Influencers or Analysts? Who has the most impact on your brand?

The worlds of Influencers and Analysts have never collied more than they are right now in the HR industry. Most of this has to do with the popularity of Influencer Marketing that has taken off in the past decade, and like most things in HR, we are now just catching up with the marketing trend.

Traditionally, in the HR space, companies selling products, technology, and services only really cared about two things: 1. What do our clients think of us, and 2? What do the “Analysts” think of us?

What’s an Analyst? 

Every industry has them. These are basically individuals who work for organizations like Deloitte, Gartner, Forrester Research, IDC, and hundreds of boutique firms specializing in specific parts of the HR ecosystem. The individuals spend a great deal of time understanding the landscape of a specific function in HR, the technology, the processes, what works, and what doesn’t, etc. Then your organization pays its organization a great deal of money for this expert knowledge.

The hope is, using this expert Analyst knowledge will ultimately help you save time, money, and missteps because you’ve hired a firm of experts to help you make the right decisions. Many of these experts have never actually worked a day in HR, but hold MBAs and such. Some of these people are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and if you listened to them, they could truly help you. Some are idiots working for a big firm.

Examples of Analyst I admire: William Tincup, Madeline Laurano, Trish McFarlane, George LaRocque, Ben Eubanks, Kyle Lagunas, John Sumser, Holger Mueller, Jason Cerrato, Josh Bersin, Sarah Brennanetc. 

This will then beg the question of well, then, what’s an Influencer? 

Influencer marketing has been around for a hundred years, but Kim Kardashian is the queen of modern-day influencers. I’m famous! You see me talking about or using this product. You buy this product. That’s really the backbone of influencer marketing. I mean Kimmy D would never steer you wrong, would she?

An Influencer is anyone in an industry that a measurable amount of people are listening to, which will influence their buying behavior. I write a blog post on some products that I’m using in my own shop. It’s super awesome! You go out, look at it, and decide to buy it and use it with your team. You’ve been influenced.

Most of the influencers in the HR industry are current or former practitioners, they’ve lived your life. Some are super smart and have the resume to back it up. Some are complete idiots. Any idiot can have a blog (I’m a great example!). Most influencers, like an analyst, have a specialty, something they’re better at than other stuff. Some influence full time, but most hold down ‘real’ jobs to pay the bills. So, they probably don’t have the time to deep dive into the industry, as you’ll see with analysts.

Examples of Influencers I admire: Kris Dunn, Dawn Burke, Carmen Hudson, Robin Schooling, Jason LauritsenLaurie Ruettimann, Jennifer McClure, Sharlyn Lauby, Steve Browne, Sabrina Baker, Joey Price, Mary Faulkner, Jessica Miller Merrell, Janine Truitt-Dennis, etc. (there’s really too many to name!)

Many of these people are HR Famous! They have worked hard to create an audience who for the most part listens to what they have to say.

You also have people that fall into this strange middle ground of Influencer-Analysts types that have no name. Maybe they started out as an influencer, then became an Analyst, or maybe they were an Analyst who became popular and started influencing. Examples in this camp are folks like: Josh Bersin, Jason Averbook, Sarah Brennen, Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, etc.

(BTW – All of these people you should connect to! )

So, who has the most impact on your Brand? Influencers or Analysts? 

This is not an easy question to answer because like almost anything it depends on a lot! We all know of a certain product we love and regardless of the influence or what some expert is telling us, we will just buy it because we love it!

We also have an untold number of products and services we buy because someone we trust told us about it, and because we trust them, we go buy it.

If you’re a large enterprise-level product or service, basically selling to companies that have more than 5,000 employees, you better make nice with the Analyst community! They tend to have the ear of more enterprise buyers then you’ll typically see from influencers. I doubt very highly the CHRO of Google is reading this blog! (but I know the CPO of GM is!)

What I see is companies selling to enterprises usually work with both Analysts and Influencers. They want to ensure their message is heard across the buying community, so they don’t miss out on a potential buyer, and they have the money to do both.

Companies selling to under 5,000 employees and it starts to get a little harder to determine the impact of Analysts. I mean how many HR and Talent shops in Small to Medium-sized businesses have the money to pay for Analysts Research? Not many! If you run an HR shop of a 1500 person company, you do not have $50,000 to hear what the best ATS is! The ATS you buy won’t even cost $50K!

Behind the scenes, most analysts understand their biggest impact on the enterprise buyer, and because that’s where the money is, that’s exactly where they want to be! If you have buyers across small, medium, large, and enterprise markets, it then becomes a more difficult decision on how you use Influencer marketing.

The real answer to the question above is you engage with the analyst and influencers that have the most positive impact on selling your product. Unfortunately, most organizations have little or no idea if either side is having an impact on selling their stuff.

Who has the juice? 

I call someone who has ‘real’ influence as having the “juice”. If you have the ‘juice’ you have the ability to influence real buying decisions on a regular basis. Laurie Ruettimann tells you to go out and buy this new great HR product, and that organization will see a measurable sales increase directly tied to the links in her posts. She’s got juice!

I wrote about an HR Tech company a few months ago after a demo and a month later they sent me a bottle of gin because they landed a six-figure deal directly from my mentioning them in a post. That’s gin and juice! 😉

Most people who call themselves influencers in the HR space have little or no juice. Usually, because they just don’t have a large enough, sustained audience who is listening. They might be 100% correct in their recommendations and insight, but not enough people are listening to move the buying needle.

I love what the folks are doing over at Advos because they are actually showing organizations who have the juice and who doesn’t. I can tell you I have the juice and say I’m the #1 Influencer in the HR marketplace, but the reality is, anyone can say that! HRMarketer is actually giving data behind those words to let people know where the real juice is.

The truth around all of the analyst vs. influencer chatter is that you’ll find people in both groups who can help you and people in both groups who are complete idiots and have no value. The best thing to do is build a relationship with both, find out who moves your needle and aligns with the messaging you’re trying to get out, and then measure. Eventually, you’ll find the right mix that will work for your organization.

The Weekly Dose: @Workday Ups its Game in Belonging and Diversity!

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at Workday’s recent announcement about their new product offerings around Diversity and Inclusion. If 2020 has done anything, it’s brought the conversation of diversity and inclusion to the forefront like never before in organizations. Many HR tech companies have been working on products in this space for a while, but few will have the impact of Workday’s new VIBE Central and VIBE Index.

One of the largest issues faced by organizations in moving the needle around having employees feel a sense of belonging, as well as broader D&I issues, is those front-line leaders and above never truly felt like they had the data to help them make the right decisions. So, we mostly just tried to make change by gut feel and subjective data that was constantly changing.

Workday’s VIBE (Value, Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity) Central brings all diversity- and inclusion-related data into one centralized place in Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), enabling organizations to set goals and then monitor progress against those goals. Businesses can assess, measure, benchmark, and manage diversity and inclusion by the dimensions of their choice, such as race/ethnicity and gender. For example, VIBE Central could surface that 10 percent of women in the organization have been promoted in the last three years; in addition, benchmark data could show that promotions for women are well below the median of 50th percentile, which may be 20 percent, for peer companies in the same industry.

Organizations can benefit from the ability to assess talent management, talent development, and employee experience for key factors including:

  • HiringOrganizations can better understand if hiring practices are balanced or if one group is over- or under-represented.
  • PromotionsBusiness leaders can look at metrics to determine if their promotion process is inclusive and then view a succession report to gauge if they are planning in an equitable way.
  • LeadershipCompanies can look at leadership/management levels and succession planning to compare planning to the actual diversity of management and to see if diversity drops off from one management level to the next—which may indicate a need for more targeted development.
  • AttritionIf hiring and promotion practices are helping to increase diversity overall but there’s a high rate of voluntary attrition for that diverse talent, HR leaders may need to focus on belonging and inclusion.

VIBE Index (being released to Workday customer in Q1 2021) empowers HR leaders to set a B&D strategy and create a tailored plan aimed at driving positive outcomes. It will measure the relative performance and outcomes of an organization’s efforts across talent acquisition, talent development, leadership development, employee experience, and workplace culture to deliver a heat map that identifies the highest opportunity for positive change, as well as a VIBE Index score for overall workplace equity.

VIBE Index will allow organizations and leaders to have real-time diversity data, to ensure that progress is being made to the plans and goals. For too long organizational leaders have been making strategic D&I decisions with dated and insufficient data, many times that wasn’t even their own. VIBE Index changes this completely. Your own plan. Your own goals. Your own data. Belonging and D&I isn’t the same for all, it’s very specific to your organization and your culture, and your strategy and data should reflect that.

Workday is drinking its own Kool-aid, as well. Workday’s Chief Diversity Officer, Carin Taylor, announced a bunch of initiatives that Workday will be taking on including:

  • Increase overall representation of Black and Latinx employees in the U.S. by 30% by 2023.
  • Double the number of Black and Latinx leaders in the U.S. by 2023.
  • Invest 25,000 hours in training over the next year to help ensure all people leaders can attract, recruit, hire, and advance employees of all backgrounds.
  • Help ensure less than a 3% difference in belonging for all Workmates across all demographics (as measured by the Great Place to Work questions that power the belonging outcome of our VIBE IndexTM).
  • Infuse VIBE into how we think about and act on our Workday core values.
  • Invest 150,000 hours in career development programs and education that increase visibility and opportunity for Black and Latinx talent over the next year.
  • Donate $10 million, as previously announced, to social justice initiatives over the next year.
  • Create opportunities for Workmates to contribute 250,000 hours toward mentoring and skills-based volunteering in communities around the globe by 2023.
  • Accelerate Opportunity Onramps hiring to fill 20% of our early to mid-career full-time roles by 2023.

No small plan! I love it when organizations put it in black and white. Yes, there is some risk you don’t meet all of your goals, but it’s how real change happens!

The Weekly Dose: An Updated @Workday Recruiting Roadmap!

Today on the Weekly Dose I dive into largest and arguably fastest-growing recruiting technology on the planet, Workday Recruiting! Workday Recruiting currently has over 2350 clients, all of which would be considered enterprise, and over 50% of the Fortune 500 are currently using Workday for recruiting.

Let that sink in a bit. A decade ago, no one was using Workday to recruit talent, and now over 50% of the largest organizations on the planet are using it! You have to be impressed by those numbers and growth of Workday Recruiting.

Workday Recruiting has taken its share of criticism over the years coming out of the date and trying to deliver an enterprise recruiting solution at scale. It’s not easy. Ask Oracle and SAP, no one would consider their recruiting offerings to be world-class. It’s a tough game at scale.

I got a chance to sit down with the Workday Recruiting product team last week to look at where they’ve been and where they are going, and it looks like they are on the right track:

– Workday internal mobility functionality is a clear differentiator amongst its competitors, connecting the entire experience across the platform for both the employee, the recruiting team, and the hiring managers. Also, the ability to post “gigs” internally to staff that might have capacity is great and the design is very modern and user friendly for employees. The internal mobility tech also gives employees a suspected career path based on all of their own data and the data of those before them in similar situations.

– The ability to adjust each hiring process by position was a critical need and now your recruiting team can easily make custom applies on the fly per position, even with the ability to apply to a job with one click if necessary.

– Candidate experience and a candidate home dashboard make it easy for candidates to track where they are in the process and also machine learning push other potential matches they might fit for, as well as assisting them in applying and suggesting things that might increase their chances at getting hired.

– The Recruiting Dashboard has been completely redesigned and now allows each recruiter to build their own custom dashboard by simple drag and drop. Also, adding in the ability to offer and process at scale, which was a must-have for enterprise organizations. Recruiting analytics and reporting continue to evolve as well, and Workday Recruiting has some of the most eye-catching metrics dashboards out there.

– Workday has been slower than most in building out partnerships of add-on recruiting technologies, but that was by design, partly to ensure what they were offering clients in terms of partnerships where products they could fully stand behind (and actually invest in those they feel most strongly about). Workday has two forms of partnership: Venture partners (Jobcase, Mya, Beamery, and Pymetrics) which are technologies Workday has a vested interest in success, and their ecosystem, which are partners that are vetted by the Workday Recruiting team. The four current Workday Venture partners are some of the strongest recruiting technologies in the game right now.

– The roadmap is full of features that current Workday Recruiting clients are looking forward to including: Candidate matching scores, built-in interview scheduling assistance, external candidate referral automation and tracking, and database candidate rediscovery technology.

Workday Recruiting is a large enterprise HCM recruiting module. They won’t apologize for that because large, enterprise organizations need hiring technology that can handle the scope and scale of hiring at massive volumes, that is super secure, and has the ability to hire globally. Workday Recruiting can do all of that, and it’s doing it well based on the large number of clients awaiting implementation.

What can Workday Recruiting do better? I think they have the ability to truly help organizations around D&I hiring. They have the data and the ability to connect the dots for senior executives on what’s going on with their diversity hiring. They do some of this now, but it’s mostly tracking and reporting anonymous data. And will soon be producing the ability for organizations to make candidate records anonymous to hiring managers, but this is clearly something I suspect we’ll see additional roadmap items on in the near future.

I think Workday Recruiting’s strength definitely lies in their ability to pull in learnings from their giant client base and they have extremely active user groups that are jointly developed by both Workday and their clients, providing non-stop product feedback on desires and enhancements. The trick being the balance of delivering features and functions at scale for the good of all, compared to what they believe they want/need individually.

Workday Recruiting has been the one company in the recruiting technology space that folks have loved to hate on over the past few years, but I think they are doing the right stuff and developing the technology that their clients need, without listening to the outside noise.

The Weekly Dose: @VaultPlatform – Workplace Misconduct Reporting Tech

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at a timely technology in a world of #MeToo #BLM #Covid-19! Vault Platform helps organizations resolve workplace misconduct including that related to Me Too, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, and all other workplace issues with a safe speak-up app for reporting incidents.

Let’s be clear to start, this isn’t your parent’s workplace 1-800 hotline, where you called some third-party company that would listen to your story, filter it, and then pass it along to HR, who then call you in. Vault is a technology, mobile-first, platform that allows employees to report any type of workplace harassment, fraud, corruption, racism, etc., and document their experience. Then, when they feel the time is right, they can actually send this forward to be responded to.

Each time an employee reports it is dated and time-stamped and the employee has access to their actual record the entire time. Once an employee decides to move forward it gets sent to the appropriate parties within the organization to resolve the issue.

What I like about Vault:

– “Go Together” – when talking about things like sexual harassment and racism, many times an employee does not feel comfortable reporting on their own, but they also don’t trust others when they say they’ll also report. Vault’s “Go Together” allows an employee to report, but only move it forward once another employee reports the same or similar behavior, so they are not making these accusations on their own. It’s really a brilliant idea!

– Vault dashboard works as a case management dashboard so HR, legal, D&I, etc. can check and track that reports are being resolved and how they are being resolved. It allows executives to instant insight access to the real problems that are going on in their organization, unfiltered, right from their employees.

– It allows employees to communicate in a way that is most comfortable to them, mobile messaging, not a phone call talking to a stranger.

– Employees can record for as long as they want without reporting and always have access to their own words, an organization can not delete or edit the employee’s own records. Many times something happens to an employee but they aren’t sure if it’s actually harassment, but as they see a pattern of behavior begin to happen, it becomes clear. Keeping these records makes it easy for the employee to give proof of how long and how much this is happening.

Right now every single organization on the planet is concerned with the experiences their employees are having. Me Too, BLM, COVID, etc. have shown us that our employees are having very drastic differences in their experiences, and we need to give our employees access and the ability to share these with us quickly and easily if we want to truly make changes and improve their experiences.

I first saw Vault at the HR Technology Conference right after Me Too and I liked it. With the additional social and health issues today, it’s even a more relevant technology. Vault Platform happens to be the perfect workplace technology at the perfect time. I highly recommend you take a look and a demo.

The Weekly Dose: @Imperative – Peer to Peer Coaching for Leaders!

Today on The Weekly Dose I review the peer to peer coaching technology platform Imperative. Imperative is a leadership development platform that uses the power of peers to support each other as they manage remote employees and accelerated change in the workplace.

Two things we all need right now? Help with developing remote employees, especially our leaders, and we all have a bit of change we are facing! Imperative is a technology designed to evaluate your leadership style and connect you with another peer in your organization so you can do peer to peer coaching.

Through a video-based coaching platform, leaders meet in rotating pairs for scripted peer-to-peer coaching conversations that are dynamically designed to adapt as their needs change. I actually used my peer, Kris Dunn, to demo the technology with me, so we got a firsthand view of how well Imperative works.

What I love about Imperative:

  • First, you take a personal leadership inventory that gives you your leadership style and insights. This data is used to assist your peer coach in asking questions and digging in further. The platform also reminds you of your style and tendencies as you are coaching.
  • Kris and I both found the assessment accurate in how we would normally describe our normal leadership behaviors. Plus, we’ve both gone through many kinds of these assessments in our careers, and Imperative was right on the money in discovering what type of leaders we are.
  • The process of peer to peer coaching can be awkward, but Kris and I got on the platform and within minutes were actually moving through the process, and even though we are very close and work together often, we were prompted with questions where we actually learned new things about each other!
  • The technology keeps you on tasks and has each person actually taking notes so each person has something at the end, and gives you information for your next session to follow up on. There is definitely a feel to the coaching around pushing for higher performance and outcomes on both a personal and professional level.
  • I never felt self-conscious about what I was asking or being asked. That is by design, as it can be difficult first starting as a peer coach and the last thing you want to do is make people feel uncomfortable with the process.

Kris and I both did this from our homes and no issues with the technology at all. So, this is simple to use peer to peer coaching tool for your leaders who are working at home, or in different locations altogether on a normal basis.

We are in a new world of trying to figure out how do we develop our employees, and it’s critical right now we continue to develop our leaders. Peer to peer coaching is a great way to do this with an added benefit of it really teaches your leaders how to coach their own teams as well! Imperative is well worth the demo, and if you can just ask them to take a test drive with yourself and another peer!

 

The Weekly Dose: @Fountain_Inc – Hourly Recruiting Reimagined

Today on The Weekly Dose I take a look at the hourly recruiting technology, Fountain. Fountain is a technology designed to make high volume hourly hiring more efficient, easier, with higher quality.

The reality is most HCM-based Applicant Tracking Systems are not designed for high volume hourly. They are designed mostly to process requisitions for a salaried workforce. Candidates who will sit at a desktop and be willing to jump through hoops and take a bunch of time following each step.

Hourly workers, the vast majority who will only access the internet via their mobile device, will not jump through a bunch of hoops and have the patients to follow a long process. Thus, most organizations that have a high volume hourly hiring component tend to find a workaround to their ATS or go out and find technology, like Fountain, that can fix their hourly hiring inefficiencies while still getting the data they need into their HCM for onboarding and payroll.

What I like about Fountain:

  • A mobile-based hiring process that makes it super easy and quick for an hourly candidate to apply and show interest. We don’t want a system that eliminates or discourages candidates to apply, we want them all to apply, and then let the technology screen and sort the best ones for us, which is what Fountain does.
  • Built-in programmatic like functionality that allows you the TA team to boost specific jobs that aren’t having the candidate flow they need to meet your recruiting plan goals.
  • Candidate communication via email and SMS, ability to communicate with groups of candidates at once through the entire process right from the platform.
  • Fountain can automatically begin video screening candidates as they match certain criteria you need for each position, reducing time to fill dramatically.
  • Simple Collaboration between applicant and hiring managers as many organizations with multi-locations have on-the-ground managers who do their own hourly hiring. So, great for franchise-type environments as well.
  • Fully integrates with your HRIS and Payroll for easy onboarding of hourly hires all within the same recruiting process flow.

Why do I need a system just for hiring hourly workers? 

That’s the big question, right? Quite frankly, you wouldn’t if the ATS you had was designed to actually be a benefit to you for high volume hourly hiring, but most are not. While they will say they are mobile-optimized, they are not built mobile-first. They were not built to have someone apply in a minute or less, verse twenty to thirty minutes.

Hourly workers have shown they are unwilling to “register” with your ATS before applying, and then click from screen to screen in what seems to be an endless maze of a process. They want to pick up their phone, show you they are interested, and almost instantly see if you have an interest or not. If you don’t have that, they’ll go apply to someone else that will. Speed, in mass-volume hourly hiring, is critical!

I recently witnessed an hourly worker apply, get screened, and have an offer of employment in 18 minutes! This hourly candidate had a job in 18 minutes! Why do you need a stand-alone hourly hiring platform? Because your competition is getting the best talent before you even see them.

Fountain is definitely worth a demo. It’s amazing to see how fast a recruiting process can work when you have the right technology in place. It’s all about getting high quality, fast, and Fountain delivers.

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.

 

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!

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:

Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @Eightfoldai – AI Powered Talent Intelligence Platform

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at Eightfold. Eightfold.ai is a recruiting technology that kind of is hard to define, like many of the new AI-driven technologies within the TA space right now. Eightfold does automated matching of candidates to your jobs with rankings, it can build personalized career sites, help eliminate hiring and screening biases, and even be used for internal mobility.

See what I what I mean? What do you call that? They call it a talent intelligent platform. It can integrate with your ATS and/or CRM and help you automate much of the front-side of your recruiting screening and matching process.

What I find in most organizations is we have recruiters, and they might be really good at the job of recruiting, but they don’t have the specialized knowledge to truly know what candidate will be better at a certain job than another because they lack the technical skill knowledge. Eightfold uses AI and deep learning to match candidates much more accurately and quickly than a human recruiter can do.

The process of Eightfold is fairly lightweight. They can pull in your jobs from your ATS or you can create a job in Eightfold and it will go to work ranking candidates who are the best fit and most likely to respond to the job you have open. This gives an instant target list for your recruiters to go after.

What do I like about Eightfold? 

– Eightfold can help organizations better leverage the resources and data they have invested in talent attraction that has previously not been available to most organizations. Technology like Eightfold will move organizations faster, but also with a higher quality of hire.

– Eightfold personalizes the career site experience for candidates who are coming to your site. Candidate has the ability to upload their resume/application and immediately get a personalized experience that is different from the next candidate who comes to your site.

– Eightfold will help organizations do a better job at hiring for diversity by masking certain information on profiles, but also delivery funnel diversity statistics so TA leaders can have a real-time view of diversity pipelines within the organizations and see where diverse candidates are falling through.

– Because Eightfold’s match technology is so robust, organizations are using it for internal mobility as well, but uploading all of their internal talent and giving a view to leaders of the organization of where you might already have someone internally who is the best fit for a position, and should go down that path first, before looking externally. Too often we see great talent turnover because a position was filled from the outside, and they were never even considered for it, and didn’t even realize it was a possibility.

This type of technology can be used across all kinds of industries, not just tech. From a cost standpoint, and a data standpoint, it works much better at larger volumes, so you’re probably looking for at least 500+ employee organizations to be most effective. It’s certainly dynamic and eye-opening when you demo and I encourage to take a look! While there is an investment to get technology like Eightfold, the ROI is huge in comparison to hiring another recruiter or sourcing pro.


The Weekly Dose – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the tech space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on The Weekly Dose – just send me a note – timsackett@comcast.net

Want help with your HR & TA Tech company – send me a message about my HR Tech Advisory Board experience.