What do social tools mean for Human Resources? (part two)

As promised, here is the second part of my update on the HR webcast that took place this week.

The infographic on this page is from an article I read via Mashable looking at social demographics and who is using today’s biggest networks. I thought it would be useful to highlight to provide context as to the scale of use and availability. Having current information to hand can be beneficial for both HR and Comms pros when having conversations about social media.

To recap on the webcast, it was organised by Personnel Today looking at Social media at work: What social tools mean for Human Resources (HR). It featured a panel made up of: Rob Moss, Editor of Personnel Today, and featured, Mattthew Hanwell, HR Director Communities & Social Media, Nokia, Ofer Guetta, Social Collaboration Leader, IBM and Jon Ingham, Consultant, Social Advantage.

HR as the role model
The panel discussed the role of HR when introducing social media tools in an organisation.

Matthew said: “HR needs to be the role model and embrace new ways of working and being collaborative. I think IT and Marketing naturally do this, but encouraging HR and Legal professionals would be a good move.”

A new CEO was appointed at Nokia and Matthew described how they blogged as soon as they started and asked: what should I change, what should I keep and what might I miss?  He said: “The response was overwhelming and the best thing is that this has continued to be a constant feedback loop – instead of just being a one-off communication, our employees continue to answer those questions and share their thoughts with the CEO.”

Bridging the gap
The importance of context was raised, and Ofer said: “Context is important to bridge the tool and culture. It’s not about introducing yet another tool, but introducing a capability or technique. Something which is an enabler is a more natural shift for employees to use in a social business approach. If you look at Facebook, it is encouraging people to share rather than send, and people are getting into that mindset. Deploying enterprise tools within organisations that enable people to interact and share with each other in a controlled space is where the real value comes in.”

How can HR use social tools?
Rob Moss asked the panel to consider how HR can use social tools.

Matthew said: “An HR team that uses the collective intelligence of all the people in its team is a better one.” He described how Nokia held a two-day ‘Top 100’ HR event and decided to live tweet throughout it so everyone could know what was being discussed, in an open and transparent way. This changed the conversation after the event as people were already informed so could discuss the content rather than simply waiting for it to be shared afterwards. Matthew said: “We saw how this engaged people – HR and many other parts of an organisation need that.”

“HR has a tendency to be apart from the rest of the organisation and this doesn’t help their credibility and perception” said Jon Ingham. “Social media is a tool that they can use to become more human and integrate with the rest of the company again.”

The overall conclusion from the panel was that HR teams are getting more savvy when it comes to communicating and collaborating, but there will always be times when for a range of reasons e.g. employee confidentiality, it is appropriate not to share everything.

Final thoughts from the panel…

Ofer: Understand your internal culture and look at how these tools can be adopted and identified. You need to have champions throughout the organisation, not just the CEO, but at many different levels, as this helps with adoption as people see the benefits.

Matthew: If you aren’t used to swimming in the water, you just have to get in and get wet! However introducing social media to companies can start with small steps and this is usually the best way.

Jon: Be the champion! This is a change that people individually can role model. Change in social business is different to traditional change and a lot can be led bottom–up so anyone at any position can have a huge influence in this agenda by adopting technology and role modeling the behaviours. The best way to learn about this technology is by using it.

Post author: Rachel Miller


  1. Jon Ingham says:

    Thanks for the post on the webcast Rachel. Cheers, Jon.

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