Changing How People Work

‘Social Influence Maps’ to Assume Greater Role in How People Align, Engage, Develop and Mobilize.

Our engagements with global enterprises and government organizations provide a unique vantage point for us to see the potential magnitude by which collaboration technologies will change the face of learning, performance, compensation, succession and workforce planning. We see a new era approaching in which people-management systems will enable the high performance organization of the future.

Our people management predictions for 2010:

1) Learning connections will matter more than learning transactions.

When enterprise real-time collaboration becomes associated with learning and knowledge sharing, it can be self-reinforcing, enabling people to discover others who can help them in a grass-roots way, which in itself fosters information sharing. And businesses should share everything they can — smart and motivated people who can both contribute and gain access to lots of pertinent information will make better decisions. The bottom line: learning connections will matter more than learning transactions.

2) Connecting people to expertise will begin to matter more for organizations than
traditional learning management programs.

No matter what new technologies come along, formal learning will always have a role in enhancing business performance.While designing, scheduling and tracking courses will remain important, workers will be at the center of the next wave. Learning professionals have the opportunity to play a critical role: that of a community facilitator. The focus will be on ensuring people have the knowledge and tools to do their jobs well — and on creating a corporate culture that values collaboration and knowledge sharing.

3) Employees will demand and receive continuous performance feedback.

What if performance could be judged by how much the evaluated individuals actually contribute to their connected communities? Or better still, what if emerging thought leaders could be identified by not only gathering data on how much they contribute, but more importantly, by evaluating how well their ideas and suggestions are received?

By using social networking, companies can implement technology that helps measure performance in real time, incorporating community validation mechanisms into performance management infrastructure. By measuring true attributes of success, companies will be able to transform them directly into meaningful rewards.

4) The traditional organization chart — as we know it — will be replaced by social
influence maps.

Traditional hard-lined hierarchical organization structures will give way to the connections between employees, customers and partners across the extended value chain. Top-down goals will continue to set aligned business objectives, but how those objectives are met will happen through informal networks where ideas can surface from anywhere and flourish across functional and geographic boundaries.

5) Video will be the learning mode of choice.

Having already killed the radio star, video is now poised to become the preferred mode of learning. This does not mean the high-bandwidth, high-production-value and high-cost traditional learning videos. Instead, we foresee the emergence of low-fidelity, viral, self published learning videos that dominate the personalWeb today.

6) Mobile learning has finally come of age.

We have been talking about mobile learning for many years. The platforms have finally emerged to make this a broad-based reality. Today’s mobile devices are used to access a huge variety of applications and content types. Learning, connecting and exchanging expertise will emerge across a wide range of mobile devices.

7) Social and real-time informal processes will be valued
and encouraged.

People now pick up what they need to know through Web technologies, e-mail or “hallway conversations” what used to be called “water-cooler talk.” If enterprise social networking is tied into the informal learning and interactions people have every day, it simply provides a better way to capitalize on what already takes place — and empowers employees to share their knowledge and connect with the right people who have the expertise they need.

8) The most successful companies will value collective competencies more than individual competencies.

The ability to form and reform teams based on complementary areas of expertise in response to real-time opportunities and threats will become a critical differentiator for flexible, agile organizations. Extending this team-based approach to partners, suppliers and customers will drive more value than what is derived from individual competencies.

—The author is chairman and chief executive officer of Saba Software Inc.

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