Open Source HR

On June 10, 2015, in HRExaminer, by John Sumser

photo of open source HR at HootSuite in article appearing on HRExaminer.com titled open source HR by John Sumser on June 10, 2015

Lars Schmidt has a well-earned reputation for continuously defining and redefining the state of the art in recruiting. These days, he’s pushing HootSuite into a leadership position in something they are calling Hootsuite HR Open Source.

Lars Schmidt has a well-earned reputation for continuously defining and redefining the state of the art in recruiting. With Stints serving Ticketmaster, NPR, SpaceX and now HootSuite, Lars always champions the recruiting efforts of major players with brands that can be leveraged. One of his strengths is his ability to leverage the excess room in a brand.

These days, he’s pushing HootSuite into a leadership position in something they are calling Hootsuite HR Open Source. It’s an interesting notion that’s a little too heavily salted with the Hootsuite brand and a little too shy on the proposed grass-roots movement. Given that this is fundamentally an employment branding exercise, those are minor flaws.

The idea seems to be to present Hootsuite as an organization with a deep and abiding commitment to Open Source principles throughout the operation. There are no other HR Departments saying things like:

“At Hootsuite, we’ve embraced social throughout the organization, including HR. We felt embracing open source within HR and sharing some of our work and learnings would be a great way to give back to the HR community, and inspire others as we’ve been inspired.”

That’s a great differentiator in Silicon Valley where Open Source is something like the one true religion in the technical community. Increasingly, there is a cultural battle going on in High Tech recruiting. The key is to make your recruits believe in the power of your culture as a way of making the deal sticky.

The fly in the ointment is the repeated return to the Hootsuite brand. The idea, I’m sure, is to set a model that other companies can adopt. Having a brand like Hootsuite go first is a really good idea.

“This includes finding new ways to share our culture and what #HootsuiteLife is like. Building and sharing are pillars of our organization, and we’re going to bring that ethos to some of the work we’re doing on the HR and Recruiting front.”

That said, there are more than a few redeeming and counterbalancing notions.

Over the coming months, we’re going to be experimenting with new approaches and platforms, like Periscope, and sharing ‘behind the scenes’ look at things—including how projects came together, how we executed the ideas, the intended outcomes and actual outcomes with metrics, what we got wrong, and what we learned.”

This week, Hootsuite released its first case study: Social HR: How to Design and Execute a Global Employer Branding Campaign in 5 Days.

It is a very interesting prototype.

The case study covers

  • How we came up with the idea for Operation #FollowTheSun
  • How the idea was pitched internally
  • What were our anticipated outcomes
  • How we designed and executed a global branding campaign in less than two weeks
  • Campaign engagement metrics
  • What we learned
  • What we got wrong
  • Key takeaways for HR teams

What’s important is that this is a case study done by a company to describe its work. It has little reference to specific technologies and focuses on learning in a clear way. It is a great prototype for case studies generated by companies themselves. Read it.

The next questions are

  • Where and how do you house a library of these sorts of case studies?
  • Can you establish peer review standards the keep the quality high?
  • Who pays for the administration and web service costs?
  • How do you set a standard that minimizes chest beating and maximizes actionable research?

On one level, this ought to be the heart of any emerging Professional Recruiting Association. On another level, the idea of a large repository of company case studies in HR is too compelling to allow it to be limited to recruiting.

Our criticisms aside, this is an extremely smart idea that we hope takes root.

 

 

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