shutterstock_77242135.jpg Is the point of becoming a Social Business really just about supporting Millennials and breaking down silos or is there more to it than that?

When social media and social networking initially entered the workplace, managers wondered how to effectively integrate these technologies into their standard work processes. Even as companies successfully used blogs, wikis and activity streams to accelerate information sharing, they struggled to effectively use these semi-structured and unstructured communications within applications that typically required data fields that were structured and defined.

As companies think about the future of social business, they must start to think about how social tools can be integrated with their existing applications and processes. Let’s think about what it really means to embrace the concept of the Social Business by looking at the one of the most social departments in a business: Human Capital Management.

Human capital management has become an important test case for the value of social technologies, since it combines highly sensitive information, tactical data used for payroll and other transactions, and holistic evaluations used to understand individual and group performance in context of other internal personnel and the external talent market.

Social platforms have been integrated with Human Capital Management solutions with mixed results in the past. The Successfactors acquisitions of CubeTree in May 2010 and Jambok in March 2011 hinted at a future where the entire value chain of human resources would gain a social component. However, these acquisitions ended up adding specific social features to Successfactors rather than an integrated social layer.

More recently, there have been additional market indicators that the HR software market is now truly ready to engage in a more social fashion. Salesforce has launched Rypple as a social performance management tool. Saba launched Saba People Cloud to integrate talent, learning and development, and collaboration.

Although these product launches show how areas of human capital management can be socialized, no HCM suite has truly provided a social layer that permeates throughout every level of functionality to improve organizational performance. What would social HCM truly look like as an integrated suite?

Talent Acquisition

As applicants enter the corporate evaluation process, they could become the hub of a social conversation revolving around each interviewer’s perspective and opinion. By integrating resume information, on-site and remote interview content, and any prior working experiences associated with each candidate, organizations could use activity streams, wikis and polls to provide more immediate and collaborative feedback regarding an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. This information could then be formatted into both a summary and dashboard of the applicant for further consideration.

Nucleus Research has found that hiring software can provide over 1,000 percent Return on Investment by reducing churn, improving candidate screening and increasing productivity with automated processes. Through social talent acquisition that takes all relevant quantitative and qualitative factors into account, the ROI associated with new talent solutions could be even higher.


Once an employee comes on board, she must learn how to work with appropriate contacts, access the right information, and learn new processes to get work done. Although a formal learning and development program is helpful, social communities can also identify informal communications habits and off-site activities that are necessary to effectively network within the company.

In addition, the employee could be “assigned” a social network based on the social maps of peers and comparable employees within the organization. This map could include recommended contacts, online teams and frequently used documentation to give an immediate head start rather than go through a weeks or months-long discovery process.