Frontline Intelligence: HR Consulting - The value of meaningful connections

by External06 Mar 2013

Social HR is not about HR professionals being social; it is all about enabling our organisations to be socially connected, writes Andrew Brock.

“I want to get into/work in HR because I like people”. That is usually the first sign for me to show the candidate the door when they are applying for any position in HR. It’s not that I dislike people, in fact to the contrary. However, that is not why I got into HR, nor why I stay in HR. I firmly believe that in order to positively impact business performance, people’s performance on the job is one of the last great organisational levers left to pull in order to create a seismic shift.

Social HR is not about us as HR professionals being social; it is all about enabling our organisations to be socially connected. ‘Social’ has also become synonymous with technology in the last couple of years, but those are simply tools or a means to reach the end of being more social. Being social is about being connected in meaningful ways.

Imagine the impact of a fully connected consistent, but customisable experience. Through cleverly designed social mechanisms, individuals can have their ‘unique’ experience, bringing and taking away from it what is most meaningful for them. This is extremely attractive in every aspect; think about the employee experience, how they are attracted to and then recruited by an organisation that speaks to their individual needs. Once they join the organisation, this flows onto how they are communicated to, assessed, developed and so on.

Everything needs to fi t neatly into an organisational framework, but with a unique and personal application to maximise individual strengths.

Being truly social is connecting outside the organisation, too. Connecting passionate employees directly with their customer provides a very relevant and real customer experience and a fulfilling job for the employees.

The recruiting function was first out the blocks in Social HR with the now familiar produced from these socially connected communities. For example, socially targeted recruiting strategies, but this is moving on to impact all aspects of the employee experience. For example, in the on-boarding phase and then throughout the continued learning management, it is extremely effective to be able to tailor the experience to the individual’s preference of visual vs. auditory vs. live content, and the full spectrum of blends in-between. Easy to access information sources that allow collaborative interactions really accelerate the organisational learning at an amazing pace while creating an immense feeling of empowerment for employees.

Consider also the rich source of organisational data and information that is starting to fully understand your critical job roles and apply that knowledge to become exponentially more productive.

To this day, too many organisations still cannot confidently identify or measure their critical job roles (the ones where the output difference between a great performer and an average performer is in the order of several magnitudes).

In a social organisation, the business output data (e.g. sales, widgets produced) is completely connected to the people data.

At a glance, we can see that the top 25% of sales people actually sell more than five times the average sales person. On the other hand, the top 25% of production engineers produce 1.5 times as many widgets as the average production person.

So, let’s focus all our energy on attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the best sales people.

From our connected data, we know where we recruited our current top sales people from, what schools they went to, where they live. We know what attracted them to our organisation, we know what their key competencies are, we know who their first managers were and what their on-boarding experience was like, and so the story continues. Armed with this information, it is a simple case of repeating the recipe for the next batch. This is the stuff of revolutionary change!

As social HR practitioners, if we get the best-fit sales people, then they – as individuals – will flourish. This will exponentially increase the overall business performance, creating new jobs and promotion possibilities for all the production employees. In turn, we create better communities around us and so the cycle continues, making us all happier, socially connected and fulfilled.


About the author

Andrew Brock, Client Services Director, Kenexa. Phone (03) 9602 3899 or email