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I'm spending a lot of time thinking about keeping things simple .  I've written before about this article over at Wired focused on the competitive advantage of actually LIMITING features.

If it works for video cameras, why won't it work well for the services we provide in HR?  I'm exploring this in more detail in a column over at Workforce, here's a taste:Simple

"I love to watch friends and family members struggle with over-engineered products, especially if I already know how to use those products well. It just makes you feel a little bit superior to see someone struggle to use something you’ve mastered, doesn’t it?

You know the type of product I’m talking about and what happens when someone tries to use it. Consider the following examples:

--High-end HD video cameras that make dads look like Quentin Tarantino showed up at a youth baseball game, until they put the camera back in the bag five minutes later because it’s too hard to use. The suburban version of Reservoir Dogs will have to wait.

--Forcing a non-coffee drinker to order you a grande nonfat latte while you sit in the passenger seat and snicker at their confusion in the drive-through lane at Starbucks. Just say it, Mom. They’ll know what you mean—honest."

Of course, if it's hard or embarrassing to use your HR services, ultimately no one will use them and folks will just work around you.  Click over to the entire column at Workforce to read some HR examples of over-engineered products, and what can be done to fix them.  Drop me a comment over there about other examples you see.

Make something less complicated than it has to be for someone today.  It's the ultimate HR gift.


Mike Carden

Reminds me of a quote which I heard about task management:

Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building an ark counts.

Turns out that if you want to get stuff done you are better off writing a list of never more than three things a day that you must complete, and doing them, than investing in a task management system. The iphone app "top three" does this.

We all know the gig with HR technology, especially performance management. Karen here at Sonar6 terms it the Performance Review of Doom Cycle:

1. Reviews are held infrequently.
2. Everyone thinks that reviews need to be really detailed to capture a years worth of information.
3. HR breaks out the psych text and creates a magnus opus.
4. Horribly complex review system scares the socks of everyone.
5. Repeat.

Frank Moreno

Kris great post. We're seeing this same theme as well here at Kronos. I just co-wrote a wp along these same lines: How Consumer-based Technology is Reshaping Enterprise Workforce Management Software.


Hmmm... Just had an HR dept meeting a few days back. One person's recommendation for fixing an issue we're facing? Add a handful of paperwork for people to sign and require all to be present at the same time. Ugh. My rec? Cut it all down to the bare minimum (i.e. ONE page) and then get the rest once the person comes into the office physically.

For some people, it seems like the response is ALWAYS going to be "let's add more complexity to this." That might be a solution at times, but mostly we just need to stop doing so much junk and trim it down to the necessities.

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