Posts filed under ‘Web 2.0 and corporate HR’

Communities, "Smart Mobs" and a followup to the HR discussion…

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 interesting article in Business Week on Co-working.  The concept is not particularly new, but I like the community nature for its motivation and the potential for new ventures that comes from people co-habitating in these sorts of environments. Check out the co-working wiki for information about efforts in your local area. 

This article got me thinking about my own work habits.  Some people are very successful at working productively at home, I’m not.  Now, I didn’t say I don’t work at home – just ask my wife about my mistress – my Toshiba laptop!  But I’m not super productive at home, it’s more likely that I’m treading water in my inbox vs doing really proactive work.  Likewise, there are certain tasks I find hard to do in the often interupt driven nature of an office environment.  Examples here include research based reading, writing employee performance reviews, doing long range planning…oddly enough, it is often the work I would describe as “thinking.”  In fact, have you ever been sitting at your desk just thinking, and had someone walk by your office, look in and see you, and suddenly there is this awkward moment where you feel like you should defend why you look like your are just sitting there??

Just sitting and thinking may be the most valuable thing you can do that you aren’t doing enough of today.  I frequently schedule time to simply dissappear into my “mobile office” which has become one of 3 preferred wireless enabled Starbucks in the area. 

I don’t think I’ll personally get on the co-working train, but I like the idea and if I ran my own business I think this would be an amazing resource to take advantage of.  One of the things I don’t like about my “mobile office” is I have no interest in connecting with others while in the coffee shop – it’s too random a group and I’m there to think after all.  However, I like the notion of the co-working venue where others are there to work but you likely share common interests – in that environment I would want to form relationships and it would feel additive to me, not like a distraction.

One semi-related internal Microsoft story on this.  Many of our Subsidiary locations in Europe have an “open office” plan.  What this means is that no one has truly set space/offices, but it is all open/shared.  The first time I experienced this was at the Microsoft UK office in Reading.  Frankly, I was confused.  This is a big office – hundreds of employees – and everywhere you looked people where gathered in little clusters talking.  It felt very distracting at first – almost noisy.  I remember thinking…”what are these people doing??  Don’t they have work to do?”  By the end the first day, where all my meetings were held the same way, I was sold on the idea.  Like any organization, the hierarchy still existed, but it felt more transparent, more open.  The conversations everywhere stopped being noise and became buzz.  It was kind of exciting.  Something you just have to experience.

So, I thought all of this interesting food for thought on the how Gen Y workstyles, Web 2.0 lifestyles and HR functions relate to the way business gets done in the future.

Enjoyed this read…Digg it here!




March 3, 2007 at 10:08 am 1 comment

Exploring communities and corporate HR…

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!!”



February 28, 2007 at 11:15 pm 7 comments

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