Social company: the future of HR technology

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In less than six years millennials will make up almost half the workforce. It’s one of the biggest transitions HR faces, and technology will play a big role in how Gen Y’s priorities influence organizational changes.

What's the most important technology HR could introduce now to make sure you're prepared for future developments? HRM put that question to SAP Canada managing director Bob Elliot, who said there was one clear answer: social platforms.

"If you think about the expectations of the new generation in terms of technology, they want ease of use and an intuitive 'walk up user interface'," Elliot told HRM. "Things like email are becoming ineffective - more communication is collaborative and opt-in. IT allows people to collaborate and participate and feel more engaged with their employer."

 SAP has used its own technology to build SAP Jam - essentially an expanded chat room where some of its 67,000 global employees can ask questions, trade tips and get answers through the night from all over the world. 

"A huge problem for us is reinventing the wheel the hard way," Elliot said. :You’ve got to believe someone else has come across the same problem or request."

From trading tips on analyzing workforce data from major mining companies, to helping troubleshoot and sharing efficiencies, social platforms empower employees to solve problems, interact with peers and develop new approaches to common problems, as well as making them feel like part of a community. It's also a vital way to pass on knowledge, which is an increasing concern as baby boomers retire.

"That knowledge walks out the door unless you have a way to collect it," Elliot said. "The companies doing the best in the war on talent are the ones that embraced social enterprise the fastest, leaving other organizations racing to catch up."

On Page Two: The Baby Boomer challenge

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