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Kenexa World Conference Orlando Blog

By Anthony Galvan

Mike Rowe: Hard Work Is Nothing to Be Scared of

Final KWC Keynote Speaker: Mike Rowe, Creator and Executive Producer, Discovery Channel’s Emmy® Nominated Series “DIRTY JOBS WITH MIKE ROWE”

By Mark Derowitsch

Mike Rowe is a self-confessed Human Resources nightmare. But his admiration and respect for dirty jobs – and the hard-working men and women who do them – educated and entertained a room full of HR professionals and experts to close out Kenexa World Conference Orlando.

Rowe believes there’s a growing disconnect between society and work, and one way to turn economic problems around is for society to embrace the trades. In other words, society can’t look at skilled labor as a career alternative anymore.

When business is personal to you, every job is valued.

The key question to ask yourself is, how personal is business to you?

So when Rowe, the creator, executive producer and host of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, performs a “dirty job,” it’s personal.

Like when he’s working on a crab boat in the middle of the Bering Sea and the deck is icy and he’s trying to wrestle an 800-pound crab pots. Like when he’s changing a mega light bulb on top of a tall suspension bridge. Like when he’s mining for opal in Australia 85-feet below the surface of the earth in a tunnel the size of a manhole.

The key question to ask yourself is, how personal is business to you?

“Our country has become disconnected with a critical part of our workforce, and we need to start to value these jobs and the people who do them,” Rowe said. “We all have a stake in it – I have a stake in the game – every time we turn on a light switch or flush a toilet.”

So whether he’s changing a light bulb or castrating sheep (you’ll have to watch the show to get the details about that one), Rowe values work. And that’s not an HR nightmare.

Dara Torres’s Three Steps to Success

Keynote Speaker Three: Dara Torres, Five-Time Olympian and 12-Time Olympic Medalist

By Mark Derowitsch

Dara Torres, a five-time U.S. Olympic swimmer and 12-time Olympic medalist, made it a point during her swim career to prove skeptics wrong. They said she was too old to swim competitively in 1992. And again in 2000. And again in 2008. See a pattern here? Whenever someone told her she was too old to swim in the Olympics, Torres just ignored it.

She told attendees at Kenexa World Conference Orlando she can trace her long-time success to three things. “You have to sacrifice, have tremendous dedication to what you’re doing and work hard to do what it takes to reach your goal.” Torres first qualified for the Olympics as a 17-year-old student in 1984. She did it again four years later, and again in 1992, when she was known as grandma by her teammates. She took 7 years offs, but came out of retirement to make the U.S. Team in 2000 and again in 2008, when, at age 41, she won three silver medals and set an America record in the 50-meter freestyle.

Did that make her a great-grandma? Maybe, but her biggest lesson from her repeated comeback: she never put an age limit on her dreams. Not everyone has the never-say-can’t attitude of a decorated Olympian. But imagine what your workforce would look like if people came to work each day with a goal to be the best at their profession and worked passionately until they reached full potential. Here’s guessing whatever skeptics there are in your place of work would be quieted as well.

HGTV’s Secret of Success: Cultivating a Culture that Drives Engagement

Keynote Speaker Two: Susan Packard, Co-Founder and Former COO at HGTV

by Mark Derowitsch

Want to know how to keep your organization fresh? Well, all you need is a great environment, a good dose of humor (which includes the ability to laugh at yourself and your failures) and constant innovation, according to Susan Packard, co-founder and former COO of HGTV, and one of the most influential women in cable television.

Giving the keynote speech at the Kenexa World Conference Orlando, Susan used examples from the journey of setting up HGTV to share certain valuable lessons their experience taught them. For example, you should not underestimate the power of competitors getting into your space, and companies should not dismiss the idea of partnerships. Susan also emphasized the value of establishing an ongoing relationship with the end-users of your product or services.

Susan went on to speak about how company culture impacts engagement, stressing the fact that the culture needs to be defined to employees—if they know how to be successful in the organization, they will be engaged. When a company sets down a specific mission statement, this will remain mere words on paper until and unless you tell stories around it and bring color to your values so employees understand not only what they mean, but also how to live these values.

Susan’s speech brought to life many of the catchwords we tend to use every day without really being able to bring them to life. Her insightful tips and advice included the value of various aspects like mentoring, clarity in communication, integrity, community service and shared responsibilities which have all contributed to the huge success HGTV enjoys today, with a presence in 170 countries.

And here’s a fun video Susan shared at the end of her keynote, to showcase HGTV’s sense of humor and the importance of being able to laugh at yourself.

Future Thinking: Rudy Karsan Has High Expectations for Humanity

Opening Keynote: Kenexa CEO Rudy Karsan

Rudy Karsan, CEO Kenexa, kicked off the Kenexa World Conference today by painting a compelling picture of what the next 50 years will be like for humanity, in terms of technological advances and societal change, based on what has happened over the last 50 years. His premise is that the future might very well be bifurcated between two possible scenarios, and humans can choose which way the balance will tilt.

The first is a doomsday scenario where our best years are past, all the challenges we face will create massive societal breakdown and strife, human population will decrease dramatically, and we will be at a place where we are always talking about the good old days. The other is a future of tremendous abundance, where technology will solve the current key human problems like water and energy, societal strife will reduce dramatically, we’ll grow significantly from an economic viewpoint, and we’ll live longer and far better lives. In a sense, we’ll be living what we now call utopia.

Rudy made the case for why he thinks there’s an 80 percent chance of the abundance scenario being achieved. He also examined the possible obstacles and how to overcome them, citing the primary driver for reaching it as creating meaningful work for all humans. He then went on to discuss three crucial aspects of creating meaningful work, including using smarter workforce techniques, ensuring that no jobs are viewed as “dirty jobs” and restoring dignity to jobs that have been commoditized.

It is his belief that, if enterprises and individuals adopt these, we will not only reach the scenario of abundance, but far surpass it. The winds of change that will accompany this will be massive and maybe even slightly daunting, but we just need to figure out a way to ride the waves.

Kenexan Scott Horton Recaps His #KWCOrlando Experience

By Scott Horton

As the 2012 Kenexa World Conference approached, I compared my mindset to where it was last year as a new Kenexan attending my first conference.  Trepidation gave way to excitement and nervousness about being the new kid was replaced with optimism about what lies ahead for our company and our customers.  The line up for this year’s conference really added to my personal optimism about my experience in Orlando at the Contemporary Resort for October 17 and 18!

I have to say that the planning committee of Tim Geisert and Emily Hendrickson and cast of 1000’s really hit the keynote speaker choices out of the park!  I’m the head of Kenexa’s diversity and inclusion practice and I remember last year wondering, “Where are the women?”  All three of the amazing speakers last year were men!  This year…what a difference!  Susan Packard the leader of Scripps Interactive Networks and founder of HGTV spoke on the first day and provided a fantastic leadership role model for women…and men.  I was really impressed with the values of the HGTV culture that had “diversity” as number one and a strong commitment to communication and concern for each other imbedded in those values.  Then, today, Dara Torres, Olympic Swimmer SUPREME, gave us such an inspiring story of her work ethic, dreaming and determination to win Gold at 41 in the 2008 games.  She won silver…was TICKED OFF big time…but used the entire experience of the several games she was in to launch her next chapter as speaker and mom.

This afternoon, I moderated a panel discussion on “Diversity and Inclusion”.  Two diversity executives supplied some great insight into their corporate roles, challenges and observations.  Veronica Hucke of Phillips and Rhonda Crichlow of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation…along with my amazing EMEA counterpart, Peta Steele, provided the foundation of the panel experience by sharing insights on connecting inclusion with engagement, developing the pipeline for diverse talent and the increasing demands from employees for more flexible working arrangements…and it’s not just women!  The huge incoming population of Millennials is asking for the same thing.  Smart companies are figuring this out and leading the way so they don’t get left in the dust.  We hosted about 50 interested conference attendees in this session and I wish we could have gone on longer than an hour.  I can’t wait for next year’s conference to keep these great conversations going to the next level.  See you next year, ya’ll!

It’s Not the Size of the Salary, It’s What You Do With It

From KWC Session with Mark Szypko, Managing Director, Compensation, Kenexa and Rena Rasch, Ph. D., Research Manager, KHPI

By Alison French

Does the size of an employee’s salary drive his or her belief in the fairness of pay?  That’s a question Mark Szypko explored in today’s KWC session “Perception is Reality: The Importance of Pay Fairness to Employees and Organizations.” The context in which employees interpret their salaries is influenced by many factors. Friends, family, co-workers – all inform an individual’s point of view on pay, and its connection to self-worth. Has your husband or wife (or mother or father) ever said, in frustration, “They don’t pay you enough!”? Have you ever found out that a less senior (or less skilled) peer in a similar role makes more than you do? Before you joined HR, did you ever look up your salary on the internet and come up with a number far from reality?

Absent a solid understanding of how pay works within an organization, employees have no choice but to rely on these external “interpreters” and may quite reasonably conclude that they are not being paid enough and, therefore, that they are not paid fairly. In fact, only half of employees in the U.S. believe they are paid fairly. Why do we care? Because employees who believe they are paid fairly are nearly twice as engaged as those who don’t. They are more than twice as likely to remain with their organizations. And they are far less likely to consider their jobs stressful. Friends, family and internet factors aside, how do we really measure pay fairness? The external market is probably the best yardstick we have. But as our speakers today pointed out, perception is reality.

We can spend all the time in the world developing an elegant, market-based pay program that is the holy grail of “externally competitive and internally equitable,” but if employees don’t understand how their compensation is determined, how to maximize it, and how it is linked to their individual performance, the external factors will prevail and they may ultimately view even the “fairest” of pay programs as unfair. What’s the lesson? Communication and transparency are key to accruing the goodwill that should be engendered by a well-thought out compensation program.

In essence, it’s not about how MUCH you pay (though we’d still recommend a market-based approach) it’s about how you COMMUNICATE to your employees about their pay. We’ve heard this theme from our conference speakers all week – from our panel of practitioners in healthcare, from one of WorldatWork’s compensation practice leaders, and from other customer speakers who have experienced the all-too-real link between misperceptions and low engagement. Finding the time to focus on communication and transparency pays big dividends in the end, and can ultimately impact the bottom line.

So to answer the age-old question “Does the size of the salary matter?” Sometimes. But the size doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you do with it and what you say about it.

Integrating Learning With Work to Drive a High Impact Learning Culture

From KWC Session with Steven Rath Morgan, Manager, Global Learning Content and Process, Xerox

By Melonia da Gama

The last two days at Kenexa World Conference Orlando have been a continuous learning experience for me. Having the opportunity to meet customers and hear them tell their stories has inspired me in my role as Director of Product Marketing for our Learning Suite. Steven Rath Morgan’s presentation this morning was no exception. Steven is a true visionary. He has never seen Learning as solely Learning — he has always looked at the larger picture and where he could take it, whether that be outside his department or integrating new technologies.

Steven presented today on transforming Xerox from a technology and product-centric business model to the world’s leading enterprise for business process, IT outsourcing and document management. By integrating learning with work, Xerox is able to support this agile workforce. Steven spoke about the different technologies he uses at Xerox, but the focus for this presentation was the learning content management system (LCMS) and how it has integrated this learning platform to deploy on-demand content and performance support resources via mobile devices, enhancing mobility, and how it further drives a high impact learning culture using benchmark evaluation tools to measure learning effectiveness and business results. Here are some of the other business drivers that Steven spoke about today:

Through its deployment of the LCMS, Xerox:

  • Enabled quickness to market
  • Improved learner experience
  • Decreased the time spent out of the field for learning
  • Increased time to proficiency
  • Shifted from training to learning and performance support
  • Increased reuse and repurposing of content
  • Enabled content translation and localization
  • Drove higher quality and lower costs
  • Enable real time content development
  • Enabled mobility through mobile content deployment

This last point on mobile content has been a discussion point this week. Steven shared that Xerox has had the debate of tablets vs. smartphones. They see the tablet as an extension of the PC, so that existing LCMS courses that have a simple layout can be deployed “as is” on a tablet, offering instant mobility. They see the smartphone as the ideal tool for performance support materials. In this scenario, Xerox is delivering “just enough content” at “the moment of need.” It’s not about completion of courses, like with traditional learning, it is more about having the content available “on the go,” “when you need it.” They do rely on user ratings (star ratings and comments) to allow the “cream to rise to the top.” Learning templates, which can be developed in the LCMS, was another theme that arose in Steven’s presentation. The business drivers for using templates include:

  • Increasing time to proficiency and rapid deployment
  • Enabling quickness to market (using a wide range of pre-sized assets)
  • Designed to be tablet friendly (retooling content to be PC and mobile friendly)
  • Integrating with media through embedded tags
  • Creating a style guide for standards and branding

I’d like to thank Steven for sharing his story with us this week.


How do you reward your shining star?

From KWC Panel Session: “A New Era of Accountability: Pay-For-Performance Helps Drive HR Strategies in Rapidly Changing Industries

By Karis Alberg

When it comes to pay-for-performance, where does your healthcare organization fall?  During a panel discussion led by Kenexa Director of Healthcare Mike Wirth at Kenexa World Conference Orlando, four leaders in healthcare discussed “A New Era of Accountability.”  Cathy Arrdenale of DaVita, Inc.; Andrea Carter of Centura Health; Sheryl Correa of Skilled Healthcare, LLC; and Vicki Gorbett of Cancer Treatment Centers of American, Inc., shared industry insights on how to manage team recognition and rewards, how to recognize top leaders, how to define and implement total compensation and rewards programs and how they quantify total compensation packages.

While the entire healthcare industry is facing common challenges such as how to contain costs and how to manage the transition to pay for performance compensation programs, it was evident that organizations are at different points along this journey.  Even while some organizations have fully transitioned to pay-for-performance merit increases, programs can range from being focused entirely on team performance to a mix between professional and personal development.  Other organizations are still focused on high entitlement and realize a change to a talent management process is needed.

Recognition programs around the total compensation for healthcare associates are part of all of these organizations yet the programs do differ.  Employee branding for recognition programs is gaining momentum.  These programs include committees across all business units as well as a strong communications strategy.  Other companies rely on the strength of engaging family members and a strong tie to the benefits logo to bring loyalty to the program.

Yet other companies have great programs, but aren’t leveraged well.  While the programs may include everything—benefits, rewards, training and retirement — very few employees understand the entire program and a communications plan needs to be created to change the overall perception.

One of the panelists talked about the journey and all agreed their companies were on a journey as well.  Some were at the beginning of the compensation journey while others were further along.  All saw many challenges in the future yet see many opportunities to streamline processes and implement new solutions that maximize workforce performance.


How Home Depot Uses Assessments to Improve Its Quality of Hire

From KWC Session with David Mayfield

By Karis Ahlberg

My son wanted to build a doghouse for our family Golden Retriever, AJ. We started by measuring AJ, nose to tail. Then my son decided AJ should have a window so he could watch the squirrels. He’d need insulation to keep warm. And a water line, too, so he can have fresh water all the time. An electric outlet? No, I don’t think he needs to watch TV.

What turned into a simple weekend project turned much more complex so we headed to our neighborhood The Home Depot. Boy, was I relieved when we found the smiling face with the orange apron. Not only did he know exactly which aisle to start in, he knew which wood would be safest for AJ (no splinters) and he knew what type of insulation should be used to keep him warm in the winter. Not only did he know how to help us with the entire project, he did it with a smile on his face while making my eight-year-old an integral part of the entire process.

How did they find this wonderful sale associate? Is everyone this helpful?

David Mayfield from The Home Depot spoke at Kenexa’s World Conference about how it uses assessments to improve its quality of hire. A multi-step process is used and takes into consideration a person’s capabilities–do they have the skills, education and training to do the job? Do they have the capacity–the preference to help people and solve problems? And do they fit–with the organization and the actual position? Will they thrive in a fast-paced environment?

Using a strategic sifting process delivers a higher quality candidate allowing new associates to be more productive, more quickly while ensuring a match. That person with the smile and the orange apron? He created an experience for our entire family which will keep us coming back for our next weekend project.


How AMD Removes Barriers Through Sales Enablement

With David Stachura, Global Sales Enablement Manager at AMD

By Melonia da Gama

I have had the great privilege of working on a lot of projects this past year with Dave Stachura, Global Sales Enablement Manager for AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). We presented two webinars with Brandon Hall, Dave and AMD are being featured in an upcoming Bersin & Associates report on the role of the Social LMS within an organization, and AMD and Kenexa were awarded a Brandon Hall Silver Award for Excellence in the best program for sales training and performance (which also references the work Dave has done internally using Kenexa’s Social LMS).

But none of these projects have been as fulfilling as introducing him at our Kenexa World Conference earlier today and sitting in the audience while he passionately talked about the sales enablement strategy he helped develop and nurture at AMD the past three years.

Dave is one of those customers you dream of. I would like to say that he took our vision for social learning and Social LMS and made it a reality, but I think in this case the reverse is true. When I talk about Social Learning for sales enablement, it is one-third knowledge, one-third application and one-third vision. When Dave talks about it, it is 100 percent DNA. What he has done with our social LMS is truly inspirational.

His story goes something like this…

At the end of 2010, the AMD sales force found itself in a challenging position. AMD was about to launch a series of business-critical new products in 2011 into a very competitive marketplace. AMD had to quickly develop a complete approach to educate, arm and support the worldwide sales team with access to insight, experts and information.  This needed to be accomplished quickly and in the most cost and resource efficient way.

As AMD Sales Enablement approached the challenge of 2011 it reevaluated its approach to supporting sales and determined that the best way forward was to launch a complete enablement program called AMD Customer Group University or the CGU (the Customer Group is the formal name for AMD’s sales organization).  The CGU would help solve the identified issues and increase the overall competency of the AMD sales force.

The business factors mentioned above led to the creation of the AMD Customer Group University (CGU) at the beginning of 2011. The aggressive plan identified five main areas of focus and their associated objectives:

  1. AMD SalesEdge – Build and maintain a single online location for CGU online training program delivery, AMD sales presentations, marketing collateral and competitive intelligence as well as access to expert and peer knowledge and insight. Incorporate a multi-channel communications process to deliver consistent messages to support CGU objectives through the site to all disparate groups.
  2. Delivery Product Training – To raise the competency of the AMD sales force for each of the AMD product lines, deliver product training by using a new CGU program planning approach that integrates the input of key business unit, marketing and sales stakeholders.
  3. Process Control – Develop the processes, procedures and governance strategy to sustain the CGU infrastructure, CGU program planning and CGU delivery mechanisms with a minimum of team resources and in a rapidly changing, high-pressure, environment.
  4. Increase Customer Contact – Execute the CGU training programs in an efficient manner and reduce the time the sales team is away from the customer.
  5. Measure Effectiveness – Create a CGU program measurement approach that provides real time metrics on CGU program effectiveness.  Enable AMD management to make informed data-driven decisions.


Start Simple! Keys to a Successful Implementation

From Panel Discussion: Keys to a Successful Implementation: Minimize Risk and Maximize Habits Featuring U.S. Steel, Baker Hughes and Ford

By Karis Ahlberg

This was the advice given by Neal Krisko, Strategic Staffing Manager at Baker Hughes in a panel moderated by Kenexa’s Jeff Warnecke entitled “Keys to a Successful Implementation” at Kenexa World Conference in Orlando. Panel members included Laura Kurtz from Ford, Barbara Santella from U.S. Steel and Neal Krisko from Baker Hughes.

Key advice on how to implement a successful RPO include “go slow to go fast” and to plan the right time and resources for the project. Reflecting upon past experience, it was suggested to have HR folks involved from the very beginning. It’s important for all team members to have passion for the project as well as “have skin in the game.”

When taking change management into consideration, suggestions included to mandate change but also need to get buy-in from HR. How the solution is phrased is key as well. Referring to “improving recruitment solutions” rather than outsourcing. And if implementing more than one solution at the same time–a new RPO and an ATS–realize the complexity of the process and allow enough time.

Lessons learned from each of the panelists include:

  • “You can’t judge flexibility through an RFP.” –Neal Krisko
  • “Don’t rush through it. Avoid rework.” –Barbara Santella
  • “Get enough resources for the project and keep that team together for a period of time after the implementation.” –Laura Kurtz

The most important takeaway is to tell the story and share the good news. In any organization, its easy to focus on the bumps in the road rather than focusing on the successes. The number of hires that were managed, the decrease in days, the streamlined process. Sing praises and celebrate successes.


TUE // OCT 16 // 9:00 AM EST

Here’s a view of the Keynote room last night. Everything is almost set up and ready to go! Tonight we’ll have the cocktail session with a photo/video booth, food and the famous Disney fireworks show.

MON // OCT 15 // 4:00 PM EST

Share Your Journey to KWC!

Today and tomorrow, Kenexans and HR professionals across the country (and for some, the world) will begin their journey to Orlando for KWC. We want to hear about the experience! Share your journey via social media. See something funny at the airport? Take a picture and post it to our Facebook page! Pilot say something funny over the intercom? Tweet it and use the hashtag #KWCOrlando! Let’s have some fun as we make our way Disney World.

Anthony Galvan

Anthony Galvan

Anthony is the Social Media Strategist at Kenexa, covering all things in the HCM and social business industry. Anthony has a background in social media strategy, community management and youth marketi ...(Read More)

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