Posted tagged ‘social media’

The Parable of IBM and Kenexa: Part I

September 13, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

I have not seen such a range of varied opinions from members of the HRO and HR tech communities as those about IBM’s acquisition of Kenexa. The commentary showed that many were taken a bit by surprise and weren’t sure how to analyze the news that IBM was acquiring Kenexa for $1.3bn.

IBM Bought Kenexa?

The surprise was not the purchase of Kenexa, which was foreshadowed by the acquisition of Taleo by Oracle and SuccessFactors by SAP. It was more about the fact that IBM was doing the purchasing.

A few  thought that ADP might make such an acquisition since it had already expanded its benefits capabilities with Workscape and SHPS and its RPO capabilities with The RightThing, so wouldn’t talent management make sense? Speculation continued, perhaps Mercer, Ceridian, or even ADP would be the target of an acquisition or merger.

IBM itself was considered likely to continue its acquisitive ways with something more in the talent management / HCM space. Likely targets mentioned included Cornerstone OnDemand, SilkRoad, SumTotal, Saba, with a few suggesting Halogen, Peoplefluent, and others. In short, someone is going to buy something else.

The Meaning of the Deal?

What does this mean we all asked, much like the tale of the Blind Men and the Elephant as was suggested by the leading light Naomi Bloom. Early viewpoints on the acquisition included:

  • Continuing IBM’s move into social media and analytics
  • Continuing IBM’s move into professional services including strengthening RPO
  • Disrupting the HCM market and becoming a talent management player
  • Delivering value to the HR executive
  • Delivering value to the C-suite and bypassing HR
  • Primarily being a HRO deal with some software attached
  • Primarily being a software deal with some HRO attached
  • Upping competition with SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and even Workday
  • Selling into Kenexa’s IBM-like customer base of Fortune 500 clients.

IBM’s news crossed many markets including HRO, HCM, HR tech (software, platform, cloud, etc.), BPO, social media, talent management, and financial and market analysts. Each commenter viewed the same information through the lens of their personal perspective and professional interest, much like the blind men touching different parts of the elephant.

With so many options before it, including IBM’s own announced intentions for the addition of Kenexa, the opportunities are new and exciting. Given the inherent complexities, IBM will face many risks as well. Look for more on The Parable of IBM and Kenexa coming in Part II.

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RPO, A Bright Future on the Path to Business Impact

September 7, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The future of RPO is bright with growth opportunities in every area of the world. According to NelsonHall’s “HRO Market Forecast 2012 – 2013,” RPO will remain the fastest growing area within HRO.

RPO is still evolving as a service line, moving from back-office paperwork administration to the front lines of recruiting, predictive assessment, and employer brand management. Contract renewals and extensions are now a regular part of the RPO news stream. Among those with announcements of renewals and extensions are:

  • Alexander Mann Services
  • Capita
  • Manpower Group
  • Novotus
  • Pinstripe.

RPO is not for the faint of heart

With great opportunity comes increased risk. Growth is seldom in a straight path upwards and RPO is also on the leading edge of any business downturn that impacts hiring. It is not uncommon to see up and down swings in revenues of 20% or more between good and bad years. RPO providers need to be ready to rock and roll incredibly fast and be flexible in responding to changes in demand while balancing its own core of subject matter expertise.

RPO is the trail blazer

It is hard for any business including HRO service lines to keep up with new technologies, global service delivery networks, social media, and open device access. To recruit highly skilled multi-generational talent anywhere on the planet, RPO needs the latest tools and technologies to bring capabilities to employers they could not easily and affordably duplicate.

RPO has a direct path to business impact

Dr. John Sullivan, a respected HR thought leader, recently said that RPO has the greatest business impact of any HR function. Dr. Sullivan is referring to The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) “Realizing the Value of People Management from Capability to Profitability” research that rates the relative business impact of different HR functions on growth and profitability.

This was a major study of over 4,000 respondents across 102 countries, comparing the difference in revenue growth and profit margins at firms with “very high capability” individual HR functions to the business impacts of “low capability” HR functions. The firms studied had been named to Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work For” list at least three times in the last ten years; their stock price growth was then compared to the stock price growth of the S&P 500. The “best companies” with great HR saw their stock price increase an average of 109% when the S&P 500 rose only 10% over the last 10 years, up to 10 times higher. Wow!

BCG found that the top ten performing HR functions in rank order were:

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding and retention
  • Managing talent
  • Employer branding
  • Performance management and rewards
  • Leadership development
  • Mastering HR process
  • Global people management and global expansion
  • Enhancing employee engagement
  • Providing HR shared services and outsourcing.

In addition to the good news for RPO, the broader picture is the need for integrated talent management and the boost for HR outsourcing. Great HR can and does directly support great business results, and great RPO and HRO can be a part of that success story.

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Kenexa and Aon Hewitt New Product Offerings Help Clients Hire, Engage, and Retain Talent

June 18, 2012

By Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

Kenexa’s RPO business has been growing, including globally as evidenced by its five year RPO contract with Eli Lilly to provide services in Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

Kenexa has been expanding its business with new service offerings including those focused on talent management. Two new product offerings that help clients hire, engage, and retain talent include:

  • Fit Compass
  • Career Bull’s Eye.

Kenexa calls these offerings Performance Accelerators.

Fit Compass: helps clients determine the quality of the hire by providing managers with an interview guide to help probe for candidate strengths, work styles, and challenges of how they would fit into the culture of the organization. Fit Compass can also be used for employee development and career planning, team building, and team effectiveness.

Career Bull’s Eye: determines an employee’s level of engagement by assessing their purpose, passion and pay. It then helps business leaders identify where in the organization they need to focus by finding out causes of disengagement so it can make improvements and reduce turnover. It can also be used when onboarding new hires to ensure that they are engaged to avoid turnover. Results are shared during quarterly business reviews with the client. Both products are available as standalone services or can be bundled with other RPO service offerings.

Aon Hewitt provides RPO as both a part of its HR BPO offering and as a standalone service. Aon Hewitt’s RPO business has been growing globally as well. Examples include its HR BPO contract with BP where it provides RPO in North America and EMEA, and its recent contract award with a professional services company to provide RPO as a standalone service in EMEA and North America. Aon Hewitt has two new products that help organizations transform their hiring process:

  • SourceSprint
  • Digital interviewing capabilities.

SourceSprint: keeps applicants in a talent community for possible placement with other opportunities. Often when an organization fills a job requisition, other applicants are lost after the new hire comes on board. While the applicants may not have gotten the job they applied for, they may be good candidates for other opportunities. But, finding them again is problematic. SourceSprint changes that by using social media, optimization of search engines, and mobile communications to keep these prospects in a talent community. It remembers how applicants were originally found and their preferred communication.

Digital interviewing capabilities: improves the efficiency and experience of the hiring process for both candidates and hiring managers. Through its partnership with HireVue, Aon Hewitt clients can use the HireVue Digital Interview Platform to ask candidates scientifically validated questions that will ensure consistency and objectivity across interviews. Candidates then use a webcam to record their answers. Since it is not a live interview, candidates can respond from anywhere at their convenience, and hiring managers can watch and share the recorded interviews with colleagues anywhere.

Given these types of continuous innovative offerings, it’s no surprise to me that RPO has been rapidly growing as clients seek to attract, engage, and retain talent, while improving the efficiency of the recruitment process at the same time!

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Social Media in HRO Needs to be NICE

March 23, 2012

To work my way into the topic of social media, I am going to start outside of HRO. IBM recently launched a Social Media Boot Camp for its small- and mid-market business partners and clients.

The social media boot camp is globally available for qualified candidates, including those from emerging markets such as China, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. It is designed to develop the skills and ideas that will enable participants to sharpen their social networking capabilities and build stronger and more interactive ties with their clients. The online course includes an eight-week session with live coaching. It is produced in conjunction with Profitecture and is available for up to 75 participants each quarter. The Q2 2012 classes are already full, and enrollment has started for Q3 2012.

The IBM-led conversation on social media provides a broader view in using new media channels. According to Ed Abrams, IBM vice president of mid-market marketing and strategy, “…remember that social media is all about conversation. You don’t want to use this forum for press releases, or collateral- type materials. You need to remember that social media is very much like a face-to-face conversation. People want to engage, they want the chance to participate.”

Starfire Technologies is one of the early business partners to complete the boot camp. Mary Spurlock, Starfire’s Vice President of Marketing, says that social media is a 2-way street and that while it is important to publish, share, and deliver value when using social media, it is also important to listen, read, and follow what your customers are doing with social media.

There are very practical aspects as well. In RPO it is already critical for a service provider to be on the leading edge of leveraging the latest social media trends, functionalities, and tools. For now, let’s stay with the broader view.

The use of social media in HRO needs to be NICE.

  • New: Use social channels to offer something of unique value. Don’t simply repeat the same content offered elsewhere, and keep it fresh—update, update, update! Offer something unique (or at least a unique take) in the content.
  • Interactive: Offer multiple ways and levels of interaction. Providing a “comments” section is not even table stakes today. People know how to find your corporate website. If they are on Facebook, they are looking for new ways to connect with you. Be creative.
  • Connective: Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the intended audience to continue, extend, and expand the conversations and weave connections across multiple channels into a whole. Each media channel should have a specialized point, purpose, and voice.
  • Engaging: Social media provides a unique opportunity to bring your brand attributes to life in ways that create enriched longer-lasting relationships. Here, “engagement” does not mean “interactive”; it means being invested in a mutually beneficial relationship.

How NICE is your use of social media?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

Focus on Talent Management

September 22, 2011

For those following my blogs, you know I am keenly focused on talent management.  A future and past event prompted my thoughts.

The future event I’m referencing and looking forward to attending is Infosys’ BPO Analyst Day on October 19th, which also includes a separate HRO breakout session.  At the event, I will be moderating a six member panel discussion titled “Globalization, Convergence and Social Media, and Talent Management: What is the defining role of HR in shaping tomorrow’s business.” The panel will consist of clients, industry experts, and the global HR leader of Infosys.

More than ever talent management is critically important. In my June 13th blog titled ManpowerGroup Solutions Analyst Day – It’s All About Talent – Part II, I wrote about the global talent shortage.  Social Media, including its use in the attraction and engagement of talent, will be critical. This is a global phenomenon and companies are beginning to look across borders to meet their demands for talent.

I’m excited to moderate Infosys’ panel discussion since I attended Ochre House’s Annual HR Directors Symposium last week in the U.K.  The event was focused on “re-defining business value through a talent centric approach.” Executives from 50 companies attended and ranged from the Global Head of Engagement to the Director of Global Talent and Organizational Development among others.

Ochre House’s event started with presentations that included:

  • Talent Economics: The Business Case by Gyan Nagpal, CEO & Principal, PeopleLENS Global Associates
  • People for the Future by David Stephenson, Head of Learning and Development, Telefonica UK
  • Beginners Mind: Characteristics of a Talent Centric Organization by Simon Wright, former CEO & President, Virgin Entertainment Group.

Breakout groups included “Talent: HR’s Future in Business Value Creation.” I’ll share some ideas generated in a future blog, but a few thoughts standout and are worth mentioning now:

  • Simon Wright, during his presentation, said HR is good at providing data, but needs to bring solutions.  HR cannot sit back and wait for business leaders to ask.
  • David Stephenson said all organizations need to innovate, the people who think different move the world forward. Although he used examples such as Steve Jobs, the point is that HR professionals can shape business and move it forward.
  • Chris Eaton, former Regional Manager at Smiths Medical who joined in a panel discussion, said people with good technical skills are often put in leadership positions and people management is not high enough on the prioritization list.
  • An audience member chimed in the discussion saying HR and the business is too busy doing transactional work to focus on talent.

HRO to the rescue! Not just for administration, but to help attract, engage, and retain talent. HRO vendors and the retained HR can’t replace line managers and business leaders, but can help by providing the tools, training, advising, coaching, and facilitating the processes.

Gary Bragar, HR Outsourcing Research Director, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

HR Needs to Get into the Social Media Major Leagues

September 1, 2009

As summer winds down and we watch to see if the “green shoots” here and there will establish a root system strong enough to provide a harvest of substance and sustenance for a recovery, my thoughts floated over the horizon to the future of HR.

Someone in my social network sent me a link to an interesting presentation on YouTube, Is Social Media a Fad?  The series of interesting tidbits gathered from various sources show we are way beyond fad and into a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. For example:

Years to reach 50 million users: Radio (38 years); TV (13 years); Internet (four years), iPod (three years). Facebook added 100 million users in less than nine months. iPhone applications hit one billion in nine months.

While some of the information presented in the YouTube video may be a bit exaggerated or unconfirmed, the trend is undeniable. The world of communications around us is moving ever faster, much like Moore’s Law. And it is having an impact. Just last week the Obama administration launched “Reality Check,” a section on the White House website that features videos by White House officials who address rumors and concerns about the health initiatives. President Obama gave a boost to BlogTalkRadio when he used the online venue to continue refuting the allegations spread by both traditional and social networking media.

Looking at social media in the context of HR, the impact on recruiting is already apparent. What recruiter – whether in-house or external third-party – isn’t using LinkedIn to scan profiles for passive candidates? But are your recruiters effectively using social media to promote your employment brand and candidate selection processes, to make the candidate experience worth “talking” about whether or not they are hired this time? What ideas are being implemented by your recruiting service provider to leverage the social media phenomenon to your best competitive advantage?

Taking it one step further, the prevalence of social media means it cannot end after the recruiting and onboarding processes. There must be a nexus between employee engagement, knowledge management, development and mentoring. And it must be leveraged to support an aligned culture, increased productivity and innovation.

I found information for this blog in seconds via Google, RSS feeds, Wikipedia, online news sites and my tags on Delicious. Can your employees find just-in-time internal information just as quickly? If they can’t easily find the appropriate subject matter experts for answers to their questions, today’s new employees will turn to their own network.

Other points to consider: Are policies needed around posting personal business-related opinions on internal and external social media websites? May employees recommend individuals from suppliers? What role should, and is, HR ready to play?

The reality is internal HR folks and third-party HRO service providers must quickly develop plans and enhance their skills to fully and effectively leverage social media to become major leaguers. What do you think the role of HR should be in using social media? Send us an email, post on the NelsonHall HRO Insight Group on LinkedIn or respond to this blog.

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Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall