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Does it seem like you see these words everywhere? Do you feel a little overloaded with all the ways these tools are going to supposedly change HR while you are still firewalled from WordPress? I know a lot of people like that. People who are intelligent and curious about the newest technologies but roped off from them for over 8 hours a day. Sure you can access Facebook from your mobile phone, but what about the latest social tech for your job? It can be much harder.

So how can Human Resources drive social business? Jason Averbook gives us a hint in his recent post:

It is not because the technology sucks – it is better than ever.  It is because people don’t see the purpose, the value and the “WIIFM” – What’s in it for me to use the tools.  It is our job to show them the what’s in it for them, not just the employees but the managers and executives.  Guess what, managers and executives won’t take our word for it, they will want and need DATA.

Ah, the data. Big data, to be more precise. So in order to sell managers and execs on social business, we must have data. And in order to get that data…wait. It looks to me like we have a bit of a chicken and an egg scenario here. Which comes first? Permission to explore the data? The data from the social business initiatives? Or the initiatives and programs themselves? If I, as mere columnist and marketer in the industry cannot see clearly what the first step might be, then its possible that HR Professionals don’t either.

When IBM purchased Kenexa, it was hailed as a knee deep step into the social analytics space, something encouraged, NAY, near required to be a post-modern HR Practitioner (mind the capital P).

“To truly realize the full potential of a social business, leaders need to empower a company’s most vital asset – the information being generated from its people,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM. “Now is the time for business leaders to embed social into their key business processes to shift their business from the era of ‘liking’ to ‘leading’.”

According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016. So maybe the market is saying this needs to happen. Here are three key ways HR can shift the conversation:

1) People are a priority. This is supported by so many statistics and case studies that it’s hard for executives to argue. If the people in your organization have both the power to transform and to torpedo your initiatives, strategic direction and revenue, then you need to measure and analyze that. You know, for business reasons.

2) Collaboration. Means nothing unless you can drive business objectives through it. Fortunately, there are a host of inexpensive enterprise focused social business tools that you can use to prove collaboration quickly and effectively. Use this proof as the cornerstone to launch additional social business initiatives.

3) It’s transformational. The truth is, Social Business is not an overnight shift. It will completely transform your organization and some people….they won’t like that. Acknowledge that it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Then point to case studies of companies in your industry who have made the leap.

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