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Management 2.0: HR Processes & Social Business

By , Social Business Director, EMEA, MSLGROUP

This article is sourced from a whitepaper about HR 2.0 that you can download from here, by French web-marketing agency Tendances RH and supported by professional networking site LinkedIn. Ten experts including me, shared their vision for the next generation of management, and here’s my article on HR processes and the 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. However, this tool will have a significant impact in the transformation of the organization and enable the evolution of processes, including HR.

Major software makers have realized this and have integrated various HR software with their suites, such as SAP or SalesForce with Success Factors or Rypple for instance. But a McKinsey study conducted in December 2011 shows that many organisations will not reap the benefits of such an integration such as increased collaboration because they do not want to change their processes (in fact only 2 % wanted to change their processes).

hrwhitepaperSome refused considering the workload related to this transformation, even when it was a success. Finally, we will have at best a poor flow of information within the company, but not much more, or even worse, a failure in 80 % of cases as noted by Gartner.

Here are three examples of HR 2.0 processes and the related new roles / positions that will evolve from it:

1. Transform Job Roles

Usually people speak only of the role of community manager, but there are many collateral roles that are necessary for the running of a successful social business. This will lead to either a new role for current employees, or new job positions.

As a first step, you need to consider an overhaul of the current job descriptions. This does not necessarily mean new job roles, but you need to discuss new skills related to the development of collaborative practices that will complement the existing position for social activity.

Parts of these roles may not be definable in advance, which means that the holy job description will quickly find its limits. If these positions are numerous, HR managers will need to participate in defining new jobs standards that will qualify candidates on their ability to take up the position in terms of skill, expertise and know-how.

This approach is potentially useful for assessing applicants and may also be used in a reverse process to identify potential practice 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 to be learnt, it would also refer to an overhaul of the company’s competency framework and appraisals.

2. 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.

Translating this into reality – by adapting methods of evaluation – is an essential step for any company.

The advantage of such a review is that the enterprise social network will enable employees as well as managers to demonstrate their activities transparently through the tool, which becomes a social memory of the action of each individual.

It is not about counting the number of publications on the enterprise social network, or watching anyone – that would make no sense.

More and more editors of enterprise social networks have 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, the consequences of an interaction on the contribution of an employee.

If it is in the form of support, it should remain as is and not become the main criteria for an evaluation, especially as we are only at the beginning of this type of approach. But this points to an obstacle. Let’s take the example of the job of community manager, which can either be:

  • A community where the project manager facilitates 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 practices, which is more oriented to 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 growth (short term vs mid term). In that case, it must be set up with the supervisor of the community manager, to decide how much time must be dedicated to this activity in the overall interest of the company.

So in terms of assessment, this raises the issue of balance between investment at a global level and the time dedicated to a local entity.

Indeed, whether it is 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 value ​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.

See also: Change Management, Co-Creation & The Social Business

In the end, whatever model is chosen according to the culture of your company, you must transform your assessment process and establish collaborative targets to encourage and reward investment of your employees and managers, as well as any other task within the company.

And it’s difficult to talk about an assessment interview without discussing career development and mobility.

3. 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 it easier to proactively manage 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, by participating in a community related to a job other than his own, an employee will learn what to expect, and the skills and knowledge necessary for this type of job. This will allow him to take a proactive approach towards HR and its management, to allow everyone to participate in the construction of a road map 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 fewer 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 managers, talent management, integration of newcomers and recruitment, training, governance… but 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 most difficult part of transforming your organization, but that will determine the success or failure of your social business project. Unfortunately it’s often ignored in this type of project. So now you know what you have to do…

This post was originally published on Anthony Poncier’s blog

Anthony Poncier

Anthony Poncier


Anthony is partner and director of Social Business EMEA at MSLGROUP. With nearly 12 years of experience, Anthony brings a strong expertise in conducting collaborative and change management projects with major clients, including developing collaborative internal strategies, socializing customer relations and coaching management teams on Enterprise 2.0 purposes and methods.

Follow him on twitter: @aponcier

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