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29 April 2020


Guest Blog Post: Ola Lundgren is an Integration Architect | University of Gothenburg

Founded in the late 19th century, and currently home to upwards of 50,000 students every year, the University of Gothenburg is one of the larger universities in Sweden. The University has an employed staff of roughly 6,500 teachers, researchers, and administrative personnel, as well as thousands of research students and external staff linked to the University in various capacities. As a result, the challenge of keeping a consistent view of identities, and their various affiliations to different parts of a sprawling organization, across a myriad of different IT systems grows larger every year.

From an IT architecture perspective, our integration landscape is heavily focused on service orientation and re-usability. This has a number of implications for the way we design integration solutions, and a key element is the application of standards. For our core provisioning services, we try to use standard message formats­ for the particular domain. We have found that this shortens development time when implementing new integrations and minimizes misunderstanding within the use of common concepts and nomenclature.

In the spring of 2019, we launched a project with the purpose of implementing a new system of record for the domain most adequately described as Person/Organization. An expressed purpose of the project was to provide a platform of integration services for aggregated organizational affiliations, whether they be employed or external staff, researchers, teachers or students of various kinds – in many cases several at the same time! Keeping with our principles, we started to look around for available standard formats to base these services on.

Our solution was to take our existing information model for this domain, along with a list of basic requirements, and search for alternatives. The initial list of candidates contained existing local canonical models, data formats published by Swedish national agencies, and global standards. Pretty quickly, however, we found that most formats were either too thin (i.e. lacked coverage in a lot of areas of our information model which would be a major extension driver), too verbose, or in other ways were not suited to our use case.

What we ended up with was the HR Open Standards Common library for Person, Affiliation, and Organization.

Among our basic requirements were:

  • Structured format: based on XML or JSON
  • Possible to validate messages against schema
  • Open standard: vendor independent
  • Extensibility: possible to make local additions
  • Localization: support for multi-language text fields

Not only did the HR Open Common types check all of these boxes, they also provided the necessary information coverage for “out of the box” data we needed to represent (Person, Affiliation, Communication, Security Credentials, etc.). Being an academic organization with a lot of research staff, we appreciated the built-in support for academic publications and educational merits, as well as the how easily the standards were extendable with both simple types and complex structures.

Adding to our support for the HR Open Common types, was its flexibility in the right areas. Other models were often too rigid or geared to a narrower use case, for example explicitly defining entities like Employee and Employment, or only providing one organizational affiliation for an individual. Since our extended use case involves a generic platform for organizational affiliation, the relevant individuals could be any type of staff, employees, or non-employees, guest researchers, or students, and even sometimes several of these choices at once!

In addition to providing an elegant way of describing this relationship (a Person with any number of Affiliations to Organizational entities), the HR Open schemas proved to be technically sound with the right amount of verbosity for a standard. The toolbox includes great extras like generic identifier types, structures for different types of contact information, language enabled strings, and so much more that we can continue to use as extensions in our messages.

We are very happy with this design choice for our integration services and look forward to seeing how the standard continues to develop in the future.

Ola Lundgren is an Integration Architect at the University of Gothenburg and has worked there since 2015. He has a M.Sc. Computer Science & Engineering with experience in Software Engineering and IT architecture in the Education sector.          


21 April 2020


When deciding to choose between XML and JSON it’s important to be able to understand the strengths and weakness of each – XML is older and more refined but JSON is lighter weight and more optimized for newer technologies. You need to understand your business case, how you will be using the data, and how the platforms you’re interacting with are exchanging data.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable1. We discussed how the technology has been around longer, making the data easier to look at and allows you a greater possibility of knowing what problems will arise. XML may be more restrictive but HR Open provides a mechanism for extensions.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation is a lightweight data-interchange format that is human and machines readable/writable2. As a newer technology JSON is lighter weight and able to accommodate changes in technology more easily. For instance, there’s more tooling available for building open APIs and connected data between properties.

Factors that help decide whether to use XML or JSON really depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. Data dumps are easier to read through XML, as the large file can act as a portable database. JSON is easier to transform objects using code and express the interconnections between the data. Sometimes your file format will be dictated by the companies you’re exchanging data with, in fact several people commented how they take data in through JSON and generate an XML output.

It’s also important to talk about APIs. Swagger3, JSON based, is a way to develop APIs and provides documents for accessibility. We’ve seen that a lot of the tools for developing APIs seem to be more plentiful than ones for XML which could present a move from XML SOAP to more RESTful web services (although XML can be restful too). The AWS API Gateway uses JSON to manage API configuration, development, and usage demonstrating that JSON is more mature.

HR Open considers the business cases when developing the standards, defining the JSON first , then generating the XML. This allows the implementer to determine which format to use when incorporating the standards in their products.



19 March 2020


By: Kelly Berntson, Communication and Events Manager

With so many people working from home, I wanted to share with you some advice about how I succeed working from home. I’ve been working from home for 2 years now (after working 8-5 office in various sized offices) and have learned how to stay motivated while maintaining a work/life balance. I’ve also thrown in a few tips on how I’ve adjusted for my husband and 1 year-old being home too!

  1. STICK TO YOUR MORNING ROUTINE: Brush your teeth, take a shower, workout – whatever your morning routine, make sure you stick with it. It’s important for me to workout and shower, it’s the time I get for me and as a working parent it’s my only me time.
    • Tip: Many workout studios are offering complimentary online classes.
  2. GET DRESSED: Whether it’s going from pajamas to fancy pajamas (or leggings) or putting on a nice shirt, it’s important to separate your working day from your time at home. My husband has been wearing his company-branded sweaters with flannel pajama pants during the day and switching into his sports hoodies after work.
  3. CHERISH THE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY – EAT TOGETHER: I’ve been enjoying the time I get to eat breakfast with my family, I get to cook a hot breakfast for my daughter and spend extra time with her before we begin our (new) daily routine.
  4. UTILIZE YOUR COMMUTER CUP: I always make sure to take my favorite travel cup that says “Best Mom Ever” from the kitchen to my office as it puts smile on face and reminds me of my little girl. I only use this cup on my ‘commute’ to work which makes it extra special.
  5. DEFINE AN OFFICE SPACE: I have my own office that I open (turn on the lights, open the curtains) and close (cleanup, shut the door) every day but with my husband and I both working from home we’ve had to get creative on additional working spaces. I now work at the dining table where I put a candle and picture frame, (see picture) this allows me to have something from my office and separate the space from working time to meal times. I’m also debating about putting up the Christmas tree again – why not spread good cheer?
  6. FIX A HEALTHY LUNCH & TAKE A BREAK: When you’re home, you don’t have to worry about going to buy a quick lunch every day. I enjoy my 25 step-walk to the kitchen and fix myself a fresh salad or easily heat up leftovers. I use lunch time for a few minutes to unplug – do I need to run an errand, unload the dishwasher, throw in a load of wash? Just as you take a little office break take a little work break.
  7. MOVE AROUND: Don’t forget to stand up or take a walk. I have a watch that beeps at me to stand up at least once an hour – if I don’t wear it I can go hours with moving from computer and I notice my body is stiff by the end of the day. I also try to get in some neck and shoulder exercises as I tend to have bad posture. By doing little things throughout the day to take care of my body it not only clears my mind but keeps me healthy.
    • TIP: Work outside, vitamin D and fresh air can help clear your head and refine your ideas.
  8. DON’T TURN ON THE TV: Would you watch tv at the office? Then don’t watch it while you’re working from home, I know it’s tempting to want to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show but it will be so much more enjoyable when you can watch it without distractions (and a glass of wine).
  9. CHECK IN OFTEN: Have a question? Don’t be afraid to reach out to your co-workers whether through a chat or video app, you’re letting people know that you’re working and staying connected. Plus, it can get lonely working from home, keeping up on work and water cooler conversations can help you feel a little less distant.
  10. BE PREPARED TO BE ON VIDEO: Be ready to be on screen, many people like to see who they’re talking to and “camera on” is the default for many video conferencing programs (another good reason to take a shower).
    • TIP: Buy a cover for your camera if you don’t like being on video.

We encourage everyone to follow CDC and local government guidelines for COVID-19 procedures. We appreciate those in critical infrastructure industries and THANK YOU for your service!

4 March 2020


Looking to learn more about HR Open Standards President, Jason Sole? Well, when he’s not volunteering his time to help promote HR Open at conferences or representing the Consortium at US Chamber events he’s the Director of Sales Engineering at DirectEmployers Association (DE). Jason serves as the primary liaison between the Development, Member Support, and Partnership teams at DE. A bit of a technical smoke-jumper, he’s able tackle and solve problems, explain complex technical issues to non-technical audiences, and pre-check setups and data gathering to make new projects flow smoothly. Jason is the proud parent of two children and enjoys taking trips to Disney with his family.
As the President of HR Open Standards, Jason goes the the extra mile to advance technology standards and positively impact the HR technology landscape. Jason answers some questions about HR Open, the standards, their impact, and how you can get involved.

For those who may not be familiar, can you tell us a little bit about HR Open Standards?

HR Open Standards is an international consortium of HR Technology creators. We have been around since the 1990s and existed for a long time as the HR-XML Consortium. We rebranded several years ago to reflect the changing nature of the technology and how it was being consumed (there were a lot of new alternatives to XML coming out).

Our goal as an organization is to provide a space where the builders of HR Technology–the engineers, developers, CTOs, and support staff–can come together and collaborate. This is primarily with the standards we produce, but we also provide a way for technologists at different companies to come together and compare notes.

Very interesting! How did you get involved and how many years have you had the opportunity to participate?

I have been active with HR Open Standards for six and a half years. I started by serving on the Technical Steering Committee in August 2013. At the time, another colleague at DirectEmployers was a board member, and they needed someone with a technical background to help offer some insight. They were doing a lot of work with mobile data standards, and mobile web development was an area with which I had experience.

That sounds like some great experience – tell us more about the roles have you played throughout the years within the organization. 

I have had several roles within the organization. I have chaired the Technical Steering Committee for six years and served on the Board of Directors for five. I was Secretary of the Board for 2018 and 2019, and I am Board President until the end of 2020.

What impact do you feel HR Open Standards has had on developing HR data exchange standards?

HR Open Standards is the only organization with a comprehensive set of HR standards. As such, it has had a profound impact on the standards ecosystem for HR systems. This has also allowed DirectEmployers to participate and help lead some interesting projects. Recently, we helped with the pilot program for the Job Data Exchange project at the US Chamber of Commerce where we collaborated with, Google, and the US Chamber to build a data exchange proof of concept between employers, educators, and government.

Congrats on your new role as President of the Board of Directors! What will your responsibilities entail in this new role?

Thanks! I will serve as one of the public faces of the Consortium, as well as help facilitate relationships the Consortium has with other organizations and standards bodies such as the US Chamber of Commerce and PESC.

How do you feel your involvement has affected your work with DirectEmployers?

It increases the visibility of DirectEmployers with the technology providers and decision-makers in the HR Industry. I can maintain contacts and relationships with other HR Technology companies that would be difficult or impossible otherwise. Also, I am exposed to new ways of thinking and solving problems, which is always helpful as DE encounters new technology and challenges.

How do you feel your involvement has enriched your career and helped with your role as a Sales Engineer?

It has forced me to stretch beyond my comfort zone. I am naturally an introvert, but leading an international organization, and representing them in large, crowded meetings require that I expand and practice the non-technical side of my skill set. That skill set is critical in a Sales Engineering role where my job is making technology understandable and approachable to those that might be intimidated by it.

What projects are you actively involved with at the moment? Anything new and exciting on the horizon to share?

We are working with the US Chamber of Commerce and the White House to work on a collaborative set of data standards for the HR Technology community. It moves at the pace of government, but we are trying to create a unified approach to solve known problems. The hope is to free up capacity in the industry to build new things and stop solving the same problem over and over.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the work you’ve accomplished at HR Open Standards?

The HR Technology industry is both humongous and small. There are huge players across the entire globe, but you often see the same organizations and people at events. Those organizations all have smart and driven people who are trying to solve all kinds of unique problems.

What is the best way to get involved with HR Open?

Encourage your vendors to join and participate in the Consortium. The more voices we have, the more effective we are. Also, the more we can standardize and integrate like-minded systems, the simpler and cheaper the implementation of new HRIS systems will be.

We appreciate Jason’s contribution to HR Open and the standards. If you want to know more about DirectEmployers and how they offer simple solutions for complex OFCCP compliance and recruitment marketing challenges head over to their website to learn more!

10 February 2020

HR Open Standards Consortium Announces 2020 Board of Directors

HR Open Standards Consortium Announces 2020 Board of Directors

HR Open Standards Consortium, the only global network of HR technology professionals committed to leading the ongoing development of global HR interoperability standards, has announced its Board of Directors for 2020. The volunteer board contributes their technical and business acumen to guide the organization in its vision, to establish HR Open as an industry leader, and promote board collaboration through networking and thought leadership.

Newly elected to the Board of Directors are:

  • Amanda Carr, Product Manager, iCIMS;
  • Leslie Erwin, Sr. Director – Software Engineering, ADP;
  • Ryan Krostue, Chief Operating Officer, Universal Background Screening.

Amanda Carr expresses her pleasure to be on the Board of Directors. “I am excited to be part of HR Open Standards and a member of the HR Open Standards Board of Directors. The value of HR technology comes down to the data that is exchanged between various HR systems. HR Open Standards helps to facilitate that exchange of data in a standardized and efficient manner. The thought leadership and work of the members of HR Open Standards ensures that developers of HR systems can hit the ground running when implementing these integrations. It is an invaluable resource for what you need to know to implement your HR integrations and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the value that is HR Open Standards.”

Re-elected members include:

  • Andrew Cunsolo, VP Product Management, Talemetry;
  • James Elder II, Principal Solutions Consultant & Sales Engineer, DDI, Inc.

Continuing in two-year terms are:

  • David Garrett, Alight
  • Bon Idziak, Accurate Background;
  • Jason Sole, Direct Employers Association;
  • Ingolf Teetz, Milch & Zucker; and
  • Jan-Willem van der Boom, Manus.

Newly elected Consortium officers include: Jason Sole, President and Chairman; Andrew Cunsolo, Secretary; and Ingolf Teetz, Treasurer.

Biographies of the 2020 HR Open Standards Board of Directors:

Amanda Carr, Product Manager, iCIMS. Amanda is a passionate advocate for the value proposition that open standards for interoperability between HR systems brings to companies, partners, and clients. To that end, she has been actively involved with HR Open Standards since 2007 in a variety of roles such as workgroup leader, co-leader, participant, and as a member of the Board of Directors. Amanda has been in the HR systems industry since 1999, and has been focusing specifically on HR Integrations in various Integration Product Manager roles in an assortment of HR Software companies since 2006. Currently, she is the Product Manager at iCIMS focused on further standardizing and enhancing the integrations between iCIMS and HCM Systems.

Andrew Cunsolo, VP of Product Development, Talemetry. With more than 15 years of product and technical leadership in recruiting technology, Andrew is currently responsible for developing Talemetry’s recruiting marketing (Job Broadcast), sourcing (Source & CRM), and candidate experience (Career Sites, Apply) products. Andrew has been involved in the Consortium since 2002 and is a regular speaker, presenter, and contributor.

James Elder II, Principal Solutions Consultant & Sales Engineer, DDI, Inc. With over 25 years of IT experience and over 15 years of experience developing and implementing assessments integrations as well as five years of contributions on the HR Open assessments workgroup, Jim hopes to contribute to shaping the future of HR Open. During his tenure on the Board of Directors, Jim found synergies with the way HR Open Standards Consortium is reinvigorating its mission and memberships with his organizations dedication to developing Better Leaders for a Better Future. Jim is leading an effort to develop full end-to-end API standards for Learning Systems integrations. Reaching out to build winning partnerships with LMS vendors, content vendors, as well as industry standards experts in the learning industry will be a focus in 2020.

Leslie Erwin, Sr. Director – Software Engineering, ADP. Leslie has 14 years of experience in HR technology, with a focus on Benefits. She has participated in the benefits workgroup as a schema editor and led the group for the 4.2 release where Plan Setup was added to the schema, allowing for a more complete benefits integration. Leslie is an advocate for the HR Open Standards, and is spearheading initiatives at ADP to implement partner API integrations using the standards.

Dave Garrett, hrX Product Manager, Alight. Dave has been working on Payroll and HRIS development and implementation since 1995 with experience in all aspects of the Software Development and Implementation Life Cycle starting as an engineer and currently working as a product manager. His current project on Global Payroll integration began in 2013 and adopted HR XML (as it was then) as the basis of the data model, HR Open standards continues to underpin the data model.

Bon Idziak, Chief Compliance and Government Relations Officer, Accurate Background. Bon is an 18-year industry leader in Background Screening, Drug Testing, and HR Technology. Bon has served on the HR Open Standards Board of Directors since 2009 and has held offices of secretary, treasurer, and president/chairman. A pioneer, contributor, and early implementer of HR Open standards, Bon is a proven advocate of the Consortium.

Ryan Krostue is Chief Operating Officer of Universal Background Screening. Since joining the company in 2002, he has been involved in all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, product management, operations and compliance. Ryan has been an advocate for HR Open Standards since Universal joined the Consortium and obtained its first certification in 2008, he looks forward to advancing the HR Open JSON standard within the screening industry as a member of the Consortium’s Board of Directors.

Jason Sole, Director of Sales Engineering, DirectEmployers Association. Jason runs the Sales Engineering team at DirectEmployers Association, a member owned non-profit that specializes in recruitment marketing and federal contract compliance solutions. Jason is experienced in all facets of the software development lifecycle, and specializes in problem solving, and process design. He holds a Master of Science in Technology from Purdue University, and has been involved in web and software development for 18 years. Jason has served as the Chair of the Consortium’s Technical Steering Committee since 2014 and on the Board of Directors since 2015.

Ingolf Teetz, CEO, Milch & Zucker. Ingolf is founder and Chief Executive Officer for Milch & Zucker, a provider of e-recruitment and recruitment marketing solutions. He manages company operations, initiates and strengthens technology partnerships, and is responsible for the development of its software, BeeSite. Ingolf’s long relationship with the Consortium includes serving on the board and representing the Consortium at international events.

Jan-Willem van der Boom, is founder of Manus Software and Services BV, a pan-European Work Force Management and Time Attendance supplier, with main focus on compliancy. Manus Software and Services was originally founded by Jan-Willem in 1988, during his study of Technical Computer Science at the Rotterdam Technical University. He filled the role of CEO until 2012. In his current role Jan-Willem went back to his roots and is responsible for Strategy and Development. He has actively been involved in HR Open for over five years, leading the Time Management JSON project and participating on the Business Steering Committee.

About HR Open Standards

Founded in 1999 as the HR-XML Consortium, HR Open Standards Consortium is a voluntary, consensus-based standards organization. Our community of HR technologists facilitate discussions on global technology concepts and challenges.  Members collaborate to develop free standards, which encompass the full HR domain from Hire to Retire and are open to all HR professionals.

29 January 2020


Guest Blog Post: Dr. Michael Moon, People Analytics Leader | ADP

Imagine if you were asked to buy a house without ever seeing it. Your real estate agent tells you it has everything you asked for and you should trust her because she has had 100% success in predicting her client’s happiness with their purchase. Would you buy it?

What if you were planning a trip to an imaginary island, let’s call it Peopletopia, and the one person you know that has been there said you don’t need sunscreen in Peopletopia because it is so far away from any major continents that the sun has little to no impact on your skin. This is someone you were recently introduced to, who coincidentally, also happens to have a PhD. You burn easily and have a family history of skin cancer. Do you go without your sunscreen?

What if everywhere you ever worked people were allowed to wear any color shirt they wanted work, but now at your new job you are told you can wear any color but purple. You ask why and you are told because a very well-known thought leader presented research that purple clothing causes increased conflict in the workplace, more than any other color. Do you believe it?

Okay, so maybe the last scenarios are a little silly or far-fetched, but hopefully you get the point. Most of us do not do things on blind faith, like the first scenario, or make serious life-decisions based on information from only one source like the second scenario, even if that source is the world’s most renowned expert on a topic like the third scenario. So why, if we wouldn’t do these things in our personal lives, would we do them as HR Professionals?

So much of what we do as HR professionals and people managers in our organizations today are actually based upon faulty logic, inappropriate application of research, based on what we think makes sense, or what we read in the latest article in XYZ Magazine. And sometimes, we do them simply because it is what we have always done.

Even worse than faulty logic, and absolutely fundamental to making the most effective decisions about an organization’s people, is the importance of establishing standards for how data is stored, retrieved and used as part of HR decision-making.

Whether we are talking about the new ISO standards on human capital management reporting launched in 2019 (ISO 30414) or standards in how you define various HR measures and metrics, developing standards is a crucial part of using People Analytics to help unravel HR mysteries and facilitate better strategic value for your organization.

HR Open Standards not only provides the forum for people to come together to discuss, establish, and define the standards but it also provides an avenue for technologists to converse about their need and solve problems. If you’d like to learn more register to attend my session “People Analytics in Standards Implementations” at the HR Open 2020 Annual Meeting.

22 October 2017

HR Open Standards 2018 Annual Meeting

HR Open Standards Consortium is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. This program is valid for up to 9 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit

HR Open Standards 2018 Annual Meeting

Check out the HR Open Standards 2018 Annual Meeting page for conference information.

Buy tickets before March 12, 2018 to take advantage of Early Bird Savings!

11 September 2017

2017 Community Meeting

Please RSVP below by first entering the number of attendees and then filling out the required information.   See you there!

4 May 2015

How Standards Bolster Innovation

Written by: Romuald Restout

A Quick Look into the Past


Towards the end of the 19th century, electrical engineering became one of the core engines of the second industrial revolution. As Nicholas Carr put it, in “The Big Switch,” manufacturing energy provided factories “with a decisive advantage over other manufacturers. The company was able to expand the yield and efficiency of its factory. […] Like other factories of the time, they were as much in the business of manufacturing energy as manufacturing goods”. This of course, quickly changed, as power plants started to rise and provide energy at a low-cost to everyone.

An aspect that is often overlooked in that story is that none of this could have happened without the emergence of standards.

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22 April 2015

Standards are Worthless Unless You Use Them

Written by: Mike Seidle

A good standard is one everyone uses.

Well, duh, right?

While I was on the board of directors for an international standards consortium (HR Open Standards), the biggest battle has always been getting developers to use the standard.  When we did, we got amazing things to happen, like getting 18 states to start providing compliance receipts for job deliveries in just a few months. Like enabling entire marketplaces.

Nearly everyone who I’m aware of who launched an HR Open initiative has finished quickly for a few reasons:

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