Written by: Dan Schuster
HR has ostensibly been all about attracting, onboarding, retaining, and developing staff. But at its core, HR has, almost secretly, been about communication and collaboration.
Effective communication and collaboration helps companies attract prospective hires, establish numbers-driven performance reviews, give employees a sense of how they can grow their careers, and so on. And, rapid advances in the way people engage with one another has shed new light on the subject. Today’s employee is one of a connected, social world. The ease by which staff can now connect with one another via social-networking tools like Twitter and Facebook has brought similar expectations to the tools they use in the workplace.
For HR technology, in particular, these new expectations have meant a newfound push for connectedness. And at Microsoft, we want to help you unlock social, organization, and operational intelligence that inspires innovation, interaction, and collaboration. You need a central source from which all interactions take place.
Imagine, for instance, a staff trainer. A trainer should be able to view and manage his upcoming training sessions and then, with a few clicks, send out an email reminder to students that a class is on the horizon. While these students will, no doubt, receive the email reminder they should also, in this new socially connected business, be able to view the course and their classmates on a self-service web portal that draws on the data from the HR system. This, of course, is only an etching of how this new world of HR might look.
Another example might include an HR generalist using the system to push out upcoming event information or changes to healthcare coverage to a web portal and then alerting staff to the changes via a mass email or other messaging option. Or picture a hiring manager drawing on an employee’s performance information from the underlying ERP system as she follows up on an email from an employee concerned about a salary action. From that initial email, the hiring manager would be able to call that employee directly over VoIP or simply send them an instant message or email—whatever they deem most appropriate for the situation.
Efficiencies are great, but what makes this connected world of HR an interesting one isn’t necessarily that aspect. What makes it remarkable is the fact that many companies already have the technology in place to do it. Complementing a central HR system implementation, products like SharePoint server can act a central hub for collaboration and information management, while Yammer can facilitate social networking and performance management, and Lync can enable VoIP, instant messaging, teleconferencing, and more.
At Microsoft, we understand the importance of truly connected, forward-looking organizations that thrive by empowering their people to reach their full potential. It’s what we call a Dynamic Business, and HR is a big part of that story. With a single, integrated HR system in place and extended by connected social tools, HR departments can ready themselves for the shift. They can then begin to unlock the social, organizational, and operational intelligence needed to inspire innovation, interactions, and collaboration for better and faster results as a company.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/02/13/hr-starts-with-communications-and-collaboration/