Category Archives: HR profession

It’s Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Today marks the 18th annual celebration of Take Your Dog To Work Day and, fittingly enough, a new survey sheds (pun clearly intended) some light on the topic to show the benefits reaped by organizations that allow their workers to bring their four-footed friends into the workplace.

Of course, it may seem like a shaggy-dog story to some skeptics (I’m looking at you, cat owners) that bringing your dog to work actually does produce positive workplace effects. But according to this research from Randolph Barker (no joke!), a professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University:

“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” he said. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present [at an office participating in a study] and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

From the looks of a recent poll, organizations are (slowly) warming to the idea of pet-friendly workplaces: A 2015 Society for Human Resource Management survey found that 8 percent of American workplaces allow employees to bring their furry friends to work, up from 5 percent in 2013.

(And while it may be too late this year, here’s a link to obtain a toolkit to help you set up the event for next year.)


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Battle Over Certifications Rages On

As might be expected, the Society for Human Resource Management made sure its HR-certification effort, announced roughly two years ago, received a healthy dose of air time this week at its SHRM 2016 conference in Washington.

ThinkstockPhotos-522859146At a press briefing on the opening day of the event, for example, Alexander Alonso, senior vice president for knowledge development and head of examination development and operations for SHRM’s professional certifications, reported that the society’s CP and SCP certifications are being well-adopted across key industries.

“Key metrics,” he said, “now include the 92,000 SHRM certificates that exist today [as well as] tremendous growth in the [number of] SHRM exam applications from spring 2015 all the way through to spring 2016, with roughly 9,800 people sitting for the exam in this window.” (Some of these figures were previously reported in a story we posted in April.)

In addition, he said that roughly 84,000 took part in the pathway certifications in 2015. (The pathway enables HR generalists who already have certain HR certifications to obtain SHRM’s certification by completing a brief online tutorial focusing on HR competencies.)

Alonso also reported that about 5,000 HR job postings per month refer to SHRM’s CP or SCP certifications and said that SHRM will be piloting a Spanish-language version of the exam in the winter.

What impact these numbers will have on the HR Certification Institute and its Professional in Human Resources and Senior Professional in Human Resources certifications isn’t entirely clear, but one thing is certain: HRCI isn’t sitting still.

In addition to holding a 40th Anniversary Celebration at Smithsonian American Art Museum (between hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails, participants were able to stroll the gallery and take in some great works of art), HRCI announced that, beginning on Nov. 1, it would offer year-round testing—essentially throwing testing windows “out the window” (HRCI’s words, not mine). Prior to this change, exams were available to practitioners twice a year.

As HRCI Chief Marketing Officer Kerry Morgan explained, HRCI is putting HR on the short list of professions that make certification exams available to their practitioners whenever they are ready and wherever it’s most convenient.

(SHRM currently has testing windows in the spring and winter.)

HRCI CEO Amy Schabacker Dufrane noted that HRCI partner organizations were especially excited about the move because it allows them to support the process year-round.

Asked about the impact of SHRM’s entrance in the field, Dufrane admitted that exam applications were down. But she pointed out that, during the group’s 40-year history, it wasn’t unusual for these numbers to decline during periods of low unemployment (currently at 4.7 percent), being that people may be less motivated to invest in their careers when the job market is more stable.

What’s more, she said, the number of recertifications was very encouraging, climbing from percentages in the mid-80s to around 91 percent.

Of course, as we’ve noted in the past, time will tell as to how this battle over HR certifications plays out. But for now, anyway, HRCI, as moves like this suggest, seems intent on keeping SHRM at bay and remaining a major force in the HR-certification world.

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Splitting H-P: A Global-Sized HR Challenge

ThinkstockPhotos-82633540Imagine you arrive at the office one day and get this assignment: Take charge of everything HR-related in splitting up a company with 260,000 employees spread over 160 countries. Oh, and you have eight months to do it.

That happened to Cheryl Mohr. And she survived.

“This is probably one of the most challenging opportunities I’ve ever had” in more than 30 years in HR with the global tech firm, Mohr told a rapt audience of practitioners on Tuesday at the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Despite her long experience, “you find out a lot of things you never knew” about HR in the process, Mohr said.

The challenge began in October 2014 with an announcement that Hewlett-Packard Co. would divide into two new companies. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with about 220,000 workers, would keep all the service-related business. HP Inc., with about 50,000 employees, would keep the printer and PC business. “Day One” of the split was to be Nov. 1, 2015.

But the company — and Deloitte, which had the contract to manage the project — didn’t have a full year to plan. CEO Meg Whitman wanted the separation in place on Aug. 1 to make sure all the bugs were worked out before the formal division, Mohr said. That meant eight months to create two global companies out of one — and her job was to manage the people part.

In the end, “We did have a seamless Day One,” she said. But it wasn’t easy.

For starters, the business had to keep running — and hitting its goals — while the split occurred. That meant elevating or hiring leaders to replace about 1,000 people who were dedicated full-time to separation planning, Mohr said.

Among key strategies the company employed was a process dubbed “clone and go.” That meant replicating the current arrangement in both new companies with a minimum of tinkering, Mohr said. The philosophy was “speed over elegance,” she said. “In some cases we just had to get it done.”

“We didn’t have a lot of time to think ‘Do we really want this policy?’ “ she said.

That included sticking with technology that the company was using at the time. In HR, that meant keeping Workday for information systems and Taleo for recruitment in both new companies. And it meant keeping largely the same benefits packages.

Another strategy was adopting transition service agreements between the two future companies to dictate how they would help each other after Day One for up to two years. These agreements were especially important in functions that are especially complex to separate, such as IT, real estate and finance.

For HR, among the most important first steps was allocating employees to their new companies and roles — and doing it quickly, for the sake of other departments that needed that information to do their own planning. Mohr wanted a deadline of September 2015. With the accelerated schedule, IT said it needed those assignments by May.

“At the end of the day, I lost,” Mohr said. And by this point, that was just four months away.

That process started by defining 12 employee layers in the two new organizations, from CEO on down. At the management levels, that sometimes required recruiting from outside to fill a duplicated role. More often the company did it by promoting a top lieutenant, Mohr said.

Luckily, “we had a lot of good succession planning” that helped, she said. In the end, the company hired just 2,700 people to fill new roles — not bad, Mohr said, considering the size of the workforce.

Another task was spreading new people around, so that one company didn’t keep all the experience. One example from within HR: Hewlett-Packard had 59 people working on HR systems. The two new companies each would need a similar-sized HR systems staff. That mean hiring another set of people and distributing them equally between the two new companies.

Once decisions were made, all 260,000 employees needed offer letters spelling out their new employers and roles. Multiply the complexity of this by specific laws around the globe, including some governing how the letters were delivered and how people could sign them — electronically or on paper. In 22 countries, government approvals were involved.

The company used many approaches to get this work done in a hurry, Mohr said. In Russia, for example, where local laws required signatures on paper,, it held “signing parties” in company cafeterias.

HR also had to organize monthly training sessions for managers on separation issues. It also implemented an personalized interactive guides on the company intranet to help employees manage the transition. These electronic timelines told workers what they should do and when, allowing them to catch up on missed deadlines and see decisions they would need to make down the line.

It all got done by Aug. 1, Mohr said. But there were some issues, which led to some lessons learned.

Principal among them was that some data got lost when HR data in a planning database was transferred into Workday, Mohr said. It overwrote some 75,000 day-to-day entries that managers had been making in the course of normal business. That work had to be done over.

Now, seven months after the split, the two companies are in a “transformational phase,” said Mohr, who became a senior vice president for global HR with HP Inc. The two companies now have time to reexamine the processes they cloned from Hewlett-Packard and retool them as needed for their narrower missions.

“Separation does not end on Day One,” she said.

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Setting a Strategy for Transgender Employees

Transitioning transgender employees. It’s a conundrum. And there’s a whole lot to consider. Such was the message Tuesday at the annual ThinkstockPhotos-531246420SHRM conference, in a workshop titled “Intel’s Strategy to Support Transgender Employees.”

Speaking were Eva Breslin, HR legal representative for Intel Corp. in Rio Rancho, N.M., and Keith Epstein, HR legal representative in the company’s Hillsboro, Ore., office.

In careful, thorough detail, they laid out all the impacts and ramifications Intel faced, which led to a comprehensive transgender strategy the company set in stone a couple years ago. After one male employee came running to Intel’s HR department complaining that a (transgendered) female was using the men’s room … it had to be done, they said.

Presenting three of their own Intel case studies — a female-identifying male who wanted to send out his transition story in a detailed email, a devout Christian who came to HR deeply hurt and offended by one employee’s change, and a transitioning male-to-female who was ready to leave work Friday and show up Monday as a woman — they discussed what went into Intel’s response to each in hopes it might help other employers (and audience members) facing similar challenges.

In those three cases, considerations included, respectively, the potential dissemination of personal medical information in the email that had to be thwarted and reworked, the need to fully explain and perhaps  enforce the new policy to the religious employee, and the need to step back and develop a cogent transition plan that would last far more than one weekend.

“How you deal with this is extremely important, and can save considerable time and expense,” said Epstein. Before the Intel strategy was adopted, for instance, “every time people were coming to us with a problem or concern, we had to start anew” with discussions and a plan, he said.

So the company established a team that included business HR, HR legal, members of the transgender community and others to put everything in writing, and on the company website.

From that point forward, all employees have been free to use whichever bathroom they prefer, in keeping with the gender they identify with. The company’s values and guidelines in the handling of benefits, name changes, back-office document changes and every other change that must be made are all laid out in black and white for all to see.

Steps for notifying managers and HR ahead of time, so every transitioning employee gets the support and respect he or she needs and deserves, are also detailed now.

“In one early case of ours,” said Breslin, “a manager was completely shocked and speechless for the entire day when an employee came in as a female after leaving the night before as a male. Clearly, everyone involved would have benefited from prior notification.”

Setting up an organization’s communication plan for transitioning transgenders is a complicated and sensitive process, and the ultimate goal should always be to avoid surprises, she said. Does a particular manager need guidance before meeting with employees to announce the change? Who will communicate it, the transitioning employee or the manager? Would the employee like to write a letter to his or her team instead? And should he or she read it and be there for the reaction, or should the manager go it alone, with that employee absent?

How all these issues are handled should be up to the discretion of each and every organization, said Breslin, but it’s imperative that all are addressed to “set the stage for how everyone will feel and might react.”

“It can also help avoid devastating outcomes,” she said.

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A Three-Prong Approach for Transforming HR

If there ever was any doubt that HR is now at a pivotal moment in its evolution, Ryan Estis tried his best to put them to rest in his Monday Master Session titled “Rethinking HR: The Future of Work” at SHRM 2016.

Changes Ahead

Changes Ahead

Estis, chief experience officer for Ryan Estis & Associates in Minneapolis and a regular presenter at SHRM, told a packed room of attendees that the HR profession is at an important “inflexion point.” As the world of work continues to change, he said, HR professionals are going to need to transform the way they go about performing their jobs.

Specifically, Estis served up three key principles HR practitioners need to keep top of mind.

No. 1: The profession needs to undergo continuous reinvention. “It’s our opportunity to play offense and be a disruptor,” he said. To successfully contribute to their organizations, he explained, HR leaders have to step out of their comfort zone and try new approaches.

“I personally try to force myself to stay in my learning lane,” he said, noting that every day he asks himself if “I’ve done something today that made me uncomfortable?” and whether or not “I’m making progress and improving?”

People resist change because they’re afraid to fail, he said, adding that “the antidote for curing that problem is to take action,” he said.

Estis specifically cited Adobe’s decision a few years back to eliminate its performance-appraisal system as an excellent example of how HR was able step out of its comfort zone to fix a process that everyone agreed was broken. “Leaders hated it and employees hated it,” he said. “So they got rid of it and replaced it with what they call Check-ins, where employees have conversations with their managers.”

(Estis referred attendees to HRE’s July 2013 cover story titled “Rethinking the Review,” featuring Adobe Senior Vice President of People Resources Donna Morris on the cover.)

No. 2: HR needs to deliver from a position of influence. “You have to inspire other people to champion initiatives,” he said. “You can’t do it alone.”

The best leaders are the best listeners, he added.

Estis told those in the audience they need to be able to have the courage to attack old ways of doing things and be willing to challenge leadership.

Further, he said, HR must develop a digital mind-set if it expects to be relevant.

No. 3: Be a culture champion and a catalyst of change, he said. Employers with breakthroughs have great cultures, he said, referencing Mayo Clinic (another client of his) as an example of an organization that has built a culture that has resulted in a highly engaged and loyal workforce.

At the Mayo Clinic, he explained, every employee, even those who don’t have jobs in which they interact directly with patients, embrace the organization’s core value of “putting the needs of the patient first.”

In employee focus groups, he said, each and every employee who took part fully understood the role they play in actualizing that value.

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Effective Leaders Know their Leadership Stories

“What’s your leadership story?”

PeopleThat was the question posed to a roomful of attendees at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference in Washington Monday. Speaking was Timothy J. Tobin, vice president of human resources for Marriott International, with headquarters in Washington as well.

And he had a host of things to think about that few probably had, based on the murmurs during and after his session, “Five Steps to Effectively Communicate Your leadership Story.”

Like what it really means to know your message and have a solid leadership point of view. And what it means to know yourself as a leader, why you are one and where you want to make a difference and have an impact. Equally important is understanding your core values and your personal mission.

“What contribution do you want to make? What do you want to accomplish? For whom?” he asked the crowd. “As Aristotle taught us many years ago, ‘knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’ ”

But even more crucial for those leading others in business, said Tobin, is to maximize those “moments of truth” with other leaders in order to better understand specific pieces of the business and interact with those who can actually help you — all the while, carrying yourself with credibility and consistency.

“Who you know,” Tobin said, “can be as powerful as what you know. But the most powerful of all is who knows you and what they would say on your behalf. Who are those people who can act as credibility substitutes and speak up for you when you’re not there? You gotta find these people.”

And how do you find, support and sustain such a network? By engaging others in the organization at every opportunity and in every decision that needs to be made.

“The four most important words in leadership,” said Tobin, are ‘What do you think?’ ”

Two more seemed to be equally important as session takeaways: perceptions matter.

“You are only as good of a leader as people around you believe,” he told his listeners. “Communicate your story. Make it epic. And when it comes to telling it, remember, you all have a voice.”

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Political Landscape Uncertain, SHRM Lobbyist Says

With presidential politics entering uncharted waters, the legislative and regulatory road ahead is hard to map, SHRM’s chief lobbyist told human resources professionals gathered this week in Washington, D.C. But one thing is virtually sure: The federal government is likely to tighten restrictions on employment visas.

“I do think this is going to be an area of focus … regardless of who wins in November,” said Michael J. Aitken, vice president for government affairs of the Society for Human Resource Management. He spoke Monday at the group’s annual conference and exposition.

ThinkstockPhotos-504283950In a presentation on legislative and regulatory issues facing employers, Aitken pointed to public-opinion surveys to show why neither a Democratic nor Republican administration would be likely to loosen limits on immigration through H-1B visas and other programs.

Voters across the usual party and ideological lines feel “the economy isn’t benefitting them,” Aitken said. “There’s a lot of anger out there.” That has powered the insurgent candidacies of Donald J. Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders and driven increasing dissatisfaction with government.

Immigration, closely tied to feelings about the economy, is a key issue for Trump. Aitken noted the likely Republican nominee has promised not only to step up enforcement against illegal immigration, but also has been critical of legal immigration under the H-1B program and others. Clinton also has expressed little support for helping employers fill critical slots by recruiting workers abroad, Aitken said.

On most other subjects, much depends on the outcome of the general election, Aitken said. Control of Congress will help determine the fate of a rash of Obama administration regulatory initiatives in employment law. Democrats could take control of the Senate, which would stifle such efforts to roll them back — especially if Clinton wins the White House, he said.

Some issues are likely to be front-burner topics no matter what, he noted. These include pay equity, an issue where SHRM is actively working with legislators, Aitken said. “It will be a big issue with the next Congress and next administration,” regardless of the election result, he said.

Also likely to continue are efforts to modify the so-called Cadillac tax on rich employer health plans, Aitken said. Complicating that campaign is the fact that the concept has some bipartisan support.

Legislative efforts also will continue to roll back or amend the increased threshold for overtime due to take effect in December. SHRM “supported increasing the salary threshold … we felt the final rule, however, went too far, too fast,” Aitken said.

“You need to proceed as if it’s taking effect Dec. 1,” he said.

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Mulally, Rowe Herald Hard Work, HR at SHRM

Alan Mulally, left, and Mike Rowe share the stage in SHRM’s open ing keynote. Photo by Chris Williams/SHRM

In an unlikely coupling of two friends — one described by his co-star as a kind of Howdy Doody “Boy Scout” and the other a well-recognized master of grunge, grit and grime — Alan Mulally and Mike Rowe kicked off this year’s Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference heralding the importance of hard work and HR leadership.

In their joint opening keynote Sunday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital, Mulally, former president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., and Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, shared their stories, and their messages about HR’s new stature in the business world, with a healthy dose of fun.

“Here’s what I think,” Mulally told a roomful of thousands of conference-goers. “I think human resource professionals rock!” His comment got raucous applause.

Sharing his keys to success, though — putting his people first; including everyone in all communications; and making sure everyone knows the company’s vision, performance goals and the status of every plan, to name just a few — he came back to the importance of HR.

“HR is the leader of many, many resources, and you’re making all of that happen,” he said.

Even in the country’s tough, post-9/11 years, Ford’s decision not to take federal bailout money was a transparent, collective one. “Watching our suppliers falling into bankruptcy,” he said, “knowing what was happening could bankrupt the nation, we made our decision [together] to do the right thing.”

And even then, he added, HR drove the communication, alignment and buy-in.

Rowe — who said he had worked for Mulally at Ford and then met him years later after becoming a voice behind many Ford commercials and later a television star — injected some hilarity into the “duet” by recalling how Dirty Jobs came to be.

As he told it, his concept came to him after reviewing tapes of himself trying to interview a sanitation official in the sewers of San Francisco, with many disgusting mishaps of every imaginable disgusting variety.

“I realized I was laughing; something very compelling was happening,” said Rowe. “But what was even more compelling than [the scatological Laurel and Hardy routine, for lack of a better description] was the knowledge and the real work” his interviewee was describing throughout it all. It seems the real work involved replacing bricks and understanding every nuance about why that had to be done.

“I let my guest be the expert he is … to connect [with viewers] the real miracle of how things really work and how jobs really get done,” he said, adding a lament that “we’re not valuing work enough, understanding how work gets done.”

But HR, he suggested, can take  the lead in understanding and facilitating this communication in an organization, about how things work there and what work needs to happen.

“Somewhere in your company is [this type of sewer specialist],” he said. “He’s probably little-known, but he needs to be heard.”

Mulally echoed the importance of facilitating the communication of work and what needs to be done as the only way an entire organization — in his case, Ford — can come together and “face reality.”

Added to his list of imperatives for successfully climbing out of the kind of “economic and financial reality we were facing in our toughest years,” he said, [were] respecting, listening to, helping and appreciating each other [and] building emotional resistance to trust the process.”

Lastly and most importantly, said Mulally, “is [to] have fun; enjoy the journey and each other” through everything you weather and accomplish.

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Helping Employees Feel Less Helpless

It’s been almost a full week now and the world continues to come to grips with the largest mass shooting in American history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Workplace shootings — and since the Pulse murders occurred in a place where people were actively working on behalf of an employer, even if it was at 2 a.m., this sadly qualifies as one — are an unfortunately way-too-common event these days.

(So much so that Staff Writer Mark McGraw even wrote a piece recently about companies that help employers train their workers to deal with active-shooter situations such as the one that occurred at the nightclub.)

In the course of my reading on the topic, I came across this piece from Fast Company that takes a look at the role HR can play in the aftermath of a national tragedy. In the piece, Midge Seltzer says employers should not try to stop workers from discussing the troubling events of the day:

“Leaders need to let their teams and managers know it’s okay if people want to talk about it,” says Midge Seltzer, president of the HR consulting firm Engage PEO. “They will anyway; it’s part of the grieving process. Joining the conversation will help you control it, and make it more productive.”

Interestingly enough, just a little while after reading that piece, I learned that my very own employer wanted to do more than just talk about the massacre.

In my work email’s inbox, I found a companywide message from our HR department announcing that our company would donate $2 for every $1 employees donated to the GoFundMe page that’s been set up for the victims and survivors of the murderous assault.

Just a few clicks later and my small donation was on its way, with its positive effect to be amplified courtesy of my empathetic employer.

Here’s hoping your HR organization is dedicated to looking for ways such as this to empower employees to feel a little less helpless when the headlines become too overwhelming.

(Author’s note: As of this posting, the GoFundMe page has raised $5.1 million dollars toward its goal of $7 million.)


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How Microsoft’s LinkedIn Deal Could Change HR

The HR tech world just got a big new player. Really big.

Once Microsoft closes its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn late this year, the software giant will own a service that has become increasingly important to HR departments around the world. With Microsoft’s resources behind it, LinkedIn could become a massive force not only in recruiting, but in the larger world of HR, experts say.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said as much in an email to his staff on Monday announcing the deal.

Among the business opportunities for Microsoft, he noted, is “expanding beyond recruiting and learning and development to create value for any part of an organization involved with hiring, managing, motivating or leading employees. This human capital area is a massive business opportunity and an entirely new one for Microsoft.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean a Microsoft-backed LinkedIn will be moving into payroll, benefits administration and other bread-and-butter HR applications, though.  Many experts see the company integrating LinkedIn data into Microsoft Office tools, but not moving wholesale into new lines of business.

Under Microsoft, “LinkedIn could become a network for learning and collaboration,” providing HR departments a tool for connecting employees, says George LaRocque, a well-known HR technology consultant. “I think that’s the direction.”

LinkedIn already is a force to be reckoned with. Though far smaller than social-media titans like Facebook, it virtually owns the world of professional connections, with over 100 million active users and four times as many profiles. It’s increasingly necessary for an active business person to have a presence on the site, which has made it a critical resource in many businesses — particularly sales and HR.

The company posted $2.9 billion in revenue last year. About $1.9 billion of that was in its “talent solutions” business, the company says. Most of that came from recruitment services, which include premium search functions, targeted job postings, a referral tool for current employees and company branding. Through its April 2015 acquisition of the online tutorial site, LinkedIn also has a solid presence in training.

Though revenue was up 41 percent from 2014, in other ways LinkedIn has lost momentum, which is what helped make it an acquisition target. After disappointing earnings, the share price had dropped by 50 percent — from over $260 in February 2015.

Many experts say the marriage with Microsoft makes sense because the two companies don’t overlap in services, yet cater to the same audience — business professionals. That opens up the potential for connections between Microsoft productivity tools and LinkedIn’s vast people database.  The immediate opportunities may be in customer relationship management — an area where Microsoft already has a presence with its Microsoft Dynamics software.

The reality, though, is that no one knows what Microsoft plans to do with LinkedIn — likely including Microsoft itself, notes LaRocque, principal analyst and founder of New Providence, N.J.-based #hrwins.

“I think we’re all going to be reading tea leaves for a little bit on this one,” he says. “The opportunities are endless.”

But most experts say Microsoft is most likely to build on its strengths as a provider of tools that business professionals use every day. LaRocque sees the company connecting LinkedIn’s Lynda tutorial videos to Excel, for example, so that users can get immediate help.

He and others don’t see this as a beginning of a move to take over HR technology — or even just recruiting.

“I have a hard time thinking Microsoft is excited about getting into talent acquisition,” though LinkedIn may well stay in that business, LaRocque says. On the other hand, LinkedIn’s networking and communication functions could become another “pillar” of the company’s Office 365 platform. “They’re impacting HR technology in a huge way,” he says. “But they’re not the classic HR player.”

Kyle Lagunas of the IT market research firm International Data Corp. has a similar view. He sees three key opportunities for Microsoft in the acquisition: LinkedIn’s in endorsements, recommendations and posts.

If properly leveraged by Microsoft, LinkedIn endorsements — in which users rate each other for various skills — could be used internally “to map influence across various subject matters, skills and capabilities,” he notes in an email.

Recommendations shared among LinkedIn users could provide a powerful tool for recruiters, he says. And companies could track posts on LinkedIn’s Pulse service to help workers develop — and demonstrate — expertise.

Another HR tech expert agrees that the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal will lead to new tools for HR departments, but not fundamentally change the landscape.

Kathryn Minshew, CEO of a career site called The Muse, notes that the two companies both target established white-collar professionals. She doesn’t see that changing with Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn — leaving plenty of room for businesses like hers.

“I think this acquisition is a great thing  for the industry — it validates the core role that HR has,” Minshew says. ” Companies are starting to realize that products and platforms in the human-capital space have a much broader impact.”

Muse, with 50 million site visitors annually, serves a diverse population of workers with an average age of 29, and 60 percent female. Those people, she says, may keep their resume on LinkedIn, but The Muse “is where their heart is.”

“I don’t know that the human-capital space is ever meant to have a single winner-take-all,” Minshew says. “There’s a lot of room for those who want to take a different approach.”

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