There has long been a dispute within the HR community as to what role technology plays in people processes. However, while this debate remains, I would argue that the answer lies in the end user: current and future employees.
The preferences of those individuals that make up an organisation’s talent pool – whether internally or externally – should dictate the way talent management processes are communicated. If this audience actively uses and has a clear preference in being communicated to via a mobile device, it would be advisable to incorporate this tool into people processes. While many HR teams may feel they have achieved this, recent research by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) suggests otherwise.
According to the CIPD’s Social technology, social business? report, almost two thirds (61%) of the UK workforce currently uses a mobile device for work and one in nine has found a new job through this channel. It also found that 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. For example, 78% of employees stated that their organisation doesn’t use social media to deliver learning and development.
In my view, these results rather worryingly suggest that talent management strategies aren’t aligned to the end user. Whether implemented by internal teams or external suppliers, any talent strategy must be driven by the business world and candidate expectations.
And while there may be some who would argue that social media has been built into talent management systems, it would be interesting to measure engagement levels and business impacts as a result of social interaction. In my experience, few companies have achieved true engagement with it’s social initiatives and it’s therefore difficult to quantify the return on investment from implementing these practices. What is clear, though, is that 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.
It’s a concern, then, that many talent management practices have yet to embrace technology within wider people processes. If HR teams and resourcing professionals fail to address this, there is the risk that people strategies will become significantly outdated.