Social Business: What It Can Mean for HR

Social Business: What It Can Mean for HR

Posted by Doug Palmer on September 19, 2013

The second annual Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) research study continues our exploration of the social business landscape and how organizations are changing how work gets done by embedding social capabilities into processes and workflows. Three-quarters of the HR professionals who participated in the research (vs. 70% for all respondents) believe social business is an opportunity to “fundamentally change the way we work.” Tellingly, however, HR’s usage of social business still trails other functions. Only 14% of respondents from HR reported their organization’s use of social business in HR to a great extent vs. 46% of marketing respondents and 31% of customer service respondents. We think this points to a real opportunity for HR, as we see many ways social business can be used to enhance primary HR functions.

The uses of social business in HR span internal areas such as learning and development and external areas such as recruiting and staffing. Over the past year, survey respondents overall reported increasing use of social business in two specific areas of HR: identifying expertise (17% reporting an increase) and managing talent (14% reporting an increase). HR respondents themselves reported that their department uses social business most often in recruiting/managing talent (39%).

Which uses of SB have increased within your organization within the last 12 months? (Respondents selected up to 3)

The somewhat broad uses of social business in HR can be broken down as follows:

  • Recruiting — A variety of social tools like LinkedIn and Twitter help companies find and attract top talent. Some companies, including Covance, which was interviewed for our study, leverage these tools to establish relationships with potential candidates throughout the hiring cycle, even during the earliest stages when candidates simply want to understand what it would be like to work for that company.
  • Hiring/Staffing — Not everyone has to be inside the organization. In the Open Talent Economy, the 2013 Human Capital Trends report authored by my Deloitte colleagues Andy Liakopoulos, Jeff Schwartz, and Lisa Barry, talent resides on a continuum ranging from full-time employees to open source communities that support a company’s business objectives.
  • Onboarding — Collaboration tools like Chatter and Yammer help get people acclimated and connected to others in the organization much faster, driving increased productivity for the organization. Gamification can also be used to educate new employees about the organization and engage them more fully.
  • Learning/Development — Some of these same social collaboration and gamification tools not only have implications for how a company structures and delivers learning, but also how employees access colleagues to get help and learn in a just-in-time way.
  • Performance Management — Companies are building tools that provide more real-time capability to capture employees’ contributions, connections, and reputations — and their impact — vs. only on a six-month or annual cycle.

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