LIVE from CloudWorld: An Oracle Cloud HCM Update

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

LIVE from CloudWorld:  An Oracle Cloud HCM Update

Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

Guest: Chris Havrilla, VP of Talent Product Strategy at Oracle

This week, we met with Chris Havrilla live from the Oracle CloudWorld Conference 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

– The HR transformation journey many organizations are going through

– Importance of a skills-driven organization

– The generational perspective of the workplace today

– Making sense of the HR technology landscape and simplifying your strategy


Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:27
Welcome to Oracle Cloud World. My name is Steve Boese and I’m with Trish McFarlane. Trish, how are you?

Trish 0:31
I’m good Steve, good to see you in person.

Steve 0:33
It is good to see you as well. We are super excited for our series of shows we’ll be doing here at Cloud World and no better to kick it off. Trish, then friend of the show and friend of ours, Chris Havrilla is with us in person. She’s the VP of Talent Product Strategy at Oracle. Chris, how are you?

Chris Havrilla 0:51
I’m doing fantastic. Thanks. This is awesome. It’s been a minute.

Trish 0:54
It has been well, like,

Chris Havrilla 0:56
what a couple of days, you know, it’s doing this together. Like it’s true.

Trish 1:00
That’s true. But you know what, Steve’s right, we needed to kick off with you. Because obviously, you’ve been with Oracle about six months now? Is that right? And you have such a good perspective on not just Oracle, but on, you know, the digital transformation and HR transformation journey that many organizations are going through from your time, sort of pre-Oracle. So I think this will be a great way to kick things off. And hopefully we can dig deep on some of the trends that you’ve been seeing both before and after joining Oracle.

Chris Havrilla 1:29
I love it. I love it.

Steve 1:30
So of course, you’re seeing lots of customers, you’re traveling around the world. Before we turned the recording on you’re regaling us with your itinerary over the next like six to 12 months, which is ridiculous. What are some of the things you’re hearing from the organizations that you’re working closely with about their challenges, their talent challenges, their people challenges, what’s within the air these days?

Chris Havrilla 1:49
You know, it was really interesting coming out of Deloitte, where I was researching, right, all of the tech landscape, you know, as the analysts like you guys are, but also, you know, studying what the customers were doing and what they were applying how they were applying things, what they were buying, why they were buying it. And so did that full tech strategy work, right, and all the human capital trends that we did. So when I came here, it was fascinating to be able to go and meet with customers and but also work with our partners to do these CHR roundtables and literally traveling around the world and seeing how much of what we studied is actually what’s happening. And what’s holding people back from getting maybe the outcomes that they were getting with whatever they were using. So it was great to be able to meet with customers and non customers. And the thing I have found, probably more than anything is this enormous amount of pain that people are dealing with. As they tried to kind of move forward, they went to the cloud, maybe didn’t get everything that they had expected out of it. And now looking to try to move to being skills driven organizations or to really focus on employee experience. And the track around skills and employee experience has been fascinating, because everybody has a different definition of that. And we saw that when we studied the market back, you know, when I was at Deloitte, but I saw it really strong when I was out and talking with people, because everybody wanted to focus on experience. Everybody wanted to think about moving to skills based organizations, but just weren’t sure how. And because everybody was talking a different language, internally and externally, they were really struggling with what to do. And like we’ve seen in the past, so many people buy tech first, and then, you know, kind of back into solving instead of starting with outcomes first and then trying to kind of look at their tech stack holistically. So that was that was probably the biggest aha for me is, is that that struggle was real, and what was actually behind it, and to be able to just kind of dig in with customers and figure that out, was fascinating.

Trish 4:07
Well, I’m glad you’re validating that that struggle is there. Because I think when you are a practitioner, you know you’re not buying technology every day, the three of us are exposed to this regularly. So it seems maybe simplistic, that these digital transformations are pretty easy to happen. And that’s not necessarily the case. So thank you for saying that. Could you maybe talk a little bit more about that skills piece because, you know, people who are listening, they might not be in organizations that are really taking a skills based approach. They might have heard about it, but could you maybe define that a little bit for them and say, you know, if you’re not doing it, you’re not necessarily behind? It’s just where things are going?

Chris Havrilla 4:45
You’re definitely not behind. I will tell you that, right, because there’s a lot of talk, and then the action is really just starting to happen. So if I went I’ll start by going back to the trends, right, because I saw for a long time, right? There were trends kind of moving Adding, you know, to having this kind of whether it’s a best of breed approach for a lot of point solutions and, and everything, and I see this kind of pendulum coming back towards more integrated solutions. And I think the reason why is because of the complexities of, you know, kind of going to his skills driven organization because it lays across everything, all your kind of core, your, your core systems. So when I talk about skills, we’re just talking about hard skills, like what people actually need to get their job done. Right away, right. And because I think you have to start there before you can get to where you really have to get to, which is around capabilities, and we delete, we call them enduring human capabilities, but it was, you know, a little bit more about what’s going to allow me to learn a skill quickly and easily. If we’re moving, you know, across like, and things are changing and evolving all the time. So I’ll kind of lay that groundwork there, and then and then step back and say, Okay, but why, why skills, right? And why do we want to start capturing these things? And why? Why is this all the talk and the average shelf life of the skill right now, it was about 18 to 24 months? So you hear a lot of executives talking about we’ve got to rescale, we’ve got to upskill? They still don’t actually know, to what like if you say, Okay, what are you? To what? And they really don’t know. And that is the crux of the problem, right? We’ve been making business and talent decisions for so long, based on jobs and roles. Right?

Steve 6:35
The organization of the enterprise, typically, right is around jobs and hierarchy.

Chris Havrilla 6:39
Jobs, families, hierarchies, job codes, but I mean, even as a worker, we have traditionally self identified as a job. I’m a nurse, I’m a teacher, I’m a software engineer, I’m a project manager, whatever it is, right? So you’ve got everybody kind of thinking in jobs and roles. Meanwhile, things have changed so much in worker behavior, candidate behavior, you know, how companies get work done in organizations, you think about, like, somebody leaves an organization, they’re probably doing the work of two to three people like this notion of kind of really average, how do you replace that person? Right, without knowing what the work is? So but because we’ve been making all these business and talent decisions for, like, probably, since the second industrial revolutions on jobs and roles, we don’t really know what skills are actually required. Most job descriptions came out of some cop database, right doesn’t really tell you what the work is, or what you have to do to get it done.

Trish 7:39
So rarely updated, right? I mean, when you’re in HR, often, you’re just taking something that you pulled off Google that was maybe 10-12 years.

Chris Havrilla 7:47
Exactly, so we got to create a common language around this, right. And so if you look at newer tools, you know, that are kind of coming. And we’ve talked about the future of work for so long. But you know, how that kind of comes to fruition is, you know, we’ve been seeing kind of work becoming more of a marketplace, right, an exchange for skills and capabilities for the enterprise needs of an organization. So as you as you think about that, if skills are kind of the common language around there, we’ve got to collect that. So where do we collect that, and it’s got to be in the systems, but we have to be kind of talking the same language. So that’s probably the new building blocks, but we’ve got to be able to capture it. And then we need to be able to keep that, like somebody’s profile, you know, kind of hydrated with all these skills as they’re changing, as people are learning, like, how does that keep getting updated? And what are the ways? What’s in it for people? How many different ways can that happen? And so I think that’s kind of at the crux of this is creating a language around it, that everybody’s speaking, but from a data and technology level, how do we bring insights to all those people, right insights in value to a worker, to a manager to a leader to HR, whoever is going to be solving for this, which is, which is all of them. So how do we as like a vendor, give insights and value to all those people to make better decisions? So it’s not on a job enroll. It’s on skills and capabilities for the work that’s being done?

Steve 9:16
Yeah, I think a lot of this this transformation that you’re talking about Chris, has been forcibly we’ve been it’s been accelerated Yeah, right over the last couple of years due to pandemic primarily right in most organizations having to undergo pretty significant to extremely significant transformations in their methods, working their ways of organization, the ways to deliver the right products and services to their customers. And I think we’re finally just now reckoning maybe with what those changes have meant to how we how we perceive or how we plan for the organization right forward, right, because I think that one as you were talking Chris, the words I wrote down were agility and kind of fluidity Right, right. So when you You talked about a person leaving the organization probably having the job of three different people in the former structure, right. But I think a lot of that was driven by necessity and by need, but also by, we heard this morning in the keynote, and some of the customers were talking about their, their need to just rapidly adjust right to address market conditions in support their own customers, and rethinking employees.

Trish 10:23
Interest, too, I think, which maybe wasn’t captured in the past as easily.

Chris Havrilla 10:28
You said agility, and fluidity, though, because I do think that those are critical things for people to think about. So and maybe just to release them from the pressure of complete transformation, because I think it gets a little overwhelming, and we kind of fall back to kind of incremental change where we’re comfortable. So, you know, trying to reframe this with our customers to how do you kind of absorb change. And as it’s happening, because it’s happening all the time, whether it’s a new leader, a new business initiative, you know, a change in business structures, a pandemic, whatever, right? You can’t, it’s very hard to just be like, Okay, I’ve got to transform now. Right? So how do you absorb change, which I think is at the heart of agility, and fluidity is, as things are changing? How do you kind of adjust? Absorb the change, really, instead of just transforming? How do you absorb that change and still stay focused on those outcomes? Right, and, and do that with speed, and scale? And, and in, in with insights? Right, so you’re making intelligent decisions. And I think that’s kind of the pressure that we feel right, as a vendor trying to develop software and, and tools and data and insights for people so they can do that, that, you know, that onus I think is on us to help companies do that. And, again, kind of provide the insights and value to whoever right, so they can stay focused on outcomes. Because I think that we’re not in an input process output world anymore. We’ve got to focus on outcomes. And and, and understand that if we’re kind of living in the world of probabilities, not certainties anymore. He or she who asks the best questions wins. So how do we give people insights to make those decisions and take the action to get to outcomes? And I think that’s huge. And, and I know that that’s behind the strategy, as we look at, you know, how do we develop products? Where do we invest? It’s got to be around that? And how do we help customers do that?

Trish 12:29
Yeah, I’d love to hear your perspective on maybe from a generational perspective. So we’ve talked a lot about kind of the trends and what we need to do as leaders, and that’s primarily, probably, but sort of the end of the boomers, the Gen X, and now Millennials are in these leadership positions. But obviously, the these approaches are pretty radically different. And we’re now the people who might be a little stagnant in our way of thinking, you know, I’m certainly that way sometimes, you know, you sort of were raised in a different environment, a different work environment. Right. So what are you seeing and hearing from customers in terms of, as they’re hiring, you know, Gen Z into the workplace, they are much more open to an agile work environment of skills based work environment, are you seeing that sort of hit the organization yet? Or is that still just kind of is that the future of work? Right? Is that kind of still the future for thought?

Chris Havrilla 13:22
I think it’s, it’s more in the future. And some of the mindset issues are really more in organizations and less with the different generations. Because I think what we, you know, what we are trying to develop for our, you know, the fact that we do have five generations, right? So in a world where we can and should hyper personalize, but do it at scale, right? It’s, it’s easy to do, that doesn’t really matter. You know, what generation somebody is in, right? If we structure this right, and focus on people’s outcomes, and how we help support them to get those outcomes. I mean, I don’t know who I don’t care what generation you are, if somebody’s focused on making you, you know, or unlocking your performance and potential helping you get the outcomes be connected to the work and what you’re doing and to be successful, then I’m not really sure that matters that may look different ways.

Chris Havrilla 14:23
But at the end of the day, if we’re going to keep talking about employee experience, you know, and hyper personalization and the rise of the individual, right, we still have to do it at scale. Right. And so, and I do think that at the heart of experience, the things we’ve heard for years, regardless of you know, regardless of generation, is people aren’t listening. My manager, you know, is, you know, like, these are the big variances that we’ve seen. Is that employee manager relationship, you know, being communicated to and having that trust on Um, and and just being able to have at your, you know, that ability to have a work environment that is right for you. Right. And and so when we looked at how Oracle became different fruition, right, a lot of it was to do exactly that this has to be worker centric tech. So it has to be ones that will help you hyper personalize, and do it at scale. And then you don’t have to like, Okay, for this generation will do this, and this generation will do this. And this generation will do this, and everybody’s kind of coming at it from a different way. But if we learn how to kind of be flexible with that, we win.

Steve 15:38
I’m glad you mentioned Oracle ME, for folks who don’t know, it’s maybe best described as kind of an employee experience platform of solutions, a collection of capabilities, that all work together very, very smoothly. And they build upon one another was top Product of the Year from HR Executive and this past year, which was pretty exciting. We actually did. Trish, you were somewhere traveling around the world, I did a show with Chris Leone, we talked about for a good half an hour, so folks can look that one up as well.

Trish 16:08
We’ve done some papers and writing too.

Steve 16:10
We have Yeah. And that sort of is like I’m gonna use that to springboard into another question I had for you, Chris, which is and I won’t lead with my bias, which like people listen to the show know what it is. But I left HR Tech with HR tech conference here in the US about a month ago now. And I even felt like a little bit confused, and slightly overwhelmed with what’s going on in the HR technology landscape it’s getting so complicated is right. And particularly, we talked about skills for a little bit around skills, and where skills and identification of skills and skills mapping should reside, where this there’s this notion out there of something called the talent intelligence platform. And you can everybody can just try to describe what that is, and good luck. But that’s out there. Now, it was talked about a lot of HR tech F. And so here’s my question. I feel like if I were a CHRO or an HR leader, maybe midsize certainly to an enterprise sized organization, I’d be pretty confused right now about where should my skills reside? Where should my AI be influencing my decisions on talent, et cetera, et cetera? I’d love for you to maybe share some thoughts either back as in your researcher hat, or your current your current role in talent strategy at Oracle about how how do I help HR leaders and HR organizations make sense of what I feel like anyway, personally, it’s a very confusing marketplace.

Steve 16:13
It really is confusing. And I spent the last, you know, kind of the last two years studying that, that specific market pretty deeply. Right, it was, you know, whether it was talent, I’ll just use talent marketplaces and mobility because there’s a few approaches in there that, you know, that we saw, studying that whole landscape, and then certainly a little bit deeper into the skills, you know, skills, tech, and analytics, because that crosses everything also, so to skills sodas to your point, that’s what makes it confusing. We’re kind of used to thinking and talent acquisition systems now. We’re, you know, we’re, we’re all in our silos, right? And even experience, same same thing. These things sit across all of those different silos, right? So it’s been interesting and confusing, because the people coming into the markets certainly have a chain platforms that are going to play there, because they do have the system of record, and they do kind of have all these core modules. But you also see talent acquisition, tech coming into the marketplace and skills place, right? You’ve got talent, the, you know, management type systems coming in you kind of pure plays, and you’ve got learning system vendors coming into that, that space, right. So it’s, it’s the end of the day, though, it has to be across all of that, right.

Chris Havrilla 18:49
So how you integrate the interfaces, the things, how that gets put together, is what is most critical, because if you know, regardless of which angle you come in, you still need to have all of it, right, you still need to have, you know, skills are going to be threaded through that entire employee lifecycle, right? Before somebody’s hired, when they’re hired, you know, while they are with you after either. So you have to have that kind of processing everything. So when they think that’s what’s caused a lot of confusion in the marketplace, so the more that it can leverage all of those and not just in those different siloed areas, the better. Right. And I do think that that’s the other side of it is because HR is not used to managing interfaces and integration. So you do have to kind of pay attention to that. But it’s like that for experience. It’s like that for skills. It’s like that for talent marketplaces, because an employee’s experience touches all of those things. So I would just tell most people so regardless of where it’s coming from, how those things plan if you want to get the advantage of things like aI because what a AI learns from is that data. So if the data is in a lot of disparate systems, or if it’s all in one, regardless, it needs all that to help all the different stakeholders, right, which is the worker, the manager, a leader, and HR, because it’s gotta serve all of them, right to bring those insights and value to them to kind of solve for everything that we’re trying to solve for with that.

Trish 20:25
Yeah, I agree. Great answer. I want to change gears a little bit in a lot of what we heard on stage in the keynotes, sort of this touching on sustainability, if you will, from some of your customers. But one thing we didn’t talk about in the keynote was people sustainability. And I know that’s been sort of a, an emerging topic, right, thinking about not just wellbeing, but just the overall overarching idea of having people sustainability, right. Could you maybe touch a little bit on that, both from what you’ve seen prior to joining Oracle? And then also, how is Oracle thinking about sort of helping HR leaders and other business leaders with people sustainability?

Chris Havrilla 21:02
Absolutely, I think, you know, there’s a big key there is, is data and insights, right? You know, we’ve got to be able to kind of, you know, understand what’s happening so that we can, so that we can help, right? So I think what we studied at Deloitte right was this notion of well being being about work design, right, that you could have all the perks and benefits and you know, different initiatives and programs to kind of play around the wellbeing space, and they do make an impact on employee experience. But they don’t actually make an impact on Unlocking Potential performance of that employee, connecting them to the work and their ability to make an impact. And thus, the organizational performance, right, the impact that this would have on organizational performance. So there’s literally billions of dollars being spent, but only a small play in the employee experience side, but not on the the performance of potential individual team and organization. So kind of with that, you know, in mind, it’s like, how do we make work better for people and people that are at work, right. And so, systems, I think, traditionally have been the work, right. So in the last 20 years, you’ve seen all of this innovation, although this tech, but yet productivity has stayed kind of static, if not gone down, and we saw a huge rise after the pandemic, and then start to go down again. And I think the biggest thing that you can kind of extrapolate from that is we lived in command and control worlds. And people were throwing technology at people and it was becoming the work, it wasn’t helping them work better. Right. And, and so it was, it was really kind of fascinating watching, you saw that spike, you’re going.

Chris Havrilla 22:48
The one thing that was different is that people had the ability to figure out how to work, they weren’t being told they weren’t following a process map, they just had to get stuff done. Right. And so they knew what they had to do, why they had to do it, and they got it done. And then we started to try to bring people back and we started trying to get control again, right. And you could hear it in the way people were asking for, you know, we need to kind of see what people are doing. And, you know, what’s the employee monitoring? I mean, you know, you saw a lot of questions being asked, and I think it was trying to get that control back. And I think if we’re trying to do work designed for wellbeing, we’re letting people have that kind of that kind of onus, but in terms of how we think about that for, you know, for how we’re investing in in products. Okay, how do we support that? How do we support an employee manager relationship, one of my favorite products within the Oracle, me is touch points for that, because it is literally about changing the dynamic of the employee manager relationship. And to root that in, how are you doing? Right? How are things going? In? If that person that one question we can kind of track, right, how they’re doing? And then now the managers focuses to getting that sentiment up? What’s in your right, what’s happening? Is it work? Is it home, what you know, whatever it is, getting a pulse on how that person is doing? And making that weekly check in about that? Yeah, that’s unlocking somebody’s performance potential and getting focused on their outcomes. And it’s simple. But it could change behaviors. Yeah.

Steve 24:30
I think the key word there is simple, right? Because that technology does not have to be that complex. And there are technologies out there, right? There are, there are point solutions out there for the pulse surveys and kind of managing that employee employer relationship and manager employee relationship. And they’re great. They’re pretty cool. We’ve used some of them, probably ourselves and work with some of those folks. I think some of the times, certainly. Yeah, I think sometimes we overcomplicate that and getting back to that, Hey, how are you doing? How are things? How can I help you? They’re pretty pretty basic question. And if you can kind of encourage folks to start having those conversations more, you can start making some progress on this. Because one of the other things we mentioned right before the before the pandemic, and has gotten worse through the pandemic is just this. It’s probably a crisis, right? A mental health crisis, right amongst workers, certainly here in the United States. But I think a lot of other places in the world as well. And I think sort of the good economic times that most advanced economies were experiencing prior to the pandemic, allowed organizations to just paper that over, didn’t really have to think about it too much, because times were pretty good. Most many organizations were doing very well, right? 2019, things were pretty, I don’t know, I don’t remember it being pretty good time, right? Most of the business world, and I think we can’t ignore those things any longer.

Chris Havrilla 25:48
Right, because we do have to sustain our people, even if the markets are coming down. And it may change the dynamic, you know, in in how people are hiring and how people are taking doesn’t really matter focus on sustaining our teams and our people. We’ve got to root it in something that’s around action, right? And it’s not about just pulse surveys. It’s about what can I do for that talk about hyper personalization. But if we’re arming everybody with this one question to kind of say, how, how are things going we can get it what we can do to help people?

Trish 26:19
Yeah, I like that, or sustainability scale, I think that’s what you have to really break it down to is that it’s how do you give someone sustenance at what makes them feel cared for? And actually loved in the workplace? Right. And we’ve talked about it for many, many decades. But I think that’s probably one good outcome of the pandemic, is you feel more comfortable to ask your team members, how are you actually doing right, like on a personal level, and in any regular light? And they might tell you that they’re fine. Or they might tell you know, we’re not comfortable talking about whatever, but at least at least you’re asking the question.

Steve 26:56
And the last thing I’ll throw out there, I’m sorry, huge value in having those capabilities and those kinds of resources available in those systems and also have the Employee Profile great. And the employee skills inventory and access to learning and development content, access to support resources, access to your benefit. Exactly. There’s huge value in having everything to make those connections.

Trish 27:18
Pause on that, because those support resources. I don’t think we’ve talked enough about that. So I was talking with someone about a week ago. And they were saying, you know, we’ll we haven’t you know, EAP? Well, yes, we we’ve had that for a long time. But it doesn’t mean that you’re actually giving care and concern to your employees who are actually struggling in one way or another, right. And so what you’re talking about is having an embedded in the system, to if I’m a manager, I might not know how to fix that person’s problem. But now I have at my fingertips, where to go and get that information instead of just calling HR and be like, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Chris Havrilla 27:51
Even tracking it right on a weekly or bi weekly basis to make sure they’re getting the help that they need.

Trish 27:55
And maintaining the privacy through the systems as well, right, which is what’s always made employees hesitant to come to HR or to their leader, because they didn’t want to be seen as someone who couldn’t do their job. And now I think it’s flipped because of the technology supporting the people in a different way.

Steve 28:11
So yeah, we do need to let Chris go. Well, we do know one of the things we’ve learned at these big events at Oracle Cloud World, someone like Chris is kept running around like a crazy person. I remember those days, 72 hours. So we do want to thank her for joining us today. We’ll have to have her back on the show in a few months just to check in from the road or something. Last thing, Chris, I want before I let you go you there’s a little bit of a glow to you. I’ve seen you a little while and I think it could be because your Georgia Bulldogs are the number one team in the country to record this.

Chris Havrilla 28:39
It is about that. Go Dogs. And Steve and I have a long, storied frenemy rival relationship around this and and there have definitely been events that we’ve been at when I’ve been on the other side of topping for me. But yes, the glow is for real and and we’re back at number one.

Trish 29:01
I thought her glow was from seeing us! Or maybe still a little bit of a glow from all of the things in Paris.

Steve 29:11
It can be both. So Chris Havrilla. Thank you so much for joining us. VP Talent Product Strategy at Oracle. Go to For more details. I’m telling you, I have some experience with Oracle as an employee in the past. So I’m a little bit biased, but I’m not biased about this. The more you can simplify your approach to your technology strategy, the more you can consolidate capabilities under one, one platform, the better off you’re going to be in the long run. I absolutely believe that whether you’re a small customer using other types of products, whether you’re medium size or a large customer or an enterprise customer using world products, makes so much sense for me.

Trish 29:45
My last advice. My last big thing I bought when I was a practitioner was Oracle. And that’s what they helped me do. They helped me consolidate everything from all the disparate systems.

Steve 29:54
And we even maybe later on some of the other shows in the series, we’ll talk a little bit about supply chain and finance. Surely there’s value there.

Chris Havrilla 30:02
With that better together and there was a reason I came.

Steve 30:05
I love to talk about that as well. So, Chris Havrilla. Thank you so much. Great to see you. Great rest of the event.

Chris Havrilla 30:10

Steve 30:11
Trish, good to see you, as well. We’ll see you later as we record a series of our shows here at Oracle Cloud World. That’s right. All right. So everyone, thank you so much for listening. Thanks to our friends at Oracle for having us here. That’s it for the HR Happy Hour show. My name is Steve Boese, we will see you next time and bye for now.

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