This content is part of the Essential Guide: Coverage of the 2013 HR Technology Conference
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Social HR technology trends check-in

At the 2012 HR Technology Conference in Chicago, SearchFinancialApplications editors chatted with Katherine Jones, Bersin by Deloitte HCM technology lead analyst, about the state of social capabilities in talent management software. A year later, has anything changed?

In this video from the 2013 HR Technology Conference, held in Las Vegas, our editors checked in with Jones to see how interest in and adoption of social HR technology has evolved. Contrary to the hype, Jones said her research shows that social isn't playing as big a role in HR technology buying decisions as one might expect. She also talks about how social manifests itself in today's products, and predicts how it might be incorporated differently in the future.

Read the transcript below.

Hi, I'm Emma Snider, associate editor of I'm here today with Dr. Katherine Jones who is lead analyst for HCM technologies at Bersin by Deloitte. So, Katherine, I was hoping today we could talk a little bit about social.

Katherine Jones: OK.

Right now when we look at … what people, what the vendors call social software, it's often something that looks very much like Facebook that's tacked to a specific product, and that's kind of a funny concept.

Katherine Jones,
technology lead analyst

So how have you seen both interest in social capabilities for the enterprise change this year, as well as adoption?

Jones: Those are good questions. I think the first thing we need to back up to go forward with is: What are we talking about when we're talking about social? Because people are using the word for almost everything from Facebook to Achievers -- you know, rewards, kind of socially to attagirls [inaudible]anywhere in the network, to collaboration, and those are all kind of different things.

Right now when we look at what we … what people, what the vendors call social software, it's often something that looks very much like Facebook that's tacked to a specific product, and that's kind of a funny concept. I'm going to give an example. Let's say you have a learning platform, and you would go into this platform to maybe take a course or something, and you might find when you get there a Facebook like page where you can say, 'Oh this was a great course,' or 'Don't take this,' or 'You know you can learn as much by going to talk to Joe [inaudible] in some department,' that kind of thing. So that's a very social … kind of a camaraderie-building thing right there in the learning platform.

Now here's where the conundrum lies. Right now we have all of this software kind of like linked to something specific, and that's kind of good, you know. But let's look at good and better. Let's take that same concept and apply it to work, you know, chit-chat. Helpful chit-chat, worklike-level chit-chat, and think about where you'd do it. What if I wanted to tell you,' You know, you did a great job, and I want to do something work-related for you.' Would I go into my learning program so I could reach you with that piece of social software? No, why would I do that? What about [inaudible], and then I have another one. So what we can have is a proliferation of social and like things, using that Facebook-like thing on every single application. Right? ...

Now what does that mean? The implications of that, then, are, I think, the next generation of technology is going to have something; like it's a level under all of the other software that is in fact social. I'm saying under; it could be on top. But there's one like social framework for an entire company, so that no matter where you were you could do the 'Hey, you know, great course,' or this or that or thank you, or all those different things that we describe as social in place, no matter whether it relates to learning, or performance, or the attagirls or any of those things. ...

That's gonna require some new technology to be built.

Right. OK, and how about the adoption? Have you seen a change in the adoption from last year to this year?

Jones: Well, we've certainly seen it in the recruiting space, because if you looked at Hire by LinkedIn, on the one hand, if we think of that as social, or we looked at LinkedIn Recruiter, which is a direct package to be able to use the LinkedIn environment as a way of getting recruits. Yes, that's definitely grown, but there's still that definitional thing there to see what people say they're really looking for. So last year, just about a year ago, I asked the question of 'Where does social, however you define it, fit into your buying decisions?' You know what? It wasn't as much as we anticipated.

So that the top was, in fact, recruiting. Looking, hiring, recruiting, all of that part. That was only 29% of the buyers, and that's kind of surprisingly low, [inaudible] and then it kind of went down from there. So if you look at the levels of all of the different things [inaudible] performance, or talent management, all those different areas you could look at. You looked first at, yep, recruiting. OK, but that's just a little over the quarter of people. Then there was learning, just that kind of example that I just [inaudible]. ...

And then after that, on-boarding -- that's a great place for social, but that was getting kind of low numbers, you know. That was surprising, and the bottom one was performance management, and sometimes we're talking about performance management as, you know, you collect all the things that people said about you, good or bad, and you use them for performance management. When it came to something people were gonna invest in. Those were pretty low numbers.

OK. Well this has been great talking with you. Thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate it.

Jones: Absolutely. My pleasure.

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