Still a Slow Roll for Social

Enablement vs. Satisfaction

Social technology is gaining ground for internal use in many functional areas throughout organizations. Deployment for human resources and talent-related functions, however, has been slow.

Human resources in particular has been reticent on the subject of social in general, as the term itself raises thoughts about misuse of social media while on the job, time wasting, productivity loss and breaches of intellectual property on public forums.

In other words, say “social” in a room crowded with HR folks and see the look of panic on their faces. Many still mistake social for social media, not quite understanding the difference.

As a result, HR needs to be educated on the differences between external public social media and internal use of social technologies to improve the employee experience and workforce productivity.

There are numerous cases for the use of social technologies across talent functions.

With social technologies, recruiters have the tools to tap networks to find viable and hard-to-find job candidates. Job applicants can use social profiles to apply for positions. Onboarding of new employees can include an introduction to team members, thus engaging new employees early.

Employees, moreover, can visibly recognize peers for assistance or a job well done. Managers can work together on compensation planning and calibration. Employees can see what others think of training content or benefits elections, as well as participate in social wellness programs to encourage participation.

Mentor-mentee relationships can thrive regardless of where the workers are based. Employees can bid for shifts with a social-enabled scheduling system. Learning can be team based with any size teams. And anyone can build and publish learning content.

In IDC’s annual survey of HR executives, we asked about the overall importance social technology has on talent initiatives. The results over the three years show that the importance of social technology is on a steady rise in HR buyers’ minds. The rise indicates that HR is starting to make the distinction between external and internal applications of social technology.

Still, mobile, cloud and analytics initiatives are still seen as more important than social technology.

Digging deeper into HR’s view on the applicability of social technologies in managing talent, IDC asked about the importance and satisfaction of social use by talent managers. We saw few true wins where both importance and satisfaction were high.

Additionally, we expected that the most important HR function for social access would be recruiting, and we were not surprised to see results supporting this. Strong business cases exist for candidate relationship management via social. Recruiting is in itself a social function, so not surprisingly recruiters take easily to any and all social enablement provided. 

More recently, social tools for job seekers have increased and are catching on. An example for job seekers is the ability to quickly populate a job application with social profile information. Combining social with mobile capabilities further enhances both the recruiter and candidate experience.

Disappointing is that the least important talent management areas for social consideration in the survey were compensation, succession planning and learning management. Of these, learning management is most disappointing, in that there are so many cases for social learning. Performance management languished in the middle, with neither strong nor weak opinions on social impact.

 In any event, digital transformation encompassing both social and mobile is looming large in all facets of our lives. Employees are expecting the employee experience to mirror the consumer experience, so it will be vital for talent executives to get on board soon.