I like going to shows like the Human Resources Executive's HR Technology Conference because I get to see a lot of new products - and some really cool ones as well. The next couple of posts will focus on some of these.
I really liked what I heard and saw from the SilkRoad folks re: a new solution of theirs called "Point" . It's a solution that finally brings a whole new level of understanding around social computing and HR. It's way more than a product that sends a company's job requisitions out into the social networks of its employees.
Point seeks to find out which employees are the most ‘connected'. It looks at a lot more than HR data to do this. Point provides an environment where employees can share their expertise with others. Sure, lots of knowledge management systems do this. But, Point differs in that it can generate relationship maps that illustrate not only which employees are contributors but also how much they contribute, what sorts of employees or managers value their input and on what subjects they appear to be especially gifted.
The relationship map of connectedness (see below) says a lot in a single picture. It also has additional tabs that offer other views into the value (or lack thereof) that an individual is bringing to work. When this information is married to performance and pay data, one can have a decidedly different view of two employees - especially when one of them helps others and the firm become more successful while the other simply hoards their knowledge for their exclusive benefit.
The maps can also tell a lot about an individual's relationships and value to the company. A person that is frequently sought out by others is clearly one that warrants better raises, performance reviews, etc.
But what I really liked was the insight that a resource manager or succession planner might gain. These individuals may see the usual dossiers and resumes about workers and make career development plans without fully realizing how much more valuable some employees may be if moved into areas they are already well-regarded within. Who would you want on your pet project - someone who looks good on paper or the person your peers/others view as the firm's best expert on the subject? I'd take the latter any day.
Point allows people to +1 the content (and please do so for this blog) provided by colleagues. That's critical in my opinion. It's a way to quantify the contributions and their impact on others. It also helps move the best people's contributions to the top of any list of suggestions.
Point can also identify where critical expertise shortfalls exist within a firm. I suspect some executives don't want to know those failure points but they should.
I'm not sure when Point hits general availability but it should do well for SilkRoad's expanding portfolio of HR solutions. I especially want to challenge professional service firms and other people and/or knowledge intensive businesses to evaluate a technology like this as the benefits and insights to your firms could be intense.