We began with the Top 25 Online Influencers in all of HR in December. We followed with the Top 25 Online Influencers in Recruiting on Valentine’s Day. Those lists and the entire Top 100 Project, which profiles a new key industry player each week, are part of a larger project to understand and identify patterns of influence.
The Top 25 lists are machine generated. The process begins with the creation of a list of keywords that describe the area under investigation. Then, our partner, Traackr, spiders all of the search engine results for those words. That chunk of content is then mined for the most frequently occurring names.
Once the most commonly repeated names are identified, further automated research begins. The names are ranked and scored in three basic areas:
- Reach: The traffic enjoyed by the various web presences of the person. Includes a count of social media friends and connections as well as blog traffic.
- Resonance: The number of inbound links, references to and mentions of the person. Resonance is a measure of the depth of influence.
- Relevance: The degree to which the person’s content matches the keywords used to generated the list.
The process is simultaneously imperfect and in the process of improving. With each new list, we learn more about the nuances of online influence. We are learning about what works and what doesn’t.
Generally speaking, the lists are always at least a little controversial. There are a number of reasons.
- People who are influential online are not the same as people who are influential offline. Generally, the online influencers are early adopters who have an advantage because they know how to use the tools. Over time, all influencers will be online and measurable. However, being an early adopter will be a game changer for some.
- Influence happens with the accrual of tenure, expertise and accomplishment. People have influence because they either get things done or make recommendations that help get things done. While this sort of impact isn’t currently measurable, relevance, resonance and reach are an interesting proxy.
- Influence operates in pockets or silos. While it isn’t possible yet to clearly measure and identify these regional dynamics, that will certainly emerge over time. Currently, it is easy to see who is influential in a specific regional or in the net as a whole. The obvious (and subtler) analysis showing how that all fits together will ultimately emerge.
- Some areas are better defined than others. Recruiting, training, HR, compensation and Organizational development are all traditional silos with relatively clear definitions. Talent Management is more ambiguous as is leadership, the next area we’ll investigate.
This time around, we’ve initiated a new approach. In order to build the initial query, we’re going to start looking for subject matter experts. This time, we turned to Marc Effron, the founder of the New Talent Management Network and author of the soon to be published “One Page Talent Management“. Marc took the chore of developing the foundational query which is a series of general and industry specific keywords.
We were all surprised by some of the results. As noted earlier, Talent Management is not the most clearly defined silo in HR. Bill Kutik defines it as a suite of software services. Wikipedia’s definition is the full lifecycle harvesting of human capital. Some people mean “succession planning” (that’s roughly how Bersin and associates define it). While others (many of the people on the list) see it as a euphemism for Recruiting.
The Top 25 Online Influencers in Talent Management list shows you what someone is liable to find if they dig around online. From that perspective, these are the influencers and somewhere among the disparate views is the definition. Development of this particular list raised a number of really fascinating debates. We’ll share a couple of them momentarily.
Meanwhile, here’s the list of the Top 25 Online Influencers in Talent Management.