Chanukah 2017, With My HR Tech Wishes For 2018
Have you ever played the Chanukah game of spin the dreidel? With or without the modified rules derived from “spin the bottle?” Did you know that the four letters, one on each side of the dreidel, make up a phrase that translates to “a great miracle happened here.”
Chanukah celebrates the miracle of freedom, a celebration not of a military victory (although there was a pretty big deal victory associated with the holiday) but rather of the miracle of G-d’s attention to the details of everyday life. With the Temple destroyed, the Jewish fighters, who had retaken the Temple and cleansed it of the idols with which the conquerors had desecrated the Temple, found only a little oil with which to light the eternal flame which burns in front of every Ark of the Torah to this day. While a runner was sent to the nearest source of holy oil, expected to take eight days roundtrip, the eternal flame was lit with what little oil could be found. It’s because that little bit of oil kept the eternal flame lit for the eight days needed to secure a new supply that we celebrate Chanukah for eight days. Yes, there was a big military victory, but that’s not what we celebrate. Instead, we celebrate the fact that, having done all that we could to keep our commitments to our faith, G-d did the rest.
The celebration of Christmas often falls in the same period of the Gregorian calendar as does Chanukah. And we Jews may have added and then expanded the tradition of gift-giving on Chanukah rather than listen to the cries of disappointed Jewish children drowning in Christmas marketing. And although these two holidays are quite different in their origins and application to modern life, both of them celebrate the fact that a great miracle happened here, where here is in Bethlehem for Christmas and in Jerusalem for Chanukah. One of the things which surprised me the most on our first trip to Israel was how very close together are the great biblical landmarks of both faiths.
So, in the spirit of this miraculous season, here are the 2018 “miracles” — and I use that word intentionally because I think it would take divine intervention to achieve them — I so wish to see in our neighborhood, at the intersection of IT and HRM:
- The end of marketing speak in our industry, of calling everything you’ve got AI or ML or VR or IoT or cloud or social or integrated or predictive analytics or automagical etc. Can you just imagine how much easier it would be for buyers and customers if there were no more “painting the roses red?”
- The end of chest beating by industry executives, of hyping their own accomplishments in hopes no one will ask too many questions, and of disrespecting the competition in loud voices and with known half-truths if not outright lies. Do these folks realize how much they sound like a certain President?Prospects and customers would much prefer that their vendor executives tout their customers’ accomplishments and customer satisfaction scores.
- The end of whatever atmospherics discourage so many young women from aspiring to be and then becoming chief architects, heads of development and CTOs. I know the barriers intervene minutes after birth, and our industry can’t fix all of them. However, our HR leaders can do everything in their power to level the recruitment, development and advancement playing field and to ensure that the organizational culture is welcoming to women in tech roles. As for what our IT leaders can do to help, they can make their work groups gender-neutral in every respect, from the jokes and anecdotes they tell to the respect they show for differences in styles of communication and engagement. And yes, this is of particular importance not only to me personally but to every employer who can’t afford to waste half of the scarcest competencies.
- The end of bad HRM object models. We know how to do this right, or at least some of us do, and it’s way past time that the mistakes of the past were relegated to that past. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is for me to review relatively new HRM software whose designers haven’t bothered to study the sins of HRM software past. Even if you have a gorgeous, easy to use, and truly efficient UX, we can’t do succession planning without the granularity of position, and we can’t do talent management without a robust, multi-dimensional understanding of knowledge, skills, abilities, and all other work-related capabilities.
- The end of bad HRM enterprise software architectures. For example, how could anyone design true HRM SaaS that doesn’t provide for cross-tenant inheritance (e.g. so that you can embed and maintain a single set of prescriptive analytics, with their content and advisory material, then inherit it across all relevant tenants — i.e. those which have signed up for this service — with appropriate modifications by geography done once and then used to modify, by geography, that decision tree of inheritance)? And how could anyone design true HRM SaaS which doesn’t express all of its business rules, from workflows to calculations, via effective-dated metadata? And, what’s even more frightening, there are folks developing HRM enterprise software who aren’t even thinking about these issues.
- The end of bad HRM enterprise software development methods. I’ve been a strong proponent of definitional, models-based development since the late 80’s. My commitment to writing less code goes back even further. So it’s little wonder that I’m stunned when I hear enterprise software execs calling attention to their thousands of programmers when they might be able to accomplish even more with fewer developers and better development methods.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. It would really be a miracle if we woke up on the last day of Chanukah to find that all of these wishes had come true. But even more important, although it has absolutely nothing to do with HRM or IT, I hope that the miracles of good health (mental, physical, and financial) are granted to each and every one of you. And may the lights of Chanukah break through the darkness that threatens the very roots of our democracy and be a beacon of hope for all mankind in 2018.
(Cross-posted @ In Full Bloom)