Web 2.0 and HRO: A Marriage of Necessity

Google the phrase “define Web 2.0” and you’ll come up with nearly as many hits as Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle’s YouTube views (okay, a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.)

One very recent Webopedia definition I think nicely nails it: “Web 2.0 is the term given to describe a second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online… includes open communication with an emphasis on Web-based communities and users, and more open sharing of information. Over time, Web 2.0 has been used more as a marketing term than a computer-science-based term. Blogs, wikis, and Web services are all seen as components of Web 2.0.”

So why am I talking about Web 2.0 in an HRO blog? Millennials in the workforce openly and adamantly “expect” Web 2.0-type capabilities in their working environment, as do their Gen X counterparts to a large extent. It’s simply an integral part of their lives. Further, it allows for enhanced connectivity and communication as workforces become increasingly global. And finally, employees and retirees alike desire more, better and easier access to information which directly impacts them and their decisions today and in the future.

The implications of Web 2.0 on HRO providers is clear…they must innovate to offer their clients’ employees Web 2.0-type services to enable the engagement and satisfy the information access requirements of today’s employers and workers. And there are a wide range of opportunities for doing so. For example:

•  Social networking sites can be incorporated into learning BPO (LBPO) arrangements to encourage collaboration and sharing of tacit knowledge across particular spheres of expertise, as can wikis for specific training needs

•  More interactive, information-rich and modeling technology-based HR portals can address the need for real-time, life event-based employee engagement in benefits administration decisions

•  Payroll processes can be “jazzed” up to enable employees to utilize mobile technology to view their payslips as soon as they are available

And let’s not forget the importance of Web 2.0-type services for HRO clients themselves. For example, executive sponsors expect better and easier access to information on their engagements’ SLAs and KPIs, increasingly via a dashboard environment; benefits administration plan sponsors are looking for enhanced, streamlined access to individual case tracking through plan sponsor-specific web portals; and wikis can potentially be utilized to develop understanding around specific issues within outsourcing contracts, leading to better client service.

We strongly believe Web 2.0 will continue to encourage – and increasingly demand – HRO suppliers to innovate around the technology offerings they provide to drive greater efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction, information access, SLA/KPI analytics and, ultimately, cost savings into their delivered processes. Further, we believe the availability of robust Web 2.0-type services will lead to more HRO arrangements in which technology is a key driving factor not only in the initial outsourcing decision but also in the selection of the third-party provider.

Until next time, happy sourcing!                     

Helen Neale, Research Director, Human Resources Outsourcing, NelsonHall

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