“Spotlight Interviews” and Research

SAP Jam for social onboarding: How to Improve First Impressions for New Hires?

As an employer do you want to leave the early impressions of your organization to chance?

The day a new employee is hired it’s an exciting time. Do you want them to rely on a Google search, Glassdoor, Social Media, and/or disparate information for them to learn more about your organization or their new department?

In an Aberdeen Report, “Strategic Onboarding: Help New Employees and the Business” they pointed out:

“Best-in-Class companies are 2.5 times more likely than all others to provide key stakeholders with visibility into the development progress of new employees through the onboarding process.”

“58% of all companies indicate that the biggest influence on onboarding efforts is the need to engage new hires in the company culture.”

“Since 90% of employees make the decision to stay within the first year, it’s more important than ever to determine if new hires are engaged early on.”

When looking at the life cycle of an employee from prehire, new hire, and cross-hire… to becoming a productive employee, it’s important to enable a positive experience, engage, and help reduce the dropout rate.

First impressions make a big difference!

As a result, SAP Jam aligned with SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding (& the related HCM Suite) represents a best-in-class platform (& app) approach to enabling social onboarding.

4 SAP Jam for social onboarding considerations  
  1. External SAP Jam Group – For new hires they can be invited into an external Jam group with a focus to gaining access to company wide and department specific prehire information (i.e. videos, welcome ambassadors / experts, check lists, what to expect Day 1, etc.)
  2. Account Conversion – Once the new hire joins, Day 1, their prehire account can be converted to a full access SAP Jam user account allowing them to keep their existing information and expand into company wide access
  3. Dynamic Member Lists – New employees based on their start date can automatically become a member of a new hire Jam group which addresses both company-wide and departmental new hire considerations (i.e. stay in the group for 100 days)
  4. Complimentary Platforms & Apps – Align SAP Jam to recruiting, onboarding, learning, Fiori, and related HCM business processes and tools leveraging a common user management experience with SAP Foundation (aka – BizX) to enable the employee system of record
The Role of HR and Business Leadership

An organization’s Chief People &/or Talent Officer and their team play a big role as internal consultants within the organization to step back and assess if prehires, new hires, and cross-team hires are getting the best experience and optimizing their productivity?

A check list to consider:

  1. First Impressions – Has the organization taken the time to optimize the first impressions to the new employees?
  2. Knowledge – Do pre- and new hires have clarity on the value, culture, opportunities, and expectations for their new role?
  3. Engage – Are pre- and new hires being engaged in a timely manner with the best knowledge and information available to equip them for success?
    • Who are the experts and ambassadors who can share their experiences / insights?
  4. Busy Managers – While the business leads from the respective departments (“business units”) are very, very busy, have they provided what’s needed for pre- & new hires to be productive?
    • When was the last time the business addressed how long the boarding process takes and the process for efficiency?
  5. Compliance – Do the pre- and new hires have the information they need to address compliance (i.e. privacy, confidentiality, and related industry compliance requirements)?
  6. Strategy – Is onboarding viewed as a strategic initiative to your organization with ongoing reviews to keep the information fresh & current and use the best tools available?
What can the Chief HR and Talent Officer address? 

With digital transformation new employees expect social onboarding tools to facilitate their new hire experience. For recent graduates (“Next-Gen”) who have grown up with cell phones and social media it’s important for a business to put it’s best foot forward in the hiring process using modern tools and capabilities.

When left to ad-hoc approaches it’s proven that satisfaction levels can go down, and the drop out rate increases, which costs both time and money for all participants in the hiring process.

The Chief HR and Talent Officer and their team should develop approaches (“frameworks”) that make it easier for lines of business within the organization to address the business requirements to optimize the ramp up period… and bring on happy successful new employees… and as result, achieve higher levels of productivity, successful outcomes, and satisfaction.

Based on many SAP Jam experiences, it is often best for the business lead and their core team to focus on the business requirements and stakeholder input, and then work with SAP Jam implementation & adoption services experts to ensure that the platform is optimized and best practices are in place.

First day impressions are very important.

By stepping back… and looking at the best processes, key information, and approach… organizations can optimize what happens before, during, and after the first day on the job to develop talent and positively impact bottom-line results.



Hong Kong: The Sites, Landmarks & Destiny

After an awesome week in Hong Kong, during our ride back to the airport the driver said, “when you arrived you saw Hong Kong as a pin on the map” and I added “and now it’s a magnifying glass with a big spotlight!”

IMG_1257What my wife and I found was a fast moving, bright light, vibrant, safe, friendly city with a surrounding region of country trails and rolling mountains. In fact we enjoyed it so much that we walked 9-10 miles each day to see as much as possible!

What brought us to Hong Kong?

Our son Steven is a Drexel University study abroad student at the University of Hong Kong and having a great experience.  He was a perfect tour guide pinpointing many great sites, landmarks, restaurants, and less traveled fun places to check out. Also, for 3 days he IMG_1353was selected to spend time shadowing the CEO of the top global publication, the South China Morning Post, (on par with the Washington Post / NY Times) which was an amazing opportunity so between this experience and his classes we had some time to explore.

Our first lesson was how to use the MTR system (aka – subways, trains, metro)… Very quickly we learned about the blue, red, green and orange lines and main attractions like…

  • Wan Chai (灣仔) one of the busiest commercial areas in Hong Kong and the closest stop to our hotel
  • hong-hong-mtr-system-map-fullTung Chung (東涌) meaning ‘eastern stream’,  formerly a rural and fishing village and now the gateway to Ngong Ping’s Big Buddha, the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha statue and Po Lin Monastery
  • Che Kung Temple (車公廟) the stop to visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum which houses the “Bruce Lee – Kung Fu ‧ Art ‧ Life” exhibit

And of course these lessons allowed us to travel by MTR to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort which had popular attractions like “it’s a small world,” “Disneyland Railroad” and “Jungle River Cruise” as well as unique ones only found in Hong Kong including “Mystic Manor” and “Iron Man Experience.”

IMG_1328Interestingly the short ride to the resort had a custom Disney metro car with Mickey Mouse windows and a custom interior with blue lined seats, Minnie statues, and hand holders in the shape of Mickey.

Other memorable sites included:

  • Victoria Peak – The highest mountain on Hong Kong island with amazing views
  • Chi Lin Nunnery (志蓮淨苑) – Constructed entirely with cypress wood, without the use of any nails and is the world’s largest hand-made wooden building
  • OZONE  – One of the highest rooftop sky bars in the world, located on the 118th floor of The Ritz-Carlton)
  • The University of Hong Kong (aka HKU / Hong Kong University) – Founded in 1911, it is one of the most prestigious universities in Asia (& globe) with a beautiful campus and a great Alumni Affairs office
  • Malls – Some of the biggest and most impressive in the world with many top global and local brands
  • Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system – The longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world surrounded by Hong Kong SoHo
  • Kowloon Walled City Park – Originally a Chinese military fort and more recently restored into a beautiful park
  • Tung Choi Street (通菜街) is a well-known street market popularly known as “Ladies’ Market” where you walk through stalls and shops to find deals

IMG_1254Historically it was interesting to think back to when “Made in Hong Kong” was very popular (back in the day!) to the ancient farming and fishing villages — to today where Hong Kong has evolved into a major port and international financial center with more global brands and shopping malls then we have ever seen per square block.

In fact, our hotel, the Grand Hyatt was right next to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre where the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China took place in 1997.

As we walked around Hong Kong you realize it’s always on the move… hustling and bustling… the MTRs are clean (we once saw a glass of water or soda spilled and it was cleaned within minutes). Rarely did we have to wait for the MTR more then 2 or 3 minutes… and the people are friendly and peaceful. The streets and malls are alive and busy into the night.IMG_1271

Interestingly we learned that every Sunday maids from Indonesia and the Philippines gather together and take a government required day off where they play cards, picnic, style hair, and socialize.

Perhaps when it was all said and done we realized how valuable the experience was for us.

To gain perspective about Hong Kong, China, and Asia is very worthwhile. Whether for business or vacation we would highly recommend taking time to get to know Hong Kong.

In fact, like so many places I have visited there will always be a part of us in Hong Kong and as the news takes place and others share their stories my interest will be sky high to learn more and share insights.

IMG_1363Who knows? Perhaps our new friend who we met at the HKU Alumni Affairs Office said it best… Sometimes “who we meet” and “when we meet” is simply “Destiny!” (see symbol on right) and it seemed like finally getting to Hong Kong was our destiny which will live on as a priceless memory for a lifetime.




Appendix – Photo Gallery 

Chi Lin Nunnery




Hong Kong Heritage Museum – “Bruce Lee – Kung Fu * Art * Life” exhibit



Hong Kong Disneyland Resort – MTR (Custom Train)




Favorite Restaurant 


View from OZONE


Ngong Ping’s Big Buddha



Grand Hyatt Hotel


View from Victoria Peak



Victoria Peak Hiking Trail – Pok Fu Lam Country Park




Hong Kong University



Alumni Career Services: Fired, Displaced, Downsized, Restless – How Can I Win My Next Job?

Happy to provide career and job insights to those who are interested in “climbing the steps towards success!”  Here’s a recent session I gave to fellow Drexel alumni based on my own journey and sharing insights with alumni and students over the years…  Whether you’re selling a product, service or solution “or” yourself for your next job…many of the skills are the same!  The methods used are proven…they work for those who leverage their skills, education, and work experiences into valued, growth areas and have persistent follow-up.

Drexel Alumni Career Services Webinar:
“Fired, Displaced, Downsized, Restless – How Can I Win My Next Job?”

An Online Career Services Workshop
Rich Blumberg ’84, President, World Sales Solutions, LLC

Featured Assets:  Slides | Planning Template

This recent session focused on the strategy and tactics of moving forward with a job and career search during challenging times.  Given the fact that there are an “abundance” of opportunities in the marketplace and that you have a great education from Drexel, what specific steps can you take to identify and win your next job? Whether your 100% in need of a job or have one but require a change, this presentation will share time tested, proven approaches to be happier with the process, make money, and achieve the outcomes that you deserve.

Topics included:

  • A blue print for success
    • Putting your predicament into context
    • The power to begin
    • The art & science of survival
    • Positioning for triumph
    • Identifying the economic decision maker
    • The information advantage
    • Steps you can take during the summer months
  • Closing the deal

SAP Jam Work Patterns: The Big $ or € &/or ¥ Game Changer for a New Product Launch!

>> For the full blog please visit the SAP Community Network >>

“A knotty ‘puzzle’ may hold a scientist up for a century, when it may be that a colleague has the solution already and is not even aware of the puzzle that it might solve.”
― Isaac Asimov (on Collaboration)

How a ONE team approach can bridge internal & external boundaries!

For profit and non-profit organizations around the globe have a common mission to launch new products and services to obtain front-line revenues and customer value objectives. For most, the investments (i.e. Dollars ($), Euros (€), Yens (¥)) are large and the stakes are high.

Many people and groups must come together to achieve ONE common set of goals and objectives.  The adoption of SAP Jam can make a huge difference to accelerate (& streamline) a successful roll out that requires the collaboration and cooperation of “internal and external” stakeholders.

Go-to-Market momentum takes place through consistent, repeatable, flexible, and efficient small steps which add up to larger efforts and leads to an ongoing set of important milestones (& deliverables).

>> For the full blog please visit the SAP Community Network >>

SAP Jam: The ROI Impacting Sales Productivity

For the full blog visit the SAP Community Network – More >>

Ask a knowledge worker supporting sales to find customer-facing information produced by any combination of departments such as researchers, engineers, marketing, product development, suppliers, services, and partner teams; it often takes a long time.

Now ask the same question of current or new sales team members who are responsible for accelerating pipeline or winning deals and the results often take “much” longer. The time spent in searching, collecting, e-mailing, and verifying the right versions of the truth can be frustrating.

Based on an IDC White Paper* reporting on a global survey, “information workers waste a significant amount of time each week dealing with a variety of challenges related to working with documents {and related assets}. This wasted time costs the average organization $19,732 per information worker per year, amounting to a loss of 21.3% in the organization’s total productivity.”

While the survey results may vary in many organizations, the trend is clear.

For the full blog visit the SAP Community Network – More >>

Workshop & Blog: The Customer Go-to-Market Imperative – Transforming Silos to Social Business and Community Building

Featured Blog: SAP Community Network

The following workshop took place as part of Drexel’s CEO LEAD (“Creating Experiential Opportunities for Leadership Education and Development”) on Drexel University’s campus.

Title: The Customer Go-to-Market Imperative – Transforming Silos to Social Business and Community Building

Date/Time: May 16, 2013 @ 6 PM, EST – Complete

Presenter: Rich Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, LLC (Alumni Board of Governors and Volunteer)

Summary: Increasing revenues, profits, value, and growth depends on collaboration with customers at the center of an organization’s support system. Silos impact performance when geographic, business unit, and functional boundaries impact sales and the delivery of products, solutions, and services.

For today’s students, who are the future business and technology leaders, it is critical to recognize the compelling business issues, priorities, and market conditions which impact CEOs and customers’ decisions.  Those who understand these trends have better job and career opportunities which ultimately results in more hiring or firing.

Learn about the best practices, case studies, tools, and resources required to help organizations go from ordinary to extraordinary. Understand the critical importance of equipping the sales team on a daily basis. Find out how executives, experts and content contributors provide the essential source of information which customers require one economic decision maker at a time.

Preparation & Readiness: The Path to Success!

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
~ Arthur Ashe

As leaders, business professionals, influencers, educators, or students, most of us know when the race begins it is important to be ready to win.

If we were to equate a race to a current or new initiative or project what knowledge would you need to prepare and increase your chances for success? In this age of “instant information” many find it hard to find the “right information” at the right time. Why is that?

A few questions…

  • What happens when you only have a small fragment of the whole story? How do you get it?
  • When an organizations cuts back on training how do you learn the essentials of performing your job?
  • What happens when the people around you are too busy, and/or don’t know the answer and then ask you to understand the “big” picture and prioritize next steps?

While business intelligence tools are “the” essential enablers, in parallel to investing in technology, we must first have a business understanding of the requirements. It’s important to have a methodology to architect the understanding of the “whole” issue at hand and as a result, feel confident to operate knowledgably in a complex environment which we call: the marketplace.

Leadership, influence, and excellence requires that we have a vision or roadmap. You may be familiar with the expression, “In the land of the blind the one eyed squirrel is king or queen!” In other words, “Ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power!

As result, let’s walk through 3 simple models to paint the picture:

  1. The Mosaic – Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together
  2. Epcot Center – Walt Disney’s Vision included a Geodesic Dome
  3. The Tao of Knowledge – What Every Leader Should Know!

The Mosaic – Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together
A senior executive friend once shared with me, the “difference between ‘experience’ and lack of experience is how many puzzle pieces a person needs to see, to find the answer to a solution and operate at a peak performance level.”

While we all want as many pieces of the puzzle as possible visible to us and in their place, sometimes we are presented with just a few pieces spread out in different parts of the mosaic.

The experienced person can take a very little bit of information and turn it into a clearer picture. Sometimes all of the pieces may not present themselves but with a few filled in and the skill to fill in a few more — enough information can be derived to make informed decisions and take action around the top priorities.

In the military the ability to gather information can result in “life and death” outcomes. In business “success or failure” and in sports “winning and losing!”

But how do go about getting this information when by all accounts it’s nowhere to be found?  Interesting question to ask, “If knowledge is like a bow — and you can only view one part of the bow at a time, but not the whole bow — then how do you find the knowledge (or data points) you need which are around the curve (of the bow) and beyond your view?

Epcot Center – Walt Disney’s Vision included a Geodesic Dome
How many of us have visited Disney World or scene a picture of the geodesic dome known as “Spaceship Earth” which is a spherical structure based on a network of triangles which when completed forms a circle or sphere?

Many of these same properties can be found in nature, such as the bees nest (or comb) as well as in structures originally designed by the famous inventor, engineer, architect, designer, and futurist: Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (1895 – 1983) who had an office at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia near where I lived while at Drexel in University City (yes, as I was aware of him…I wish I had looked him up!:-).

Given that a triangle is the strongest shape in the universe and that the forming of triangles makes a sphere or circle, it stands to reason that if you can find information (or a data point) on one part of the sphere than you can begin to map out the whole picture by connecting one data point or part of the triangle to another. The fun part is when you work on more then one sphere at a time but for now let’s just work on one at time!

So realizing that information is multiply dimensional with many properties that can include people, cultures, geographies, technology, business, trends, and processes all combining to provide the data points which will help provide you or your audience a more whole view of the knowledge at hand.

In many cultural teachings there is the concept of the “third eye” which at it’s root suggests that we are not fully equipped to see and understand all that is around us.  We must use our “third eye” to recognize that there is more around us then what meets the eye and we must have the tools to truly see.

So the next time you are researching a business initiative or classroom project consider the geodesic dome as a tool to make connections which may seem disparate at first but with some patience and effort can inter-connect and become one —part of the whole.

The Tao of Knowledge – What Every Leader Should Know!
Every now and again I’ll ask a friend or colleague if they know what “Tao” represents?  A few know it very well but most have no idea or maybe heard about it or remember something about it from their school days.

It all goes back to one of the world’s most translated books after the bible, “Tao Te Ching” (Tao = Evolving Force; Te = Being in Step with Tao; Ching = Classic).

Legend has it that Lao Tzu, who was responsible (a.k.a. the “Custodian”) for the information (a.k.a. Imperial Archives)  of the Chou Dynasty rulers, who lived about 26 centuries ago, decided to retire.

He got on his ox and road across the emperors land to leave and go on his way. At the gates of the capital that lead to the mountains and beyond a gatekeeper, Yin Hsi, insisted that Lao write everything down that he knew after his many decades of work as the information custodian.

Lao got off his horse and agreed to write down what turned out to be precisely “81” principles. He handed the notebook to Yin and passed through the gates to the mountains was never scene or heard from again.

What remains is a resources that has been used by royalty, leaders, educators, employers, and generals throughout every generation.

The principles which are studied over a lifetime provide insights into nature, power, influence and encourage us to guide people (and ourselves) rather then force them (or us) to act. Learn to achieve goals. Develop a strong vision. Practice simplicity. Foster growth.

These classic materials are well documented (for you to explore further on your own) and provide several straight forward insights.  In particular 2 key teachings revolve around:

  • Cycles – Going with the flow (i.e. think of the seasons like Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall / The current of a river)
  • Polarity – Opposites such as hot and cold / night and day

So as a knowledge worker (or seeker) you should consider these basic points such as the seasons,  temperature, etc. as part of nature. They do not require any leap of faith as we live with these truths each and every day. In the trigram drawing (above right) you can connect to information in “cycles” such as clockwise or counterclockwise or by going to the polar opposite sides.

Summary and Take Aways
In the beloved movie “The Wizard of Oz” the Wizard gives the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man certificates and awards for the skills and capabilities that they already had in the first place.

Maybe it’s time that we gave ourselves our own realization that we know more then we think. We have the tools and methodology to learn more. When our teacher, manager, organization, or circumstances does not fully give us the information we need as students or as professionals to do our job (or pass the test) than we can indeed “master” the knowledge required on our own to become an expert, provide value, and have the confidence to create many successes and win-wins for ourselves and others.

9 considerations for knowledge workers to obtain key information?

  1. Relationships – Cultivate relationships with experts and leaders.
  2. Pay Attention – Listen to highly effective individuals (i.e. leaders, influencers, senior executives) many of whom you’ll never meet.
  3. Record – Write down your findings on paper on your laptop or iPad. Remember – A plan (or research) that is not written down is  just a dream.
  4. Source – Go to the originator, expert, or practitioner of the information when possible. If you want to learn about “bricks” go to a brick layer; if you want to learn about “jewels” to a jeweler.
  5. Consistency – Do it the same way every time. Prepare for every initiative, project, meeting using a common methodology. Focus on the topic in hand.
  6. Timeliness – Use time wisely. Whether you have a month, week, day, or hour to prepare. Do it. Don’t go in cold to a situation that with a little preparation you can increase your chances for success.
  7. Collaborate – Leverage group intelligence. Individual intelligence is very important. Group intelligence is more powerful. Collaborate to gain knowledge. You can remain an individual while drawing off what the group knows.
  8. Hierarchical Knowledge – Look for expert information which provides the full landscape of information which may come from books, articles, thought leadership papers, top presentations, design diagrams, surveys, or top expert videos. Start by looking at the forest and then the trees!
  9. Leverage Technology – Develop your own business intelligence whether it’s for you, an organization (“the enterprise”) or a community. Apply analytics, dashboards, as well as business social media including Google Alerts, RSS Feeds, Twitter/Tweet Deck (or HootSuite), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Make learning, research, and preparation fun. Find friends and colleagues who value these approaches. The rewards are great if you apply these principles!  Start the race (a.k.a. initiative, program, project, classwork) with a plan and the required knowledge which will help you, your team, and organization win!

Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>