Today our guest is David Green, a true globally respected and award winning writer, speaker, conference chair and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work.
David is the Global Director, People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. He is also the longstanding Chair, of the Tucana People Analytics conference series, the next edition of which – the People Analytics Forum, takes place in London on 29-30 November.
David has spoken at conferences and/or worked with people analytics leaders in over 20 cities in the past year including San Francisco, Sydney, London, Paris, Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, Moscow and Berlin. This affords David with a unique perspective and insight into what’s working, what’s not, and what’s forthcoming in the field of people analytics.
The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.
1. Hi David, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. The year of 2017 is approaching its end. What made a difference this year in the field of people management and HR technologies?
Thanks Alexey, it is a pleasure to speak with you. For me, 2017 has been a pivotal year in the field as the realisation that people analytics is core to the future of the HR function has become far more widespread. In one of his recent articles (see here), Josh Bersin described people analytics “as the lynchpin of success for HR in the next few years”, and I have to say I completely agree – although that probably doesn’t surprise you!
We still have some way to go in terms of widespread adoption and just as importantly in embedding analytics and data-driven decision making within organisational culture, but the acceptance that this is core rather than peripheral is a welcome momentum shift.
Elsewhere, the move from many companies to develop programs and technologies that personalise the candidate/employee experience in areas such as talent acquisition, onboarding, learning and mobility is also positive. It’s about time that we have rich and personalised experiences at work similar to those we already enjoy as consumers. Data and analytics plays a foundational role in this.
2. People analytics is an area of profound interest to business leaders. What do you see as the main trends in the people analytics space?
You are right to highlight the heightened interest levels in people analytics Alexey. I’d summarise the main trends as follows:
More and more organisations getting started with people analytics – 2017 seems to have been the year that the talking about when to start analytics stopped and the actual hard work in creating capability began for many organisations. So, the number of organisations in the early stages of their people analytics journeys is on the increase and many will face similar challenges in terms of data quality, skills and capabilities, stakeholder management/education and project prioritisation. Our recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute research on HR Analytics Readiness in Europe demonstrated though that most organisations still have a long way to go.
Developing an analytical culture: this is key for organisations that want to develop sustainable capability in people analytics. This means exciting, equipping and enabling HR Business Partners, and clearly demonstrating and communicating the impact of people analytics initiatives within the organisation. This is the focus of many companies that have built initial capability and success in people analytics.
Ethics and privacy concerns: this continues to be the most important and challenging aspect for practitioners. Research from Insight222 reveals that 81% of people analytics projects are jeopardised by ethical and privacy concerns. With the EU GDPR legislation coming into effect in May 2018 and the emergence of new employee data sources, focus on this area will continue to be high.
The consumerisation of HR – as per my earlier point, many organisations that have developed people analytics capability are looking at ways to understand and improve the employee experience. In addition to the personalised machine-learning based technologies referenced earlier, this includes efforts to understand and analyse employee sentiment. You can’t do either of these things without analytics so those organisations that have already developed people analytics capability are in pole position to take advantage here.
Organisational network analysis (ONA) – interest in ONA has exploded in 2017 as organisations seek to better understand team effectiveness and productivity. Practitioners interested in this burgeoning area of people analytics should check out the work of Rob Cross, recent articles by Josh Bersin and vendors like TrustSphere, Humanyze and Worklytics. Expect interest in this area to continue to soar in 2018.
3. On the eve of People Analytics Forum 2017 could you slightly open the curtain on what makes an ideal agenda in modern HR analytics, workforce planning and employees insights then?
I always enjoy chairing the Tucana People Analytics World and People Analytics Forum events as the agenda is always cognisant of the fact that the diversity of delegates in terms of where they are with analytics varies widely. As such, the three tracks: Start (for those getting started), Grow (for those building capability and looking for deeper insight) and Advance (for advanced practitioners and those exploring new data sources) means there is something for everyone. This is hugely important as in my experience the people analytics community is highly collaborative and there is a mutual desire amongst practitioners for shared learning. The Tucana events provide this in spades.
4. It was heard that some attendees of conferences recently formed a viewpoint that the slow adoption of analytics has been because of a lack of practical cases delivered by speakers. Your point of view on the problem will be of great influence.
I haven’t really heard this viewpoint from many. I would argue the contrary in fact that most of the conferences I attend feature numerous and diverse case studies from practitioners. I think you need a balance of speakers from the practitioner, consultant, vendor and analyst communities as each provides a slightly different perspective – indeed much of the innovation in the space is coming from the vendor community. As such, at the conferences I chair, speak and attaned there is normally much to inspire delegates whatever their maturity level when it comes to people analytics. Of course, there is a distinction between being inspired and immitation as each organisation faces different business challenges and has unique cultures. If I could offer one piece of advice to practitioners, whatever their maturity level, it is to channel their efforts on the key business challenges that have the biggest impact within their organisations.
5. What new data-driven HR solutions are on your watchlist and why?
As I mentioned before much of the innovation in the people analytics space is coming from the vendor community and I always recommend to practitioners to keep abreast of the latest developments here. Data-driven companies to look at include: TrustSphere, Alderbrooke Group, Aspirant, Glint, Visier, Crunchr, Workometry, Peakon, OrgVue, Headstart, Worklytics, Humanyze, Qlearsite, One Model, hiQ Labs, Cultivate and StarLinks; and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!
If you’ll forvive the self-promotion, I would like to add that IBM is also doing some groundbreaking work in this space through bringing Watson to HR, particularly in the talent acquisition and the employee experience areas – see more here.
6. What advice would you give to HR professionals looking to boost their careers within the people analytics space?
For me, HR is one of the most exciting places in business to work in at the moment and the increased use of analytics and data-driven decision making is one of the reasons why I believe this to be the case.
Jacob Morgan is a 3x best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist. His latest book is The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces They Want, the Tools They Need and a Culture They Can Celebrate (Wiley, March 2017) which is based on an analysis of over 250 global organizations. Jacob’s work has been endorsed by the CEOs of: Cisco, Whirlpool, T-Mobile, Best Buy, SAP, Nestle, KPMG, Schneider Electric and many others.
Tap My Back, a tool that provides the simplest way to provide work recognition recently had the opportunity to talk with Jacob Morgan about the concept relying beyond his latest book, employee recognition. Jacob advocates this concept should be the major focus of companies aiming to attract and retain talent. This article provides a summary of the main ideas explored on the interview. Alternatively, you can read or listen the full interview here: Employee experience – The XXI century corporate super power.
Nowadays, we’re living in such a rapidly and demanding world that the skills gap issue is turning into a big thing. Therefore, more than ever before the need to attract and retain talent is a huge issue for corporations around the world. In the end, “every organization in the world can exist without technology but no organization in the world can exist without people”. Bearing this in mind, the concept Jacob Morgan approached in his last book, employee experience, comes in the perfect timing. Companies need to seek out to provide the best possible interactions with their workforce, that is the only way to guarantee they have people delivering their best and sticking for the long run.
On the interview Jacob explained that employee experience is sort of the next step in what regards the way company’s manage workforce. It appears as an answer to the fact that “employee engagement has always acted as kind of an adrenaline shot inside of our organizations” – Jacob Morgan.
He goes through a few best practices that major companies with the likes of Facebook, Google or Microsoft are adopting to improve their staff experience, highlighting three major aspects culture, technology and physical space. Jacob also confessed to Tap My Back that this concept of employee experience is something that the whole company should be aware and responsible for, even though he sees mainly HR related roles pushing it into company’s’ culture.
In the end of the interview, Jacob Morgan was questioned about the best advice he would provide to SMB companies looking to start from scratch implementing and improving the employee experience they provide. You can check his tips and the full interview here: Employee experience – The XXI century corporate super power.
[You may also enjoy the Firing Line with Bill Kutik® episode on this.]
There’s been a lot of discussion across the enterprise IT and financial analyst community about the long term economic viability of the SaaS business model. And the enterprise IT community continues to debate the merits of the various flavors of SaaS architectural and infrastructural models. These discussions have ranged over the:
fundamentals of profitability in enterprise software;
reality that many to most so-called SaaS vendors (both faux and “Blooming”) are not yet profitable;
landrush by SaaS vendors to grab market share and to grow as rapidly as possible;
spending by SaaS vendors of sometimes huge sums on customer acquisition against a revenue recognition requirement that expenses those acquisition costs on the front end but only allows revenue recognition over the life of the contract; and
If the economic viability of your so-called true or faux SaaS vendors matters to you — and well it should — read on.
When you contemplate further the economics, significant future profitability appears to emerge for those vendors which are able to meet the following challenges:
Reduce dramatically the cost of customer acquisition, from marketing to sales to contract signing;
Reduce dramatically each customer’s time to production and, therefore, time to revenue for the vendor;
Reduce dramatically each customer’s ongoing implementation costs and time as they take up innovation delivered by their vendor and revisit existing capabilities as their organizational needs evolve and change;
Maintain very high customer satisfaction rates — see #3;
Maintain very high customer retention rates, which I do believe are related to but are not the equivalent of very high customer satisfaction rates; and
Achieve very low operational costs and error rates.
Doing all of this at the same time produces IMO the secret sauce of true SaaS economics and, in doing so, creates an enormous competitive moat for vendors who can’t achieve this. Enter Interrogatory Configuration, my recommended approach to creating this moat and the really important and related benefits for both vendor and customer.
Interrogatory Configuration (yes, I know that’s lousy branding, but I’ve never claimed to be a clever marketeer) addresses the first three challenges very directly and has a positive impact on the last three. That’s why I’ve been pushing these ideas — some would say harping on them — since long before the beginning of SaaS in HR technology. Frankly, I was pushing these ideas from the late 80’s, long before they were possible to execute as they require very specific architectural foundations which, until recently, did not exist within enterprise HRM software.
So what is interrogatory configuration? Interrogatory configuration is easy to explain but VERY difficult to do, at least for complex HRM software. Basically it’s a piece of software (think TurboTax) which poses questions to the client ‘s business analyst (who could be a 3rd party, including the vendor’s implementation services person or that of a certified partner), provides a context for those questions along with the implications of selecting from among the available answers (e.g. explaining what types of organizational structures use what types of position to job relationships and why), and then, based on the selections made (and all such are of course effective-dated and subject to inheritance where appropriate), it does the configuration of the base application without manual intervention of any kind. Interestingly, Google filed a patent for a VERY limited example of this in 1997, which was awarded in 2001, in which they make clear that you can’t do this unless the underlying architecture, the software to be thus configured, is composed of objects that can be manipulated dynamically.
Highly configurable, metadata-driven, definitionally developed, true HCM SaaS is a wonderful thing. But even in configuration, all of the available choices have to be analyzed, selected, tested and implemented, individually and in combination with other choices. And this must be done with care and a deep knowledge of the downstream implications of various configurations, not only during the initial implementation but also every time business needs change, software upgrades are applied (even when applied as SaaS mostly opt-in updates), regulatory rules appear and/or change, including retroactively, new executives bring new perspectives, etc.
More Talmudic than Socratic, this question/answer dialogue continues, with each exchange doing one set of configurations while setting up the next set, until the customer has implemented fully the set of capabilities/business rules/coding structures/workflows/etc. that will be their implemented software as of the selected effective date. An interrogatory configurator is designed to work prospectively, so that you can see how a partially to fully configured application will look and behave before committing those configurations to take effect. For those configurations that are permitted to be changed retroactively, with the attendant retroactive processing once they are approved for implementation, the interrogatory configurator is also intended to work retroactively.
Without interrogatory configuration, every time those hand-done configurations must be changed, all those choices must be re-evaluated against the needed changes, and then new choices made, tested and implemented. Furthermore, the implications of each configuration change for downstream processes must be analyzed and actions taken to at least inform users of those implications. So, while we may be able to eliminate most of the programming implementation work by having great configuration tools delivered with our HRM software, without interrogatory configuration we have by no means reduced the business analyst time, effort and expertise needed to keep things running properly. And great HRM business analysts are really scarce, perhaps even more so than great HRM software developers.
Now imagine that the interrogatory configurator is an integral part of the marketing to sales cycle, allowing for a high degree of self-provisioning, at least for less complex organizations (notice I didn’t say small or quote headcount). And even for the most complex organizations, imagine how much configuration could be done with data gleaned during the sales cycle so that a usefully configured application could become a sales cycle tool which blends seamlessly into the actual implementation once agreements are signed. To the extent that SaaS vendors proceed down this path, the whole dynamic of the sales to implementation processes, not to mention the role, staffing and economics of the systems integrators (SIs), are changed substantially, to the benefit of both the customer and the SaaS vendor.
Customer satisfaction and retention rates are driven by many factors, from having wonderful and useful product capabilities to having a very sticky user experience, and there’s a lot of room here for unique approaches by different vendors and/or for different market segments. Running a brilliant operating environment means building tools for everything from provisioning to payroll scheduling, tools which cannot be bought “off the shelf” and which are themselves complex applications. So one thing I advise all buyers to consider is how far along their proposed SaaS vendor is in having industrialized every aspect of operations, for much of which you must have the right SaaS architecture in the first place.
When I see cost comparisons between on-prem and true SaaS, it’s almost always done on a TCO basis from an IT cost perspective. But that doesn’t value not only having new functionality but also having it delivered almost continuously. It doesn’t value how much more effective vendors can be in meeting customer needs by aggregating data on feature usability and usage so as to inform their product roadmaps. And it certainly doesn’t value the ability of true SaaS vendors to aggregate benchmarking data which can then be fed right back into their interrogatory configurator, if they’ve got one, and into the analytics-rich, decision-making capabilities of their applications. So there’s a lot more here to consider than just TCO unless your business is so stagnant that you really don’t want or need agility or innovation from your systems.
There are SaaS vendors in our space that have architectures which can’t scale operationally, SaaS vendors which don’t have great operational tools, SaaS vendors whose agility is more about fixes than innovation, and so on. But I think we have some good to great SaaS vendors which will be quite profitable (or already are) because they’ve approached this new business model with the right stuff. And I would add that prospects/customers should be running for the exits from any SaaS (or so-called SaaS) vendor which isn’t well down the path of being able to meet successfully my six challenges above.
The bottom line. Reducing dramatically the elapsed time, complexity and cost of HRM software sales and implementation, not to mention ongoing configuration, is an important enough response to the six challenges above for HRM SaaS vendors and BPO providers — and creates a big enough competitive moat — to justify building interrogatory configurators. Doing this requires having the right underlying software architecture, one which enables effective-dated configuration without writing any procedural code. It also requires the product’s designers to know and be able to express the patterns of good practice in a whole range of HRM areas, from organizational designs to hiring practices, and the good practice combinations of same. And there’s an enhanced opportunity here for incorporating all manner of exogenous data, from salary surveys and hiring patterns to commentary on which organizational designs are common in specific industries — and why. If your vendors aren’t pretty far along on this, it may be too late for them to get started — or their underlying architectures just won’t support this. And if you’re a prospect for new HR technology, be sure to find out if your short list vendors are far enough down this path to ensure that they will remain viable and that your needs will be met. I’d also you’ll watch my Firing Line with Bill Kutik® episode on this.
About the Author:
Naomi Bloom is a leading independent voice, business and platform strategic advisor, market influencer, blogger and speaker about enterprise HR technology and outsourcing. After many years acting as a change agent and HRM delivery systems strategist/coach for global corporate clients and as a consultant on business strategy and product/service design to several generations of HRM software vendors and HR outsourcing providers, Ms. Bloom now limits her consulting practice to strategic advisory roles with vendors whose management and products are market movers and as a provider of competitive insight and due diligence to the investment community. Naomi built the only vendor-neutral HRM domain model and application architecture “starter kits.” Licensed across the industry from 1995 through 2013, Naomi’s IP has been considered to be not only the state-of-the-art but also a primary contributor to many of today’s best practices in HRM enterprise software.
Naomi is a formidable advocate for the HRM and HRM delivery system end-user community, focused entirely on achieving breakthroughs in organizational performance outcomes through effective HRM enabled by great HR technology. She is well-published, to include via her blog InFullBloom.us and is a much sought after, compensated speaker/author for her thought leadership, presentation effectiveness, clarity of vision, and humorous delivery. Naomi has been a general session speaker at the annual HR Technology Conference since its inception in 1989, a main stage speaker since its 2nd year at HR Tech World Congress, and is the author of Human Resource Management and Information Technology: Achieving a Strategic Partnership, which was published in 1984. In 1995, Ms. Bloom’s industry contributions were recognized with IHRIM’s Summit Award, and in 2011, Naomi became a Fellow of the Human Resource Policy Institute at Boston University. Ms. Bloom is a member of The Enterprise Irregulars and founder/chairman of The Brazen Hussies of HR tech.
Can a single thought for the day inspire you and change your life? Open Colleges has spoken to 25 of the web’s top counsellors to hear their thoughts for better living. What inspires you?
Paul has been a relationship and marriage counsellor and therapist in private practice in the suburb of Macleod, Melbourne for over 20 years. He uses a range of approaches in his work, including emotion focused therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and other couple therapies. He is a certified psychological type practitioner and uses voice dialogue in coaching clients in business and personal issues.
He also works with issues of chronic illnesses, as it affects both the sufferer and their carers, especially relationships partners. Paul has professional counseling and personal experience of motor neurone disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and sleep disorders and the ways in which they affect relationships.
Lisa is an experienced and certified life and confidence coach with over 14 years’ experience. Lisa appears regularly on television, print and media and has her own coaching column in the UK press.
Lisa works with her clients to become their authentic selves, be true to themselves and free themselves from negative programming and beliefs. Her formal training both in neurolinguistic programming and life coaching have enabled her to develop a holistic approach that is tailored to individuals allowing them to make an effortless transformation to their lives.
Marian is the principal of Career Avenues, a practice which offers individual career counselling for school students as well as young and older adults in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Career Avenues was established in 1991 and aims to help people find career directions that match their aptitude, personality, values and interests.
Marian has specialised in careers psychology since the 1970s and worked for the coonselling centre at the University of Queensland, was coordinator of counselling and careers at the Queensland University of Technology, and director of the career development office at Macquarie University. She has Bachelor and PhD from the University of Queensland.
Susie is a sex and relationship therapist in private practice in Sidney. In the communication field all her working life, including lecturing in communication at university, she specialises in helping people as individuals and in relationships with a wide range of issues, including intimacy and sexual problems, communication and gender. She supervises other therapists, consults to industry on improving communications in the workplace, and gives workshops on counselling and communication to a wide range of organisations. She regularly appears in media.
Karen is a family psychotherapist with nearly two decades of experience working with diverse family situations. She has a PhD in Sociology in Parenting; she often works with couples experiencing relationship and communication problems with their young children. She has worked as the family therapist on the Today Show on Channel 9 and regularly appears on the Nine Network. She conducts presentations to parent groups and speaks regularly on many radio networks throughout the country. Karen is currently working with high profile business and celebrity clients assisting them to balance their family and work life more productively.
Desiree is the director of Sexual Health Australia and is a qualified and experienced sex therapist and relationship counsellor. Desiree was the co-host on the ABC1 television series ‘Making Couples Happy’, where she was the relationship counsellor and sex therapist of the four couples on the show. She makes regular appearances on television programmes or radio shows as an expert in relationships and sex.
She is a Bachelor in Psychology from Macquarie University, a postgraduate diploma in Psychology from Macquarie University and a Master of Health Sciences and Sexual Health from the University of Sydney. Her postgraduate diploma research was on rejection and she is currently conducting a literature review on infidelity for her PhD.
Dan is a psychotherapist and relationship counsellor with Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney. He works with individual and couple to help them improve their sense of wellbeing and their relationships with others. His focus is on providing treatment for psychological issues including depression, anxiety, panic, addiction, sexuality issues, relationship difficulties, eating disorders, trauma, abuse and other issues. He works closely with clients to explore their lives and help them safely develop the capacity to reflect on and deal with their emotions. This enable them relief from inner turbulence or self-limiting experience.
Leslee is one of the most senior members of Core Energetics in Australia and an experienced body-mind psychotherapist with a private practice in Sydney and the Central Coast. Leslee is a passionate therapist wishing to inspire others to wholeness. She has extensive experience having studied a wide range of modalities over the years such as systematic or family constellation, trauma resolution and relationship counselling. Leslee brings a blend of modalities to enrich her clients’ lives. She works one on one with individuals, couples, families and groups and is able to do phone or Skype sessions.
Denise is a moderator and counsellor with over 30 years of experience in legal practice, mediation, arbitration and counselling. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Laws and a Master of Counselling degree and is a nationally accredited mediator. Denise is well known for the professional and expert quality service she has provided to her clients over many years. She is highly experienced in mediation and dispute resolution and has assisted many clients clients to achieve workable solutions to their problems.
Jacqueline is a qualified psychotherapist based in Brisbane providing mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy and life coaching for people Australia-wide, whether in person, phone or online. She has completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University os Southern Queensland and done postgraduate studies in domestic violence counselling and neuroplasticity. Jacqueline’s practice, The Avidity Association came about through a passion to help people believe in themselves and their worth. Jacqueline herself struggled with poor self-image and anxiety for years, and so provides help not just from a theoretical perspective but a true passion for ensuring people find their own resilience, happiness and motivation.
Joan has worked with individuals and couples for over twenty years and has experience in private enterprise, non-profits, community, hospital, government and tertiary organisations. Her areas of specialty include anxiety, depression, loss and grief, illness, life transition, identity, relationship issues, sexuality, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood trauma including sexual abuse for both men and women. She offers consultation and supervision and runs groups.
Joan is a registered counselling psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, a member of the Australian Psychological Society and an accredited psychodramatist with the Australian Aotearoa and New Zealand Psychodrama Association.
Tina has 26 years’ experience in transformational leadership and as an executive coach and group facilitator. Her focus is on leadership and executive development, often using 360-degree assessments to provide clients with valuable feedback. Tina coaches emerging leaders and develops current executives and leaders, coaching them in strategic leadership and people management skills. She is widely featured across popular publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, Cleo, Women’s Agenda and more.
Tina guides her clients to higher levels of awareness and performance. They report improved relationships, increased productivity and an enhanced ability to deal with rapid change and increasing complexity and ambiguity.
Jacqueline specialises in helping people to master stress. She completed the Graduate Diploma in Counselling at the Australian College of Applied Psychology and worked as a counsellor for a community counselling service and a health service. Jacqueline gained clinical membership with the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales and became registered with the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia.
Jacqueline is founder of Wise Stress Mastery where you can find her blog and other resources. She also writes, facilitates and speaks about stress mastery for other blogs and organisations. Jacqueline’s private counselling and therapy practice of 12 years is based in the Sydney CBD.
Jill works as a counsellor and psychotherapist in her private practice in Bondi Junction and Lane Cove. She does volunteer counselling, training, and supervision in a non-profit organisation called the Mandala Community Counselling Service. She is also the vice-president of Cult Information and Family Support.
Jill is a member of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales as well as a on the National Register of the Psychotherapists and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Sherry has worked as a relationship and family counsellor for over 22 years with Relationships Australia Queensland. She also worked as a relationship educator, trainer and advanced clinical leader during that time. Currently, Sherry works with high conflict parents after separation with Uniting Care Community Queensland.
She is a clinical member of the Australian Association of Relationship Counsellors, the Marriage Educators Association of Australia and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Jane is a listener and makes no judgements and ascertains where you will need support in your life by guiding, supporting and building self-esteem. She treats each person as an individual and tailors sessions to suit personal needs.
Jane has worked in case management, business management, team supervision, corporate, government and private sectors with experience in all areas. She specialises in workplace issues, abuse, relationship and conflict resolution, grief and loss, mediation and sandplay therapy. Jane has been specialising in grief and loss and psychological abuse for many years.
Margie is a relationship counsellor, collaborative family lawyer and writer. She has been working helping people for many years and brings a wealth of experience to support those on their journey for greater happiness and wellbeing in their lives and relationships.
She has qualifications in family therapy at post graduate level as well as in somatic psychotherapy. She has also done training in various models of therapy and counselling including but not limited to psychodynamic therapy, solutions therapy, narrative therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy.
Gia is an experienced and qualified counsellor, therapeutic and remedial massage therapist, and educator. For the first fifteen years of working life she was a primary school teacher and language teacher in South Australia.
Prior to working as a therapist, at the age of 33, Gia experienced breast cancer. This urged her on a journey of self-discovery, studying more about the mind, body and spirit, which lead her to complete a Masters in Social Science (Counselling Studies) and a Diploma of Remedial Massage. She then started her own business as a therapist to help and support others with their health and wellbeing. She is now studying nutritional medicine part time.
Amanda is a leading expert in the area of grief and loss. She is the executive director of Grief Recovery Method Australia and New Zealand, with more than a decade of experience working in the counselling, education and training fields. Amanda assists people to positively action their losses and help grievers heal their broken hearts. The Grief Recovery Method is a seven step evidence-based process that helps people understand loss. It aims to help them apply the principles in their lives and allows the participants to start moving through their losses so that the memories remain but the pain of the losses is reduced.
Kati is a registered counsellor and a registered art and play clinician working with children, adolescents and adults who are experiencing anxiety, anger, depression, self-esteem and behavioural issues. Kati has previously worked with youth at Point Zero Youth Services, as well as becoming an educational group facilitator in interactive workshops throughout Sydney’s metropolitan high schools. Kati has also previously worked at South Pacific Private hospital in their intake and client care departments. Kati believes that children as young as age four will benefit from art and play therapy techniques that are used to achieve specific treatment and assessment goals, alongside theoretical models of therapeutic interventions for best practice.
Talia started out as a doctor, commencing psychiatry training before shifting to counselling. She is also a Gestalt therapist in training, due to her fascination with the human mind and view of learning as a lifelong pursuit. She also volunteers as a speaker for Beyond Blue, and is a passionate advocate for raising awareness and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health. Talia is dedicated to assisting clients to enrich their lives. She provides the support and guidance to allow her clients to develop a greater awareness of themselves and to discover how to live in a more authentic and meaningful way.
Cait’s passion is to help people who have suffered loss. As a leading specialist in her field she has helped people move through their unresolved grief, to feel less isolated and alone. Using her training Cait seeks to empower her clients to breakthrough and rediscover the joys of a full and rewarding life. She offers grief, loss and bereavement counselling for adults, adolescents, children and families in the Penrith CBD. Her first-hand experience with grief and loss has given her the tools to help others in similar situations.
Colleen Morris is a clinical family therapist and counsellor in Geelong, Victoria. With over 30 years of experience, Colleen works with individuals, couples and families, to promote growth, wellness and potential. Her greatest achievement is a strong and happy marriage relationship to her best friend and her two beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and joy. Colleen has extensive training and certification across a wide range of areas including family therapy, mental health and relationships.
Gabrielle is a psychotherapist and writer who focuses on the very heart of living – life, death, love and loss. She works with clients all over the world via email. She is also a writer for Psych Central’s The Therapist Within. She is fully qualified in psychotherapy with accredited counselling experience. She is a member of The Australian Counselling Association and the International Society for Mental Health Online. She has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and among other major publications.
Kim Bailey is the director and founder of All Relationship Matters. She is also a lead counsellor and psychotherapist. Kim is a warm, personable and understanding therapist. She has a unique ability to quickly identify the issues behind a person’s struggle. She is deeply passionate about her work with couples, individuals and families. Kim is also trained as a specialist couples therapist and has additional postgraduate qualifications in family therapy. Comprehensive training in these different counselling frameworks sets Kim apart from other counsellors and psychotherapists.
But he’s probably best known as founding co-chairman (sometimes called “The Father” or even “The Godfather”) of the magazine’s famous annual event, the HR Technology® Conference & Exhibition, the world’s largest held every October in the US. He began it in 1998 and stepped aside for new leadership in 2013.
The Bill Kutik Radio Show®, his previous online talk show with industry leaders, has suspended new shows but many people are still listening to its 183 podcasts in the archive at HRE Online.
In 2012, the magazine named him one of the “10 Most Powerful HR Technology Experts.” He previously wrote for The New York Times and has a BA degree from Harvard University.
The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.
Hi Bill, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. You run the TV show well known among the business audience as Firing Line with Bill Kutik®. What are you trying to accomplish with it and how do you make decisions on inviting your guests? And curiously, what do you feel today to be at the opposite side of the table?
Hi Alexey, thank you for inviting me.
When I started planning the TV show in late 2014, I realized that all the various shows I had produced since 1998 (HR Tech, the Radio Show) were all based on the same bedrock principle: Guests talk about what they’re thinking and doing, not what software they’re selling or which software they might be using.
The analyst relations executive at Workday, Geoff McDonald, asked me to repeat that after I said it because he thought it was the best description of “thought leadership” he had ever heard. I was flattered.
Because I came to HR technology from years in commercial journalism (doing work for The New York Times and The Boston Globe), I have brought with me some values that are now sadly considered old-fashioned. Namely that articles (or blogs), conference presentations and interviews (audio or video) should be in the best interests solely of the reader, listener or viewer – the audience – and definitely not necessarily in the interests of any vendor involved.
I was ruthless about that at HR Tech, where happily the owner Ken Kahn completely supported the idea that we never sold speaking slots to vendors. Imagine, attendees are already paying to see the content. Should anyone sell it a second time so it’s no longer in their best interests?
So I started Firing Line with Bill Kutik® to continue providing HR practitioners with objective information about the latest technology trends without marketing or favoritism. It was the same with the Radio Show, which I did for seven years.
Decisions on the guests for both are made simply based on who can best deliver value to the audience.
As for being on the other side of the table… being a good interviewer means taking second chair to the person being interviewed. Teasing out and highlighting what they know. Since much of what I do are interviews and panels (except for my columns), I don’t get to do much of the talking. So I love whenever the roles are reversed! Look how much more I get to say here than you do, Alexey!
You provide the HR Technology Column at Human Resource Executive Online®. How do you choose your topics to be covered there and what other projects do you undertake?
Being a columnist is the most difficult job in journalism. Others only write when something happens; columnists have to fill the space (in my case) every four weeks, even if nothing has happened.
Of course, HR technology is so dynamic that I can’t think of a month when nothing happened. Because I like my columns to be in-depth, I often write them after attending full-day analyst meetings or multi-day user conferences. That gives me the kind of perspective a good column needs.
Thirty years ago, I learned from the world’s leading computer industry commentator (an old college friend, Esther Dyson) that vendors do most of the innovation in the industry. Certainly there were terrifically innovative end-users like Cisco and Walmart, but they were the exception.
So my columns tend to focus on what the vendors are doing. In addition, I try to use them to explain to the practitioners how the software industry works. Think about it. Practitioners may buy new solutions every three years or so from someone who sells them every day! The match-up is so unfair. I try to level the playing field. In that regard, one of my favorite revelations was that salesmen for large, on-premise enterprise software regularly asked for four-times the price they were willing to settle for!
Now that’s exactly what the street urchins in Cairo trying to sell you cheap souvenirs do. It was never universally true, but I was shocked to discover it and thought it important to tell HR practitioners about it.
You started the HR Technology® Conference & Exhibition (also known as ‘HR Tech’ which probably gave the name to the whole industry). What was the mission behind the idea to establish such an event in 1998, how it was changing during the time and what other events should HR managers keep their eyes on?
The mission from Day One was to help make HR practitioners more tech savvy. Not to understand the bits and bytes of it, but to understand the business benefits that technology could bring them. And offer that to them from their colleagues, senior HR executives, and not from vendors who too often do the educating at other events, sometimes to their own benefit.
Our mission enlarged, when I realized there was a vast audience of HR generalists who somehow thought technology did not apply to them. We started a major campaign – with the help of the most popular U.S. bloggers at the time such as Laurie Ruettimann, “HR Ringleader” Trish McFarlane, “HR Capitalist” Kris Dunn, “HR Bartender” Sharlyn Lauby and Dwane Lay – to convince them their career advancement required it. I’m often guilty of exaggeration, and I remember once writing that if they didn’t get tech savvy, “They should start looking for a large cardboard box and nice place under a highway to live in it.” Over the top.
HR Tech was almost alone at the beginning. Now there are similar events around the world: Australia, China, India, Dubai, Bahrain, Norway, Amsterdam, Paris and London. I was once invited to an event in Moscow, but organizers never got beyond a brochure (which I still have) describing me in Russian. I love that because all four of my grandparents came from Russia, where I’ve been told my family name translates into “little cat,” not kitten. “Kooteek”: a term of endearment.
SAP, Oracle and Workday, sometimes called as SOW, deliver most integrated and complex HR Tech solutions on today’s market. What are the core advantages they have, in terms of daily HR needs?
What I like to call the “Big Three” specialize in meeting the most complex needs of global corporations with more than 5,000 employees. Among the advantages they bring is being able to deal with specific HR needs in dozens of countries, especially in payroll.
Our largest analyst firm, Gartner, often publishes a “Magic Quadrant,” which graphically compares the “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision” of all HCM vendors. The leaders are in the upper right corner of the four-box labeled “leaders.”
The Big Three are always there. But practitioners too often make the mistake of tearing out the leaders box and making it their short list. Without considering that their company, for example, may have just one location in the US with just 600 employees. So that’s not necessarily the way to go.
What are the market expectations from HR technologies to appear in the nearest future? Briefly.
Everyone is touting predictive analytics, most especially “proscriptive” analytics that suggest what you should do to fix a situation revealed by the data. HR departments need to move very slowly on this and insist that vendors go beyond their canned demo. And instead, load the company’s own data – say from 18 to six months ago – and then test to see if the predictions turned out right in the last six months, which HR already knows! Still very much a work in progress.
Do we really need all that ‘bells-and-whistles’ HR Tech vendors deliver as stand alone, OEM or integrated solutions?
It’s often said that most people use only 10 percent of the functional capabilities in Microsoft Word. In my case, I know that’s true because it is marvelous software for writing a book, keeping track of footnotes, re-numbering as they are added or removed, automatically putting them at the bottom of the correct pages, or even aggregating them for a section at the end.
The same is true of HR software. But with SaaS, customers are generally not paying for the capabilities they’re not using and someday may use them. Many are terrifically useful, and I’m glad they are there.
You follow the evolution of the recruiting systems since 1988 when it was ever evolved to the present digital times. In this new era, which are the powerful approaches to be used as effective recruiting solutions? What recruiters should never sweep aside and take to the future? Only applicants…
I was present at the birth of the first Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in 1988, as you mention. What has happened in that last 10 years is the ATS has come to be seen as the essential, but largely administrative, system involved in the Talent Acquisition process. Much like an HRIS, HRMS or what’s now called Core HR is essential but not very strategic.
And just as with Core HR, where people realized the real strategic advantage was in the programs that were attached to it (later called the Talent Management suite), the center of value in recruiting has moved away from the ATS to what were once called “edge applications” but now more often are called “Recruitment Marketing.”
I love to point out that the reason an ATS is called an Applicant Tracking System is it cannot deal with candidates who have not yet applied. Yet the very best recruiters are spending time dealing with them, not just sorting through applications and resumes.
I admit that focus on candidates can seem a little like the famous Groucho Marx joke: “I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have me as a member!” But the War for Talent is all about identifying and attracting candidates, not just throwing out a baited fishing hook (job board postings) and hauling into the boat everything that bites on it.
Obviously, I could go on and one about this topic. But I’ll spare your readers and hope they have stuck with us this far.