Thursday, September 30, 2004

Employees, GPS and privacy? had an article on how organisations in the US are starting to use GPS to help monitor their workforce. This comes as local Fuji Xerox repairers are striking over a number of things including the potential for similar technology being introduced to track them. Cameron Murphy President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties has called the move a "gross invasion of personal privacy".

I wonder how this ties into the new privacy legislation in place in NSW and Vic?

The Transport Workers Union earlier this year had strong words to say about the Australian Trucking Association's proposal to install GPS devices in trucks to help manage safety.

Coupled with RFID chips, GPS and other tracking technology will have a significant impact on the way workers privacy is managed. I see several more industrial issues arising before guidelines are put into place so that both sides can agree on a go forward. This highlights the impact the introduction of technology into the workplace can have and how the people introducing the technology need to be very careful. What is "cool" may have a very cold reception.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/30/2004 08:44:00 am   |

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Online recruiting trends

It is Tuesday, and that is Workforce.Com's newsletter day, this week they have several interesting items on online recruiting (You have to register to view them). They bring up an article on blogging as a recruiting tool (originally published in May 2004), even mention The Moon Girls and Johanna Rothman.

They bring up several of the points I made a few days ago and highlight how organisation are becoming more innovative in their hiring trends..

A very interesting item they refer to is Seven Myths About Recruiting Technology, this is a great article from Sam Greengard. The seven points should be painted on the walls of all recruiter's offices, especially the ones looking for technology to help them. They will dismiss every hyped up sales person and force the sales process down the line to proving real ROI not marketing hype. The points are:-
1. You can handle all recruiting online.
2. The software will find the best candidates.
3. The computer will help an organization work faster and better.
4. Today’s applicant-tracking software doesn’t require training.
5. A good applicant-tracking system makes interviewing and background checks less significant.
6. All systems are created equal.
7. A good recruiting and applicant-tracking system will force a company to put effective business processes in place.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/28/2004 09:27:00 pm   |

Does your organisation need a Wiki?

Hot on the tail of blogging Wiki's are shaping up to be the next big collaborative tool in the workplace. Steve Rubel led me to a couple of interesting articles and a vendor (SocialText) that plays in the space.

If you don't know what a Wiki is, it is a collaborative space that allows anybody to change the document, this allows real time feedback and input. The article from the Seattle Times provides a great intro in a few hundred words. I have been using Wikipedia to help find information for several months.

Both Wiki's and Blogs can have a place in the corporate IT landscape, and it will not be long until your IT department wants to bring some controls in place for these technologies. Both are very easy to set up and with so many options for external hosting, and free distributions many organisations will have deployed them before the IT department realises.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/28/2004 08:10:00 am   |

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Mainstream blogging

There is a new site/blog setup just for CEO's who blog, (thanks to Lee LeFever at CommonCraft) does this mean blogging is now completely mainstream and not just for technical people. Heather Leigh has even had her parent's asking about blogs and speculates what it would be like if her mother wrote one.

All of this is great news as one of the best methods of knowledge management and sharing of knowledge is now being accepted in the mainstream. Over the last couple of weeks blogs have been the topic on numerous new reports.

Any person within an organisation wanting to create an environment of knowledge management and knowledge sharing would do well to invest some time in learning about blogs.

What would happen if you allowed more employees to be involved in Intranet blogs, and provided a framework for RSS feeds between employees? Any organisation split over multiple locations would suddenly have knowledge flowing quickly, easily and with corporate rhetoric. Once you have the culture then the rest will happen.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/25/2004 02:14:00 pm   |

Changes in applicant tracking systems

Lou Adler talks about the benefits of hiring "non-active" candidates. A good article on overall recruiting "dos and don'ts" but also raises some interesting points about how to use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to track and find these non active candidates. However this process has been made harder in Australia with the privacy and anti-spam legislation now in force, but not out of the realms of possibilities for forward thinking organisations.

While he has also used the article as a plug for a new report his company has prepared still worth the read. (I was even sucked in to register to get a copy.)

Update:- Just reading Technical Careers @ Microsoft and Gretchen has been posting some counters to Zef Hamel who says Microsoft can't hire good programmers. While not to enter into the debate, Gretchen highlights several practices that make sense in hiring any type of person. Read with Lou's article it all kind of makes sense.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/25/2004 01:55:00 pm   |

Friday, September 24, 2004

Consolidation of ERP instances

An interesting piece of research from AMR Research on the pros and cons of regional ERP instances, thanks to the ZDNet Blog. As Bill Swanton mentions regional instances were all the rage, and now they seem to be consolidating.

This is good news to HR practitioners, why?

One of the biggest challenges faced to effective delivery of workforce analytics is consolidated reporting at a corporate level. With the consolidation of ERPs we will get consolidated data, and (hopefully) easier (cheaper) access to consolidated reporting.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/24/2004 04:30:00 pm   |

Yahoo Search blog used for recruiting

Not to be out done by Microsoft and Google the Yahoo Search team have used their blog to advertise several positions currently available within their organisation.

I guess the use of coporate blogs as a recruitment tool is growing.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/24/2004 11:46:00 am   |

ADSL providers & customer service

Today is a big day, I have decided to change ADSL providers. For the last several years I have had BigPond ADSL, I was one of the silly ones who registered early and have experienced the good and bad of BigPond. So this morning I submitted my application to change to Swiftel Broadband.

The online process worked fantastically, the only hold up is I need the fax the transfer form to Swiftel in Perth to comply with Telstra Wholesale rules. However Swiftel's fax does not want to answer! So I hoped back on the website and called the customer support line to find out the solution to my problem. After navigating a very easy menu system I was speaking with Nick a really helpful CSR. Nick very quickly sorted out my problem, provided me a second number to try (which worked) and then took down the details of the original number to follow up the issue.

So far I am delighted! (Telstra take note.)

Now it is a waiting game until Oct 5th for the transfer, watch for an update.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/24/2004 09:00:00 am   |

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sun requiring employees to sign guidelines on blogging

Steve Rubel talks on a Fortune article that states Sun employees will soon be required to agree to specific guidelines on blogging. Sounds like a good thing.


Does this mean soon Sun will require employees to sign a document allowing them to talk about work at a BBQ on Sunday afternoon, or at the Pub on Friday night? Or will the guidelines be sensible, I hope so.

Certainly blogs need to be cover by the general Internet Policy, and providing employees with a framework for what they can and cannot blog about would be good. Let's hope that management at Sun is sensible about this.

I also wonder will the guidelines be global?

The full article from Fortune is an interesting read and can be found here and talks about some of the more well known "firings" over blogs.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/23/2004 01:03:00 pm   |

Technology decisions and other items

The Electronic Recruiting Exchange has an article by Kevin Wheeler on Recruiting technology decisions, while focused on recruitment software all of his point are relevant to any technology decision.

Human Resources Magazine has several items this issue of interest. Firstly on next generation measurement systems, while it does not provide a lot of detail it does highlight some issues with existing measurement tools (such as just re-labeling the old with a trendy new name) and provides 6 key elements that make up human captial measurement.

While I disagree with some of the content within the categories the categories themselves are correct. You need to be careful with the "Detailed" section as management will lose interest if the reports are too detailed. I am also not so keen on the statement that their 5 key measures can all be achieved through a survey of employees. Many of the elements discussed are subjective (at best) and having employees provide feedback on the performance of process completion for example is probably not the best method of collecting the data.

However, the recommendation to use statistical analysis is a welcome relief. The sooner HR departments begin to deliver reports within meaning information (not just listing type reports) the sooner management will pay attention.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/23/2004 08:44:00 am   |

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wireless hotspots

I am continually looking for access points at a reasonable price, while there are lots of access points at this stage they are a bit on the pricey side. Nicole Manktelow from Icon had this great intro into hot spots and Sydney in the SMH in Jan 2004. In here you can find example pricing I have tried both Xone and Optus's Wireless service both very easy to use.

Nicole directed me to the feature of Whereis allowing you to view the nearest hotspots to the address you are searching. I searched around our office as was disappointed with the result, so few? Even less when I search around my home, not surprising :-)

Has anyone else used hotspots in Sydney?

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/22/2004 01:39:00 pm   |

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Internet @ Work survey

I just received this survey and thought it is very relevant to some of the discussions going on at the moment. The survey came through from AHRI publicising their next event in October.

I would recommend that you fill the survey in as the more input the better the results.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/21/2004 06:44:00 pm   |

Google is at it again

Slashdot has this great reference to another "unique" Google recruiting tool. The interesting thing is if you look at the test they are definitely looking for a certain type of person.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/21/2004 05:11:00 pm   |

Recruiting via your blog

For the last 7 months or so two of Microsoft's recruiters from the Microsoft Core Technical Recruiting team (the "Moon Gals) have been blogging away with a variety of posts. Based on the number of comments (1795) and trackbacks (281) based on only 154 posts, they have a significant readership, me included.

Today's post is a little different, they are advertising for someone to join them within the central recruiting team. They admit they want to "shamelessly use our blog to promote the opportunity".

It is fantastic to see such a usage of a blog, I bet not the first, nor the last, however I am confused, do they really have so many issues in finding candidates that they need to advertise on their blog? Or this the start of something more unique? Regardless if I fit the requirements I would apply, one big issue is I am in Sydney the job is in Redmond, the commute would be a bitch.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/21/2004 05:01:00 pm   |

Monday, September 20, 2004

Use Google to define a word

Ok, maybe I am bit slow or maybe I just don't have the time to learn all of the shortcuts in Yahoo & Google. However this one I will use.

The Future of Google has shown me how to get Google to define a word, fantastic.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/20/2004 01:34:00 pm   |

The perfect HR search

There is discussion going on at the moment about the Perfect Search, referring to the results provided by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and others. Most of this seems to have steemed from John Battelle asking the question "What is the Perfect Search" as he pens the final chapter in his new book.

Jeremy Zawodny has been talking about this for a few days and found a great video from Apple that simulates what the search world could be like. Jeremy mentions the idea of search engines "talking back", like a librarian would to try and help you find what you are looking for. echeslack mentions a cool search tool, Kartoo, that tries to graphically draw relationships. Tony Gentile offers an interesting point that the engine needs to be in sync with the user, which raises all sorts of other topics, and brings up the concept of "active listening", something I believe is shown in the video from Apple.

I would like to see this concept within HRIS tools to provide the perfect HR search. Imagine you want to go on leave/vacation open your browser and up pops your corporate portal. In the search box you enter "take leave next week" and an intelligent search agent goes off to work and provides the following results:-

  • your current balances, highlighting accruals that are getting to the limit of organisational rules
  • provides right policy based on who you are
  • recommendation based on your previous records
  • provides link to correct form
  • summary of current approved leave among your peers
  • even aggregate external content from travel sites, weather etc that might be relevant during your take off
  • compare the time with your calendar, the project plans of any projects you are working on

I know some of this is done today by some software, but can we make it better?

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/20/2004 09:05:00 am   |

Sunday, September 19, 2004

User help & documentation

After a few hours of working with WebWorks Publisher is seems to do everything I need, whew I feel better now!

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/19/2004 03:00:00 pm   |

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Creating help files

I do not often write on the weekends however today is different.

As all software vendors we need to produce documentation for our users, and today I have been looking at how we can convert our Microsoft Word based documents into something more "online and real time".

My requirements for a tool/process are fairly straight forward:-
  1. Easy for the people creating documentation to learn
  2. Easy for them to complete everytime we have an upgrade or change
  3. Ability to ship a easy to use online help file with the product
  4. Ability to print for the hard copy people, without needing to keep multiple versions
  5. Ability to have context sensitive help based on the screen the user is viewing within the product.
As I mentioned we currently use MS Word, given most users are Windows based I began looking at HTML Help 1.4. My first thought is either I am lacking brain cells today or the documentation/help for the product is not up to scratch. (This is quite ironic given the product.) So I began to convert our MS Word files into HTML using the "Save As Web Page" option thinking that Bill's organisation would have these things nicely integrated. This was my first mistake:-
  • The Word specific XML tags placed around image result in the file not being understood by the HTML Help product. Given the document is full of images not a good start.
  • When allowing HTML Help Workshop to automatically create my contents page, it correctly identified H1, H2 and H3 tags as section headers, but seems to be unable to then create links to these sections. The result a really good contents listing that does nothing.
After several searches on Google I found a tool from Microsoft to remove the additional tags, an surprise my images appeared. Now why did they just not put that feature into the HTML Help Workshop? This got part of my issue resolved, however when printing to PDF from the resulting HTML help file my images disappear AGAIN! Maybe more tweaking will get them back.

This still did not get my table of contents working. I am now starting to feel that we might have to redo our documentation. Now I am looking at a tool called WebWorks Publisher Professional from WebWorks this seems to do everything I need, for US$1000. I have just downloaded the 50MB product, got my evaluation key and off to test. I will update on my results.

I would have thought this would have been easier, I guess I am wrong.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/18/2004 05:33:00 pm   |

Friday, September 17, 2004

HR service centres & CRM

Last night was the first presentation of the AHRI/Cedar 2004 Workforce Technology Survey results, a survey that has been a project over the last 18 months for the AHRI NSW HRIS SIG (wow how many more acronims can you get!)

The results showed that about 60-70% of surveyed organisations deliver HR services to their employees via some form of Service Centre. This is very interesting, while the centres may not be as comprehensive as a traditional call centre they are still conducting similar business transactions. I have been thinking a bit about this and the technology required to set up a service centre that can justify itself via ROI calculations with hard numbers not "we think it is working".

Technology plays a very important role in the operations and usually HR practitioners do not know a lot about it and the technology has a very steep learning curve.
The need to look at call/email tracking software ranging from basic to the more advanced CRM type applications, review the communications technologies required for reporting and analysis of call patterns, maybe even look at VOIP. These pieces of technology, and the reports produced are critical if you are to be able to provide an ROI.

Potential measures would be:-
  • Call/service volumes
  • Time to answer
  • Time to resolution of issue
  • Call abandon rates
  • Trends on types of services required
  • % of transactions requiring re-work vs benchmark before operations
These are just some of my initial thoughts (I am only on my first cup of coffee and it is Friday) I would be interested to see/develop a full listing of measures.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/17/2004 09:36:00 am   |

Blog name change

I have made a slight change to the name of my blog. Instead of just HR stuff I have decided to include the technology stuff (as this interests me almost more than the HR stuff).

On a side note I have rediscovered Redgum (not the tree, the band). If you have not heard of them I recommend you go out and get one of their CDs. They have some fantastic songs about Australia and our culture from the 70's & 80's.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/17/2004 08:27:00 am   |

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Another RFID

Slashdot has found another article on RFID chips and people. This following the previous Legoland and the tagging of Japanese kids.

What or where will be next? Will employers want there employees tagged to ensure they turn up on time, or that they are where they same they are. Or where a suspicious spouse tracks their other half.

I guess more to think about while I watch Law & Order SVU.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/16/2004 09:25:00 pm   |

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Old article on blogs in the workplace

I was just searching Google and found this old but relevant article on blogs in the workplace. Worth a read.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/15/2004 04:10:00 pm   |

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Blogger on the Payroll

I found this at Scoble's blog. Following on from Joyce Park's firing two weeks ago a fantastic article from Clickz on the impact corproate blogging is having. The up shot, as I mentioned, seems to be to have a clear policy on blogging within your enterprise. If you do not, like Microsoft, then it is hard for employees to know the boundaries and you will either need to ride out the impact of the blogs or fire the employee or maybe both.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/14/2004 08:22:00 am   |

Monday, September 06, 2004

Gmail account

Just a short post, currently in New Zealand working with a partner Datacom.

Over the weekend I became a proud owner of a gmail account, thanks to Michael Angeles, I will be slowly moving my email to it.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/06/2004 02:26:00 pm   |

Friday, September 03, 2004

Recruitment @ Google

The people at Google are always doing things a little differently. This time they are recruiting.

They took a billboard on a major highway in Palo Alto and instead of placing a traditional ad, they posted a math's problem, which once solved directed you to a URL which directed you to a page with an even harder problem is part of a recruitment campaign.

I envy those with the brain power (and time) to get through both problems, and I am assuming a job with Google.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/03/2004 08:00:00 am   |


The HR Blog from BostonWorks Hiring Hub is a great place to pick up small tidbits of information on the HR world in North America.

Such as this entry on pre-interviewing tools that is based on a Dr John Sullivan article (anyone who knows Dr John realises that he knows his stuff when it comes to recruitment in High Tech North American firms).

Technical tests are used a lot within technology firms, especially programmer type roles, in fact the Moon Gals from Microsoft have a fantastic example of what such a test looks like and how an applicant can best "perform" during one. While focused on what Microsoft is looking for good viewing for any candidate.

Pre interview questionnaires as discussed by Dr John are used and the best method for delivering and reporting on the results is via the Web. HR can create templates based on the different job families within the organisation to help reduce the time required to get an questionnaire out to a candidate. If integrated into your recruitment solution the sending of the questionnaire request should happen automatically a hiring manager decides to interview a candidate.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/03/2004 07:20:00 am   |

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Corporate blogging @ IBM

Another blog from a regular blogger who has now joined to growing ranks of corporate bloggers dive into mark talks about his initial thoughts of blogging for IBM.

He talks about being careful about the content, in your personal blog as well as the corporate one.

What will he write about on the IBM blog, according to Mark? "Stuff related to my day job as an accessibility architect for IBM. Cool stuff coming out of IBM's Emerging Technologies group once it, you know, emerges. Probably other stuff too. These things have a way of taking on a life of their own."

This will be interesting because the cool stuff that is coming out can only be discussed once it is in the public domain, and then still limited until released as a real product.

I would be interested to see how many of these organisations setting up externally facing corporate blogs are actually using blogs internally as well as a form of knowledge management.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/02/2004 11:53:00 am   |

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More on Friendster, blogs, and terminations

It seems that Joyce Park's firing has caused a major stir within the technology ranks across the US. Several news organisations have picked up on the issue:-

I wonder if it will make the Australian press, I guess time will tell.

A search on Bloglines on "Fired for Blogging" shows many different entries of people who have ended with the same fate. Bloggers around the world seem to be getting behind Joyce and the whole issue, some calling for all users of Friendster to cancel their user account. Some have mentioned the obvious that there might be two sides of the story.

This gets me thinking about the impact such a loosely coupled social network can have on an organisation. Can a virtual social network impact the actions of an organisation, we have all seen action groups, such as Shareholders Association of Australia, place pressure on major organisations to change their practices. Will we see such changed based on the pressure of virtual social networks?

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/01/2004 09:32:00 am   |

Employee Internet Usage Policy

This morning when I checked my email I got my weekly subscription to, sometimes it has an interesting article or link. Today what got my interest was an Employee Internet Usage Policy. After yesterday's entry on being fired for blogging it seemed a good follow up. While the policy comes from the US and is probably not applicable all over the global it does highlight some of the different areas that a policy should cover. Point 5 in the policy would be interpreted to cover blogging.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 9/01/2004 09:23:00 am   |