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May 28, 2008 Minutes

The third board of advisors meeting was held on May 28, 2008 at Le Meridian, Cambridge.  Here are the highlights of the meeting and the slides for May 28, 2008 meeting.

In attendance: Joyce Maroney, Lee Ingram, Robert Yerex, Ruth Bramson, Autumn Krauss, Laura Souza, Fred Foulkes, Nina Giovannelli, Jared Bernstein, Steve Hunt, Mel Kleiman, Deb McGrath, Russell Klosk, David Mitchell.

Unable to attend: David Creelman, Tim Lett

New product concepts: Lee Ingram
Location tracking technology has many possible applications.
Deep data analysis using employee information on attendance, productivity, costs, tenure, union membership, etc. to determine the profile the best-fit employee. But what info actually predicts outcomes?
Voice response/stress analysis to uncover the truth (for example, in employee surveys). Board strongly advised against this for legal reasons.
Simulation to assist in decision-making:  for example: Can I say yes to an employee’s time-off request?  The board believes this would be powerful if you have a well-defined model and can tailor it for different environments. It would have to be good enough to provide better predictions than a knowledgeable manager.  Does this make it too expensive?

Kronos Executive Overview: Aron Ain, CEO
Aron thanked the team for their contributions to helping Kronos become a better company and helping to promote best practices in workforce management. Aron updated the board on taking the company private last year.  The privatization allows us a long term vision instead of having to “make the number” every quarter to satisfy shareholders.  Biggest challenge is talent acquisition and talent retention. 

Aron spelled out the company’s three main goals:
1. Extend leadership in workforce management in North America
2. Expand presence internationally, mostly through acquisitions but also through opening offices.  We need to develop a strong brand to compete in international markets.
3. Expand talent management position with the acquisition of Deploy.  Deploy has a development team in India that we retained.  We need to grow the sales organization.

Workforce Institute status report: Joyce Maroney
Joyce Maroney revisited our goals, looked at the mission and what we must do to build our reputation:
• Publish articles and white papers
• Create a dialog
• Create buzz and drive interest with Harris Interactive studies
• Create and publish primary research

We are on track with publishing valuable content thanks to the board. The book has an introduction and three chapters completed.
However, we haven’t been so successful in creating a dialog around workforce management issues.
Need the board to help us expand the dialog.  Set up RSS or email notification. You can comment or do a guest blog. 
We have exceeded our public relations expectations, and Harris studies have worked really well for us to promote awareness of the Institute and drive traffic to the site.
Primary research – a bit behind schedule but the Talent Management project has been kicked off.  See below.

Please cite your Workforce Institute affiliation when you provide your credentials.
We appreciate your ideas on what to research and what to blog on.

We aren’t getting lots of traffic because it is a professional corporate blog, not a personal blog, so we won’t publish sensational topics.

We discovered that we do well if we take an integrated, multi-media approach. For example: the extreme weather research started with a Harris study.  Joyce polled the board to get ideas on what companies can do to manage through the inconveniences caused by bad weather.  Using the advice from the board, we were able to write a meatier advice piece.  We included a live video which added interest and color.  The Associated Press wrote a story based on an interview with Joyce and it got picked up in multiple outlets, including both the industry HR press and general business press.

We also do well if we provide meaty content, and if the topic is controversial.  For example, our highest number of comments was in response to the blog “Do We Still Need Take Your Child to Work Day?”

Our results in marketing the site have been lackluster.  Our first action item is to promote it more aggressively on’s home page. We can link to NRF and other associations, but they are static sites and don’t have blogs.  Mel said that “ask the experts” doesn’t work as well as a traditional forum.

SHRM doesn’t accept third party content, but maybe we could get an APA exec on the board – Dan Maddux, Executive Director would be good.  Deb McGrath can broker an introduction. There may be other associations that we need to affiliate with (consider Cornell School of Hospitality, National Association of Wholesale Distributors).
Who is our target audience?  Joyce says that the audience varies – it might be the CNO in a healthcare organization, a VP of operations in a manufacturing company.  Mel suggests a more narrow focus in terms of who we are trying to attract to the site and content focus (hourly vs. salaried?).  People Report has done a great job and has an extremely narrow focus.  We need something that makes us unique.
Steve likes the idea of developing themes or topics, such as what could nursing learn from manufacturing, legal issues, how to schedule hourly workers, retaining and sourcing, should this job be exempt, how do we manage hourly workers, etc.
We agreed to revisit our language.  “Hourly” is a U.S. concept.  Maybe “frontline”, “operations”, “field management” or “line” is a better choice.  We should also revisit the acid test.  We will rework the mission statement and the acid test and circulate it to the board for comment.
We need a discussion about how we bound our research also.

Public relations status report: Laura Souza
Great results to date, including 93 mentions in the press since December. The multi-media approach is effective in drawing attention.
The upcoming plan includes press releases and pod casts for each remaining chapter of the book, surveys, interviews and hopefully more bylines, connecting to other bloggers, and an executive event at KronosWorks, our annual customer meeting.

Executive summit is held Oct 21.  Speakers are Robert Reich, Rich Karlgaard, Dr. Robert Yerex, and Aron Ain.  The board can help us promote it by providing potential attendee names to Kronos, sending people directly to the site ( to register (you don’t have to be a Kronos user to attend this event).  We are targeting C-level executives at companies with over 1000 employees.  There is no registration fee to attend the event.

Review of Talent Management R&D project: Autumn Krauss
Because of the shrinking pool of skilled talent and very high turnover rates, an effective on-boarding process is critical.  The research focus is to determine what on-boarding practices influence the engagement and retention of new hires in the hourly workforce.
The objectives of the research are:
• Gain insight into what practices are being used by organizations to on-board hourly workers
• Determine how long the on-boarding process typically lasts for hourly workers
• Identify practices within the on-boarding process that foster new hire engagement and mitigate early attrition

We are struggling to find participants. So far, we have Joe’s Sporting Goods, Genesis, Big Y, SuperValu and Kohl’s engaged to varying degrees. 

We need the board’s help in recruiting participants – they should have at least 2000 employees, 50 frontline supervisors, and be in one of the desired verticals (hospitality, dining, retail, and healthcare). We posted all the documents on the web site for the board’s convenience. 

Role of the Workforce Institute board members: Joyce Maroney
Joyce opened the floor for a discussion regarding if board members derive benefits from their participation, and if the Institute is meeting their expectations.  Joyce also asked if  there is a role for past board members to participate in some meaningful way.

Board members replied that they liked being able to meet and get to know the other board members.  They liked being able to have a window into the Kronos organization. 
Ruth encouraged us to tap her even more.

Joyce suggested that we set up conference calls to facilitate an exchange and investigate the use of Facebook as a way to keep board members up to date with one another.

Mel suggested that the board attend the WFI Executive Summit at KronosWorks; at the time of posting these minutes, Joyce has already confirmed that the next board meeting could be held at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Orlando on Wednesday 10/22 (we will probably be at the Swan).  The Executive Summit is Tuesday 10/21.

Editorial calendar: Nina Giovannelli
Deb will deliver article in June (applications of social networking in workforce management)
Russell will deliver his article his “Hiring for Retention” article shortly.
Russell will deliver an outline for his November article within 30 days.  He will work with Deb on the topic of workforce management in China, India and other markets.  This will include cross border issues, leadership challenges, the role of branding in hiring, etc.  and will include actionable advice.
Joyce and Ruth will work on private/public partnerships.  Examples include Jobs for the Future, State of Delaware and DuPont, volunteering as a part of leadership development (Coca Cola does this). 
Fred doesn’t have an assigned chapter yet.  He has some ideas on workforce management issues in China, especially in the last two years.  He is doing a case study now, which we might be able to leverage.
Immigrant workforce was scheduled for January.  We should wait until the new administration is in place.

Wrap up:
We discussed potential new board members.  We need representatives from dining, education, international, and perhaps a Kronos customer.


Submit guest blogs and comments
Submit articles that you have already written or new articles (contact Nina at
Check calendars to see if you are available to attend the Executive Summit 10/21 and our next board meeting, CONFIRMED for Wednesday 10/22 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Orlando.
If you have ideas for Harris Interactive surveys, please submit them to Joyce or Laura Souza (
Help to promote the executive summit 10/21 by sending people to the site or simply send the name and contact information to Nina Giovannelli (
Help to recruit companies for the primary research on onboarding.  They should have at least 2000 employees, 50 frontline supervisors, and be in one of the desired verticals (hospitality, dining, retail, and healthcare). Send ideas and contact info to Nina Giovannelli (
Pass along suggestions for additional board members to Joyce Maroney
Please cite your Workforce Institute affiliation when you provide your credentials.

Follow up with Deb – she might have names to help us get into Hannaford Bros., Staples, Costco and PetSmart for the TMD research. 
Promote WFI more aggressively on’s home page.
Establish a presence at all the trade shows that Kronos attends. 
Follow up with Deb to deliver article in June (applications of social networking in workforce management)
Discuss chapter with Fred.  Follow up with Russell to deliver his article his “Hiring for Retention” article shortly and to deliver an outline for his November article within 30 days.

Follow up with Fred – he can broker introduction to China Miner Gorman, Chief Operating Officer at SHRM.
Follow up with Mel – he mentioned the Onboarding Talent conference taking place June 17-20, 2008 in San Jose, CA.  He can broker an introduction to Blake Landau.  Maybe we should partner with IQPC.
Follow up with Deb McGrath – she can broker an introduction to Dan Maddux, Executive Director of the APA. 
We need to revisit our language.  “Hourly” is a U.S. concept.  Maybe “frontline”, “operations”, “field management” or “line” is a better choice.  We should also revisit the acid test.  We will rework the mission statement and the acid test and circulate it to the board for comment.
Investigate the use of Facebook as a way to keep board members up to date with one another.
Plan next board meeting

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