How Social HR Can Change Your Career

Posted on January 21, 2013 by Leave a Comment

You finish high school, you get a job mopping floors, you work hard and you keep your nose down. Over time you rise through the ranks, learning the business from the ground-up, and after 40 years of progressive responsibility you become the CEO.

Sound familiar? Maybe you read about it in a history book. It doesn’t happen anymore.

That’s because the typical career progression has changed into something completely different from what your father or your grandfather experienced. Job tenures are shorter than ever. Many businesses won’t hire candidates who don’t have an undergraduate (or even a Master’s) degree. Promotions are based on performance, not seniority, and outside hiring is often encouraged (so as not to drink your own Kool-Aid).

stack of papers
With social HR, there’s less of this. Flickr/Sara Grajeda

While high turnover and low enthusiasm are common in today’s working world, it doesn’t have to be that way. The future—a better future—is coming fast.

Social HR is the future. When businesses socialize their HR, employees understand better than ever before how they fit into the organization, what they need to do to move up in the organization, and how their everyday actions shape every other element of the company around them.

Whether you’re a rank-and-file employee, a middle manager, an executive or a senior leader, here are five ways social HR can change your career:

1.    Stop getting bogged down by HR paperwork

In its simplest form, social HR empowers staff to take charge of their own HR information. That means no more change-of-address forms, no more hunting down signatures to get vacation time approvals, and no more mountains of photocopies for performance appraisals. Instead, it’s instant online updates, synchronized vacation calendars with automated email approval, and digital archives of performance records.

2.    Take charge of your own performance reviews

office fight
With social HR, there’s less of this. Flickr/David Trawin

Digital employee performance records are only the first step when it comes to performance in social HR. Social HR means that employees should not only feel empowered by the process, but they should actively take charge of it.

Instead of three mandatory goals per twelve month period, it’s infinite goals with flexible measures and hard deadlines. Instead of self-appraisals with managerial review, it’s actively getting feedback and input from people across the organization. Instead of an employee manual and job description that get looked at once and then forgotten, it’s living documents that employees consult, interact with, and improve on a daily basis.

3.    Reduce the stress of interpersonal conflicts

Problems happen in any workplace setting. It’s inevitable. The trick is to stop things from getting out of hand. The cure is open communication, open dialogue, and candid feedback. With social HR, employees don’t feel trapped in boxes, or like they should be careful not to upset order. With social HR, employees live, breathe, and take charge of your company’s culture, recognizing their colleagues who succeed and contribute, and helping those who struggle to improve.

4.    Identify and pursue valuable goals and opportunities

superwoman
With social HR, it’s all about this: leadership and making positive changes. Flickr/Ashley Rose

The best ideas aren’t invented by a C-suite executive in a glass box. They aren’t invented by a solitary engineer hiding in a basement, either. The best ideas come from teams of engaged and creative people who plan, collaborate, and iterate. With social HR, organizational structures and initiatives don’t limit these interactions—they cause them to happen.

5.    Become a company leader

Ultimately, social HR makes it easy for brilliant, hard-working people to surround themselves with great teams, align themselves with company strategy, and thrive in an environment that they enjoy coming to day-in and day-out. Whether it’s helping a colleague to achieve their social goal, working to demonstrate that seldom-seen company value, or encouraging a young hidden talent with a bit of public recognition, social HR is all about developing leadership.

So how can social HR change your career, and even your entire business? For the better, that’s how. You just have to let it.

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