January 27, 2016

Expert Interview: The Impact of Digital Disruption on HR

Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President of Oracle HCM Strategy, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. In this episode, we discuss how HR technology is evolving to meet employees’ expectations, how Oracle HCM keeps up with industry disruption, and what attendees learned at Oracle OpenWorld 2015 from Oracle HCM Cloud.

Below are Gretchen’s four biggest insights from the conversation.

  1. With HCM, you have to take the old with the new.

The functions that HR provides are always going to stay the same. There will always be a compliance component. You will always recruit talent and try to engage talent. You want to motivate them. At some point certain people leave the organization, but you want to retain them as long as you can. Those processes will stay the same.

But what we’re looking at is, what are the additional enablers? What other capabilities can we bring into HR processes to help employees and match their expectations — but also help make the system richer?

  1. Personalization is the future.

You might have different preferences when you log into the system than I do. How do we help you personalize the system so that you see what matters most to you as opposed to seeing what matters most to me? Because we’re in different roles, we have different jobs to do.

Recommendations are another way to personalize. If I’m looking at career development for example, I don’t just want to see you’re currently in a development role and your next step is senior development manager. I want to see how have other people done that. What can I learn from them?

  1. Learning and development technology is something companies should be investing in.

Companies need to help employees understand not just what they need to know right now, but what other people are looking at, watching, learning from — people who you know, people who you respect. How do you get beyond just compliance training, which everybody does, and into engaging and helping employees grow differently?

  1. Our Work-Life Applications start by saying: you bring your whole self to work.

Building your reputation ties into work-life. How do we engage you when you’re at work? How do we help you find new ways to connect with other people?

Among the things we’ve looked at is one of the products we call My Reputation. As I’m doing work, participating in the social network, commenting on other people’s capabilities, posting videos, what have you — I am building my reputation. I am sharing what I’m interested in with people and what I’m good at. That is probably as valuable — and in some cases, I might argue, more valuable — than what my resume actually says.

  1. Employee engagement is a critical tool for the future of HCM.

Having the ability to build and maintain your reputation helps an employee see, for example, that they want to move into leadership, but they don’t have a lot of experience yet. But through working on some of the elements of their reputation, they can show that they’re building those leadership skills, which is exciting.

Another employee engagement tool we have is My Wellness. We discovered that a lot of people want to engage other people around their health goals.For example, if you’re training for a 5k, you can discover who else is training for a 5k, then build that community within the organization and find running buddies or other people who share similar health interests. It’s a way to build a connection beyond your immediate colleagues.

  1. Competition is another trend affecting HCM.

This is a fun one because it’s not what you think about typically for HR, but HR gets involved often because it has to do with people. You name it, companies have competitions running all the time within their organizations, and most of them are very informal. It might be a department, it doesn’t have to be a company-wide thing. Things like a competition to name the latest product, or a competition for quality, or a competition for who completes compliance training first.

We provide the ability for a company to very easily set up a competition, say who’s involved, and get the leaderboard in place so people can see where they are. Studies have found it’s human nature to like to see that recognition — they like their name on the leaderboard. It doesn’t necessarily have to be millions of dollars in prizes, but it’s a way to engage people differently. And having that tied into HR, again, helps us understand when people participate.

Whenever there’s a quality initiative and an employee is in the competition and they’re participating, that’s good insight for me to have as a manager to think about what opportunities I might give that person next. It’s not just about the fun of the competition, it’s about collecting other information to help inform other decisions, too.

Here’s the short version: if you use any of Oracle’s products, databases, or applications, you will directly benefit from joining a user group. If you aren’t a member yet, stop by the User Groups Pavilion (Moscone South, Upper Lobby) to learn more about new programs and the benefits of membership. All full conference attendees will have access to SIGs and User Group Forum sessions. Check out the session catalog for a full list. Get your tickets now, and be sure to follow @oracleopenworld on Twitter for updates.

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