Thursday, December 5, 2013

Change and the Death of the Chocolate Santa Claus

The chocolate Santa Claus first poked his head out of my stocking in 1965. All you could see was that shiny, silvery red head just above those glinty Santa eyes. He’s appeared in my stocking every year since then. That’s 48 years of Santa heads peering out at me. There won’t be one there this year. My family informed me that it is a waste of time, we already have too many sweets around the house during the holidays that are a lot better. (I am willing to concede the second half of this argument but, REALLY, I did not know there was such a thing as too many sweets).

I've reluctantly conceded. Santa will be missed.

Tradition is a hard thing to break. Have you ever noticed how “traditions” are romanticized when you talk about personal traditions but professional traditions can be seen as pejorative; as in “mired in old traditions”? I don’t think it is that simple. As a boss when do you give up on doing things the way they've always been done? The question is not easy to answer.

Tradition reinforces culture, creates a foundation. I don’t know if the story attributed to Pablo Picasso is true, but it is rumored that he said you must first learn to paint like the masters before you can extend the boundaries of your own art.

As an HR entrepreneur I continuously challenge myself and my customers to extend the boundaries of their art. So maybe I shouldn't really complain that the “art” of great Christmas Chocolate has moved beyond stale milk chocolate Santas.

I am going to begin a tradition of dark chocolate peppermint bark.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Being an HR Entrepreneur is a Piece of Cake

If I had a dollar for every HR start-up, I wouldn't have to start up my own HR venture!

Have you noticed how many people seem to be starting HR companies lately? I talked to an Angel Fund manager a few weeks back and he said “We've already talked to 2 HR start-ups this week.” There was no room at that Inn.

I wonder if these people starting new ventures in HR feel like HR is a piece of cake. There are certain things in the world where people think they are experts without putting in the effort to gain expertise.  Parenting is one example, marketing seems to be that way too, but so is HR.

I find HR entrepreneurship very hard. I have helped many HR companies over the last 30 years discover and build new products for HR. After helping sell the last one, I decided to start a business on my own. I have (as I said above) 30 years of experience building HR products. But I have never been an HR practitioner. So the first thing I did was form an advisory group made up of some of the best HR people I know. They are my life blood and my muses. It took several ideas developed, proposed, adjusted and revised before we came to anything we thought made sense and would truly fill a hole in existing HR processes. (We didn't want to build the same thing everyone else is building). It wasn't a piece of cake.

The result of this effort is what we call Referral Link: http://innotrieve.com/referrallink/

We just released yesterday – but we still have miles to go. The product is good but it is not everything that it can be. HR is a crowded market, HR Directors and Managers are smart, savvy buyers, HR has extremely tight budgets and very demanding ROI requirements, and HR people know when a product really helps them and when it is just another version of something that already works well enough. 

And boy has this been anything but a piece of cake.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How Far is Far Enough for A Lean HR Product?


Better is the enemy of done. I heard that saying about a decade ago from a business development executive. I was the senior product development guy and he wanted me to hurry up. I didn’t. We had a great product release too, I might add.
But now that I have gained experience and respect for the Lean Start Up strategy, I think about that sentence differently than I used to. I am beginning to realize that customer reaction to your product may be the best way to (eventually) get it right. But how much “not yet right” is too much?

I was very comfortable with our Minimum Viable Product release. It did about 50% of what the production release will do, but the test customers knew that, and the things it didn’t do did not distract from the basic customer experience. I felt good about that.

But now Release 1.0 is going out the end of this month (IT-Gods Willing) and I feel like a teenager on prom night: All I can see are the pimples.

I asked this question of my advisory team. They said it has to be measured by the customer experience. The product has to be good-enough for the customer. I liked that answer, but it doesn’t fully work. Most features are (or should be) oriented toward the best customer experience possible. So when I look at the recruiter dashboard and think it needs to have data displayed more clearly, does Lean SU suggest I let that go and see what the customer thinks. Maybe. It depends.

I am comfortable with our first product. But I stay awake thinking about that last pimple.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

5 Considerations When Pitching an HR Product

We are trying to raise money for our world-beater new HR product. Problem is, we have to convince a bunch of very skeptical people to give us their money to help us do it. I think they should recognize our brilliance and open up their wallets. But since that isn't going to happen, we have been refining our story: Our Pitch.  For those of you who are embarking on a similar path, here are 5 considerations when pitching your product (with tongue only slightly in cheek)
  1. Size Matters: How big is this market we call HR? You can argue that it is a $4.5 Billion industry or even a $21 Billion industry. If you are going to argue that you have a world-beater product, you better know how much of the world you are going to beat.
  2. The A Team: The senior management team should have some clue about what they are doing, and should have some experience doing it. That's not to say a really smart tech guy and a great product person can't figure out something worth doing, but your learning curve could be rather steep. 
  3. Be an Aspirin in a Room Full of Headaches: You have to build something that people really want. You have to solve a problem worth solving. If you are doing one of those projects where your main product mantra is “they just don’t know they need it yet” you are going to have a very long sales cycle.
  4. Be Jack in The Bean Stock: You need to show that with only a little bit of water, that puppy is going to take off! (This may not be 100% true, but the people you are talking to have to be told it is).
  5. Know where the Exit Sign is: Strangely enough, when people give you money they really want to know when they are going to get it back. You need to be very clear about what happens in about 5 years from now. The fact that no one has ever been accurate in this prediction is not relevant; you just need to show you are going to try.

After you have these 5 ideas down, now all you need to do is say them over and over again about 40 or 50 times. If you are lucky (and yes, luck does have something to do with it) you eventually find someone who believes in you. It is a beautiful thing!

Wish us luck…we are almost there!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Do Recruiters (or Hiring Managers) Get the New Career Path

A fellow named Sir Ken Robinson who is famous for a TED talk about how schools kill creativity said in a recent Fast Company article the following:

“It’s important to note, that there just isn’t a straight line between what you do at school and what you go on to do in your career. I argue that it is like being in the ocean. You keep correcting your course according to the things that happen to you. But companies force us to write resumes as though it were a plan.”

He goes on later to say that “…companies need people who can think differently and adapt to be creative.” And finishes his argument making the point that we live in a world of ideas and concepts where imagination is the most important element of our long term success.

But do we look for imagination when we recruit? How often do we throw out the resume that isn’t an exact match to a specific set of skills? Is this getting even more pervasive now that we let automation drive our screening process? The HR space is rife with companies claiming they can find you the better candidate faster. But they can only find the candidates that fit narrow criteria.
 
How can that work if – as many studies have shown – skills learned today will be obsolete in 3 to 5 years?
 
How do we recruit for the “best athlete,” the one who has that well rounded set of skills that allows them to adapt, and to be creative and productive in uncertain and changing times?
 
When I was in the early days of my career I worked in a consulting firm. We specialized in building automated tools to help support complex business systems problems. As we grew very rapidly we wanted to understand how we could grow managers more quickly. Accordingly, we set about assessing what the common characteristics were for our most accomplished leaders. We found two things: 1) it was not our best engineers who succeeded, but the ones who had some form of liberal arts education in their background. And, 2) they had experienced a wide ranging and diversified set of experiences at the firm. They had not stuck to a single career path.
 
So that kid with the degree in art history, take a second look. S/he just might be your next CIO.

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's Flooding Out There

I awoke this morning to the phone ringing at 5:45. It was the Assisted Living facility that my mother-in-law lives in. The entire first floor is underwater. It has been raining in Colorado for 4 days. That is unheard of.  We are practically a desert here. Average rainfall for this area is around 15 inches in an entire year: we've had 12 inches (and more) in the last 3 days. This has not been one of those flash flood types of events (although some places have had a bit of that); it has been just a steady rise of water. My wife and I want to go get her mother.

We can’t

The roads are all closed.

I can’t get to my office either. There are about 4 different ways that I can drive from my home to my office. But they all pass over the Poudre River. I tried all four this morning. The river that is usually about 10 to 15 feet across is as much as 50 to 100 feet across. The bridges are still intact, but they won’t let us drive over them.


When things like this happen, perspective changes. I had a lot of urgent things I had to do today. Not so much now. Now we need to try and make sure those we love are safe. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

No Room for New Innovation in HR?

This is the statement I heard at the end of my day yesterday: “We've heard pitches from four HR Companies already this year and haven’t funded any of them. There just seems to be too many of them.”

Really?

I am in the process of raising seed capital for my company. Yes. A new HR company. And that is what I heard after my latest presentation to a funding group. They said they really don’t get HR (I don’t doubt that) and that there seems to be too many people in the space right now.

Right on.

I can’t think of a more fascinating space to be in right now. The changes that are going to happen in the way people work, find jobs, get paid, sign up for benefits, work mobilely, work remotely, live in Africa…. and the list goes on, is going to radically change what HR means, how it is managed and the tools we use to practice it.

HR is an extremely dynamic field and the lack of support from venture capital is short sighted. HR can compete with almost any other field in terms of dollars spent in the space, growth opportunity, and market dynamics. And the list of truly clever innovators competes with any field out there.

The problem is that most people who fund new ventures grew up in an age when HR was an administrative function that cost too much money. Yesterday’s senior executives saw HR as necessary but not strategic. Innovation in HR meant cutting costs.

That hasn’t changed much in the companies out there today, but it does not take much insight to see the change coming.

If you want to be one of the most dynamic and relevant enterprises of the future, HR advances happening in the basements and garages of innovative HR entrepreneurs will be a crucial element of your success. And the leaders in this space are going to make a lot of money.


Wake up people in the venture funding world; you are going to miss one of the next big things!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One View of Jobs in 2020

It has been said (by some pundit somewhere) that a skill learned today will be obsolete in 3 years. So what do you think….should we all stop learning. Probably not.

One of the more radical views of how jobs will change came from John Seely Brown (a pretty smart guy that ran Xerox research in the 90’s). He suggested the corporation of the future will be made up of one employee and a dog. The employee is there to monitor the machines, and the dog is there to make sure he doesn't touch anything.

We may never go quite that far, but the basic idea is right on. Work in the next decade is going to change radically. The new employment economy is going to be even more radically affected by workplace technology than it was in the last decade (think 3D printers are cool now…). There will be a major shift in worker attitudes about the concept of "employment and career". And location will be replaced by “statelessness:” breaking the link between where you work and where you live.

All this adds up to a very different kind of workplace in the next ten years. Will today’s computer programmer be set aside like an old typewriter?

In the county I live in the Workforce Center commissioned a study last year that said (among other things) that to attract and retain jobs in our county we would have to:
  • Dramatically increase the number of workers in physical science, architecture, engineering, arts (yes – arts), media and math.
  • Develop a comprehensive infrastructure (clusters) to support talent and talent development
  • Create a culture of collaboration and cooperation (wonder if today's traditional CEO will get that concept)
  • And strengthen our schools so that they produce better thinkers. Especially ones with a good foundation in math

And, foremost in all of this is that we will have to be a generation of continuous learners.

How will HR respond to that? How will recruiters used to skills based hiring understand how to assess people who may know a little JAVA today, but will need a new (yet to be invented) skill one year from now?

Wanted: Smart person who really knows their stuff and can learn more stuff.

Maybe those kids with liberal arts degrees weren't so wrong. (Especially if they a know a little math as well!)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How Many Light Bulbs Does it Take to Change an HR Person

Three….But they all have to be broken first.

In a posting a few weeks back The HR Introvert wrote a Blog entitled: How Many HR People Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb. I liked these three the best:
  • None. They're used to working in the dark
  • One. But it will take him a while to get the approvals
  • We don't know, their committee is still working on it

But I thought it might be fun to ponder the opposite question: How many light bulbs (ideas) does it take to change an HR Person?
Now I am not saying that HR people are any more set in their ways than any other average professional, but then again, there is that employee handbook.
I was talking to a local bank executive the other day who was interested in having my new company as a customer. We are building a set of HR data products using advance artificial intelligence. Pretty cool stuff and he was impressed (OK – he did want my business) but he said he showed it to the HR VP and she said: “We already have too much data.” Hum.
How many times in HR have we used the phrase: That’s the way we do it here?
HR seems to me to be one of the more dynamic fields these days. That’s why I’m in it. Big Data, Social Recruiting, Just in Time Resourcing, Autonomous Work Groups, just read the blogs of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter and you can see how dynamic it really is. But it is also one of the slowest to embrace change. Maybe we are gun shy in the HR field, but change is going to be the most important factor of our success in the next decade!
So how many ideas does it take to change an HR person? Here’s a few thoughts that come to mind.
  •          One – It just has to come from the CEO
  •          Two – One from a SHRM conference and the other from someone already doing it
  •          None – I don’t have time right now
  •          Will it be on the SPHR test?


Give me some of your ideas.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hire A Network: 3 Examples That Already Pay Off

What if you could get a whole lot of people to think about your problem and come up with a set of ideas, and you really didn't have to pay for it, and none of the people thinking about your problem really work for you? Is that kind of thing possible?

By now we have all heard of Crowd Sourcing. There are lots of crazy stories about finding gold mines, building space ships, solving social ills that come out of crowd sourcing. I tried it: I got nothing.

But this got me thinking: Isn't all this connectivity that is going on really the next step for crowd sourcing. Isn't posting a job on Twitter or Linked In or any other social media site a form of crowd sourcing? Does this mean recruiters are really cool geeks in disguise (OK – I am going too far now!)

When we hire a new employee we just added (on average) 200 new Linked In connections, countless new friends on Facebook and who knows how many Twitter-heads will now be able to re-tweet on behalf of our company.

Does that mean our company just got more connected?

It is not as far-fetched as it might seem, and the road to “hire a network” may be closer than it seems. Here are three examples of jobs that take advantage of their network every day:
  • Sales: it has always been about connections for people in sales. Now, instead of a Rolodex, it is a huge network of social media connections. Do you think they just try and push product on those connections: No way.  
  • Technology: When one of your software engineers is baffled today, they go online to multiple user sites and pose the question to their peers. Within minutes there are a host of answers.
  • Researchers: Same thing. They keep well connected through a variety of specialized sites that allow them to work with other people in the science industry who tackle similar types of problems.

Really, when you think about it, don’t these three jobs really count on some form of crowd sourcing to help them get their job done each and every day?

Will the operations manager be next?

How about HR? You bet.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

We’re Spending Too Much on HR

The CEO just stopped by your office and said all the company’s resources next year are going into a major growth initiative and we need to cut cost in all non-essential functions. He wants 10% reduced from the HR Budget.

I was listening to the radio the other morning and there was a story about the wildfires in the west. The interview was with the government manager in charge of forest fire management. He made the following statement:

“We spent so much money last year on putting out fires there was no money left for fire prevention”

I am not making this up.

I am not making up the HR budget story either.

I was with a company a few years back that was hell-bent on growth: Acquisitions, expanded sales, development of overseas markets, new products; anywhere we could grow we pursued. It was expensive and money had to come from departments that weren't directly contributing to this big push. That (it was assumed) included HR.

Do you wonder about cause and effect when you see that two years later the growth is behind schedule, employee turnover is up, morale is down, service quality is down and reputation in the industry suffers?

There wasn't enough money for fire prevention.

Are we spending too much on HR? After a decade of squeezing more and more out of our HR budgets, has this helped make companies better?

Did you see this headline the other day? Americans Hate Their Jobs, Even With Perks.  Here’s a quote from the article:

“Just 30% of employees are engaged and inspired at work, according to Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, which surveyed more than 150,000 full- and part-time workers during 2012. ….. A little more than half of workers (52%) have a perpetual case of the Mondays — they're present, but not particularly excited about their job.

We are spending so much money on putting out fires, there’s not enough money for fire prevention.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Build Something That Matters: 8 Things that Drive Our Business

When you listen to venture capitalists, investors and budding investment hopefuls they use the term Lifestyle Business as though it was a 17th century plague to be avoided at all costs.

Well – maybe it is, (from the investor’s point of view) but that discussion feels like bell-bottom pants and a tie-dye shirt at a Republican Convention: Out of place and dated.

People run businesses for all kinds of reasons these days. In my experience most are motivated to do something that matters and to do it in a way that creates value for employees, customers and investors. It is not a lifestyle business just because you don’t put investors first! Some of the greatest success stories of the last decade prove this point.

With the start of our business, Innotrieve, the first thing we did was develop a simple statement about why we were starting a business. Here is what we said we wanted to accomplish:
  1. Put our technology to work in an area that is interesting and solves an important problem
  2. Respect and support the freedom for individual employees to work the way they work best
  3. Build products that allow us to work in areas we are interested in
  4. Do interesting work that can have an impact on the way people work
  5. Leverage artificial intelligence to make work more more interesting, and more empowering
  6. Extend our ideas and intellectual property through valuable products
  7. Build something a lot of people can gain value from
  8. Be an important member of “The next Industrial Revolution:” The digital/data revolution
I don’t know if these principles make us a lifestyle business in the eyes of some investors, but I do know that my partner and I are motivated by a range of interests, and that won’t change. To build a better business, you build something that matters to you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Launching a New HR Product: 7 Items to Consider

I sometimes think there are as many new products being developed for the HR market place as there are number of HR people in the world. Let me guess…. that would be about 243 Million.

Some days it feels like that. 

So how do you make sure your product stands out in this crowded world of new HR products?  Here are 7 items on my checklist that don’t get enough attention:

  1. Your Tech is Cool, But Nobody Cares: Don’t get so enamored with the cool new technology you are using that you fool yourself into thinking that’s all it takes to succeed.
  2. Messaging is Harder than You've Planned For: In a busy, noisy world, people don’t have time to listen to a long winded story about your product. You think you need an elevator speech? Think again, you need a Tweet!
  3. Fresh Air In a Stale Environment: Fads grow stale quickly. HR Trends can be like last year’s Boy Band. You have to be fundamentally sound, and compellingly relevant.
  4. End Results Marketing: Most people set the end result of good marketing at the wrong finish line. It is not the sale that you aim for; it’s the success of the solution. With a new recruiting solution, for example, success is a new hire. Sounds simple, but very few companies actually (sincerely) think that way.
  5. Don’t Underestimate the Cost of Getting Service Right: HR is a people business and people want help from other people. Don’t assume that an automated FAQ and 3 guys offshore are going to cut it.
  6. The Learning Never Stops: Your product has several problems, you just don’t know it yet. Make sure you set up your new product launch as a learning experience.
  7. Impact on Culture: All HR products impact people. Really revolutionary products impact them in a big way. You can’t just have the best idea if that idea doesn't fit the culture. You are doomed if you don’t take the time to address culture as part of the product process.

The next decade is going to see an explosion of new products in HR. For you to have an idea with lasting value, you might want to consider these 7 suggestions for making sure your HR product succeeds.


Let me know if you have other ideas to add to the list.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

4 Reason’s You Don’t Mess With Kahleesi’s (HR) Dragons

You could say that great HR succeeds with vision and an overriding conviction to mission, mixed with a level of legitimacy backed up by the ability to inflict pain when necessary!

Kahleesi would have been a great VP of HR!

OK – you’ll have to forgive me here on this one. I am a die-hard Game of Thrones fan. Kahleesi is the character who is sometimes known as the “Dragon Queen” (I seem to remember an HR Director we nicknamed something like that) and she is growing her army and her influence through power, legitimacy and an overarching philosophy that people should not be slaves. But if you mess with Kahleesi, the wrath of the Dragons comes upon you.

Just think how much easier your job would be if you had a few dragons to reinforce your rule now and again!

I like this idea. And here are 4 (only somewhat) tongue-in-check reasons why:

  1. HR has the moral high ground: Think about it, while everyone in the company should be focused on making money (or in Kahleesi’s case, overthrowing all the other kingdoms) HR seems to be the only one that really understands that people – more than any other single resource – are the key to this. Kahleesi would agree. Free the oppressed and they will be loyal to you forever!
  2. HR could use a little magic: Most people in HR recognize the fact that they are generally being asked to achieve the impossible.  They might commiserate with each other about this, but they don’t let it faze them. If need be, HR will walk through fire to show you they are endowed with certain magical powers. Be awed mere mortals!
  3. HR could do so much better if they had some real power: You have to get 95% participation in the employee satisfaction survey by the end of the month (and it’s December). Does anybody ever really open up those emails from HR? Ah….but if you had a few dragons to enforce your commands!
  4. HR has legitimacy – but is anyone acknowledging it: Poor Kahleesi (or did I mean HR manager), she knows she should be Queen of the 7 Kingdoms, and most people know she has a legitimate claim, but by gosh, if she is going to get anyone to pay attention, she is going to have to kick a few butts!
So march on HR leaders….one day you will conquer the world.

In the meantime, I am hoping my new company is building you a dragon! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quick Study (2): Employee Feedback on Referrals

Why would I refer those guys?
A couple weeks ago in a blog post entitled Quick Study Finds 3 Reasons Employees Don’t Refer, I highlighted the reasons employees gave for why they were reluctant to provide referrals. I mentioned in that post that I would share some of the other results as well. So here you go:

First some quick data points:
  • 170 employees were asked to participate in a new referral program
  • 24% agreed to participate (41 employees)
  • 6 jobs were posted – ranging from a help desk position to marketing to very technical
  • 44 names were referred during the 5 week test
  • Number of referrals per job ranged from a low of 4 to a high of 13
  • The most referrals was for a marketing position, the least was for an HR position (go figure!)

When employees from the tests were interviewed, here was some of the key feedback:
  • It’s Personal: Referrals are so personal. I had a hard time referring people unless I knew both the company and the person I was referring really fit perfectly, even though I knew that some people I rejected might have been OK.
  • It’s a Noisy World: Even though this new tool was very easy to use and minimized my time, I am still just too distracted with so many other things during the day.
  • What’s It All About: Our Company seems to hype referrals a couple times a year. A quick email and a mention at the company meeting just isn't enough to get my attention.
  • Incentives Get Attention: The odds that I will ever see that $1,000 referral bonus seem remote (I don’t play Lotto) can there be other incentives for me to spend time on this?
  • It’s My Network: I am reluctant to send too many referrals onto HR. What are they doing with the names? Will they spam my friends? This is my network of friends – leave them alone!
  • Is Anybody There: I hate sending on a name and never hearing anything back. It’s just rude and turns me off!
And the last main bit of feedback:
  • I Wouldn't Wish This on My Best Friend: It is all about the strength of the culture. I like working here, but I am not sure I would recommend this place to someone else. It’s a job, but nothing to brag about.

What are your thoughts about these results? Do you experience some of this in your referral programs? 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Ode To The HR Professional

You work in Human Resources, you have too much to do.
The promise of new software, never quite comes true.
The sales guy you spoke to, says he has it all.
But then you ask the price and it almost makes you fall.

At the last convention, the future sure looked bright.
So many new inventions, to solve the HR plight.
One company does Big Data, but talks in terabyte.
They've never done HR, and you know he can’t be right.

Your company just merged, and your new boss looks 16
You hope she is much older, but you know it’s just a dream.
Now you have to teach her, how your job gets done
But every time she shows up, she’s always on the run.

Oh, you work in human resources, and you know that it's true
Every project that you need, is back in the IT queue.
The CEO says people, are always number one
But every time you ask for money, something else needs done.

But in the end you love your job, and take some time to Tweet
You let the world around you, know your job is neat.
At times you do think back, to what mama used to say,
You don’t work in HR, if you’re in it for the pay!

You’ll probably stay around, another year or two
You hear that HR mobile, will make your dreams come true.
So maybe if you ask her, your boss will not turn blue
When you ask to have your cell phone 
.........Upgraded from 2002.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick Study Finds 3 Reasons Employees Won’t Refer


We recently conducted an experiment with 178 employees to find out how they would react to a new employee referral program. 42 signed up. That is 23.6%. Not bad, but also not anywhere good enough. I wanted to know why more did not participate.

Before we started this experiment we did a little researching of our own to find out what to expect. How many employees usually participate in referral programs? I had a hard time finding a study that focused specifically on that, but the number seems rather small. Less than 10% seems to be a common number I hear. (If you know of a study that provides good data about this – please send me the link)

That means if you have a company of 250 great employees that you would love to clone, you only get about 20 to 25 of them that ever pass on names for you to consider. Why is that?

After running our test for 3 weeks I interviewed a subset of the employees that participated in the referral program and a subset that did not. The responses were interesting and I will write about some more of them in future blogs, but here are the top three reasons employees did not want to participate in referrals:
  1. Email Noise: This one surprised me (though maybe it should not have). An overwhelming number of the participants in both groups interviewed said they barely read emails that aren’t critical to the task at hand. Emails from HR or “corporate” get perused, but unless it really affects them right now, today, they put it aside. It is not that they have anything against participating in a referral program; they just didn’t slow down enough to read the email.
  2. Fear of Failure Effect: Employees don’t want to be associated with a bad referral. They even stated in our conversation that they realized referrals usually resulted in better employees, but they were unwilling to pass along any name that might not be seen as a great referral.
  3. Refer vs. Recommend (or just passing along a name): This reason was related to the Fear of Failure reason above but was different in a very important way. They did no trust that HR would still put a referral through the same kind of scrutiny they would a non-referred candidate. The employees said they knew a lot of people, but that was not the same thing as knowing whether they would fit in as employees. They were happy to pass on the name, but were not comfortable saying the person was a guaranteed good fit.
What's your experience with referrals? If you have any information on employee participation in referrals that you're willing to share,  I’d love to hear about it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Doing Laundry: 4 Lessons for Building Great HR Software

Doing The HR Laundry

Doing laundry is only drudgery if it keeps you from doing something else.
  
One of the many advantages of being a “basement-office entrepreneur” is you can do the laundry during the day, and today I thought about 4 lessons that doing laundry can teach us about building great HR software. (OK, it’s a stretch – but hang with me here….)

Lesson 1: Separate the Light from the Dark. OK, this is no missive from a Jedi Master, but its roots are the same. Developers get so bogged down in the problems and exceptions that they forget to focus on the really good stuff. I have found a much better approach is to build in all the good stuff, make the software as delightful as possible, and then go back and eradicate all the evil with your Light Saber.

Lesson 2: Don’t Overload the Machine. Stop putting in so many features that you can no longer tell what the real purpose of the application is supposed to be. Have you ever tried posting a job in one of the “Top 3” recruiting solutions? Give me a break. I just need one button that says GO.

Lesson 3: Watch out for Imbalances During the Spin Cycle. This is all about evaluating your solution (taking it for a spin). Most HR solutions designers get too fixated on one or two issues and then over design the system to deal with that; while forgetting that the whole system needs to be in balance. This problem becomes particularly obvious to your customers when all your sales staff can talk about are two features. OK, I understand that your system can be in both English and Urdu, but can it actually track employee leave?

Lesson 4: Take Things Out Before They Wrinkle. This is not a statement supporting age discrimination.  This is the fact that most HR solutions designers don’t know when to stop. Have you ever noticed that Version 1.0 is often so much better than Version 2. Who told them we needed a feature to automatically schedule a lunch break when setting up the interview schedule (and to make it impossible to change it). I’ll eat when I want to eat!

Now, back to folding socks, maybe it’ll teach me how to play tennis. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Take a Slice out of Big Data


Big data is a lot like refrigerators are to teenagers. Even though there’s a ton of food in it, they can’t find anything to eat.
  
How many new Tweets, blog posts, Link-In updates, Google+ posts are there in a day, or even in an hour. It is mind boggling. Yet there are companies out there screaming at HR professionals to get into BIG DATA, as though it is some kind of parachute that will help you from your inevitable fall.

Just because you now have access to every bit of information about your employees, your potential recruits, your competition for resources, or what your boss ate for breakfast doesn't mean any of this information is really going to help you run your business.

I have worked for big data companies in the past, and now I am starting up my own company that focuses on big data. But we never called it big data. If anything, we might have called it small data. You don’t need to know about everything going on out there; you only need to know about the things that are important to you.

Most people in the big data business don’t get HR. And because they don’t get HR they stick you in front of the refrigerator and tell you there is everything you need in there to make a meal.

But data is like ingredients, it needs a recipe to make it a meal. The recipes have to come from HR. 

Those crazy data-wonks that come to you with a "show and tell" full of charts rarely know what it is you do and what data you need to succeed. So if you plan on spending any time growing your big data capabilities, make sure you – the HR professional – pick the recipe and decides what ingredients need to be gathered.

Together we can make a fine soufflé

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ask Employees What They Think When Designing HR Products


70% of employees hate the HR systems they have to use. I just made that up, but in my own informal survey of the 10 people sitting next to me, seven of them said they think the systems we use for payroll, benefits, HR, etc. was designed poorly. We use one of those “highly rated systems”.

Who do they ask when they conduct surveys about those systems anyway? HR people – right.

There is an old saying in the design world: Don’t just design for your customer, design for your customer’s customer.  The customer’s customer for HR Products is the employee.

But how many of the companies building HR products do that? I mean really do that? I will admit that I do not know all of the companies out there, I have not directly seen the processes of more than a dozen of them, but what I have seen is the results. Most of the software out there does not make it easy for an employee to do what they want to do.

You see it at trade-shows too. And you see it in that terrible sales and marketing stuff they send you. They don’t talk much about the employee. Oh sure – they give it lip service: Employees will love it, or It will make employees more productive. How do they know? Who did they ask? Mostly it is all about HR productivity and HR improvement and HR happiness.  HR is not happy if the employees aren't happy.

So to all you builders of HR product solutions; next time you build a new feature, don’t just interview a bunch of your customers. Interview their customers. Ask the employees what they need!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Four Pitfalls To Lean Start Up in HR Products


Can human beings in the work place ever be guinea pigs? 

I recently started an HR data company. We are using a proprietary artificial intelligence tool to help us discover critical human resource information that can help both the employer and the employee. At least that’s the idea. Our first product is in the social recruiting space and we are in the process of testing our assumptions. Tune in later and we’ll let you know if we are on to something.

I have been in the HR products business for awhile (longer than I like to admit – I remember using punch cards in graduate school) and know a thing or two about product development. When my partner and I formed our new company and decided on our first product we also opted to follow the product development guidelines espoused by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Start Up

Lean start up techniques were more than a fad concept we wanted to try. We really were lean (as in we had no money) and wanted to be very smart about what we built and how much we spent building it.  We are also building something no one is doing today (more about that later) and we weren't sure that employees and employers would adopt the concept. Lean Start Up seemed like the perfect answer. And it was. But there are four pitfalls that need to be addressed if you are going to follow Lean Start Up processes in the HR space.

These four pitfalls start with a core concept of the Lean Start Up process called the MVP – Minimum Viable Product.  In a nutshell (he wrote a whole book about this so excuse me if I miss a few of the details) you invest in building only enough of the product to test your major assumptions. In our case – this involved employee adoption and sign up. We built the MVP and found a company willing to be our BETA test site. 

After weeks of testing, these are the four pitfalls we see:
  1. Human resources is a bad place to experiment. HR by its very nature is conservative. You really don’t want to mess with people! If you are going to do an MVP in the HR space, you can’t disrupt the work place and you can’t give the employees a bad experience.
  2. Workplace versus home environment. People don’t mind “playing around” with a concept at home. Most people love to experiment with a new website or software tool or tinker around with a new app on their phone. They don’t like to do this at work. 
  3. Limited test period. Many of the examples in the Lean Start Up talk about getting feedback from early MVP experiences and tweaking the product to see what happens. You can’t just tweak away in HR. Employees won’t tolerate it and the HR department can’t allow it.
  4. Greater need to know. At home, you are comfortable going down the rabbit hole. Not so at work. If you really don’t understand what the application does or exactly how things work, you tend to freeze up. This means that you have to give employees a lot more training with an MVP in HR than you might need to do with a typical consumer based product. 

I am a huge fan of The Lean Start Up and think it has its place in building Human Resources products and solutions. But anyone opting to follow this process should be careful about how far you take the process of experimenting in HR.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to run off and explain to our BETA customer why that button in the upper left hand corner of the screen really wasn't supposed to offer a job to the employee’s dog.  (Although I stand by the fact that the dog’s social media profile looked like a perfect fit). 

(image courtesy of Gerd Altman on Pixaby)


Thursday, April 18, 2013

All the Edges Are Gone


It has snowed for three days straight. The world outside my window is softly contoured mounds of white. I think if you could live on a big billowy cloud it would look just like this. The bushes, the steps, that piece of furniture my neighbor never put away for the winter. They are all gone. There are no edges, just a harmony of continuous white.

First off, this is not normal for the low-lands of Colorado in the second half of April. Sure, we can get a big one-day dump of snow every few years (I remember 30 inches of the stuff in March several years back), but for it to keep coming down for 3 solid days; that’s kinda new.  

When snow comes down like this it takes away all the edges. The world has no jagged places. When snow comes down all at once it covers things up, but you still know what lies beneath. When it keeps coming for 3 solid days the snow re-shapes the landscape.

Looking at all this snow got me wondering what it would be like if we could (metaphorically) apply a healthy dose of snow to a company.  Would that smooth out their edges, would it make the jagged, rough spots go away. Would getting rid of the jagged, rough spots be a good thing? Probably not.

But there are days like this, while sitting in my office and looking out the window at all that peaceful  snow-covered landscape, that I really do wish that about 6 feet of the white stuff would fall on that guy three doors down.

Just saying…

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon: HR Heroes


In thousands of companies across the United States, and especially in Boston, the first phone call that company CEOs and Presidents made after hearing about the bombings at the Boston Marathon was to their head of Human Resources.

I recall an event about 20 years ago when I was a General Manager for a company in Colorado. I came into the office around 7:00 AM and as I started to settle into my routine I received a call saying that one of my employees had just shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself: Both dead.

I called HR.

As HR Directors do the world over, she rushed into the office and took over the task of finding out more details, making sure our employees knew what was going on, and taking time to talk to the friends and co-workers who knew this individual the best. I don’t think the HR Director was trained in psychology, or disaster response, or managing human emotions in the face of unbelievable circumstances. But you couldn't have proven that to me or to any of the people she (and the others in her small department) helped that day. They seemed to know exactly the right things to do.

The HR department is the emergency response group that spearheads how companies will help their employees respond to tragedies.  They do this without fanfare and without questioning whether it is in their job description. They know helping people cope is a key part of helping keep the company performing.  But it goes beyond that. The little appreciated fact about most HR professionals is that they care about how people are doing. They want to help. Period.

That is just what HR does. They help. They try and make whatever life sends our way a little more tolerable.

In the aftermath of Boston the day was met with a lot of silent HR heroes. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'm Melting: The Woes and Worries of an HR Entrepreneur


My new product goes into Beta Test next week (or for those of you initiated into the ways of Lean Start Up: The Minimum Viable Product). After all the work we've done thinking and re- thinking, testing, designing and finally building the MVP you would think I am excited.

I am scared out of my socks.

I stopped sleeping about a month ago. Now I wake up and think about the product. Usually at 2:06 A.M. I question every level of my sanity: What in the world was I thinking. By morning I am less pessimistic, but still rather saturnine. It takes a few hours to pull the manic back out from the deep recesses of my depressive.

There are days I feel like the Wicked Witch in a room full of Dorothys:

I'm melting......

My wife did not sign up for this. She thought she was doing me a favor when she agreed to let me spend all of our “rainy-day-fund” to start a new business from scratch. Now she is searching for a therapist (I am not sure if that is for me or her).  I am quitting when she starts to Google divorce lawyers!

But man I’m having a lot of fun.

It is hard work, and very risky to embark on building a new tool for HR. But HR is an exciting space with so many things going on. Being in the middle of that is what keeps me going. This product may not work – at least not at first. But if the money doesn't run out and I delete all search criteria for divorce lawyers: I’m there.

Now back to worrying so much that my headaches, my back hurts, my stomach feels sketchy, and my neck has a serious kink: The true badges of the entrepreneur!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finding work at 60: Is HR Failing a Generation?


Upper middle-management and out of a job.

Too qualified,

Too set in your ways

Not right for the job

Too old fashion for our hip new company

And too many other things you aren't allowed to say.

How many really talented people are out there looking (and looking) for work who can’t find a job because the 30 (or 40) something that is in charge of hiring has a pre-conceived notion that the person they are looking for is “younger.” How many automated resume screening tools see someone who was highly successful for 30 years as not qualified for the new product manager position that just opened up? 

I am closing in on that generation. I know a lot of people who are there (guess when you've been around a long time, a lot of the people you know seem to have aged on you). My brother is 59 and just got laid off from a career of 25 years as a successful disc jockey. Seems they don’t need disc jockeys much anymore and really don’t need old ones. He’s applied to sell cars, drive trucks, work at most anything that a 20-something might apply for. Nothing, Nada, No reply.

I just got off the phone this morning with an old (sorry for the use of that word) friend of mine who was a very successful business man. Built a company from scratch and made himself and a lot of other people a lot of money when he sold it. He doesn’t need a lot of money now, but he wants the stimulation of work. For 4 years now: Nothing, Nada, No reply.

Seems to me that we have a lot of talent out there that current hiring (and recruiting) processes don’t know how to deal with. The Great Recession put a lot of talent on the street, but the great boom in new business processes leaves them out of the picture.

That’s a shame: A generation lost. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Resource Management: Yahoo Got It Way Wrong


Yahoo’s decision to stop letting employees work from home is about as smart as most of the product decisions they have been making lately: Way off the mark.

Was Marissa Mayer hibernating in some cave for the last several years then woke up and said: “Where is everybody?”

They are at home working very well thank you – and if you make them all come back to work every day, you will be losing some of the best resources you have, plus losing out on a very creative way to maximize your employee assets.

Simon Kennedy in a recent blog post on DNA writes: “Marissa Mayer’s decision to order Yahoo! Inc staff to work in the company’s offices runs counter to new research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.” He goes on to quote the National Bureau of Economic Research whose results “showed home-working led to a 13% increase in performance, mainly reflecting reductions in sick days and breaks. The rest was attributed to making more calls per minute thanks in part to the quieter working environment.”

 And this didn't even take into account the fact that people who work from home spend time on work activities well beyond the normal 8 hour work day.

I can understand a leader trying to turn around a company by taking some drastic measures to improve performance. But I think this was a knee jerk reaction based on faulty data. In the long run this will be just one more stupid move Yahoo has made. Yahoo is traditionally 2 steps behind in their marketplace, and apparently they are at least two steps behind in employee workplace trends as well.

I guess, in the end, this decision (along with many others at Yahoo) will serve as great case-study fodder for future MBAs. I would suggest a title for the case study should be: Yahoo: A study in Bad Timing.

Guess they won’t be making next year’s 100 Best Places to Work List.

Read more blogs by Jerry on Toolbox For HR

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Give A Con A Break


The City of San Francisco was one of the first to take up a measure to ban the use of criminal histories as part of the pre-employment process. Several other government jurisdictions are considering similar legislation. This trend is born of the idea that criminal histories may be racist (because minorities tend to be convicted at a higher rate than non-minorities) and that it exacerbates the unemployment problem – especially among those with criminal records.

But for me the more interesting question (and more difficult challenge) is how do we truly assess that risk and make smart hiring decisions about people with previous legal or drug problems. Should they all be damned forever and a day? Story ended. That would be the easy way to handle the problem. No need to worry about complex hiring procedures or concerns that people won’t follow the exact dictates of the company. We hire no one with a previous conviction or a previous problem with drugs. Period!

We’re better than that.

A previous conviction does not have to be a permanent sentence of unemployment. The real solution to the problem is that criminal history alone should not be the only reason for rejecting a candidate. Yes – I understand (I used to be in the background checking business after all) that there are very real circumstance that mean zero tolerance (access to vulnerable populations like children or elderly for example) where the risk is just too great. But that is what I mean when I say that a criminal history record alone should not decide the hire/no hire choice. A criminal history record PLUS a high sensitive position – should mean no hire. Other situations such as repeat offenders, people with a pattern of multiple problems, a conviction along with lying on your resume might all be reasons for rejecting a candidate.

Patterns and context should dictate hiring risk – not just single data points.

It's people we are dealing with and people can make mistakes and still move beyond them. This is where our professionalism as recruiters and human resource people comes in. We use data to help make decisions – we don’t let data make the decisions for us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Are there Republicans and Democrats in Your HR House?


Bickering, drawing lines in the sand, creating controversy where none really exists, refusing to compromise, perceiving slight, grandstanding: Sound like the national political scene, or does it sound like one of your staff meetings!

I have never really understood people who have to win an argument at all costs. It has never made sense to me why some people make things personal so easily or have to take exception to everything certain people say. I also don’t get why people get so stubborn about a topic they become irrational and immovable.

Sure, I believe strongly in things. Sure, I can get pretty assertive about my agenda when I am passionate about the topic. But I have never felt that I had all the answers. I don’t take other people's input personally and I don't tend to set my feet so firmly in the ground that I cannot be moved. Don't call me Speaker of the House.

Why do people get so obdurate that they are willing to sacrifice success to win a point?

The example set in Washington lately brings the point to a national spotlight. The leaders of both parties have become so entrenched, are trying so hard to make sure the other side looses they are guaranteeing that nobody wins.

Do you have people like that in your company? Are there people like that in your HR department? My bet is the answer is yes.

In my experience this atmosphere of irrational competition is at the heart of most dysfunctional companies.

Just chill

I wonder, do we teach this to our children at an early age? Do we model this behavior in ourselves or in our society?

How many people will suffer in our nation because of the stubbornness of a few? How many will suffer in our companies for the same reason?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Ode to SEO for Recruiters


If I were to SEO
What would be the way to go?

Would I blog or would I write
A mighty pen to make me bright?

Key word phrases all strung out
Makes my writing all flung out.

Search for hires
High and low
Better with my SEO
20 key words and long tails to sell
If I try and say them all,
will you promise not to tell?

My marketing Director does insist
That all my writing should consist
Of random words
Thrown to and fro
Just so Google loves me so.

And then there’s Mack
I love her too
She’s our queen of SEO
But write a word that sounds just right
And suffer wrath at all her might

So homage to the SEO
Throw those words in, watch them flow.
Add some funky phrases too
Let them know that hiring is what we do.

Have some job postings
And offer up a referral or two.
Get alumni in the game
Contact everyone fit or lame.

Company name, best hires too
JAVA, Lava, and Code Blue
I’ll get those words in as I can
And hope you understand my plan.

So if what I say seems out of sorts
Trust my words to the Google courts

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Six Reason You May Want to Consider “Coworking”


“Working Alone Sucks.”  (Sign outside NextSpace office in San Jose, California.)

In a recent Fast Company article entitled, Working Beyond the Cube they talk about a growing trend for companies to locate their employees in “coworking” environments. Essentially this means you have employees from several different companies all working together in the same place. Traditionally these were havens for freelancers and the unemployed. But the model has matured and is now actively considered as part of the office space strategy for more and more companies.

Apparently there are around 90,000 people who work in coworking spaces today.

So why might you or your company consider coworking in the future? Here are six reasons to consider:
  1. Collaboration: studies find (and coworker experience supports) that people who work together from varying different companies, backgrounds and cultures can be more productive and more innovative.
  2. Remote Worker Accommodation: do you struggle with remote workers being disengaged, out of the loop, feeling less motivated? Stick them in a coworking facility.
  3. Space Flexibility: Need to staff up for a project, have to grow fast (or shrink fast)? Coworking is the answer. Use these facilities as “flex space.”
  4. Renew and re-energize: People who are exposed to new people, new ideas, new surroundings are often re-energized. Coworking facilities mix and mingle all sorts of people.
  5. Project Orientation: when you have new projects you can move people in and out of these coworking facilities.
  6. Cost: And of course, lastly, there is the question of cost. Compared to building and maintaining your own space, these facilities can be much less expensive.


One telling quote from the Fast Company article says that “Chris Mach, a global workplace strategist from AT&T …is placing dozens of researchers, product developers, and technologists in coworking hubs across the country and has invited startups and partners to work alongside them. The goal: spot talent, inspire creativity, and get products to market faster.”

In my own home town, Fort Collins, Colorado, we have a local business incubator called the Rocky Mountain Innosphere. They built a building with this very concept in mind. Create a space were multiple innovative companies can be collocated to foster the innovation dialog. It’s working.

I am thinking I might be in need of setting myself up in a coworking location because; while I am getting a lot of value working at home with my dog, I think we've played out the advantages I can get from chasing a stuffed squirrel around the house. (Although she always thinks all my ideas are brilliant!) 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

State of the Union, Twitter and Social Workplace Innovation



“…what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one” was one of the most Tweeted about statements in the recent Presidential State of the Union Address. That probably does not surprise you. But how did viewers respond to the rest of the message? Climate control got a lot of tweets, so did helping to fight poverty, but surprisingly, the very emotional appeal around gun control did not get much twitter reaction.

This information comes from The Social Reaction Group which monitored the volume of twitter traffic for every line the President spoke and created an Infographic to display the results. If people tweeted about something just a little bit, the words were small in print, if they tweeted a lot about it the words were much bigger. If the tweets were by a man they were in blue, if they were by a woman they were in pink. (cute). Check out the link – the data is fascinating and the graphics are fun: Social Reaction State Of The Union.

Tracking ideas, trends, concepts, proposals, new products, you name it, is something that is getting more and more sophisticated. This is big data in action. It is not really very useful to know what one person might say about a topic, but it is extremely valuable when you can track how millions of people respond to an idea. That is what Social Reaction Group and InferLink are all about.

The founder of InferLink and a member of the Social Reaction Group is Dr Steven Minton. He’s also my partner. Dr Minton and I are exploring the use of advanced AI (artificial intelligence) search techniques to find data relevant to HR professionals. We believe this kind of data can help with recruiting, employment screening, on-boarding, employee development and even more.

People put a lot of effort into their social and professional networks and helping them harvest that effort to improve their work-life is what we believe in.

We haven’t had time to name our company yet, but stay tuned; there will be interesting new products to come.

In the meantime – keep tweeting away.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Stock Market of Labor Resources


The way labor moves about from one job to the next and the way companies find, recruit and hire labor is the technological equivalent of buying pork bellies in the slaughter yards 100 years ago.

Wingham Rowan, the founder of a British company called Slivers-of-Time recently spoke of A New Kind of Job Market at TED in London. In this talk he asked what would happen if stocks and bonds were traded by a person who got up each morning, outlined the key requirements she needed, posted it on several websites, then waited patiently for someone to respond (with over half the responses not even fitting the basic requirements).

In Mr Rowan’s line of thinking: Labor Markets could be as efficient as Stock Markets and the only thing holding us back is the lack of a national (and international) infrastructure to support the environment. He goes on to use the example of how quickly in both the US and Great Britain, national Lotteries were built in less than a year. This was done because people were motivated by the economic advantage. He suggests governments create a privately funded initiative that would grant exclusive rights to the builders but would be required to grant open access to everyone who wants to use it. (sounds a bit like the phone company of old). 

He thinks that would be incentive enough for big players like IBM, Google, Microsoft and others to want to create and host these labor exchange markets.

Interesting idea.

Just think about it, you could speculate on Java Developer Futures (sounds so much nicer than pork bellies). 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lines Between Work and Social (Media) Are Blurred


There are several dimensions to the question of privacy and how it plays into trends in human resources, but the one I want to talk about here is what I call the “always there” trend. The trend itself is not all that new. Since the invention of email and laptops employees and managers have felt an increasing obligation to always be available for work: Nothing new there. The new part comes when you start to look at the opposite side of the equation:

How much does our “social life” blur with our work life?

The huge rise in social media has lead to the situation where an increasing number of us are “always there” for our friends and family who want to Tweet Us, Friend Us, Tube Us, Plus Us or whatever else may be the latest social media trend. We are connected to social media the entire waking day (and some don’t seem to sleep much either). http://www.briansolis.com/2010/02/time-spent-on-social-networks-up-82-around-the-wrold/ . While a lot has been written about how the lines have blurred between work and home, very little has been said about the fact that the reverse is now truer than ever: The lines between home (our social media connections) and work have blurred. Keeping track of the kids, catching up with old school mates, seeing what past colleagues are doing – it’s all in a day’s work.

With this blurring of lines – where lies the distinction between what employers should know about your “social media life” and what belongs only to you? Do companies have a right to assess some aspects of an employee’s social network “footprint” when they are conducting a pre employment screening for instance? Can employees make the case that they should be allowed to have access to Facebook, Linked In, YouTube etc. but companies don’t have the right to know what they are doing on these sites?

Let me be clear. I am a strong believer that companies don’t need to meddle in the personal life of their employees. They should focus on things like performance, productivity, and effectiveness, and leave the personal stuff alone.  But I also believe that what we do in this new world enabled by social media has a great deal of relevance to who we are as employees.

The digital “footprint” we leave says a lot about who we are.

If you believe a person’s previous employment, hobbies, outside activities, volunteerism are all areas that impact how well a person will fit into your organization, then why not also assess what they do on social media? I, for one, hope companies do look at my social media profile. I think it only helps define who I am.

I am no longer defined by my job – I am defined by my Linked In profile – so get on board and tweet me!