So we looked at the need for enterprises to accelerate last week, find the blog post here, with more of a technology view, as all good ‘inner values’ are based on a decent architecture of the right technology. More specifically these are the enablement of BigData and the provision of ‘true’ analytics (my definition here). 
But even the right technology and architecture can fail, if the design principles aren’t right – and it’s key to keep in mind that business user centricity is paramount for successful, next generation HR systems, that help enterprises to get faster. No surprise, as layers of organization, a Tayloresque organization model, competency splits and more have slowed down organization since… forever (ok, the invention of these principles, that ironically were designed to make organizations more efficient, faster).

So let’s look at the next set of three criteria for a successful next generation HR product:

‘Lean’ Recruiting

Recruiting is one of the most challenging positions in the enterprise. CEOs (usually) have 2-3 years before they are removed for bad performance, sales reps get 2-3 quarters, recruiters 2-3 weeks. That’s still better than 2-3 hours for a waiter or a retailer sales clerk, but probably one of the most scrutinized positions in the enterprise. If a recruiter cannot bring on board the talent an enterprise is looking for after a few weeks, they will be looking for a new job soon. If you keep in mind unfavorable workforce dynamics, the need for acceleration etc. that job will not get easier.

So let’s keep in mind what the recruiter role was originally put in place for. Have a professional who does nothing but recruiting and is therefore better at it than the occasional recruitment by a manager in the line of business. And save time for that manager, so they don’t have to sift through many resumes, initial interviews etc. But at the same time the creation of the recruiter established a disconnect between the hiring manager and the candidate, that has to be overcome for every vacancy. The fact that up to a third of position in North America are not being filled due to perceived ‘friction’ between recruiters and line of business managers is telling. It looks like in too many case managers prefer to settle for hope (that employee will get better), have their team work more (‘so hard to find good people’), or kick the can down the road (the next manager can fix this) – than for recruiting new talent.

The good news is that with the advances in BigData, cheap, elastic compute capability from the cloud that allows for ‘true’ analytics, the recruiter can be largely bypassed and a filtered, fitted list of candidates can be served to the manager. The manager has to make the final call anyway, so instead of a recruiter working on many resumes to whittle down the list of good applicants to the final interview, managers can today get the list of final candidates, with the help of next generation recruiting software. We are at the cusp of video analysis to even add early conversation to the data trough from which managers can find the best candidates, after software has created the shortlist. And some vendors have even changed the recruiting model. Thanks to the advances of technology, headhunting techniques can be applied. Formerly only reserved to 6 digit salaried positions, the searching of social networks (interestingly Facebook beats out the ‘network of liars’, LinkedIn) for best fit candidates empowers managers to contact the best candidates directly, while they are still in their current jobs. This follows the old adage of the best people not looking for jobs (but being happily employed somewhere).

So empowerment of the business user, usage of Analytics and BigData – enabled ‘lean’ recruiting. With no recruiters involved (who will become coaches for managers and applicants, product managers at software companies etc.) – certainly an aggressive vision, but ask any manager out there if they would like it. They are more likely going to say Yes than No… which means it will happen, sooner than later.

Talent ‘Depth Chart’

Sports teams, security and military teams have depth charts. A coach needs to know who can play the same position, should she decide to substitute the player on the field, should the player be injured, booked etc. Likewise there can’t be an ‘emergency’ meeting when the heavy machine gunner is incapacitated… so why has the Talent ‘Depth Chart’ not been enabled for positions in an enterprise?

So let’s look what it means first: A manager should see at any given time how well the current holder of a positon is performing. Who else in the enterprise can do that job, and can do a better job than the incumbent. What talent (using ‘lean’ recruiting) above could be hired from outside the enterprise. Or if the position may not be around much longer and the local labor laws are challenging to shut down the position – what candidates from contingent worker sources could be hired. A contractor maybe even the best fit to the position, regardless of the employment status.

Again the good news is that vendors are actively thinking about this. It is relatively easy to see how well an employee is performing, the manager will have an opinion on this anyway. But it is hard to do something about it. So finding coaching, learning and mentoring tools and options is the first step. Finding good fits in the enterprise is the next step. Easing the conversation with the manager of a professional that a manager would like to ‘poach’ with a ‘one’ click automation. Giving the phone numbers of the best 2-3 external candidate fits for a position. Same for the best contractors. Show how well the can do the job, where would the rank on the ‘Talent Depth’ chart for that position? All these functions can be build today, enabling the manager to assess incumbent and potential talent for a position.


I wrote about Transboarding the first time in summer of 2014 (more here) – it’s a word constructed out of merging transfer, off- and onboarding. A lot of effort, time and resources are spend on Recruiting and Onboarding and they are key HR functions, but the most common HR event, the transfer is very little automated and supported.

Consider the manager using a ‘Talent Depth’ chart as described above. She identifies a suitable individual in another department. Let’s got for the easy scenario – the individual wants to transfer, his manager is supportive, even better needs the current incumbent in the current position. Basically a talent swap. Even such a smooth and simple case is substantial work with HR Core, Training and Talent Management systems. If we talk hourly workers, add the complexity of Workforce Management. What if the manager could do an ‘electronic handshake’, set the date and the rest would be automated? The APIs for these functions are available. We are only waiting for vendors to ‘glue’ them together for very powerful automation in a flexible, the business user empowering way.

Being able to Transboard people efficiently will be key for enterprises going forward. We already known enterprises need to become faster, if they can allocate people faster as needed, they will get faster, too. Not to mention the higher satisfaction of employees who can rotate through positions faster, without haggling managers, without fear of upsetting the current manager and so on.

Stay tuned for Part III.