We live in the most connected time the world has ever seen, and yet many organisations still struggle to find the right way to connect their greatest resources – people.
Technology is often seen as the solution to most issues. We need to pay people, so we introduce pay-roll systems. We need to capture details on people, store information and report, so we introduce ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. Yet amongst all of this technology, we seem to have forgotten the human part of ‘Human Resources’, and now seem to spend more of our time focusing on the how, rather than the who.
Amidst the change brought about by technology, there is one line item that has always remained top of the list - the ability to understand and connect the talent that a company has. And this leads to the ultimate question, how can we truly connect our workforce? And how can we help them identify internal talent and specialisms?
In a study recently conducted by ProFinda of over 4,000 professionals, it was found that the average employee wastes over 20 working days per year searching for support in their current role. And this is why improving internal processes to connect a workforce is the biggest change a company can make towards improving productivity. We believe there are three pillars for a more connected workplace:
- Data and people
Every data source is out there. Your employees have entered it in multiple systems, it’s now simply a matter of finding it and making it easily accessible to the whole team. People also don’t like manually adding data, so engaging technologies that can take advantage of integrations- such as artificial intelligence engines to mine data from the various sources and aggregate it in one single location – can help win the first major battle, knowing what you already know.
- Search V Match
We spend the majority of our working careers searching for ‘stuff’. Now in order to search, you need to know what you are looking for and this isn’t always easy to define. In the consumer world there are technologies that connect people that have never met and only know what they like. The system works out the rest, it’s called data matching (think match.com). So organisations should be looking to bring this type of technology into the workplace – helping to match people to projects based on relevance of what they can do- to maximise the internal capabilities based on skills and interests.
This is probably the most overlooked aspect when we think about technology. Tech is purely a framework, 20% of the solution. Culture is the remaining 80%. Organisations need people to want to engage. In the dating world there is a motivation to connect, in the corporate world it has often been designed for people to hoard information, not share. So talent leaders need to build in a reward or recognition into the process to encourage people to share knowledge and collaborate more. The framework simply needs to be a support for the change in culture and attitude within the business.
By aligning these three pillars it creates a vitreous loop to understand the talent you have, connect your people based on relevance, encourage them to collaborate and then capture the knowledge that is shared. Thus keeping up-to-date real-time data through a connected workforce.
Netflix is a wonderful example of this. Their engineering division hires people on ability and a rough scope of a role, they are then left to their own devices to work on and come up with ideas that all enable the greater good of the company. No defined job specs, simply the ability to marry interest, skills and ambition to create the perfect balance of problem solvers to drive the business forward.
So the future of HR is about connectivity, allowing people to connect to each-other and share their collective knowledge. The company simply becomes a framework to enable people to connect, and HR needs to be strategic lead driving this greater understanding and connectivity, from the top down, in order to affect change and drive the collective forward into a better tomorrow.