November 10, 2010

How social tools are improving human resources

From left, Oliver Marks (Sovos Group), Eric Lane (Intuit), Ciara Smyth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Tony Treglia (Aviva), Bill McNee (Saugatuck Technology)

There’s gold in your employees’ personal social networks

David SparkI’m at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, Calif., this week covering the event for Dice and its companion media division, Dice News.

Human resources is a time- and people- intensive task. Recruiters spend the majority of their time just building relations with prospective employees or people who could refer them to talent. We all know that social media in general has increased our ability to build and maintain relations with people. Prior to Twitter and Facebook, do you remember anyone telling you they had more than 1,000 friends?

If social media has proved to accelerate relationships and knowledge of these relationships, how can that information be put to better use to support all of human resources’ needs? Social tools can be used to manage compensation, benefits, acquiring talent, grooming talent, aligning employee success with business success, matching like-minded employees and cultivating innovation within the organization. How can HR people leverage social media to make their job more efficient and easier to do?

Somebody’s got to be doing it better, and luckily those people were on a panel discussion “Human Resources Meets Enterprise 2.0 and the Cloud” (#e2conf) at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.:

  • ModeratorBill McNee, Founder and CEO, Saugatuck Technology
  • Keynote PanelistOliver Marks, Blogger, Sovos Group, ZDNet
  • CustomerCiara Smyth, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • CustomerTony Treglia, Senior Vice President, HR Service Delivery, Aviva USA
  • Customer – Eric Lane, VP, HR Workforce Technology, Intuit

Here are some of the points and advice that came up during the discussion:

  • Intuit uses general social tools like Facebook and Twitter to keep relationships with people even when they don’t have job positions available.
  • People need to know the company before they even think about applying for a job.
  • At Aviva, they get 300-500 applicants for every single job.
  • Because of social media, companies often know more about people outside of their company rather than inside.
  • People outside of the company may not be looking for jobs at all. There’s a need to create a relationship with those people.
  • How much information should you expose an employee to in a collaborative network? Some employees are very project oriented, see themselves at the company for a short time and will leave to take that knowledge with them.
  • Integrate community building with the onboarding process. You want the knowledge sharing to start happening quickly, even when you have a distributed office environment.
  • Optimize, enable, then unleash. Optimize the relations with employees. Enable conversation. And then unleash their ability to innovate. Employee population within a company has a lot of ideas.
  • Using collaborative technologies for retention is very important because the idea of being at one company for 30 years is no longer the vision of today’s millennials.
  • Encourage people to innovate and share information which is often hard because people are often protecting their knowledge to keep their job. Help them realize that innovation within the enterprise will actually create more jobs.
  • Capital management is a top down way for people waiting to be told what to do. This is not the best way to inspire social engagement.
  • Every technology you have in HR has to link end to end. They have to work in a universe where they’re compatible with each other so that information from one can move to the other and back again.
  • There’s a disconnect between social marketing and what employees at companies should be doing on their company time.
  • You want your employees to be collaborative and social. Let them have access to Facebook, but have a conversation with your employees about it.
  • The exposure of the Facebook page changes the rules of the relationship between employee and manager.
  • Most people when they come to work want clear boundaries in terms of how they’re supposed to behave in the company. How do I get compensated? What’s expected of me?
  • Leaders need to be role models for technology within an organization.
  • The faster people can learn something the faster they can get on to the next thing. Need to facilitate the discovery and search for people and information.

Creative Commons photo attribution to Enterprise 2.0.

For more of my videos from past events and Enterprise 2.0, check out the DiceOutLoud YouTube channel.David Spark, a partner in, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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