45: How Digital Can Create Value in HR

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Success in delivering HR value in digital comes from custom solutions created through experimentation. Our guest this week knows this only too well. Dan Croitor, who is currently located in Brussels, Belgium, is a young entrepreneur in digital HR who has recruited and led hundreds of IT developers. He joins us to talk about his personal career journey and to share insights on how digital creates the opportunity for tracking, supporting measurement and analytics in HR. We’ll learn about the application of the “Employee Lifetime Value” and Dan’s latest research led to the development of HR content that diverse audiences (from CEOs, senior HR leaders, and recent graduates) actually want to consume. His LinkedIn posts have attracted a strong following and his YouTube Leadership Series has attracted more than 100k viewers worldwide. 
Listen (above) in or watch the video (below) to catch Kyle's latest interview with Dan. 

Key Learnings From This Episode

  • Dan’s passion and the ‘digital space’. His main goal is to create value through digital. Dan has worked his entire life on the internet, designing software and managing developers. He started as a freelancer, before getting involved in outsourcing. In the last five years, he has been working on creating his own digital products, and more recently, HR products as well.  
  • The “Employee Lifetime Value” (ELTV) is a concept invented by Maia Josebachvili who works for a software business in San Francisco. The ELTV is a way to demonstrate (via a mathematical model) how even small improvements in people practices can deliver high value. Dan recently made a video to show how minimally improved sales hiring practices can make an impact in millions of dollars over a two year period. He has pitched this to several clients and found it is the best way to help them understand digital HR. Dan explains the ELTV model in this clip.
  • Companies or best practices that use ELTV. Some large companies convert the ELTV model into a digital/software application to track how performance evolves over time. You can index some coefficients and key performance indicators (KPIs) and create different models to measure performance over time. In small organizations, you can do it on paper. You need to have a clear goal in mind. As an example, if you want to improve hiring practices, you can keep notes and then review them with your team on a quarterly basis for a period of two years.
  • HR content marketing. The most exciting concepts Dan is seeing are in content marketing – creating content that applicants, employees, and HR professionals want to consume. Traditionally, HR content was ‘I will look at it if I have to’. Currently, Dan is working on a Leadership Series on YouTube. This began as experimental research to prove that leadership plays an extremely important role in digital today. To Dan’s surprise, almost 100,000 people have tuned in since he launched the series four months ago. Dan has received also shared HR content through other social media, including LinkedIn. It is interesting to see how people react to various topics. Dan posted about a Netflix workplace and how they treat people and how they look at HR. They invented their culture ‘deck’ about 10 years ago, and they continue to use the same marketing strategy. They continually push their culture. Dan highlighted this, and he had 50,000 ‘reactions’. The most interesting thing about HR right now is content. View the post here.
  • How to validate content. Dan is trying to create value and products that make people’s lives better in HR. For the Leadership Series, Dan took the best workplaces in the world and studied what makes those workplaces so great and interesting. He realized the leadership principles and their leaders were the main ingredients. The leadership video on YouTube is the result of another research project, taking the list of best workplaces and indexing the list of principles. He searched the internet for best leadership principles in the workplace in order to create videos that reflect the leadership style of a given company. It is a pure HR application.
  • How often does Dan create content and post in the HR space? There is a distinction to be made between what Dan posts individually and the products he creates. Individually, Dan posts when he sees something interesting. Regarding the Leadership Series, Dan has approximately 1000 hours invested in the project. With that kind of investment, it is important to determine how to publish the information – on a regular basis or to ‘package’ it.
  • HR Studio Podcast Guest Quote by Dan CroitorHow Dan found his “digital HR” calling. He found his passion for digital and design in the first year of high school. When his parents bought him his first computer, he realized this was what he liked the most, having the ability to create algorithms. Later, when he attended university while enjoying creating computer programs, he realized he needed to create value. He became involved in creating products for others via outsourcing.

    Dan decided to focus on his own products, and the most interesting field he found at the time was an HR applicant tracking system incorporated with a performance development system which he launched in the US with a business partner. After doing this for five years, he was able to determine what audiences found valuable in a digital product.

  • How does Dan keep current with his content? Dan attended 100 Human Capital Institute (HCI) programs. HCI invites people to talk about their research and what they have found interesting with respect to HR (e.g., software, personality profiling tools, etc.). HCI is an interesting resource if you are not an expert in HR solutions but want to get a feel for what is going on in the field. The BBC also has great research and articles.
  • What advice would Dan give to someone who is an aspiring HR leader? It depends on the type of career they are looking for. Are they someone that wants to focus on digital? For digital, you have to be very agile. This agile strategy comes from a popular software development technique, extending to project management. You always have to do your research and always find the best sources. Dan includes appearing on HR Studio as creating value. You also need to be aggressive in digital. 80% of HR professionals score themselves low in their ability to analyze. Digital is analytic by design. So in digital, you need to be agile, to try very hard, and to get used to failure. In digital, there are very few projects that work, but when they work, they go viral. If you are in HR and want to be a successful recruiter, you don’t want to spend all your time on LinkedIn – the best recruiters do not ‘live’ on LinkedIn. Being agile is the main ingredient.

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

Dan Croitor HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Dan Croitor HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 8:00am
Human Resources
Kyle O'Connor
Dan Croitor
HR Studio Podcast