Friday Sep 05, 2014

Why is your Oracle HCM Sales Rep calling?

If you are a user of any of Oracle’s Human Capital Management products, you can expect a call from your friendly Oracle Sales Rep sometime soon. They are going to be calling with an interesting offer – an offer that allows you to do something not previously allowed by Oracle.

We are doing it because the world of application delivery has changed. Once upon a time organisations purchased Oracle software, lots of hardware, built a datacentre, hired a systems integrator for six months, and set about creating HR applications. The software you bought came with a perpetual license. It’s a little crazy really – you own this software forever! And, with the payment of support, Oracle keeps updating your software.

However – updating this software in your environment turns out to be time consuming and costly. It’s not something you do regularly. Advances for your end-users can be years apart.

Meanwhile, there are now lots of vendors offering cloud based HR applications. These new cloud based systems use the latest architectures, allowing rapid deployment, mobile access, and modern user experiences.

The answer is simple. Stop using those HR products you bought some time back, stop paying support for those products, and start using the cloud based products.

Only, if you’ve been an Oracle client for a bit, you’ll understand there is a catch. Because you probably bought the products in a bundle with other Oracle products, you will have received a big discount on the purchase and the support. Like most commercial offers, if you try to break up the bundle by turning off support for individual products, you lose the discount, and there is no reduction in your support costs.

So what is this interesting offer from Oracle? What are we doing that has not been allowed before? Your sales rep is going to let you turn off support for your existing HR applications, and apply the savings to Oracle’s new HCM Cloud applications. You might be very surprised at how little it costs to get access to the latest advances in HR applications. When you weigh up the total cost of ownership – you will be saving money.

My advice: take the call from the Sales Rep, and ask for the pricing analysis. It doesn’t cost you anything. The new Oracle HCM Cloud may not cost much more.

Tuesday Aug 26, 2014

When is a marketing event not a marketing event?

I’m a sales rep. For me, a marketing event exists for only one purpose – to generate excitement amongst organisations for my products (known as sales leads).

We recently had an absolutely useless marketing event. No leads! None. I invested time inviting clients, plus a half day being trained for the event, and then spent another half day in the event. A big investment for NO leads.

The event – Employee Experience Journey Mapping. What happened in this event? We had the pleasure of approximately thirty senior HR professionals from a variety of organisations for half a day, and we took them on a journey to understand the attitudes of an employee through a series of scenarios. The scenarios included a manager badly in need of management training (or being fired); being poached by another company; and the onboarding experience of joining that other company.

We examined the HR processes, the human and non-human interactions of this employee, as they went through these scenarios, and super imposed the changing attitudes of the employee – from jubilation at major successes to frustration at a manager not prepared to listen and act. We selected a major low point and workshopped solutions to address the attitude of the employee and avoid the loss a talented professional.

The Employee Journey

Largely speaking, the various workshop groups did not identify Oracle products to solve these problems. (Shock, horror.) Instead they identified programs of work, from leadership training to recognition processes, to alter employee attitudes, to increase staff engagement and retain top talent.

As I said – NO LEADS.

But each of the attending organisations took away a new approach to tackle employee attitudes in their organisations.

I guess this marketing event was never supposed to generate leads. But if you want some help with identifying ways to improve employee attitudes in your organisation, give us a call. We’ll be delighted to talk HR with you, instead of the latest features of our HR systems.

And for more detail, read the blog HERE from a colleague of mine that describes the journey in more detail.

Monday Aug 11, 2014

Do Retailers have different HR needs?

On the one hand, people are people. On the other hand, a mining pit is a vastly different environment to the floor of a supermarket.

To understand the differences, you need to look at the job requirements, and it is obvious that you have different skill sets. Just have a look at the skills needed in any job advertisement. But are the HR processes different? The employee in a mining pit shares the same human emotions as the employee on the supermarket floor. The manager of the employee has the same objectives – to align the employee to the needs of the employer.

So where am I going with this?

The retailers I talk with want to know about HR in other retailers. Why are they more interested in understanding HR in retail organisations than HR in other organisations? The HR challenges that a retailer faces are not unique to retail – but the combination of HR challenges is unique. Some examples of these challenges are:

  • Employees are typically customer facing, and are the face of the employer
  • Multiple generations are often in the same work environment, from Millenials in their first job to Baby Boomers on the cusp of requirement, with each demographic having different attitudes to tenure, technology and customer service
  • Volume hiring is a constant need, with high attrition rates sometimes above 20%, and peak hiring periods for seasonal workers when you can hire as much as a third of your workforce again, with the attendant costs of hiring and training
  • Employees are not desk bound; they are on their feet facing clients constantly; they have limited access to a computer in a confidential environment

What does all this mean for a provider of HR systems, such as Oracle? The good news for us is that we have many Retail clients, and much experience to draw upon. A large retail chain with tens of thousands of employees, seasonal workers and contingent workers recently committed to an Oracle HR solution, and I spoke with the Oracle team to understand the retailer’s industry specific requirements.

The key retail decision points for them were:

  • a social media enabled recruiting solution to appeal to the younger demographic
  • an onboarding solution that incorporated video and learning tools to improve pre-hire engagement and mitigate the drop out risk between hire and start date
  • a recruiting solution capable of managing a high volume of applications / employees at reasonable costs, given a typical 20% attrition rate and seasonal worker requirememts
  • a mobile implementation of the manager’s HR environment, so that they can walk the shop floor and have their employee’s profile, skills and goals available for an instant discussion

So do retailers have different HR requirements? No doubt the above requirements exist in many industries – but do all of them exist simultaneously in another industry?

I suspect not.

Thursday Jul 24, 2014


This week is the culmination of several months of work, bringing together a pair of breakfasts in Adelaide and Perth. Just two small breakfasts, but the effort! From sorting catering, to inviting clients, writing presentations, organising flights and accommodation, collaborating with fellow speakers. It’s a huge effort. I need a rest.

But the rewards make it worth it. The conversations we have with our clients are illuminating, and different. We found ourselves talking about business challenges, about how to make things work, rather than that awkward vendor client discussion about selling stuff.

Let me give you an example. One of our clients mentioned that their employee referral program did not deliver ideal results. But he had already joined the first presentation about bias in decision making with the third presentation on employee referral programs, and was thinking about how to use the first concept to solve his problem.

Who knows if it will work? But it’s an idea worth exploring. I think that the client received value from the breakfast.

And reading the feedback forms is exciting. Under the question, ‘What key insights did you take away ...?’ somebody wrote Gamification. So my message got through!

And for those reading this blog – what was my message?

That gamification is a not well understood, not well used technique, to improve adoption of systems and processes, and that it could be used in an Employee Referral Program to improve its success.

And what is gamification? Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems – thanks Wikipedia. What did it mean for us - your Employee Referral Program is a non-game context, finding leaders is the problem, and you want your employees to help solve this. Seems like a good fit.

Will it work in Australia? Are Australian’s up for this gamification thing? Do you buy lottery tickets? Do you collect a free coffee after you get ten stamps on a piece of cardboard? Do you participate in the office footy tipping? Yep, we are already doing gamification.

I showed a quick glimpse of gamification in an Employee Referral Program system. A system where every employee could see their tally of referrals made and candidates generated. A system where they could see the top referrers in their company. At the first breakfast I suggested that because I knew the lead referrer was a goose, that surely I could do better, and so I enrolled in this game. At the second breakfast I corrected my mistake – and said that because the lead referrer was showing leadership in helping his company hire the best people, I wanted to follow his lead, and so I enrolled in the game.

Somebody asked me at the end of the breakfast if it was a real system.


Saturday Jun 21, 2014

The Australian and New Zealand Oracle HCM team get educated

This week the entire Oracle Human Capital Management team from Australia and New Zealand underwent three days education, looking closely at the differences between the various Cloud HCM systems in the marketplace, reviewing the roadmap for our HCM system, and renewing friendships amongst the national team, typically over a glass of wine.

Our education was ably delivered by a couple of senior folks from our product strategy area, full of the latest information about our product capabilities and directions. Thanks Neil Shea and Zach Thomas. If you want to know something about the Oracle HCM products, you can just ask your sales rep – they know it all now. If they pretend they don’t know something, it just might be a future feature, and we can’t tell you about it.

And we practiced objection handling. That’s not to suggest that our clients might object to our products, but everybody has questions, and you do need to make sure you are getting the right products for your needs. In fact, practicing objection handling is really about understanding the product at a more detailed level. It’s about being able to articulate why Oracle did something the way we did it, rather than the way another vendor might have chosen to do things.

With over $5B in research, and more than $1B in cloud research, there’s usually a good reason for our choices. After this week, the team is better equipped to explain those choices.

Of course, when you get a bunch of sales reps together, all working with a multitude of clients, there will be complaints. Why doesn’t the product do this? Why hasn’t this feature been released yet? Why do the screens look that way? I’ve not been to a meeting like this in 20+ years of sales experience without experiencing this.

But amidst this, a very positive picture emerged. Several presentations were shared about clients that had selected our systems, and in all cases, the clients needed to understand why our system would satisfy their business requirements better than another. The numbers of clients that have selected our systems across the region and the globe is quite amazing.

We looked at the roadmap for our products, and I have already booked up one of the team to present that roadmap to a client next week. It’s very exciting to see what is just around the corner.

If this post is a little gung ho – it’s because we’ve just come from a few days of product education – and we’ve seen a bit of the future. We’ll be happy to share it with you.

Friday May 30, 2014

Finding Leaders Breakfasts - Adelaide and Perth

HR Executives Breakfast Roundtables: Find the best leaders using science and social media!

Perth, 22nd July & Adelaide, 24th July

What is leadership in the 21st century? What does the latest research tell us about leadership? How do you recognise leadership qualities in individuals? How do you find individuals with these leadership qualities, hire and develop them?

Join the Neuroleadership Institute, the Hay Group, and Oracle to hear:

1. the latest neuroscience research about human bias, and how it applies to finding and building better leaders;

2. the latest techniques to recognise leadership qualities in people;

3. and how you can harness your people and social media to find the best people for your company.

Reflect on your hiring practices at this thought provoking breakfast, where you will be challenged to consider whether you are using best practices aimed at getting the right people into your company.



Abigail Scott, Hay Group

Abigail is a UK registered psychologist with 10 years international experience in the design and delivery of talent frameworks and assessments. She has delivered innovative assessment programmes across a range of organisations to identify and develop leaders. She is experienced in advising and supporting clients through new initiatives using evidence-based approach and has published a number of research papers on fairness and predictive validity in assessment.


Karin Hawkins, NeuroLeadership Institute

Karin is the Regional Director of NeuroLeadership Institute’s Asia-Pacific region. She brings over 20 years experience in the financial services sector delivering cultural and commercial results across a variety of organisations and functions. As a leadership risk specialist Karin understands the challenge of building deep bench strength in teams and she is able to bring evidence, insight, and experience to support executives in meeting today’s challenges.


Robert Datson, Oracle

Robert is a Human Capital Management specialist at Oracle, with several years as a practicing manager at IBM, learning and implementing latest management techniques for hiring, deploying and developing staff. At Oracle he works with clients to enable best practices for HR departments, and drawing the linkages between HR initiatives and bottom-line improvements.


07:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Registrations
08:00 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions
08:05 a.m.
Breaking Bias in leadership decisions - Karin Hawkins
08:30 a.m.
Identifying and developing leaders - Abigail Scott
08:55 a.m.
Finding leaders, the social way - Robert Datson
09:20 a.m.
Q&A and Closing Remarks
09:30 a.m.
Event concludes

If you are an employee or official of a government organisation, please click here for important ethics information regarding this event.

To register for Perth, Tuesday 22nd July, please click HERE

Location: Oracle, 2 / 66 Kings Park Road, West Perth

To register for Adelaide, Thursday 24th July, please click HERE

Location: Oracle, 19 / 25 Grenfell Street, Adelaide

Contact: To register or have questions on the event? Contact Aaron Tait on +61 2 9491 1404


Follow this blog to see what the Oracle Human Capital Management team is up to in Australia and New Zealand. Read about our client experiences, our industry observations, and the events we are running. Our team is made up of Sales Reps and Solution Consultants, constantly talking to clients about Human Capital Management - if you've got a question - chances are we've heard it before. Contact us if you need any help.


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