I have always believed that the only source of sustainable organizational advantage is outstanding workforce performance. Capable, engaged, and effective workers, who understand, are focused on, and execute very well the work that drives organizational results, make all the difference between organizational success and failure.
And I’ve been convinced since the very beginning of my career, when I was writing my first Autocoder commission accounting programs (a.k.a. insurance agent payroll) for John Hancock Life Insurance, that information technology was the power tool needed to enhance every aspect of workforce performance through effective human resource management (HRM).
What was more promise than possible at the start of my career is VERY possible now. Smart software, chock full of embedded intelligence, content, actionable analytics, and similar capabilities, deployed in a socially active and entirely mobile manner across the workforce and their individually unleashed social networks, really can enable the workforce to deliver improved organizational outcomes. Great IT-enabled HRM, in the hands of world class HR leaders, can make the difference between achieving breakthroughs in organizational outcomes or landing on the trash heap of failed enterprises.
But effective HRM made operational through a great HRM delivery system (that’s where IT comes in) is only possible, only practical, if we apply everything we’ve learned over the last forty years to doing it right – – right now! And that’s the reason for this blog.
With most of my career now visible in my rear view mirror, I’ve been using this blog to share as much as possible of what I’ve learned from incredible colleagues and clients in those now forty-five years – – and what I’m still learning. What do I wish I’d known sooner? What questions should I have asked and in what order? How do I detect excellent HRM or IT practices and avoid bad ones? How do I decide when to stick to my guns and when to back off as gracefully as possible? What makes my BS detector go into overdrive? I’ve got a lot of scars to remind me of my mistakes, which are legion, and some great memories of those special projects that pushed the envelope and succeeded.
But this blog won’t just be about lessons learned because it will also cover all the new ideas, questions, observations, and miscellany from my ongoing adventures at the intersection of HRM and IT. And, since my life isn’t lived solely at the intersection of HRM and IT, I’ll indulge the English major in my soul with the occasional post on life beyond work. With my eyes focused squarely on my own future — as yours should be no matter how dedicated you are to your professional life and/or industry — you should expect to see the mix here change to include more personal and less professional as time goes on. But I must admit that my personal life, while perhaps of no interest to anyone but me, gives rise to many a good story.
So, with apologies to Lewis Carroll for my clumsy adaptation of “The Walrus and The Carpenter” (Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872) and to my long-suffering husband and partner, Ron Wallace:
“The time has come,” Naomi said,
“To talk of many things;
Of work, IT and HRM,
Of plan designs, and pings ,
And why no rhyme or reason rules,
And if KSAOCs have wings.”
“But wait a bit,” the Wallace cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
Though only you are fat!”
“No hurry!” said Naomi.
They thanked her much for that.
“Some smart IT,” Naomi said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Social tech, self service besides
Are very good indeed,
Now if you’re ready, colleagues dear,
We can begin to read.”