HR Social Collaboration: The Interdepartmental Silo-Buster

Social collaboration is on the rise and not only as an add-on to HR and enterprise software; increasingly it’s emerging as a founding design principle. At its best, it really ought to be a way (maybe the way) of breaking down traditional barriers between departments and teams in large organisations. Loosening the formality of traditional communications channels through HR social collaboration should be a great silo-buster when it comes to cross-team project working.

Establishing employee social networks is a culture-transforming strategy. Firstly, given the ubiquity of social network in people’s personal lives, it’s a communications methodology with which most employees are familiar. Implement it in the workplace and most of your people are already skilled in its use. In fact, by setting up private or closed groups, you can even leverage the very networks – such as Facebook – that they are already using at home. This approach also puts employees in different teams and departments into a common environment – a great leveller.

More specialized HR social collaboration tools and applications allow for easier document-sharing and information transmission; including real-time editing options that avoid multiple document versions between project team members. Centralized cloud-based data storage allows for better access regardless of the ‘home’ system used by individual members of a virtual team.

A Common Virtual Workspace

Distance becomes less of an issue. Certainly traditional email allows for efficient formal communication but teams are built on a foundation of much less structured, even haphazard daily exchanges. When collaborators engage through social HR technology they naturally have exactly those exchanges.

Furthermore, when the HR team has its own virtual workspace in common, it brings individual closer together. When all exchanges are linked and tagged with the project identity, documents stored centrally, and a single team or project dashboard set up, the virtual environment begins to mimic ideal conditions for effective HR collaboration.

The remaining problem is that a number of vendors are still taking a paste-on approach to HR social collaboration features

Another situation in which HR social collaboration tools offer great advantages is the merger scenario. When two organizations or departments are coming together it is precisely these types of informal and flexible communications options that help break down barriers and build trust and familiarity rather than suspicion.

The remaining problem is that a number of vendors are still taking a paste-on approach to HR social collaboration features, dressing up originally non-social software and technology offerings with new bolted-on features. It’s better than nothing but it’s rarely better than having a system built from the ground up with social collaboration in mind

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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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