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Enterprise hits and misses - employees are talking, but is HR listening? AI needs audits, and SMS passcodes need a rethink

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed September 6, 2022
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

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

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

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


Brian Sommer's email buzzword recall!  Ever wish you could recall an email message?

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?

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.

Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa- all from Adobe Stock

Disclosure - Workday, Samsara, Heap and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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