Apr 4, 2008

HR and the world of Web 2.0

Had an interesting conversation some time back with a person who works with a Fortune 500 firm and looks after the interesting way HR needs to adapt to the way work is getting reshaped by technology and demographic changes underway.

Primarily organizations can look at social and virtual communities internally for the following purposes.

1. identity creation - The biggest thing that technology helps us do is to connect with and network with social tribes that we identify with. These identities can help organizations break dysfunctional and outdated silos. Of course, they themselves can lead to different silos, so have to be crafted and stewarded with care.

2. Post Identity creation the ability to build a culture of collaboration and community is much easier. As the person said - 1 percent create content, 9 percent comment and the other 90 percent read and hopefully are enriched and engaged. So the struggle for organizations can be of the earlier problem - "How do we increase this 1% to 5% to be active creators?" However in my view that is one perspective only. The alternative thought can be can we further empower these 1% people to increase their knowledge and development, thereby leading to richer conversations for everyone else too?

Some other thoughts:

How do people move between the differing cultures of traditional management models and the collaborative web2.0 world?
How does work itself get redefined?
Will we see the traditional model compete with the new model for preeminence?
Will one always be seen as a counter-culture to the prevailing model?
And will this mindset be seductive enough for it not to go mainstream?

I guess we'll get to see as some brave organizations get ready to negotiate the rarely beaten path to becoming more collaborative and community in their approach to work and people.
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