Social Media Spanish Inquisition
There’s a weird dynamic in the conversation that’s supposed to be our marketplace. Its primary symptom is the idea that some technology (social media, video, mobile, take your pick) is failing to be properly absorbed by business. Its primary evangelists are the people with presentations that say, “a lot of you just don’t get it.” Its primary value is to support the Lewis Carrol view of the universe.
Take this segment of a post entitled “Why Social Business Is Failing to Deliver“
If you look into the current business world out there you would see how one of the main reasons why corporations are adopting and embracing this social networking for business movement has always been cutting costs, i.e. optimizing the business with the right resources (apart from generating new business, that is!). That’s basically us, knowledge workers, still being treated as resources, instead of people, and acting accordingly when embracing all of these social technologies.
HR still hasn’t made that transition from Human Resources into Human Relationships, at least, for the vast majority of businesses out there and this means that if Social Business can help them get their business optimize their resources they would be doing so, ignoring the people, and their needs, once again, and like it’s been happening for decades… Just think of it, how many times have we seen plenty of use cases on how beneficial social networking is in helping find the right experts within organizations, or find the right information at the right time, socializing business processes accelerating speed of response, improving customer satisfaction or just simply empowering knowledge workers to become much more effective and productive while getting work done? Far too many times, don’t you think?
Well, right there it is when optimizing the business kicks in, because instead of thriving to become more sustainable businesses where people are treated like people, in a much more trustworthy, responsible and valued perspective altogether, we keep seeing how the business decides to go the other direction and optimizes resources, i.e. continues further along with layoffs or resource actions, or doesn’t hire enough talent just to get by, since the current knowledge workforce keeps on being squeezed out all the way. Have you ever thought about when was it the last time that you worked 40 hours per week, or, basically, the number of hours you were hired for in the first place? Another example, when was it the last time that you were working only on a single project, with a single team, budget, mission scope, goals, etc. etc. Just think of it. Probably not in the last decade or so, if not longer!
– Luis Suarez, Knowledge Manager, Community Builder & Social Computing Evangelist in the IBM Software Group
If I understand it , Suarez is saying that ‘Social Business’ (which he seems to say is returning an ROI) isn’t working because it isn’t doing what he thinks it should. I hardly mean to single Mr. Suarez out of the crowd. Tortured logic and tangled language are the landmarks in our newly democratic workplaces.
It seems to me that something is working when lots of people are using it. So, I get a little curious when I hear that video is a revolutionary technology; that Recruiting has yet to embrace mobile; or, that social technology is failing.
I do not know a single recruiter who doesn’t use a smartphone, social media and video (occasionally) in their work. The degree to which the industry is already changed by these tools can not be overstated. The technology is already in use everywhere you look.
We live in a world inhabited by evangelists for whom real adoption of their technologies is not enough. Like the Spanish Inquisition (No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition), which insisted on an extremely literal form of obedience, belief and usage isn’t enough. The evangelists demand adherence to an unreachable standard. Like Mr. Suarez suggests, it’s not enough to use the tools to achieve business objectives. It’s a failure if it doesn’t deliver Utopia.
In recent months, I’ve witnessed a dozen presentations, delivered to Recruiters who all carried smartphones, about how mobile technology was not being adopted very quickly. Meanwhile, the recruiters in the audience were busy emailing candidates, scheduling interviews, moving qualifications packages and responding to hiring managers on their devices. It’s been a tremendous Through the Looking Glass experience.
If you’ve seen the ‘How Technology Moves Through HR‘ presentation, you’ll understand that this generation of tool is flowing in the front door of the organization. It’s never worked that way before. Perhaps, instead of evangelists preparing the way, the ‘people who used to be the audience’ are going to show us how to use the tools.
John Sumser is the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in Human Resources and Human Capital. John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance.