Social HCM: Why Workday’s Chatter Integration Isn’t About Easy Approvals

November 15, 2011 Appirio

Balakrishna Narasimhan (@bnara75

Since Salesforce made the Social Enterprise its rallying cry and company-wide message early this year, a lot has been written about this topic. However, until now much of the conversation has focused on what social enterprise means for front-office processes like PR, marketing, sales, and customer service. But what does social mean for rest of your business including finance, HR, supply chain and more?

A recent survey of 103 social business early adopters by Ray Wang (@rwang0) provides some clues. According to Ray’s research, while CRM still accounts for the top three use cases, the next three use cases are internal project workspaces, recruiting and employee feedback.

With Workday’s recent announcement about their integration with Chatter, we’re starting to think about a broader set of social HCM use cases and the possibilities are far more exciting than just approvals, recruiting and performance feedback loops. Here are some the things we’re excited about when we think about social HCM.

  • Talent sourcing: This is not a new use case as anyone who has either looked for a job or posted a job in the past five years already knows. Social networks like LinkedIn are a critical resource for finding candidates and jobs. But what about expanding this to include monitoring Twitter and Google+ to identify people who are influential on topics critical to the role you’re recruiting for? These topic experts could become recruiting leads themselves or could refer qualified candidates that you might not have found otherwise. 
  • Community: Internal communities using tools like Salesforce Chatter, Yammer or Jive create a sense of engagement, especially among increasingly virtual, global and dispersed workforces. At Appirio, for example, where we have 400+ employees globally and only two physical offices, we have 100+ Chatter groups that create a great sense of engagement among our employees. These groups enable people who have similar interests, whether on a work-related or non work-related topic to find each other and connect. We have Chatter groups for social purposes (Fantasy football, Musicians, Cricketers, Newbies,..), work-related topics (Project Estimation, Mobile, Social Enterprise,..), projects, proposals, community outreach and lots more. All of our executives participate in these Chatter groups and it not only makes us much more productive, but also creates a fantastic sense of being connected to your co-workers. 
  • Identifying internal experts: A big pain point for most organizations is identifying and tracking internal expertise. Most organizations rely on employee skills matrices or LMS systems that track certifications and training. However, these systems often don’t give you a true picture of the expertise in your organizations because experts may not always self-identify, certifications may be outdated and there may be employees who have not taken classes but actually are experts. By looking at what people are doing on internal social networks, or externally on public social networks like Twitter, you can bring empirical and behavioral data to bear on identifying experts. An empirical picture of expertise in your organization would be based on analyzing the topics people are talking about, the groups they’re active in, the number of comments/likes their posts generate and whom they influence. You may be surprised to find that your organization already has many of the skills you thought it lacked or vice versa. 
  • Enhanced performance management: Performance management that’s based on annual or semi-annual performance reviews relies on stale and subjective information and lacks empirical data except in the case of certain roles like sales. Standard performance reviews measure employees along a set of defined criteria but may miss the impact the employee is having outside the rubric of the performance review. With social tools, there are clear empirical indicators of an employee’s performance and impact on your organization. You can track how active they are in internal communities, how much their contributions are valued and how much the content they produce is used. This information can give you a full picture of what the employee is working on and how that’s affecting the company, rather than just looking within a pre-defined rubric. This information isn’t a replacement for traditional performance reviews but could provide a lot of valuable information that should be factored into evaluating an employee’s performance. This could also help with career path or planning discussions. Looking at where the employee is engaging both internally and externally gives HR organizations and managers far better clues into where an employee wants to take their career than most other sources of information! 
  • Measuring and rewarding influence: Traditional performance management may miss people who are broadly influential in an organization, even among organizations that use peer or 360 review processes. By looking at how people are engaging and influencing people outside their function, you can reward those who are truly impacting the organization. As organizations become less hierarchical and siloed, your most valuable employees are those that are broadly influential. Social tools can give you the data you need to find these valuable employees. 
  • Engagement and retention: By looking at internal engagement or changes in an employee’s engagement style, you may be able to identify flight risks. For example, if a highly engaged employee suddenly reduces their level of activity, this may indicate a change in how they feel about their role or their company. Similarly, seeing what employees are doing on public social networks like LinkedIn could help you identify potential flight risks. For example, employees who reduce internal engagement and then have many new LinkedIn recommendations are likely a flight risk and if your organization values them, someone should probably reach out. Conversely, you’ll also be able to identify and reward highly engaged employees. 

As you can see, we’re excited about Social HCM and all the possibilities opened up by Chatter integration in Workday 15. We can’t wait to start exploring many of these use cases within Appirio and with our customers. If you have any other Social HCM use cases, please let us know in comments or on twitter (#appirio #hcm)!

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