No Image Available

Views on HR news: The dangers of a tyrannical approach to Web 2.0


Views from the webJon Ingham trawls the net to provide his round-up of the great and the good of HR thought and opinion found on the web, so you don’t have to. This week he focuses on HR’s views on Web 2.0.

I’ve just come back from presenting at a conference on HR 2.0 (the application of Web 2.0 tools and management 2.0 practices to HR’s activities in the business and the management of HR processes) held in Romania. About 120 HR people attended the event which I suspect is more than would attend something similar in the UK. (For information on the event, see Strategic HCM, McArthur’s Rant, Knowledge Infusion’s Centre of Excellence and an article in the Romanian ‘Business Standard’.)

One of the most fascinating things I experienced at the event was the response to a question about how many of the participants’ organisations ban Facebook at work. Nobody did. Compare this to the UK in which surveys suggest between 50 and 70% of organisations do ban access to the site. Continuing the push-back against social media, James Bennett at Melcrum’s blog asks whether Facebook is dead as an internal comms tool.

I suspect the difference between UK and Romanian approaches is due to a push-back there against anything that smacks of communist-like control. But it’s still interesting that there’s a more soviet-style command and control mentality here, than there is there. And it will have negative consequences for our organisations. See for example, Gary Hamel’s explanation of the dangerous politburo power structures (as well as vindictive HR managers) on his Management 2.0 blog.

Employee engagement

Hamel notes that one benefit of a more open approach is increased engagement of employees. But there are many other benefits too. For example, reporting on the CIPD HRD conference on the People Management blog, Lucy Phillips warns that organisations that ban Web 2.0 will not be able to attract future talent (also see Graeme Martin’s reflections on his HR and People Management blog).

It’s encouraging to see Web 2.0 being covered at conferences like these. SHRM are moving one step further forward this summer in a session on and by HR bloggers: Who Are These People And Why Should I Care?. It’s equally as encouraging to see that HR software vendors are slowly incorporating Web 2.0 features into their systems. See for example this post on Oracle by Bersin’s Leighanne Levensaler on her Straight Talk on Talent Strategy blog.

But what are our HR functions doing about Web 2.0? Currently, not a lot (Kris Dunn at Fistful of Talent suggests they still feel dirty when they do). But at The Obvious, Euan Semple suggests HR should be really excited about the social web. And they should probably do so now – after all, as Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Point suggests, we’re only a short step away from Web 3.0.

So, if you’re getting excited about the opportunity provided by Web 2.0, you might want to check Management Today’s suggestions on improving your use of social media. You might even want to think about your own role in a 2.0 world – see Debbie Weil’s review of Dan Schawbel’s new book, Me 2.0, at Blog Write for CEOs.


Jon is executive consultant at Strategic Dynamics. He specialises in helping HR teams to become more strategic and to increase their impact, including through the use of social media. He has two blogs (Strategic HCM and Competitive Society), and a podcast show (Talking HR). You can also follow him on Twitter @joningham

One Response

  1. Great resources in this post
    Apart from being a good read Jon has included some excellent links. For anyone who is unclear about the benefits ( and challenges) of engaging with Web 2.0 you could do a lot worse than using this as a starting point.

    If – no make that when – you find something that is starts to stir some interest follow it and see what happens. Social media has pick and choose options -we don’t need to be following the same person or using the same sites.

    Great stuff Jon!

No Image Available

Get the latest from HRZone

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.