Everything today is social. Being that the human resources and talent management functions are all about people it makes sense that social technology would be a natural toolset of interest. This post answers the question about where it is finding its place first.
Social technology is coming into play in a number of ways in talent management. First is in recruiting where it is being embraced enthusiastically. From the job seeker's perspective, it is pretty well understood that it is who you know and not always what you know when It comes to getting the job. So networking has always been a big component of job search.
From the recruiter's perspective, the task is all about finding the path to the just right person. The latter typically has involved cold calling and asking a lot of people who they know who might fit the bill. So we have both the candidate and the recruiter tapping networks to reach their goals.
Enter social networks like LinkedIn and we have a marketplace that brings both sides a rich environment for tapping the network. It doesn't end there as other social networks come into play. Employers and recruiters with openings use Twitter to post them and employers advertise their employment brand and openings on sites like Facebook.
As yet still controversial is the use by recruiters of sites like Facebook to vet job candidates. Some potential employers do, others don't. Employment lawyers are advising against the practice as potentially sensitive information, such as sexual orientation, may be revealed and use of such information may lead to discrimination suits down the road. This factor aside, recruiters have embraced social networking faster than any other HR function and we have just scratched the surface of possibilities.
Next is in an area that's not entirely new and is what used to be called Knowledge Management sometimes known as expert location. In the latest incarnation, vendors of talent management solutions are taking advantage of mining all of the newfound information they have in the talent profile.
Using the profile, one can now easily find a co-worker who has a unique skill or experience in a particular area. The solutions I've seen enable co-workers to tap this capability through a forum where knowledge seekers can connect with those in the know -- that's where the social comes in through the exchange of ideas.
We see social networking less prevalently in employee performance management but it's not absent altogether. Gathering kudos, 'attagirls', and general peer feedback has long been a practice as part of the performance appraisal process. Social technology makes it easier and allows it to be both spontaneous and ongoing.
SuccessFactors, a leading vendor of talent management, offers the concept of electronic badges that co-workers can electronically convey to one another. Akin to merit badges, peers, managers, and subordinates can award an e-badge to an individual for being helpful, solving a problem, or generally doing a good job. What differs from traditional kudos is that e-badges are public and visible to all which is an incentive itself. Separate from such spontaneous public praise, we've long had 360-degree feedback tools but these are mostly private and anonymous and therefore not inherently social.
Last but not least is social learning which can run the gamut from the aforementioned expert locator to sharing of learning content in a more efficient way than has been doable in the past. Look for more on this topic in future posts.
There is already a lot of integration of social technology into talent management but it's my view that there's no end in sight in terms of the potential ahead. For the current generation entering the workforce now, social is a way of life.
We may see growing pains as social integration with HR and talent matures, such as compliance-related pitfalls, but these too will be overcome in favor of the benefits social technology offers.
Have I missed any? What innovations are you seeing out there?
Posted by Lisa Rowan
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