Monday, March 03, 2014

Can Human Resources adapt Product Management and bring happiness?

Read also The need to hire non-conformists and underdogs

Jobs are, the most important element for creating social wealth and a higher quality of life.

Every company creates wealth. They create products. They create services. They create jobs
We use product management  to make products and services filling a need that customers want and like. There are no Product Managers in Human Resources.

The traditional recruiting process

The The Steps of the Recruiting Process … and How to Identify Failure Points thinks the secret to recruit the best is to identify the failure points. The author recommends 19 (yes, nineteen ) steps for an "effective recruiting process"

Every author seems to have a different number of steps. This article recommends 10 steps.

Others make complicated charts, like this one:
Fig. 1 A sample recruitment process among hundreds  similar ones on the web
This is the traditional HR app features. They are often looking for human beings that don't exist. The  candidates dress, rehearse, talk and write resumes hiding the real selves and faking to appear what they believe -  but they are never sure - the recruiter wants them to be.

This system undergoes a big-datazation - for a lack of a better names, where the job seekers, - meaning the great majority of the employable population  - becomes records in a colossal  impersonal database.

I would expect a company like LinkedIn to market one day a Global Human Resources application that will directly connect to nearly 300 millions employable people. Oracle can compete if themselves adapt to the 21st century

What Google discovered hiring people

In June 2013, New York Times published an interview with Laszlo Bock, Google's  senior vice president of people operations . Here are few bullets from what he says
  •  Brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.
  •  G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything.
  •  the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.
  • After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.
Thomas Friedman the NYT columnist did a follow up interview with Laszlo Bock in February 2014. Here are some bullets from his conversation

  •  No. 1 thing "we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability."
  • No, 2 “is the emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. Traditional leadership is, were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there? We don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead?"
  • No. 3 “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.” It is why research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. “Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure,” 
    “They, instead, commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot or I didn’t get the resources or the market moved...
  • Summing up:  Talent can come in so many different forms and be built in so many nontraditional ways today, hiring officers have to be alive to every one — besides brand-name colleges. 

What is a job?

Google is a very special company. But for the great majority of companies, this definition from Umair Haque fits like a glove
The job. Some call this is the Age of the Internet, the Age of China, the Age of Innovation. But above all, we live in the Age of Dilbert. Or, more accurately, we suffer through it. So why can't we have work that nourishes the mind, body, and soul? Why can't we have work that's meaningful and fulfilling, challenging and compelling, riveting and involving? Work that's not just, well, work, a source of displeasure that pays the bills, but a calling, a mission, a purpose, and a passion, that pays life forward? Here's my hunch. Whoever does reinvent the job might have finally built a company that's so relentlessly innovative, so fully engaged, so unshakably persevering that it reduces pretty much everyone else to a distant second place.

Product Management  in a modern HR organization

Do we know what a Product Manager does? is my previous post. This blog post is not intended as a panacea solution. But let look how some of the Product Managements principles from a startup (intercom.io) might apply for new job process
  1. Who, where are the people you can motivate to join your organization? Why?
    We see Google has a precise answer
  2.  Customers rarely buy what the company thinks it sells
    Translation: the best candidates are rarely the ones you think you need
  3. Customers are not demographics when they choose to buy
    Translation: candidates are individual human being, not faceless identities part of imaginary artificial groups. 
  4. Don't confuse correlation with causation
    Self Explanatory 
In other words, job recruiting must offer happiness, not only a salary and companies profits. Sure the last recession made recruiters dominant in buyers market

Why change the way we do HR today?

Until now, most companies doing  business in digital space try to emulate Oracle, Dell, HP, SAP. Kodak, just to name a few. These companies have  legacy processes, bureaucracy, command-and-control structures, waterfall development, and cautious risk management . They must change to thrive in the future 

21st century  companies are lean, learning machines. Amazon, Apple, FaceBook, Google set the trend. They have a bias to action and a tolerance for risk, expressed through frequent experimentation and non-stop product iteration.  They are focused on customers. They are comfortable with the unknown – business models and customer value are revealed over time. They are driven by a purpose greater than blunt profit seeking; and they want to make a difference on this planet.
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