• http://ronamok.com/ ronploof

    This is a great start, John. I would like to add one more piece.

    Instead of a system that is “…engaging, easy, and fun to use,” any initiative must result in a net positive experience for the employees. If an employee is required to take on additional tasks, processes, or use new tools, yet receives no benefit (increased productivity, reduced workload, bonus, etc…), then the social initiative will join its predecessors on the scrap heap.

    • John Wookey

      Agreed….thanks for the feedback.

  • http://twitter.com/dgarella David Arella

    Without negating anything John W. has said here, I do want to dig a little deeper and suggest some counter points and further enhancements to the general approach he is suggesting. I will elaborate on 5 quotes from his article:

    1.  “People-centric systems should promote connection, communication, and collaboration. That is the core of the social
    enterprise”. 

    Yes, of course, but…there are alternate “flavors” of connection, communication, and collaboration that offer and support alternate objectives. As commonly practiced, the social enterprise promotes a many-to-many communication paradigm – each individual broadcasts information out to everyone in the group. Project team members share their personal goals with the whole team. Individuals send out queries company-wide seeking help. Shared document edits are seen by everyone. And, yes, in an open feedback forum coworkers award badges to each other.

    The benefits can be readily appreciated, but there are also limitations to these practices. Participation can be spotty; certain people contribute a lot, others not at all. Kudos are happily awarded, but critiques are never entered. Too much sharing can challenge a healthy respect for privacy and appropriate confidentiality. Groups tend to diffuse responsibility; information sharing is much different than accountability. Broadcasting needs and gathering input from a larger and larger social group has value, but social networks do a poor job coordinating work and actually taking action. Lastly, due to its more random nature,
    there is little hard data from which to develop meaningful performance metrics.

    The most effective social enterprises will blend the many-to-many social paradigm with its newer counter-part, the one-to-one paradigm – i.e. two specific people having a focused interaction. It’s still about connection, communication, and collaboration, but at a granular level taking action involves a performer delivering some outcome to someone else who can assess the completeness and express specific satisfaction. This dialog can be either private (visible only to the two parties) or open (visible to a broader group of interested parties). The key principle here is the authenticity and personal integrity of the two people involved. This emphasis is less freewheeling than the many-to-many paradigm, but this more disciplined communication drives more intimacy and personal accountability by making commitments explicit and tracking each deliverable. Accountability and engagement are made palpable, and tracking deliveries against commitments yields a wealth of actionable metrics.

    2.  “Lack of meaningful information is the hallmark and curse of every legacy HR system.”

    This is perhaps a bit overstated, but the point has merit. I would urge, however, that while creating a social enterprise will render new information, the meaningfulness of that data has limits. Tuning in to the social buzz around what’s been called the “enterprise social water cooler” can certainly provide a more real time picture of employee concerns than a survey. Employees can share comments and suggestions that lead to improved operations.  Badges awarded to colleagues can be accumulated at review time. But, I submit, the inherent diffusion of a large social group coupled with its anonymity and randomness of participation will severely limit real meaningful metrics.

    3.  “Making the [performance management] process collaborative – and allowing people to commit – creates and fosters a real dialogue across an organization.” 

    I’ve spent a lot of time studying the process and practices associated with making commitments. Commitments are, indeed, what really drive actions. But just making performance management “collaborative” does not get it done. Commitments can and should be shared publicly, but as noted above the actual formation of commitments is a more person-to-person endeavor. Sure, we’re certainly moving away from command-and-control practices and toward more bottom-up participation and engagement. But the actual process of making and tracking commitments, plus the feedback and metrics associated with delivering on those commitments, requires more discipline and rigor than that typically offered in purely social many-to-many dialogues.

    4.  “Feedback should be open and collaborative…which results in transparency, trust, and alignment”. 

    This is certainly overstated.  Sure, some feedback can be more open and it’s fine to get
    kudos from colleagues in other departments, but other feedback (one could even
    argue the most important feedback) should certainly not be open.  And to make the leap that open and
    collaborative communication automatically yields more transparency and trust is
    overly simplistic at best.

    5.  “A social HCM system still supports the creation of formal reviews and metrics-based assessments.” 

    Yes, sharing goals with the group and accumulating badges and feedback from colleagues across the enterprise is a step beyond the old 360-review process, but providing “metrics-based assessment”, not so much.  Meaningful metrics rely on facts that are documented and comparable. The system for collecting data must be structured and consistent across the enterprise. These are not typically the qualities of a purely social, many-to-many network.  The complementary one-to-one social systems coming along will add an important adjunct that can provide meaningful metrics.

    The social enterprise is coming and with it comes a wealth of new opportunities. But let’s bridle our enthusiasm with an appropriate understanding of the deeper practices and behaviors we all seek to transform.

  • http://www.bersin.com/ Josh Bersin

    Good points, but its far more than just “social.”  Modern management practices are not only “social,” they are “agile.” We’ve been doing a lot of research on social rewards applications and solutions, and this market is also being reinvented.

    I think the word “social” may need to be replaced by “peer to peer” – the real issue in organizations today is that the old-fashioned top-down approaches to management itself have changed. We have a whole model we call “The Agile Model of Management” which describes what this means.

    I wont try to explain it here, but maybe John will let me write an article describing what we’ve uncovered :-).

  • http://misslujo.tumblr.com/ Jocelyn Aucoin

    Great write up, John!  

    I think it’s really easy to say a system should be “this” or “this” but simply put – it’s gotta work the way employees do to be successful and whatever that means is going the different from company to company, from worker to worker. It’s about finding the best fit and finding the best platform that really flows with the worker and doesn’t create a lot of, well, work! That just defeats the purpose then, doesn’t it? 

    Loved this – happy to share it with our community. 

    Jocelyn Aucoin
    Community Manager
    WorkSimple

  • erpreveal

    actually nowadays erp vendors are building up system that is more human centric. Social ERP or Social CRM will be some good start. Salesforce has created social crm that is operated with people in mind. and look at the IT trend now, most of the business are looking at human interaction, management and sharing of information.
    So yes, this article is a good suggestion to most of the erp product out there. human capital management~

    cheers,
    terry
    crm software