Enterprise hits and misses - employees are talking, but is HR listening? AI needs audits, and SMS passcodes need a rethink
- This week - forget about strategic HR... Is HR even listening? Plus: Bed, Bath & Beyond struggles, and SMS passcodes get discredited. Is digital transformation an enterprise oxymoron? This week's whiffs: futurify your buzzwords.
Lead story - Employees are talking, but are HR leaders listening?
I've been pushing the question: how does HR becomes strategic? Hold up! Based on Brian's scorching TechHR Singapore keynote rehash, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Brian poses a more fundamental question: is HR even listening? As Brian writes in If HR talked to employees…
It’s amazing how many employers were ‘surprised’ by the Great Resignation. And now, a recent article indicates that employers are also being ‘surprised’ by recently resigned employees wanting to return to their old employer... And, the surprises don’t stop there. You’ll hear HR and other executives lament how jobseekers they’ve made offers to, suddenly ‘ghost’ the employer and never show up for the job. Similarly, employers/HR are getting surprised when employees suddenly and without warning announce their imminent departure from the firm (aka "quiet quitting").
Hmm... I thought quiet quitting was about doing just enough and not one minute more, but Brian's point stands. Brian says there's an underlying problem:
Executives and HR leaders are getting surprised because too few of them talk to employees in a meaningful, frequent and substantial way. These leaders, wrongly, assume that today’s employees will be just like prior employees. They aren’t.
To be fair, most HR departments are barely above water, scrambling to enforce return-to-office policies and secure talent amidst hiring freezes. Brian refers to an accounting position an HR manager can't fill:
In this tight labor market, in-office or hybrid accounting work is undesirable and this executive’s HR team isn’t listening.
Though to be fair, sometimes HR is just carrying the CEO's
water cooler office Fantasia water-as-policy. So, Brian, where do we go from here? He details winning approaches - most of which are about being creative, shaking up routines, and creating new formats for listening, like video feedback from employees. He also advises revitalizing flagging mentor programs, and making them mandatory: "It’s possibly one of the best antidotes to the ‘listening’ problem today." Brian concludes:
Is your firm ready to limit some of the surprises it’s encountering? Then get busy with changing the frequency and content of employee interactions. And, figure out which leaders are great at reading today’s workforce. Those are the executives that will make more of difference to your firm than any number of operational improvements.
A good rallying cry. You can't even think about strategic HR until you are advocating for constituents.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Bed, Bath & Beyond - one last omni-hope with social commerce, loyalty programs, residual love and a $500 million loan? This is a rough "transformation" story to say the least, now including the death of Bed Bath & Beyond's CFO, which happened after Stuart published this update. Also see: Stuart's Luxury e-commerce is thriving, says José Neves as Farfetch passes an inflection point in tie-up with Richemont.
- AI needs auditing, for humanity's sake - Mark Chillingworth on how auditing can make AI accountable, versus the "break things" mentality of too many AI startups.
- Remember data warehouses? Yes, they are still relevant - Some might think 'data warehouse' is now a nostalgic term; Neil doesn't agree.
- Emma Sleep's business-led blueprint for composable commerce - Phil files another forward-thinking MACH use case (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, Headless, for those filling out buzzword bingo cards. Keep those handy by the way; we're just getting started...)
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Customers see us as mission-critical ready, says MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria - Stuart: "Wall Street, as ever, was skittish about lowered expectations for the coming months, but MongoDB’s ‘keep calm and carry on’ mindset is the rationale response."
- PagerDuty beats guidance in Q2 as it eyes $1 billion in revenue - Derek: "There are some companies that are proving their resilience in the current climate, particularly those that are focused on delivering operational stability, customer experience and data insights that can deliver a quick return on investment. PagerDuty seems to be ticking a lot of those boxes."
- Inside SAP's Business Network push - can the reality live up to the buzzwords? - How a chance encounter/debate lured me into a new dialogue with SAP on their much-hyped business networks play.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Solid Q2 results for Samsara as it sets out ambition to become ‘system of record for physical operations’ - Derek
- Wrike founder Andrew Filev on enterprise work management and the Collaborative Canvas - Phil
- How New Jersey uses Splunk to detect unemployment benefit fraud - saving billions of dollars - Derek
Jon's grab bag - Mature questions around organizational data use - IDC study takes a fresh look at some longstanding issues - Some organizations get it, some don't. Stuart goes behind the numbers with Heap. Barb explores a new angle of product-led marketing: Are interactive product tours the product-led growth for everyone else?
Derek on a data privacy issue that is just getting started: US lawmakers seek information from Meta about sharing personal data with law enforcement in wake of Roe v Wade decision. Finally, I asked the question I can't get away from: is digital transformation an enterprise oxymoron? Don't mess up your digital transformation - greatest hits from selected podcasts. Field views and key quotes from five memorable discussions.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- US blocks sales of some AI chips to China as tech crackdown intensifies - The global chip market has become the political global chip market, with many ramifications.
- Inflation drives shopping changes for 85% of consumers: survey - Holidays looming in the distance, and the consumer is a moving target. Retail Dive's take: higher income shoppers are more insulated, but the majority of US consumers have shifted their spending to essentials - and are spending less.
- How 1-Time Passcodes Became a Corporate Liability – Ever since the Twilio breach, serious flaws with SMS-based passcodes have come into focus. Krebs is on the case.
- The critical role of technology pros in emerging technology-free enterprises - I know what you're thinking: tech pros in tech-free enterprises? But as Joe McKendrick explains, "composable services" still need adult supervision.
- A Salesforce Customer’s Guide to Dreamforce - Yep, it's just around the corner now. Adam Mansfield from UpperEdge has an early tip sheet.
- Employee fraud: Beware of deepfake job applicants - Remember those beleaguered HR managers? Wonder how they're going to cope with deepfakes: "Deepfake video sounds advanced. But shady job candidates don’t need exotic or expensive hardware or software to impersonate someone on a live video call."
- Deception vs authenticity: Why the metaverse will change marketing forever - I almost tossed this VentureBeat article into the whiffs section. Good warnings on manipulation, but if marketers think they are going to get consumers to love immersive brand experiences, they have a meta-awakening coming.
Brian Sommer's email buzzword recall! Ever wish you could recall an email message?
How to recall an email in Outlook https://t.co/mkWTJWYlkZ
haha good luck with that. Once you hit send what's done is done, unless a variety of fortuitous and platform-specific things happen in your favor
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 4, 2022
Well, PR managers may wish they had a "recall" button after Brian Sommer gets through with them. Right before presstime, Brian send me a preview of another buzzword deconstruction session - featuring fresh live buzzwords from Brian's virtual inbox. Here's a sampling:
- Futurify – “empowering companies across industries … to futurify their businesses.” Personally, I suggest we use a different word: Jetson-esque. Shouldn’t all transformation efforts be targeting a more Jetson-esque future?
- RetroTrend or RetroTrending - "This was all over a television broadcast last week in Singapore. What I gleaned from that show is that it’s cool to use old tech, nerd clothing, etc. today. Watching HR and other executives try to pitch the return to the office as some sort of warm fuzzy reminder of the good old days of work is an exercise in nostalgia. It’s retro. Hearing these executives wistfully reminisce about hanging out at the water cooler, bonding over flat meat sandwiches in the conference rooms, and, of course, remembering how incredibly productive people were during those times is Wishful RetroTrending. I’ll continue to wear a jacket and tie to vendor events and to clients as my own retrotrend behavior."
Here's something that's not retrotrending - are we ready for virtual AI influencers?
Beijing will regulate “digital humans” in the metaverse and beyond https://t.co/cwwYZiQRR5
"Tech giant Alibaba even launched its own virtual influencer for the 2022 Olympic Games, modeled to be an “outspoken young woman passionate about sports.”
-> no comment
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 4, 2022
The excitement is palpable... See you next time.
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.