International Association for Human Resource Information Management

By Staff Report

Apr. 11, 2006

Event:International Association for Human Resource Information Management
IHRIM 2006 Conference and Technology Expo
April 9-12, 2006 at the Hilton Washington, Washington, D.C.

The International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) represents the world of workforce information management, systems issues, trends and technology.

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IHRIM, Day 2

Show notes: Don’t Be So Nosy

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Online recruiting 2.0: Using the Web to find jobs or job seekers can be much improved by weaving technology systems together, an executive with said Tuesday at IHRIM’s annual conference. Eric Waldinger, director of strategic services for the job site, said it is possible to integrate so-called applicant tracking systems with job boards to make life easier for both job hunters and recruiters. He also said that companies can increase the willingness of candidates to complete applications online by not asking for highly personal data upfront. “For every page a job seeker has to complete there is a 50 percent drop-off rate,” Waldinger noted in his presentation materials. “(There’s a) 90 percent drop-off if you ask for personal information!”

Just for laughs: Political comedy troupe the Capitol Steps performed at Tuesday’s keynote luncheon, thoroughly skewering both ends of the political spectrum, as well as popular culture. Highlights included a joke-telling contest between John Kerry and President Bush, a routine that took pot shots at Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting adventures and a parody of aging rock stars Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Stormy weather: It’s a well-worn meteorology analogy, but maybe it might be true this time: There is a “perfect storm” of change coming for HR, according to Jim Candler, senior HCM strategist at Workday Inc. In his presentation, “The Global Workplace Survival Guide for the HRIS Professional,” Candler said that HR is being held captive by the concept of vertical organizations. Human resources must start thinking of companies as being horizontal or as communities of practice in which people are connected in a variety of ways. HR must ditch the simple answers to the challenges being posed by change and globalization, he said. “By not recognize the complexity of our world, we’re making our world more complex,” Candler said.

Aging workforce: With the help of SAP’s Business Warehouse, Philip Morris is planning for an expected wave of retirements as its workforce ages. In the presentation “Preparing the Way for the Future,” R. Dennis Newcomb, manager, HR reporting and analysis at Philip Morris, and Robert Rupar, managing consultant for IBM, detailed how they were able to help managers throughout the company accept the new system.
–R.S. and E.F.

Show notes: Measuring, But Measuring What?


Date: Monday, April 10, 2006

IHRIM attendance up: HR technology is a timely, important topic, judging by attendance at this year’s annual confab of the International Association for Human Resource Information Management.

About 850 people are attending the IHRIM HRMStrategies 2006 conference, a jump of roughly 10 percent from last year’s show, says Nov Omana, chairman of the board for the group. Omana, also the founder of consulting firm Collective HR Solutions, says the technological shift to Web services—which promises easier integration of applications—is prompting organizations to revisit their HR systems. “People are starting to say, ‘I’ve got to do something.’ “

Successful metrics: A major theme so far at the conference is the value of bringing hard numbers to the practice of managing people. Along these lines, the association on Monday gave its Chairman’s Award to Jac Fitz-enz, often called the father of human capital measurement. Fitz-enz, who founded the Saratoga Institute more than two decades ago, offered a moment of levity as the conference got under way. People ask what the secret to success is, given that he’s been at it so long, Fitz-enz said. “The secret to success is simple,” he told the participants. “’Outlive the bastards!’”

Measuring workforce performance: The discussion was more businesslike at a breakout session labeled “So Much Talk About Human Capital Measurement, But So Little Action! Let’s Get on With It!” Rick Emslie, a consultant with Strata Systems, suggested that workforce managers collect some basic metrics, including income per employee and an index of employee engagement or commitment. Emslie suggested HR-related measurements may not always be precise, but nonetheless can point organizations in a useful direction. “You don’t have to be 100 percent (accurate),” he said. “You just have to be indicative.”

Most attendees who are workforce practitioners say they are still grappling with obtaining basic workforce performance data.

Data privacy issues: A significant trend that is emerging at the conference is data privacy and the difficulty of maintaining it. Eli Lilly and Co. employees Carolyn Anker, an HR data privacy expert, and Brenda Striggo, an “employee privacy architect,” presented a session called “Can Data Privacy and HRIT Coexist?” They gave an overview of the complexities and challenges of dealing with privacy laws and regulations that differ from state to state and nation to nation. “HR privacy is the sleeping giant of privacy issues,” Anker says. Vendors who process any type of employee data, such as payroll, are a particular concern when it comes to privacy issues.

Conference buzzwords: “Handcuff issues” are violations of key laws that can lead to criminal charges. “Privacy audits” are what companies should undertake to make sure that all of their HR data that should be private stays private.

–Robert Scally and Ed Frauenheim

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