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    « An HR Technology Wish List | Main | Five Ways for HR to Discover Technology »

    What shaped 2009 in HR Technology?

    As part of their year-end special report, Mary Ellen Slayter at SmartBrief on Workforce asked some of the members of their Advisory Board to write a post about a workforce trend that shaped 2009.

    Since I believe I am the only 'Technology' person on the Board, I think it makes sense for me to look at the request from that angle, and try to uncover the primary trend or trends that impacted workforce technology in 2009.

    I think the primary trend that affected HR and workplace technology in 2009 is the growing importance of so-called 'social' technologies in the workplace, and in enterprise systems. This trend has manifested itself in several ways in 2009.

    Recruiting has gone social

    In 2009, we saw the emergence in a major way of the idea of 'social recruiting', a relationship-based, high-touch, and heavily technology dependent approach to recruiting.  Social recruiting, which some argue is really no different that traditional and successful recruiting, has substantion technology components, and for HR folks, a basic understanding of these tools is really necessary to effect a successful social recruiting strategy.

    The Applicant Tracking Systems (and related recruiting technologies) that got the most buzz in 2009 were JobVite and Jobs2Web, two solutions that at the center of their value proposition is there embedded integration with external social networks, and the ability of organizations to leverage the personal networks of employees and candidates to support the organizational recruiting process. And towards the end of the year, we have seen several posts advocating empowering the entire organization to support social recruiting, largely via the careful leveraging of technology and networks.

    Employees are Networking

    Growth for the 'big three' social networking sites, (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) continued relentlessly in 2009.  Most organizations and HR departments finally realized in 2009 that social networking was a significant societal and workplace trend, and began to confront and address the appropriate relationship between the organization and the employee use of these networks.

    Whether the response was defining a corporate social media policy, upping your efforts to actively block employee use of social networks, or actively seeking ways to leverage these networks and employee connections on them the topic was on the radar of most all HR departments in 2009. HR's response to this trend has varied of course, but it has become almost impossible to ignore.

    Enterprise Systems getting more social

    Later in 2009,  a fairly steady stream of announcements from classic HR Technology enterprise vendors touted either integration with external social networks and services, or the inclusion of Facebook or Twitter-like 'feed' functionality inside their systems.  Learning Management Systems integrating with Facebook, performance systems linking with Google, or core HRIS connecting to LinkedIn, there were examples of all of these in 2009, and I think it is just the start of an emerging aspect of the overall 'social' trend in HR Technology.

    Other vendors moved to incorporate concepts from the popular external 'status feeds' to help illuminate HR processes, a great example is the Activity Tracker from Talent Management systems vendor Halogen Software. The merging/blending/mashup of process with social interaction and communication inside of traditional enterprise technologies is one of the most important developments in 2009.

    Innovation, collaboration, connection

    In 2009 a slew of tools and technologies that support employee collaboration, information discovery, and internal expertise location were either released or enhanced.  From wikis like Socialtext and PBWorks, activity stream platforms like Socialcast, or more robust internal networking technologies like Cubetree or Jive Social Business Software, it seemed that almost every week in 2009 saw a new product or some new capability added to an existing product. This week, Salesforce.com, the leading provider of enterprise SaaS solutions for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) announced the upcoming 2010 release of Chatter, an internal employee networking application that will allow employees make status updates similar to Facebook and Twitter.

    HR professionals that really want to have input and impact into the future design and implementation of collaborative computing and the continuing 'socialization' of work need to start spending more time understanding how collaboration is and needs to work in their business, and then must be able to intelligently assess and recommend the appropriate technology to support those objectives.

    A look ahead

    I think in 2010, we will certainly see more of this trend, and it will likely manifest itself in new and perhaps surprising ways.  Before the end of the year, I will take a shot at some more detailed projections.

    What do you think, what was the big news in HR Tech in 2009? Notice I did not even mention Oracle Fusion, as I decided an announcement and a short demo in 2009 really does not count as a 'trend'.

    Hit me up in the comments.

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    Reader Comments (10)

    Steve, you always do such an excellent job of synthesizing high-level tech trends for the non-techies among us. Thanks for showing some of the various angles from which HR needs to consider social media trends and impacts for next year and beyond! Ashley

    November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAshley Andrus

    I've noticed a huge pickup in interest for social recruiting around the office and with our clients. I think its partly people's dislike of 20% recruitment fees, and generally a better understanding and comfort of social media tools.

    November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErik Bartz

    Great post. Social Media is an opportunity to leverage the ideas and also focus on the objectives. Keeping abreast on technology is a must, to move hand-in-glove with the Tech world!

    Social Media tools help us manage the flood of information. Those with all their speckled agendas and priorities can together share their experiences, hold healthy arguments & inspire their vision!


    November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShree

    Glad that you mentioned both ways HR is reacting to social networks, Steve: adopting and resisting. Recruiting guru Gerry Crispin recently completed a survey of 100 large companies asking which social networks do they block in the office. The numbers show how far we still have to go, but I'm betting it will happen faster than the disappearance of spyware to check on employees' use of the Internet:

    37 percent block Facebook
    30 percent block Twitter
    14 percent block LinkedIn

    November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBill Kutik

    Hi Steve, your insight on the reality of HR Tech adoption and trends is very refreshing. Thanks for the Halogen mention, and for the great recap of 2009. We look forward to seeing your projections for what will shape next year!

    November 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Ronayne

    @Ashley - Thanks very much for reading and the nice comments, I really appreciate them!

    @Erik - Great point on social recruiting and firms looking to leverage this area as a means to reduce cost. Totally agree.

    @Shree - Thanks, social media is impacting all areas of business and technology for sure

    @Bill - Thanks for the comments and the stats. I agree with you, next year those numbers will be down to about 10% I bet.

    @Donna - I really appreciate your reading and commenting. As you know I have lots of respect and admiration for the products and services from Halogen, and felt it warranted mentioning in the post.

    November 27, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Steve- thank you do much for the wonderful recap. Do you know if the ATS systems that are incorporating social media components have decent reporting systems. Particularly tracking how thesocial media components are trending in the system (roi etc.))

    November 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Hrdlica (dawnHRrocks)

    @Dawn - Yes, I think that the two technologies I mentioned both strongly emphasize the analytics piece as well as the social integration. Another great solution you could look at in this regard is Newton Software. Thanks very much for your comments.

    November 29, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    It is great to know that web and social technologies have had a great impact on HR tech. As these technologies gather speed, and employees at the bottom start working in new ways, we can hope for a democratization of organizational structure.

    November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCollaboration Cathy

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    September 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfrg

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