Technology shaping the future of HR

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 18 April 2008



Nolan, S. (2008), "Technology shaping the future of HR", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 7 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Technology shaping the future of HR

Article Type: Editorial From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 7, Issue 3.

Welcome to this issue of Strategic HR Review, the theme of which is next generation HR. This theme could encompass many different topics and angles, but the predominant focus of our feature case studies and articles is on technology and how it is shaping and empowering HR practices, procedures and positioning in the organization.

Dr Judy Payne of Henley Management College reveals the results of research into the use of the latest social software tools in her article, “Using wikis and blogs to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing”. With collaboration key to business success, such tools may prove to be very valuable in helping organizations develop collaborative capability. The findings suggest that the success of social software depends on the organizational structure in place, but depending on the organization and the level of resistance to change it can help break down traditional hierarchies that impede collaboration and knowledge sharing.

In “Innovapost uses Web 2.0 tools to engage its employees”, Chris Xarchos and M. Brent Charland of Canadian IT solutions and services provider, Innovapost, share the interesting early results of the internal application of Web 2.0 technologies to create connections and communities and facilitate collaboration and co-creation. The company is applying Web 2.0 technologies in a number of ways, carefully selecting its applications to meet the communication and information needs highlighted by its employees as important or needing improvement. In this article the company shares its development and implementation experiences, as well as the three key organizational attributes that it feels are important to effectively supporting Web 2.0 initiatives executives that allow experimentation, discipline around IT portfolio management and funding application, and involvement of people.

The virtual organization is the focus of the article from Cec Pedersen and Johann Nagengast, “The virtues of the virtual organization”. This organizational structure is presented as an emerging solution to operating in dynamic and turbulent environments and has the potential to significantly impact next generation HR processes and strategies through its radically different work design and organization compared to the traditional organization and its requirement for a new type of leadership and management. The authors examine Millennium3 Financial Services, an Australian-based private company licensed to provide advisory and dealer financial services. It has a high degree of virtuality and the authors show the values and practices that successfully support this type of organization. Technology, once again, proves to be one of the key factors.

Technology is also at the forefront of competing successfully in the war for the next generation of talent, according to Chris Phillips, author of “Tapping into the next talent generation”. He believes that a new approach is required that will empower the business to effectively manage the next generation workforce and that this can be achieved using the new talent management technology platforms. The aim is to provide business users with the talent information that is relevant to them and will help them solve their business challenges in an easy to use format, in order to drive widespread adoption of a talent management mindset. While technology is key to delivery, the role of HR moves from processes to advising leaders on how to best use talent pools to drive business value.

David Pardey of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) moves away from technology and tackles the topic of “Next generation leaders”. His discussion is based on research carried out by the ILM in conjunction with AQR and the University of Hull into what people want from their leaders. As part of this project, leadership behavior was mapped along six dimensions. There is no prescribed “best practice”, instead each dimension has two extremes and a leader’s style can be mapped along the continuum for each dimension. This can reveal a leader’s preferred way of working, which can be compared to organizational culture in order to try and align the two, using training and development as appropriate. Looking at what people want from their leaders, three global factors emerged a determination to succeed, individual cohesion and team cohesion, suggesting that tomorrow’s leaders need to be able to clearly demonstrate their ability to deliver for the organization. Of course, technology such as the new collaborative tools discussed in this issue may provide the communication platform that leaders need to engage with their people, demonstrate their commitment to the organization and facilitate two-way conversations and feedback.

Sara NolanE-mail:

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