Is collaboration the lasting solution to challenges in Human Resources Practices?
Is collaboration the lasting solution to challenges in Human Resources Practices?(with two real life examples within Performance Management and On-the-Job Learning)Today’s business problems are increasingly complex and require increased cross-disciplinary peopleexpertise. Therefore, collaboration technologies have become in demand by companies in whichcollaboration is a necessary element in helping them define and achieve their performance objectives.Global benchmarking surveys1 reflect that there is a need to do a better job in acquiring anddeploying talent in companies. As HR traditionally is responsible for separate parts of talentmanagement2, there is a lack of collaboration between owners of each process. Social networking andcollaborative technologies can help integrating the pieces.Our recent survey3 conducted among 102 HR professionals in Finnish companies indicates that when itcomes to collaboration, many companies have a long way to go. 22% of the respondents in the surveyhave implemented social networking and collaboration technologies in their performancemanagement, whereas only 16% have HR software which allows for employees to join communities,collaborate, share information, discuss topics in business context, and follow peers.Industry sectors such as oil and gas, high tech and IT have been focusing on knowledge sharing andcollaboration for decades. Best practices show that in order to succeed at collaboration,organizations need to focus on culture first and then choose technology matching that culture.HR departments must be involved when companies design collaboration models. HR is the ‘missinglink’ and can contribute with insights on acknowledgement programs, learning processes and changemanagement to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration.To understand the new challenges facing HR, below are descriptions of two HR processes and how theneeds are changing in each of them.Performance Management: Instant FeedbackMany managers are pushing for performance management to be something more ongoing, whereemployee talent and performance effectiveness are measured regularly, against company goals.Social networking can play an important role here. Ethos Technologies has developed a Social TalentManagement solution that let its managers and peers provide instant feedback on an employeesperformance throughout the year, rather than just at the yearly review time. It is possible for amanager or colleague to comment on an employees performance right when a critical momentoccurs e.g.: ‘Bens work on the presentation was instrumental in getting a new project’. Companypolicy is that everybody can comment in the performance feed, but only HR and managers can viewthe instant feedback report. "The advantage is that the instant feedback performance review processcan to be integrated with any organizations policies, whether allowing everybody full visibility or1 Bersin and Associates, benchmark study 20112 All people have talent which just should be identified and liberated – not only the few and chosen ones.3 GL Consulting/Ethos Technologies (the later acquired by Symbio Oy), HENRY ry, Linnapuomi Consulting: The Use of socialnetworking and collaborative platforms in HR departments in Finnish companies, May 2011. 1
limiting it. We are now selling our solution to large enterprises" says Olav Nedrelid, CEO of EthosTechnologies.Training: the new On-the-Job LearningWhile training is typically part of HR organizations responsibility, it is often separate from employeemanagement and performance evaluation process. Social networking goes beyond the traditionaltracking of formal training by facilitating the more informal interactions and enables the new social‘On-the-Job-Learning’. When HR effectively uses data such as peer ratings and who is following whomin the collaboration system, they have an opportunity to introduce new hires to existing employeeswho benefit from sharing of each others experience and knowledge.HR will need to figure out how social networking weaves into its processes, but that is a lesson thatthe entire company is learning too. Companies will probably still need to learn the hard way whatworks and does not work, and share those lessons across the company.If sales are declining in a region, managers can quickly analyze data in their CRM systems to make anassessment. But they should also be able to get information on a sales team’s experience, training,pay, feedback and performance to compare with another sales team in the company.There are best practices and technologies available today for getting such insights on a companystalent pool and its performance. Technology enables people-to-people interactions, but companieshave to embrace the technology to have the interaction. HR, change management and IT should workside by side to drive adaptation and collaboratively achieve those results.Author: Magdalena Pawlowicz, GL Consulting Finland. 2