Sunday Musings on the 16th Annual CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey Results

My family and friends think I’m a workaholic. As if that’s a bad thing. Yes, I am. But in all things, not just “work” work. Perhaps a curse as a way to be, but I think it’s a blessing. I pretty much address all things in life with passion. Why bother, otherwise? So, yeah, it seems like I do “work” work too much. However, I really don’t just work. I love my husband beyond words and spend lots of time with him. I spend time with my far-flung family every chance I get. I have taken up golf – passionately. I’m not very good, but getting better and it gives me time with my friends and a bit more exercise. I’ve been a long-time gardener — after all my father was a farmer and from him I have a green thumb. I grow flowers and way too many veggies. I quilt and have for the past 20+ years – not your grandma’s quilts but more artsy-fartsy, some say. I had a quilt show at a local café and one guy said, “The problem with your quilts is that they hang on a wall, and not on a bed.” And there’s more that I do, but this post is really not about these things as much as how valuable spending time doing them gives me time to think about “what does it all mean?”

This morning, Sunday, while I know I have to do some “work” work because I’m leaving for vacation next week, and everyone knows you work your fanny off before and after vacation, I spent some time in my quilt studio working on a quilt for a friend. After all, I live a balanced life of family, golf, gardening, and quilting and more, as well as work. While focusing on piecing the quilt, I was also thinking about this year’s survey. It’s a few days before a copy of the debut presentation that I give each year at the HR Technology Conference is due to the conference chairs and because as I said, I’m leaving on vacation soon, I need to do some quiet-time work on it. It’s also at that point that I get to every year when I’m thinking, “we’ve got all this great data and we can report on adoption of HR technologies and their value, but what does all this really mean?”

It’s one of those weird years of data not showing the same growth trends as it does every few years across all technologies. (This is why I only look at trends every five years.) So, I’m feeling like I’m going to be the Grinch who stole Christmas when I have to tell an audience that not every organization has adopted a SaaS-based HRMS, or not every employee is using social- and mobile-enabled processes, and workforce analytics and big data are nowhere near ubiquitous.

But this weirdness and the lack of adoption of what every other industry analyst and vendor touts as the way things are, has to mean something, doesn’t it? So, as I was quilting, I was thinking about what our data mean this year, really. And, I think it’s about the capacity of organizations to change, vendors’ responsibility to help them make wise and easy transitions with great products, and my responsibility to report on lessons learned about the technologies and practices that really matter.

It’s hard for organizations to shift gears to adopt new technologies ubiquitously and they need value propositions to support that. Vendors mostly have great products and if they don’t they should be looking to the user experience of what they do offer and improving that. Vendors should be looking to deliver easy-to-use integration across their product sets, now! Certainly SaaS-based talent management and HRMS solutions deliver value as they enable organizations to serve more employees with fewer IT and HRIT staff. Social- and mobile-enabled processes get employees and managers using the technologies and more use results in improved employee engagement and higher levels of adoption which yields value to the employees and the organization. Workforce analytics and perhaps big data put into the hands of managers enable them to make better decisions which results in several areas of value to the organization too. (All of this and more comes from some geeky statistical analysis of our survey data soon to be revealed.) But to adopt all this good stuff and get great value, organizations also need to practice good change management or engage consultants who know how to do good change management.

So today, I’m mulling through all our survey data to come up with the HR technologies that consistently deliver value to organizations and people. But, I’m not going to list those now. Come to the presentation at the HR Technology Conference or download our survey report on October 7, 2013 and read all about them. But what I will end with is that I hope you too live your lives with passion. Be gentle on us workaholics. Passion for all we do is what we are all about!

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