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1st steps using Social Media for Learning & Talent Developemt

by Thomas Jenewein

November 23, 2011

I recently was interviewed  by Margaret Hein from HR Insider on how to use social media to do your HR job. Find here an extract – the full article can be found online for subscribers here.

With the explosion of social media — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, just to mention a few examples — the lines are increasingly blurred between what is social and what is business. Many companies are realizing the business potential of social media and using these tools to their benefit. Social media can expand the company’s branding and convey the message that the company wants to send to its customers.

In HR many companies already use social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook already for employer branding and e-recruiting. In the learning and talent management area it is also becoming more and more popular. Sometimes it is hard to find a starting-point with all the diverse social media out there.

How to start?

There are three easy first steps to start, especially if you are new to social media.

First, user experience -  try out social media yourself. You can do a quick start in some seminars, but I recom­mend that you explore several tools that are already available. For example (a list of recommended links can be found at the end of this article):

  • Follow experts and leaders on Twitter and read their blogs
  • Network with peers of the same profession via LinkedIn and take part in discussions
  • Listen to podcasts on HR topics
  • Start your own blog — you can use this for reflection, but also as your own marketing tool
  • Use social media to solve daily ques­tions in discussion groups or slideshare
  • Use social media as a team (e.g., post your newsletter in a blog and thereby foster discussions, use Googledocs for your travel planning, or use tools like Doodle to decide on event planning).

Second, perform an as-is analysis of your company — what social media options are already available and being used? Instead of purchasing your own social media tools for HR or signing up for a paid social media outlet, check with the relevant stakeholders in IT, communication/PR, marketing, and knowledge management. Then, if nothing exists internally that you can leverage, you can look outside the company. In today’s economy, it may be hard to make a case for paying for social media tools, but there are many free tools and content on the Web for you to make use of, especially initially.

Third, and finally, pilots and integration. What I mean by this, is, if you are new to social media it makes sense to use pilot cases that are easy and show immediate, positive results. For example, facilitate discussions after a course in a forum and use wikis for creating FAQs on your company Web site (e.g., FAQs about ERP software). You also may want to integrate forums in the ERP Help (easily possible with SAP NetWeaver 7.3) so that end users can help themselves. In the learning department you could inte­grate social media in your learning architecture, which describes all media, methods, and tools that support learning. 

What is SAP doing?

SAP uses social media in many ways internally already — developers use the develope rs’ network, employees, the employee network — and there they can use different social media from wikis, discussion groups, micro-blogs, video sharing, and more. Also SAP already offers customers tools to use; for example, like SAP Stream­Work, a collaborative decision-making application. It is available for free trials, on demand.  In SAP Business by Design social media like forums are integrated into the help center — so users can learn from peers and experts.
The first SAP ERP HCM application where social media is integrated is SAP Career OnDemand, which uses elements like the employee profile; the ability to create status updates and feeds, and receive notifications and requests; and using the network concept as its social foundation to increase the positive outcome of business processes, such as employee performance and development man­agement. For more information about SAP Career OnDemand, refer to these two sources:

In SAP’s Learning Management System we integrate social media in different ways. For example, we create interfaces to collaboration platforms (i.e., the integration to the c-rooms) to embed collaboration as part of courses or curricula. In extended learning scenarios we consider to integrate course ratings and comments, so that partici­pants benefit from the experience of other participants in an “Amazon-like” experience. Watch out for future news on our LMS – SAP Ent erprise Learn­ing/Learning Solution for upcoming innovations.  

"Social" - as other megatrends like mobility - is here to stay - so expect to see further "socialized" apps from SAP also in HCM & Talent Management space.

Further Info


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