Friday, June 23, 2017

SHRM17 Take Aways

The Society for Human Resource Management have concluded our 69th Annual Conference. Ideas were shared, people spoke and exhibitors exhibited while HR Pros braved the rain and well-functioning air conditioning.

This having been my 10th SHRM Annual Conference, finding new and intriguing information was a bit of a challenge.

Points of Intrigue:
Vivek Patel's Guide to Vendor Selection
Laszlo Bock's Theory of Compensation: Pay Unfairly
The awe inspiring Ryan Estis, Steve Browne & Jason Lauritsen
Nextgen People's Exploration of Performance Management
Zen Workplace's exploration of Mindfulness in the workplace

What's the difference between attending SHRM17 & going All In?

This, we are called upon to explore.

Converting Employee Engagement into Employee Experience

We've been beating the Employee Engagement horse for a decade. She has taken us places we never thought possible, but it's time to put her our to pasture.

Where Employee Engagement was the employee's obligation to recognize and utilize organizational resources, Employee Experience focuses on the moments in-between.

What is your organization's Employee Value Proposition? In essence, what do you have to offer to ensure someone would rather work at your organization more than anywhere else?

More specifically, how can you ensure your employee's would be willing to pour their discretionary effort back into your organization?

If I've completed my tasks for the day with an hour remaining on the clock, what will I do with that time?

Snap My Chat?
Binge watch Silicon Valley on my lap top?

... or ....

Might I get more work done?
Help someone else complete their project?
Ask for a new project?

Herein lie the elements that accentuate the Employee Experience.

What am I ALL IN for?

My mission is to help organizations and individuals find their Utopian Employee Experience.

... So Here We Go ....

See you in Chicago for #SHRM18 !

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Live From SHRM17 - Day Three

The rain has come to New Orleans and it may be possible to hold #SHRM18 before the end of the week with the amount of HR rock stars who may be stranded in the airport... :(

Day 3 had a very direct theme: Performance Management (and the need to improve upon the process)

Here's What We Know:
1. Annual Reviews are too infrequent
2. Rating by Number does not motivate
3. Suggestions for Behavior Change will drive better performance
4. We need a system to streamline the process in a simple, lightweight fashion
5. This problem is still not solved

.... And Then Things Got Human ....

My friend Jason Lauritsen knows how to engage a crowd. He enchanted those around the Smart Stage on Tuesday by taking us off the Grid and into a place of Human Interaction.

Simple Fact: Steve Browne is the greatest Human Resource in Human Resources!

We laughed, We Cried, We Vowed to be Troll Hunters!

There are No Easy Answers
I came to SHRM17 with a wish list. I must admit I haven't been dazzled by a system or an organizational strategy. The PEOPLE have, as always, dazzled me!


Do we reflect upon how lucky we are to be in the people business? Probably not enough.

Do we allow "the stuff" to get between us and the PEOPLE? Yes, we do.

Are people difficult? Is life difficult? Is HR difficult? Yes, Yes & Yes!

With some questions still unanswered, this I do know:

There are more than 20,000 Human Beings in a conference hall who are willing to be better people so the people they represent can grow into better people.

Our hearts get a system upgrade every time someone bold enough holds us obligated to understand our true potential... and that it is lost if we do not share it!

See you tomorrow,

... Kovacovich: Out ... 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Live From SHRM17 - Day Two

It was a wildly informative and highly engaged day here in New Orleans as the Convention Center was buzzing early and stayed open late!

HR Pros had the opportunity to take in speaking engagements from the industry's best and check out the latest in HR Products/Services while rubbing elbows with the World Leaders in Human Resources.

Here are just a few things we learned:

Pay Unfairly
Laszlo Bock has no shortage of Fans in HR and for good reason. He shared his experience growing Google into a People Company as their CPO while adding stories from his personal network.

Yup.... Sometimes you have to smack people in the face with the truth. While HR Pros are consistently fighting for equal pay, when it comes to performance the ground is uneven.

Laszlo Bock suggested that top performers should be getting paid up to 200% more than sub-standard performers. If pay scales do not afford room for continual growth, your all star performers will plateau and ultimately have no choice but to leave.

Don't Kill The Meaning
Ryan Estis is among the most engaging speakers in the HR Profession. Part HR Pro, Part Tech Advocate, All Human Being; Ryan delivered content that was compelling and relevant while relentlessly pulling on our heart strings!

Ryan performed a pretty simple exercise:
Who can remember their companies Core Values?
- Several Volunteered

It is so true. Ask anyone to think back on a past employer and I'm sure they will not remember their stretch goal or the coding sequence for their platform population.... odds are they will remember at least a few of that companies core values.

We need to consistently reinforce the values that formulate our organization's core existence.


It is 2017 and there a still HR Professionals who are afraid of Social Media....

Ryan did an excellent job explaining the purpose of the SHRM Blog Squad and the infinite knowledge that awaits HR Pros in the blogosphere.

In addition to a bunch of statistics from the Employee Engagement Network, Bob Kelleher mirrored a simple truth that Ryan Estis touched upon:

If your work life sucks, so will your personal life. If your personal life is great, your work will thrive!

So swings the boomerang of Reciprocity!

You can put systems in place, survey your employees and reward them with all the cash under the sun; but if their spouse is dying they are incapable of engagement.

We've learned that money does not buy engagement.

We know that meaningful work, opportunity for advancement and a thriving workplace culture is what truly engages employees!

A Challenge from Pat Wadors

Pat Wadors is an #HRPitBull who has been tackling the best talent in Silicon Valley since 1986. She has remained relevant through her self-assigned inability to hit neutral. It is no small coincidence that Pat is of the most respected in the HR profession, her courage and intensity speak volumes.

See you all in the Conference Hall tomorrow!

... Kovacovich: Out...

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About HR Tech from Vivek Patel

I don’t believe there is a more-progressive suite in the tech space than that of Human Resource related technology. Call it HCM or HRIS or HRIT, so much has happened so fast and there is a technical solution for every employee support function.

The questions can be daunting for an HR Professional seemingly forced to turn IT expert:
  • Cloud or not to Cloud?
  • SSO or SAML?
  • Which system integrates with what?
  • Is there are element of gamification to jazz up the user experience?

Who better to address these questions than the non-partisan Society for Human Resource Management Director of Technical Solutions, Mr. Vivek Patel?

Vivek will be conducting a session for SHRM17 attendees on Sunday (6.18 ) from 8am – 12pm. SHRM17 attendees eager to implement new HR Tech will leave this session ready to tackle the Exhibitor Hall with all the knowledge of a Human Capital Management Maverick.

We caught up with Vivek as he was packing his bags for New Orleans.

1.       Tell us a little bit about the pre-conference workshop you are facilitating? Can anyone attend?
a.       Over the last few years we have heard a lot from our members express their need to understand and participate in their respective organizations’ technology processes – be it the selection of the platform or operationalizing the technology for optimum benefit. This session presents such individuals an opportunity to participate in discussions with their peers and learn from their experience. Aliah Wright and I will share insights and specific information which can aide them in being more involved from a technical perspective to collaboratively work with their technology departments.

2.       How has the relationship between IT & HR evolved? What can HR Pros do to better assist their colleagues in IT?
a.       I have seen this relationship grow stronger and evolve over the last few years. Over the last decade rapid changes in technology have had a huge impact on businesses. Specifically within HR, major adjustments have presented huge demand around flexible work arrangements, fluid leave policies, comprehensive performance reviews etc. HR departments have realized the need to be closely tied with their IT staff in bringing in newer platforms and systems while at the same time getting more technology savvy themselves. In my opinion HR pros should make their IT department part of projects from the very beginning, bring them in early and let them help you fit the needs within the overall technology strategy from an organizational perspective. Also with advent of Cloud, Analytics, Big Data etc., there are huge concerns around privacy and security – having your IT teams as your equal partners may help you avoid some obvious pitfalls.

3.       What trends have you see developing in Human Capital Management software space?
a.       The biggest trend that I see in HCM software (and one that is going to be vital) is the idea of ‘self-service’. The concept of self-service becomes a bit tricky in the field of HR but all software generally is moving towards users managing their own ‘profiles’ and need within the system. I am excited to see how this aspect and demand is balanced within HCM.
b.      The other trend that I am excited to see evolve is the idea of collaboration. With a geographically displaced workforce on the rise and social media bringing a whole new sophistication to ‘collaboration’, I want to see how the HR software evolves to balance this need.

4.       When choosing a vendor, what are the key components HR Pros can use as evaluation criteria?
a.       This would be true for anyone who is evaluating vendors or systems but more so for an HR Pro. While other technology selections and vendor relationships mostly deal with business processes, HR related vendors/technologies deal with actual ‘people’ within an organization. Some key things to keep in mind while evaluating vendors would be:
                                                               i.      Integration – how will the new system interact and integrate with your existing technology?
                                                             ii.      Consolidation – if the goal is to consolidate systems and/or processes how well does the new system achieve that goal?
                                                            iii.      Automation – how far does the new system go in terms of eliminating manual work?
                                                           iv.      Security – is the new system secure from a data privacy and privilege perspective?
                                                             v.      Data – this is one is of the utmost importance! Do you own all your data that you will ‘upload’ into the system? How flexible is the system in letting you pull your data out of it on-demand? This is often overlooked and a major ‘money drain’ once the system is in operation.

5.       Any advice for HR Pros courting new vendors at SHRM17?
a.       I would suggest 2 things
                                                               i.      Do your MoSCoW matrix – in others words prioritize your base requirements. To the extent possible, know things/features that are critical ‘Must Haves’ vs. features that you ‘Should Have’. Additionally, there are features that are desirable and ‘Could Have’ and things that you are willing to live without and ‘Wont Have’. This will help you not to chase every shiny new thing out there
                                                             ii.      Also if possible, have a discussion with your IT teams to understand the current systems landscape within your organization. This will help you ask intelligent questions of the vendors in terms of system integration, automation etc.

I feel better already!

Check out Vivek Patel’s Preconference Workshop:

Can’t attend this session? Need help evaluating your next HC Tech upgrade or installation? Feel free to submit your questions for Vivek in the comments section.

See you in New Orleans!

Dave Kovacovich

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My #SHRM17 Wish List

It’s been a decade since I first attended The Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference. While there are always new buzz words and evolving trends, many of the HR related topics from 2007 are still on the #SHRM17 agenda.

If I may voice my concern:

While the aforementioned questions may not have simple answers, allow me to pose a few challenges to SHRM17 Exhibitors, Speakers and Attendees alike.

Fear of Transparency (?)
It seems to be universally accepted that annual performance reviews are a means to exile more than motivate. A paper trail may be necessary in the firing process but that seldom amplifies performance. We’ve seen payment processing vendors streamline attainment processes and there are others who created great technology only to have their system compromised by industry behemoths.

Show me a system that will:
  • Track Goals
  • Allow Multiple Career Advisors to Provide Input
  • Publicize Goal Attainment
  • Promote Soft Skills to Build the Internal Talent Pool

What If We Never Had to Hire Again?
I know a large majority of #SHRM17 attendees are hiring professionals (all of whom I find delightful).

Humor me….

  • How much does it cost when an employee leaves your company?
  • How much does it cost to hire a new employee?

Employees leave for a few reasons:
a) They dislike their manager
b) They see no opportunity for advancement
c) They do not believe in the organizational mission

We fail to identify the future leaders in our organization because their managers fail to publicize their potential or inability to master core job function cast them away as universally inept.

Managers seldom promote their best employees because they wish to continually benefit from their contributions. Star performers who don’t possess proper leadership skills are often told they are not ready instead of being coached in soft skill development. Those who are the best programmers are seldom the best managers.

Tell me how we can:
  • Help reallocate miscast employees
  • Build high potential performers into people leaders
  • Expose poor managers for protecting their flock

Wants vs Revenue
Do your employees still receive trophies because you’ve always done it that way?

Are your benefit offerings impressive enough that employees would accept less money to stick around?

How does a first day employee make an impact?

Replacing a technical application takes hours and hours. Hiring experience is more defensible than building leadership organically. At some point, we need to evaluate the programs we afford our employees to understand if they are doing more harm than good.

Last Requests:
  • Help us understand the reward in change
  • Show us a way to determine the value of our Total Rewards portfolio

I’ll be in the Bloggers Lounge. Come find me or tweet me @

I Dare You To Engage!

Don't Forget to Remember!
      Dave Kovacovich