HR’s Strategic Value and the Connected WorkSpace

I’m featured in an excellent article on HR’s role in organisational collaboration published by the new WorkSpace Connect conference in Dallas (where I’ll be keynoting this September), also featuring comments from Harald Schirmer from Continental.
“IT and facilities may seem the natural cohorts for driving and overseeing connected workspace initiatives, but HR leaders have a vital leadership role to play, tooif they’re willing to step up to the challenge. Not only can HR help foster a culture of collaboration, but it can turn itself from a support organization to a true value-driver in the process.
In HR parlance, what Ingham and Schirmer are talking about is social connectedness. Just as the group, or team, relationship is at the center of the modern, collaborative business today, so too must it be at the center of HR ‘Lots of people still talk about the primacy of knowledge workers in today’s business, but actually knowledge is going the way of the dodoyou know, robots, artificial intelligence… can do knowledge much better than us,’ he says. The real opportunity or, rather, requirement, he adds, ‘is to create the right connections, relationships, or conversations.'”

The Continental case is about the successful migration from an IBM enterprise social network to the Microsoft Office 365 platform for 150,000 employees by facilitating 1,400 volunteer change agents and 350 cross-functional teams including HR, IT and communications. 

I also talk about Microsoft 365 linking their inner and outer loops framework to centralised, decentralised and distributed organisations and suggesting the missing piece from Microsoft’s framework is community.


“The second approach to decentralized work is more of a ‘volunteer’ nature. Perhaps Joe in Accounting, Sue in Marketing, and Paul in Sales are all passionate about wellness in the workplace. They can work as part of a decentralized group dedicated to wellness projects. ‘This taps people’s intrinsic motivation rather than needing to extrinsically motivate them, which tends to be the case in teams. [Work] gets done in communities, traditionally communities of interest or communities of practice, but increasingly more proactive ones, which I call communities of performance, as they can achieve important outputs for a business,’ Ingham explains. 

At some organizations, communities of expertise have begun replacing centers of excellence. ‘These can be around the same size as teams but operate from a different basis and with a different dynamic,’ Ingham says.”

The article is well worth reading, both for insights on social collaboration, and also HR’s strategic, value creating role in developing this, and you can download it here (the whitepaper at the top right).

And of course you can read more in The Social Organization too.

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I graduated from Imperial College, London in 1987 and joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a systems development consultant. After ten years in IT, change and then HR consulting, I joined Ernst & Young as an HR Director, working firstly in the UK, and then, based in Moscow, covering the former USSR.More recently, I have worked as Head of HR Consulting for Penna and Director of Human Capital Consulting for Buck Consultants (the HR consultancy owned by ACS).

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