The Human Resources function in organizations has been undergoing tremendous change in recent years. From being largely paper pushers trying to manage the operational needs of colleagues much of the HR function of large and mid-sized organizations have been automated. Functions such as Leave management, Document management, Help desks, Performance management, Talent Management etc. have gone online and dramatically improved the efficiency of the HR function.

Evolution of technology has brought HR to the cusp of the next generation of change. Social Media, Mobility, Cloud and Big data bring a whole dimension of possibilities that can make the HR function a partner in the growth of the organization. The digital technology, that is flooding our every moment, offers possibilities that enable the Human Resources department to bring strategic value to the business.

Talent Management

Recruitment will undergo a sea change. Social and Mobile are the easiest ways of reaching candidates and employers. Many companies are already using LinkedIn for strategic recruitments. Not only does listening on Social Media give you information about the candidates you are recruiting, the candidates can also gather information about the corporate. Job seekers will visit Twitter and Glassdoor to understand the corporate from the viewpoint of its employees. Increasingly the brand of the corporate will be used to attract exceptional talent on Social Media. HR will become increasingly responsible for corporate brand building on the Web front.

Recruiting applications will become Social media capable. They will crawl LinkedIn and similar sites to find suitable candidates. They can conduct in-depth investigation of these candidates using data that it gathers by mining social media sites. These cloud applications will be available anywhere. Imagine uploading a business card of someone you meet at a conference to the application so the recruiter can head hunt.

Companies that host internal Social Media Networks can use the platform for internal hires. Available jobs can have wide exposure on the platform allowing colleagues to aspire for those jobs. Crawling Social media can help one find colleagues with special skills that are not immediately visible on a CV or in the skill bank.

Successors to key positions can be identified and developed on Social Media as well. After an individual has been identified, based on the result of a skill and experience based search, the incumbent will start mentoring the successor on Social Media and other channels. Creating a knowledge and transaction base, on the network, for the successor will become the primary responsibility of the incumbent.

Learning & Development

Companies will encourage the use of internal Social media networks for L&D. This will enable employees to collaborate and locate internal experts. New recruits will find mentors to help them make the transition both technically and socially into their new organization.

Social media will enable organizations to build knowledge stores with easily accessible documents, policies and information through transactions & interactions. Easy sharing of information, being able to identify & quickly tap Subject Matter Experts will make organizations dynamic and open to change. Top performers will get the visibility that they desire and become change drivers. No longer will the company’s culture be inherited from the founders. Changes in the corporate culture will be driven by top performers through social media. They will influence change as they collect a following that seeks to emulate their achievements.

The internal Social media network will become an integral part of the organization’s skill bank and skill development. Searching for skills will become easy in this interactive and collaborative environment. Social media will provide the platform that will enhance the skills in the organization. SME’s will use the platform to share their knowledge and mentor their colleagues. The SME can upload video and text to the cloud as part of training delivery or knowledge dissemination. The training will be accessible anywhere, delivered from the cloud to the mobile, at any time.

Cloud has become a great source for Learning and Development that a corporate can tap. Very good courses are available free or with the modest fee. Team building courses use Gamification to enhance leadership skills in an organization. These interactive courses allow organizations and trainers to set up challenges for the trainees that they will have to solve during the course. These courses are no longer limited to a classroom. The groups that take part could be distributed geographically anywhere in the world.

Internal Social Media Networks

Organizations will be setting up Internal Social Media Networks where all employees can participate. These networks while being on a Facebook-like platform will have to incorporate special functionality. The network will need functionality that will allow interactions between members in project groups and will play a role in project and task management. The network will need functionality to support training and mentoring. The network will need functionality that manages discussions on technical topics and answers questions. These networks will access relevant third party databases of interest to the company and make key data available on dashboards. And much more.

With appropriate interventions, Social media can be a great place to steer, establish and enhance values, ethics, and directions of the corporate. Senior management, change drivers, social influencers will participate in discussions that lead to clarity in directions that the corporate is taking. This beats the monthly newsletter that may emanate from the MD’s office!

Social Media will make company policies easily accessible to all employees. Clarifications on policies will be addressed by the best in the organization and in public. This beats getting a one on one clarification from an HR staffer and becoming disgruntled in the process! The policy will be applied uniformly to all. Healthy discussions on policies will take place and promote policy and workplace change for the better.

Internal Media will become a tool to assess the morale of the organization and perhaps morale of individuals. A corporate with high morale will participate in discussions; encourage sharing, mentoring and many such social activities. It will allow HR to connect to people’s desires for achievement, recognition, and status. Social media will become the pulse of the organization if it is allowed to. An open, sharing, caring organization will have a vibrant social media. Something less will point at inherent problems in the DNA of the organization that needs correction.

An employee’s Social Media profile and participation changes may indicate flight risk.  Diligent listening on Social media will indicate many areas that need correction. Big data analytics applied to Social Media could unearth risk indicators, insights and challenges. Using this analytics HR could intervene very early in the cycle and nip nascent problems in the bud. Social Media will become a vital tool for HR to track employee satisfaction, manage morale and keep a sensitive finger on the pulse of the organization.

Performance Management

Performance Management currently, as most HR personnel will admit, is for the large part, inaccurate. It suffers from subjectivity, personal relations and lack of continuous feedback. Very often the most recent incidents impact the appraisal. Performance Management will acquire a defining dimension with Internal Social Media.

Mining Social Media will provide insights regarding the appraiser. Her leadership, willingness to help and collaborate, her domain capabilities and much more will become obvious. This year-round interaction with colleagues will provide an insight into the appraisee’s integration into the organization and her morale much more accurately than any of the current methods of appraisal.

The interactions on Social Media that happen during the year are spontaneous and are not weighed down by the considerations of an appraisal. These interactions will tend, to be honest and will throw an unbiased light on the appraisee. This feedback that comes from multiple sources and interactions will tend to be more accurate and add value to the limited feedback and KRA assessment that is considered during most appraisals


While the promise of Digital is all encompassing most HR departments are behind the Digital curve at this time. Only 26 of the Fortune 500 have online career pages that are optimized for Mobility. Only 6% use social media for recruiting, to interact with candidates and strengthen the brand. 75% still continue to post advertisements on career sites. The ‘pull’ capability of Social media is still not much in use. UPS, however, is a success story, going from 19 hires in 2012 to 15,000 hires in 2015 using social media. 80% continue to use classroom training methods. Only 5% have started using Social media to encourage learning within the organization

The emerging stars in the corporate world will learn to use Digital before the rest. Their HR will enhance the brand of the organization and recruit using Social Media. Learning and Development will largely move from classroom training to collaborating learning using Social media and the Cloud. Their internal social media network will become an integral part of the ethos of the organization and participate in driving its vision, values, and growth. Social media will show the way to fairer and more transparent Performance Management. The social media network will become the mirror to the organization that will display the image held by the employee’s warts and all!

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