Drawing a Roadmap for HR technology is like planning a trip. Is it a weekend, summer abroad or bucket list?

Just like the family vacation, understanding where you are, where you want to go and the sights and stops along the way helps to keep everyone informed, engaged, involved and hopefully not car sick!

A technology road map needs to include an understanding of where the business intends to go (the Strategic Business Plan), how HR with help it get there (HR Goals and Objectives), the resources available to use on the journey (workforce plan, resource definition and technical plan), the milestones along the way and the interrelationships between the players.
The goal of the Road Map is threefold:
  Communicate the vision and strategy to senior management,
  Secure buy in and funding,
  Be able to adapt quickly as change happens.

We’re communicating so loudly that no one can hear us!

Between the project plan, the milestone chart, the communication newsletter, the executive updates, the HR leadership team meetings, etc. one might assume that management would know where the project stands.  Never assume! 

Different people hear different media, different messages.  In our experience you cannot over communicate…but you can overload.

What do they want to hear?  What do they need to hear?  What do you need to tell them?

The key to communication is to tell the audience and then ask the audience.  If all levels and participants are not on the same page, then no matter what the project communication says, management does not know what to believe.  The results can undermine project champion confidence.  Perception is reality.

Poll your people.  Manage focus groups.  Listen, ask, and then listen again. 

Keep your friends close and management closer!

Google X with money to burn, "Looney Tunes" or just good sense?

Google X has a project underway to create a global network of thousands of Wi-Fi connected balloons to provide affordable Internet access for everyone.  They call it Project Loon

They've created an altitude control system, balloons that circle the earth every 22 days and implemented GPS, communications and on board computers to guide the balloons.  

Maybe the most eye-popping statistic or claim is that for every 10% increase in the country's Internet coverage their gross domestic product increases by 1.4%. This type of change in GDP is associated with higher standards of living higher education levels in better health. 

Maybe it's not so much hot air!  Check it out - http://www.google.com/loon

PMI Webinar: Sustainability Adds Value, Engagement, and Power

Still Time for Register for 25 September Webinar

"Sustainability Strategy adds Value, Engagement and Power"

Presented by: Kristina Kohl, MBA, PMP
 25 September  12 - 1 PM EDT 

Join Kris to learn how Sustainable Strategy adds Value, Engagement and Power. Gain new skills in how to assess your organizational readiness to adopt sustainable strategy including a better understanding of the different stages of the sustainability journey.
Learn how to engage the Board and the C Suite through demonstrating alignment between sustainable strategy and business value creation.

Hear how partnering with your HR department, and leveraging their cross functional skills, can help sustainable strategy add value to your human capital investment including attracting millennial talent, improving employee engagement, and enhancing your brand.

Expand your experience through case studies on diversity & inclusion programs, strategic volunteerism, and the impact of 'green-washing' on employees.

Develop an understanding of the different stakeholders involved in green projects and the broader definition of internal and external stakeholders in a sustainable company.
Gain insight into impacts of sustainable strategy on Human Resource Management around the human capital management plan, assignments, keeping the team motivated, and performance assessments.

Crowdfunding news

Start up uwingu.com used a public naming contest to name a newly discovered planet. $4.99 to submit a name, $.99 to vote. A portion of the proceeds went to charity. This spring they started a campaign to name craters on Mars for a mapping project they have underway.  

Before I got indignant about a fool and his/her money, I found that the site has already donated more than $50,000 to scientific research.  

These types of crowdfunding can unlock sources of funding to scientists and increasing engagement and excitement around research. Experiment.com has funded 150 projects so far! 

To me, just as exciting is the news that results from the first mission to Pluto, the asteroid Ceres and a comet are due this fall and in the next year.  Now that's pretty cool!  And look, no jokes about Uranus.  

Plus what's not to like about the public connecting with science?  We all benefit.  

25% of teens identify themselves as victims of cyber bullying!

It's a cyber playground out there!  And that means some people just never learned to share or conduct themselves properly.  Cyber Bullying happens most often on Facebook. They have established a bullying prevention hub to suspend or delete the offender's access and remove posts. 

Reddit, Instagram and Twitter have similar programs. 

Don't let yourself or anyone else the bullied, act positively.  Check it out https://www.facebook.com/safety

Read to Me Philadelphia

Our CEO, Kristina Kohl, read to a Head Start Program in the Philadelphia public schools as part of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Read to Me Early Literacy Program. The Read to Me Program is an annual, year-long program that helps support early childhood literacy by providing quality classroom book collections to thousands of Philadelphia students and inspires them to read with their parents, caregivers, or teachers throughout the school year. For more details go to http://www.greaterphilachamber.com/programs-and-events/getting-involved/read-to-me.

ACA-Now What?

 Now that the first Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment period has ended, what is the impact for employers? I recently attended a Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) panel discussion on “Beyond the Basics of the Affordable Care Act.” Our speakers included: Stephen Reid, Founder and CEO, PharmSpective; Tom Sibson, CFO, Bayada; and Linda Taylor, Sr. VP of Sales, Independence Blue Cross.   
According to the panel, we are beginning to get a better idea of enrollment patterns and potential premiums and credits for 2015. Contrary to initial predictions, the plan selected by most participants was the mid level silver plans not the lowest level bronze plans. High deductible plans were popular and are here to stay. According to Mr. Reid, the number of younger people enrolling in insurance fell far below the 40% goal of the administration, which may not bode well for premium prices for 2015. According to Ms. Taylor, Blue Cross has experienced an average policy increase of 5%. As part of the ACA, the relationship between the premium for a 64 and an 18 year old has been compressed to a 3/1 ratio from a 6/1. As a result, the premium in 2014 for businesses with younger workers rose at a faster rate than for those with older workers. In addition, the large insurance companies will be reporting their earnings over the next few weeks. United Health Care kicked off the earnings season with improved first quarter revenue but lower margins as a result of newly effective ACA taxes, ACA provisions and sequestration negatively impacting first quarter earnings by nearly $0.35/share. Of course, we can’t forget about the Cadillac Tax that employers will pay if plans are overly generous and premiums exceed prescribed levels by 2018.

So, how are businesses addressing these challenges? Ms. Taylor spoke about the rising interest in self-insurance. While large firms have used this option, more midsize companies are considering self -insurance, as it is less restrictive under the ACA compliance guidelines. In order to protect against exposure for catastrophic illness, they are using a stop loss provision to place risk with a third party provider. Also, organizations are considering defined contributions where they tell employees that they will contribute $xxx.xx for benefits. Of course, this defined contribution amount needs to meet the ACA compliance criteria or the employer will be penalized. For large employers, the concept of defined contribution is being pared with a private exchange. Employers are providing employees with options via a benefit portal and it is up to the employee to select the type of coverage that works for them. The employer isn’t really part of the decision process. Employers make their defined contribution and deduct from the employee’s pay for the differential to pay for the coverage that the employee has selected.

If this sounds a great deal like the change from pensions to 401K plans, you are correct. The panel agreed that we are going to continue to see a rise in employee directed decisions. As employees take on a greater responsibility for their health insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses, there will be a rise in consumerism. Already, we are seeing employees discussing the cost of medicine and procedures with physicians. In order to provide employees with the tools to make decisions, we are seeing greater transparency. According to Ms. Taylor, Blue Cross has information on procedure costs and outcome results by provider and they are increasingly making this information available to insured parties. In the not to distant future, she envisions a marketplace like Amazon where an insured can look for services like an MRI and select a provider based on a number of factors such as price, reviews, and outcomes. Providing information to educate employees as you empower them to make these benefits decisions is important as well.

For full details of the ACA impact on employers, please use this link. https://www.ibx.com/health_care_reform/for_businesses/index.html.
If you have questions, please contact us (kris@hrcomputes.com). 

Kris Kohl

HRComputes Interviewed at 6ABC Studio

Patti Owens of Awarely interviews our own Kris Kohl, CEO of HRComputes on "How Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Impact the Millennial Workforce, Employee Engagement and a Company's Bottom Line" The conversation focuses on using CSR and Sustainability initiatives as levers for employee engagement especially the the millennial workforce. In order to view the clip, please click the link below:

If we can help you on your sustainability journey, please contact us at kris@hrcomputes.com.

HRComputes joins Wharton for “Careers in Social Impact and Sustainability”

We had the opportunity to spend the evening discussing careers in sustainability with students at a networking event hosted by Wharton IGEL From this experience, I can say that Wharton students care about the environment, social impact, and how businesses’ are addressing these issues. Our firm was in good company with the likes of Dow, DuPont, Campbell’s, and J&J to name a few. The event card appears below.

We were all there to help students in their quest for careers related to sustainability. I spoke to a wide variety of students from across the globe. They were bright, dedicated, and interested in how they could impact the world in a positive way.
A topic that was frequently mentioned was the importance of truly integrating sustainability into operations. Businesses that merely comply with regulation were thought not to be truly sustainable. The students that I spoke with were very excited about the practice of engaging HR in the sustainability process to facilitate a cross functional approach of embedding sustainability into their core operation.

As your firm begins its college recruiting sessions, you will need to be prepared to answer questions about sustainability goals and programs. Here are a few questions that you may which to consider: Has HR been made a part of the sustainability process? Are your recruiters equipped to discuss your firm’s sustainability track record? Are you addressing these issues in your recruitment materials? Is sustainability part of your culture and mission? Are you using sustainability to engage employees?

The Wharton students that I met are giving preference to firms that have embraced sustainable strategy as part of their core mission. Are you well positioned to attract the best and brightest? If not, feel free to reach out to us.

Morris Speaks at Greater Philadelphia Chamber

Earlier this year, Morris was a panelist at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Human Resource Roundtable Series. The following clip entitled "Learn Valuable Tips to Enhance Your Human Resource Efforts" highlights key ideas around social media, employee engagement, and healthcare reform. For Morris fans, he appears around the 3:28 mark. Enjoy!