Blog Article

Open, useable and transparent: How social sharing tools can help create happy and effective employees

Posted by David Smith

David Smith

By David Smith, direct from the HR Tech Europe event in Amsterdam.

One of my favourite things about HR Tech Europe has been the ‘Disrupt HR’ zone.  Down here, small start-up tech firms get 10 minutes to pitch an innovative new product, service or approach they’ve developed.  Squirreled away at a quiet end of the venue, these folks are providing a view of what the future might look like.

I saw a handful of sessions that pointed to one clear emerging theme for the future of people management – transparency and social sharing.  “How many of you have a LinkedIn profile?” said the guy facilitating – every hand in the room went up.  “How many of you restrict access to those profiles from people you aren’t connected to?” – every hand in the room went down.

The point he was making was that all of our data is fast becoming open.  This was underlined by one vendor I saw that has created a recruitment tool where you can search for the ideal candidate – matching both skills and cultural / working style preferences – through an online platform.  These people haven’t registered with the site, they’re being headhunted based on the amount we already know about them sitting around on the web.  How long before job hunting becomes a passive, almost unconscious activity for the candidate?  They keep their social networks and profiles in order and essentially employers come to them.  Yes, this is obviously already happening with LinkedIn, but the idea of pulling in data from all over the web to build up a more holistic impression of that potential candidate appears to be a significant step further.

The other area where we may see greater transparency coming into HR is in the workplace itself.  Many organisations now use tools like Yammer as an internal network to share information, best practice and advice amongst the workforce, but what if you opened up even more?  For instance, on-boarding apps to help people quickly make connections and find their way around the business, skills profiling apps to help organisations find where the core skills they need are, or specialist apps to help someone make the transition into line management.  All of these things require organisations to use data more effectively by making it more interactive, open and available.

It seems clear to me that the future of HR data and systems is going to be centred around openness, usability and transparency.  We just have too much useful information about our people to not consider its wider uses in the drive towards organisational effectiveness.  We can pretty much Google anything yet when it comes to our people we’re hamstrung by a lack of information.  We can review and rate restaurants and songs to provide others with some valuable insights but we can’t readily do this with training courses.  We can share content easily around the web to those that would value it but within organisations we rarely share useful tips and information around in a useable way.  All of this will require both technical developments and a shift in how HR departments currently think about the openness and availability of data.  It’ll be interesting to see how many of these disruptive HR tech developments actually do disrupt in the future

Follow David Smith on Twitter for live updates at the conference and more blogs on HR Tech via @DavidSmith1978 


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