Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @CornerstoneInc Acquires @SabaSoftware

This week on the Weekly Dose I’ll give you some reaction to yesterday’s announcement of Cornerstone acquiring Saba Software.

The acquisition actually makes sense at a major level. You have two competitors beating the crap out of each other for customers, both doing basically the same thing. Cornerstone has been considered the best software in the learning space, and Saba, also in learning, was right on their tails, but also had a better offering when it comes to talent management and performance, because of Saba’s acquisition of Halogen a few years back.

On the analyst call, Cornerstone’s CEO Adam Miller talked about the combined company of over 7,000 clients, 75 million users, and over $800M in combined revenue, making the new combined company, staying with the Cornerstone brand, the largest “specialty” HR technology platform on the market.

Why does this matter to you? 

– In a world where big ERP systems are taking over HR technology (Oracle, SAP, Workday) there is a need for technology for organizations that actually need some higher-level ability when it comes to learning, reskilling, performance, and talent management. The enterprise ERP HCM systems are actually fairly good at core HR and payroll, but fairly vanilla when it comes to things like learning, performance, and recruiting.

– What happens to the 3 major pieces of Saba Software (Original Saba, Halogen, and Lumesse/ SabaTalentLink)? My take from Adam’s comments yesterday was that he saw a major advantage by combining what Cornerstone and Saba had on the learning side to make it the world’s largest and leading skills engine on the planet. Also, the performance side of Saba (Halogen) was most likely a bit better than what Cornerstone has already. Lumesse is most likely dead in the water, as when Adam was asked the question, the comment was basically, we already have a strong recruiting product in North America and Lumesse is basically a UK recruiting product we’ll maintain, but we won’t be selling.

– To be fair, I haven’t seen Cornerstone’s recruiting product, but I have seen Lumesse/Saba TalentLink, and from the analysts I speak with that have seen both, Lumesse/Saba TalentLink is the superior product (best of breed talent acquisition platform), and no one would call Cornerstone’s recruiting product best of breed in any fashion, so I’m a bit perplexed at why Adam would throw it away so easily. One analyst I spoke with actually thought one of the major reasons Cornerstone bought Saba was for Lumesse! Lumesse is a proven global recruiting platform and Saba was looking to push it heavily into the US in 2020 and 2021, but those plans looked to be shelved at this point based on Miller’s comments. If I was to rank SabaTalentLink as a stand-alone, best of breed ATS right now, it would be in my top five with the likes of Greenhouse, SmartRecruiters, etc.

– One of the major pieces of the acquisition is the acquisition of Saba’s R&D engineering teams. In an environment where it’s near impossible to recruit great engineering talent already, we’ve seen this move in the playbook many times over the past decade where one company acquires another and a major reason has to do with your ability to grow your engineering team quickly through acquisition. Although, at $1.4B, that’s a hefty price to pay for R&D talent.

– Saba’s CEO, Phil Saunders, will come on as Cornerstone’s new COO. Phil has shown his ability to run a lean ship and produces great margin and profits, and Adam and the Cornerstone team will be looking for those insights from him in his new role.

Strategically, this acquisition makes sense for both sides. Moving forward both would continue to feel the pressure of the ERP’s coming after their clients, and the main tactic to combat that is flat out becoming ten times better than anything they can offer. In a world where organizations are being forced to reskill, develop, and drive performance, the organizations that have this as their main people priority will choose Cornerstone to help them reach these goals.


SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR? HR Pros – Which one should you get?

I’ve been HR blogging for ten years. You learn a few tricks about blogging after that amount of time. One is you find out what people actually want to read by the search words they use to find your blog and various blog posts.

One of the most all-time most searched for terms that find my blog is:

“SPHR or SHRM” or “SHRM or HRCI” or “SCP or SPHR” or some combination of those terms.

For my non-HR readers, SHRM is the world’s largest HR association. HRCI is an organization that has certified HR pros through education and testing for decades. A couple of years ago, SHRM decided to take that type of activity in-house and do it themselves, which led to competition around who’s certification is better SHRM or HRCI, or which certification should you get SHRM or HRCI?

I wrote about this a couple of times, years ago, and it still comes up and I still get questions about it, so I thought I would do an update on the topic. The first time I wrote about this was in December 2016 when SHRM first announced its move into the certification space. My opinion then was I’m going to have both, and see how it all plays out, but SHRM is the brand name that HR pro and leaders identify with, no one really knows HRCI outside of the HR world.

What’s changed in the past three years? 

Really, not much! It’s played out a little slower than I thought, and there hasn’t been really any big moves like I thought would happen on the HRCI side. My feeling back then was SHRM would slowly bleed HRCI dry and take over the HR certification space. That has definitely happened, but not at the pace I thought it would. I would have thought HRCI would have had to pivot by now or be out of business altogether.

But, a funny thing has happened. HR pros/leaders, by their nature, hate change and are slow to change, so those who had their HRCI certification, have basically just kept at it, instead of changing. If anything, we probably see more people now holding both certifications, which is really kind of silly to pay both fees. In fact, my plan is to not renew my HRCI certification the next time it comes up.


My feeling hasn’t really changed. SHRM is still, by a mile, the brand name that is recognized in the HR community. The reality is HR pros get an HR certification to better themselves, their career, and their HR knowledge. As an HR pro, when you go on an interview, almost no one is going to question whether you have an SHRM cert or an HRCI cert, only that you have the certification. Also, most executives will identify with SHRM as being the gold-standard, again mainly because the brand is so strong in the industry.

What’s Next? 

In a modern world, what is it that people really need to show you they know their stuff? We all know someone who has a certification in HR that basically sucks at HR, so we go, “well, certifications tell us nothing!” I don’t agree with that. Taking both the SHRM cert and the HRCI cert, those assessments are for real. You just don’t show up, without studying, and pass those. So, there is definitely knowledge that is learned if you have one. But, we know that knowledge, alone, isn’t enough to be great at a profession.

SHRM has launched Micro-credentials, like mini-certifications, where people can dive deeper into certain aspects of the HR knowledge base. I think those have merit.

I think both HRCI and SHRM have completely missed the boat on talent acquisition certification. I’m on the board of ATAP and because it’s newly formed, and mostly volunteer, we don’t have the capacity to make this happen, but someone like HRCI could do it and it would be huge. Corporate TA leaders, more than anyone, struggle to find talent that knows what they’re doing. Again, certification doesn’t mean you’ll be great, but it’s a good first step to show someone actually cares about their profession and educating themselves.

SHRM’s answer to Talent Acquisition was the micro-credential and I got to be an instructor for one of the classes for this credential and the content was really good. But, it’s mainly designed for non-recruiting, recruiters. HR Pros who have to recruit, but it’s not their full-time gig.

More and more, we are seeing that formal education, getting your bachelor’s in HR, etc. It doesn’t have the ROI that it has in the past. This has led to many organizations hiring for positions and no longer requiring a college degree. HR is clearly one of those fields where a degree shouldn’t be a requirement. Some of the greatest HR pros I know do not have a degree but do have certification, and their lack of a formal degree has no bearing on their ability in HR at all. All that said, getting the degree will get you where you want to go faster.

The key to being great in any field is how you educate yourself and keep up on the industry. Too often I find way too many professionals that believe the way you keep up on being a great professional in your field is by showing up to work each day. That is not how you become great at anything! If you do not keep yourself up to date in your field and interact with others in your field, you slowly (or sometimes quickly) become obsolete.

Is there something else I should be getting besides SHRM or HRCI?

I do not feel, in the HR community, there is something else that replaces either one of these right now. There are a ton of new micro-learning, on-demand digital learning sites that are out there (Udemy, Lynda, Khan Academy, etc.) that can augment the things you won’t learn studying for SHRM or HRCI certifications.

Also, I do believe any modern HR Pro/leader has to really work to educate themselves on the HR Technology space that is now a critical component and competency for great HR in today’s world. Neither SHRM or HRCI really go deep enough on HR technology, but you will never get all you need from any one organization.

This is why your HR network of peers and mentors is critical. Networking with HR pros outside of your normal everyday world. Facebook and LinkedIn groups have really been excellent for this, in an online format. Local SHRM groups, DisruptHR, and various other local HR groups are also a great way to network and stay up to date on the latest HR trends and topics.


AI 4 HR! Understanding the most Misunderstood Concept in HR!

Jeanne Meister, Forbes 2020 Workplace Columnist, and HR executive brought together this incredible team of great HR pros/minds and developed an entire curriculum around using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in every single aspect of HR! What Jeanne and the team know is that AI is currently the most misunderstood concept in human resources, but it has the ability to become the biggest advantage to HR leaders and pros over anything we’ve ever seen! 

AI 4 HR is the one of its kind 5-week online course that will share the fundamentals of artificial intelligence and how 12 HR experts are using AI to completely re-imagine the employee experience. The course showcases specific use cases of how AI can and is already being used across HR for good in:

  • Talent Acquisition
  • Employee Onboarding
  • Internal Talent Mobility (my #1 trend for 2020!) 
  • Learning and career development
  • Performance Management (the single thing every manager needs!) 
  • Coaching

So, yeah, it’s an online, self-paced course of five modules that utilizes great video content from real HR pros/leaders from: IBM, Cisco, TIAA, Davita, GE, Schneider Electric, Hilton, Brigham Women’s Hospital, and more! So, pretty much every industry is represented with real-world case studies and actions. Jeanne made sure to get the SHRM/HRCI credits for you – 8 hours worth! 

What I like about the design of this course is that it goes live on January 20 and runs through February 21. One new module released each week for five weeks. This kind of forces us to be a bit more ‘self-directed’ in getting the content done, unlike other self-directed courses. If you miss a week, you can definitely go back and catch up, but I like that the design of AI 4 HR is set up to get all of us to get it done in a timely way! 

So, what’s the catch! 

It does cost money. Turns out all good things do! The full fee for the course is currently $499  (about half that of one national conference) and if you use the super-secret Tim Sackett code: AINOW – you’ll get $100 off at registration making it $399 (when you check out, go to “Show Order Summary” and you can input the code!). 

It’s a super deal for the content and learning around AI, and for the SHRM/HRCI credits. Go check out the site! I love that you’re hearing from actual real HR people who are using the tech and how they are using it, and not vendors, etc. There’s a big difference between what really happens in our organizations versus what vendors are telling us will happen, many times. 

Register Today! 

For those who go through this, please come back and comment and let the rest of the group know what you thought! I’m impressed with what is being presented, but I would love to get some feedback from others as well! 

Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @TryVantagePoint – Virtual Reality Harassment Training!

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the HR technology startup VantagePoint. VantagePoint is a virtual reality(VR) learning technology company that has produced both sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion training, as well as a training metrics dashboard to go along with their VR training.

I’m not sure we are even close to what VR can become in the HR world. Clearly, there is a great use case for it in training and we see organizations are beginning to start testing it, but to this point, it’s still rather uncommon in most organizations. In fact, it’s uncommon in almost every part of our lives. Only 2% of people in the world have ever even tried it! But, it’s growing like crazy, basically doubling in usage every year.

All that said, it’s actually super cool and fun! Now, if you ever had put on a VR headset and did a fly through the grand canyon, or taken a trip on a roller coaster, you could probably see how that might get old, are nauseating, very quickly! If you have watched a live NBA game from the first row at half-court, through VR goggles, you start to understand how totally awesome it can be!

VantagePoint’s CEO, Morgan Mercer, was early in on the VR tech and it’s potential use to train our employees in how to be better with sexual harassment and has also added in content for D&I as well. VR is only part of what VantagePoint is about. Doing great VR means you have to have great content for your employees to get emersed in. Ultimately, VR is the training delivery tool, but what VantagePoint understands is you better deliver great engaging content is you want great training.

What do I live about VantagePoint? 

– When you go through harassment training with VR goggles and headphones on, you feel like you are witnessing harassment happening, live, right in front of you. You’re uncomfortable. You want to do something. The fact is, doing training in virtual reality forces the user to be totally focused unlike any other kind of training I’ve ever done.

– VantagePoint has figured out, as LOD and HR pros we don’t really want to mess around with hardware (VR goggles, etc.). So, part of their strategy is to just bring everything to you, have a person on-site, and take away any pain or frustration that might go along with that side of training. You just have them show up, and they take your employees through the training. (You can also do it on your own if you like)

– The harassment training isn’t just watching this stuff happen on VR. The user also gets calls on a pop-up looking iPhone with a call from HR telling the user what they did right or wrong, etc. If you get something wrong, you get thrown back into the experience to do more work.

– I love that you can measure not only the compliance side of the training, but you can also see who is actually getting it, and who isn’t with the metrics dashboard they’ve developed.

We all know we can and have to do better when it comes to sexual harassment training in our workplaces. Traditional, classroom-style training just doesn’t seem to cut it, because it doesn’t grab the attention of the audience. No matter how well done. VantagePoint has figured out a better delivery tool, and one that will be commonplace in the very near future when it comes to all kinds of training.

The price point is actually less expensive then I thought it would be, and I would think most organizations of every size will be able to afford the VantagePoint VR training. I do think Morgan, and her team, are just scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to this kind of training in our workplaces. But, great VR content is also labor-intensive to pull off well.

I would definitely recommend a demo, especially if you’re looking for a great alternative to traditional harassment and D&I training. This is training that your employees will definitely remember and pay attention to!

Reimagining HR and TA Leadership

I’ve been thinking about this concept for the past few weeks. It keeps coming back to me and I can’t shake it. I talk about HR and TA technology a ton. When I look into the future of HR and TA technology I see a world where so much of the tactical work we do now is done through AI, Machine Learning (ML) and flat out just next-level automation.

I don’t find anyone who will argue this. I still see a bunch of consultant-types who will say “AI will not replace jobs!” Yeah, that’s wrong, it’s going to replace a whole bunch of jobs, and it will also create some jobs. The problem is the jobs it replaces, those folks are nowhere near the skill-talent we need for the jobs that will be created!

The thing is, when we think about traditional leadership, it’s usually about increased ‘responsibility’. You know what that means? More headcount! I was the head of HR for an organization where I had 25 direct reports, but I took this new gig because I now have 50 direct reports and more headcount means more money, which means a better, higher-level leadership position.

Play along with this idea. You’re working for an organization and you currently have 200 people that report up into your organization. You decide you’re going to be the most innovative HR/TA leader in the entire world, so you go all-in on technology and innovative practices. About two years into this endeavor you find, because of all the capacity you’ve been able to increase, you’re functional headcount is now only 125.

Is that a better leadership position (125)? Or is the 200 person function a better leadership position?

Of course, the more innovative function you created at 125 headcount is better, but traditional leaders will always be pulled to the higher headcount.  We tell ourselves that the more modern, innovative shop is better, and then we get a call that someone has a shop with 225 and we are pulled to the “larger” job.

We have a fundamental problem across all leadership right now. Leaders view success as empire-building, not empire shrinking. Of course, we want to work for growing organizations, but at the same time, most of us work in bloated, traditional, task-oriented shops, that need to be totally overhauled through technology and innovation. We think we run lean, but we still have three people in recruiting operations setting up interviews. We think we’re run a high-tech modern organization but we have twenty sourcing pros mining databases all day.

Great modern leaders are not about more, they are about less. How can we get to great, by using the least amount of resources possible? Don’t tell me that’s your philosophy because I see you. I see how your team works. I see so much of what actually gets done, still being done by human hands, when for a fraction of the cost there are technologies that can do it better, faster, and cheaper.

It’s a super hard paradigm shift in leadership. Less is more. We tell our teams this, but we don’t think it applies to us. As a leader, traditionally, we are always taught to try and get more. Don’t let them take headcount away from you, you’ll never get it back, add headcount whenever you can!

Modern technologies are giving us the opportunity to shrink the manpower we need. And it will force the question, what kind of leader are you? Empire-builder or Empire-shrinker?


Adoption of HR & Recruiting is NOT Hard! #iNFLUENCE19

Hey, gang! I’m out this week spending some time at iCIMS Influence event. It’s part analyst event, part iCIMS customer event. Basically, bring a bunch of recruiting nerds together, that think alike, and see if some cool stuff happens. Turns out, no matter where you are in the world of TA, we all basically have the same problems! We need to fill jobs.

One of the topics that came up is the adoption of the recruiting technology we purchase. How do we get higher user adoption, etc? A very classic issue that won’t go away and there’s all this wonderful research around how we should ‘gamify’ and ‘reward’ and tell folks how great they are, even when they aren’t!

I get that ‘forcing’ someone to do something they don’t want to do, does not have great long term success! Especially in an ultra-low unemployment market. I get that we want our recruiters to have a great experience and love their jobs. I get that we want candidates to have a great experience and love our companies. I. Get. All. Of. That.

So, can get real for a second?

The adoption of technology is not difficult. It’s actually a super easy concept. Here are the 4 steps:

1. Integrate your actual work processes within the technology so that work can’t be completed without using the technology. I.E., Workarounds will not show up on data, virtually meaning, the work did not happen.

2. Do you believe the technology you purchased actually makes you a better organization? If so, then it is a condition of employment that we/you/they use the technology to make our organization more successful. Yes, Karen, that means you’ll have to change and use the new system, even though you’ve used the old way for 32 straight years. If you decide not to use the technology that will make our organization more successful, we will find someone who will. Period.

3. Part of technology adoption is a continued desire to test and innovate, so ensure our technology is still our most successful choice, or maybe something better has come along and we need to adapt and adjust. So, we’ll have an actual measure around testing potential new technology to replace or enhance our stack.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 on an ongoing basis.

Numbers one and two should be very clear to you. Great process design fully utilizes your tech. Great performance management ensures your people use the tech.

Number three is the one some folks will decide isn’t needed, but here’s why it’s critical! Billy decides your tech sucks and his way is better and Billy goes rogue. You tell Billy that a decision, above his pay grade, has been made that to ensure the success of our organization we are going to utilize the technology we’ve purchased to its fullest capabilities (step 1).

You also let Billy know that he will not be forced to use this technology, and we will certainly miss having him around the office. (step 2). But, Billy, we have another option for you, because we love you and value you, we want you to work the tech we have 100%, but we have a side project that we want you to test, and maybe, this side project will demonstrate to our decision-makers there is a better, more effective way to run our process (step 3).

Adoption is maintained. Billy is helping us get better. All is right with the world.

The adoption of technology is not a technology problem, it’s a leadership communication problem, and it’s easily solved.


BREAKING NEWS: Symphony Talent Acquires Smashfly! @symphonytalent_ @Smashfly

Well, the M&A activity in the TA Technology industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down as this morning Symphony Talent announced it has acquired the recruiting CRM technology platform Smashfly. You had a feeling that something was going to happen as you began to see the major recruiting CRMs in the industry align themselves with core ATS or enterprise HCM recruiting modules.

3 Big Questions about the acquisition of Smashfly by Symphony Talent? 

1. Who the heck is Symphony Talent? 

I know some of you are asking that because Symphony Talent is the biggest name in the industry! Symphony Talent is the ATS built by Hodes a few years ago, and the first and only ATS that has built-in Programmatic advertising ability. Maybe a bit ahead of the game, when it was launched I was really impressed with what they had. Their CEO, Roopesh Nair, is a super-smart dude that has major passion around the TA industry.

2. Does this merger of brands make sense for both Smashfly and Symphony Talent?

It does because what I am seeing from organizations that truly care about attracting better talent is you better have an end to end recruitment platform that includes a core ATS at the center and a great recruitment marketing platform on the front-end. With this marriage, you also get the strength of Symphony’s industry-only builtin programmatic engine.

3. Will this integrated platform be able to gain market share in the industry?

That’s really the biggest question. For how advanced Symphony Talent’s technology was in the ATS space, they struggled to sell it, mainly because it probably seemed too advance more most corporate TA leaders.  CRM tech is also very advanced and complex and the reality is Smashfly was probably the best in the industry at selling CRM by making it not seem as complex. So, great tech and great marketing/sales should work for these two brands, in my opinion.

What would I do if I was Roopesh? 

To be fair, I’ve met Roopesh a couple of times and I’ve really enjoyed those conversations and his knowledge of the talent acquisition industry. The reality is Smashfly is a great brand because they’ve been great at marketing, and I would drop the Symphony Talent brand, adopt the Smashfly brand, and built out the integrated platform.

To me, you run with a better-known brand, that has a solid reputation in the industry and use that to sell the full end-to-end recruitment platform. Most enterprise HCM users are stuck with vanilla recruiting modules who can’t buy an ATS but can buy recruitment marketing. It just makes sense for them to buy a recruitment marketing platform that just happens to have an ATS built-in!

This opens up their ability to sell to SAP, Oracle, Workday, Infor, UltiPro, Ceridian TA shops, as well as chip away at the best of breed market currently owned by iCIMS, Greenhouse and SmartRecruiters in the mid-enterprise market.

To be perfectly clear, Roopesh didn’t call me and ask, but he has my number if he needs it! 😉

What I learned at Workday Rising 2019! #wdayrising

I love HR Technology. You all know that. So, I was super excited to get invited to Workday Rising since it’s arguably the hottest HR Tech company on the planet, and quite frankly, in the past, they really haven’t engaged the influencer community much, and probably didn’t need to with all of their success.

I’m interested because Workday is disrupting the HR Tech world in a major way, and really the entire ERP landscape. It seems like every single day I speak to a CHRO or CPO who has made the switch to Workday or are in the process of getting ready to make the switch. Currently, they have about half of the Fortune 100, and if you have 2000 employees and above there is a good chance your CFO, CIO, and, we hope, the CHRO are in discussions on whether they should be looking at Workday as their core system.

I came to Workday Rising on a mission. I hear from Workday Recruiting users mostly and many looking for help on how to make it work better for their organizations. I’m not a Workday Recruiting expert, in fact, until this week I never saw the product. I was just hearing stories from those using it and implementing it. So, everything I had was out of context. Getting that context this week certainly helps me understand where Workday is and where they are going with a number of their products and technologies.

So, what did I learn at Workday Rising? 

– Workday sells the “Power of One” really heavily and I never really bought into the pitch, but when you dig into the core tech side of it, it’s certainly compelling based on how organizations should be and will be using data in the future to be more competitive and better performing. And the plans that Workday has using Machine Learning across their platform moving forward. Other enterprise HCMs will struggle to compete with Workday’s capabilities in this area.

– Workday Recruiting – is a core HCM job requisition system. It was launched five years ago and they are building out features as fast as they can. Workday Recruiting doesn’t try and see itself, at this moment, as an end to end recruiting platform. It’s a large enterprise applicant tracking system built for enterprise-level hiring and compliance on a global scale. That isn’t easy to pull off at scale. They have invested in some great add-on technologies to build out your TA tech stack, like Beamery (CRM-Recruitment Marketing), Mya (recruiting chatbot, AI, automation), and Pymetrics (talent matching AI), all of which by the way are top Best of Breed TA Technologies.

– The Workday Recruiting pain point with many clients has been lack of LinkedIn integration and I got to see what Workday will be launching soon around their LinkedIn integration and it’s impressive, and current Workday Recruiting users who are also heavy LinkedIn users will be excited for this.

– Maybe the miss, from my conversations with current and upcoming Workday Recruiting clients, is these clients believing they’ll just use Workday Recruiting for recruiting and won’t have to build out the rest of their TA tech stack. You will and you should, especially if you need to do a higher amount of external recruiting. I still believe “we” (me, you, Workday, etc.) can build out some great tech stacks around Workday Recruiting that will rock. That’s a goal of mine! (Sackett Stacks!)

– Workday Talent Marketplace is impressive. The reality is in large organizations is that you have 3-4 main buckets of hires: 40-60% will come internally; 20-40% will come from referrals; 10-20% will come from external recruiting; 1-10% will come from your contingent workforce (contractors, temps, consultants, etc.). That means internal hiring and mobility is truly your most important type of hiring the larger you are, and it’s what younger generations are demanding from employers of choice. Workday’s Talent Marketplace is a better internal hiring experience than you’ll find in any other tech on the market.

– I tend to judge HR and TA Technology on their leadership, mostly. Do I believe the leadership at all levels, executive, technology, product, sales, etc. have the capability to pull this off? I’ll start with the Workday Talent Optimization and Recruiting product folks because after spending some time with these teams they are loaded with talented folks who ‘get it’. While you might want changes and updates faster, this isn’t some best of breed SMB technology that can just whip out features on a daily basis. Enterprise-level buyers and users have different needs on so many levels that it takes time to build and test before launching out globally and ensuring it works at scale.

– I met a ton of enterprise clients using Workday Recruiting that were very happy with the product and the direction and the consistent deliverables of the roadmap for the Recruiting product. They are also understanding that this power of one platform across the organization is important for the future of what they want to do in establishing systems that will deliver a better overall employee experience. I actually thought I would show up and hear bitching, and honestly, I didn’t. I heard way more excitement over the new stuff and a customer base that feels like they are being heard and an understanding that there’s a bigger picture to enterprise ERP than just core HCM or Recruiting, or payroll.

– The CEO of Workday, Aneel Bhusri, and his leadership team, especially their technology team, really have a strong grasp of where they are going with the platform into the future. You get the feeling from them, almost like parents with kids about Santa Claus, like they know something the rest of us don’t, in a good way. They are confident their direction will not only be successful for Workday, but ultimately for their clients, and you can’t doubt it with their growth. They are pushing the Machine Learning around their data really heavily and I think they’ll be an industry leader their very soon based on the tech they’ve built across the platform.

So, Did I sell out to Workday?

I know some folks in the industry are going to read this and think that. I will say I’ve been super consistent over the past five years writing about my learnings in HR and TA Technology that I will tell you what I like about a product and then encourage you to go demo and make your own conclusions. I’ve been super consistent in writing on this blog to help others in our community understand all of this a bit more easily.

I’m not an HR and TA Technology hater, I’m an HR and TA Technology geek! Can Workday get better at certain things? Yep. Does Workday have an understanding they need to get better at certain things? Yep. Is Workday going to be all things for all people? No, and they don’t want to, which is part of their strength. They know exactly who they are and who they want to become.

I was asked to come to Workday Rising as an “Influencer”. They put no constraints on me on what I could say on social media or write on my blog. They took a risk and I want to thank the team for trusting me enough to let me in on the inside and giving me such great access to your leadership teams and product teams.

These were just some of the highlights from my own lense of interest, there is really so much more I could share about some other really cool stuff Workday is doing. Here are some links on some of the other stuff that is worth reading:

Advice We Need, but It’s Super Hard to Take! #wdayrising @Lin_Manuel

I’m out at Workday Rising this week in Orlando and yesterday I got the pleasure of listening to Lin-Manuel Miranda speak for the morning keynote. For those who follow me socially, I’ve seen Hamilton the musical four times (almost a 5th, but I got swindled!). So, I’m a bit of a super fan! Hamilton tickets aren’t cheap, it’s an investment to be a fan!

Miranda’s first big break was one he created himself when he wrote his first musical called “In the Heights“. Lin-Manuel is a Puerto Rican-American and in musical theater, there were basically almost zero rolls, so if he wanted to do musical theater he felt he needed to write his own role, so he did.  It was successful, which led to other opportunities and to him being able to develop Hamilton.

The advice so many of us need, but it’s super hard to accept is that many times to be successful, or chance your dreams, you have to create your own opportunities to make that happen.

Especially, if you don’t have the same privilege as others trying to do what you’re doing. My mom started her own company because she was sick of outperforming dudes in the same company and not getting the recognition. Miranda wrote his own roles, not thinking it would be ‘broadway’ successful, but that it was something he could perform locally and show people his abilities and that would lead him on his path.

It would be easy to say he was lucky with In the Heights, but it’s not really luck, he’s truly a genius when it comes to musical theater. He created his own luck by putting in years of work creating something that was perfect for him. It’s a great reminder for any of us who are feeling that there just isn’t the ‘perfect’ opportunity for you in the world.

My favorite quotes and ideas from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s keynote:

  • He came out on stage at a giant technology conference and said, “I feel like I’m launching Windows 95!” which drew huge laughter from the crowd.
  • When asked if he accepted the offer to do the Mary Poppins movie immediately he said, “NO! I had to go ask my wife!” And explained when you have a partnership you have to discuss these types of things because it has a huge impact on the other person, on your life, even if it’s a dream come true. (he seems super grounded!)
  • Hamilton musical stuff:
    • Burr came from a privileged background, a famous grandfather, father was the president of Princeton, he had so much to lose by saying or doing the wrong thing, and this shaped his decision making. Hamilton came from nothing and had nothing to lose. This clearly shaped his behavior and decisions and gave his enemies much to use against him, but he had nothing to lose, in the beginning. Imagine if we all went through life as if we had nothing to lose? What could we accomplish?
    • When you get criticism, and Lin-Manuel as an artist gets a lot of it, it’s important to understand the point of view from where it’s coming. Then, you can make the decision, do I accept that and change, or do I go back and try to change them.
    • “The best idea always wins” – Miranda talking about his writing and production process with his team.
    • “The teller changes the story” – Each person who tells a story will change it slightly based on their perspective. In HR we see this all the time as we get multiple sides of issues in our environments.
    • The interview asked Hamilton how he decided to use all minorities in the cast of Hamilton. He said if I made a hip hop founding father story and used all white dudes, you would have thought I messed up! We do Shakespeare and we constantly change the characters to whatever and it’s accepted, why can’t we do that with the founding fathers? It doesn’t change the story.
    • How did he come up with doing a Hip Hop version of the founding fathers? Hamilton’s story is a perfect hip hop/rap story. He came from nothing. Had huge bravado. Rose up to be powerful and wealthy. Got into a gun battle. Sounds like hip hop!

More to come tomorrow on my breakdown of Workday Rising specifically! But I had to write about Lin-Manual Miranda!

Where Does Corporate Logo-wear Go to Die?

This is the very first blog post I ever wrote! It was 4-12-09 over at Fistful of Talent. I just got back from HR Tech, this past week, where I was wearing a bunch of corporate logo-wear (see the pic above wearing at Patagonia vest from Candidate.ID) and it made me think for as far as I’ve come, I haven’t really come that far at all! 😉 

If you are like me, you’ve had a job or two in your career, and each stop along the way you pick up a few extra pieces for your wardrobe that you wouldn’t have necessarily picked out on your own.  These pieces usually are of the polo shirt variety, but they need not stop there as I’ve been given dress shirts, t-shirts, baseball hats, jackets, watches, sweatshirts – to date no undergarments – Thank you!

In almost every situation, these items were encouraged to be worn on casual Friday’s (check on Punk
Rock HR’s post on Casual Fridays).  My question is once you leave an organization, what do you do with this corporate logo wear?  Also, where does it all go?

I have to admit that most of my previous corporate wear went to Goodwill and I imagine (in my own little fantasy world) that somehow it all gets funneled into the international Goodwill community.  From there I know that there is some guy in need in West Africa wearing my “Applebee’s  #1 HR Peoplestacks 2007” jacket, not knowing what Applebee’s is or what he is wearing such a limited edition item.  I can say that I’ve never seen anyone locally wearing my gear, so at the very least I appreciate Goodwill for not re-selling my stuff local!  Can you imagine seeing someone at the movies wearing your shirt – how do you start that conversation “Hey – that was me – I’m the Applebee’s Peoplestack Guy!”

So, what’s the point?

I have to admit, it is usually us in HR who has this bright idea to reward our people with logo merchandise.  On one level we believe our associates will appreciate the gear and having the ability to promote the company they so proudly work for.  On another level, we are probably missing the boat completely, especially when looking at generational differences in terms of rewards and recognition.

I do believe Baby Boomers and the older Gen X set probably do feel appreciated when getting some of these rewards (assuming these aren’t the only rewards).  But, I would dare say, Gen Y probably doesn’t view this as reward and recognition and actually might take this as a negative now feeling like they have to or should wear these items at work.

Rule of Thumb:  Save your money and challenge your department to come up with other ways to reward and recognize.  That being said, I’m wearing my Logo Nike golf shirt right now which just goes to show you, HR vendors need to go high-end to get into my closet!

(BTW – none of this has changed. If you want to get in my closet it better be branded swag! Shout out to Smashfly, OC Tanner, and Saba for great branded swag this year!)