Saturday, 9 August 2008

Aberdeen Group: Workforce collaboration and web 2.0

 

The Aberdeen Group report provides a number of interesting findings too.  The report defines workforce collaboration as "connecting employees and sharing knowledge to achieve identified goals".

It is therefore one outcome of both connection (through social networking) and knowledge sharing (through web 2.0).

In terms of my HCM value chain (input, activity, output, impact), the main inputs are the technologies organisations are using to support collaboration.

HCM Value Chain

These include:

  • Calendar sharing (94% of best-in-class organisations)
  • File sharing tools (81%)
  • Web-conferencing software (78%)
  • Task management tools for project-based teamwork (78%)
  • Web portal creation software (75%)
  • Wikis (72%)
  • Software that enables surveying / polling of the workforce (72%)
  • Blogs (66%).

The activities that best-in-class organisations are taking to support workforce collaboration include:

  • Capturing internal knowledge, expertise, experience and making it available to others within the organisation (52% of organisations)
  • Reducing the time it takes for workers to find relevant information (45%)
  • Enabling workers to communicate and / or collaborate via preferred modes (42%).

The top human / organisational capital challenges organisations seek to overcome through collaboration (ie outputs) are:

  • Workforce productivity (59%)
  • Transfer of knowledge between and among workers (56%)
  • Capture knowledge of existing workers (32%)
  • Employee engagement (30%).

The major intended business impacts of workforce collaboration are:

  • Responding to increased globalisation and geographic spread of the enterprise workforce (44%)
  • Responding faster to market changes (43%)
  • Providing innovative products and services (38%)
  • Responding to an increased competitive landscape (21%).

 

Supporting McKinsey's findings, the report also provides some evidence that organisations are starting to move from tactical to strategic applications (in my HCM value triangle, moving from value for money to adding value to creating value).

HCM Value Triangle

Value for money applications include use of web 2.0 tools within recruiting, onboarding, performance management, learning and development and succession planning.

Aberdeen Group

Adding value applications include support for project-based team work:

Web 2.0 software tools "are used to manage team calendars, project documents and milestones.  In fact 64% of best-in-class organisations cited 'collaborating on project-based work' as the number one method for which collaboration tools are used."

Creating value applications include connecting workers with subject matter experts:

"This demonstrates that in addition to using these tools primarily for improving current output (such as that from project-based work), they are increasingly used to develop employees professionally by connecting them with subject matter experts.  These experts will not only answer questions or address issues that employees face on a daily basis, but will act as mentors or coaches who become involved in those employees' learning and skills acquisition process - even if informally - making them more valuable assets to the organisation in the long-run...  Indeed, the data shows that best-in-class organisations are 69% more likely than all other organisations to use web 2.0 tools to ensure workers are connected to subject matter experts."

These findings support my view that my HCM value matrix provides an effective structure for planning workforce connecting / collaborating / knowledge sharing applications.  The key for me is selecting objectives at each step in the value chain and at appropriate levels in the value triangle, possibly but not necessarily selecting from the most popular objectives identified in Aberdeen Group's report.

HCM Value Matrix

 

Aberdeen Group also identify several important enablers other than the technology that is needed to support workforce collaboration:

  • A process that enables multiple units with the business to edit, modify and share content
  • Senior level support and buy-in
  • Communication of the availability of collaboration software tools to the workforce
  • All parties being able to connect and share knowledge irrespective of geography
  • Employees being able to find each other
  • Appropriate metrics for performance management of workforce collaboration activities.

Their report also identifies common hurdles and suggests the appropriate steps to success for best-in-class, industry average and laggard organisations - do check out the full report (available until 29th August).