Monday, March 29, 2010

Wikis in HR

I recently read an interesting article in Personnel Today that outlined Enterprise 2.0 solutions for the benefit of corporate human resources.

Anyone in the Enterprise 2.0 milieu can instantly imagine the inherent value of wikis and other collaborative solutions for HR departments large and small.

This article, written by Jon Ingham, started with an intro: ´Social media often has a bad name in HR – something to be controlled or banned in the workplace.'

Fortunately, Ingham goes on to provide examples of how social media can actually improve collaboration based on his attendance at Enterprise Social Media conference in London. I’m thrilled to hear that more and more people are ‘getting it.’

I did a search for wikis + human resources and came across a blog - Steve Boese's HR Technology. Steve teaches a graduate course HR technology. Again, am glad to see that academia is joining the Web 2.0 bandwagon.

In 2008, Steve had given his students an assignment to create a wiki for the fictitious company he’d created for them. He wrote the work he received “hammered home the point for me that HR staffs, no matter how small, or seemingly technologically unprepared, can effectively utilize Wiki for numerous purposes. My students built the foundation for a decent small company intranet in about 6 weeks -- with no prior experience, all in their free time.”

I’m left thinking…hooray! When these grad students enter the workforce or expand their roles in the workforce, they will have a tremendous leg up on others.

They are a number of clear benefits of wikis to HR departments. First off, just think about what happens to individuals’ knowledge and information when they leave the company. It doesn’t matter if someone’s been fired or retires. In many companies, when someone leaves the company, valuable knowledge gets lost and isn’t often recovered.

Why? Because “email is where knowledge goes to die.” (from:

Wikis keep data out of the email hole.

Ingham reported that Virgin Media, Santander, Axa, Asda and Pfizer are all using social media to engage and connect their employees. He writes: “For Helen Farrar, head of internal communications at Virgin Media, one of the main benefits of social media is moving "water cooler conversations" into the public arena. This helps the company engage its people in "an entirely different way" as well as gaining a good understanding of what people are thinking and feeling.”

Wikis are also tremendously beneficial for HR as a central repository for policies, procedures, documentation and employee communication. Internal newsletters can be a thing of the past – companies can post all relevant news and information to the wiki and push it to everyone. Letter from the president? Post it to the wiki, or put more stylishly -- Wikify it!

Plus, wikis can help put a face to a name – particularly useful for large, global companies or those with multiple offices where staffers don’t always get a chance to meet their colleagues.

Let's hope more HR people and others embrace the idea of wikis in HR!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Anonymous, But No Less Important

It seems I have been remiss about blogging recently. It’s not that it hasn’t been on my mind; it’s that I’ve been very busy, which is a very, very good thing.

I am proud to report that after setting a personal goal to get more customer feedback in 2010, I have accomplished it. We’ve just completed a customer case study with a US-based, publicly traded global brokerage and financial markets technology company that has been a SamePage customer since 2007.

It’s anonymous. That is, we can’t attach a company name to it. Unfortunately, that’s a common story in the world of software vendors. Customers may be pleased as punch with your solution. But if they publicly comment on that, they’ll have every vendor knocking down their door. So the high-profile customers often have no-comment policies.

So, we agreed to settle on an anonymous case study. And when we heard about how useful SamePage has been to this company, we’re thrilled we did. Because even though none of you know which company it is, we do. And there’s tremendous satisfaction knowing that this large, successful corporation is so happy with our solution. We’re busting at the seams to let you in on our little secret. But alas, we can’t.

The company’s manager of global development infrastructure proclaims that many people use the wiki every day and it is “extremely key to almost all of our development projects. We use it for collaboration on a daily basis.”

“We have lots of separate projects,” the manager added. “So we need what we think of as separate wikis. We have about 145 project wikis – not all of them are active, but they are so easy to create. SamePage really understood that need and offers great separation of projects. In our development process, project ‘owners’ set up wikis for individual projects or products.”

“We’d be lost without it,” he said.

Will you take a few minutes to read the case study? Read the rest: SamePage Financial-Technology Customer Case Study