Looking at a new HR system? Slow down, take a few deep breaths first!

Buying HR software is a huge, disruptive series of events that changes your work life and that of those around you. The cost financially is huge, the potential for blown budgets, high stress, and poor decision making infinite. The change impacts can be immense. The direction you take in buying HR Technology will have different paths – one with gentle hills, wide roads and just the odd speed bump to navigate. The other, a steep winding track up a mountain where you constantly teeter on the edge of the sheer drop below!

The impulse is to talk to vendors too early, so take a deep breath, and assess what you need first:

Know what your organisation needs

Knowing what you (or your executive team) want, and what the organisation needs, might be two different things. Talk to your employees, HR team, marketing team, IT team and finance team. Dig deep into what they need to do their jobs and make the experience better for employees.

Know where you and the project are heading

Develop your roadmap. Include the process re-alignment, service delivery model, data design, implementation and optimisation activities. All these activities are large projects in themselves.

No mention of software yet. No vendor conversations.

Get the right people on your team

It’s not rocket science, but make sure you have experienced and smart people on your team. At the risk of sounding like an HR nerd, you want a mix of capability, competence and capacity with people who have been there and done that, and those that want to learn. Have the guts to hire consultants to get it right the first time and guide you in your thinking. It is a false economy to scrimp and save on good resources.

Work out how much it will cost

Do your business case for the overall project which includes your internal costs, not just the software or subscription purchase. I know it sounds crazy saying ‘Don’t talk to vendors yet’, but there are other ways you can go about obtaining estimated costs without fully engaging with vendors at this stage. Remember, all that glitters is not gold.

Talk to vendors LAST (still no mention of the actual software)

Yes, that’s right. Do your demonstrations last. Once you know what you need, what the project looks like, who you need to help you and how much it will cost – THEN, do a scan of the market to see what products might work for your organisation. Have conversations with the sales people, customers and look at online reviews. Vendors will actually appreciate that you’ve done your research and know what you want as it helps them to better understand your needs and find a suitable solution.

This all sounds scary, and it can be, but with good planning and by involving people that can help you along the way, you can achieve a great outcome for the business and for you personally.

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If this article resonates with you, and you need some help and guidance, feel free to contact me.

Thank you for reading. I write about HR, Employee Experience and the digital workplace. Connect with me to talk about what you need to know as a HR professional in the digital world, HR technology, my year in New York or dogs. Find me on email sarah@mooreatwork.com and on twitter @SaraMooreatWork.

How to foolproof 2019

I read. A lot. Pretty much anything. And pretty much anywhere. I have my favourite authors, but I will also try new ones. I have my favourite genres, but I will also try new ones. It was in trying a new author (or so I thought) that my Foolproofing 2019 ideas took hold.

Let’s step back a few months. 2018 was a hard one. For me. Not hard by some standards, but there was a lot of disappointment and heartbreak for both my husband and I. A lot of 2018 was spent mourning a life I thought I was going to have but it was unceremoniously ripped out from under me, with no warning. That’s life. When you get lemons, you need to make lemonade (I don’t like homemade lemonade….but….). Coupled with giving up for adoption our two beautiful dogs, the year pretty awful.

So we moved to the beach. Started our own business and moved on! My spark moved on as well. I wanted my spark back!

Through a serendipitious series of encounters, I believe my Spark has come back home! Welcome back gorgeous!

When I lost her last time, I swore I was going to make the nicest, most comfortable, Cape Cod inspired home for my Spark that there ever was. As Spark sat in the pale blue wing chair, sipping on an organic flat white, I was busily setting up the rest of the house for her to live in joy and comfort. I don’t want her to leave again!

When looking through some book recommendations, I saw one for ‘The Pearl Thief’. The story sounded interesting, so I googled the author (of course….) and I went down the rabbit hole of discovery! Not the least of which I realised I had read one of her books previously and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I reserved ‘The Pearl Thief’ at my local library. I also discovered that Fiona has written a non-fiction ‘How to Write Your Blockbuster Novel’ – I love a good ‘how to’ book (I am looking at you Deepak, Louise and Wayne!). I got the book and started reading.

Two other things have been going on at this time as well. 2 bloggers that I follow, Darren Rowse and Kelly Exeter are exploring ‘Finding Your Spark’. I am involved in a Facebook group where we talk about that and they are writing a book. I love being involved in their process, so inspiring!

And, a friend of mine, Keith Abraham, an internationally recognised speaker on goal-setting, held a webinar late in 2018, which I attended. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place to Foolproof 2019.

Here you go campers!  My tips to Foolproof 2019.

  1.   Open your mind to new ideas and ways of thinking about you and how you work

The options here are endless. I read and listen to these people daily and I am a better person for it.

Seth Godin – Especially Linchpin. Seriously, this concept is gold!

Laurie Ruettimann – Her Let’s Fix Work podcast is brilliant.

2. Challenge yourself

You know the definition of insanity right? Well, do something different!

Keith Abraham – Goal Setting mostly. But there is so much more to Keith’s message. Try writing a list of 100 goals.

Fiona McIntosh – How to Write a Blockbuster. The system for writing in this book applies to almost anything. And it’s funny.

3. Be informed about the world around you, get different points of view

Nextdraft – If you don’t have time to trawl the internet looking for news and interesting stuff to read, Dave Pell will help you out.

Waitbutwhy – If you want to really blow your mind? Start here.

Online subscriptions – are mostly free. BUT, pay for one subscription that you know you will read all the time. It helps out artists and keeps original content alive.

How is your 2019 shaping up so far?

Found this to useful? Please share amongst your connections, here or on Twitter, like or comment.

Thank you for reading. Here at LinkedIn I write about HR and the digital workplace. Connect with me to talk  about what you need to know as a HR professional in the digital world, HR technology, my year in New York or dogs. Connect with me on InMail, sarah@mooreatwork.com and on twitter @SaraMooreatWork

HR Tech Fest 2018 Review

HR Tech Fest 2018 cranked it up a notch, thanks to the self deprecating humour of Master of Ceremonies(this may or may not be a throwback YouTube clip). As he said, if you are under 30 (and Australian) you will probably ask ‘who?’ and if you are over 30 you will say ‘what happened to you?’. Anyway, it set the tone for a fun, fast paced and relaxed conference.

Running through the conference were 3 meta-themes – Happiness, Diversity and Inclusion and HR in the Flow of Work. Ok, the last one, is a term Josh Bersin has been speaking about this last conference season, but regulars to the conference circuit will see that that this idea has been percolating around the edges for a number of years – we just didn’t know what to call it! Thanks Josh!

HR Technology and Innovation Festival 2018 was jam packed with amazing speakers, great exhibitors and terrific networking. I cannot possibly mention everyone, but here is what inspired me the most.

Alexander Kjerulf kicked us off in fine style giving us his take on happiness at work and how it is THE most important thing we should consider. Who doesn’t want to be happy? At work OR at home? The Happiness theme appeared in a number of presentations under the guise of ‘employee engagement’ and ‘employee experience’. It is great to see Happiness being elevated to a keynote speech, supported by science and data.

Not normally a topic consider at a Technology conference, but I was super pleased to hear so many people (both on and off stage) talking about Diversity and Inclusion. And not in a tokenistic ‘we need to do this to hit our numbers’ way. The conversations were real, heartfelt and accompanied by actionable takeaways. My favourite was Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer at Workday. She moved me to to tears with her stories and the way in which D & I is lived and breathed at Workday. I am cynical about these things, but if Workday are doing even a tenth of what they say they are – then there is hope for us all yet. She showed this video, grab a tissue. Good job!

Bill Boorman, a regular speaker in Australia (and the rest of the world) on all things Talent Acquisition, also spoke about Diversity & Inclusion and how it is time for HR to take the ball and run with it.

Now on to the Flavour of the Month (year perhaps). Productivity with Purpose or HR in the Flow of Work is not a new concept, we have known about it for a while (indeed Jason Averbook has been skirting around the edges of this in his own way – ‘frictionless experience’). Josh and his team have articulated it brilliantly – backing the ideas up with easy to understand graphics and explanations. If you were not at the conference, you can go to his website (link below) and you will find the presentation. You will need a few cups of tea (or glasses of champagne) to read it, digest it and read it again.

And the  presentations that inspired me the most:

Dr Amantha Amber from Inventium had us all wanting to implement Innovation Teams and strategies NOW! I have been a regular reader and fan of Amantha’s for a number of years. Innovation Thinking is the Next Big Thing. Start reading about it, and practicing it now – you will be glad you did in 10 years time (you are welcome).

Andrew Culleton and Dom Price are both doing fabulous things for HR and Innovation in Australia. They are world class professionals with amazing stories to tell of the work in their respective organisations CBA and Atlassian.

Andrew gave us an update on HR Sidekick which we first saw at TechFest 3 years ago. Andrew manages to finance this amazing bespoke technology from within his own budget, by demonstrating the cost savings of the technology. I loved his work then, and I still love it.

Dom Price regularly speaks (hilariously and peppered with the F word) and writes about the Future of Work. Unlike some, he is actually practicing what he is preaching. The great thing about Atlassian and what Dom showcased, is the Team Rater is all open source. Thanks Atlassian!

One of the great things about The Eventful Group shows, is they have speakers that operate on the fringes of the industry the conference is marketed to. Natalie Peters from Telstra is one of those people. She spoke about a massive change program she is leading. She is dynamic, smart and willing to try something different to get the job done. Look out for some changes coming your way from Telstra!

In conversation with Bill Boorman, we agreed that those of us who are lucky enough (privileged even) to attend the conferences that we do – it is our job to keep pushing the conversations into areas such as D & I, Happiness and HR in the Flow of Work. It is our job to pass on information, thoughts and knowledge to our friends and colleagues who are not able to get along to Tech Fest – to keep educating our community and raising the bar. Thanks again to The Eventful Group for a brilliant conference. We look forward to next year!

Find out more (or do your own google search):

Andrew Daddo (his real website)

Josh Bersin

Carin Taylor

Alexander Kjerulf

Natalie Peters

Dom Price

Dr Amantha Amber

HR Tech Fest 2018. Best Conference You Will Ever Attend.

Trust me.  I am in HR!

Starting a new job in HR technology about 5 years ago, I found out that it was lonely, hard and there were not that many people around I could talk to that understood what I was trying to do. God knows I tried, (large software company, I am looking at you) but no one would listen. Frustrating, right?

So I convinced my (very new) boss, that I had to go to HR Tech Fest to find out all the things we needed to know. 

HR Tech and Innovation Fest is now in it’s 5th year in Australia. This conference has something for everyone in HR, HR Technology, Talent Acquisition and now Learning!

Things I said yes to because 5 years ago I took a chance on a new conference in town.

  • Yes, I will speak at Tech Fest next year (did I just agree to that?)
  • Yes, I will speak at a conference in a different country (Best.Thing.Ever)
  • Yes, I would love to work in your start-up in the USA (A-maaazing experience)
  • Yes, let’s live in a beachside town and work remotely in HR Tech (True story!)

The world of HR Technology (and therefore HR) is maturing, particularly in Australia. The calibre of speakers and people you have the opportunity to speak to is of the highest quality (Have a chat with Bill Boorman, one of my speaking mentors).

One of the best things I ever did for my career, was attending the first HR Tech Fest. The people I met have been instrumental in advising me on my career. It was the best money and 2 days of my professional career I have ever spent. The opportunities it opened up were (and still are) endless.

If you want to come along, drop me a note so I can give you the code for a preferential rate, or email adam.beer@theeventfulgroup.com and mention me!

Hope to see you there. Get in touch if you want to connect or catch up at the conference.

We can swap HR war stories.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

What on earth is EX, and why do organisations need to embrace it?

Working in the United States for 12 months was an eye opener as there is virtually no protection for employees. With the most complex labour and tax laws, and benefits systems and processes I have worked with, the Employee Experience (EX) is a way for HR departments to design customer centric processes.

What is Employee Experience?

Employee Experience is essentially what individual employees encounter, good or bad, through their work journey. It’s everything from being a candidate, to On-boarding, the interaction with colleagues and managers, to the systems and processes they use. It is an holistic and inclusive view of the employee journey that organisations should embed into their everyday business and management of employees. Using the concepts of design thinking, you can use this to build a digitally enabled experience for your employees.

Out of necessity, the Employee Experience, based on the Customer Experience, has been evolving as a point of difference for HR to improve the lives of their employees. Done well, a thoughtful, custom-designed and realistic Employee Experience can most definitely help to increase engagement, reduce turnover and generally make everyone’s work lives more enjoyable.

The US is typically 5 to 7 years ahead of Australia when it comes to trends and practices in technology and sometimes the edgier side of Human Resources. Designing your Employee Experience is one of the trends we need to get behind in Australia.

Before you launch headlong into it, here are some questions to get you thinking:

Bespoke or Cookie Cutter?

Design the Employee Experience to suit your organisation. You will hear about wonderful, amazing and innovative Experiences in On-boarding, for example. These companies may have spent lots of time and money on implementation. But, this may not be the case for you; your high value Experience focus may be ‘seamlessly recording CPD points for accountants’. So, design what works for you. It might mean that you start with one experience – the one that you know can do better – CPD points. Once you have this under your belt, you have the confidence to tackle a more complex Experience, such as On-boarding.

How many employees do I need to have?

There are no minimum numbers. Of course, the more scale you have, the bigger the return on investment. But think about this, if you are a company of 100 people, and you have 5 people in your critical areas leave each year because their Experience at your company doesn’t meet their expectations, wouldn’t it make sense to redesign processes so employees want to stay? Even for an SME this is a lot of money and time saved.

I’ll be posting some more information on this in the coming weeks, but would love to chat in the meantime if you need some help or guidance.

Photo credit: Kevin Laminto at Unsplash

The Balance of Work Life

Recently my husband and I made a massive decision about our personal and professional lives. All based on the pretext of Work Life Balance. Although Work Life was the main driver.

Why? We’d both spent a number of years following the rule book about working in an office, for a corporate, with the 30min desk-based lunch break. But you know what? Rules are meant to be broken. So we did.

We have worked with some amazingly talented people who became friends, mentors, and future collaborators. Then there were the ‘challenging personalities’. And of course the Figjammers! Fortunately, these people were in the minority, but it’s amazing the way your thinking changes when you get damaged by a few of these people. You have a choice to make – stay on the corporate bus or ding the bell and get off at the next stop.

We recently spent time working in the US. The business model our respective employers had set up was a ‘remote’ one. It was good to work from home, but I missed the day to day interaction with people. I enjoyed not being exposed to the daily political cut and thrust of the office, but on the other hand, I missed having cake for no reason and a ready made social group.

We were living, and working in an apartment in Manhattan. Yes, both of us. Wife and husband, and two energetic dogs, 24/7 in a 2 bedroom apartment. Miraculously, we survived without killing each other!  We were ‘living the dream’. Literally.

When our time came to return to Australia, we took this experience and morphed it into something we wanted, not what the rule book said we should do. And we changed big time! The incessant noise of NYC (which we loved, by the way) was replaced with the constant crashing of waves as we moved to a small coastal town in Queensland. 2,500 people, 9 kilometres of beach at our back door and not even a set of traffic lights.

Friends and ex-colleagues challenged us – why, was the first thing everyone asked. The truth is, you cannot compete with New York. It’s an amazing, eclectic mix of fun and chaos. Working remotely in NY is far from remote work. If you need a break, you can grab the elevator to the lobby, and within 2 minutes have an array of distractions available to you. If the truth be known, probably too many distractions. To  get my fix of people watching, I would disappear into the city for a few hours at a time, coming home when I was too cold to go any further.

Could the major business centres in Australia offer us the life we craved? We felt they couldn’t, which pushed us into another major decision. What do we do for work? So we combined our collective experience and invented our own Work Life Balance.

It’s a risk, but apparently fortune favours the brave. Let’s hope it favours true balance of work and the life we hope to enjoy.

We should add, we are fortunate to be in the position of having flexibility in where we live and work. Many don’t have that option. But people can influence their own destiny, and we hope we can inspire friends and colleagues to break the rules!

Moving to the US was a 5 year plan in the making – so start planning now!

Photo credit: Sarah

It will glitter, but won’t always be gold

The music is mesmerising, the lighting subtle and relaxing. Plied with champagne and mini burgers, you see it across a crowded room. It is shiny, new and beautiful. It promises the most amazing experience and is adorned with the most gorgeous, fabulous and fashionable colours. The features are stunning. Showing off all the things you never imagined you would want, or want to buy.

You are IN LOVE. Now and forever. You are the answer to all my problems. Take my money NOW!

What? Wait.

Does this ‘suit my needs’? Do I have ‘the budget approved’? Does the Board know how much this will cost? What is your ‘return on investment’?

‘Building a business case’ sounds so boring and unnecessary when you see how beautiful the HR Technology solution is that will be the saviour of your HR department. But, that business case, is a critical, and often missed step in the journey to implementing your amazing new solution.

It starts with a KISS. That’s right. We don’t need to get too complicated, and here is a simple framework you can follow that will not only make you and your boss look fabulous but will also build the foundation for your project.

‘The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.’ Seth Godin

‘A rigorous discovery and interview process, ensures a business case is created that will help get your project approved.’

Investigate and gather information

Investigate and understand what your organisation needs. What sort of experience do you want for your employees? What is your budget? What do your stakeholders want? Build a picture of their expectations.

Build an impactful business case

Answer the most pressing questions in your business case. Quantify the return on investment. Showcase some of the beautiful pieces of the solution to your different audiences. Will your stakeholders be in love too? Build excitement.

Getting the seal of approval

Share your business case. Listen to what your stakeholders are telling you. What else do you need to include? Tell your story, as much as you can.

As we rocket through the ‘conference season’ in North America, followed closely by Europe and Australia/NZ, consider getting your business case approved (or at least started!) before you fall in love. In Australia it’s budget time, and if you haven’t missed the boat, get on board soon, otherwise that shiny new toy will be at least 2 years away.

Get in touch if we can help you with your business case.

Photo credit: Unsplash