If we look across the business environment, almost every corporate function is utilising technology in its own way. For example, it’s all too common to see a brand engaging with stakeholders on social media channels and the bring your own device initiative is certainly reaching fever point.
In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, 90% of organisations worldwide are using social technology and reporting a direct business benefit from it. And from an employee point of view, 28 hours of their working week are spent writing emails and searching online for information.
The use of tablets and mobile devices is also increasing around the world. The prediction by The World Bank that within 4 years 71% of the world’s literate population will have a smartphone highlights just how reliant we are all becoming on technological innovation.
It’s clear, then, that technology plays an extensive role in the way individuals operate both in and out of work wherever they are in the world. But, while it might be used well by a corporate brand or an individual, it would seem this is yet to be utilised in a vital company process: that of staff learning and development. Examples of talent management strategies that incorporate social technology devices to engage employees and assist with formal training programmes are few and far between. But, considering the clear value staff and business decision makers place on this, could the profession be risking losing its credibility if it fails to catch up with, and integrate, technological developments in people processes?
The CIPD’s Social technology, social business? report indicated that almost two thirds (61%) of the UK workforce uses a mobile device for work and one in nine have found a new job through this channel. While employers have started looking at the potential of social media, with over half (54%) using this medium for recruitment, there’s a clear gap in utilising this across wider people strategies with 78% of employees stating that their organisation doesn’t use social media to deliver learning and development. These results suggest talent management strategies aren’t aligned to the end user – the employees.
Talent strategies – whether implemented by internal teams or external suppliers – quite simply must be driven by the business world and staff expectations. If, as the CIPD report suggests, social media and mobile technology are significant influencers in our working lives, it’s vital that these resources are used as part of the full people agenda. If HR teams and resourcing professionals fail to utilise social technology in internal training and development, there is the risk that people strategies will become significantly outdated.
In my view, it would also be interesting to measure engagement levels and business impacts as a result of social interaction. And this isn’t just limited to talent managers in the UK. In our experience we find that few companies around the globe achieve true engagement with their social initiatives and therefore it’s hard to quantify the return on investment from implementing social practices.
Stephen Gilbert is Practice Director at Rethink Talent Management