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Gaining Buy-In From the C-Suite

Gaining Buy-In From the C-Suite | Human Resource Executive Online An HR technology expert offers 10 ideas for HR leaders to consider when pursuing Web 2.0 technologies.

Thursday, October 2, 2008
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In 2007, more than 67 percent of organizations blocked access to social-networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn, according to Clearswift, a Web security solution.

Are those organizations also blocking access to 67 percent of up-and-coming talent? Are they also blocking their employees from increasing their own employee engagement?

As an HR professional at the heart and pulse of employee and business needs, you have the opportunity to drive the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. But how do you get the approval of your C-suite, who seem to think these technologies are just enabling workers to be unproductive?

Web 2.0 technologies are driving a social movement throughout organizations, creating environments that rely on user-leveraged content, in rich, user-friendly interfaces. This collaboration can transform how your company works -- enabling participation, relationships and a powerful, collective intelligence.

As you begin to build out your strategy, here are 10 things to think about as your organization contemplates how to move forward with Web 2.0 and emerging technology.

* The world is changing. According to the US Department of Labor, those entering the workforce today will have 10 to 14 jobs by their 38th birthday. Companies need to truly exhibit employer-of-choice attributes to attract and keep the best and the brightest talent.

* By 2010 millennials will outnumber baby boomers. Millennials grew up on the Internet and expect that their employers will continue to offer them the technology they are accustomed to.

* Facebook and LinkedIn know more about your employees than you do. Ever do a search on your company in Facebook? You may be surprised to know that your employees are already forming their own groups. You can harness that collaboration to increase knowledge-sharing, training and employee engagement.

* What's in it for the employer? Increasingly, the point of performance is about the team. How can you continue to bring together the right teams to meet business demands?

* What's in it for the employee? Personalization, flexibility and new forms of community -- and this is something that everyone appreciates, not just the millennials.

* Don't just think Web 2.0. Think about a holistic digital HR strategy, including portals, direct access (self-service), blogs, wikis and social networking. Now tie those benefits directly to your business and show your HR and business leaders how you will create value.

* Governance. The hardest part about Web 2.0 technologies is who is going to govern it. HR? IT? We need to think about some things. Should it truly be governed or simply monitored? It is critical to create cross-functional teams for alignment and decision-making.

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* Employee experience. Think about your favorite Web sites, transactions and user-interfaces. How can you give your employees a Google or Amazon-like experience that is embedded in their day-to-day work?

* Adoption. Know your different audiences and know their comfort levels for adopting new technology. Start small and put into place branding, training and change management to get your employees excited. Remember, this is a perpetual beta and, in order to keep people engaged, you will need to continue to innovate.

* So you still want to block rather than embrace? Check out any of your employee's phones or BlackBerry devices -- even the ones that are company issued. They can access anything your firewall blocks, right from their desks.

Selling this to the C-level suite is simple. The workforce of the future (or really on our doorsteps) is coming into the workforce expecting this technology. Our challenge as HR professionals is to not discuss it as a novelty, but a true business driver. Apply technology to true business issues and watch it blossom virally.

Once again, the key is that this is not an HR system, but a business-performance enhancement tool. Going forward, it will either be HR or IT driving this. If it is not HR, more than likely HR will be at the back of the line once again.

Jason Averbook is chief executive officer of Knowledge Infusion, which will be hosting a session at the upcoming HR Technology Conference® entitled, "Great New Technologies Just For You," that will help HR professionals better understand their role in Web 2.0.

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