Think about the vast array of human resources services: talent acquisition, talent management, screening, recognition, relocation, payroll, benefits, learning, managed services. Aside from the obvious reality that they all touch your workforce, what can the components of such a panoply have in common?
When Alexander Mann Solutions serves one of its multinational clients, it often finds its personnel engaged in marketing, assessment, tracking, and onboarding in multiple geographies with just as many languages. Add the demand for variable pricing that has spiked with marketplace uncertainty, and you have a clear explanation for the commensurate increase in Software-as-a-Solution (SaaS) services, whether provided by subcontract or built from within.
“Software is a good option for companies that can’t afford a full outsourcing solution,” said NelsonHall outsourcing analyst Gary Bragar in a recent interview with HRO Today. “Software can be offered at a fairly low cost, allowing companies to pay for what they use with different modules. SaaS talent management offerings are good for vendors and buyers.” NelsonHall’s 2009 study of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) found that 60 percent of vendors now have their own technology, up from 51 percent in 2007. In parallel, 32 percent of RPO contracts featured vendor technology.
Download that reality, and shift your thinking to recognition.
As Rideau Recognition Solutions considers a future blueprint for one of the hall of mirrors it builds to help a company reflect employee performance, it quickly transcends soft sociological points of departure. “Recognition goes a long way to forming a culture,” Rideau CEO Peter Hart told us last year. “Every time you recognize someone, it’s an indicator of performance.”
Well, sure. But to find those stars and shed that light, Rideau increasingly looks to 21st century solutions that go far beyond the gold watch given to commemorate time on the job. Their model is turning more and more to social networking. “I think it is the next big wave,” said Hart. Indeed, Rideau has partnered with PollStream.com to use its platform (“The Hive”) to create a web of recognition systems. Ad hoc networks—LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook—quickly augment such efforts.
Okay, close that window: Toggle to learning. A recent piece in The New York Times upended the conventional wisdom about learning being maximized by dedication of a single, quiet, uncluttered place for the student to do her work. It turns out that varying the environment, to a point, creates a “stickier” brain, with greater retention in both the short- and long-term.
The application here? As explained by contributing editor John Higgins (“Learn Where You Are”), the mobile device revolution creates precisely the opportunity for such variegation, while maximizing employers’ abilities to reinforce lessons through accessible message repetition. (Everything old is new again: Our adjective for constant journeying, “peripatetic,” comes from the walking classrooms that Aristotle held in his school of philosophy.) Traditional learning still owns great mind- and market-share, but the evolution of handhelds and laptops has established an inexorable momentum for virtual and on-demand learning.
The code underlying all HR services today, you have no doubt realized, is technology. Every nook and cranny of the HR enterprise is now filled with gadgetry and gigabytes. An expanding cloud, indeed. Which is why HRO Today, with the help of our estimable contributing guru John Sumser, has been committing greater and greater resources to the innovations on this front that are changing the workplace at the speed of Moore’s Law. You can get a great sense of this by reading the roundtables of thought leaders we convened on these subjects.
Even better, to make your own brain stickier, you can join us in Las Vegas for the first HR Demo Show on December 8 and 9. To sign up, please visit www.hrosummits.com. Registration is so easy, a child could do it. Whether those of us north of 30 can manage it, of course, is another story. But the technology is easy to learn.
By Dirk Olin