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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: 252
Air Date: February 6, 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 and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. How you doing Stacey?

Stacey Harris 0:21
I’m doing well John, I am home in foggy North Carolina. There’s no sun today, but it’s kind of miserable, miserable and raining but the weather is up and the trees are starting to bud and the flowers are starting to come out in the North Carolina region. So it’s good. We start on the road in the next couple of weeks. So it’s nice to have a couple of weeks home. And how about you? Are you home this week?

John Sumser 0:40
That’s great. Well, I’ve been around the San Francisco Bay Area and had some interesting stuff. I spent a little bit of time at the Computer History Museum this week, I met with some people at Singularity University. So I’ve been I’ve been having a great time sort of exploring the edges of machine intelligence and its implications in HR so it’s been a good week.

Stacey Harris 1:05
Cool. I didn’t even know there was a Computer History Museum. And so something to add to the list to see next time I get to the Bay Area. Is it that good?

John Sumser 1:14
Yeah, it’s worth a trip. The interesting thing about the history of computers is there’s a whole lot of stuff that doesn’t work anymore. And some of the people I talked to are interested in the question of how you get the data that in old Wang discs, for instance, and how do you bring that up to date? It’s not just an interesting Museum, but it’s an interesting museum with a longer term view of what data is, and I’m going back down there actually next week for an AI and ethics gathering, because they’re interested in the implications of AI for ethics over time. It’ll be it’ll be great. So, what’s in the mailbag?

Stacey Harris 1:57
Well, it’s been a, I wouldn’t say, busy week. It’s been more sort of I think of a lot of interesting stuff come up kind of week is a better way to put it right. Not a lot of money floating around not a lot of investments, more things shifting I guess it’s a good way to put it. So one of the things probably for everyone to note is that there is a new HR Technology Conference that is coming on the market called Select HR Tech which is in June, I’m speaking at it and I believe you’re speaking at it as well. So there’s some updates on that because the agenda came out. We also saw this week that careerbuilder was in the news, although, you know, the question is, is this big news or not? I’m not sure. But there they are increasing their focus on talent acquisition platform by basically selling off their Career Builder employment screening, create, creating a strategic partnership with them. So there’s that we also saw another not sell but solid you’d call it right coke industry agreed to fire all event four, and four was already at 70% funded by the Koch Industries organization. Now they’re fully Golden Gate has pulled them completely out of their private equity firm. On the other side of things, the non financial but lots of information Sharing we saw many of the vendors who are in our space releasing, I think interesting reports that we’re going to probably see a lot more of this this year and going into the next couple of years, which is the vendors have a lot of their access to their own data and, and with that data, they’re creating their own insights. So Mercer released a report on connecting health and tech in the workspace, which is really has some fascinating details about digital health care and the space that’s growing there. We also saw along the same idea, a couple of reports released from ADP this week. So ATP released a 2019 days of the workforce report, which is tourism benchmarking data on the market and illuminating the shadow workforce, which is about the gig economy. So both of those things are worth talking a little bit more about and then kind of in the area of new addition to the market or his products and tools. paycom is making another little flash adding a management tools, their mobile app like it is well worth paying attention to because they additions they’re making would rival anything. We’re also seeing With the larger vendors in this space, and so I think you know, again, people sometimes don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on in the middle market in the SMB space. And Google is building a new message app if we’ve got time talked about it that brings together the Microsoft zoom we didn’t get talked about last week, we thought it might be worth the conversation today. And then we talked about blockchain last week, but IBM launched last week, at least the announcement or the conversation around an IBM blockchain tool that automate contract labor processes. So So yeah, where would you like to start going? Oh up. Well, let’s talk a little bit about the conference. Both you and I are going to be speaking it’s like HR tech. This is going to be June 9 through 11th. It’s going to be in Las Vegas. It is put on by the same people who put on the HR Technology Conference in October, depending on when it lands every year in Las Vegas, which is sort of the big industry gathering for vendors analyst and senior level HR technology decision makers. This event is very much focused on what I would consider the director, buyer administrator roles, the person who’s getting their hands in the middle of all the HR technology conversation. The HR is HR technologists, whatever role you want to call them, because it’s going to have more hands on events, it’s going to change the pattern up a little bit. We’re getting 90 minute sessions with master classes, roundtables, and one on one meetings with the vendors, you’re speaking there, correct? what we say.

John Sumser 5:27
I am I’m giving a master class for AI implementations. And what I like about this conference is that it’s a very hands on kind of thing. So rather than esoteric topics presented by people, this is how do you do x? How do you How are other people doing it? So so the object here is to make people more successful in their actual work in HR technology. It’s awesome.

Stacey Harris 5:57
Yeah, yeah, I was really excited when you asked me I’m gonna say On HR technology by the numbers and we’re actually gonna be walking through how you achieve business impact with your HR technology environments and what the new HR technologist role looks like. And I’ll be having a friend of mine who is also works with me in the iron Association who runs HR technology for a healthcare organization down in Florida, co presenting with me it was the opportunity to actually have a real conversation most of the time when we do these presentations, it’s a data dump of just information or just 20 minutes of my thoughts, but you don’t have the chance to get a real good conversation with the group. I think this is going to give us the opportunity and I do like the round table format to those are really intriguing and and the one on one conversations with the vendor so you actually can sit down and talk them i i think you know, jeans made together a nice nice differentiator. I think there’s room for the other type of conferences I’ve been doing for this type as well as nice to have something a little bit of a bounce. So

John Sumser 6:54
Yeah. I’m excited. It’s gonna be a different sort of thing. There is no shortage of Large conferences where you’re the audience and the speaker is separate from the audience. And in this case, it’s going to be more like hands on conversation on how do you do this? How do you do that in smaller settings? And so it’s going to be profoundly different. This is going to be more like school and less like party time.

Stacey Harris 7:23
Good way to put it. Yes, yes. And it’s still Las Vegas. Yes, I’m still sure there’ll be some time for party time. But it’ll be nice to be able to walk out of there hopefully for many of the people who go with takeaways that they can actually use in their organization, decisions that they’ve actually made those type of things that we’ll see. And I think that promo codes are out there. Now the agendas out there now they’re they’re getting ready to promote this at pretty high levels. Everyone probably seeing it. But speaking of changes going on in place, let’s talk a little bit about these changes with careerbuilder. And for I mean, these are length changes, but not changes. So these all have you with private equity firm and we know that private equity firms buy things and then sell things with the idea of making Money right? Is it a big deal that Career Builder is getting off their what they call, I guess BBs their Career Career Builder employee screening organization separately and are just creating a partnership with them at all.

John Sumser 8:11
It’s kind of a weird question, right? This is this show. And the question is, does this matter? And the answer is, you know, private equity firms and do one of two things. They either buy the company buried in debt and then sell the whole thing, or they buy the company buried in debt and sell off pieces. And so what’s going on a career builders, they’re selling off pieces, and it’s an interesting thing, because you can buy one of these pieces, and they’ll sort of guarantee you business on the other side. So you know, the background checking company is a quiet state of careerbuilder. And so without a guarantee of continuation of the business, then there’s no business and so they’re selling it off now. I love the way that the R word because they doll it up and they say we’re increasing our focus on talent acquisition platform. So, but it’s more like spring cleaning than it is like a strategic focus increase. You gotta say something

Stacey Harris 9:16
I guess from a news perspective, should it matter to the buyers? Like people who are using CareerBuilder? Should they be asking hard questions of career robot around this? Or is this just common sort of business practice, and it’ll sort of all worked out in the wash it the reason I think I bring some of these things up is, as a buyer, I want to know, I see this press release. Should I be worried? Should I be looking at my next step in my buying making decision process?

John Sumser 9:39
Well, you can be reasonably sure that this indicates that the private equity company is shopping, anything that isn’t nailed down that is either all of careerbuilder or part of it. And you know, there’s some gems in that before they were like broad maybe that would be interesting to have, and there’s some things that got sold already, like mZ the employment data system that are turning into great freestanding stuff. But there’s all sorts of small operations under the careerbuilder umbrella, including text Colonel, I think was a resume parsing company. And so they’re gonna sell stuff off, they’re going to sell the entire thing off. That’s what this tells you. And the question about the security of your account is sort of a question of how critical is it to your business? If it’s super critical to your business, you want to pay close attention to this? And if it’s a job board, maybe it doesn’t matter so much.

Stacey Harris 10:38
Level of investment? Yeah, I think that’s I think that’s a fair answer, then, yeah.

John Sumser 10:42
Just to keep going for a second. If you’ve got some sort of operational interface between accurate background checking and your HR is so that you move the background checking data back and forth, you might have to be a little bit alert to the fact that that interface maintains, but it’s going to be in the interest of everybody involved to make sure that you are aware because if you can’t use the interface, you won’t send the text anymore. And so the people who are involved will probably be paying closer attention to near term customer service. So you might expect that the quality of the relationship that you have with careerbuilder or its pieces will go up, but just like they’re shopping around, you might want to be shopping around.

Stacey Harris 11:28
That definitely is I think the conversation on market How long do you stay to the talent acquisition? There’s no conversation but and do you always have a second option on the on the burner? Right, something right that you could take up if your current vendor is not performing the way it’s performing? I’ve had a lot of conversations recently with organizations who are creating disaster land if one of their products that they’re depending on and being bought, sold or as challenges because everything’s in the cloud, and so you have to make sure you’re aware where your data is going to be at. Very good conversation, yeah.

John Sumser 12:01
Yeah, I can’t imagine that in the case of CareerBuilder, that they’re tied tightly to the strategy or critical data of anybody, right. It’s much more of a source of data that needs to be cleaned up than it is a source of strategic value.

Stacey Harris 12:18
That may not be the case with what’s going on over at with Infor and Infor has technology HR in particular in the healthcare space was a big space for them but they have some other ones as well now and Info includes a lot of other er p applications. And they’ve invested a great deal of money in the cloud version of those other ear p applications, not as heavily in HR space loss and being probably one of the biggest acquisitions they’ve done in that area. But yeah, there they are an organization now that’s going out of private equity into just private ownership, or Koch Industries, private ownership, I guess, but into Koch Industries. Is that what’s happening? really a big change?

John Sumser 12:55
It’s not really a big change, but you gotta wonder why they made the announcement this weak, right? Koch Industries is a primary source of funding for the Republican Party. Right. This is all companies have some sort of political interest at the top and Koch is very specifically a, you might say far right wing, but there’s certainly a right wing organization. And so everybody knows the Koch brothers and their role in Republican politics. So why they want to be visible with something like this this week? bottles. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand you think you think that they’d want some distance because while the company is is a political thing, they certainly don’t want to have that laced into their customer acquisition plan. Yeah, but this announcement ties in for to the Trump administration, and you think that maybe it’s what they want to do but seems like bad PR to me.

Stacey Harris 13:56
Well, no, you know, my thought is the way they make it out Koch Industries agrees right, it’s not Infor moving to or anything like that. Right. It’s it definitely was the emphasis in both the announcement and in the conversation that’s taking place around it around Koch Industries is and what they’re doing versus who in for is and what infor is doing. Now, again, whether that was, you know, done specifically for a particular reason or whether that was just because of a bad understanding of PR and how it might play out. This is probably a bigger conversation that we often talk about, which is brand and brand recognition. Organizations aren’t buying technology so much right now based off of features and functionality, especially in the HR space and the rpcs, where a lot of the same functionality is basically mimic across the market. So you have an environment that is very standard. And what you’re buying into is the future vision, the culture, the relationship and the group of external markets that that organization is connected with their partners and relationships. The infor particularly focuses a little bit more The industry than others, but not that much more. So yeah. So this is this is an interesting thing at this point in time when that’s the kind of buying cycle that we’re in, I think for both European and for HR technology, right?

John Sumser 15:11
Yeah. So the next one is a story about bringing translation services to health care quiet clients by having the translation services done by remote workers. And so it’s exactly the kind of thing that HR is trying to figure out these days about who works where and what do you do about it? And this suggests that things that seem like they might not be replaceable with remote work actually are replaceable, about work. So what do you think about am in healthcare acquiring Spanish video?

Stacey Harris 15:46
I think this is an interesting space in that, that we’re going to find more and more conversations about this in all areas of the industry. This brings up a lot with the conversation we had last week about the issues with what was going on rotavirus and Asia Pacific. market and people not wanting to travel virtual work is I think something we’re going to see a lot more conversation about as we get challenges to people wanting to travel or people wanting to move around, or even people wanting to leave their little areas and finding areas where we can do virtual work in things like medicine or translation or other areas will be invaluable to organizations who are trying to news to reduce costs, and more importantly, reach a broader audience. And that seems to be what aim and healthcare is trying to do here. They’re digitizing something that we may not have thought was Digitable right before.

John Sumser 16:34
Yeah. And so then picking up the healthcare thread. Mercer has this new monsterous report about digital health in the workplace. And digital health as I understand isn’t actually about health. It’s about data. Yeah. And healthcare records, is that right?

Stacey Harris 16:54
It’s a little bit of it, it’s data and healthcare records. It’s also teleaccess to Medical insights. So whether that’s being able to sort of do a FaceTime with your doctor or get prescriptions over the phone just by talking to a nurse, whatever that might be. So telemedicine is a big part of the digital healthcare market, as well as making sure your data is available so that when people are providing insights, whether it’s virtual or in person, they have a picture of you in totality. So yeah, I would say it’s all those things. Right?

John Sumser 17:24
So did you get a chance to look at their report and see what they say? I noticed that 70% of employers believe that if they spend money on digital health and wellbeing solutions, it’ll have a positive impact on the energy levels of people in the workforce. Do you think that’s true?

Stacey Harris 17:43
Well, and I didn’t sure how the question was asked, Mercer actually has probably one of the strongest standards for doing research in the market. They’re one of the organizations that other organizations go to to sort of get certified to say yes, our research methodology they’re solid. So as research goes, I’m comfortable that their research is probably very very sound. You know, this is a pretty big research effort over 16,000 employees, 1300 employer decision makers in 13 countries, so 70% of organizations saying that this type of access would make a better work environment, not knowing how that particular question was asked, I at least think that yes, the data is probably solid. And I think it’s indicative and statistically significant for what’s happening in the market. Now, the conversation here goes to what are people who are taking the survey? What do they know about digital medicine? So some of this goes to how did they ask the question, do people understand what the investment in digital health and wellbeing solutions would look like? And I’m assuming they did give some definitions. But they also said that 27% of workers say they’re much less or less likely to leave their company because of the digital health solutions that are being offered or that they’re online or very likely to invest more and digital health usage over the next five years. I think the point of the report was really to say that this is probably a bigger issue and it means more to your employees than you might realize. That’s true. Really what they were trying to stay in this report. But what I found really, really interesting was that the percentage of organizations that say that they’re already using some level of the out of the list of 15 digital health innovations, the ones that were rated most valuable by workers were the apps that help find the right doctor or medical care, the personal individual and family medical records that are electronic and portable and telemedicine options remote video chat text with doctors or nurses or simple health issue like rash or cold. Those are the top ones that people were interested in and wanted to leverage. But they were also the ones that were probably most in use as well. So I think we’ve probably seeing this rollout in organizations very quietly. And a lot of people don’t even realize that it’s happening in the market that we are turning what was previously a benefits conversation that you just took care of on your own and your organization just offered just the benefits package to now your organization is offering all these other services that are critical to your health care as a person.

John Sumser 19:57
I think it’s early in this and I still am unclear about the connection between wellness and productivity and employee engagement, but the conversation is moving on and court seems to say there’s something real there that’s going to be changing as we go forward.

Stacey Harris 20:15
A U.S. centric look on this is probably something to be careful of. So we actually had a long conversation last week with Thompson International, Chris Brewster there, who runs that, and they’ve been rolling out international benefits for for the last five, six years pretty aggressively, probably one of the largest in the market doing it. They were acquired by Mercer, few years back. And what’s been really interesting to see is that the idea of digital healthcare and the idea of what we would call extended benefits is definitely alive and well outside the U.S. in many cases, even more so than we’re seeing here in the U.S. newest markets, health care, they’re a personal issue, and we deal with it on a company by company work by work basis outside of the U.S., it’s dealt with very differently and so a lot of benefits organizations have to focus on trying to provide things that go beyond whatever the government or the standard would be in the market.

John Sumser 21:07
Yep, well, another great week, of all of the interesting things are going on inside of HR Technology. And this week, we were way off the standard issue, flood of money into Silicon Valley to do HR Tech and onto some of the meatier issues of the time. So, it’s bee a great conversation and thanks, everybody for tuning in. You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly with Stacey Harris and John Sumser and we will see you back here next week. Bye bye.

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