Changes are coming

This will be a quick post.

I am no long employed at Nortel, long story which I won’t cover here. But the change is going to allow me to do something I have wanted to try for the last 7 years. Setup my own business.

What will the business be?

While the finer details are still being worked out, it will be in the HR technology industry and will also cover “Enterprise 2.0” (the whole 2.0 thingy is a bit much but we can resolve that over time). There will probably also be some general IT/Project Management work. I know it is a mixed bag which is why further thought is required, :-).

There will be a few changes here as I revamp the site to reflect my new direction.

Employee engagement

I have been meaning to write this post for a while, about 4 months, and today Penelope Trunk provided the platform.

Penelope wrote about how to be a good manager, a great post but in my mind it can be summed up in one sentence.

So the first rule, and probably the only rule of management, is to be respectful.

She goes on to discuss Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how they relate to management, well worth the read.

This bring me to the original post back in January about employee engagement, where I pointed to a video from McDaniel Partners. The video uses a hypothetical village of 100 people to show how many employees in a typical organisation are engaged. The numbers break down like this.

Of the 100 people in your village:-

  • 54 men and 46 women
  • 27 are engaged, committed and loyal to your organisation
  • 59 are just not engaged
  • 14 show up and do not care about what they are doing
  • 77 feel burned out
  • 33 are chronically over worked
  • 67 are overwhelmed by the daily bombardment of communications and information

The story gets worse!

  • On a typical day employees are interrupted 7 times an hour, of which 80% of the interruptions are trivial
  • 50% of your senior managers are too tired to talk to their spouses after a day in the office
  • 7 of your 100 employees are sinking into depression
  • 96 want flexible working time and more control over their time
  • 73 would curtail their careers in favor of more family time!
  • 15 are actively pursuing new jobs
  • 50 are passive candidates and would jump if the right opportunity was offered to them
  • Only 40 are interested in a career in senior management

The closing message in the video:

Treat people as people and you gain their loyalty.

Australian web traffic statistics

Yesterday I received my copy of the May 2008 Hitwise Newsletter which tends to cover lots of general high level internet traffic trends in Australia. (Over the last few months I have been ignoring them, they are probably archived somewhere in GMail if I went to find them.) This month I decided to read it.

Of real interest was the traffic analysis for the News & Media – Print industry.

First up the leading sites were:-

  • Sydney Morning Herald (14.25%)
  • The Age (10.39%)
  • Herald Sun (5.81%)
  • The Daily Telegraph (3.62%)
  • The Australian (3.4%)

What would be interesting is to see how the traffic compares to the online news site, ABC News and News.com.au. But this is not the point of this post.

The point is the traffic drivers to these sites. Firstly Google’s Australian property drove a massive 13.34% of a traffic! Second was ninemsn with lowly 3.11%. The surprise for me was that Facebook is 5th with 2.76%. The surprises didn’t stop there!

Digg is also mentioned as a driver of traffic, now remember these are Australian print news and media properties. Over the last year Digg’s traffic to these sites has grown 120.8% and is now 18th driver of traffic.

What this tells me is use of social media/network services is growing within Australian and it is grown outside of the geeks. For many this might be old news, but for me it is good to see it in hard numbers. This has two implications.

Firstly “traditional” media are probably starting to see a pay off for their entrance into using these tools. By entrance by putting those fancy little “Submit to …” links at the bottom of their posts. The nature follow on here is the board room will take notice and we could see changes in the market.

Second it means the general public is starting to use these services. Which I guess means they see value, well why else would they use them?? When people see value they tend to expect all sites to offer similar services.

Now.

Enterprise 2.0…

New job service for casual workers

Today I was listening to the 2WebCrew where Cameron Reilly mentioned a new Australian startup PloyMe. PloyMe is a job board with a difference. It is aimed at casual workers where job seekers once registered only apply for shifts via SMS. Shifts are sent to a job seekers phone and the first to reply “wins” the shift.

The benefits are huge for both the employer and job seeker, from their web site PloyMe provides a good summary:-

Employers

  • No expensive temp agency hourly rates
  • Casuals become YOUR employees
  • No Agency Placement Fees
  • Search for available Casuals 24/7
  • Need Staff Now!
  • Sick of paying $165 on Job Boards and getting no results

Job Seekers

  • No resumes, no interviews, no hassles
  • Shift offers sent by SMS and email
  • Free for casual workers
  • Name your hourly rate
  • Work the hours you want
  • Pickup extra shifts to pay off your bills

Now obviously this service will not for for your $1000/day project managers or consultants (or could it??), but for casual hospitality work I can see great potential. I will be watching what happens to them.

New model for management

Couple of related posts appeared in my feed reader today.

First was from Mark Pesce who wrote about the fact that education provided in schools currently does not reflect modern communication cultures. When a kid goes to school they have to disconnect from the “hyperconnected” world.

What this means, in a practical sense, is that students have lost respect for the classroom, because it has no relevance to their lives. Yes, they will be polite – as they’re polite to their grandparents – but that is no substitute for a real working relationship. School will be endured, because parents and state mandate it. But it’s a waiting game.

This drawing parallels to how many a Gen Y approaches the modern corporation. They turn up because for many it is the only way to make money but it holds no relevance to their lives. They are generally not engaged.

The challenge for managers both today and in the future is to make the corporation relevant.

Or is it?

This brings me to the second post, from Collab@Work referencing a HBR article, which develops the notion that leaders in MMORPG games, like WOW, are the future leaders of business.

… players who lead teams in the game are learning skills that they will be able to use in business situations, when they will become leaders in the organization

The authors focus on three main components of this leadership: speed, risk-taking and temporary aspect of leadership position.

So, does it matter that the modern corporation has no relevance to the future generations because they will change the corporation to suit?

My take. It does matter, today, and only to corporations not Gen Y. It is the old story you want to attract Gen Y you need to engage them, companies that don’t will go out of business, while those that do will prosper.

The post from Collab@Work goes on to discuss leadership as temporal. Just cause you were the leader of project X does not mean you are the leader of project Y. A very interesting idea which I will explore later.

Talent Management Marketplace changes

Last week we saw the announcement that Taleo will acquire Vurv, essentially number 1 taking number 2 in the Talent Management marketplace. This is both good and bad news for the other players in the market. Bad because the combined entity will certainly be a major player, good in that both companies will have to work hard not to lose focus during the acquisition process.

Jason Corsello from The Human Capitalist has some good analysis of the deal, and fundamentally asks is this good for the customer? I suspect only time will tell.

Further to this I tend to agree with other commentators the consolidation of the Talent Management application space is not going to stop anytime soon. Inside Recruiting as a good interview with Authoria‘s president and CEO, Tod Loofbourrow about the deal. A key quote from Tod:

“Short term, the consolidation from 45 to a handful simplifies recruiters’ technology choices. But the factors driving the consolidation — the broader talent management opportunity — will force recruiters to go beyond a recruiting-only mindset, and come to grips with more strategic organizational needs and talent management opportunities such as quality of hiring; filling gaps in leadership pipelines; and retaining high performers.”

There has been lots of debate over the last few year about what is Talent Management, most recruiting vendors have added some talent management features but no one really has an end to end strong offering, assuming talent management is covers workforce planning, acquisition, performance management, career development, succession management, e-learning and compensation management. A thought confirmed by James Holincheck in his December 2007 report for Gartner, sorry there is no easy link directly to the report search for his research it will costs you US$195 for the report.

Another thought what does it mean for our local Australia vendors in this space? Will the combined entity make competing against them too difficult at the high end, and limit local vendors to the Small to Medium end of the market?