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HR Reaches the Crossroads for Social and Business

by Dave Hannon

July 26, 2011

By Dave Hannon


I’m very intrigued by the impact social media is having on business. It’s getting more pervasive and setting roots in new areas of the enterprise almost daily.

For example, this article in the Deloitte Review suggested that banks could soon “evaluate loan applicants based on the credit worthiness of others in their social network, the notion being that people who pay off their loans tend to group together.”

Huh. So my friends could influence my mortgage rate? (Note to self: Find more rich friends on Facebook before applying for refinancing.)

Human resources is one of the areas where social media and business software is intersecting. We know hiring managers are checking out your Facebook page, but according to the Deloitte Review article, hiring managers may be using social media profiles to better understand “which applicants are most connected, or even most passionate, in a given field.”

Huh. So if you’re applying for a job in a specific area, the number and quality of your LinkedIn connections might give a pretty good idea of your level of expertise in that area. (Note to self: Stop accepting LinkedIn connections from my second cousins running that commune in Guatemala.)

In the most recent issue of SAPinsider, SAP’s David Ludlow, VP of Solution Management for SAP’s HCM line, provides a peek into the roadmap for SAP’s ERP HCM solution portfolio, and – spoiler alert – there’s a lot of social aspects going on in the latest HCM updates.

“Enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP HCM focuses on the user experience, expanding beyond employee self-service to incorporate social networking into HR applications,” Ludlow explains in the article. In fact, the latest SAP ERP HCM functionality lets users set up a profile and network internally with co-workers rather than externally on websites like Facebook.

“Employees can explore internal positions, find mentors, and view organizational charts to better plan their own career within the company. These features help retain top talent at a time when the war for talent is very real and affects almost every global industry.”

So, if you know employees are going to network online – and don’t kid yourself, they are – why not have them do it on the company’s system, rather than go out on Facebook or LinkedIn? It’s an intriguing idea.  

Of course, for employees to truly embrace this kind of idea, the content on the intranet has to be updated. There’s not much use in an employee reviewing a corporate org chart  from two years ago. But as this insiderPROFILES case study on SAP user Hostess Brands highlights, org charts on the company intranet can be automatically updated through the use of a solution from SAP partner Ingentis. Add in some photos and user self-service featu res and you’re really blurring the lines between social media and internal systems.

And blurring the lines is really the goal here. “Web-compatible” used to impress people, but today, everything is web-compatible. I’ve literally seen four-year olds plugging their stuffed animals into a USB plug. And someday, soon, there won’t be “social aspects within ERP,” but rather it will just be an assumed part of the functionality.

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Scott Wallask

9/25/2013 8:56:39 PM

I always wonder if someone is political or controversial on social media, whether that will have an effect on being hired or getting a mortgage. It's far too easy to be loose-lipped on social sites, and as we've all seen, once it's out, you can't take it back. I think the lesson with some of the offerings SAP has with ERP HCM, is that workers are going to need to stay professional on social media.