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Enterprise Social Collaboration: Creating Workplace Interactions That Unite

Feature Article | June 27, 2017 by Daisy Hernandez

The role of the HR organization is quickly moving beyond managing employees dispersed across the globe, adjusting to new cultures, ensuring compliance at all levels, and allocating resources promptly.

It’s not just because political and demographic structures are evolving before our very eyes. The world of work is also changing along with our expectations for fairness, demand for best-fit talent, and a vast pool of talent diversity.

With the rise of the gig economy and remote work environments, according to McKinsey Global Institute, more and more workers feel overqualified and underutilized, translating into “costly wasted potential for the global economy.” Further,  as Annabelle Gurwitch, New York Times bestselling author, noted in her latest book “Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories About My Family You Might Relate To,” people are feeling more lonely and disconnected due to these new workplace environments. Gone are the days of the work family, and workers are desperately searching to regain a sense of community somehow.

The biggest issue faced by HR today is crafting an employee experience that is digital by design and addresses the need for connection and leveling the playing field. Everything that HR does – from recruiting and hiring practices to talent development and leadership succession – must be reconditioned to adapt to an increasingly digital labor marketplace.

More Digital, More Noise

As businesses become more digital, HR is receiving greater pressure to redesign workforce processes and employee experiences to adapt faster, facilitate rapid skill development, and embrace individual career expectations. According to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, digitally savvy workers, who are comfortable with self-services and sharing information transparently, demand “an integrated, digital experience at work – one designed around teams, productivity, and empowerment – and HR is ex­pected to deliver it.”

In response, businesses spent more than US$2 billion in HR applications and platforms in 2016, according to CB Insights, which is a 15% over similar investments made in 2015. Although the latest technology – such as cloud, mobile, analytics, artificial intelligence, social recruiting, and wearables – is increasingly adopted in the workplace, employee engagement still hovers below 15% worldwide. These developments are, undoubtedly, reshaping how the workplace runs and how HR supports it – leaving many of the traditional HR systems adopted decades ago obsolete.

Although these technologies are helping businesses innovate new ways of getting work done and generate revenue, they are also encouraging a digital workplace of five generations to engage 24×7 and evolve constantly. But as Josh Bersin, principal and founder, Bersin by DeloitteDeloitte Consulting LLP, mentioned in his blog “Viewpoint: Trends and Predictions for 2017 and a Brief Look Back at 2016,” the digital workplace is also “filled with data, information, and electronic noise,” thanks to an endless streams of “messages on e-mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and a few other systems as well.”

Enterprise Social Collaboration Cuts Through the Noise of a Digital Workplace

Knowledge sharing is great, but not at the cost of spending as much as half a workday sifting through messages to assess relevance. Information is only helpful when you can derive and communicate findings and take action in real time. Enterprise collaboration platforms, enable HR to help employees cut through the noise while accelerating talent development, decision making, and bottom-line outcomes.

Whether known or unknown, experts throughout the business store volumes of intricate and mature insights residing in the deep recesses of their brains. All too often, this web of knowledge is tapped only through one-off conversations, in-the-moment action, and internal stories. To maximize the full potential of this intelligence, an enterprise collaboration platform empowers employees to tap into their natural learning styles. Information discovery, peer collaboration, relevant resources, and expert finding can help employees find new and inventive ways to get answers and further on-the-job learning.

Another benefit of enterprise social collaboration is allowing the workforce to entertain and recommend opportunities for career development and succession planning. Employees can put their passion and interests on display and further develop them by connecting with the right subject-matter experts. With visibility into what is happening in the business and which topics are discussed, employees at all levels can post a question, article, or discussion topic to add value and further the conversation.

Through such collaborative experiences, the digital workforce gets what it wants: one-to-one and one-to-many relationships that add value to their work and future. When employees are engaged and feel that their capabilities are valued, they feel connected to the overall success of the company.

To learn more about Deloitte’s 2017 HCM Trends, please see here.

Daisy Hernandez is global vice president of Product Management for Enterprise Collaboration at SAP

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