Friday, August 29, 2014

A Simple Idea to Revolutionize How We Hire People

I’m just finishing up a week in Australia conducting a series of hiring strategy sessions with 100+ staffing firms and the HR and talent leaders at 20 companies. At the beginning of each meeting I asked attendees to describe their biggest hiring challenges. Here’s the top of the list:

  • Can’t find enough strong talent to fill critical positions

  • Hiring managers are disengaged

  • HR is a bottleneck, not an asset

  • Hiring managers have unreasonable expectations

  • The best people want more money

  • Recruiters can’t find passive candidates

Not surprising, this is the exact same list of complaints I heard in New York this past June, Los Angeles in January, last year in London, and two years ago in Amsterdam. Even worse, it’s the same list I heard 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and 35 years ago when I first became a recruiter.

What gives?

Coincidently, I received a call from a reporter for an HR magazine this morning who asked for my opinion about a survey she had just conducted with 600 talent leaders in the U.S. It described the same challenges and complaints listed above. She was dumbfounded and wondered why there has been no progress on the hiring front despite all of the new hiring tools now available. My opinion boiled down to one simple concept: HR leaders are using a flawed talent acquisition strategy. They have designed their hiring processes assuming there’s a surplus of talent and it will not work since a surplus of top talent has never existed and never will.

You can’t use a surplus of talent strategy when a surplus of talent doesn’t exist.

I went on to explain the diagram shown, suggesting that every hiring decision can be categorized into one of the four boxes shown.

  • The HAVE box consists of the skills and experiences supposedly required for job success. This list is used to filter out unqualified candidates based on their resumes. In a surplus of talent situation this might work, but some of the top people would still be excluded since many of the best people have a different mix of skills than those listed. Even if a top person possessed these skills, few are likely to apply given the impersonal nature of the process.

  • The GET box is what the candidate gets on the start date – Day 1: a title, compensation package, company name and location. Candidates and recruiters alike filter each other in or out based on these criteria for the sake of efficiency. This is an example of how companies and candidates make critical hiring and career decisions using superficial information. Few people recognize that all of the factors in the GET box are negotiable once the opportunity is clarified and the person’s true ability is determined.

  • The DO box is the actual job itself, what the person will be doing in Year 1 including the actual work, the people involved, the leadership qualities of the hiring manager and the company culture. This is the primary criteria the best people use to decide to accept or reject an offer. Yet the people the company actually wants to hire never learn about this since they were either filtered out too soon or have never applied.

  • The BECOME box represents the future growth opportunity inherent in the job. This is the second biggest criteria the best people use when comparing opportunities. If this is significant the best people will be more flexible on what they GET on Day 1.

As represented by the graphic, most hiring processes are designed with a left to right perspective. This is a surplus of talent strategy designed to weed out the weak with the expectation that a few strong contenders will remain. This is how applicant tracking systems are designed, job descriptions are written, filtering technology is used, how candidates must apply and how they’re ranked. It won’t work if a surplus of talent doesn’t exist. Despite the obvious, companies insist upon using it.

Think Backwards – Think Talent Scarcity

The solution to minimizing all of the classic hiring problems is to rethink the hiring process backwards – from a talent scarcity perspective. The idea is rather than build processes designed to weed out the weak, it’s far better to design processes to attract the best. This starts by emphasizing what the person will be doing, why it’s important, and what the upside growth opportunity is if the work is done well. Here’s an example of a job posting that demonstrates this type of thinking. While the process takes a little bit longer for each candidate, less time is wasted looking for people who are not there. Before the naysayers begin their naysaying, I urge them to read this white paper from a preeminent U.S. labor attorney and this video describing the two models in more detail.

My view is that HR leaders should be responsible for developing a talent acquisition strategy based on a scarcity of talent model. At the process level, hiring managers should be measured and rewarded based on the long term potential of the people they hire. This simple idea seems a lot better than blaming each other for the lack of results.

via A Simple Idea to Revolutionize How We Hire People | Lou Adler | LinkedIn.

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A Simple Idea to Revolutionize How We Hire People

Top CIOs Get Deeply Involved in Merger Deals

Todd Stabenow was on a secret mission.

As he flew from Minneapolis to Paris one morning last year, he considered tactics for getting the information he wanted without revealing the truth about his visit. Land O’Lakes, a giant agriculture cooperative, had hired him the year before to oversee the IT part of mergers and acquisitions. The first step is investigating a target company for major risks—“the big rocks,” as Stabenow says.

He was on the way to Geosys, a French firm that had developed algorithms for analyzing satellite images to help farmers track the health of their crops. Land O’Lakes already owned almost 10 percent of Geosys, and now it wanted to buy the rest. The opportunity to add a new line of business — selling this analytics service to its member farmers — was enticing as a strategic play in the fast-growing “precision agriculture” market.

Land O’Lakes has doubled its sales in seven years, from $7.1 billion in 2006 to $14.2 billion in 2013, and has pledged to offer new tools to its member farmers to help them improve their yields and profits. Stabenow had to find out whether the Geosys technology was solid enough to scale and whether overall IT at the company was sound. Just a handful of top executives at Geosys knew of Land O’Lakes’ intentions; most of the people Stabenow would be interviewing did not. The deal wasn’t definite, so speed and discretion were imperative.

CIOs: Prepare Yourself for M&As

You could soon find yourself in the same situation.

Whether they aim to boost revenues, break into new geographies, eliminate competition or otherwise expand an empire, M&A deals are on the rise. As of July, mergers and acquisitions were up 24 percent in number and 36 percent in value compared to the same period last year, according to FactSet Research Systems.

There’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ $53 billion bid to take over Botox-maker Allergan, AT&T’s $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, Comcast’s proposed $45 billion buyout of Time Warner Cable, and discount retailer Dollar Tree’s $8.5 billion plan to buy rival Family Dollar Stores. After a bidding war against rival Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson Foods’ nearly $9 billion acquisition of Hillshire Brands is expected to close this month.

As companies posture during the sensitive early stages, CIOs must swoop in to perform due diligence, assessing the inner workings of someone else’s IT organization, on limited time, often in secret and typically with imperfect information.

“It’s like a puzzle,” says Michael Iacona, president of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and former VP of technology for M&A at Thomson Reuters. “You collect pieces, and at the end of day, you won’t have it complete. But you can see the picture.”

It used to be that CIOs, tired of having IT be an afterthought, cried out to be brought into due diligence early on. But that’s no longer good enough. To make the most of a merger, companies need CIOs involved in a deal’s conception, says Jan Roehl-Anderson, a principal at Deloitte Consulting. CIOs who help shape the business case the company takes to Wall Street, she says, will be able to find not only risks but also potential rewards.

Yes, a CIO can spot IT problems that a CEO or CFO might miss, such as a decrepit application behind a pivotal business line that will take millions to stabilize. But in these digital days, sometimes only a technology leader can recognize IT assets that could increase the value of the deal.

That could be the target’s state-of-the-art data center, which could save you the expense of building one yourself. Or it could be a quiet group of data scientists with a killer algorithm for predicting customer behavior. Or, as the IT team at electronics distributor Avnet discovered during a recent deal investigation, it could be an internal training system that could be built up into a fast-growing source of revenue.

A higher standard for IT’s role in these deals is now emerging, says Dewey Ray, president of M&A consultancy Cognitive Diligence: “CIOs formulate theories about approaches to the acquisition itself and understand the business drivers.”

Or CIOs should, anyway. “Not many of us get trained in due diligence or mergers and acquisitions. You’re learning on the job,” says Steve Phillips, CIO of the $25 billion Avnet. Phillips has done 51 acquisitions in the past 10 years. “Your first one is always really hard.”

Right Process, Right People

After a buyer issues a letter of intent to a company it wants to purchase, the process soon moves to due diligence. A cadre of senior executives visits the target company to learn about its strategy, plans and basic operations and facilities. For a CIO, the point is to evaluate the state of IT there and how it matches yours. Where the two systems differ, there are risks to mitigate or opportunities to exploit. The trick is to quickly estimate the time, manpower and money needed for either kind of work.

Access can be limited when time is short. Smaller companies often don’t have the requested information readily available, says Cora Carmody, SVP of IT at Jacobs Engineering. Carmody has done a lot of deals: Acquisitions account for one-third of growth at the $11.8 billion company and are critical to meeting its goal of boosting profits by an average of 15 percent every year.

Some interviewees aren’t forthcoming because the acquisition is unwelcome or they’re afraid for their jobs. The Securities and Exchange Commission and other bodies govern what information can be disclosed or kept confidential at which stage of a transaction, says Rudy Puryear, who leads the IT practice at Bain and Co. For example, during due diligence, two companies cannot see each other’s “competitively sensitive” information, such as current or future pricing. But a neutral third party agreed upon by both companies can evaluate that data for them.

Before Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced their deal in February, the companies had shared information about equipment such as hardware, software and routers. But not until things progressed did they reveal more sensitive material, such as certain customer data. The rules are there to protect companies in case the deal falls apart, Puryear says.

Rather than setting up camp at the company headquarters, the two sides might use a neutral third party to run a “clean room,” physical or virtual, where material is shared and evaluated. That’s especially common when doing deals in other countries; you don’t want language barriers to blur the nuances in critical information. Participants sign nondisclosure contracts and agree to follow rules laid out by lawyers, such as no personal electronic devices in the clean room.

Deloitte’s Roehl-Anderson recalls one merger where the parties were especially worried about a leak. They taped paper to the windows of the conference room and installed a lock on the door. Retired executives with no vested interest in the deal, or in using the proprietary information afterward, assessed the data, diagrams, financial forecasts and other material. “If the merger didn’t go through, those people were gone anyway,” she says.

As an extra precaution against compromising vital information, companies sometimes hire consultants to do an initial assessment. A consultant might observe, for example, that there is little customer overlap between the two companies or that their product pricing strategies don’t mesh well, Puryear says. Players at the companies don’t see each other’s confidential data, but they do gain valuable insights about it, he says.

At Land O’Lakes, the Geosys transaction wouldn’t be huge, with an ultimate purchase price of $26 million. But Stabenow knew that creating a new business would be strategic, bringing in revenue for years to come—if all went well. To avoid sparking worried speculation among Geosys employees, he didn’t join his peers from finance and legal on their due diligence trip. He conducted the IT portion separately.

“We went in under the guise of an IT audit, given we were already part-owners,” he says.

As a result, he had access to lots of Geosys IT staff members knowledgeable in many areas. That’s not typical, though. ­Usually, just a small group of senior leaders is available. “Sometimes you’re speaking with the CFO and he’s struggling with getting the detailed answers you need,” he says.

Stabenow used an IT M&A playbook, which he had developed for Land O’Lakes CIO Mike Macrie, looking at items such as the age and stability of infrastructure equipment, downtime, and problem-resolution processes. The report was mostly good, save for disaster recovery and infrastructure—no deal-breakers. Macrie and the IT leadership team then began to mull ideas for fortifying those areas.

Macrie has been involved in more than 40 acquisitions in his career and knows they don’t all go as well as Geosys. After he joined Land O’Lakes in 2010, he wanted to formalize the acquisition process, to make it repeatable and speedy, and to help get the most value from each deal. Eventually, he saw the need to hire someone to manage IT’s role in M&A work, in part to improve relations with the Land O’Lakes strategy group. “Consistently, we were getting blindsided after a deal was done with very little IT due diligence,” he says. “We’d be asked to execute on things we had little visibility into.”

Macrie brought in Stabenow, a former colleague at Ingersoll Rand who had led M&As and divestitures for IT there. His MBA and experience with finance and global project management were attractive, Macrie says, because whoever filled the role had to be viewed as part of the business team. “We had to hire someone with the ability to talk about risk, planning and synergy targets,” Macrie says, “and how IT could be an enabler to possibly gaining more.”

Finding the Bad Stuff

Before any company can gain from an acquisition, however, the potential problems must be identified and weighed. IT risks can include old or multiple data centers, cybersecurity holes and onerous software license contracts. These items can result in huge costs to be borne by the buyer.

Unfavorable contracts with vendors often go undiscovered, says Roehl-Anderson. Maybe an agreement between the target company and a vendor obligates you to pay millions of dollars for maintenance in the next four years, subtracting from the synergy savings the acquisition was supposed to deliver, she says.

Software about to lose vendor support may need to be upgraded soon. “A CEO and CFO would never know that and it wouldn’t get disclosed in early conversations happening at a higher level,” Puryear says. “The CIO knows we’ve got a $20 million exposure here because we have to replace it within two years.”

IT problems alone typically won’t scuttle a deal, but they could change the negotiations or add to a pile of risks that ultimately turns a company off, says Iacona, who is also a former longtime CIO. One large company Thomson Reuters looked at when he was there ran some old technology that few IT people knew how manage, he recalls. That discovery went into the demerit column and Thomson Reuters ultimately dropped its  pursuit, he says.

If an acquisition moves ahead despite sizeable risks, the buyer will sometimes ask for a pot of money to be placed in escrow, to be drawn from if needed during integration, says the consultant Ray, who is author of The IT Professional’s Merger and Acquisition Handbook. For example, if the buyer audits the acquired company’s compliance with software licenses and finds violations, then the buyer can use funds from the escrow account to pay for making the systems compliant.

Impress the Boss

M&A is a good time to try to improve your career standing. The projects are high on the CEO’s agenda and can make a substantial difference to the company. The IT leader who recognizes that a target company’s sales forecast is predicated in part on successful rollout of a new ERP system—and the project is going south—can bring unique insight to C-suite colleagues, Puryear says. “An informed CIO could suggest that maybe the company is not worth what it says it’s worth,” he says. “These things don’t appear on the surface, but a couple layers deeper.”

Avnet’s due diligence team happened upon valuable technology in 2012 when it was checking out Magirus Group, a data center technology distributor in Germany. They spotted a small but elegant online system the company used for internal training. They didn’t trumpet their interest, wanting to avoid showing their hand during negotiations, says CIO Phillips. “It was noted and we were thinking about it,” he says. “That increased the momentum to complete the transaction.”

After the deal closed, Magirus developers (now part of Avnet) scaled up the Magirus system, branded it Avnet Academy, and began selling it. Today it reaches paying customers in 59 countries.

At the very least, CIOs must understand the business drivers behind a deal. For example, Avnet bought Magirus for an immediate financial boost in Europe and the Middle East. Jacobs Engineering bought Federal Network Systems in July to build its business in the intelligence community and Eagleton Engineering in February to add expertise in oil pipeline design and construction.

CEOs, meanwhile, are getting smarter about the business implications of IT issues during a merger, Puryear says. He’s working on a deal between two large healthcare companies that each run about 80 percent of their operations on homegrown systems. “The CEOs realized very early that it was absolutely critical to sort out the platform issue sooner rather than later,” he says. “There are pervasive implications for strategy and operations.”

More executives will start to evaluate the intrinsic value of IT and data in the coming years, Ray predicts. But it’ll take awhile. “The M&A process is dominated by lawyers, advisers, accountants and investment bankers who are mired in the traditional approach to deal-making and not particularly open to nontraditional ways of thinking about finding value,” he says.

At Jacobs Engineering, SVP of IT Carmody expands her due diligence beyond IT to larger strategy discussions. For example, she helps vet acquisition candidates long before a bid is made, assessing whether the business, corporate culture and customer base would fit well with Jacobs.

In one recent acquisition, Carmody talked to a couple of big customers of the other company to get feedback about the customer experience, then took that intelligence to Jacobs’ board of directors to bolster the case for doing the deal. “I could tell the board it was a good fit,” she says.

Doing M&A transactions can be a potent way to enhance your skills as a business executive, says Roehl-Anderson at Deloitte. “It’s a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from other CIOs.”

Carmody, for example, is often appointed to the team that audits the report from the initial due diligence group, looking for holes in the information and analyzing the IT findings with an eye toward legal and financial implications—for example, how much wiggle room there might be in the target company’s enterprise license agreement with Microsoft.

Jacobs Engineering uses M&A as a stretch assignment. Bosses populate due diligence and integration teams with managers who meet tough criteria. Among them: Good general leadership qualities and the ability to plan large projects and to understand lots of legalese in IT contracts. Team members also must be able to travel and sometimes be away for weeks or months. “They have to dedicate not just their mind but their body,” she says.

As Land O’Lakes settled its acquisition of Geosys, Stabenow went on to provide guidance about M&A processes to the HR department. Macrie couldn’t be more pleased. Such a show of business know-how strengthened the relationship between IT and other colleagues, he says. “That was a great outcome.”

In January, Land O’Lakes expanded Stabenow’s job to add international management responsibilities. He declined to provide details about the potential deals he’s investigating now, but the company has said it plans to expand in China, Africa and Latin America.

Beyond the Checklist

A playbook of standard procedures can speed up due diligence and help cover your bases. But every deal has its quirks. You’re trying to get a feel for the IT group, as well as the facts about it, says Steve Phillips, CIO of Avnet, who has been involved in more than 50 mergers and acquisitions in the last decade.

Give yourself a head start by gathering any public information you can find through online searches, chats with key vendors and colleagues in your professional network, and reviews of financial documents. If an auditor finds a material weakness related to IT, the company must file a description with its annual 10-K.

The first round of due diligence paints the landscape of IT at the target company—a list of major hardware, software, data centers and other facilities, plus an overview of the IT budget and major projects underway. Ask for information about systems in the cloud and what is outsourced, says Jan Roehl-Anderson, a principal at Deloitte Consulting. She also likes to see application architecture diagrams and disaster-recovery plans.

Todd Stabenow, director of IT M&A and international systems at Land O’Lakes, makes a point of asking for proof of software licenses and whether there are any disputes going on with IT vendors.

If the deal is big and there’s time, a second round of inquiries may delve further into licenses and other contracts, anything missing or inconsistent from the first round, and perhaps a detailed version of the IT staff org chart.

Don’t forget shadow IT. Interview finance, HR and marketing leaders about their IT systems and projects, which might be unknown to the CIO at the target company, Roehl-Anderson says. Also check in with the real-estate department about remote data centers and other offsite IT facilities, she says.

Cora Carmody, SVP of IT at Jacobs Engineering, sometimes inquires about the compensation structure for the target company’s IT organization. That’s helpful when devising plans to integrate the staff later, she says.

Be careful about who you talk to, and how you talk to them, so you don’t spook future allies, Carmody advises. “One of the first things I learned was tone and tenor,” she says. “You don’t want to lose historical knowledge and brainpower if the thought of being acquired disturbs someone.” Some former CIOs from past acquisitions have stayed on at Jacobs.

Be wary of trying to get too detailed, Phillips says. Due diligence is for “trying to assess whether we can make the transaction make financial sense,” he says. “We don’t want any big surprises from IT, but we’re not trying to lay out an integration plan yet.”

via Top CIOs Get Deeply Involved in Merger Deals | CIO.

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Top CIOs Get Deeply Involved in Merger Deals

Thursday, August 28, 2014

5 ways to make Big Data Actionable for HR

While data related to payroll, performance, compensation, productivity and other aspects of HR is often used to take the pulse of the workforce, when reviewed with the right perspective and integrated properly, it can reveal new insights and empower HR executives to be more strategic contributors to the business.

HR has always used broad metrics, but traditional HR data analysis has focused primarily on looking at a data set from only one perspective. For example, payroll data was reviewed to understand a company’s pay landscape.

However, HR data has the potential to be much more predictive, especially given four important evolutions that have driven the rise of big data in HR:

The adoption of unified and integrated global HR systems. As companies have globalized, they have realized the benefits of a single, unified HR system that integrates various HR processes on one platform.

The demand for self-service. With employees handling more of their HR data input through self-service technologies, there has been a steep increase in transactional HR data.

The convergence of mobile, social and cloud. HR data is now more accessible, traceable and measurable than ever, providing greater opportunities for analysis.

The application of predictive analytics. The first wave of automation in HR happened in the 1990s, giving companies the ability to predict the future based on historical patterns.

The use of big data empowers HR to view its existing data through a new lens. By combining various types of data — macroeconomic parameters, global payroll information, reward industry averages — and looking at them through a historical lens, HR executives can make more informed decisions.

For instance, if a company is interested in determining the talent makeup of its best-performing geography, HR executives could combine data regarding the workforce makeup, the win rate of given locations and overall productivity to better determine what mix of employee skills and levels yield the best results. In other words, where traditional HR data analytics provided a two-dimensional view of a business, big data offers a multidimensional perspective.

Making Big Data Actionable

As HR executives seek to turn mounds of diverse and disparate data into tools for greater business insight, it’s important that they be aware of the considerations for leveraging big data:

Start with the right questions. One way to determine what questions big data can address is by reviewing corporate and HR key performance indicators (KPIs) such as absentee rates, turnover and recruitment success. By understanding which KPIs need improvement, HR executives can craft the right questions and pull the appropriate data to gain further insights on how challenges can be overcome.

Focus on compatibility. HR executives must ensure their data speaks the same language. Compatibility requires determining universal definitions for various terms, such as salary (does it mean pre-tax salary or total compensation), as well as developing a consistent structure for inputting information (for example, does one form have names listed first then last while another is reversed). A lack of compatibility is one the greatest obstacles preventing HR from unleashing the predictive analysis of big data.

Ensure integration. Integrating data across geographies, departments, time frames and countries is key to unlocking the value of big data. To ensure an HR department develops the common language and structure necessary for effective integration, businesses should look to global HR consultants with an expertise in aggregating data and analyzing it for greater business meaning.

Remember to disaggregate. While big data is valuable as it combines multiple data sets, remember the importance of disaggregation. Sometimes aggregating data can hide challenges or provide misleading information. For example, an aggregation of salaries would likely produce skewed insights related to the workforce’s pay scale.

Visualize insights. Garnering information from big data is not enough; HR executives must be able to share information with others. One of the best ways to communicate complex data is through visualizations. Leveraging graphs, data visualizations, infographics and videos can be powerful tools in helping others digest the insights uncovered from big data.

The rise of big data is not only changing the way HR executives use information, but is also further evolving the role of HR executives. As technology continues to relieve HR executives of the administrative aspects of their roles, there emerges an even greater opportunity and responsibility to contribute more strategically to a business’s operations and decision-making.

via five-ways-to-make-big-data-actionable-for-hr.

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5 ways to make Big Data Actionable for HR

Talent Analytics: A Crystal Ball For Your Workforce?

Guest Blog: Meghan Biro

We’ve been listening to the buzz around Big Data and Talent Analytics for a couple of years now. It was nearly a year to the day that I wrote about why Big Data is HR’s new BFF. It has a lot of potential, Cloud-sized trove of information that, with the right algorithms and filters – can be turned into actionable insight.

The existence of these new streams of verifiable information about potential hires adds a hefty dose of science to one facet of business that, surprisingly, has often felt like more like an art. Sure, the resume looks great and the interview was a standout. “Star player” one recruiter claims, “I can feel it in my gut.”

Think about it – sports have traditionally mixed stats with that sixth sense. Those winning World Cup teams? Hard numbers helped build those rosters: noone’s gotten to be a star midfielder or striker without awesome stats, one of the original forms of Talent Analytics, when you think about it. It’s time the World of Work catches catch up.

I’m not saying ditch the intangibles altogether. HR is all about humans — with so many different behaviors, skills, intelligence, and mindsets that you can’t simply quantify someone. But Talent Analytics can do a whole lot of the heavy lifting. You just have to know how to use it.

Talent analytics uses data in management decisions, be it in talent acquisition, retention, placement, promotion, compensation, or workforce and succession planning.

It has the capacity to be a powerful descriptive tool, looking at past performance and information to enable strategic change. Josh Bersin described the astonishing revelations a company had after performing a statistical analysis of sales productivity and turnover. The data showed that old indicators (such as GPA and education) were far less critical to performance and retention than factors like experience selling big-ticket items, for instance. When the data was implements into the recruiting process, the company grew by $4 M in the very next fiscal period.

It’s an incredible predictive tool, a trustworthy future-caster, HR’s own crystal ball BLL +0.3%. By analyzing the skills and attributes of high performers in the present, it enables organizations to build a template for future hires. As my neighbor here in Cambridge MA Greta Roberts notes, predictive talent analytics is much more useful, because it asks questions in order to change the outcome, not reflect on it. What will our attrition rate be this year? Who may leave the company? What can we do to reduce that turnover?

By its nature Talent Analytics is democratic: merit may well trump a fancy education, skills may supersede proximity, and remember those apparently intangible aspects, like social skills, flexibility, emotional intelligence, initiative, attitude,? They are now measurables. Just look at Google GOOGL -0.88%’s HR division devoted to people analytics, and massive, global sites like LinkedIn LNKD -0.51%, a gold mine for HR.

Advanced software algorithms can identify talent and match it to an organization’s needs, pinpointing team players based on core traits and personality matching, making it an effective method for taking care of costly and time-consuming preliminary screening.

It’s mobile. Everything’s mobile. Your talent acquisition strategies had better be, too. New mobile apps make talent searches a matter of anytime and anywhere, including red-flag identifiers, an efficient way to handle the increasingly global and social nature of hires.

It’s growing. The market for corporate talent management software grew by 17% in 2013, and is now over $5 billion in size. Gartner predicts that the market for BigData and analytics will generate $3.7 Trillion in products and services and generate 4.4 million new jobs by 2015.

via Talent Analytics: A Crystal Ball For Your Workforce?.

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Talent Analytics: A Crystal Ball For Your Workforce?

CIOs Talk Hiring and How to Win the "War for Talent"

Surrounded by sexy tech job destinations such as Twitter, Salesforce and Dropbox, near San Francisco’s Union Square, Chris Morgan, an executive coach and founding principal at Morgan Alexander, asked a roomful of CIOs a challenging question: How do you get top-notch tech talent amidst competition from tech giants?

“The war for talent is mission critical,” Morgan says.

The CIOs gathered at San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko for a one-day CIO Perspectives event, organized by the publisher of, to discuss the pressing issues of the day, including recruiting and managing tech talent. Many CIOs, especially those outside of tech, said they simply cannot compete with the Googles of the world and are having a tough time finding and retaining tech talent. Yet there are ways to discover diamonds in the rough and get the most out of the people you already have.

IT hiring

Make no mistake, there’s a tech talent war underway on a scale unseen since the dot-com boom. Earlier this year, for instance, a Silicon Valley startup tried to woo a Google programmer away by offering a $500,000 salary, but the programmer refused and said he was making $3 million annually in cash and restricted stock units. Yahoo decided to give free food to employees as a recruiting and retaining perk at a cost of $14 million, Morgan says.

Demand is up for network engineers, software engineers and Web developers. Tech workers with “sweet spot” skills such as .Net, Java J2EE, PHP, SharePoint and mobile are getting multiple offers, according to David Knapp, metro market manager at staffing firm Robert Half Technology in San Francisco.

When recruiting tech talent, Morgan says, the key is to focus on individuals who want to quickly grow their skills and influence, and who may even look at their technical work as a kind of art form that requires a lifetime of improvement. It’s not about winning, he says, rather it’s really about working toward personal perfection.

“Recruit for attitude, not for skill,” Morgan says. “You’re trying to get raw material.”

That’s an instinct CIOs on the fringes of Silicon Valley’s starlit tech scene will need to tap if they want to recruit successfully. When B. Lee Jones, director of IT for the office of Mark Church at the County of San Mateo, ran across a stellar resume, he knew he had to appeal to the applicant’s lofty aspirations. He told her that she would be working directly with the head of the department, who was a year away from retirement, and thus she would be groomed to take over.

“That was the deal closer,” Lee Jones said at the CIO Perspectives event.

Given the recruitment challenges in Silicon Valley, CIOs might be better off coaching up their existing employees and inspiring them to pursue perfection. Unfortunately, CIOs give coaching short shrift, Morgan says. In a landmark study, three out of four companies said coaching is critical and should be someone’s dedicated job, yet only a tiny percent actually practice what they preach, according to Morgan.

One CIO attendee said he was able to inspire staff by letting go of a manager who would often shoot down ideas. The new manager now helps employees get excited about their work by showing them that he is excited about their ideas. “Want to fire people up? Fire somebody,” the CIO says.

Praising employees can inspire them to pursue perfection in their work, but CIOs need to praise the right way, warns Morgan. If you praise an employee for being smart, for instance, he might think he’s doing all that is expected and might not work as hard in the future. Or he might lie when he screws up, in an effort to maintain his super-smart status.

Instead, Morgan advises CIOs to recognize and reward employees’ pursuit of perfection, not the end product.

“Don’t praise or encourage intellect and talent,” Morgan says. “Do praise for their effort.”

via CIOs Talk Hiring and How to Win the ‘War for Talent’ | CIO.

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CIOs Talk Hiring and How to Win the "War for Talent"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Human Resources Tentatively Tries Predictive Analytics

Knowing the probability of important employee events before they happen can have a big bottom-line impact.

What’s the probability that employee X will leave in two years? Could predictive analytics supply an answer?

Accurately forecasting what any individual employee will do in the future is at the bleeding edge of the market, say human resources experts. What’s more common, and on the rise, is using analytics to better understand the patterns of large collections of employees, such as in a call center.

“Statistical techniques used for prediction tend to work with larger numbers,” David Gartside told InformationWeek in a phone interview. Gartside is managing director responsible for HR offerings and capabilities within the Accenture Talent & Organization practice.

In call center operations involving thousands of people, such analyses are being used today, providing, for example, predictions about the percentage of workers likely to leave in a month.

“If you have a good view of this, you can plan accordingly, ramping up or down recruiting,” Gartside says.

Three things are driving the use of predictive analytics in HR, Gartside told us. First, HR departments are getting much better at using operational processes and technology with an eye toward collecting good-quality data to make better decision-making.

“The second piece is social data,” he said, referring to the inclusion of both external and internal data. These rich data sources didn’t exist even a few years ago.

Finally, he notes, vendors of HR solutions are increasingly building analytics into their core platforms.

But predicting an individual’s future actions — think Minority Report-style “precrime” — raises a number of largely unanswered legal and ethical questions, too, which explains why HR organizations have been pursuing this application of predictive analytics with a great deal of caution.

In the context of NSA spying revelations and other privacy concerns, “people have a heightened sensitivity” about surveillance, said Mark Berry, vice president of Human Capital Analytics and Reporting at ConAgra Foods, during his presentation at the Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit in Chicago earlier this month.

Nevertheless, ConAgra Foods, which has only just embarked on some HR analytic programs, hopes the work will help it plan better and improve business outcomes.



“We want to know our employees as well as we know our customers,” Berry said, adding that the company has already developed a number of safeguards for what types of employee data it will and will not collect, as well as assess the impact, both positive and negative, of the project before proceeding.

Where to start
But how accurate is predictive analytics when it comes to forecasting individual employee events, such as a key vice president of sales quitting without notice?

“It is a very difficult science,” Accenture’s Gartside says. And like ConAgra’s Berry, Gartside urges companies to think about how these systems will be regarded by employees and the marketplace. Make sure these programs aren’t just cognizant of what’s legally allowable, he cautions, and make sure they are aligned with the culture and company brand as well.

Asked for advice on how to get started with predictive analytics in the HR function, Gartside offered the following:

  • Start with a business problem, such as service quality, being impacted by employee attrition.

  • Do a pilot with existing data and capabilities. “See if these analytics have value, and don’t wait for the data to be perfect.”

  • Finally, put in a technical infrastructure that can make this kind of analysis repeatable and easy to do.

Will advanced, data-driven approaches to employee performance and outcomes become standard? Gartside thinks so.

“Look at how many people have a job title with ‘talent analytics’ in it. This title didn’t exist two years ago,” he said, adding that the Fortune 250 are carving out this executive role, “because people are finding value in it.”

via Human Resources Tentatively Tries Predictive Analytics – InformationWeek.

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Human Resources Tentatively Tries Predictive Analytics

Why Data Needs a Leader

Guest Blog: West Hunt

Strong data and analytics capabilities can lead to competitive advantage, and has the demonstrated the power to transform entire industries and business models. Yet with the emergence of big data, advanced analytics, and the ever changing security landscape, these trends can overwhelm and bog down an organization. That’s why there is a need for dedicated leadership; one who can set the strategy around data. The role of the Chief Data Officer is taking off as organizations look to fill this gap.

Big data and analytics is a big priority at Nationwide – in all areas of the enterprise. Prior to becoming CDO, I was the VP of Customer Analytics, using actionable insights from data to put our members first. My team worked across the company to build trusted relationships and deliver business results through actionable insights. And it paid off. Nationwide customer satisfaction increased by 13%, and member tenure increased by 15%, helping Nationwide to deliver on our promise of protecting what matters most to our members.

CDOs can’t realize all the value of big data and analytics on their own. Every leader needs a team. According to research and interviews in a new CDO Perspective paper from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), CDOs must be responsible for leading, managing and nurturing teams of data scientists, data aggregators and others with the business and technical skills needed to identify the opportunities data can create. The CDO’s team requires a mix of tech and business acumen to bridge the gap between business units, analytics and IT functions. The key is for the team to drive innovation and growth, with a dedicated leader positioning the team for success.

At Nationwide, we are doing just that. I am fortunate enough to have a talented team and data stewards throughout the enterprise, with the right combination of data science, analytics and innovation, to deliver great insights that move the business forward in a way that is consistent with our vision and values. We use data and analytics to create personalized customer experiences that exceed expectations, demonstrating real value to our members. Our data-driven strategy also leads to a more efficient enterprise, from sales improvement and retention to call centers and claims services.

It may not be easy, but when done right, data can truly transform an organization. The CDO Perspective found that the most successful CDOs are the ones that can provide a vision, strategy and management responsibilities for all initiatives related to data, including new business opportunities. They must listen to the data stewards, key company stakeholders and customers to resolve conflicts and remove any barriers to success. They understand that a data-centric or analytics-driven transformation isn’t a one-step trip, but an ongoing journey with multiple destinations — each one a staging post for the next.

Now is the time for companies to explore the opportunity and emerging role of Chief Data Officer to fully exploit the transformation power of their big data analytics initiatives.

via Why Data Needs a Leader « A Smarter Planet Blog A Smarter Planet Blog.

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Why Data Needs a Leader

Accessing and Managing Big Data For HR Decision-Making

Big data is big news. In fact, it has even been deemed “the topic of the year,” as more companies seek to access and utilize the information available to them. In a 2014 report by Forrester’s, Melissa Parrish, research director and principal analyst, states that “[i]n employee_performance_data2014, big data will finally be put to good use as marketers stop waiting for insights to reveal themselves and start finding actionable paths through the information,” as told to Rebecca Borison in Mobile Marketer.

Derek Irvine, VP of Client Strategy & Consulting Service at Globoforce, a global provider of strategic employee recognition and reward programs, feels that HR professionals can do a better job of managing data. “The self-promotional types tend to rise to the top while those who are equally talented but less able to promote their own successes tend to have their skills marginalized,” he states.

Irvine feels that part of this problem is a lack of consistent data acquisition from employees. He recommends gathering relative data throughout the year and from a variety of sources, rather than just during an appraisal or from sketchy, second-hand office gossip. While Irvine makes a valid point, consistent data acquisition is only part of the problem. Another key issue is data storage and retrieval.

“Simplifying complexity” is a slogan that Intricity takes to heart. The company, co-Intricity logofounded by Arkady Kleyner and Troy Clemente, is a full-service supplier of turnkey data management solutions. Data warehousing is just one of the available services that the company provides.

Without a centralized data gathering process, HR managers must manually gather information and present it, typically in a spreadsheet. This data is essentially used for one decision and discarded. When the manager needs information for a different decision – be it hiring, promoting, or something similar – the data must be gathered again and presented in an easy-to-read manner. However, with a Data Warehouse from Intricity, the process is automated and reliable for quick and efficient data extraction.

Irvine feels that social recognition is the key to collecting the information stored in a Data Warehouse, and that when it is properly utilized, managers are able to make informed choices. “With social recognition, all employees are on alert for excellence around them,” he says, “particularly excellence linked to what the organization needs most – demonstration of the core values in contribution to achieving strategic objectives.”

By implementing social recognition within the workforce, employees begin to notice and record detailed examples of teamwork, leadership, and similar skills which are typically difficult to include in raw data. Irvine states that social recognition increases the available people data for analysis, including information such as which employees demonstrate specific values, who works well within a team setting, and areas within the organization which excel as well as those areas which require improvement.

via Accessing and Managing Big Data For Decision-Making.

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Accessing and Managing Big Data For HR Decision-Making

What To Know Before Negotiating Your Job Compensation Package

It seems like there’s hardly a story line the media in the U.S. like better than a degree-holding 20-something living at home while working full-time in the local coffee shop. All of these boomerang kids, the reports seem to say, will most definitely not be alright.

But what about all the recent grads who were lucky enough to secure a full-time position or likely will soon? There’s no shortage of professionals and how-to-succeed books encouraging employees to negotiate for a better starting salary or benefits, but in this employer’s market shouldn’t a 22-year-old just be happy he or she has a serious job offer?

Recent college graduates take note: according to Rose Ernst and Tara Wyborny, the National Delivery Director and Recruiting Leader, respectively, of G10 Associates Program, a post-grad program which helps recent grads gain valuable career skills, there’s always room for negotiation – as long as you’re smart about what you’re negotiating for and how you go about it.

First things first, make sure you have the job. Jumping into negotiating your benefits during the preliminary interview indicates to the hiring manager that you’re not concerned with the right things – namely, how you can help the company.

“When you’re in your first interview with a company, it’s not the right time to ask about the health care they provide or the 401k,” said Ernst. “It’s presumptuous.”

Instead, wait until you you’re in your final interview or have been offered the job – or at least have a sense that you’re in the running — to ask for a benefits summary.

That way, you can compare it with other jobs before accepting anything, without seeming entitled. And comparison is key – there are many benefits that employers are not required to give but very well may beyond just your base salary that you’ll want to take into consideration.

When it comes to health care and starting salary, large companies typically have set plans and starting rates that are usually non-negotiable (smaller companies have more wiggle-room).

But vacation time, tuition reimbursement, additional free training, parking subsidies, mass transit subsidies, phone subsidies and home office expenses are all things that can be negotiated for, as long as you’re “in a position of power” in the negotiations (i.e., if you have a few other offers on the table you can use to leverage yourself, or particularly valuable skills or experiences).

“If you’re being offered $50,000 at a company without a 401k match contribution and $40,000 at a company with an employer match, that makes a difference,” Ernst added.

Just as when beginning your initial job search process, educating yourself on the ins-and-outs of various 401k and health care policies before you see the benefits summary for your prospective company is recommended.

While the hiring manager will usually go over the benefits package with you, don’t be afraid to ask them to do so if they don’t.

“Get to know how these plans are structured, what these different things are, so you’re not completely wide-eyed when someone’s going over it,” Ernst suggested. “Honestly, it can add up.”

And when you are at the negotiating stage in the hiring process, don’t make demands that don’t fit into the company’s culture. Instead, have a collaborative conversation.

“I’ve experienced it first hand, I wouldn’t say it’s common but you definitely want to be careful how you phrase requests to change your compensation or benefits,” Wyborny said. “They’re really excited to get you in the door too, but they expect you to assimilate to their work culture.”

Ernst also suggested that those entering the job market educate themselves on their paychecks and understand the up-front expenses of the job search.

Moving to a new city, the wait period before the first paycheck arrives and a new work wardrobe are all things that need to be taken into consideration when starting a job. Additionally, medical deductions typically don’t kick in until the second month of employment, according to Ernst, which catches many new hires off guard.

Talking to someone who started in a similar career in the same city is a great way to educate yourself on upfront expenses.

And if you think you deserve a higher salary, Wyborny said to make sure you know how to leverage yourself – knowing comparable salaries (“not from Glassdoor, somewhere reputable”) will ensure that you come in with the background knowledge that the hiring manager will respect.

“Don’t come in and say ‘I have a ton of student loan debt so I need you to pay me more,’” added Wyborny. “We understand there are financial pressures, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pay you more.”

Ultimately, Ernst said it’s up to each individual to know what’s important to them, what they can expect from an employer and how much they value themselves.

“You won’t get everything you want, but you won’t get anything you don’t ask for,” she said.

via What To Know Before Negotiating Your Job Compensation Package.

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What To Know Before Negotiating Your Job Compensation Package

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fascinating Facts About Eye Contact

Did you know that eye contact is like Goldilocks and the three bears?

It’s true.

Too much eye contact is instinctively felt to be rude, hostile and condescending; and in a business context, it may also be perceived as a deliberate intent to dominate, intimidate, belittle, or make “the other” feel at a disadvantage. (Which was how Goldilocks felt when the bears caught her eating their porridge). So unless you have in mind doing one of those things, it’s better to avoid too much eye contact.

Too little, on the other hand, can make you appear uneasy, unprepared, and insincere. In its analysis of patients’ complaints, for example, one large county hospital found, that 9-out-of-10 letters included mention of poor doctor-patient eye contact; a failure which was generally interpreted as “lack of caring.”

“Just the right” amount of eye contact – the amount that produces a feeling of mutual likability and trustworthiness – will vary with situations, settings, personality types, gender and cultural differences. As a general rule, though, direct eye contact ranging from 30% to 60% of the time during a conversation – more when you are listening, less when you are speaking – should make for a comfortable productive atmosphere.

And did you know these other facts about eye contact?

• Eye contact produces a powerful, subconscious sense of connection that extends even to drawn or photographed eyes; a fact demonstrated by Researchers at Cornell University who manipulated the gaze of the cartoon rabbit on several Trix cereal boxes, asked a panel of adults to choose one, and discovered, as they expected, that the box most frequently chosen was the one on which the rabbit was looking directly at them, rather than away.

• We reduce eye contact when we are talking about something shameful or embarrassing, when we are sad or depressed, and when we are accessing internal thoughts or emotions.

• We increase eye contact when dealing with people we like, admire, or who have power over us. In more intense or intimate conversations we naturally look at each another more often and hold that gaze for longer periods of time. In fact, we judge relationships by the amount of eye contact exchanged: the greater the eye contact, the closer the relationship.

• Females look more at those they are talking to than do males. That’s one of the reasons women prefer a face-to-face conversation, while men are content to talk standing side-by-side.

• We avoid eye contact in elevators, subways, crowded buses or trains – in elevators we face the door, in the others we stare at our Smartphones – because it helps us manage the insecurity of having our personal space invaded. Waiters may avoid eye contact to send customers the signal, “I’m too busy to deal with you right now.” Employees often keep their eyes down when the boss appears with a tricky question or looks like he’s going to ask for volunteers.

• The biggest body language myth about liars is that they avoid eye contact. While some liars (most often, children) find it difficult to lie while looking directly at you, many liars, especial the most brazen, actually overcompensate to “prove” that they are not lying by making too much eye contact and holding it too long.

• If a speaker actively seeks out eye contact when talking, he or she is judged to be more believable, confident and competent.

Eye contact is so powerful a force because it is connected with humans’ earliest survival patterns. Children who could attract and maintain eye contact, and therefore increase attention, had the best chance of being fed and cared for. Today, newborns instinctively lock eyes with their caregivers. And the power of that infantile eye contact still retains its impact on the adult mind. Whether it’s shifty-eyed guilt or wide-eyed innocence, we automatically assign enormous credence to the signals we give and get when we look into each other in the eyes.

via Fascinating Facts About Eye Contact.

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Fascinating Facts About Eye Contact

How Big Data Analytics Can Boost Enterprise ROI

The global big data analytics market that was pegged at $3.20 billion in 2013 is estimated to increase up to $15.10 billion in 2020, according to a new study by Frost & Sullivan.

According to the study the big data analytics solutions are gaining popularity as hyper-connectivity and ubiquitous smart networks that form the Internet of things generate a vast amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data. With the volume and speed of data generation far surpassing the threshold of manageability, big data technologies are used by leading firms to obtain timely intelligence that helps make business decisions and respond to market conditions quickly.

The study sees that advanced analytics and real-time DDV solutions are in high demand as organizations are keen to standardize the visualization, analysis and reporting of data. It also sees an exponential return on investment from advanced analytics solutions that suggests that various industry verticals such as government, financial services and telecommunications will readily accept these solutions for driving their business.

“High spending on data architectures to identify opportunities for future growth is driving the development of big data analytics solutions,” said Frost & Sullivan Digital Media Industry Analyst Hiral Jasani. “Further, the affordability of tried and tested open-source big data computing frameworks such as Hadoop is fuelling demand.”

Encouraged by these trends, vendors are catering to a number of use cases across industry verticals. Frost & Sullivan has identified four broad categories of use cases in the market – customer insights, resource optimization, processes/productivity improvement and risk, security & intelligence.

End-users are particularly interested in solutions that facilitate customer segmentation and market basket analysis. These should be the prime focus areas for big data analytics vendors keen on developing a vertical agnostic platform as they are some of the most widely implemented applications in the market. Along with these, risk, security & intelligence applications such as credit card fraud detection, cyber-attack prediction and investment risk modeling are known to yield astronomical returns.

That said, the market is still in validation mode and companies are wary of investing in these costly deployments that run well into six- to seven -figure deals. Advanced analytics is still a rich man’s market and organizations hesitate to invest heavily due to an absence of tangible results for some applications. Companies are also discouraged by the high cost of switching from legacy to new infrastructure suited for big data flow. Cost concerns, along with a lack of a Big Data implementation strategy and issues surrounding data redundancy and inconsistency are the major challenges facing this market.

“Organizations must identify the right amount of storage they need and address data integration and data governance issues to make proper use of big data analytics solutions,” explained Jasani. “In addition to this daunting task, the management team has to ensure that the results collected from big data analytics solutions are not underutilized.”

For their part, big data analytics vendors are investing in extensive R&D to introduce technological advancements. The market is ripe for acquisitions. Innovative Big Data technologies continue to spring up and larger vendors show high willingness to dig deeper into their pockets in order to expand their product portfolio so as to meet a wide range of industry needs.

via How Big Data Analytics Can Boost Enterprise ROI –

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How Big Data Analytics Can Boost Enterprise ROI

12 pieces of LinkedIn advice you"ve (likely) never heard

Are you a lurker on LinkedIn? Eighty percent of us are.

We watch and read what’s on the network, but we’re not proactive. We don’t use LinkedIn’s newest and best features to our advantage.

If you’re in the business of creating new business, start using these 12 secrets:

1. Message people in groups for free.

This is like having unlimited InMails. Just search for a person’s name in a group, and click “message.” However, use this function very judiciously. I’m not condoning spam. Your message must be relevant, useful and add value to the recipient.

2. Follow second- and third-degree connections from groups.

When you follow second- and third-degree connections in the same groups as you, you’ll see their updates on your homepage like they were first-degree connections. Strategically following group members is incredibly useful when you’re looking to start conversations with prospects or prospective business partners. Like, share and comment on their updates, and interact in ways that will spark new connections and business relationships.

3. Upload multimedia content to your profile.

Upload videos and presentations to your profile, or provide links. Multimedia can be much more compelling than words. Plus, people can view this content without leaving your profile.

You can also load all kinds of calls-to-action within your content to get people to contact you for your services or products.

4. Track your links.

Wouldn’t it be great to know if someone clicked on a link you sent him? It’s possible with Create a free account and send each prospect a custom link.

5. Collect leads directly from your profile.

Do you collect leads directly from your LinkedIn profile? It’s easy. If you have a white paper or eBook that you or your company uses to produce leads, why not use it on your profile?

Build a free Web form with Google Drive. Place links to the form in your Summary section, and share the links as updates.

6. Congratulate contacts when they appear in the news.

Congratulating your connections on appearing in the news is a nice ego stroke. I use Newsle (which LinkedIn recently acquired) to monitor first-, second- and third-degree connections.

Connect your LinkedIn profile with to quickly see if your prospects have been in the news. If they have, message them your congratulations. is also useful for tracking people and companies in the news. It includes many custom filters to choose from.

7. Share valuable news with your network.

Custom sections on Google News are a powerful way to curate news your network will find useful. Once you build a custom section, you can get industry and competitor news to easily share on LinkedIn. All you need to build a custom section in Google News is a Gmail account.

Share the news you curate as status updates, and send them to individual connections.

8. Stay organized.

The more active you are on LinkedIn, the harder it will be to track everything you do and stay organized. That’s why you need a tool like FiveHundredPlus. FiveHundredPlus connects with your LinkedIn account to track who you need to contact and when.

9. Get a premium account.

People ask me all the time whether a premium account is worth the money. If you’re in sales or business development, the answer is an emphatic yes. All you need is the basic premium account. It has everything you need, including advanced search.

10. Teach, don’t sell.

A Corporate Executive Board survey of more than 1,000 IT leaders found that people who teach and provide insights were perceived as far more valuable than people pushing a new product or service.

Stop leading with your services, and lead to your services. Targeted content curation is an effective way to move your prospects into a sales funnel. Create free and accounts to easily find content to share. You should also set up a custom news section on Google News (tip No. 7) to find relevant industry research and competitor news.

11. Don’t be afraid to connect with people.

It’s essential that you connect with as many new prospects as possible. In a recent comScore report titled, “The Social Bridge to the IT Committee,” two out of three IT professionals are open to connecting with vendors on LinkedIn. (That means people who look and sound professional.) You should also focus on connecting with people in finance, operations and marketing.

12. Make your profile your professional website.

Far too many professionals don’t care about or pay attention to their profiles. Consider this: Nine times out of 10, your LinkedIn profile is where prospects, customers, partners and future employers will go to find and judge you online. Use it to your competitive advantage.

via 12 pieces of LinkedIn advice you’ve (likely) never heard | Articles | Home.

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12 pieces of LinkedIn advice you"ve (likely) never heard

Monday, August 25, 2014

How CFOs can change the conversation with their CIO?

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview half dozen CIOs and half dozen CFOs. Kind of like a marriage therapist, I got to see each party’s story about the relationship. CFOs, in particular, felt that the quality of the relationship could impact their businesses’ success. Armed with this knowledge, I wanted to see if I could help each leader build a better working relationship. Previously, I let CIO’s know about the emergence and significance of the strategic CFO. In today’s post, l will start by sharing the CIOs perspective on the CFO relationship and then I will discuss how CFOs can build better CIO relationships.

CIOs feel under the gun these days!

Under the gun.  If you don’t know, CIOs feel under the gun these days. CIOs see their enterprises demanding ubiquitous computing. Users want to use their apps and expect corporate apps to look like their personal apps such as Facebook. They want to bring their own preferred devices. Most of all, , they want all their data on any device when they need it. This means CIOs are trying to manage a changing technical landscape of mobile, cloud, social, and big data. These are all vying for both dollars and attention. As a result, CIOs see their role in a sea change. Today, they need to focus less on building things and more on managing vendors. CIOs say that they need to 1) better connect what IT is doing to support the business strategy; 2) improve technical orchestration; and 3) improve process excellence. This is a big and growing charter.

CIOs see the CFO conversation being just about the numbers

Only about the numbers. CIOs worry that you don’t understand how many things are now being run by IT and that historical percentages of revenue may no longer appropriate. Think about healthcare, which used to be a complete laggard in technology but today it is having everything digitalized. Even a digital thermometer plugs into an iPad so it directly communicates with a patient record. The world has clearly changed. And CIOs worry that you view IT as merely a cost center and that you do not see the value generated through IT investment or the asset that information provides to business decision makers. However, the good news is that I believe that a different type of discussion is possible. And that CFOs have the opportunity to play an important role in helping to shape the value that CIOs deliver to the business.

CFOs should share their experience and business knowledge

Business Experience.  CFOs that I talked to said that they believe the CFO/CIO relationship needs to be complimentary and that the roles have the most concentric rings. These CFOs believe that the stronger the relationship the better it is for their business. One area that you can help the CIO is in sharing your knowledge of the business and business needs. CIOs are trying to get closer to the business and you can help build this linkage and to support requests that come out of this process. Clearly, an aligned CFO can be “one of the biggest advocates of the CIO”. Given this, make sure that you are on your CIOs Investment Committee.

Tell your CIO about your data pains

Manual data movement,  CFOs need to be good customers too. CFOs that I talked to told me that they know their business has “a data issue”. They worry about the integrity of data from the source. CFOs see their role as relying increasingly on timely, accurate data. They, also, know they have disparate systems and too much manual stuff going on in the back office. For them, integration needs to exist from the frontend to the backend. Their teams personally feel the large number of manual steps.

For this reasons, CFOs, we talked to, believe that the integration of data is a big issue whether they are in a small or large business. Have you talked to your CIO about data integration or quality projects to change the ugliness that you have to live with day in day out? It will make you and the business more efficient. One CFO was blunt here saying “making life easier is all about the systems. If the systems suck then you cannot trust the numbers when you get them. You want to access the numbers easily, timely, and accurately. You want to make easier to forecast so you can set expectations with the business and externally”.

At the same time, CFOs that I talked to worried about the quality of financial and business data analysis. Once he had data, he worried about being able to analyze information effectively. Increasingly, CFOs say that they need to help drive synergies across their businesses. At the same time, CFOs increasingly need to manage upward with information. They want information for decision makers so they can make better decisions.

Changing the CIO Dialog

So it is clear that CFOs like you see data as a competitive advantage in particular financial data. The question is, as your unofficial therapist, why aren’t you having a discussion with your CIO not just about the numbers or financial justification for this or that system and instead, asking about the+ integration investment that can make your integration problems go away.

via How CFOs can change the conversation with their CIO?.

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How CFOs can change the conversation with their CIO?

Why Your Professional Network Is Not About You

Networking–what an overused, self-serving concept! In my experience, the term has been irredeemably misappropriated by those with the social skills of a troglodyte. The expectation is to meet as many people as possible in case you need to use them later. Bad pretense, sad precedent.

There is no question that an extensive professional network is invaluable. It can help you close deals, develop partnerships and facilitate a career change. But it doesn’t happen overnight or without a great deal of effort and personal contribution. As a rule, what you expect to gain, you should expect to contribute at least twofold.

Eight weeks ago, I started in a technology accelerator program to take my business to the next level of capitalization. Right away, I was exposed to an extremely powerful network carefully assembled by prominent entrepreneurs and investors. Many have started and sold companies–some, several times over. Others control hundreds of millions of dollars in top-performing funds. Still more are at the top of their career at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. But all have one salient characteristic: They develop their network in order to connect people, not for their own personal gain. By using their relationships to bring people together, they forge stronger ties that enable them to maintain their network longer and benefit from the reciprocity.

So if you are set on networking your way to success, you are thinking too linearly. Instead, use these three elementary rules followed by “connectors.”

1. Don’t “work the room”

When you go to a cocktail party or conference, talk to half the people you normally would. You cannot make a substantive connection in five minutes. Instead, spend at least half an hour per person. Be inquisitive. Take note of what they are saying and try to learn something new.

2. Pay it forward–offer help

Is he looking for a new salesperson? Maybe she needs an intro to Conde Nast for a big business development initiative in the pipeline. Whatever it may be, think about ways that you can connect each person you meet with a resource in your network that could help them. People will remember you and go out of their way to repay the proverbial debt.

3. Stay in touch, stay relevant

Following up within 12 hours is a good rule of thumb. It solidifies the relationship and fosters further communication. Then every three or four months, send a quick update e-mail or article that could be useful. Go out of your way to be a connection they can rely on.

via 3 Tips for Building a Dynamite Professional Network |

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Why Your Professional Network Is Not About You

Internal vs. External Customers? CIO Brook Colangelo doesn"t buy it

Internal vs. external customers? CIO Brook Colangelo doesn’t buy it

How do CIOs minister to their internal vs. external customers? For Houghton Mifflin Harcourt CIO Brook Colangelo, the dichotomy doesn’t hold up. “We wrap them into one,” he told SearchCIO Managing Editor Rachel Lebeaux at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

Colangelo talked about the importance of meeting the demands of both internal users and the educational publisher’s all-important customers in a conference session on communicating the business value of IT. In this SearchCIO video, he follows up with some pointers. Step No. 1? Take the complexity out of IT.

Given that CIOs have to keep in mind that they have two different customer bases — both their internal customers or employees, as well as their external clients — how do you serve both of those, and do you have different strategies for doing that?

Brook Colangelo: So, I think a couple of things about this. One, your external customer is obviously sort of the most important, because they make the decisions on how successful the company is, and nowadays they touch every element of the technology. You have to think about the bandwidth inside the network, or the ERP system — the customer is going to have an interaction with that, so your idea has to be one message, one theme.

At HMH, we have a couple of focuses here. The first is to focus on radical simplicity. We have to drive out this complexity of IT. It overwhelms us in these data points and user logins and how many passwords you have for the Internet. And so, driving that complexity out and then really pushing ourselves forward and delivering technology in a simple and elegant [manner] to all of our customers has been a major driving push here. I think all of our customers are sort of one, and we wrap them into one.

During the panel discussion, you were talking about how IT can communicate the value of what IT does. Does that play a role in also serving both these customer bases?

Colangelo: Yeah. At HMH, we’ve looked at things through the user’s eyes. And I think that if it’s an infrastructure project, if it’s a pure conference room upgrade or collaboration technology for even the customers, you’ve got to look at everything through the users’ eyes.

So, I’ve made my entire team go through user-story training, based on [the] Agile development methodology, so that we can write and iterate and be seeing this through the story points of a customer; and that way, no matter what you buy, build, integrate or customize, you see it and you go back and you measure it against what did that customer want, and did I deliver it for that. Not ‘Did I check the install box and then upgrade box?’

via Internal vs. external customers? CIO Brook Colangelo doesn’t buy it.

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Internal vs. External Customers? CIO Brook Colangelo doesn"t buy it

Friday, August 22, 2014

The 5 Most Important LinkedIn Features You Aren"t Using Correctly

When LinkedIn debuted in 2003, it was merely an online resume and an entree to e-networking. Since then, LinkedIn has continuously enhanced its offerings – transforming into a complete career management resource. Our mindset about how to use LinkedIn, however, has not evolved as quickly as the product. If you haven’t changed your approach to LinkedIn, you’re missing out on some of the biggest benefits. Here are five elements of LinkedIn that most executives I know are not using correctly – or aren’t using at all – along with suggestions for maximizing them.

1. Headline. Your headline has the same function as the headline of an advertisement; its primary purpose is to get the target audience to want to read on. Yet most LinkedIn members think “headline = job title.” If you don’t write a headline, LinkedIn uses your current job title as a default, and that’s a real snooze.  To have your headline work for you, it should say what you do and entice people to learn more about your services. Don’t make it all about you; make it about the people you serve. Tell viewers what you can do for them. The second crucial function of the headline is to serve as an online “magnet.” If you want to be found in a search, you have to pack your headline with the keywords for which you want to be known. Making this an even greater challenge, you need to accomplish all that in just 120 characters. Here are some excellent examples of headlines from LinkedIn trainer and coach Anne Pryor:

Amanda Klein, MBA: Director of Strategy & Marketing at Star ★ Creating + Building Lasting Impressions for Exhibits & Events

Gordon (Gordy) Curphy, PhD: #1 Leadership Author | Coaching & Consulting Leaders, Teams & Organizations on Improving Efficiency & Effectiveness

Dustin Wellik, PHR: Talent Acquisition Lead – Consumer & Industrial Business Groups | Recruiter at 3M | Be part of what’s next!

Anne Elizabeth Denny: End-of-Life Speaker, Blogger, Author and Software Innovator Inspiring Thoughtful Advance Care Planning

And one more thing. If you’re looking for work, don’t use hollow headlines such as “Seeking my next big adventure” or “Currently open to new opportunities.” Those will work against you in a search (where are your keywords?) and the implication that you’re not being productive right now makes you less attractive to some prospective employers.


Man sitting on the sofa and holding iPad with App LinkedIn on th


2. Groups. Most LinkedIn members I know spend their time on connections – sending requests and adding people to their network – yet the real value of the site is found in the groups, a powerful resource hidden under the Interests menu Groups serve three functions:

They amplify your message. Many groups have tens of thousands of members or more. Yet according to Craig Smith in “By the Numbers: 100 Amazing LinkedIn Statistics,” the average number of groups to which members belong is just 7. You can belong to 50. An infographic prepared by Brandon Gaille  revealed that over two thirds of LinkedIn members have fewer than 500 1st-level connections. If you post to your network you can reach a few hundred potential people. With groups, you can amplify that by 100 or even 1,000 times. LinkedIn groups provide one of the best personal branding opportunities you have with social media.

They help you build and nurture your network. When you join groups related to your area of expertise, you can easily connect with like-minded professionals and leaders who can help you reach your goals. Think of groups as professional associations with no geographic limits and meetings that are available to you 24/7. Try out a few groups to see if they are right for you. Ask yourself: Are these my people? Do I want to connect with these people? Do I have content and value to contribute? Am I willing to be a regular part of their conversation?

They enable you to do your job better.  Groups provide a type of on-the-job learning that you can’t get anywhere else. You see which topics are hot, you get introduced to new resources, and you learn and grow each time you take a look at the conversations. They can challenge your thinking or provide data that helps reinforce your beliefs. You can also use groups to source staff, build partnerships and open doors to prospective clients.

3. Multi-media. LinkedIn allows you to integrate images and video directly into your profile, yet most profiles I see don’t contain any multi-media content. Thanks to technology, a picture really is worth a thousand words. With this new feature, you can add tens of thousands of words without turning your profile into a huge, boring whitepaper on the brand called you. According to a study by W.H. Levie & R. Lentz, published in the Educational Communications and Technology Journal, visuals impact us cognitively and emotionally. Cognitively, images speed up and expand our level of communication and increase comprehension, recollection, and retention. Emotionally, visuals engage our imagination and heighten our creative thinking by stimulating other areas of our brain – which translates into deeper and more accurate understanding. By embedding images and video into your summary and your experiences sections, you go from being boring to being a compelling brand. And, because most people aren’t using this feature, it helps your profile stand out. When I added a video reel of my public speaking to my summary, views of that video increased by 25%.

4. Endorsements. Let’s face it. Endorsements seem silly. Yet we make judgments about people based on the skills for which they were endorsed, and LinkedIn showcases those skills in a way that delivers tremendous visual impact. Whether they admit it or not, people are evaluating your expertise this way, so you must work to get your key skills endorsed so that the top ten are displayed in the order of importance to your career success. Yes, LinkedIn gives you control over that. To make it happen, choose the skills for which you want to be endorsed. Pick the ones that bolster your personal branding and will help you advance your career. Be willing to delete endorsements for skills that just muddy the waters.

Giving targeted endorsements is a great way to acknowledge others. Giving them randomly – whenever LinkedIn suggests you should, whether you actually know about the person’s expertise in that area, has little value. It can even undermine your perceived integrity. It’s best to give endorsements when they are timely, such as when a colleague demonstrates her project management skills or an employee of yours makes a great leadership decision. Endorsements like these mean more to the recipient.

5. Headshot. In a world where most people meet us online before they do in person, people want to connect a face with a name. In addition, your headshot can get you noticed. According to LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams in a NY Post article  “ You’re 11 times more likely to have your profile looked at if you have a photo. ” Your headshot should add credibility to your profile – so make it professional. It’s not just about having a photo. It’s about having the right photo. To make your mug work for you:

  • Have your face capture about 80% of the space. Remember that the shot will be used as a thumbnail, far beyond the top of your listing. Whole body shots are too small to see – especially in sections like endorsements.

  • Face forward or to the left, looking into your LinkedIn content. Don’t look off-screen.

  • Be professional and engaging – save the selfies and vacation shots for Facebook. Make the viewer want to get to know you.

By mastering these five oft-misunderstood LinkedIn features, you can strengthen your personal brand and expand your success!

via The 5 Most Important LinkedIn Features You Aren’t Using Correctly.

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The 5 Most Important LinkedIn Features You Aren"t Using Correctly