Enterprise Social: An unprecedented opportunity for HR leaders

I had the pleasure of speaking at the STJobs HR Summit 2014 which took place from 28 – 29 April at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Center, on the topic of ‘Engaging Employees through the use of Social Media’. Specifically, I shared how the use of enterprise social tools can serve to connect and empower our employees across the organization and at all levels.

The speed of information in today’s world has driven drastic changes in how we communicate personally and in the workplace. Undoubtedly, the rise of social platforms and mobile technology have played a huge part in driving this change.

Information workers are ‘always on’, checking their social platforms & working anywhere at any time

But many organizations were not designed for change. They were made to be hierarchical, stable and consistent. Companies were originally built for people to do routine work, which didn’t require much decision-making or creativity. However, as we can see from a recent Gartner study, the amount of non-routine work is rising dramatically and will continue to rise. Gartner forecasts that by 2015, 40% or more of enterprise work will be “non-routine”, up from 25% in 2010.

In this new era of business, it is easy to understand Gallup’s 2013 State of Global Workplace Study which showed that 87% of employees globally are not engaged at work.

Enabling “The Responsive Organisation” in Asia
A Microsoft-IPSOS survey conducted in 2013 with 2,132 professionals across Asia Pacific showed that employees want more access to social tools at work – 58% of Asia Pacific employees said that social tools help increase their productivity and 41% would be willing to spend their own money on social tools to drive company efficiencies.

This is why we are emphasizing on the shift towards the Responsive Organization which is built to learn and respond rapidly by:

  • Optimizing for the open flow of information;
  • Encouraging experimentation and learning on rapid cycles; and
  • Organizing as a network of employees, customers, and partners motivated by shared purpose.

Real business benefits of enterprise social

With enterprise social tools and platforms, I believe that HR leaders have been given an unprecedented opportunity to transform their organizations into one that is agile and responsive. More importantly, we can take the lead to create a conducive environment and build a strong culture that drives innovation at every level and at a faster pace.

I explain this more in the video below, which also highlights how Australian law firm Hall & Willcox used Yammer to improve collaboration and knowledge management.

Getting started
During my conversations with fellow HR leaders at the HR Summit, I was pleased to hear that many of them recognize the potential of enterprise social and are eager to find out more about how they too can start working on an enterprise social strategy in their organization.

So how do you start embarking on your Social Journey, you may ask? Key industry thought leader Charlene Li, has the following advice to offer:

  • Set goals and have a plan in place – the map of how you get to your destination
  • Remember that getting social is about relationships, both work and personal
  • Have the right metrics in place to close the loop back to your goals and strategy

Charlene is one of the top independent industry consultants on leadership, strategy, social technologies, interactive media and marketing and founder of Altimeter Group. She is also author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership and coauthor of the critically acclaimed, bestselling book Groundswell, which was named one of the best business books in 2008. Charlene is contributing a series of posts on the Yammer blog which discuss what it takes to go on the Social Journey. For starters, I encourage you to follow the series and have a closer look at her first two posts Starting Your Social Journey, and Building The Business Case For Your Social Business Strategy.

A journey, not a destination
As Charlene mentioned, for enterprise social tools to be effective it can’t just be a destination – it needs to be part of everyday life at work. This will enable seamless collaboration and communication between groups, between levels, that will ultimately drive greater effectiveness, performance and agility within the business.

At Microsoft, we’ve used Yammer to create an environment of engagement, collaboration and innovation. Yammer has changed the culture of Microsoft dramatically, enabling our employees to embrace social technology securely, collaboratively across geographies, in real time. We are able to crowd source ideas globally, get real time feedback from employees and form special interest groups to reduce email clutter.

In Asia Pacific, we’ve formed a Yammer group comprising 150 senior leaders from across the region. Within this group, we see a lively exchange of ideas and learnings ranging from customer feedback to great practices and industry observations – which are all beneficial for charting our growth and strategy in the region. But besides business, we’re also starting to see light-hearted social interactions!

Here is a video which details how Microsoft has effectively incorporated enterprise social in the fabric of our organization:

Video link: Microsoft + Yammer: Transforming by Working Social

Since social media is already such an important part of our daily lives, introducing it into the enterprise isn’t a matter of adopting a new technology – we are simply adapting the way we communicate in business. By introducing social into the workplace, HR leaders everywhere can take the lead in evolving employee work styles and rethinking the way they work.

I encourage you to visit our “Reimagining Human Resources” portal to find out more.

– Nutan Singapuri, HR Director, Microsoft Asia Pacific

Nutan Singapuri, HR Director, Microsoft Asia Pacific
Nutan Singapuri, HR Director, Microsoft Asia Pacific

Nutan Singapuri is HR Director for Microsoft Asia Pacific. As a HR leader for over 15 years working in a number of MNCs and global organizations, her experiences include driving thought leadership for the HR function across the Asia Pacific region, M&A and integration, talent management and organization development in emerging markets. Nutan has also worked closely with CEOs and senior business leaders on shaping the people agenda. She has been a trusted partner and coach with business leaders on a variety of personal/individual or team challenges in times of change and has supported building high performing teams.

Gartner: Continuing Changes in the Nature of Work, 2010-2020 (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/1416513)

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