23757447_s2015 is off to a cold, cold start but there are plenty of hot topics in Human Resources (HR) this year. Employees as brand ambassadors, digitized corporate learning, wearable gadgets at work, and social HR are all developing areas that fall to HR for monitoring and guidance.

 

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Instead of fearing and banning social media in the workplace, employers are beginning to see the value of leveraging employees’ social networks to build their brands. Companies are increasingly involved in harnessing social media and turning employees into brand ambassadors.

Employers including MasterCard and PepsiCo have built tools and platforms to manage and encourage employee online interactions. Mastercard’s Conversation Suite allows the credit card giant to listen in on social conversations about its brand around the world. They also provide online training to teach employees how to use their social media channels and encourage them to share positive MasterCard content in their social networks. PepsiCo is getting double duty out of their company intranet by letting employees share content from their internal newsletter to social media.

 

Digitized Corporate Learning

Massive, open, online courses (MOOC’s) and apps for HR and learning are taking training out of the conference room and putting it online and making it mobile. LinkedIn has its own corporate MOOC based on the best-selling book Conscious Business: How To Build Value Through Values, but others are in the works. EdXCourseraUdemyUdacity, and Intrepid Learning are all piloting corporate MOOC’s.

Companies are developing app’s for HR and learning to be delivered on various devices like wearables, smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Training and on-boarding are just a couple of the applications for apps.  According to Gartner, 25 percent of all businesses will have their own Corporate App stores. Companies like Cognizant Technology Solutions, which has developed more than 50 apps for employee learning, are at the forefront of mobile learning for their Gen X and Gen Y-majority workforce.

 

Wearable Gadgets at Work

According to Business Insider Intelligence, the market for wearable personal tech devices will be $12 billion by 2018. Those wearables will very likely make it to work with employees. They’ll also probably get incorporated into the workplace to improve productivity. Cornerstone on Demand’s 2013 “State of Workplace Productivity” report found that millennials especially are eager and willing to use wearables at work.

Thomson Online Benefits managing director Chris Bruce, writing for TechCrunch, sees loads of potential for wearables in the workplace. From measuring workflow and productivity, to increasing employee engagement, to time tracking, the possibilities are exciting. But they also present concerns about privacy and security, areas that Human Resources already struggles with in dealing with confidential employee information.

 

Social HR

HR technology vendors like Culture Amp, SyncHR, and Fairsail are taking Human Resources functions social. Culture Amp’s software provides social recruitment, on-boarding, and engagement surveys. SyncHR is a fully integrated HR, benefits, and payroll solution. Fairsail is a robust, user-friendly HR system that is social, mobile, scalable, with accessible and international functionality.

Human Resources has gone from a departmentalized function to gradually including employee self-service features for on-boarding and payroll and benefits. Now it’s evolving further with social features to implement and manage things like training and performance. 2015 is bringing new offerings in social HR, such as BetterWorks, a software system to improve employee goal setting and team alignment. Software like this is changing HR from an administrative function into a social people science application for business productivity.

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