Wednesday, 16 February 2011

TRU London Masterclass: Social HR


  Today, I’m delivering a masterclass, or a un-masterclass, at the initial day of TRU London, before the proper unconference tomorrow.

It’s an un-masterclass as we’re just being given 15 minutes to speak, and then a panel will ask questions and hopefully contribute their own perspectives during the remainder of the time.

And I’m going to be speaking, and answering questions, about social HR (then I’ll be leading a track looking at HR and teams tomorrow).

Here are the areas I’m hoping to cover:

  1. Social HR is about a lot more than just the use of social media / web 2.0 in HR
  2. A better starting point is probably reinventing management (including HR) - eg Gary Hamel’s future of management which looks like web 2.0
  3. But this just leads to a list of attributes and a better focus is one on outcomes
  4. The commonality between web, enterprise, management and HR 2.0 is about creating and outcome of social connection (hence the alternative terms social media, social HR etc)
  5. So social HR is about creating social connection as an outcome – about investing in the accumulation of valuable connections, relationships and the quality of conversations within an organisation
  6. But 2.0 (vs 1.1) tag is valid too – this really is a new way of doing HR
  7. It’s important, in the same way that investing in human capital is important – but social capital is probably even MORE important, and there is currently LESS action in most organisations to develop it – the result: social connection is heavily under-developed as a resource
  8. It can be developed in lots of ways, including direct action in teams and communities, the design and development of organisation networks, a focus on community oriented leadership, tailored HR actions eg in reward, and yes: through social media
  9. And since this is a recruiting unconference, I’d better remember to mention some of the ways that recruiting, and particularly social recruiting, can develop social connection too (for example, Goldman’s interview process which results in a new joiner being networked with 20 senior colleagues when they join the firm – nothing to do with social media, but a great way to ensure new joiners are effectively networked and can therefore be productive from day one).


Actually, the topic has already come up in a couple of sessions here.  So for example China Gorman referred to Zappos’ expectation that employees spend 20% of their non-work time socialising with their colleagues (I also like the way they randomly display employee photos on their computer log-ins for people to name and I think there’s some form of prize for the person who is able the place the highest proportion of their colleagues).  It’s all part of building those social bonds between employees.


And why do I think this way of doing HR’s so different?  Firstly because social leads to some different HR actions.  Secondly – the HR actions which remain are also changed.  Thirdly, because once you’ve got your people connected like this, you don’t need so much bureaucracy to do HR.  Instead, HR is just what happens while teams and communities are doing their work (eg recruiting taking place through employee referrals).


If you’re interested in this and you’re not at the unconference, I’ll be talking more about this area, and also how HR can support broader social connection in other organisational work, in this webinar on 15th March.  Why not join me?


Or contact me to chat.



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  1. Will you be able to comment on current trends in web savvy HR (ie. iloverewards, sonar6, ripple, success factors etc)?

  2. Yes, can do, here or there (at the unconference)?


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