Oct 23, 2010

HR and Collaboration Technologies - Why they don't meet

Rawn Shah of IBM shares a research on Chief HR Officers and asks Are Collaborative Technologies On Your HR Department’s Agenda?

Personally I think HR people (the vast majority of them) are scared of technology and try to shut it out of their minds. Very few senior HR people would be "geeks" - and a lot of HR directors still depend on their middle managers to do anything more complicated than an MS Office document.

To expect them to understand and leverage social technologies is a little bit like asking for the moon. That is why the Enterprise 2.0 and before it the KM agenda was driven by CIOs and CTOs.

As the workplace becomes more and more connected - and as people use their personal smartphones to connect with friends and networks outside corporate firewalls - even the CIOs and CTOs are becoming more and more irrelevant.

Why chance does the non-tech savvy CHRO have?

Here's the results of the survey that Rawn quotes:

In it CHROs say that they are relatively effective in managing labor costs, evaluating workforce performance, enhancing workforce productivity, sourcing and recruiting, and retaining talent. However, three key shortfalls emerged: cultivating creative leaders, mobilizing for speed and flexibility, and capitalizing on collective intelligence. These key shortfalls stand out because CHROs found that they were relatively significant in terms of future importance, but less effective in executing on them.

I find the third factor, needing to better capitalize on collective intelligence, most interesting because the study found that the ‘soft’ skills of collaboration and social networking can have bottom-line consequences. Financial outperformers (as measured by EBIDTA) are 57 percent more likely than underperformers to use collaborative and social networking tools to enable global teams to work more effectively together.

78 percent of HR leaders do not think their organizations are effective at fostering collaboration and social networking. Yet only 21 percent of companies have recently increased the amount they invest in the collaboration tools. Many organizations fail to fully utilize the knowledge-sharing resources they already possess. Only 19 percent of respondents regularly use collaborative technologies to identify individuals with relevant knowledge and skills. 23 percent use collaborative technologies to preserve critical knowledge, while 27 percent use it to spread innovation more widely across their organization.