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Reconsidering Influence

Reconsidering Influence

Last week, we published the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters list on the HR Examiner. Each of the 25 people profiled are major contributors to the online dialog. They have large followings, generate significant traffic and make a powerful impact in the niches in which they operate.

The list created a small stir with critiques ranging from cronyism to a runaway algorithm. Lists always produce sour-grapes, Monday morning quarterbacking and conversation on the topic. The idea behind the influencer lists is to build an ongoing dialog about who has influence, why they have it, how they got it, what they do with it and whether or not doing whatever it is that they do will be useful in your career.

I am extremely curious about the way that ideas move around the HR Industry. As the recovery slowly takes shape, I think that budgets will get pressed, outsourcing will be on the rise and different people will be doing old HR/Recruiting jobs in new and different ways.

Talent Management can mean anything from ’succession planning’ to ‘the cultivation and harvesting of the human capital investment”. It ranges from an afterthought to the central reason for being in the HR department. Where it is shortchanged, people are treated like a physical supply. Where it is fertilized and matured, it is understood as renewable and worthy of ongoing examination and support.

HR spans a similar gulf. At the street level of maturity (a very large percentage of all firms, maybe 60%), HR is nothing more than the old personnel department, processing forms and polishing procedures. In 30% of firms, SHRM drives the performance standard with committed professionals who want to know how to make a contribution. At 10% of all companies, HR is a competitive weapon; these operations redefine the basic components of the profession as adjunct components of an offensive strategy.

The people who influence Recruiting range across these dimensions. Many of their views on recruiting are contradictory and hard to reconcile. Recruiting ranges from filling a well worn requisition to identifying the next leader of a powerfully innovative new company. Is there any question that generalizations about the discipline will come up short?

But, the web is an exercise in making things measurable. As we move through the experiment in trying to articulate and measure influence, a number of things are getting clear. We find nuances in the data long after it settles out.

Here are some of the questions I’m asking:

  • Is influence really different from popularity?
  • Do the people we are identifying on the Traackr lists really have influence or are they just the loudest mouths on the block?
  • It seems like the people who make their way on to these lists are getting better jobs. Are the lists measuring something that has to do with career momentum?
  • We believe that the measurement process will more closely correspond to actual influence over time. What else do we need to know?
  • Some of the critics have great ideas. What’s the best way to involve them in the process?
  • Is it true that influence will become more and more important as organizations continue to flatten?
  • Will the current bits of web architecture last long enough to have institutional style consequences?
  • About 60% of the HR leaders profiled in the On The Go Section of the HR Examiner do not have LinkedIn profiles. Is this because they already have all the influence they want?

The idea behind this experiment and the HRExaminer is to take a fresh look at the way that HR and careers within its disciplines actually work. If you have input, ideas or insults, we’re happy to get them.

Application Solution Providers, Inc. 866-764-8324

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