Management 2.0 : HR processes and social business

Rocket ManThis article is coming from a white paper in french about HR 2.0, sponsored by Linkedin, where 10 experts including me, shared their vision. Here is the translation of my article about HR process and social business.

When you talk about social business, you talk about organizational transformation. But too often it’s limited to the deployment of an enterprise social network (ESN) uncorrelated to all company processes, whether business or HR ( ESN impact these processes but will also help their thinning). However, this tool will have a significant impact in the transformation of the organization and enable the evolution of processes, including HR. Moreover, the major editors have realized that and have operated various acquisitions of HR software to merge to their suites, such as SAP or Salesforce with Success Factors or Rypple for instance. But a McKinsey study in December 20111 shows that many companies will not reap the benefits of what could actually bring collaboration because they are not going to change their processes (they are only 2 %), some even preferring back considering the workload related to this transformation, even when it was a success. Finally, we will have at best a thinning flow of information within the company, but not much more, or even worse, a failure in 80 % of cases as noted by Gartner. Here is three examples of HR processes related to these new roles / positions which have to evolve.


Transform the job standards

Usually people speak only of the role of community manager, but there are others. This will lead to at least to a new role for employees, and for some even a new job position. In a first step, an overhaul of the job descriptions that you will have to consider. Not necessarily about new job position, you can at least talk about new skills related to the development of collaborative practices that will complement the existing position for  « social activity ». If we go further, part of these position are not definable in advance, which means that the  » holy » job description will quickly find its limits. Anyway, if these position are numerous, HR managers will participate in their definition of this new jobs standards that will « qualify » the ability to take this position in terms of skill, expertise and know-how. This approach potentially useful for assessing applicants may also be used in a reverse process to identify potential pratice leaders, to go to them and invite them to be part of the dynamics and set up a tank of talents. If there are new skills, it also referred to an overhaul of the competency framework and the appraisal.


Review the annual appraisal

For many managers, the annual appraisal is one of the few acts of management of the year. This is when they will be able to assess the collaborative actions of their team . If you ask employees to work more collaboratively , managers must ensure that individual goals change based on these new expected usages. So clear objectives related to social engagement or employees social/collaborative business practices, can give meaning and value to these actions. Translate into reality by adapting methods of evaluation is an essential step for any company. The advantage is that the enterprise social network will enable, especially employees but also for managers, to demonstrate their activities transparently through the tool, which becomes a social memory of the action of each. It is not about to count the number of publications on the enterprise social network, or watch anyone, it would make no sense. More and more editors of enterprise social network  has established a badge system linked to specific actions, part of a process of gamification, to support and facilitate the assessment. This system is generally based on action points directly related to the creation of content on the network and points of reactions, consequences of an interaction on a contribution of an employee . If it is a support, it should remain like that and not become the main criteria for an evaluation, especially as we are only at the beginning of this type of approach. But this reference to a main obstacle. For example, the job of community manager , we will distinguish two cases :


  • A community where the project manager creates a community to facilitate the work within a business unit (BU) or team. In this case, the objectives are interrelated and merged because it is just about project management, nothing really new even if it’s efficient.
  • A community of practice, more oriented knowledge sharing. In this case, there are different objectives. There is a balance to find about the time dedicated to the community and the daily business (short term vs mid term). In that case it must be setting up with the manager of the CM, to decide how much time must be dedicated to this activity in the overall interest of the company.

So in terms of assesment, this raises the issue of the balance between investment at a global level and the time dedicated to a local entity. Indeed, whether it be a community manager or a participant, the benefit of the time invested usually goes to an other BU. If at the enterprise level, the sum of the values ​​created increases, which is the desired objective, it can conflict with the achievement of objectives set locally for each BU. This therefore implies an acceptance of the local manager of this transfer of time to the benefit of the group. This also referred to his own assessment and an overhaul of management standard that encourages them to make their teams work collaboratively and in a transverse way. In the end, whatever the chosen model adapted to the culture of your company, you must transform your assesment process in the establishment of collaborative targets to encourage and reward investment of your employees and managers, as any other task within the company. Difficult to talk about assessment interview, wihtout discuss career development and mobility.


Enhancing mobility and career development in-house

One of the strengths of an enterprise social network is to connect people, but also to question, at least in part, silos within organizations. Internal mobility is written on the pediment of all HR departments, the ESN will strengthen, at least make easier a more proactive management of the process of internal mobility. This connection between employees will enable them to better keep abreast of available jobs, within a particular service or BU. Most of the time information is one of the first barriers to internal mobility. More importantly, participating in community related to « another job » than his own, an employee will be able to see by himself what to expect, skills and knowledge necessary for this type of job position … This will allow him to take a proactive approach towards HR and its management, to allow everyone to participate in the construction of a roadmap and thus encourage mobility. Transparently, through its participation in communities of the ESN in connection with this issue, the manager can see the gap that remains to be ready for this position (perhaps the employee is already ready for the desired mobility) and any training to set up to integrate this new position. More broadly, the company has evolved and less people will pursue a career from the beginning to end in the same company. Also this mobility should not be seen only as an internal mobility, but as well as external (and come back one day in the same company) and thus participate fully in the employability of employees.


I could also talk about the new role of manager, talent management, integration of newcomers and recruitment, training, governance … in the end, all HR processes will be impacted, in a way or another, by the establishment of an ESN, and more generally ESN impacts the transformation of your organization. For each of these processes, an entire article could be devoted . Redesigning HR processes is probably the longest and more difficult in transforming your organization, but that will determine the success or failure of your social business project but unfortunately it’s often ignored in this type of project. So now you know what you have to do …