Wow what a 24 hours!! Yesterday was the annual Smarter Workforce London event (catch up on tweets searching #SWF2015), and I was lucky to be part of Team Social! I was asked to organise a roundtable with some of the UK’s most social HR influencers, and was SO pleased with the attendees that agreed to come along!
We were lucky to have Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, Meryvn Dinnen, David Green, Andy Spence, Michael Carty, Perry Timms, David D’Souza and last but not least Tony Restell. The roundtable was hosted by IBM’s Jonathan Ferrar and Dyke DeBrie, and Amit Sidhpura from Smarter Workforce Global Social Strategy team was also present.
Jonathan opened by saying we are a social company, we want all IBMers to be socially eminent, and we take social influencers like those in the room as excellent examples of where we need to work towards. We know that they are all people who know the industry, have a fantastic engaged audience following them, and therefore we highly value their feedback on what we do well and what we need to improve.
So Jonathan asked the attendees their general impression of IBM in the HR space. David D’Souza said it’s great that we are trying to create an ecosystem not just a core software/product platform. He continued saying that often small companies get taken over and everyone loses, ability for this not to happen is fundamental. Perry added that he was excited to hear during our keynote that open source HR where we can all collaborate on is in IBM’s plan. Dyke confirmed that IBM’s strategy is to work with both small agile partners and the largest companies in the globe, we look anywhere and everywhere to find right solutions for our customers.
We then moved on to employee experience in the workplace. Mervyn said lines are blurred, as Perry’s recent blog says workplace can be home, and it’s NOT an age thing either, people over forty use workplaces apps and platforms a lot and want the same experience as the younger generation do. Mervyn continued by saying that when we look at workforce analytics, we should use analytics to analyse simple problems as well , not just complex ones, and we should be able to pick and choose the bits you want. Kate said HR analytics has been pretty rudimentary, saying she doesn’t necessarily need to know about enjoyment of courses, she wants to know if they have helped performance, BUT don’t keep to just HR – look at the bigger picture.
We then moved on to talking about training, opportunity for software to change the face of training – make people more analytical says David D’Souza. Amit agreed, saying not only does our technology needs to keep up with the evolution and so do our employees. David D’Souza said we need to manage the journey effectively including thinking about risk and local data rules. David Green said hand holding is needed, so people aren’t fearful of emerging technologies, education is important and showing what it can do. The move to cloud is making HR more accessible, vendors are transforming it Andy added. Kate commented that if it’s going to appeal to HR it needs to be taken in bite sized chunks. In Perry’s opinion vendors need to think about it being part education, part consultancy, part technology. Mervyn said that the training should help people make more effective decisions, in addition, technology at work is ALREADY a differentiator for some prospective employees and this means companies need to keep up!
Mervyn added that everyone talks about “big data”, but big doesn’t need to mean complex, large and unmanageable, just means there’s a lot to consider, he added our social jam was first time a corporate has hosted a social conversation, and he thought the concept was really interesting. It was agreed in general that IBM’s presence on social media is less corporate, it’s not selling, it’s personal – that’s really good. Michael Carty commented that IBM’s Dave Millner is really good at this, David Green agreed saying that he encourages and enables online discussions/debates rather than promoting himself.
Kate said that the best way for IBM to engage with influencers is to provide interesting content that they can talk about. The question was then posed, what is really interesting? Stories was the answer!!!! As well as surprising outcomes, case studies etc. Andy Spence added that HR need how to guides, just like the first 100 days paper IBM has just published. Mervyn stated that vendors have to demystify, think about the practical ways HR solutions can help people, people need to invest in it rather than just buying it. The final comment came from Perry saying the discerning customer is the one you want to go after, but make sure you HELP them not just sell to them.
Overall a very interesting session for me, it was great to hear from social influencers, and I found it very inspiring (you all know how much I LOVE social media & would love to be considered an influencer in something!!). Thanks to all those that took part!
In Other News
I am off on holiday today! (T minus 1 hour!!), very excited to be getting some sun in Alicante with my sister and good friend Mychelle, as well as plenty of tapas!! We went last year and it was so fun and I know I will come back fully rested for two weeks of Wimbledon project work! Plus it meant I could buy some new shoes 🙂