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Tell Your Story

On July 20, 2016, in HRExaminer, by John Sumser

2016 07 20 hrexaminer tell your story sumser photo img cc0 via unsplash saint andrews beach australia photo by alex wigan

I spent several days at the Ceridian annual users’ conference. In most technology companies, product development, engineering, sales and marketing exist in a tightly coupled bubble. The HR and CIO functions are often atrophied and subservient. Not so at Ceridian.

Last week, I spent several days at the Ceridian annual users’ conference, Insights. From Monday thru Friday morning, the halls of the Las Vegas Aria were full of users from around the world. There were something like 90 scheduled sessions.

If you haven’t been following Ceridian, the company and product are evolving into a mature full spectrum offering delivered by a seasoned team. Although the company is the oldest HRTechnology provider (founded in the early 1930s), its recent history has to do with the acquisition of Dayforce (a Canadian payroll, scheduling and workforce management company) about four years ago.

Over those four years, the company transformed itself by making Dayforce (and CEO David Ossip) the center of the game. The Dayforce team emerged from the vibrant Toronto startup scene. Ossip was the founder of a prior well respected HRTech startup, WorkBrain. Together, they brought startup agility and work ethic to the solid industry base at Ceridian. Ceridian, in turn, informed the agile team with expertise.

I think of it as reciprocal infusions.

I went to several sessions in which the company’s core management team presented the product.

  • Lisa Sterling, the CHRO and head of Talent Products told the story of using the company as a necessary test bed.
  • Warren Perlman, the CIO, give a substantive talk on HR Technology trends
  • Kelly Alder, a VP of HR,  gave an amazing talk about the realities of Talent Management using the Ceridian toolset.

I asked David Ossip, during an analyst session, if he thought that this version of ‘drinking your own champagne’ was exceptional. In his usual modest way, he pooh-poohed the idea that Ceridian did anything exceptional in this area. I couldn’t disagree with him more.

The presentations I saw were on par with any product pitch I’ve seen at any demo, trade show or users’ conference. If anything, they were more professional and authoritative than the typical product presentation. The Ceridian team is clearly on top of their work and their product.

In most  technology companies, product development, engineering, sales and marketing exist in a tightly coupled bubble. The HR and CIO functions are often atrophied and subservient.

Not so at Ceridian. Each of the presenters I saw would be rock stars in the product environment. Instead, they make their living in more traditional organizational roles. In my view, Ceridian sets a benchmark in this area.

I don’t believe that this is a small thing. Ceridian is making exceptional HR the heart of the company from both  a product and an execution perspective. While many companies in the industry are loved by their employees, Ceridian is transparently discussing its internal talent development programs as a competitive discriminator. Their story is something like, “let us show you the path to extraordinary Human Capital Management. Here’s how we do it.”

In the process, they have become the masters of their tool and the outcome that the industry delivers.

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