• Networking Now and Then

    I will start this post by posing the question, have you ever heard of a piece of software called Sidekick from Borland? Well this was the first application that I used to keep track of contact information. It helped me to keep track of my network. I am not sure those people were even called a network at the time. I also know that I did not work at meeting new people and trying to maintain a real relationship with them. In my early days in business you did business with people in your community, people that you could summon to your place of business. The internet did not exist as we know it today. Networking has changed! Now we network with people around the world, without a second thought. We can communicate with others who do not speak our language through translation software and smart phones.

    Today I really work hard at growing my network, and very much enjoy doing it. Today my network  grows through face to face meetings, on line meetings, phone interactions and via referrals from those already in my network. Then after we meet, it is off to LinkedIn to see if they are out there. If yes, then off goes the connection request. Then there may be a look at twitter and facebook. If I do connect with someone via social media it seems to ramp up the connection faster. Back in the ’80’s I simply did not meet at the same rate that I do today. Life has accelerated.

    Now here is another and new angle on networking, If you are out here in the HR space you may have seen a post from my friend Jay Kuhns – Jay was looking for a key employee. so he wrote a post saying so, and then he found some damn good talent. So this networking can take many paths today. Now, I would like to copy from Jay’s post and do something similar via my network.

    My oldest son Danny’s girlfriend is graduating from Missouri University of Science & Technology with a degree in Business and Management Systems. She wants to move from Rolla, MO to Memphis, TN so that she can be near man Dan. So I thought this would be a new way to use networking, just like Jay had done. Rather than trying to find an employee for an organization, I would try to find an organization for a person. She has done internships and understand processes, logistics and information systems. If you know of something looking for a sharp young graduate in this area; let’s talk.

    I will let you know if I am as good as Jay, in using a blog post to network and create a new employee/employer relationship. Wish me luck,

     
  • People Clues Dashboard ATS – My Experience

    This post was originally written to be published in a magazine, but was viewed as an advertisement, and summarily rejected.  I had this nice 1500 word essay on my removal of one ATS and the installation of a new one.  The essay is very favorable toward People Clues.  I like their product very much and don’t mind telling the rest of the world that.  So if you would like to learn about People Clues and their new Dashboard super-light ATS have a go at this post.
     

    I have been in Human Resources for a number of years now.  One thing I have a firm grasp on now is this concept.  There is a software application for any task that you want to perform.  These days, most of them exist in the cloud. Depending upon the size or type of business that you are in, you may already have all of these bases covered.

    You may think that you do have all of your bases covered, but do you?  Are you getting the best value for your dollar?  Does each of your applications do what you want it to?  Does it do more than you need it to do? Does the application truly fit your needs?  To know the answer to these questions, you need to look at all of your software applications objectively and see if they fit your needs.  The level of integration between the package or packages is also an important consideration.

    About 18 months ago, I found myself needing to re-evaluate my Company’s software needs in regards to several applications. At the time, we were using an integrated Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Performance Management System. To be specific, the application was Taleo Business Edition.  My Company had used the ATS for nearly two years and the Performance Management for about a year.

    Over time, what we learned about the product was the software was very feature rich and robust and hugely customizable. However, said another way, the software was complicated, not very intuitive and somewhat difficult to navigate.  This made user adoption most difficult. That combined with what I will call sub-standard customer service, collectively drove me to look for other applications to accomplish the tasks at hand.

    This put me in the market for an ATS system and a Performance Management System. I don’t really know how this task works in other organizations, only mine.  Within our Company, the process does not involve consultants or outsiders who are paid well to come in and share their knowledge.  The way it goes is, I spend a bunch of time with Google finding out what applications are out there, figuring out which ones are market leaders and then learning which applications are affordable.

    After figuring out which applications I wanted to take a serious look at, I contacted the vendors and set up on-line demonstrations.  Some companies are willing to show up at your door, or send a re-seller, but almost all of them will deal direct with a customer and do the on-line demonstration. I opted for the on-line demonstration.  Each of the demonstrations took only an hour or two.  Following the demonstrations, all (they were all cloud based) of the vendors I reviewed gave me access to their live application for one week to a month.  This is a great way to get a real understanding for the feel and ease of use of each of the applications.  Furthermore, if you set things up in the application, when you make a purchase and go live, you will keep any of the work that you have done.

    In total, I looked at four (each) ATS Systems and Performance Management systems.  Integration of the two was not hugely important to me. At the outset, I felt, given the size of our organization, I could easily use them independently, and did not perceive a great deal of value in integration.

    So, to cut to the chase, here is what happened: For the performance management side of the equation, I did not end up purchasing any applications.  Everything I liked was either too feature rich or cost too much. Our Company is not as advanced in terms of performance management as we should be (in my opinion), so I did not see the need to buy anything. Instead, I built a series of Google Docs spreadsheet forms and templates to use to gather this information.  While this solution is not the be all end all, minimally, I am getting the task of gathering data and doing performance reviews completed. Additionally, I am getting some great analysis from Google on the back side that I did not even know existed.  In the graph pictured here, the spreadsheet looks at your data and then creates counts, percentages and graphs visually presenting your information, with no set up. It is most intuitive.

    That is how I solved my Performance Management issue.  In terms of Applicant Tracking Systems, I went a little different direction.  Again, after looking at various cloud ATS Systems, I went for a relatively new player in the game, for a different reason.  As I mentioned, I did not buy a performance management application.  In not doing so, I guess you could say I left a little money in the bank.  While looking at ATS system, I did learn of a software integration that is fairly important.  This one had to do with behavioral assessments, job placement testing and the ATS.   If you want to do any type of any assessments, it is nice to integrate them with your other applicant data.  You don’t have to, but it cuts way down on the sorting and searching.  Ultimately, I chose this option.

    When I set out to look for a new ATS, I was not necessarily looking to do behavioral assessments and job placement testing.  But when I found out I could get this for a reasonable fee (in my opinion), I was thrilled to give this a try.  The Company I ended up selecting is called PeopleClues.

    PeopleClues has a relatively new super-lite ATS system they simply called the Dashboard.  It allows employers to collect behavioral assessment data, employee engagement data, and job criteria about an applicant and store it with the applicant’s online profile.   I did not see that feature simply or well-executed in other applications.  Like all of the others, I was allowed to test drive PeopleClues for a reasonable period of time. Any software vendor should let you do this or they do not believe in their product (in my opinion).  Not only did I like the application, so did my co-workers.  If you recall in my earlier efforts, I learned this lesson. Easy to use software equals easy adoption and easier implementation.

    While the PeopleClues Dashboard is a simple to use product, some might argue that it almost lacks in features.  Personally, I can think of a number of things I would like to see the package do that it currently does not do.   However, none of those are deal-breakers for me.  The PeopleClues staff has listened to my wish list.  They have reported back to me that my suggestions have been offered up by others, and that most of them are in the works and will be out with the next major revision of the product.

    Probably the best thing about the product is that there is virtually no set-up or implementation.  Everything that you need to use it is online.  I literally had it up and running in about 15 minutes.  The phone support is great as well. While I am reasonably talented with software and internet services, I am not a programmer, coder or IT guy, but I was also able to integrate PeopleClues with our website without much thought or worry.

    The jobs postings are created in PeopleClues, and that is where the center of the operations for the job postings and assessments is located.  So when applicants go to my Company’s website, all I need to do is point them to the PeopleClues site, via a URL that is generated when you create the job posting. So what I is create the message on my Company’s website and put the link under the text “click here to apply”.  The same thing applies for other sites like Monster or Career Builder.  The big job boards give you a place to put an email address or a URL.  I just paste the PeopleClues URL in the appropriate box and my Company’s job posting is done.  I don’t need an HTML programmer or an IT guy.  It is that simple. I would highly recommend the PeopleClues system to anyone who is looking for a super-lite ATS system.  Compared to other products on the market, the pricing is at the mid to low end of the spectrum.

    So, you get that I am a fan of this product.  I am also a huge fan of cloud applications in general.  When you use a cloud-based application, whether for applicant tracking, of performance management, or any other application, I see the advantages being huge.

    • No Server Space Needed
    • No installations/Server or workstation
    • No upgrades
    • The systems are accessible anywhere
    • Security issues are handled by the vendor

    I would be happy to share what I have learned with any my fellow HR folks.  Please get in touch with me and we can talk further.

     
  • The HR Official Recycled

    Earlier this week, my ProjectSocial partner, Laura Schroeder and I were talking about what we might want to post about.  After some banter back and forth, Laura and I settled on doing something almost cheesy, but it is fun and easy.  We decided to re-post  some of what we thought were some of our best post during last year.  Our other partner Lyn Hoyt was agreeable to our notion, and was going dig up her best post, which you can find on her site HR Bacon Hut.  And you  can see what Laura has recycled over at her blog Working Girl.

    After looking over my body of work for the year there were really only a few that stuck out.  If you saw these before I appreciate your loyal following.  If you missed these, here is what I think are some of my best posts for 2011.

    So that is the best from 2011 in my opinion. Thanks for stopping by.