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Author's profile photo Bernhard Escherich

When will employees hire their new colleagues? Web 2.0 and HR

HR 2.0 up to now – old approaches with new tools

Do you know this feeling: Each time I am reading HR 2.0 or something similar I am expecting new ideas and a new approach to HR for the future? But it is always the same.  HR 2.0 is presented like this: “If your company uses Facebook, Xing to find applicants or build up something in Second Life etc. you establish HR 2.0 and will meet the talent challenge! ” Really? Does this really meet the expectations of the Digital natives are knocking at the front door! How to cope with the digital immigrants and the non-adopters? which is entering the workforce and which will be sought so desperately by companies despite the current turmoil? Can all the management approaches remain the same? Command and control structures with Web 2.0 tools? Will the millennials accept an organization where manager will decide who will enter the workforce as a new colleague and determine their personnel development needs?

Lessons from the elementary school

If we look at the new way in which our kids learn we will get some hints to answer the question mentioned above. Although it seems to be quite unusual how much time they spent nowadays on their own, organizing their work, collaborating in groups and asking other kids to join their groups with their knowledge the results are very satisfying. Just have a look at the good results for Germany’s elementary schools in the last IGLU test.

What does this mean for HR 2.0?

HR 2.0 must include a gradual transformation for the way HR-related issues are managed. Web 2.0 tools could enable a group of employees to select the best suited applicant. Just think of an example: An IT manager just revealed in a blog how wrong his decision was to hire an IT expert and what problems arose in his team. This was mainly due to the fact that the employee had good references and the manager was not able to challenge his expertise knowledge. I bet that the chance to reveal the weaknesses of the applicant would have been much better if the whole team would have had the opportunity to be involved in the hiring process. Do not get me wrong: Recruiting is just an example. If cities nowadays allow their citizens to vote how they should spend their budget via Web 2.0 tools shouldn’t employees be able to decide about their training budgets?

How should new HR 2.0 applications look like?

Up to now I described the changes just from a conceptual point of view. But as an architect I could not help but to translate this approach design requirements for HR 2.0 applications:

  1. HR 2.0 based processes require strong collaboration capabilities. This goes ways beyond current survey mechanism.
  2. External Web 2.0 applications like Facebook must be seamlessly integrated with (the) internal HR system(s).
  3. Current Manager Self Services processes like personnel development planning need feedback mechanism as well.
  4. Approval processes and collaboration processes need to be mixed up like mashups.
  5. HR processes will become much more flexible as Web 2.0 applications are strongly connected with a perpetual beta version concept.

The role of the SAP experts

Although it seems challenging to speak about recruiting needs in a time when newspapers are full with news about lay-offs there is no choice for companies and public sector organizations. Even the current economic turmoil cannot change the demographic pattern with the generation of baby boomer retiring and much smaller generations entering the workforce. Managing this challenge will become a key issue for enterprises in the near future again and business process experts should take their role as thought leaders bridging the currently often unconnected worlds of enterprise IT and Web 2.0. And it is just the beginning: The more Web 2.0 applications we will see in companies the more we will see much leaner management structures. Web 2.0 is therefore just an indication for the fundamental changes we will see and which will need to support as SAP experts.

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