10 Tips to Help You Avoid an Awkward Initial Client Site Visit

April 3, 2014


Walking into the unknown of an initial client site visit can be nerve-wracking for both the client and the consultants. The sales process has probably gone on for months and normally the client is anxiously wondering…..what now? It is the consultant’s job to arrive onsite and bring positivity to the next phases of the project and follow through with what sales has sold the client.
If these steps are taken in the next phases of the project, it should move smoothly (well at least we would hope).
5 things consultants need to consider/review before going onsite for Kickoff meetings and requirements gathering:

  •  Review all documents related to the project; including SOW, Timelines, Client Org Chart (if available) and Sales Notes. Make sure to read the SOW the night before you are on client site to make sure it is fresh in your brain. Also keep a copy in your briefcase for reference.
  • Provide the client with a thorough agenda so that they are able to bring the key decision makers in. Make sure to add adequate breaks and time for lunch.
  • Make sure that a demo environment is setup so that you can reference it in the requirements meetings. If it is another client; make sure their name is kept out of the screens and screenshots. Provide an initial training (core concepts) to the client if available; this is where you would discuss the basic terminology.
  • Create a list of questions that seem unclear from the SOW or sales handoff meetings.
  • Have a logistical understanding of the area where the client is located. Make sure the hotel is close to the client; and anticipate traffic on your first day.

5 things clients need to consider and review before consultants come onsite for Kickoff meetings and Requirements gathering:

  • Determine the correct resources needed for the initial meetings. (HR, Payroll, Operations, Mgmt team). Make sure all of the key decision makers are able to attend the meetings.
  • Ask the consultant for the items that are needed for a successful requirements session. The items usually consist of: Comfortable conference room, enough chairs, snacks, laptops, paper, projector, and dry erase boards with pens.
  • Setup a shared drive for the project; Set up an implementation folder that includes the SOW, notes from the meetings, and project documents.
  • Determine the concerns that you are presently facing with your current system (or lack of system). Make a list of items that you intend to get out of the new system. Bring these to the Requirements gathering sessions.
  • Attend all meetings, including project kick off, course training (core concepts). Keep an open mind. The implementation consultant will help guide you towards the best practices for your company to have a successful implementation; keep that in mind before you say no to their ideas.

While some of these steps may seem obvious, remember, your client is getting to know you and your team for the first time. A missed step early on can start off a client/ consultant relationship on the wrong foot. It is often the obvious steps that get overlooked but should be the easiest steps to remember. You can never plan for every contingency but by taking care of the basics right off the bat, you can gain the confidence of your client and establish a positive working relationship which will foster positive results for both parties.

Erica Thorn
Assistant Director, Senior Consultant Services


The Critical Case of HR Technology in Healthcare

March 26, 2014


Healthcare and robust Human Resource software does not always go hand in hand, why? Because healthcare spends multiple millions of dollars on technology for the latest in patient care, which they should, but this in turn puts all technology for Human Resources at the bottom of the financial list of priorities. Some might say that this is okay in itself because patient care comes first and it does. However, we are not just talking about an applicant tracking system or tracking W-4 and I-9 forms. We are also talking about performance reviews, competencies, and succession management. Let’s discuss how this impacts the healthcare system.

Performance reviews, as with most companies, are done 90 days after hire and then annually. A healthcare system that is still using a paper method can and does spend multiple weeks trying to complete the annual performance review; and this would be for just one nursing unit. There are nursing units in hospitals that have 120 plus nurses in one unit (remember you need 24 hour 365 day coverage). It is the nursing director and supervisors responsibilities to complete a performance review with an average review taking approximately one hour to complete in a paper world. Now we have 120 hours spent just doing reviews by a nursing director and supervisors. That is time spent away from patients and 120 hours of soft dollars being wasted were the average salary for a nursing director is $115,000 annually. Now we have just discussed that a typical nursing unit of 120 nurses for a large hospital in the ER or med/surg unit takes 3 weeks for the performance review to be completed, so we see that 17%!!, let’s look at that number again, 17% of the year is utilized for doing the annual performance reviews.

There exists HR technology that can significantly reduce this task to a fraction of that time. The reason it is not being utilized is hard dollars. Leadership at a hospital is not being convinced that there is a need for this type of software. I lived this for 10 years at one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country. We tried year after year to change from (the still used paper method) to the technology that is available. Leaders in this organization simply stated that there is no money for HR Solutions. This is commonly the case across many healthcare organizations.

So, what is the impact of holding on to an outdated system? Let’s review. An average salary for a nursing director is $115,000 annually. 17% equals $19,550 for ONE unit. One large nursing unit cost the system 17 percent of the leaders salary for a once a year activity. That doesn’t seem like a smart use of time or money. Situations like this need to be recognized and addressed in order for leadership to recognize that implementing a robust human resources software package would be a huge benefit. This not only saves human capital cost (soft dollars) but allows more time for the supervisors and directors to be out on the nursing floors where they should be instead of in an office.


Competencies also need to be tracked and reviewed throughout the life cycle of patient care givers. Currently, this process is also handled via the paper method but could be completed electronically with a human resource software solution which would offer increased accuracy and efficiency.

My final point is succession management. What is the best way for an organization to select in house talent to promote? In an ideal world you would be able to compare employee records of education, competency reports, and performance reviews side by side. You would also see what types of leadership classes have been taken and what the career goals of each individual are. Currently this is handled through multiple methods. Some are paper, some are from interviews, and others are from the applicant tracking system. In today’s world of “work smarter not harder” this information can be simplified and reviewed through a single technology solution.

These types of human resource systems are out there and are capable of saving an organization time and money as well as putting the caregivers back where they belong, on the floor taking care of our loved ones. Healthcare providers should be focused on how they can provide the best care possible in the safest environment and not worrying about how they are going to schedule 120 plus hours of time for reviews and maintain coverage.

The challenge is to produce a behavior change in hospital organizational leadership so that money budgeted for improvements goes not only to patient care, but also to the ever growing technology of the personal touch, Human Resources.


Michael Sischo2 Michael Sischo
Senior Implementation Consultant


It’s all about the Coaching!

March 20, 2014


I remember an excellent article in Forbes last year (March 2013) titled “North America’s best run sports franchise”.  I would imagine that if you posed that title in the form of a question to several casual and passionate sports fans the answers would be all over the board.  No doubt the team that the author references in this article would not be an obvious choice of many.  That team?  Well that would be the San Antonio Spurs.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  Look at their run of success over the past 15 years and it appears that the author nailed it.

Aside from the great Tim Duncan, the biggest constant during the Spurs’ phenomenal run has been head coach Greg Popovich.  “Pop” also just happens to be the longest tenured coach of any pro sports team in North America, and he has succeeded by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his players.  Whether it is resting his aging superstars on the bench during stretches of the regular season, or relying on specialist role players, his methods are hard to argue.  No doubt the author is spot on when he notes that the Spurs have excelled in making wins and losses about managerial and coaching acumen.  It really is all about the coaching!

I had the opportunity to visit on several occasions with the owner of a small and growing telecom company who was totally sold out to the philosophy of strong coaching.  His employee headcount was around 150 at the time, and one of his biggest challenges was to minimize turnover and keep his staff focused on learning in a business with short technology cycles.  This owner was also the CEO and his organizational structure was about 4 levels deep.

What struck me the most about this gentleman was that he was not hesitant to spend time coaching his first level of employees who consisted primarily of technicians and supply chain personnel.  I asked the question “why not allow your management staff to take on these coaching tasks”?  First of all he corrected me in saying that this was NOT a task as far as he was concerned.  From there he indicated that his managers were developed to be effective coaches, but these were opportunities for him to build a rapport with the associates and not be derelict in his role. He also felt as though that he could convey his passion and conviction directly without it being diluted by way of delegating.   Well far be it for me to question what appeared to be a very effective method.

Finally he did mention that he was careful not to come across as micromanaging, but at the same time deliver an experience that is immeasurable and far reaching in any business environment.   His organization now approaches 400 employees and no doubt his philosophy would be effective in a company 10x that size.  Once again it’s all about the coaching!

Reggie Wilson3Reggie Wilson

Regional Sales Manager at HRchitect

Connect on LinkedIn

The War for Talent Continues

March 17, 2014

Talent war“We love the smell of HCM in the Morning.”

Not too long ago, I served on a panel and was asked what I thought were some of the top areas in Talent Management that companies are focusing on right now, given our current economic and business conditions.

While I think there are many areas that companies should focus their efforts on, namely around figuring out their long-term Human Capital Management (HCM) systems strategy, I decided to focus the answer around the so-called “war on talent”.

Today, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is anywhere between approximately 7%-16% depending on many factors – what expert you talk with, politics, geography, race, and a host of other ways to measure. However, when you focus specifically on “skilled labor”, that number hovers around 4% and since many economists believe that anything under 5% basically amounts to full employment, you can quickly see the problem, and it is only getting worse.

A few years ago, we published a groundbreaking report entitled “The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management”, and in that report we stated:

“Organizations across the globe are concerned with finding enough skilled labor to accomplish their business objectives, given the potential of continuing talent shortages in critical skilled positions. Upcoming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, changing demographics, and skills gaps due to education shortfalls all have the potential to dramatically impact an organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain the right talent.

Over the past few years the world has gone through a significant period of economic turmoil that again, depending on who you talk with, is either continuing, getting worse, or getting better. So what is an organization to do? Arm your company with know-how and face the war on talent head-on!

Here are four “talent” areas to think about, in no particular order…

1)      Understanding your talent. Seems simple enough but many organizations simple don’t know what they currently have, and where those “rock stars” are within their own organization. Start by getting all data in one place (the talent profile), before any analysis can take place. Information such as internal & external work experience, aspirations, goals, motivations, preferences, assessment results, etc. Think about a person’s LinkedIn profile and a Facebook profile brought together in a talent record that is available to you. The Talent Profile has been a major trend of HCM vendors and something that needs critical attention paid to it.

2)      Reviewing your talent.  This can take many forms but start with the traditional and formal talent reviews. Many firms still do this once a year but organizations are increasingly looking at this differently (and should be). Start rating the performance of your employees, including the potential for flight risk and what that impact would have on the organization. Develop clear action lists for those employees you want to keep and manage out those you don’t.

3)      Reaching talent. This applies to both inside and outside your organization, and goes back to the Talent Profile in number 1 above. If you don’t know who and what you have, you will have a difficult time reaching that internal talent. In addition, leverage alumni networks as an example and cultivate talent ‘gardens’, i.e. tracking college & even pre-college potential talent. Remember, it’s a war out there so you need to cast a wide net and prepare to capture more than your competitors do!

4)      Assimilating talent. So you’ve found the “rock stars” you have been searching for. Now what. You need to ensure that your onboarding programs don’t wreck your carefully cultivated employment brand, but instead ‘lock in’ the new talent you have found. It’s vitally important to remember that the recruitment process is just the beginning of a new employee’s experience with your company. The initial excitement that new hires experience over starting a new job can quickly develop into frustration as they run into challenges in their desire to become acclimated with a new company and their desire to be productive in their new job and environment (something I would expect you want as well!) A very common frustration includes a lack of connection to their new company and its culture. Another challenge is in completing paperwork with poor instructions and yet another is simply the fact that most companies prepare poorly for a new employee’s first day. The list actually goes on and on…

Good luck and we hope this helps you better prepare for the ongoing war for talent!

Matt Lafata2Matt has over 18 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. As President, he oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, customer success, partnerships, consulting, finance and corporate development.


Ask not what your ATS can do for you, ask what you can do for your ATS.

March 13, 2014


This title may come as a surprise to a recruiter reading this post.  After all an Applicant Tracking System is designed to do all of the heavy lifting for us, and to the casual user, the system appears to be completely configured when they log in. While all this is very true, I live in the world behind the curtain. A magical world of client settings, user privileges, automation management, form creation, communication templates and my favorite….integrations.

I am a technical consultant whose wizard-like powers are contained within my Admin tools.  So I ask again, what can you do for your ATS?  My answer to this question when I am asked is a simple one… I can do anything.

I can create custom workflows, unique org groups, user types of endless shapes and sizes all behind a complex matrix of privileges which make data viewable to some and locked down and impossible to retrieve for others.  I have the ability to create libraries of questions and only present specific targeted questions to the select few that apply to a relevant job.  I can develop logic to rate and stack candidates based on previous experience, education or responses to job specific questions.  I can trigger communications to candidates, managers, stakeholders, third parties, even the recruiter that may be sleeping on the job while highly sought after talent anxiously waits to be viewed within an applicant folder. Better yet, I can send a highly qualified candidate directly to the recruiter’s inbox, or even the manager for that matter, there by bypassing the vast sea of applicants.

The fun doesn’t stop here.  When we identify candidates we wish to move forward with, the real fun begins.  Using the cloud and the speed of light I can auto-communicate to a pool of candidates, have candidates schedule their own interviews, simultaneously communicate to coordinators who handle logistics, notify the evaluation team and insure everyone is ready for the big day of interviews.  After the interviews take place evaluation forms can be automated in the system, filled out in the cloud, attached to candidate profiles, and used to further rank the talent.

Now we have finalists for the job.  We need more candidate information. This is no problem.  Auto-communication takes place once again and reaches out to the candidate. The system generates forms and has the candidate fill out a more robust application.  I want the good stuff now, EEO data, prior managers, GPA, salaries, bonuses and evaluations all of which can be automatically gathered at this stage.

Now comes the part I really love….INTEGRATIONS.

With a simple left click all the data is magically sent.  A background authorization goes out to the candidate, and most of their information is somehow already on the form, the candidate has a Big Brother feeling and then recalls that they likely offered that information during their application.  “Ok I will verify and consent to the Background”, they say quietly but excitedly in their head.

That is all my ATS needs, now with the same magic, all the information is sent to the Background check vendor and for good measure a communication is sent to the manager letting them know that all is going well with the new prospect.

In short order the background report is completed and clear.

Control Tower:

  • Notify manager, recruiter, HR, payroll, and security.
  • Automation- create offer, post to the candidate portal.
  • Integrations-Send candidate data to Onboarding and build the new hire in the HRIS system.

I think you get the idea. With enough experience, patience and knowledge the possibilities with today’s Applicant Tracking Systems are endless.  The only limitation thus far is we have yet to get the ATS to hand the new hire their business cards on the first day of work, but anything is possible.

Serge Shishik (3)Serge Shishik
Sr. Implementation Consultant

Avoiding the Seven Failures That Cause Your Human Capital Management (HCM) System to be Replaced

March 3, 2014


I have found that vendors sometimes get an unwarranted bad rap and that people throw out their HCM system without looking at their own role in using the system. I certainly don’t want to say that you won’t ever potentially replace a system, or that the vendor may not be taking the product where you want to go. Sometimes you simply need to switch out a system because of vendor viability issues, no clearly defined roadmap and poor support.

After performing hundreds of HCM evaluation and selection projects for leading organizations of all industries across the globe, our research shows us that the majority of HCM systems are replaced due to customer “failure” – NOT due to vendor viability factors, vendor product roadmap, or poor vendor support. Through this research, we have identified seven of the most common failures and by being aware of what they are, you can create a risk mitigation plan to avoid them.

Lack of Support and Staffing – Technology is not a panacea into itself, it is an enabler and an HCM system is an enabling application. You have to step up on client side and ensure you have an internal support system to get value as you basically will get out what you put in. This starts at the implementation stage as you can take a great product and if you don’t implement it correctly, you won’t get any value out of it.

Do you have a system administrator? You should have some type of system administrator internally to properly support your HCM system. Somebody needs to be the person communicating back to the vendor to find out about new releases and other important information – basically provide internal support, revise reports, and tailor the system in other ways. With most of the HCM systems out there today, this is usually a part-time position and could be part of somebody’s job. It could be the same person who is the admin for more than one system.  A perfect background is somebody who understands HCM technology but also somebody who has implemented some kind of system. And once that person is in place, make sure you have a backup in case that person is hit by the proverbial bus.

Do you have a formalized and communicated training plan? The HCM vendor can certainly give you recommendations on which training classes to take. Be sure to train your system admin person and backup. If you don’t have either, hire a contract system admin through a third party consulting firm.

You also need a post implementation budget. Some companies put money in for first phase but keep money for further stuff that you didn’t do in phase 1. Ask for budget before you even start phase 1 and make sure you have budget every year for support and enhancement of the system.

Change Management – we all know that your users have changing needs. If you are the system admin or the champion, how are you meeting those needs? Are you fully aware of business requirements? When we look at that, and understand the needs, how do we prioritize the queue of the needs? Our suggestion is some type of governance model for the system. There should be a steering committee, who may meet once a month to discuss priorities in making changes, but you can’t do everything at once and you can’t modify the system for every user request. Sometimes there are simply constraints in the system and by keeping up with the vendor, you will know if it is coming in the product later on. The governance model could include the VP of HR, IT, etc. It’s important to know who needs to be informed of what the company is doing and who you get approval from if you own one module from your HCM vendor and want to buy another. How do you interact or communicate back to IT on your hardware and system needs?

Vendor Communication – how do you get your voices heard at the vendor? A good way is to attend user conferences so you can keep informed of the vendor’s roadmap. The vendor wants your input and ideas on how to improve system, how it works outside of ivory tower. If you can’t go to conferences, be sure to stay up with their newsletters about what is going on. You should have a primary contact with the vendor but you may want a relationship with the executive level as well. The vendor wants you to be happy and to be a reference for the sales group. You have an ally in the vendor – use that as leverage.

Springing into that thought – are you a good customer of the vendor? What is a model customer? It is somebody who takes some responsibility for success on the customer side and doesn’t expect that just because they bought something that they will be taken care of. A good customer takes responsibility and admits when they are wrong. They don’t inundate the vendor with needless requests and have reasonable expectations of when they will get back to you. Be a reference for the vendor and let them give out your name to prospects. It’s good for you if more money is going into the vendor as the more people supporting the vendor means they can put more money into development. Offer to write up a case study on your success. Whenever possible, go and speak about the HCM system as not only will you meet some interesting people but it is great PR for your company as well to talk about how successful you have been since implementing the system. Don’t give away all secrets but share, network and speak with the outside world.

Absence of Planning – Be proactive and plan – have a written plan of attack. Memorialize your plan as to how you support your HCM system. Set expectations, i.e. if putting in phase 1 and not going to do everything, let people know. Set expectations appropriately. Put in writing as memories are convenient and they change. Plan your work and work your plan.

What defines success? What works well in your industry? You need to have something to measure success of the system. If you survey your users, you may want to survey some candidates (if it is a recruiting system) – what is their satisfaction with system? Part of planning is to have a risk mitigation or contingency plan. What if the system is down? What if the vendor goes out of business? What if you have a merger? What is your preparedness plan to be ready for that? This is stuff that your steering committee should have in place.

Failure to Align with Enterprise Strategies – Unless you have every HCM functionality covered, which is unlikely, your HCM system is just a piece of an overall piece of an HCM systems strategic plan. If you are not aware of the HCM systems strategic plan, find out what it is all about. How does your CEO feel about the HCM systems plan? Are you aware of the company’s IT strategic plan? It should be a written document somewhere that covers things like SaaS vs. self-hosted (on-premise), database, network, etc. Be aware of it and how it changes and how it might affect the use of the HCM system.

Do you have a seat at the table with your management? One way is to show them success and metrics about what the system has done for your department and/or organization. Let them know the kind of information you have with the HCM system. Another critical thing is to keep informed with the software market and how your HCM system fits in and competes with others. Somebody could come to you and say they want to switch out with the HCM system module that your ERP vendor offers – you need to be aware of what the strengths of your HCM system vs. them. People have lost their HCM system when somebody fell into ERP politics and for the most part – those are not good stories.

You need to know how to defend your system. Why you use it and what you have gotten out of it. Be confident when addressing with others. Don’t give any excuses not to use it.

What are other projects are going on around the company that affect the HCM system? Watch what is going on with other products because somebody could buy another HCM system without you even knowing about it. Stay informed. When you see other projects going on, get on the steering committee or team so that software selections are not done in silos.

Resistance to Best Practices – Network with the customers of your HCM vendor. Compare notes, share tricks and techniques and other uses of the system. If you are wondering about your usage or best practices, benchmark with people in your industry. Every industry is a little different and uses a different set of metrics so if you want to see how you are doing, benchmark in your industry. Learn from what others have done rather than re-inventing the wheel. Borrow ideas. The Internet makes this easier as there is so much great information that you couldn’t find years ago – case studies, benchmarks, great organizations to go to – attend industry conferences. There are great seminars, webinars, and forums to learn and share ideas. If you see an idea, come back and use the HCM system as an enabler to implement the idea.

Poor Internal “Sales” of the System – selling your HCM system is important. I touched on some of these but toot your own horn as things are going well, and your HCM system is helping. Celebrate successes. Go to HR meetings with the rest of HR and keep everybody informed. Let people know about how well the HCM system is doing. If somebody is having trouble, have them come to you. Never assume that something can’t be done. If you don’t know the answers, call your HCM vendor or call a third party consultant to get some answers.

You should take charge where possible, and set the example for the rest of company. Don’t just react but lead. This is what will get you that seat at the management table. Jack Welch wrote about this in his books. Continue to survey people, measure, compare and always look for improvement. Be a speaker, write an article, share your metrics and analytics with others. Bottom line – keep selling, admit your failures, admit mistakes but don’t give the HCM vendor a bad rap. Some political faction within your company may be pushing you in a different direction when all they hear is you complaining about the system. You want people to perceive system as a positive.

As a final note on some of the things discussed in this blog, HRchitect can function as your system administrator, saving you on the cost of hiring and potentially replacing employees to perform this function. In addition, if you are looking for a new HCM system of any kind, please do yourself a favor and have a conversation with HRchitect before investing ANY time or money in your search. We can save you a lot of time, money and heartache.

Matt Lafata2Matt has over 18 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. As President, he oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, customer success, partnerships, consulting, finance and corporate development.


Bill Taylor, co-founder and editor of Fast Magazine, speaks on strategy, culture and change

February 20, 2014

someecards.com - Change is hard. Let's just do what we always do and call it a

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Bill Taylor co-founder and editor of Fast Magazine speak at an HCM conference.

I’ve read a lot of Fast Company and enjoy  being introduced to forward thinking companies and their executives each month. It was interesting though, to hear Mr. Taylor’s philosophical beliefs which motivated the inception of the magazine in the first place. In essence he expressed the belief that it is possible to be a highly successful company by using a more humane approach to business decisions than may be the popular practice. This thought was very in line with the theme of the conference which was “Energizing Life’s Work” and piqued my attention. He went on to provide some additional insight which I found very worthy of sharing.

According to Mr. Taylor, in our age of start-ups and market saturation, it is imperative to move our focus from being good at everything to being the “most of one thing”. The most agile, elegant, robust etc. He took that a step further to say that once you as an organization, have identified what that one thing is, the next goal should be creating  a “shared mind set”. Any employee of the organization at any level should be able to answer the question “Why would I want to work for your company?” in the same way and in a way that would wow the inquirer.

Another great idea he put forth was that “When strategy is culture, culture becomes strategy”. I know this is not a new idea, but how many organization embrace this thought or are doing it right? There is at least one company that is, which Mr. Taylor obviously loves to talk about. That company is a fast growing west coast bank called umpqua bank. They recognized how sterile and relatively consistent the customer experience is in banks and the employee experience as well for that matter. In order to bring life to their locations or “neighborhood stores” as they refer to them, they appealed to the senses.  Premium coffee brewed behind the clerk counter was available and provided free of charge with the possibility of purchasing bags of beans should you desire. Chocolates with the umpqua logo on them are presented to you as you leave, and “store’s”  interior designs embrace the neighborhood which that particular store services. The last, and probably most radical decision they made, was to repurpose the stores during off hours. PTA meetings, knitting circles, anyone that needs a meeting space is given the opportunity to use the space free of charge. Out of curiosity I checked their website today and found a massive list of events ranging from farmer’s markets to live music to wine tastings. I don’t live on the west coast, but I have to believe that if I ever attended one of these free events at a local store, I would feel compelled to at least consider them as the bank with which I would do business.

Sure, this is a very obvious example of driving your strategy by driving culture and getting everyone involved from the ground up. But, I believe that was exactly Mr. Taylor’s point. Because pretty much everything has been done, we need to refocus on how to do it differently. In his words, “Economic success is not scientific anymore” it now requires passion and something that truly distinguishes you from the rest, something which makes the experience you provide more memorable than all the rest. The only way to get there he says is by looking at things differently and by truly collaborating across functions, or even repurposing a proven idea from one function to another in a way you never would have considered.

In closing he referred to a list published in the very first copy of Fast Company, which they had actually republished from  its original print in 1959. This list “50 Reasons Why We Cannot Change” might surprise you. Mainly because there is a good chance you’ve heard these same reasons in your board room just recently.


In the end, if we do not change, we will stay the same. And staying the same will not lend to either organizational success, or the “Energizing of Life’s Work” for that matter. So maybe we all try looking at just one thing differently each time. Until it becomes so comfortable it’s becomes normal. As a self-prescribed “venture capitalist of idea” I know Mr. Taylor is waiting for all of us to get a little “out there”.

Elissa MontoyaElissa Montoya
Senior Consultant, Implementation Services


Setting the HR Table – The Strategic role of HR and How it Became That Way

February 6, 2014

Laid Table

Human Resources (HR) has played a critical role in companies since the birth of organized corporations.  The name has changed from “Personnel Department,” but the function of taking care of the employees has remained. With the onset of computerized application systems, the first adopters in Accounting and Finance jumped on the band wagon with the early General Ledger systems.  Large companies were willing to spend big money to develop in-house systems for ‘important and strategic’ functions.  The evolution continued with the ability to purchase applications or even outsource.  Today, large multi-national corporations and small proprietorships alike all have the benefit of technology for all business functions and by understanding their interaction they form the corporate strategy.

History shows that there were no funds for automated HR systems, especially if they required the use of expensive, internal Information Technology resources, resources which were typically hidden behind walls running large mainframe computers. Historically, it was acknowledged that the group that handled the finances was an important strategic member at the table; the ‘table’ where the big strategic company decisions were made.  Overlooked was the division that took care of the people of the organization.

Over the years, I have worked with financial institutions and other corporations supporting the internal financial and accounting departments.  It is interesting to remember how so many of these people were eager to be on the leading edge of technology.  Many years ago, I remember being assigned to support the HR department at the large corporation where I was working.  My first thoughts were, “How great to work with such nice people” and “They have almost no systems so this should be a breeze…..” and it was. Helping them with a few spreadsheets and trying to understand payroll reports with scarce amounts of HR data was much of the job.  It really did not occur to them to want more. It was easy, that is, until the entry of the ERP (Enterprise) systems. The decision to replace an in-house old General Ledger system for the corporation was exciting but the real excitement came with the inclusion of the systems to support HR functions.  Wow, that was exciting and in hindsight very forward thinking for this company!  This was the beginning of the movement to bring the human resources function to the big table. Many corporations now saw HR functions as being part of the strategy and began putting technology behind the management of the company’s biggest asset, the people.   It was a great time for HR departments and the excitement continues to grow.

The evolution for Human Resources continues. In 2014 HR technology continues to move to greater specialization in the areas of:

  • Talent Management and Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Performance Management
  • Compensation
  • Workforce Management
  • Specialty reporting

Hundreds of vendors are vying for your business, dazzling you with terms such as SAAS, Mobile and Big Data.   It is time to set the HR table and make sure all the specialties are working together and taking advantage of the technical solutions available. From the day you recruit and hire an employee you are making an investment in them. Your days are filled ensuring your ability to track their work time, their attendance and life changes. Complexity today is increasing exponentially as you try to keep up with compliance for Tax, Insurance and ACA reporting.  You must be able to analyze and ensure that the data gathered will enhance the ability to manage, tactically and strategically, across the entire organization.  Now, everyone wants to touch the HR system.

The good news is, the technology and application systems are out there and with more affordable options than ever before.  The ability to use the data on mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and phones is real. The bad news is, it’s a jungle out there with hundreds of companies vying for your business and the choices can have any HR Executive or Manager running back to their spreadsheets. Let HRchitect sit at your table as your partner. HRchitect brings your organization our experience in dealing with HR technology on a daily basis and our expertise in solving the challenges faced by today’s HR organizations. Our services give clients the knowledge and confidence to move in the right direction and achieve their strategic business goals.


Cheryl Tyson 2Post by Cheryl Tyson

Cheryl Tyson has more than 20 years of experience in the HR software industry as a Project Manager, Implementation Consultant, Product Manager and Management Consultant.  Her areas of expertise in the HCM market include HRIS, Payroll, Workforce Management, Benefits and Analytics.

Prior to joining HRchitect Cheryl worked for various consulting firms providing consulting services to large and small clients in the financial, medical, call center and government environments.

Cheryl has a degree in Computer Systems Technology and an MBA from Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario.

HRchitect Partners with Talemetry to Bring Clients Enhanced Recruiting System Capabilities and Seamless Integration.

February 5, 2014

New strategic relationship will bring clients seamless integrations and expand the usefulness and capability of existing HCM solutions 

HRchitect Partners with Talemetry (Talemetry)

Frisco, TX., Feb. 4th, 2014- HRchitect, a leading provider of HCM systems strategic consulting, has announced that they will be partnering with Talemetry to offer clients expanded talent generation features and assist with the integration of Talemetry’s Talent Generation suite with talent acquisition systems. HRchitect’s years of experience working with numerous HCM systems in an array of business environments helps ensure seamless integration of the Talemetry cloud-based software solution. In addition to helping streamline system integration, HRchitect  will be able to assist organizations with the implementation of Talemetry’s Talent Generation suite helping clients augment their existing talent acquisition systems in order to meet their organization’s talent generation needs.

“As the leading vendor neutral HCM consulting firm, it’s important that we are able to provide our current and future clients with help and advice around not only the core HCM applications but those applications that also provide complementary services.” said Matt Lafata, president of HRchitect.  “Talemetry is a great tool for recruiters to attract and engage talent and managers to gain insight into meaningful source analytics but like many applications, its real power comes out when integrated with one of the many talent acquisition systems available today. Our partnership with Talemetry really shows its benefit to organizations when they want to implement and integrate their Talemetry system with their recruiting system, and that’s where HRchitect’s HCM consulting experts can assist in achieving somewhat of a recruiting nirvana.

While many talent acquisition solutions offer some sourcing, job broadcasting and candidate relationship management (CRM) functionality, many of these systems offer only basic functionality which may not fully meet a client’s talent generation demands. Organizations facing a talent shortage or those that need candidates with specific technical skills will benefit from the expanded capabilities available with Talemetry’s Talent Generation suite.  The analytics and organizational benefit of having all of the capabilities in one suite is what sets Talemetry apart.

“We’re excited about this partnership with HRchitect. They have a great track record of full lifecycle HCM consulting with the leading HCM solutions such as Oracle Taleo, Infor Lawson and IBM Kenexa.. We believe that the combination of HRchitect’s expertise and our solution will allow clients to fully realize the benefits of their investment in their ATS and their sourcing efforts,” said Talemetry CEO Jade Bourelle.

The HRchitect team will in attendance at the upcoming Oracle HCM World conference February 4th through the 6th at the Venetian in Las Vegas, NV. Stop by exhibit booth 312 to learn more about how HRchitect’s consulting services can benefit your organization and help you achieve your business goals.

The Talemetry team will also be in attendance at Oracle HCM World conference. Stop by booth 407 to see Talemetry in action and how its talent generation capabilities help recruiters find, attract and engage top talent.


About HRchitect: HRchitect is the leader in HCM systems strategic consulting.  As the premier Human Capital Management  Systems consulting firm, we offer end-to-end HR technology consulting services focused around strategic planning, evaluation/selection, project management and implementation of HR systems, Talent Management Systems, Talent Acquisition Systems, and Workforce Management software. After more than 17 years in business working on over 2000 successful engagements for more than 900 clients across the globe, HRchitect is a name you can trust for all your organizations HR technology-related consulting services. For more information visit HRchitect.com

About Talemetry: Talemetry delivers all the tools recruiters need to find, attract, and engage the talent they need today – and tomorrow – in a single, simple and social cloud-based solution. The Talemetry suite includes talent sourcing & CRM, job broadcasting, agency, career sites and candidate application solutions. For more information visit talemetry.com

Press contact: Rusty Hall | rhall@hrchitect.com | 214.619.6613

Do You Know Your Company’s Online Reputation?

January 21, 2014

- What you don’t know can hurt you -


For years, experts have cautioned job seekers to monitor and control their social media presence to prevent potential recruiters and hiring managers from getting the wrong impression from reading inappropriate comments and seeing those horrible photos that friends just love to post. In today’s employment market, it has become equally important for businesses to be aware of their online reputation.

Just as shoppers rely heavily on online services before making purchases for anything from electronics to furniture, shoes or appliances, job seekers now have many sites available to research a company’s reviews, CEO approval ratings, salaries, interview questions, and competitors, in addition to searching job openings. Where (not so long ago) these sites were merely places for disgruntled ex-employees to vent, they now provide the social-media savvy jobseeker with a handy resource to learn the ins and outs of prospective employers.

Of course, as with any compilation of user-driven reviews, there will frequently be a certain percentage of overly negative posts. That said, it is important that a company is aware of the overall perception being created in the job market. Are salaries in the organization well above or below the averages for like job descriptions? Is the typical job approval rating significantly lower than the competitor? Not only are these possible indicators for your future recruits, they are also possible indicators for attrition within your current workforce.

While targeted to job seekers, staying abreast of the activity on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and CareerBliss can provide a company valuable insight and resources:

  • Employment Brand – postings provide real-time visibility into the market’s perception of your quality as an employer, along with the up and down shifts in momentum as your world changes
  • Cheap Advertising – as the popularity of these resources has soared with potential candidates, the ability to post basic job ads free, or the option for low cost “premium” ads, provides the company with an economical outlet for recruiting
  • Know Thy Enemy – if your information is out there, so is your competitors’. These public forums provide the opportunity to track their trending, providing an alternative resource to try to stay ahead of potentially damaging activities.

Some additional considerations when monitoring your company’s presence in these forums:

  • Oversight – Most sites have some level of oversight, but you should also moderate the feedback posted about your organization.  Many forums will allow the company to provide some level of input to flag inappropriate content, possibly removing it. Keep in mind – strong opinions (even when they are negatively addressed toward your company) are acceptable; grievous venting, inappropriate comments or false claims are not.
  • Avoid Head in the Sand – While it is not uncommon to see a disproportionate number of negative reviews from the disgruntled former employee ranks, do not completely discount the negative reviews. Look for common themes or an up-tick in the number or frequency of negative posts. You do not want to miss a potentially costly trend in the workforce.

As an employer, keeping abreast (or even taking advantage) of these resources can not only provide you with the opportunity to gain greater insight into your employee satisfaction, but can help with recruiting expense, control your online brand, and provide a source for always needed competitive advantage.


Annastasia Bell
Director of Implementation Services

Annastasia Bell has over 15 years of experience in business development and management, project management, data capture and analysis, process development, and implementation management. A seasoned workforce management professional, Annastasia has delivered WFM consulting services to organizations such as Anchorage School District, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, and Western Financial Group. In addition to leading the workforce management team at HRchitect, Annastasia regularly speaks at industry events and publishes educational content related to her work in WFM.


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