Main image of article HR Should Introduce the Social Possibilities

Marcia Conner is an internationally recognized adviser to the world's largest organizations reinventing themselves and their workforce for the future. She closed down HR Executive’s 15th Annual HR Technology Conference in Chicago this year to a packed house of technologists, HR professionals, HR vendors, press, and pundits. We’d just spent two and half days cramming our heads full of things we knew we should be doing, but weren't. Conferences like #HRTech are meant to challenge us, and I’m glad. But man, there’s so much to do! Marcia certainly didn’t cut us a break in her closing speech. In fact, I’d say she delivered the one-two punch we all needed... HR tends to make excuses – like, IT is responsible for that, we’re too busy, it’s too risky, I’m scared – for not being more involved in developing our organizations' social technology strategy. We need to be in that discussion. We just do. It's at the heart of how our employees communicate, connect, share, learn, develop, and generally get things done. Yet we sit by while other, less qualified professionals draw the lines around how social technology does or doesn't fit within these four walls. In fact, Marcia claimed (and who could disagree?) that almost no new social technology initiatives come out of HR. While she shared her logically methodical approach to getting HR back in the game, a bunch of gold nuggets popped out for me (with a little of my own commentary):

  • You most certainly didn’t join HR to be part of a “glamorous profession.” Might was well jump in, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty.
  • The word “social” when attached to “technology” makes people nervous. But when has business not been social, in some form?
  • Social business is NOT social media. It’s much much more than that.
  • How often do you say "There's no way 'those guys' are going to use social platforms at work"? Stop saying it. How do you really know?
  • Ask yourself, "What are the obstacles keeping my employees from doing what they're capable of doing?" Then go remove those obstacles. I bet social might help.
  • When's the last time you intentionally hired an idiot? Never, of course. Why then, do we tend to treat employees with kid gloves? You trusted them enough to give them keys to the office. Trust them to be social.
  • So much of what we still do in HR is outmoded. Think of how much more effective you'd be as an HR professional if you simply removed all those practices.
  • Use data to make your pitch or argument. There is plenty of it out there.
  • "With social technology, alone is no longer lonely -- or remote.”
  • Technology is merely an extension of everything your employees have always had the power to do anyway.

How many social possibilities have you kicked around, gotten excited about, and then promptly shoved into your desk drawers? Get them back out – reintroduce those possibilities. .