How social HR technology is changing the way we work

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If there’s one cultural trend that seems irreversible, it’s the omnipresent use of social media ; it’s hard to imagine conducting any transaction that hasn’t been impacted by Facebook, Twitter and all the rest. The workplace is no different and most organizations and businesses fully embrace the fact that social media is now a large part of their marketing and brand management. But what about internally? The use of social HR technology to enhance employee productivity and engagement is on the rise; driven by the twin factors of potential benefits and increasing employee expectations (largely boosted by the arrival of the millennial generation in the workforce). So, what can we expect to see in a ‘socially-enabled’ workplace?

The strategic level

Whether it’s a separate social media people strategy or incorporating a social element into your current strategies for recruitment, performance management, succession planning, etc., the savvy employer is thinking about (and planning for) social media in an overarching way. It’s not a side project anymore.

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The latest HR software can help you reach out via social media to build talent communities, widen your talent pool, and engage with the next generation of employee by using ‘their’ tech. But it goes wider than that. Having enticed the cream of the crop through the door, you’ve raised their expectations of you as a ‘socially-literate’ employer. Your onboarding processes must follow through, engaging with new recruits before they even walk through the door. Your barrier-busting comms tools must support employees in connecting across disciplines, crowdsourcing talents and skills. Your performance management and reward mechanisms will be gamified… The point is, socially-driven collaboration is infiltrating every area of the workplace and it all needs to be coordinated. And that takes strategy.

Social engagement is transforming ways of working

The tools available to enhance employee engagement and communication are legion. Formal protocols and procedures are being pushed into the background, reducing response times and increasing creativity. Any organization hoping to get the best from its people is looking at internal social networks, casual video comms (i.e. 1-to-1 as opposed to traditional video conferencing suites), BYOD, anywhere-anytime mobile working, and flexible and home working.

Formal protocols and procedures are being pushed into the background, reducing response times and increasing creativity.

Social ROI

A real indicator of full adoption of new technology is measurement. When an organization starts thinking in terms of ROI and analytics, you know it’s serious. The impact of social HR technology on productivity, engagement and so on is reputedly difficult to measure but often that’s simply an excuse. The bigger the investment the more motivated a business is to measure its return. Alongside social HR technology itself, organizations are beginning to look at just what data they can gather from employee social media use, how to use this data to their advantage, how to incorporate it into better decision making, and developing real-time analytics to maximise the utility that social media apps are providing. And, just to come full circle, the secret to any ROI (as we all know) is having clear and measurable strategic goals for its use.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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