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For HR Executives…what’s your Collaboration Strategy?

I have been talking to a lot of HR people over the last couple of months and, frankly, it has been surprising to see that most don’t realize the opportunities and risks associated with social media and crowdsourcing as it relates to their business vertical. Why is it crucial that Human Resource managers be deeply aware of crowdsourcing and innovation management? Why are the smart ones thinking about integrating collaboration initiatives and an engagement culture into their organization?

There are a litany of solid reasons. I stopped counting at twelve. Here are three that on their own should move progressive and strategic hr management executives to start shaping how collaboration and innovation are going tone woven into their organizations. I have also noticed an increase in the traffic on this issue. Here’s a recent related article from Kendra Reddy that was in the Financial Post.

Before we start, a quick primer for those that are not familiar with crowdsourcing. Essentially, it is using the “collective intelligence” of the crowd to solve a problem, make better decisions, learn better, or many other outcomes. There are many outcomes because there are many variations on crowdsourcing. At the core it is using that “collective intelligence” to create ideas, improvements to ideas, and rating of ideas, all conducted by the participants who engage in your crowdsourcing initiative. That “crowd” by the way can be 20 people from the same area of an organization or 20 million people from around the globe…really depends on the business objective you seek which determines the style of your engagement and, in turn, the stakeholders who participate and the nature of the processes and tools that will ensure you reach your business objective.

OK, with that settled, here’s 3 compelling realities as to why you need to bring collaboration into your HR strategy in a deep fashion.


The nature of social media and collaborative engagements is that you have a significant amount of data that an organization gathers during the event. There are some obvious things that are beneficial such as knowing who put forward the most ideas or improvements (or who did not). It gets a little more interesting when you start looking at data that is more qualitative in nature, where you find creativity and innovation in your organization from people you didn’t know had it. Or perhaps it wasn’t realized how consistently beneficial an individuals ideas or improvements were? And the important thing to remember is that it is an objective, usually significant number of people that are providing this judgment, not an individual or small collection of individuals.

When you start to realize the permutations and measurements that can be extracted from collaboration exercises you realize that on this point alone it warrants integration into your HR strategic planning.


Like it or not (and some don’t but most do), the professional world is incrementally moving towards being more collaborative, with organizations adjusting as they need to to take best advantage for themselves and their internal and external communities. If you started now you would not be an early adopter. That time has come and passed with the advantage being that you can tailor your needs to specific offerings and support that match. Most likely your organization is somewhere in between dabbling in social media to having an integrated social media plan with dedicated resources. Where do you and the HR area fit? Do you realize the possibilities and advantages of having HR integrated…and this does not mean just having a blog or a Facebook page…this means integrating collaboration and innovation into knowledge management, performance management, talent management, remuneration, recruiting, retention, company retiree’s, and more. If you have not, you should. Today. It is simply an opportunity lost and a risk if you are not.

As you will pick up from the chart on the left from Rise of the Networked Enterprise (McKinsey, December 2010). those that are engaging are having success overall. Those that are engaging, collaborating and generally being as transparent as possible are having even more success.


The phrase Web 2.0 has been around for 6 years now. In today’s digital world that is a lifetime. In this short lifetime it has now been proven and clear that more engagement in an organization internally and by an organization with its external stakeholders is good. There are a number of studies that (including some on our website) that go into details to show that. Early on in the Web 2.0 time line there was an understandable desire for a solid business case now I would expect that in 2011 you will start to see studies that demonstrate the risk that laggards face if they are not implementing their strategy. The even better news, as organizations that have put their plan into action have found, is that the sooner that you start, the sooner you, your organization, and the individuals that comprise it can learn, adjust, and benefit.

So, where is your HR organization at? If you have not begun the journey it is never to late to start. For those that are putting their plans into action I would love to get your feedback and see what is working and what is not.

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