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 in 1967 had become more than possible with the ending of my career in 2017. Smart software, chock full of embedded intelligence, content, actionable even predictive analytics, and similar capabilities, deployed in a socially active 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 and 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 50 years to doing it right, right now, and across our economy! And that was the impetus for launching this blog in November, 2009.
With my career in HR technology now visible only 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 over those 50 years, and what I may still learn. 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 was never intended just to be about professional lessons learned. From its inception in 11/2009 through my “retirement” at the end of 2016, it also covered covers all the new ideas, questions, observations, and miscellany from my ongoing adventures at the intersection of HRM and IT. And, since my life wasn’t lived solely at the intersection of HRM and IT, I also used the blog to indulge the English major in my soul with the occasional post on life beyond work. With the passage of time, my personal posts have multiplied even as the professional ones became fewer, but I hope they’ve still been valuable. Frankly, it never occurred to me that so many of you would join me in the journey, and I am honored beyond words by your having done so. It may be too much to hope that you’ll stay with me as my journey moves past my fifty year career to all that lies ahead, but I hope you will as I blaze a trail for all of us through my 70’s (the new 50’s?) to whatever lies beyond.
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 past,” 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 none of us 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.”