High Performance HR? It’s All About Technology AND Social Media

© Jaros - Fotolia.com
© Jaros - Fotolia.com

“I only have 90 connections, I know but I was only connected to LinkedIn about a year ago.”

Yes, I did look her up on LinkedIn and I thought “ ‘how you could be the head of HR and only have 32 connections?’ ”

These statements came from people I spoke with last week concerning the use of LinkedIn.

It seems that a lot of folks (professionals) have been asleep at the switch. The use of social media has transformed the landscape. I know of people that are dissatisfied with their career but they spend all their free time on Facebook instead of Linkedin. These same folks basically set up a page at one time on LinkedIn but never really went back to it.

Social media: THE most important tool for HR

Over the past couple of weeks, LinkedIn has slowly uncovered some new tools coming our way: Linked Classmates and LinkedIn Talent Pipeline. I can only image that what we see now from Linkedin will look nothing like what it will be in the future.

How could this be?

Social Media has changed the landscape of not only corporate America but our personal lives as well. Organizations are struggling with social media policy and how to integrate it within the cocoon of their organizations.

Our personal lives have been transformed with the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr. I often wonder sometimes what it was like before the onslaught of these tools. I call them tools because that is the way that I view each of them.

Their use allows each of us to connect with people that we could not in a thousand years ever connect to. It allows us to connect and keep in touch in ways that snail mail, or phones for that matter, never could.

Are you kidding me?

But in my sphere, LinkedIn is by far the most important tool for HR. Where else can you get a glimpse of a person or eavesdrop on someone’s profile in a legitimate way? This is what talent scouting is about. But when you look at senior leaders in the HR profiles it sometimes makes you shake your head, because there seems to be no real use of it.

My daughter told me an incredible story of a senior executive of her firm that refuses to use the computer. He writes out everything longhand and gives them to his assistant to type. All senior executives were given iPads to use in the sales calls and he flat out refuses to use one, saying it is a waste of time.

I recall a senior level executive who everyone assumed was way in over their head in their new role. This was confirmed when the executive had to prepare a presentation and he did not know how to put a deck together. He finally had to admit that he had never had to assemble one, not only from the technology vantage point, but even from just composing the slides.

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Yes, one of the main competencies going forward for will be the use of HR technology.

The intersection of technology and analytics

HR technology and analytics is helping to transform HR into a decision science with a measurable impact on business. The expanded use of the Internet for the delivery of HR applications, especially on a service basis, is also emphasizing the importance of HRIS for organizations of all sizes. This creates new roles for HR professionals and the imperative to develop strong HR technology competencies.

Technology is fully embedded in so many aspects of business, so much so that understanding the use of technology in all areas of the business, and particularly in relation to human and organizational capital, enables HR professionals to speak the language of business in an environment that is increasingly technology-driven.

The use of social media leads to new ways of collaborating, organizing work, building teams and developing new knowledge and skills, and this can help further build organizational and human capital.

High Performance HR

Research indicates that companies with the most high-performing HR function behave differently when it comes to the use of HR technology in efficiency and effectiveness metrics. And, they also operated with 16 percent fewer HR staff.

So yes, the landscape of HR technology revolves not only around HRIS, SaaS and Talent Management systems, but also their new brethren of Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook on the other end of the spectrum.

Eventually all this technology will all collaborate for the greater good of the organization, so let’s all get on board.

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.

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3 Comments on “High Performance HR? It’s All About Technology AND Social Media

  1. Ron,
    I also find myself often wondering what the world was like before the “onslaught” of social tools like Facebook, Twitter, and the like. I’m 22-years-old, so all I’ve ever known is socializing and communicating in a digital world. I know it would be impossible for me to maintain all the relationships I’ve developed since childhood–to the extent I have thus far–were it not for resources like Facebook, email, IM, texting, and so on. However, I’m often overwhelmed by the expectations of my peers and colleagues to stay in incessant contact with each other. The Internet has evolved into a vast and limitless platform for social interactions, where suddenly everyone and everything seem to be relevant to one another. In other words, when once an individual’s personal life was kept separate from their professional, Facebook and other social media tools have become vehicles that blend these two dimensions (not to mention others) of an individual into one massive identity. I’m not saying this is a bad thing…I just don’t think we have taken the time to understand the full effect of this.

    As you pointed out, technology has the capability to transform HR (and nearly anything else for that matter) into a tangible science where progress can be measured and results are refined to their greatest potential. Yes, it’s important for everyone to get on board the social media/technology train because it is the future and there’s no turning back from how far we’ve advanced. But at this point, so many people are just doing it because everyone else is. Tools like Twitter and Facebook have become platforms for virtual brands (both individual and collective, both personal and professional) to bombard the digital world with their own self-promoting declarations. 

    My question is this:  At what point will the world of social media lose it’s value? Has it to a certain extent already? How can we re-shape it into something credible where voicing an opinion of value means taking a moment to stop and think about what you’re saying before it’s blasted all over the Internet? Social media has such unique potential due to its extensive global demographics, but people have stopped listening to each other even though their “shouts” are getting louder.

    I work for Identified.com, a professional search engine through Facebook, so I don’t mean to come off as hypocritical. I believe in what I’m doing, and I see enormous potential in the social media market. But as a young and inexperienced professional, I want to make sure I’m getting the most value from my use of social media, as well providing the most value for the rest of the digital world.

  2. It’s shocking to hear that people are refusing to adopt HR technologies to make their processes better, faster, stronger. When I recruit for OpenView and the startups we invest in, you can bet your bottom dollar that all my friends, followers and connections on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin in respectively are going to know about it! Unsurprisingly, a fair amount of recent hires in the past year have come from my personal and professional network. You cannot rely purely on inbound candidates for job boards if you expect to come across the best talent, although even that seems much more advanced already than refusing to use a computer altogether to get anything done. If you haven’t found a home for that iPad, please let me know as I’m always happy to help 🙂 Great post!

  3. HR is evolving with the advent of technology and we need to acknowledge it and make changes.

    Visit Jappreet Sethi’s HR Blog onhttp://www.humanresourcesblog.in/ Follow on Twitter  @HR_Whiz

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