Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Social Networking - CIPD to explore 'can it live up to the hype ?'

In the latest issue (no. 22) of the CIPD Quarterly Update on CIPD Policy & Research (IMPACT), Martyn Sloman provides information that:

'The CIPD is about to launch a research project exploring the subject of social networking to consider its potential and practical applications in the world of work'

I believe this is a very welcome development for all of us working in HR/L&D !

As Martyn points out:
'social networking means people getting together voluntarily in a community to share information, ideas and swap contacts. There is nothing new about this, nor is there anything new about the idea that some of the resulting outputs could have implications for their work.'

'what is new is that such sharing can take place through the Internet ..... It is beyond dispute that certain activities, which can be included in social networking, have shown exponential growth.'


'although the term social networking has caught on, it may be a misnomer. Technological networking may be a better term'

CIPD suggest that there are (at least) four major areas of application, and two consequential implications.

These areas are:

  • recruitment (to enhance access to potential candidates)
  • learning (to enhance access to subject matter experts & mentors)
  • knowledge management (to enhance the sharing and combining of expertise)
  • colleague engagement (facilitating the 'voice of employees)

Suggested implications include:

  • to what extent an organisation should control or monitor internet use
  • protection of the 'brand' of the organisation

I'd suggest that the forthcoming research should also consider:

  1. whether or not, with the globalisation of business, the statement of 'it is who you know, rather than what you know' is increasingly important for both individual and organisational success.
  2. whether or not, these 'social networking' web 2.0 technologies provide skilled networkers with valued time/labour saving tools
  3. whether or not, these 'social networking' web 2.0 technologies provide less skilled networkers with tools that build/accelerate their effectiveness in collaboration capabilities (and thus the implications for L&D !)

I'd also recommend that attention is given, not only to the implications for protecting the 'employer brand', but also to the concept of 'Employee Brand'. With the changing psychological contract (and the lack of 'a-job-for-life'), I feel the research should seek to understand the extent to which individuals want to balance their investment in both intra & inter-organisation networks. The latter being 'portable' between jobs/organisations.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Strategic Learning & Development - 2008 Conference, Amsterdam 21-22 Feb. (3)

In this my final post relating to the recent Strategic Learning & Development conference, I want to highlight three models/frameworks I found particularly helpful.

Kerry Derry (Director of HR Operations - Coors Brewers) shared the following model as a simple, but very powerful & practical framework for engaging senior line leaders on their own learning.

The model consists of three overlapping circles - representing (i) Self, (ii) Context & (iii) 'Others' - i.e. employees/colleagues - with Leadership being the intersection of these three dimensions.

For me, this highlights the need for a focus on topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Business Acumen, & Interpersonal Skills ... equally: that these Leadership Competencies must be considered in relation to each other !

Nick Shackleton-Jones (Manager, Online and Informal Learning - BBC) described an Online Learning Strategy pyramid. This combines both top-down and bottom-up approaches.

At the top of the pyramid is the 'High End' driven by a top-down approach. This online e-learning is high-cost, involves extended development, and requires high interactivity.

At the bottom of the pyramid are 'Social Learning Technologies'. Wikis, blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook drive online learning from a bottom-up strategy.

In the middle of the pyramid is 'Rapid Development' (typically = Rapid E-Learning). The top-down & bottom-up strategies merge, thanks to the availability of inexpensive tools and templates for rapid content development.

In my view, this helps position the co-existence of these online learning approaches within an integrated strategy that needs to be both deliberate and emergent. It also suggests that the rapid e-learning tools may prove to be very valuable if the top-down and bottom-up strategies can be reconciled (e.g. to position SMEs to create e-learning that is more than just 'automated powerpoint presentations', and thus achieves 'top-down' quality standards)

Finally: Rainer von Leoprechting (Head of Management and Organisation Development - European Commission) provided the Commission's Emergent Learning Agenda.

  • Professional development of HR Functions
  • Organisational Development
  • Action Learning
  • Promoting 'on-the-job' Training
  • Learning support as an internal consulting service
  • Building Communities of Practice to enhance knowledge sharing
I'd suggest that this provides a great checklist for any organisation !

Also see my previous posts on this conference:

Strategic Learning & Development - 2008 Conference, Amsterdam 21-22 Feb. (1)

Strategic Learning & Development - 2008 Conference, Amsterdam 21-22 Feb. (2)