Saturday, 1 September 2007

Web 2.0 - What are the broader implications for HR ?

Further to my recent reflection on 'the first 90 days' of blogging, I have also been considering what the wider implications of these technologies may have for the HR profession.

While this may not be directly relevant for those in Learning & Development - indeed much of the discussion on Facebook, LinkedIn etc. within the members forums of the UK CIPD websites are listed under 'Employee Relations' - it may emerge that L&D professional with their awareness of Knowledge Management, blogs, alumni networks etc.. are indeed well placed to partner with others in HR on this topic.

I can see three areas that drive the rationale for HR to 'get involved' in the Web 2.0 in the Workplace debate:

  • The emerging value of the Web 2.0 tools in the workplace - especially in industries where collaboration is essential between the different job roles, and/or between locations. Given the need for HR to align with & support the business strategy, as Web 2.0 becomes part of that business strategy, it is important that the HR profession keep up with these changes.
  • The 'psychological contract' will be influenced by the policies and guidelines organisations deploy in enabling/resticting social networking etc in the workplace. We see this currently in the UK media re access allowed/restricted to Facebook. While this is no different in principle to allowing personal calls on the telephone, it provides new challenges in enforcing any restrictions put in place.
  • The impact Web 2.0 technologies may have on employees health & well-being. Already it is common place to hear Blackberrys called 'Crackberrys' - as as stress remains the second most common cause of absence from work (after back problems), it will be important that additional technologies don't contribute further to any such issues. [hopefully some can actually reduce email traffic etc.]

At present the discussion threads seem to agree that HR & IT need to partner in this area - but given the complexity and rapid evolution of this topic, current best practices are hard to identify.