Lets just jump right in to opening day since #MarchMadness has become a huge disappointment for me…
How the Oakland A’s perfected the Applicant Tracking System…Remember the 02 season for the Oakland A’s? They finished 1st in the American League West with 103 wins and 59 losses. They were essentially a Cinderella team. Beane was able to produce an unexpected record with an unexpected team on an impossible budget. Often times you hear that necessity is the mother of all invention and that is probably the case here as well. Beane’s predecessor was forced with the task of fielding a competitive roster on a limited budget and turned to sabermetrics for help. He used sabermetrics to measure on-base percentages and target undervalued players. He eventually taught this system to Beane and he continued using it and tweaking it (and still uses it) to maximize a minimal budget and put together teams worthy of winning. The incredible thing about this is that someone had to step out and say “let’s try something different… no more recruiting the way we have just because it’s the way we have always done it…”. Other teams began utilizing this system and it began to change the recruiting of the entire league, not just one team. And hey, a good movie was born through the process somehow too 😉
The point isn’t really that the Oakland A’s decided to use evidence based metrics when assessing players, well.. yeah, that is part of the point. The other part is that someone was willing to change the way of doing things. They were willing to change the way they recruited in hopes to change their organizations output of a finished product. It’s kind of like our ATS that we turn to in HR. A one stop shop that shows us work history, education, skills and all other good to know evidence based info about candidates and employees. At one point, that wasn’t the norm (note: I am too young to know a time when that was not the norm in case you were curious). I did however work for a company that chose to utilize the paper way instead of maximizing the abilities of their ATS many years ago and it was foolish. I can only imagine the fights that sabermetrics brought in comparison to the pushback I got from charging forward on the oh so obvious one stop shop ATS that was being underutilized. What did we find when we started using all the bells and whistles on the ATS? We could suddenly work far more efficiently than we ever imagined. We could get lots of great things done, everything was in one place, everything was easy to get to, easy to measure and easy to assess…Ultimately, we could change the game. We improved our efficiency and overcame the fear of not holding a handwritten application in our hands when assessing candidates.
There will always be room for improvement, but if we aren’t open to change and improvement we will eventually get left behind. If HR professionals allow their organizations to fear change or fear it themselves I can promise you the organization will eventually be outperformed by competitors. What are some changes you are fearing in your organization? What are some changes you are heading in your organization?
Yes, It’s officially January 2nd… how many of you have already broken your new years resolution? Not I-Not I, because I don’t wait for the new year to implement my goals! 🙂
I. Hate. New. Years. It’s such a disgustingly annoying unavoidable repeating scenario, year after year after year. We all know what is going to happen, the gym will be packed in January, everyone will laugh and say “durn it, I keep writing 2012, I just can’t get used to putting 13, har har har” and you make a New Years resolution, you break it, you cry, you whine, you decide to try again next year. Really? You fail at keeping a [probably unattainable in the first place] resolution in the first month and don’t take a stab at it again until next year… You annoy me. I am already tired of seeing the posts about the resolutions (good/bad/ugly/etc.) Try this on instead, a challenge… a promise… a goal… anything but the R word.
With that, I challenge my HR brethren to fulfill its purpose this year, to be the best business partner they can be, to improve organizations, to improve employees, to build other HR professionals up (especially you catty women, better said by Laurie here: http://thecynicalgirl.com/there-is-a-special-place-in-hell-for-hr-women-who-dont-help-other-hr-women/ ). I challenge you to take HR to the next level, to motivate and mentor! I challenge you to set attainable goals for your work life and home life. I challenge you to promise your family they won’t be second to your job. I challenge you to make a difference. If you fail at any of these don’t wait until next year to start over. You don’t need some shiny ball drop paired with horrible musical performances & raunchy kisses everytime you need to set a new goal, so I challenge you that if you fail, if you fall short in the slightest way, to start again the next day – not next year.
I know I sound like a New Years version of the Grinch, eh, well… maybe I am!
Did you know there is a difference? Once upon a time I didn’t know and when I say once upon a time I pretty much mean most of my life. I can think back as far as a 3rd grade group science project that I was in charge of and how little patience I had for two of the kids in my group that didn’t “get it.” Oy vey! Just thinking about it now messes with my blood pressure-it wasn’t a hard project (yep, I can remember the project exactly too!).
Anyway, at my last position I had many trials and tribulations in the area of leading… mostly because I have an obvious lack of patience and a low bs tolerance, but I learned a lot! So my aha! moment came one Thursday night after work when I was sitting at my desk with absolute shock and anger at the fact that my staff wouldn’t do their jobs the right way, CMON MAN! And I was called to the carpetthat very day for being short with them… My response to that was just blank stares and a lot of “REALLY?”… [what an amateur response right?] So I dial-up one of my allies in the company just to get some perspective and kind of vent, SOOOOO NOT expecting this person to give me an aha! moment. He asks me what happened and what I said so I begin to tell him… he stops me in mid-story and says “THERE, RIGHT THERE!” What? Right there what? “If someone said that to you, you would be so offended…” You know what, I would’ve been, but my defense counteracted with a smart aleck “No one would have to say that to me for me to get offended because I would be doing it already!” Well sass-pants that’s not the point now is it? The point is you can’t talk to people like that and expect them to respond… So the back part of the aha! moment was this: I’ve got to stop talking to my staff like I’m a co-worker and start talking to them like I’m their leader. When I say that I talked like a co-worker, I think many times I did & it’s similar to when a parent tries to play the role of a friend and not necessarily the role of a parent – it’s confusing. I was pretty much creating my own problems because I wouldn’t let go of my stubbornness because “If I can understand it why can’t they?” was a staple in my reasoning.
So after a few days of licking my wounded ego and pretending I wasn’t in the wrong I started a change, a change that wasn’t as evident then as it is now, in how I talk to people not just staff. It started with little steps like replacing some words in a request with nicer words, becoming sincere, practicing patience of course and trying to understand why it is that someone doesn’t understand what I feel I easily understand. Some of these were steps that I already knew I should-be doing, I was just too stubborn and some if it is advice from my great group of HR peeps and of course a book or two helped guide me. It’s exciting for me to see the difference in how people respond to requests from me and I feel like I’m really back on track to getting this leadership thing down. Taking charge of a project has always come easy for me, but leading a project, I know now, is way more enjoyable!