Jan 12, 2007

Watson Wyatt evangelises blogging and social media



A pretty good measure to judge whether a trend is really a trend or a fad is to see if advisory firms start practices around it. Seems so, if one goes by the article by Michael Rudnick, national intranet and portal leader, Watson Wyatt. Published in Strategic HR Review, Volume 6, Issue 2. (via the Melcrum HR newsletter)

Rudnick lists down some points for employers to embrace social media. But hey, you don't have to spend millions of dollars to get useful advice on how to embrace social media in HR. You can always ask us ;-) We'll probably do it for one tenth of what WW would charge :D

Well what Rudnick lists down are some common points to us social media enthusiasts but with the article going to high level decision makers, what it has done is raised awareness of social media.

1. Embrace the "new normal"
The core tenet of social media is user-generated content. While the prospect of giving employees unvetted ability to publish content seems too risky to many HR practitioners, attempting to limit such activity is futile. There's plenty of content that HR must control for compliance purposes but look for opportunities in areas of the business that don't require constant surveillance.

2. Make collaboration easy

Provide best practices and off-line communities where interested employees can learn about how they can participate. According to research by Watson Wyatt, nearly 50% of the employee population will soon prefer – and expect – collaborative and interactive methods of communication with their employers.

3. Encourage content communities
Employees want best practices and core direction without overbearing policy regulation. User communities should get the ball rolling. They provide content creators with a means to learn, share and explore new ideas and opportunities. Examples include deciding which health-care plan is right for your organization or increasing the engagement of Generation Y employees.

4. Think big, start small
Don't take too long planning, start introducing social-media tools using a small group of employees whose profile fits the Web 2.0 criteria. Then gradually introduce social-media tools to other employees and functions across the business.

5. Drive effective change
If your population is skewed to a younger audience, or a large number of knowledge workers, user-generated content can be a valuable option to use in conjunction with existing vehicles and channels, such as your intranet. Leverage its appeal to your younger employees, and over time, others with more traditional views will embrace it as well. Watson Wyatt's research found that during the last three years there's been a 400% increase in social media behavior.

Hmm, I wonder how long before other HR consultancies like Hewitt, Mercer, and the Human Capital practices of E&Y, KPMG jump on to the bandwagon? And how long before that growth spreads to India? According to some estimates around a million Indians read blogs, and these are the demographic that are desired by employers.

Hmm, interesting times ahead.

Bring 'em on.