Stressful performance review, the parent teacher conference

 I am sure I’m not alone in finding the whole idea of a performance review for my child much more intense than any I do for work.  Even more so when they are three since the ability to get “regular feedback” is spotty at best.

Me: How was your day

Her: Real good

Me: What did you do?

Her: Play

I’m pretty sure that there has been no biting or other such behavior, but other than that I have almost nothing to go on.  Good news is that she is not my first child and my expectations are pretty low for the whole process. 

When her sister had the first performance review, I realized that when you are paying to send your child to school (and assuming that on net your child is no worse than other kids) the teacher is pretty inclined to say nice things.  In fact, I got the sense that so long as my child didn’t set fire to the place, I wasn’t going to hear the bad stuff anyway.  What makes this review so interesting is that since this is my second child I find myself knowing very little about her.  At least not the stuff I knew about her sister.   

This child is not anxious to share what she knows for praise.  Her preferred strategy is to mess with you a bit to keep you guessing as to what she does know.   Are these just things she does for my benefit or does she confuse the teachers as well?  Do they think she cannot count to 20 or do they realize that she is messing with them when she decides to insert 7 after 9 and 3 after 11?

I guess I’ll be finding out soon, wish me luck!

A new protected class? The digital hermit

 Those of you who still think that Social Networking and Social Media is about Millennials need not read any further.  The rest of us, already know that interest and participation in social media is not exclusively the purview of the digital natives (as Jason calls them). 

That is not to say being a digital native does not have advantages.  Clearly the concept of social media and technology in general are more natural to a digital native and those pesky concerns like privacy are somehow less important.   That said, participation in social media is not exclusive to GenY. 

I have been doing a few experiments with myself and my colleagues and what I have found (of course this is not a scientific study by any means) is that the level of participation in social media is more about the person and less about the technology. 

If you are a social person who finds value in collaboration than social media is going to come naturally to you.  If you care about the trivial things that happen in the lives of your colleagues and friends you are going to be enthusiastic about the ability to have a richer set of data available.

But what if you are not interested in others? What if you just want to get your work done and have others leave you alone?  My theory is, that it doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 50 you are not going to love social networking and you are probably going to wonder what all the hype is about.

I believe “digital hermits” are always going to exist.  They might be harder to spot today given the newness of social applications, but there will come a day when you will find you have hit an adoption threshold for social media.  Of course, you could try a policy of mandating participation but I am pretty confident that would backfire.

For those of you who “get it” your next big challenge is what to do about digital hermits.  Are they going to be left out in your organization?  Is that culturally and strategically ok? 

Lots to think about.

Tip of the hat to Talent Management vendors

I’m just back from the HR Technology conference last week.  Another conference where I had no direct responsibilities, just listening and learning.  I have several posts coming to talk about some of the thoughts and learning, but first I wanted to say a word about the Shootout.

As you probably know the Shootout is the big event of the conference where several vendors are required to follow the same script to demonstrate their products.  Leighanne gave the specifics of the script here

All four vendors (Softscape,, Authoria and Cornerstone OnDemand) gave entertaining and engaging presentations.  What struck me during the event was just how far, as an industry, we have come in recent years.  Across the board, I’ve seen every player mature and invest, and when that happens the customers win.  

I wont lie, I spend the majority of my days thinking of ways to do better than the competition, but I do want to go on record and say that I’m thrilled to have such excellent competitors

If we all can agree that the point is to help companies be more competitive in how they leverage their human capital, then, I think it must also hold true that these strides are good news for everyone

So a tip of the hat to Authoria for their victory and to all the competition in the Talent space.  We have all come a very long way and I think that speaks volume for the importance of our mission

To each of us I say, godspeed.

HR Departments you’re on notice!

I know I’m hard on you, I honestly don’t mean to be.  I just really tired of hearing, time and again, that the only way that HR has any influence on the company is when new leadership is brought in to lead.  I just know you can do better.  This is why I have to to put you “on notice” now.   I don’t want you to suggest that I didn’t warn you.  It is time to lead and if you won’t someone else will.

You must take a role in leading an internal social strategy in your organization.  Your company is currently deciding what their strategy is for social media and if you are not in loop now you might never be.  So why is it so critical for HR to be in the loop?

This is not just about the currently available pieces of enterprise 2.0, it is about the changing face of managing human capital and I can tell you with confidence, that if I see it coming it’s not far away. 

I am starting to notice that people are not defining talent as exclusively goal achievement and outstanding performance reviews.  They are beginning to see the world of talent in terms of


    • Knowledge producers
    • Knowledge sharers
    • Connectors
    • Workforce potential
    • Innovation
    • Agility

In other words, what human assets do you have that give you an unfair competitive advantage in your business?  In tight economic times this is going to be even more important.  If you cannot talk confidently about your workforce in these terms, then you are not giving the value to the business that they need. 

So I ask you this, what do you really know about your workforce?   Do you have a solid strategy to begin capturing this kind of information?  What about a strategy to leverage the knowledge against challenges facing the business?

OK, so now you know just how big this shift is going to be.  I suggest you find a way to plant yourself at the center of the solution quickly, or I expect I’ll be hearing another story about how hard it is and how nothing ever gets done. 

The game is changing people, how badly do you want to win?


With thanks to OnNotice generator