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.

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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