Dehumanizing Human Resources:Economist Video

Here’s a great, succinct interview between Tom Standage, digital editor of The Economist and Ken Cukier, The Economist’s data editor.  Ken does a nice job of explaining how big data can affect a company’s hiring process.  Check out the interview here.

As companies warm to the idea that big data for HR and talent can have a great impact on their business outcomes, we’re looking to help them bridge the gap with Pando.  Our business intelligence platform’s data visibility tools along with our Advisory’s expertise regarding which data should be examined and exposed makes for a very powerful combination for any head of HR.  It’s time for HR to not only have a seat at the executive table, but to show up laden with evidence of how important managing talent and processes can be.

Featured Video: Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit

The Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit was held in Washington, DC in early April and brought together industry experts to share tools, techniques and strategies around the optimization of sourcing and recruiting channels.  Aspen attended to absorb the insights of the recruiting organizations, sourcers and talent acquisitions managers.  This one day event had a number of different sessions focusing on social sourcing and recruiting, using social media in recruiting, mobile recruiting and much more.  Speakers included Shally Steckerl, Carmen Hudson, Glenn Gutmacher and many other industry experts.

Enjoy this quick video of the some of the attendees speaking about their takeaways from the conference, including Aspen’s Andrew Gadomski on the many important uses of digital technology that go beyond sourcing and recruiting.

Takeaways from the Employment Branding Conference

As the spring conference season begins to wind down, and I’m almost done with the visits that make up April and May, I find myself in my stomping ground of New York City at the Employment Branding Conference held by Universum.

Here are some of the takeaways that I had from this employment branding and university recruiting centric get together.

1. You need to push for early identification of students that will be recruited for internships and direct hires. According to the career services organizations of Drexel, NYU, Purdue, MIT, and University of Delaware, identification should begin with the freshman and sophomore class. Having a four year plan, meaning looking at each of the 4 classes, seems to be a way for the corporation to strengthen its ties with the university and student body.

2. The strategy that you have at each university needs to be different based on the mechanics of that university. Universities have demographics such as public or private, rural or metro, land-grant or not. The combination requires some finesse as you engage those institutions, because the financial models of those organizations are very different. This seems to be an opportunity to understand more about financial mechanics of a university, and come up with a few processes to address those types.

3. Leadership development is again the hot topic. Organizations that showcase leadership development in freshman and sophomore classes are going to have increased resonance with the student population. Additionally organizations that are authentic with leadership development programs are going to win over those were not. I had a great conversation with a company that employs over 15,000 people in the Middle East, and less than 3000 here in the United States. What they’re doing with their leadership development program can be so much different than the traditional models that tend to be mirrored out of General Electric, Pepsi, and others.

4. Immediate feedback to students is absolutely critical. People have been talking about getting back to students after interviews within 24 to 48 hours, not a week or two later.

Now hear are a couple takeaways that are more employment branding centric, not university relations centric.

5. The employment brand is the brand that most people live with the most. We work 60 hours a week and are constantly bombarded with messaging from our employers. As consumers we experience a brand in short instances, so we need to spend a lot more time being authentic with our own employees about what work is about, and then crafting a message outwardly that represents that work. Don’t spend so much time selling – just talk about what’s it like, and if that message isn’t what you want, then start having the conversation on how you change that, not how you hide it.

6. Gamification and employment branding is not just about making a social media game like angry birds. It’s about having fun in expressing your employment brand in getting people involved. Everybody plays games. It’s better to do something fun and exciting and authentically engage with people. Don’t think that gamification means that you actually have to make a game, it’s more about making the engagement dynamic, fun, and playful.

7. Honest engagement with candidates is your number one weapon in the war for talent. Reaching out to candidates and telling them what it’s like, how it is, and being authentic is going to trump any logo, messaging, team, or tweet that you can execute. Even if you have all kinds of resources in social media and branding, you can really mess it up with poor engagement.

8. You have to experiment. Try stuff. I heard all kinds of interesting mechanics and methods around engaging students, financial rewards, contests, competitions, leadership development, and so much more. Go buy a T-shirt that says “that won’t work here” and put a big no smoking symbol through it and wear it around the office. It’s okay to try things and know that not all of them are going to work, but at least you try and you tried with passion. Realize if you use several different experiments at once, and one of them hits, the impact can be tremendous to a business or even just a person. Don’t be afraid of that.

Big shout out to the entire team at Universum that was so hospitable this week – Melissa Murray Bailey, Jonas Barck, John Flato and many others. Also great job to Jason Lauritsen (emcee) and Anna Brekka for herding the group and keeping the dialogue going.

Aspen’s Recent Philanthropy

Miles for Myeloma, Philadelphia

As past of Aspen’s ongoing philanthropic effort, we recently participated in the Miles for Myeloma 5k run/walk in Philadelphia.  The weather was beautiful, the crowd was ready and even the Phillie Phanatic got out of bed early to help kick off the day!

Over 1200 people showed up to help support the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group.  Thus far, the event has raised over $100,000.  Thanks to everyone who participated or supported Team Aspen.

Check out some pictures from the event below.

Team Aspen National AnthemTeam Aspen water breakTeam Aspen


Girls Scouts of Northern New Jersey, 1st ever RAK

Through a generous donation by Aspen, the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey(GSNNJ) were able to   hold their very first RAK day.  RAK stands for Random Acts of Kindness.  The Girl Scouts took boxes of Girl Scout cookies, donated by Aspen, to a local elementary school to thank the staff for their hard work.  Not only was the staff thankful, they were very surprised!   For this 1st RAK day they went to Ironia Elementary School.  They have plans to hand out the rest of the cookies in the coming weeks.

One of the participating troop leaders, Terri Humphries, said “Please be sure to tell Andrew how much we enjoyed the first leg of these donations and how surprised and pleased the teachers and staff were!”

Here are some photos of the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey’s 1st RAK day:

GSNNJ Cookie pic 1 GSNNJ Cookie pic 2

What about Talent Mgmt and Development with Data?

The last two days I have been meeting with heads of talent mgmt and development from over 60 companies. Straight up – TM and TD has its work cut out for itself in data.

There are not systems of record that record daily or weekly activity in relation to leadership, competencies, succession planning, or development. Not that the PMS, engagement survey, LMS, or other systems can’t handle being engaged regularly – they just aren’t:
Engagement survey – 1x per year
Performance reviews – 2x per year
LMS review – sporadic but maybe 4x
Competency review – 1x a year – maybe

So for the last 48 hours its been about how do you track if management is exhibiting training, is leadership getting better, or if people learning.

Well folks…you could start using your systems more than once a year. Break up the engagement survey into groups, do reviews more, track learning weekly rather than monthly – but I know the politics and resource behind that maybe a hot mess.

It’s time to get the data from the business. Mfg quality data, sales, customer service, market share, impromptu feedback, and supplier / vendor feedback from the business. Those areas are being tracked more regularly and you can start analyzing if business outcomes are moving and if HR processes are directly linked to those outcomes. If leaders are able to increase output, start investigating if they are using different engagement and mgmt methods, and where did they get it from.

You could do text based analytics of work product, emails, messaging, CRMs and so on to see if culture or communication is shifting – but that’s a double diamond ski slope – in Colorado. Don’t break your neck. We can ski that slope – but hopefully you can make it down :)

It may be better to have an approach that allows for a higher frequency of data enables trending earlier. If you want to see if you are engaging more or if people are learning or executing better – ask more often, assess more often, and check the every day data. That’s the short answer.

The most logical answer is usually the right one – if you want to know if you are engaging people better within a 12 month time frame, not sure you should do the engagement survey only once a year.