James Mayes

Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Why doesn’t HR care about disruptive technology? #hrtecheurope

In Conference, Human Resources, Recruitment, Software Development, Start-ups on October 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Over at HRTechEurope last week and as per the previous year, one of my highlights was the iHR contest. A handful of young tech firms with the potential to disrupt get a time-limited “pitch n demo” opportunity, with points awarded from analysts and VC’s. All obviously get some great exposure and while the winner is by no means guaranteed success, it certainly can’t hurt.

I know I can fall prone to living in a social/recruiting tech bubble and that my news feed is heavily US/UK biased.  I therefore take this as a great opportunity to look at things either from the wider HR market, or from regions which perhaps I don’t watch as carefully as I might. There were certainly a couple of competitors who stood out for me:

  • IntuneX of Finland have some fascinating ideas which I want to research further
  • ScioMino (home side advantage, team from the Netherlands!) have a social data mining product – currently available for companies only, but I’d buy a personal license as soon as it becomes available (possibly end of this year I hear…)
  • TalentBin of the US were worthy winners (imho, based on the tech they’ve built, the solidity of business model and the commercial progress made) – if I was a dev-focussed recruiter, I’d buy this over almost any other product)

Actual companies aside though, my main observation concerns those not in the room.  The contest was held in the main auditorium.  I reckon there were around 1,000 people at the conference…  but a large majority were hanging around exhibitor booths and the bar in the conference hall. In the main auditorium for the contest, less than 200.

These were companies from the US, Middle East and Europe who plan to disrupt traditional HR technology over the next 2-5 years. The vast majority of the attendees were either HR buyers or corporate vendor/exhibitors. Those outside the room chose to miss out on a focussed, rapid-fire view of the future.

Are they so secure as to believe the status quo will ensure? If I’d been in either group, I’d have been scouting future purchases, acquisitions, competition, etc. As it was, the bloggers and independent consultants showed the most interest.

Technological change has never hit this pace before. Established markets such as travel, publishing and music are being forced to reinvent in accelerated timescales, from threats they’d never imagined.

HR as an industry needs to wake the hell up and take a good look at the future when the opportunity is so beautifully presented.

Blog: 5 ways to die happier?

In Conference, Personal, Personal Development on October 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Over at HRTechEurope last week. Awesome event, especially the Social Enterprise sessions. I have a blog to post on that later, but I wanted to share this short one first.  During one of the sessions, reference was made to a piece by Bronnie Ware, in which she talks about her life in palliative care.  She summarised the five most frequent regrets reported in those last weeks of a patients’ life.

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier

Regrets of the dyingI don’t yet know in what order I’m going to approach these… but raising my awareness of how each impact my life now can only be a good thing for me and those around me. I hope I have a good few years left on this planet and I plan on doing something with them.

The original post is here.

Choose happiness.

Twitter, customer service and employee trust – @SouthernRailUK

In Human Resources, Social Media, Twitter on October 24, 2012 at 10:56 am
So on route to #trulondon this morning, my train was running both late and over-crowded.  My ticket was valid, but not for first class. The entire train was packed, standing room too, except first class – completely empty.  No guard or conductor in sight to check with, so I just jumped in and settled down to work.
At this point, I thought I’d tweet the rail operator. Partially because they claim to provide customer service on Twitter which I wanted to test, but also because if I was going to get grief (or even fined!) I wanted to check that situation out quickly. I got a swift response, which was at least a partial result – though it only expressed some light regret at the situation rather than offering anything more constructive. I followed up, making my concerns a little clearer regards how a ticket inspector might react. At this point, the official account stopped replying… first failure point.
A third party jumped in to defend the role of the ticket inspector. Clearly s/he was trying to defend the poor inspector who probably finds themselves on the sharp end of disgruntled customers regularly, but I was intrigued. A quick scan revealed the user regularly responded to other Southern Rail customers, defending the staff.
A little further correspondence reveals yes, s/he is a railway insider – who thinks of the customer service staff on Twitter as being “parrots”.
Railway Customer Service
The exchange being concluded, a few thoughts:
  1. If you’re going to offer customer service on Twitter (or any other online platform) offer something USEFUL. “We’re sorry for the screw-up” doesn’t quite go far enough, in person or on line.
  2. If your own staff don’t respect your efforts to monitor and respond, what makes you think the general public will?
  3. The user finished by asking me to delete the tweets concerned, suggesting a culture of fear/blame exists. Why else would removal be requested….?
  4. Sitting on a train mid-discussion with an HR person who believes strongly in Employer Transparency… Irony?
The identity of the user in the screenshots is obscured for obvious reasons and original tweets deleted.

Blog: Lasers in the Jungle?

In Recruitment on October 4, 2012 at 11:30 am


Bit of a back to basics post for me, brought on by a recent purchase.  Just a domestic item, nothing interesting – but purchased on the recommendation of a friend. Not a Facebook post or a tweet, but an actual recommendation.  I believe it used to be known as Word of Mouth. The marketeer’s Holy Grail.

I’ve heard this phrase applied to recruitment marketing many times over – but only ever in relation to information sharing online.  Take care not to be the boy in the social media bubble.

I’ve talked to a number of friends who’ve switched jobs recently – actual word of mouth still counts, though it seems to be ignored as a deliberate channel, more an accidental output. I wonder if more could be achieved if a little deliberate thought was given to this aspect?

Andy Sernovitz put it best: Make it easy for people to talk about you


So many new platforms, tools, techniques. These are indeed the days of miracle and wonder… which may give you another clue on where this blog title came from…





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