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    « Guest Post - Leveraging the Age Difference in HR | Main | HR Happy Hour - Episode 3 - West Coast Special »

    Worlds are colliding, Jerry!

    Last week I posted a question called 'Ask the Tweeps', essentially wondering where folks are turning when in need of information and expertise. As you would expect, the answers were pretty mixed, people rely on internal co-workers in many situations, and turn to their external networks for 'new' or 'different' questions that may not have in-house sources of expertise, or if they are interested in more diverse or alternate perspectives.

    This is altogether natural and expected, and I think understanding the 'mix' of expertise and information requests in an organization could certainly become an important part of a company's talent management efforts. 


    Just how often are our employees reaching outside the organization for information and advice?

    What kinds of things are they asking?

    Do we really have that knowledge in-house already, and our employees just don't know how to find the right person or resource?

    And finally, how might the organization capture and leverage employee's external connections for longer-term organizational benefit?

    Should they even try?


    Lately a number of collaboration and information platforms that are designed to better enable employee communication and knowledge sharing have started offer at least some insight to these questions by  incorporating 'external' sources of content like Twitter updates, Delicious bookmarks, and FlickR images.  Solutions like Socialcast, Obayoo, and to some extent Socialtext all offer the organization the ability to combine or mash-up classic 'internal' content and communication with heretofore 'external' data that has been traditionally viewed as private or personal in nature.

    Conceptually, this makes sense.  If knowledge workers find a great website that helps solve a problem, it should be bookmarked for others in the company to potentially leverage.  If an image on FlickR helps to explain a concept, then it would be great for the rest of the team to know that it is available.

    But while the 'blending' of internal content (discussions, status updates, documents) with external content (Twitter feeds, RSS feeds from blogs, Delicious, YouTube. etc ) can make sound business sense, I wonder if many employees are prepared and comfortable to open up in this way.

    These new collaborative tools try to help organizations exploit what everyone knows is going on: employees rely on external sources to accomplish their tasks. But will employees be willing to more fully open up their private and personal worlds to others in the organization.  Will they need to create dual accounts on these external sources, so that their 'company' Twitter feed can be shared with the organization and their personal Twitter feed can be kept private?

    Worlds are colliding more and more each day.  It may not be as easy as it seems for organizations to take advantage, just ask George Costanza.

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