T3 – BlackbookHR – Sense, RNA and Presto

T3 – Talent Tech Tuesday – 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 space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.

So, I’ll start about saying I’m a proud member of Blackbook HR’s Advisory Board, along with some other great HR pros. But, even prior to that I was a fan of their products – my review of Sense. This review is highlighting two new products that Blackbook HR has launched – RNA and Presto.

First, let me say that I’m not the only one who is really liking what Blackbook is doing.  They were named one of the 2014 HR Tech Conference Awesome New Startups (don’t worry, I’ll be highlighting many of these others as well!).

RNA (Relationship Network Analysis) is one of Blackbook HR’s newest offerings.   When I saw the demo of this at HR Tech I was blown away.  It basically shows you your organization chart, but not by title, by influence!  It’s super cool, and the application of uses for retention, performance and succession are really limitless. One customer is using it to transition new leaders into the organization, so they know which players they need to connect with immediately, and how their organization is really getting work done!

Some of the other really cool things RNA can do if allow you to search your organization by skills. Not only self-reported skills, but all the employees in your organization can also rate each other on those skill levels.  So, you need someone for a new project that has project management skills?  What about the one person in your organization that their peers rate them highest in that skill!?  It does that.  Losing folks to turnover or retirement and need a pool of potential replacements (Succession), you can source that data here.

Also, think about any change management. Who are the most important employees to ensure are bought into the change before rolling it out?  That’s critical for success in any change, and RNA can give you these connections.  You can now go out and work with these individuals first, and let them help drive the change, positively, forward. Merger and acquisitions would be another way I could see this data being extremely important.

I will say, this is much more of an enterprise type of solution.  Most SMB’s probably don’t have enough data to really take advantage of this type of solution. But, if you are in the 2500+ employee range, this will blow your mind.  It’s fairly inexpensive, and the analytics you get from this data are crazy, it’s well worth a demo for sure!



Presto, is Blackbook’s other new product, and it’s totally free to use!  Basically, Presto is a survey App you can use within your organization, department and group.  It doesn’t even have to be used for business, but that’s what it was originally designed for.  Let’s say you just came out of an executive meeting and one of your senior leaders wanted to know how an announcement of some big new project was being ‘viewed’ by your employees.  You could within seconds put out a survey question to your organization, and watch in real-time the survey results come back to you.  Not only do you see, but everyone who participates can see the results.

I even joked you could send it out to your department to see what people wanted for lunch, and the entire group could see what everyone preferred!  It’s basically a real-time way to gather feedback in your organization. Totally free.  Completely simple to use.  I can think of a hundred ways I could use this, or coach my hiring managers to use this in an organization.  While this is a mobile app, the users can also log into a dashboard that gives you tabulated, colorful graphs, that are easily manipulated to share with your organization in which communication way you would like.

Yeah, I’m a fanboy of Blackbook HR.  The thing I like is the people running the company aren’t designing things thinking, ‘what will sell’.  They’re designing things thinking, ‘how do I solve this problem?’, then going, oh crap, how do we make money on this!  That gives them some of the best technology on the market, which you can actually buy or in Presto’s case use for free.

Next Tuesday I’ll be looking at recruitment marketing solution SmashFly!

Sackett’s 2014 Guide To Whom To See At SHRM!

The big annual SHRM National Conference happens in a week or so in Orlando.  I’ll be there.  SHRM is letting me speak again this year, which is cool, I’m as subversive as SHRM gets which makes it fun for me.  I always get a lot of SHRM dignitaries that show up to make sure I don’t say anything inappropriate, which makes me get very creative with my words, and if you read my blog you know that list of words is roughly around 350.

To combat the possibility I might slip up they put me at times they hope no one will show up.  This year I’m on at 7am on Monday!  Yeah, 7 freaking am!   Good thing for me I’m a morning person and I drink giant amounts of Diet Mt. Dew – I will have one on stage with me! If you bring me one, I’ll line them up and try to knock them all down in my hour and fifteen minutes!

Bobbi Wilson from Huntsville, AL SHRM (she’s good people, connect with her!) asked me who I would like to see speak at SHRM, besides myself, and I thought it would make a good post, so here’s my Top 10 don’t miss presentations at SHRM!  First we have to lay down some rules of why and who I will choose:

A. I’ll always choose entertaining speakers over non-entertaining speakers.  It’s an HR conference, we’ll have our share of boring ones!

B. I like practitioners, but don’t get too caught up in that.  Most of the best speakers used to be practitioners who found out they’re pretty damn good speakers, so they went the consultant route and doing very well.  Many practitioners are knowledgeable but can’t speak a lick!

C. Titles mean a lot.  If you can’t come up with a creative title, my guess is you can’t come up with a creative presentation.

So, here’s who I will see if I have time in between networking with all the great HR Pros who come to SHRM (I usually get more out of the networking than the presentations!):

1. Tim Sackett, SPHR – Monday 7am – What Your CEO Wishes HR Would Do!”  – I hear he gives out hugs after his presentation! Plus, he’ll be all jacked up on Mt. Dew!

2. Jonah Berger – Tuesday 2:15pm – “Crafting Contagious Ideas – this might be the only session I will actually attend. This dude is brilliant and a great speaker. He’s my #2 behind Malcolm Gladwell.  You should not miss this.  #Fanboy

3. Jennifer McClure – Wednesday 10am – (friend alert! At some point Jen and I will share a Sprinkles Cupcake during SHRM – you’re not invited!) – “The Business Case for Building Effective Business Leaders This is actually the worst title in the history of SHRM that doesn’t include “FMLA” or “EEOC”, but Jen is a pro’s, pro who understands how to get a session accepted at SHRM.  The title has to be vanilla!  Don’t hold that against her.  She’s really good and has a cult following of HR ladies who love her!

4. Gregg Tate, GPHR – Tuesday 10:45am – “Adidas: How They Created Their nWow (New Way of Working) Company Culture” – I’ve seen the Adidas guys speak before and they’re usually good with a good story.  Insider tip – see how they pronounce “Adidas” – many insiders from Germany do it differently than we say in the states – you can’t get it out of your head!

5.  Mike Reardon – Monday 10:45am – “Sustaining the Disney Culture Through Selection, Training, and Engagement

6. Brad Karsh – Monday 2:00pm – “Once Upon a Time…Four steps to Using Storytelling to Deliver Unforgettable Presentations” – This is the most underutilized skill in HR, period. You’ll be a better HR Pro if you have this skill. Not just for presentations but increasing your influence throughout your organization.

7. Chester Elton – Monday 4:00pm – “All In: How Great Leaders Develop a Culture of Belief and Deliver Big Results” – Chester is a good speaker. Doesn’t matter what he’s presenting, he’s probably better than most at that time slot. He’s polished and will deliver a good show.

8.  Cy Wakeman – Tuesday 7am – (Cy has the session of death – no one wants to get up after partying Monday night for a 7am session!) “Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace: New HR Foundation to Boost Employee Value and Drive Results” – Cy knows her stuff!  I like going to presentations where I’m going to hear from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, and she does!

9.  Michelle Smith – Tuesday 4pm – “Next Practices Leadership: Driving Growth & Innovation in a People-Led Economy” Michelle is from O.C. Tanner and they’ve got some great research on engagement, what works, what doesn’t – well worth the time to see her speak to get that data!

10. Vendor Show – Every day, all day – Pick out three kinds of technology you might bring into your HR shop in the next 3 years (digital interviewing, automated reference checking, assessments, recruiting tools, metrics, etc.) and good spend some real time demoing those products.  It will be some of the most valuable time you spend at SHRM!  Part of our job in HR is to know what we’ll be using in the future, this is where you’ll find that stuff!  Scout out the small booths in the back aisles.  There will be companies there that you haven’t heard about, that in three years everyone will be using – that’s really, really cool!

Connect with me.  One of my favorite things to do at SHRM National is to meet HR pros around the world who read my blog.  I get in Sunday, leave Wednesday.  Tweet me, email me, call my cell, stalk my session – but let’s connect in a real way (okay I mean hugging!).

Dating Your Job

I’m at SHRM12 all week and the pleasure of sitting through Malcolm Gladwell‘s keynote this morning! He is by far my favorite author and he was really the only must see for me here at SHRM12 – yes, I have a complete man-crush!   I didn’t stand in line to get his autograph at the SHRM book store, but only because I hate lines!  Gladwell spent most of his time analyzing why generations are different, he’s a great story teller, and gave great examples of why my generation – GenX – is completely different than the millenials – which we all know – but he really went deeper into the subject.

One example that he gave stuck with me, when he used the concept of dating to explain one of the main differences between these two generations. As a GenXer you just didn’t go on many dates – you were lucky to go on a few per year – because once you met someone and you liked each other – it immediately became exclusive – it’s what we did.  Millenials network and date much differently and are willing to go on many more dates and continue dating, finding more than one person they might connect with.  Because of how millenials network, they open themselves up to many opportunities to date.  Doesn’t sound like a bad deal – based on how my dating life went!  I met my wife the first week of college – we will celebrate 20 years of marriage in July!  (so, basically, I had 1 date in college – luckily it was a VERY good date!)

Here’s where I think we run into problems with this type of mentality -with how millenials network – their job!  I get a feeling way too many are just dating their jobs as well.  Many hiring managers are in the GenX age group – which causes them to want employees who view their job like they view their job – it’s a marriage – not a date!  Gladwell pointed this out as a difference that was neither good or bad – just a difference that we as organizations will have to work through.

As an HR Pro I think the big hurdle we have to help our organizations overcome is this concept of being married to your job. It’s easier said then done.  Try telling a hiring manager that it’s alright for a candidate to have 4 jobs in 4 years – they don’t buy it – heck, I’m not sure I fully buy it – it’s a tough paradigm shift to make.  I do think we have the ability, though, to influence this paradigm with our hiring managers – and to get the best talent we must be willing to look through our own filters to help our organizations.  Having multiple positions can be a huge benefit – it’s not always a sign of a “job jumper” – especially over the past few years. We have to provide better tools for our hiring managers to get them to feel comfortable with the skill sets and talent the candidate brings, and less uncomfortable with job longevity of candidates.

Stay tuned for more SHRM12 learning’s.