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Corporate Social Networking Trends in Talent Management

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While the formal implementation of social networks and Web 2.0 tools within corporate intranets is still in the early adopter phase, new research shows that an increasing number of organizations are informally experimenting with and benefiting from the use of these tools for business purposes. The study, conducted by global professional association and think tank Human Capital Institute (HCI), along with integrated talent management software provider Cornerstone OnDemand Inc., reveals that more than half of the companies surveyed use communities of practice/groups and chat/instant messaging (IM), with other popular applications including corporate social networks (49%) and blogs and/or wikis (39%).

For the comprehensive report, Leveraging Social Networking & Web 2.0 Collaboration Tools in Enterprises, HCI polled nearly 200 senior human resources (HR) professionals regarding their use of corporate social networks and Web 2.0 applications for business purposes – particularly for learning and talent management.

"Corporate social networks and Web 2.0 tools can have profound implications around the talent lifecycle, employee productivity and engagement, and channel effectiveness, as well as brand and product awareness, which affects the bottom line," says Allan Schweyer, HCI Executive Director and Senior Vice President, Research. "These new technologies are likely to be among the high-demand applications of the next generation of employees."

There is a heightened awareness among HR and talent management professionals regarding the benefits of these collaboration and knowledge-sharing technologies for acquiring, onboarding, managing, developing and motivating employees, according to HCI research. This includes allowing for better informal training by using communities of practice (29%) and threaded discussion boards (29%), improved communications via communities of practice (42%), and faster knowledge transfer via wikis and blogs (26%). Respondents also believe that implementing these tools will allow them to access and retain corporate memory and tacit information that could provide significant organizational benefits.

Despite the increased experimentation and perceived benefits of leveraging Web 2.0 applications in the enterprise, organizations included in the research felt that user adoption (37%) was among their greatest barriers in using these tools for business purposes, with lack of integration with corporate networks or other business applications identified by some as an inhibitor to employee usage. Creating a compelling business case for the tools (34%) also was seen as one of the greatest barriers to corporate usage.

"It is essential for organizations to get beyond the hype of these new technologies and to develop practical implementation strategies that support real business goals," says Charles Coy, Director, product marketing, Cornerstone OnDemand. "Integrating social networking and collaboration tools with existing applications for learning and performance regularly used by employees will increase the chances for engagement and participation."

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