The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

systematicHR Avatar

Ok – I admit it.  I still hate the rebranded name, but they are still one of the leaders in talent.  In October at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago, they announced their 4.0 release.  It has some nice features, and although I haven’t seen it yet, I hope to do so soon.

First of all, their integrated performance, compensation and succession model is exactly where many organizations need to be.  Currently, many organizations force managers to treat these as separate and multiple processes, and while we in HR always complain that the managers are not tying compensation decisions to their performance ratings, half of that problem is our fault.  We don’t give them the proper integrated tools and workflows that help them think of these processes in a single end to end flow.

Built on a single platform with Vurv’s enterprise compensation planning module, Vurv Compensate, users of Vurv Perform 4.0 will benefit from Vurv’s innovative “visual pay-for-performance” approach that integrates the performance, compensation and succession planning functions at a business process level to help organizations quickly and easily compare both performance and potential.  Directly from powerful visual indicators and comparative charts, managers can take instant action, such as allocating total rewards, distributing merit pools and reconciling budget overage/underage.  This powerful decision support helps companies avoid overpaying underperformers and reduce turnover from underpaying their best performers and high potentials.  ((Vurv press release, October 10, 2007.

Another of the issues in performance management is the inability to really tie the performance plan to an actionable development plan.  While Vurv’s direction here is good, I think it’s one step short because the development plan also needs to be integrated with a learning system.  This is where the learning vendors who are emerging into talent vendors may eventually have a leg up.  Learning is unbelievably hard to develop, and unless you already have it in your back pocket, it’s also hard to integrate.  However, I’ll give Vurv some kudos for a decent beginning (that all vendors should have had in place 3 years ago).

Leveraging the built-in competency library, Vurv Perform 4.0 enables the automatic sourcing of development actions and learning opportunities for development plans.  Users can also automatically create development plans from succession gaps. The integrated library of more than 2,000 coaching and mentoring suggestions further enables comprehensive performance improvement plans, high-potential (HIPO) development plans and mentoring programs.  Focused on today’s most critical workplace issues, these comprehensive tools were developed to help companies improve employee engagement, reduce brain drain, develop future leaders and build bench strength.

Unfortunately, this review seems to be getting less and less positive.  This is not intended to be so, as the last comment on actionable development plans just needs to be integrated to an external learning system.  However, Vurv’s claim that their 4.0 release is a Web 2.0 release might be a bit of a stretch.

Utilizing “Web 2.0” services such as user-defined desktop widgets, graphical dashboards, mashups, and drag n’ drop navigation, Vurv Perform 4.0 delivers a rich, personalized and intuitive user experience.  This Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering is available on demand, supporting native web browser features on both Mac and Windows operating systems.

Their description of how they utilize Web 2.0 above simply does not inspire the imagination and reinvention that some vendors like Taleo and Workstream are going through with their performance user experiences.  Simply improving the user interface and having dashboards doesn’t seem to utilize all the power that Web 2.0 can bring to the broader user experience and design of manager interactivity.

All in all, I think that Vurv’s 4.0 release looks to be very positive.  They have made some significant enhancements in terms of integrating the manager workspace and this is probably much more critical from a usability perspective than a great Web 2.0 platform.  While true Web 2.0 would be nice, I think that is more of a user adoption solution than a process solution.  I’m looking forward to sitting down and playing with their 4.0 application soon.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tagged in :

systematicHR Avatar

4 responses to “Vurv 4.0”

  1. Thomas Otter Avatar

    not directly linked to this post but anyway.
    One of my present irks is that both the finance community and the HR community are rabbiting on about performance management, but I see precious little alignment between the two. Even here in the home of “if it moves integrate it”, I don’t see enough collaboration between HR and Finance on what is for me a blindingly obvious case of two sides of the same coin.
    So today a line manager needs to look at the HR performance management system and the corporate performance management system. It really is about time to put all these performance labels into a single, manager friendly tool.

    I’d love to get Jonathan Becher’s view on this.

  2. Jonathan Becher Avatar

    Thomas, as usual you are right. Financial, operational, customer, and HR performance management are silos. If only “corporate” performance management was really corporate. Invidual contributors would love to see how their personal objectives and KPIs tied back to the business unit mission or the corporate objectives — even to the stock price. Imagine being able to prove that your project improved profitability by 0.5%.

    Unfortunately, I think we’re still 2-3 years away from this. The vendors are partly to blame but organizational inertia is just as guilty. Customers have to demand better alignment.

  3. […] Management?  In an interesting twist, Thomas Otter and Jonathan Becher started a conversation here at exactly the same time that I was participating in the same conversation at Knowledge […]

  4. systematicHR Avatar

    Thomas & Jonathan:

    My rather contrarian reply here.