, you know, the Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are the places where this is hitting because those are the gateways from Asia. And I need a little bit of time to make sure that everybody in those airports isn’t getting affected right now. It’s just too early to tell. So I’m missing a couple of things this week. In fact, because I’m not really interested in going to the airport.

Stacey Harris 0:57
Well, it’s a big issue for those of us who travel

It’s a big issue for the world as a whole that was an interesting article in Fast Company. I didn’t end up putting it in our list of conversations this week, but about how the environmental shifts will change how we think about work by 2040, with the increasing environmental disasters that are going to be happening, but I think there’s also probably likely going to be some changes in how we work due to the possibility of more aggressive bio issues with the people who have more aggressive sicknesses, more aggressive things that aren’t being dealt with by antibiotic because they become antibiotic resistant. So the idea of working from home thing in your community definitely sounds oftentimes, like it is the Safer Choice than many conversations, but it is sad to think that we would lose the ability to move around and travel as much as we like.

John Sumser 1:42
I think it’s just learning how to do things a little differently that we’re really talking about. So what’s in the mailbag?

Stacey Harris 1:50
Well, it’s been a busy week as much as going on in other areas. We definitely in the HR tech space, we are ramping up or the year finally kind of slow

Getting Started on January has shifted into high gear now. So there’s a couple of things that I think are worth talking about this week. One is a good friend of ours, Yvette Cameron launched in conjunction with several other organization a new focus on blockchain, which is basically lost the career lamp and velocity network Foundation, which is what the event I think it works for are partnering with multiple HR technology organizations or HR services organizations to build what they’re calling the first internet of careers platform. So we definitely can have a conversation about that today. There’s also a lot more conversation taking place about service now. So if you didn’t follow us last week, ServiceNow had done an acquisition last week. This week, they’ve done another acquisition of another technology company as well as launching an industry solutions strategy or from very specific industries, banking and telecommunications. Being the first in their list, well worth having a conversation about really what is nervous now in this this new space that they’re carving out, we did have some funding this week, just work raised 50,000

million dollars. Yes works is a technology company but focusing on PTO. So it’s probably much more on this SMB business base, but $50 million, their e round of investments means there’s probably some interest there is continuing to move forward with SMB investments. We also self Catelyn technologies, raising 35 million in another Series II funding to fuel enterprise growth and scale. So Catelyn started out as a job matching board but has turned in for resource planning board. So we’re having conversation about and then another big investment was shift shift is a relocation company that raised $15 million to simplify employee relocation I’ll probably along the lines of what we’re used to with move guys are topia and worth having conversation. If we get time today, then it’s probably well worth discussing that all of this technology that we talked about has really big implications for organizations who probably need to be following somewhere HR specific regulation, so Chipotle was fined 1.37 1 point thirty 7 million, thousands of child labor abuses this week if you haven’t been kind of following that, it’s worth watching. And then also, we have some interesting news this week about Google planning to create a new messaging app that brings all of his collaboration technologies together, which is quite a few. There’s a lot of Google Gmail, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, all those things, as well as Microsoft Office and zoom technology together. so busy week, where would you like to start john and he was places done look more interesting to me.

John Sumser 4:26
Oh, you know, there’s one other thing that you didn’t get a chance to talk about that I really like to start with and that is Worklogiq employee retention Leader Award. This is an interesting thing. This is a prime conventional analysis of companies to determine who has the best overall retention across these five dimensions and so they came up with a list and the list include the DuPont Honeywell Delta, Merck, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Best Buy America.

Cisco and Coca Cola, high density of technical companies, but these are the places that people are least likely to leave in the fortune 100. And it’s an interesting idea that this information about your company can be collected, generated, produced and evaluated and published based on publicly available information.

Stacey Harris 5:22
Where are they going with public information? Is it just how many people have left or the right game, but

John Sumser 5:27
They use 40,000 data points to produce a huge data bottle that does a variety of things, but they just Hoover publicly available information. And so you can see in annual reports, for instance, you can see top level numbers that will give you some hint about this. And so it’s just a question of piecing it together in an automated way to do the analysis that they do. It is amazing and and I believe that they are saying that they can do this

analysis for any company. And so what they measure is the risk that your employees are going to leave our store.

Stacey Harris 6:08
Talent retention, TRR squared retention

John Sumser 6:11
And it is a calculation that they do on a routine basis. And I read the award requirements. And the reward requirements are that you have to have a certain level or lower that you have to have that certain level or lower over the course of a year, with one month being an exception, right? You have to hit this level pretty consistently. It’s a complex story. But it seems to me that this is another kind of grading of companies that investors will be crazy about. This is really Yeah, what HR data looks like when it is delivered to the product market.

Stacey Harris 6:51
This is very interesting and you know, from your reading John, do they make any judgment calls about talent, you want to leave versus talent, you don’t want to leave so you know,

We know of very specific organizations that that will cut the bottom 10% or basically run performance processes that really make the bottom 10% want to leave, they make any conversation about that?

John Sumser 7:10
Not a bit,

not a bit, I don’t think they claim to be able to see inside processes and procedures and compare them. They just notice the likelihood that an individual employee will leave. And so that’s that’s an interesting thing. And it’s shaped as much by from what I’ve seen of the data model. It’s sensitive enough to understand that when the stock price falls, attrition goes up, and it looks at those kinds of external factors. So So when the CEO changes, attrition goes up. These are organizational principles that I don’t think are very well understood because everybody is so busy working inside of their organization. And so it seems to me but these folks are discovering they’re discovering new ways to think about organizations and new ways to quantify organizational performance. And that might actually be pretty important given this shift away from the stockholder as the primary object of value and towards the employee as the primary object of value.

Stacey Harris 8:17
Well, exactly. And I think what’s really interesting here is I think there’s been a desire to figure out the right metric to measure in the face, I think everybody is agree that there needs to be something that measures your workforce readiness, your workforce capability. And we in Europe, they have some requirements for public companies to share engagement scores. So they haven’t really sort of panned out in a way I think people expected because engagement scores are very tough. They’re they’re sort of, as you noted before, the sentiment of what people are willing to share in an environment depending on how much they trust that the information is going to be managed appropriately. What I understand from this is that they’re definitely looking at all those external factors. I was one of the points they have here you have an example they gave of delta 2020 employee retention leader ranking sheets, rate. And one of the factors they put there’s 85% of the employers least likely to consider an external job opportunity. So they’re looking at things like who is out there searching for jobs, obviously. And that’s a really interesting metric to include on the idea of risk for your organization, if that’s what the thing is interest them. Yeah. Now, this is really fascinating.

John Sumser 9:23
Yeah, yeah, it’s a big deal. And this company, workforce logic is a private equity back RPL. They already have to understand the market. That’s the nature of their business. They have to understand the market in the aggregate, but it doesn’t appear to me that they’re making the claim that this tool does something for their business. It’s more like this year I’ve seen a bottle of research where having the branded research is such a good straightener for the brand that you don’t try to Jimmy it.

Stacey Harris 9:55
Yeah. Makes it valuable in the sense that it’s good for the industry as a whole. That means it’s good for Every, you know, everyone in the organization as well. And we’re seeing more of that I mean, lots of organizations are doing has been at PS got their very specific sort of industry rankings around hiring and open positions in the market. We’re seeing paycheck to some of us, but they’re SMB market analysis. These are the companies that have the ability to gather the data in some cases.

John Sumser 10:19
Right. So that’s that now let’s talk about events, new projects, the Velocity network.

Stacey Harris 10:25
And I think that’s actually a good tie into this, right, this idea that the companies have the data and the insights is a big conversation around employee profiles, which is who knows you better than your company and can validate everything that you’re trying to put forward from your perspective, but there are some things you want to share and some things you don’t want to share. And so the idea of a sort of floating employee profile has been out in the market for a while. What I understand from what you’re doing here with velocity career labs and velocity networks foundation is that they have created a consortium of HR technology founders. Who are basically saying we are going to put together a globally accessible open source blockchain powered internet of careers profile kind of environment, which is basically a place that where you and if it’s done with supported the idea of the blockchain model, you should be able to not get things like nothing should be able to be removed from that are hidden, but you also as an end user should, in theory be able to stay. This is what I want to show and this is what I don’t want to show to people in that environment. The founding companies, there’s some pretty big companies here. revans assessments, Cornerstone on demand higher right, Korn ferry National Student Clearinghouse, Randstad, SAP sum total shl ultimate software unit four and Upwork. Along with velocity career labs and zip recruiters, there’s some big names in this john, what do you think about this? Do we need an open source model for this that where everybody sort of works together on it

John Sumser 11:51
I don’t know what problem it solves. I’ve been watching this industry for 25 years and periodically somebody comes along and they’re going to revolutionize the resume. They’re going to replace the resume. They’re going to do something that does that. And that’s as close to the problem that they’re trying to solve here as I couldn’t get, I don’t know anything else that’s big enough that the idea that somehow resumes can be standardized. It’s an interesting, it’s an interesting question, and it misses the fact that resumes are marketing package. Right? The point of a resume is not an accurate representation of your skills. The point of the resume is to get an interview. Right? It’s a marketing document. It’s not a degree certificate. It’s not a diploma. It’s a I’m interested in going to work for Stacy Harris. I understand that. These are the things she’s trying to do. So I’m going to describe my experience in a way that aligns with what Stacy’s trying to accomplish, because that’s good banners. It’s good marketing on my part and helps you make a clear decision and so the ideal resume is tailored to every delivery. Absolutely. Nearly every delivery because the object is not to dump a lottery ticket into the lottery machine and hope you get cold, but the object is to influence the selection process so that it selects you. And there’s already kind of a really big problem in the industry, which is not talked about very much. But when you have a million people applying for a job, or 10,000 people applying for a job, there are a ton of people who are the highest ranked candidates. Like Like a ton. The trouble people have in finding people is often that there are so many people who are identically qualified for a job, but you can’t select the trade. Right? And then this is provide money. This is the fundamental technical problem in HR is that search is bad. And so standardizing the data is one way of thinking about how you go search and that’s I think what this is, it’s a way of standardizing data, but the data itself and the way that people think about the data itself is actually the problem rather than lack of standards. And we don’t have really good ways for talking about how people actually do their work. That’s a problem. Anyhow,

Stacey Harris 14:18
I get what you’re saying I’m going to push back a little bit on on some that I actually I agree with you in in many sense that maybe we might be solving the wrong problem. But I also think we have a bit of an issue in the market right now. I think we don’t know how to talk about how people work and we don’t have a good sense of skill sets. And we don’t have a good sense of the actual things that people can do versus blown up marketing things right. But more importantly, I think the conversation is how you do it isn’t always as important as how you do it is more important in some cases than what you can do, which is the other thing that gets missed when you’re just looking at a field so much you were talking about there and what I think this could do, but we’ll see but I mean there is some sense that if multiple neutral are going are adding to the same database or at least following the same database standards, you could end up with content that could be analyzed and assessed at a much faster and better rate than what we’re dealing with right now, because everybody’s got their own individual database. Now, I sort of saw this a little bit in the learning space, when we did the standards that went around gorem compliancy. It took a lot of work, a lot of energy for SCORM compliant learning object to sort of come to the forefront and lots of technologies eventually bought into it. It was a government funded project initially, that was put together actually by the airline industry because they needed to get content from various vendors. And they needed to have that content all play on a single platform. And so they really pushed for SCORM compliant, what they called SCORM compliant modules so that people could actually rate and rank the learning at the same level. And it worked for a while. But what happened eventually is that the industry outpaced the regulation basically, and where the industry outpaced the regulation when it tasted the value You farm compliance went away. And I do wonder if that’s something that could happen with this environment, you might be needed to get things started. But eventually the industry is going to all want to create their own profiles, I would assume already thing. It was multiple vendors like workday who have their own profile conversations, that would be my biggest concern about it. But I think it’s a good idea.

John Sumser 16:17
It’s an idea that people will try to figure out a lot. But the critical things in employee profiles are not previous employment, professional achievements and educational certifications. It’s the meat of the work that’s been done. And I didn’t see anything here about developing a taxonomy that describes how work gets done. So a software engineer at one place and a software engineer in another place, theoretically do the same things, but in reality, they could have vastly different jobs. And it requires that the individual described the work that they did in order for somebody to understand that the The system that could replace that is one that is exercised by every hiring manager show that every hiring manager describes the behavior of their employees in the same way. And that’s not going to happen. So anyhow. Yeah, yeah, it’s important. This is an important initiative. I don’t mean to be a total wet blanket about this is a really important initiative. But the problem is big. The problem is really big. And the idea that you should do this easily in a committed environment is hard, right? There are a lot of people looking at the question of how do you quantify what work actually is going to be 30 or 40 initiatives like that right now. So you’d want to see some of those people involved in this as sort of a minimum.

Stacey Harris 17:51
Well, and I think they’re working in that direction. It’ll be good to see who else lines on over time. I think that’s that’s one of the big things to watch and secondly, to speed to your point. What they add to this idea of a career profile? Is it going to stay small and they’re going to become a big thing? You know, what’s going to be the idea around who can see what and how detail it gets about the job role. Those are all valid questions and doing event and the group that’s working on this. I’m sure they’re questions that they are probably considering themselves. So it’s a step in a direction. And I think that the conversation for the market is questions and conversations we need to be having. Because right now, I think there’s a lot of money and investment going into a lot of ideas around this space. And we probably need to have more conversation before we have investments in some paper.

John Sumser 18:37
Yeah, it’d be interesting. I mean, this this leads right to, I think, the work that you’re doing in Ireland, which is trying to figure out how to build some model of technical competence for the industry and that question, how do you get technical competence in the industry and then how do you get the industry to think as an entity medicine does a lot of it failure, you know, the great professions do it. And so the question here is a level how the professional HR,

Stacey Harris 19:07
And how to professionalize HR technology as well, or maybe a better term and which is what HR, IRM is sort of is built on is information management, right? Which is, which isn’t just the technology, but it’s the flow of information, which actually, and you’re right. I mean, I think there are tools that we can do to do this. We’ve got processes, we’ve got certifications, there’s a lot of different ways that we go about doing that associations are one model foundations or another model, but the technology vendors themselves are trying to handle some of this I think either wrap up in our conversation maybe a wow conversation about what’s going on to service now because I think this is exactly the thing they think they’re going to try and solve as well. Not exactly the HR space but in the IT space as a whole. So surface now acquired a another company this week, which in second company in two weeks, which is an AI company ServiceNow announces his binding agreement to acquire passage, a mountain view California based conversation Ai platform company that will help services now deep learning and capabilities be accelerated. At the same time they announce a new solution strategy where they are partnering particularly with Deloitte on this sounds like that this is one of their major partners on this. But service now is going to create solutions specifically for industries like banking, to simplify the middle to back office operations for banking for companies like the telecommunications, which will align customer care and service assurance to transform how communication services provide and deliver customer experiences. It sounds like they’re creating a workflow environment that will lay on top of all the business systems inside of these organizations to do better information sharing and knowledge sharing across the organization. Is this something that technology could maybe solve instead of maybe associations or foundations?

John Sumser 20:49
I don’t know. I really don’t know. Well, I’m fascinated by service now because service now is an overlay on existing enterprise tools and It seems to me that what they do is they reduce enterprise systems have this need to be universal. So they always have lots and lots of functionality that nobody uses. It seems to me that what service now does is it gives you an interface that doesn’t read well, the next should be answered. Is that right? Is that how you see?

Stacey Harris 21:23
Maybe or it elevates the conversations that are happening between the system, you know, you can do your job every day, and the system is kind of working the way supposed to do but when you run into a problem, or or there’s an exception to the rule that you start asking questions, or you start needing to go in a different direction. That seems to be where service now picks up. Its workflow processes, which is the Help Desk day.

John Sumser 21:44
Okay. Yeah. It just seemed to me that they’re getting bigger than that, that they’re starting to be competitors with the companies that they used to serve.

Stacey Harris 21:53
Yeah, that I would agree with. Definitely. Yeah, because they’re basically saying you don’t need maybe this system or that system. We’re not going to replace them all.

But we’re going to sit on top of that will be your front view.

John Sumser 22:03
Yep. Okay, well, what an interesting conversation today. Thanks. As usual, Stacey, it was a delight and thanks, everybody for listening in. You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. See you next week. Bye Bye, everyone.

Stacey Harris 22:20
Thanks everyone, bye!

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