A Look Ahead: How Social Intranets Will Empower HR in 2016

HR-Teamwork.jpgHuman resources (HR) plays a critical role in a business’ success. Though they may be unseen and unheard much of the time, HR personnel are the “people whisperers.” They hire and manage talent, drive employee engagement and ensure satisfaction in the workplace.

It’s a tough job – it always has been – but best-in-class organizations are making it easier through technology and tools like social intranets or enterprise-level social networks. Through these tools, the HR department is empowered to recruit the right talent, improve on-the-job performance and increase the employee retention rate.

Social intranets are transforming a number of HR functions and, as a result, impacting business operations and outcomes. Here, we’ll consider five of them: talent acquisition, performance management, training and education, employee satisfaction and data/analytics.

Talent Acquisition

Companies are largely dependent on looking outside the organization for new talent. While that isn’t likely to change, how they find said talent is. HR team members rely on people already in the workplace for referrals. Sharing job openings on the social intranet ensures every employee knows what positions are open and can act as ambassadors to attract people who will fit into the work culture.

networking-bigdeal.jpg Performance Management

Many businesses, including giants like GE, Ford Motor and Microsoft, are moving away from annual performance reviews. Everyone’s dissatisfied with them, from the employee to the manager. They also are incredibly time-consuming and often yield inaccurate information.

To solve the problem, HR has turned to technology. Tools like a social intranet enable managers and employees to give real-time feedback. Reviews aren’t out, but the way they’ve historically been done is. Companies are shifting from sharing information, ratings and rankings at the end of the year to ongoing feedback, which gives them the ability to respond to changing business needs and to continuously improve processes and procedures.


Training and Education

Setting up employees for success starts long before they begin working for the company. It begins at the talent acquisition level and continues throughout their lifetime at the organization.

Some time periods are more important than others; onboarding new hires is a good example. During those first few weeks, new employees need to receive in-depth training and learn how the business operates so they can succeed early on

A social intranet is a great way to accomplish the goal, and many HR departments are doing just that. Rather than sticking new hires in a classroom for eight hours a day, they use social collaboration software to get employees up to speed and familiarizing themselves with the organization. As a result, employees learn how to work as they’re working and are able to ask questions and get to know their coworkers in a friendly, social environment.

Social intranets also are a good way to deliver on-demand educational opportunities. Some of that is informal; employees collaborate with external team members and learn new skills. Sometimes, it’s more formal, with training programs made available via the enterprise social intranet. Employees can take advantage of them as they desire and/or are able.

Employee Satisfaction

Happy employees are productive employees – it’s been scientifically proven. But the HR team knows the reality on quantitative and qualitative levels. They see the data on employee turnover and retention, and they also hear the complaints.

Employee engagement and satisfaction are huge concerns for HR. They know how the two connect with business outcomes essential to long-term success. An ADP study found that larger mid-sized businesses see declines in growth due to three talent-related reasons: disengaged employees (23 percent), an inability to attract qualified talent (18 percent) and an inability to retain key talent (17 percent).

The question is how to change those numbers and positively impact the business. The answer again is technology. With a social intranet, employees can access the tools and information they need whenever, wherever they are. They can follow through on opportunities to grow, either in their current role or in a new one. In addition, they can establish a mentoring relationship with a peer or manager. All of that increases their engagement in and satisfaction with the workplace.


Data and analytics might be where HR shifts much of its focus in 2016. The emphasis is partially due to changes in federal regulations and guidelines. Another reason is measurement itself. Executives are asking for hard numbers. By giving them, HR can establish itself as a revenue center rather than as an expenditure.

A social intranet can provide many of those numbers. HR can pull the data, integrate it with other departments’ numbers and provide reports that have real-world impact. These aren’t fluff metrics, but ones that tie to bottom-line results.

HR is changing. It has to survive the new way people and organizations are working. Paperwork doesn’t cut it anymore, nor do annual performance reviews. With technology and tools like social intranets, HR departments can not only improve how they do their work, but also impact outcomes related to talent acquisition and employee retention.

Employee onboarding is one of many HR functions that can dramatically be improved with a social intranet. Discover how with our white paper “Onboarding Made Easy” today!