There’s never been a more exciting time to be an HR professional, and ample proof of this was on display at last month’s annual Oracle HCM World conference. Over the course of three days in a surprisingly warm Boston, hundreds of global customers and experts from every sector converged to explore how human capital management software is driving business growth and transformation like never before.
Festivities kicked off with an extensive morning keynote address that set the stage for the conference’s focus on global growth and connectivity. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, speaking of recently doubled growth and sharing a slide of customer logos, touted more than just marquee enterprise accounts. “You’ll see some brand names you’ll know and some you won’t,” Hurd told the packed hall. “Some are among the most exciting startups in the world.”
Diamonds in the Rough
Oracle’s ability to service “any company regardless of size and geography” was shown by the HCM Cloud Rubies winners, which were introduced next. VP of HCM Transformation Cara Capretta unveiled an impressively diverse group of global winners, including Save the Children UK, which won for “Modernization;” and the rapidly expanding Dubai Airports, which took home the “Keep it in the Family” award for the finest talent retention strategy.
The scope of the awards was a testament to how complex the field of human resources is. As Hurd said during his address, “HR is not an app—it’s a process.”
Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President of product strategy, delivered a well-received presentation focused on how deep mobile functionality can increase productivity for HR decision-makers. In a demo that was much buzzed about the following two days, she showed how easy and efficient you can be from a smartphone: not only can an HR manager view that day’s meetings, he or she can find the geographic location of an unknown colleague and make plans and reservations for a lunch meeting in another city the next month.
The requisition viewing and candidate comparison functions Alarcon shared also interested the audience, as did the text message demo. Simple text messages were converted into formal feedback for employees and a conveyance for quick and easy way to find answers for common benefits questions. Helpful videos just hinted at the training possibilities for HR professionals.
Following this demo, Hurd reminded us all of the high-level importance of such efficiency gains. “The average CEO lasts 18 quarters,” he said. “With only 1% revenue growth and 6% wage growth, you need to take market share from someone else.”
C Is for Culture
Although the keynote session concluded with an enlightening analytics roundtable hosted by Bertrand Dussert, VP of human capital transformation, transforming employee culture was a key theme that lasted throughout the conference. Deloitte’s Josh Bersin delivered an engaging presentation outlining the top 10 human capital trends based on recent research. With engagement stagnant, it’s no surprise that building “the organization of the future” took the top spot, with only 11% stating they actually know how to fix the company’s HR problems.
“The most important relationship is between HR and the hiring manager,” said Bersin when speaking of talent acquisition, the #3 trend discussed. The widespread problem of not building leadership early or fast enough was best illustrated in the results of a fascinating Deloitte study focused on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. According to the results, in a conventional company, the internet mogul would not yet have reached the level of director by his current age of 32.
Author Erica Dhawan went deep on this subject in a presentation on “connectional intelligence,” the subject of her acclaimed book Get Big Things Done. “Connectional intelligence is what emotional intelligence was in the 1990s,” she said, before introducing the three types of roles in modern companies: thinkers, enablers, and connection executors.
It all comes down to measurable results, of course: “Strong internal networks are directly proportional to sales performance,” Dhawan concluded.
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