Exploring communities and corporate HR…

February 28, 2007 at 11:15 pm 7 comments

Ever notice that Linked In is loaded with Recruiters??  That’s not the point of this post, but I think we can all agree that the recruiting function of HR has long since discovered communities as an avenue for adding talent to organizations.   But recruiting is only one small part of the HR function.  What about talent management and organizational design?

Wikinomics got me thinking more about this HR connection.  The obvious assertion in the book is that there will always be more smart people outside your company than inside your company.  It goes on to claim that volunteers will self-organize in more efficient ways than managers can accomplish inside hierarchical organizational structures.  I don’t know if I buy this, but the possibility that it is true should be enough to make your consider the implications.  I will buy that volunteers are frequently more motivated than paid professionals – there is a natural difference in motivation.  Think about your own volunteer efforts and test this.

So, how should HR think about this.  I’m not sure I know the answer, but it is high time to engage in the coversation.  I think you can safely say that talent management and organizational design are dramatically different in the Web 2.0 world and the traditional, largely internally focused (except recruiting), role of HR will be tested by this evolution.  Product and services insight gathering is certainly low hanging fruit already underway, but I think that is just the beginning.  External participation through co-production, co-development and user generated content are big opportunities.  That said, don’t get me wrong when I say “opportunities”.  It isn’t long term market advantage for those companies that do this well, it’s market relevance, as this is the way business WILL be done in the future.  There will be benefits for fast and first movers and I think harsh penalties for those who don’t move.

I’d love your thoughts and examples on this!!  In the end, this may be one of the most core issues to how your company might think about communities and the impact of Web 2.0.

I wonder, can large, traditional organizations facilitate self-organizing principles? 

Oh…and remember, if you liked this…”Digg it!!”



Entry filed under: General Community Discussion, Web 2.0 and corporate HR.

Politics and communities update… Convincing the Unconverted…BBQ Forum update…

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lee LeFever  |  March 1, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Hey Sean.
    I like to see the assumptive close come up again. About long term market advantage vs. market relevance – I think both are stake. Lately I’ve often said that the basic rules of business have not changed – it’s still focused on relationships with customers. What has changed is customer’s expectations of what it means to have a reationship with a business. The businesses that succeed in co-production, co-development, etc. succeed because of the strength of these relationships and the willingness to pursue them. I cannot think of a better long term market advantage than productive and trusting relationships with customers.

  • 2. Frank Roche  |  March 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Sean,

    Thought-provoking, indeed. There has been so much talk in the past few years about “human capital” and “employee engagement.” I’m afraid a lot of that talk was just that: talk. There wasn’t much of a conversation. Which is at the heart of why mission-driven work is so engaging and work-work sometimes isn’t. Getting the conversation rolling, helping employees participate as much as customers in the refinement and success of a business, that works.

  • 3. Sean ODriscoll  |  March 1, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks for joining the conversation here! You make a great point. I’m not an HR professional, but I do run a global team of about 100 people so I have some experience with the challenges of both management and leadership (two often mis-understood domains – all too often thought of as the same thing). As the world shifts to a more inclusive / co-production set of processes, the role that a much larger set of employees can have in joining the conversation with customers will change the game in a number of ways. I think lowering that barrier for internal to external conversation (both ways) is an amazing tool for changing the perception people have about their work and customers have about your company – at the heart of the more transparent company – an earlier post.

    I know the implications of this will bring new challenges from a legal and corporate policy standpoint for many organizations, but I think these will be good issues to address vs reasons not to engage.


  • 4. Frank Roche  |  March 2, 2007 at 5:00 am

    Sean, well phrased: “[So I have some experience with the challenges of both management and leadership (two often misunderstood domains — all too often thought of as the same thing).” Excellent! And so true.

    Yes, some legal questions, but doing the right thing always prevails. And getting people engaged in the convo is always a winner. If anything else, we hear in HR surveys that people want to be respected and valued for what they do. The more we listen — genuinely listen — the better it works. And with tools to do it…all the better!

  • 5. Sean ODriscoll  |  March 2, 2007 at 8:21 am

    This topic of Management and leadership probably deserves a full post even though it’s not core to my normal topic…I’ll give this some thought and pull it up in the days/weeks ahead.

    thanks for your insights.

  • […] 3rd, 2007 As a followup to my earlier post on Exploring Communties and Corporate HR, I thought this a worthwhile discovery to share (thank you Smartmobs.)  There’s an […]

  • […] power in the hands of the community to convey information and knowledge can only be a good thing. Community Group Therapy.  February 28, 2007.  “Exploring communities and corporate HR…”  Retrived from […]


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