By Rudy Karsan
Over the past several years we’ve seen social media and analytics begin to reshape how the world does business. Business processes from product development to sales are becoming more efficient, productivity is increasing, and organizations are getting smarter by gleaning insights from inside and outside the company.
But, while we’ve all homed in on the impact social + analytics can have on business processes, one area has been overlooked: the workforce. The impact of these technologies is felt by each and every employee, from those in the field to the executives in the front office.
Imagine the power and reach of a workforce made up of people who are in the jobs that are absolutely meant for them, fully engaged, empowered and productive. Picture a workforce that is flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of today’s market, that is able to harness its collective knowledge, talent and experience to anticipate client needs before they occur. These images are no longer visions of the future.
Today IBM announced it has closed on its acquisition of Kenexa, a company that I co-founded, representing a major shift in the way social business and analytics will be applied to transform front office business processes and how organizations will create smarter workforces to drive a Smarter Planet.
In a smarter workforce, employees will drive innovation to bring products and services to market faster, resolve problems before they arise to improve customer service, and increase sales by building new skills.
But don’t be fooled. Social business isn’t just about collaboration, and analytics isn’t just about customer sentiment. The real power behind these game-changing technologies is the ability to help harness the vast amount of expertise behind company walls, no matter the country, culture or time zone, and use this information to transform the very fabric of the business.
A recent study by IBM identified three key challenges that keep Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) around the world up at night:
1. Cultivating creative leaders
2. Mobilizing for speed and flexibility
3. Capitalizing on collective intelligence.
While HR will play a leading role in addressing these challenges, every operational function – from sales to marketing to product development – will need to get involved. Solving these issues is what creating a smarter workforce is all about.
Three of the top things needed to create a smarter workforce are as follows:
1. Bring employees together in a collaborative and social way. Today’s workforce is becoming increasingly more comfortable, and most employees are using social and digital tools in their personal lives to connect with family and friends, share information, and more. Providing them with the opportunity to use the tools they are familiar with in their personal lives to help them do their jobs will help your organization attract a new generation of workforce.
2. Take advantage of deep human insights. You’ve implemented a social business platform, now what? Dig into the vast amount of social data now at your disposal. Employees will begin sharing content, tagging expertise, and identifying topics and areas of interest. This is a unique opportunity to find your organization’s future leaders, to identify strengths among your employees, to see who is best suited for what role and responsibility and cultivate these interests.
3. Tap into collective intelligence, measure and predict performance accurately. Collective knowledge within a company is seen as an untapped resource that can be used to create efficiencies and drive revenue. You can now tap into and take advantage of your organization’s greatest asset, the knowledge of employees. Social business tools can also be used to assess employees’ capabilities and collect immediate feedback. This helps employees understand how their contributions are actually impacting clients and contributing to the organization’s success.
With the right technology in place and a commitment to realizing a vision of a smarter workforce, organizations have the ability to fundamentally transform their business from the inside out to drive revenue.
We’re at a tipping point in workforce enablement. Organizations that recognize the importance of and become committed to enabling a smarter workforce will attract the right talent for their business and will ultimately have a competition advantage in their respective industry.