IBM Kenexa Review

It has helped us begin to understand how our employees are feeling, and how engaged they are.

Valuable Features

I think, for us, the most valuable feature is obviously beginning to understand the various components of our employees – how they're feeling, how engaged they are – in addition to obviously being able to attract the right talent to our organization based on who we're looking for. Obviously, talent continues to be a highly competitive space that all organizations are playing in. The retail side or the retail industry is highly competitive. It also faces unique challenges in terms of our proportionally high number of part-time workers.

We're looking very forward to getting the BrassRing application in, so that we can really create a unique offering and a unique relationship, in particular with that part-time workforce, as well as how do we create almost a one-on-one recruiting relationship and then building on that relationship as people move forward with some key talent areas, in terms of ecommerce, the whole digital space, as well as analytics and finance folks. Those are pretty hot competitive spaces for talent.

Improvements to My Organization

First of all, for Kenexa in particular, the tell-it-as-it-is survey has improved our organization. We acquired a pharmacy retailer three years ago. Kenexa enabled us to actually standardize our employee engagement across both of those organizations. We knew at an enterprise level what was going on but, most importantly, how were people starting to feel about being acquired and joining the broader company space. It's really helped us focus and target activities around communication, leadership, and synergies in terms of bringing people closer and more into the fold of the broader organization.

Room for Improvement

I think for us it's still really early days. We're getting the survey settled in. At a recent conference, I was looking forward to the employee voice regional user group because I really wanted to understand the employee voice piece. Once-a-year engagement kind of seems to be a little bit lagging in terms of how we can actually shape and improve organizations, so I was looking forward to understanding a bit more where IBM Kenexa's thinking is going in terms of pulsing with the employee voice and how that kind of integrates and works with tell-it-as-it-is, and the other two applications we have; it's just too early to know.

I think the only opportunity maybe we have is to be more intuitive on the tell-it-as-it-is survey side for end users; for leaders to be able to kind of run the data and cut it the way they want to. Right now, we still run it out of our C of E for engagement, who actually does training with the HR business partners. It would be nice if that could be simplified into a way whereby it's really intuitive for our leaders and make it really super easy for them just to go in and pull what they want. That's an additional piece of administrative work that we still do. It's important work that we do, but if there was a way to simplify that, so that leaders can just directly go in and manipulate that, that would be great.

Stability Issues

We have not had any issues to date in terms of stability. With Kenexa, we have just implemented Workday, so we are hoping that we'll have a pretty seamless integration with the talent acquisition module, so our fingers are crossed on that front. We'll see. We're going though that work right now.

Scalability Issues

Right now, from everything I've seen, obviously based on actual experience with Kenexa, scalability is not an issue on the tell-it-as-it-is survey side. We're in the process right now of figuring out how we should scale that to our franchisee businesses. We've had a very positive experience to date on scalability. In terms of the Watson, again, it's early days. I think there's lots of potential application for us to leverage that, but I think the starting point for us is to figure out what are the insights that we're actually looking for in order to leverage that technology. Based on a conference session I recently participated in, in terms of talent acquisition, I'm looking really forward to actually getting the BrassRing piece installed in our organization in the new year.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I personally haven't used tech support. I know that my folks particularly on the tell-it-as-it-is side have used it, and they have an absolutely fabulous relationship with IBM Kenexa. We've always found them very supportive, very responsive, and very open as far as finding solutions, even if it's not kind of necessarily already in a cookie-cutter solution.

Previous Solutions

The acquired pharmacy retailer was previously using Aon Hewitt. We were using another solution through a third party, and it was somewhat customized. Again, we're happy to really have that baseline from which we can compare across the entire enterprise, so that we know that we're comparing apples to apples.

Initial Setup

I was not involved in the initial setup at my organization. It was just before I joined. It was about a year before I joined, so I wasn't involved, but I have not heard of any issues other than the normal understanding what needs to happen and IT being clear on how we're going to integrate it into the broader network. We haven't had any issues.

Other Advice

When selecting a vendor to work with, I think the most important criteria, first and foremost, is that the technology has been well thought through. It's been tested. It's ready to launch. What's really important to me is the relationship side. Do we understand each other? Do we trust each other and are we on the same side, in terms of the values of both organizations and what it is we're looking to achieve?

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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