If you are clued into the future of work narrative from a HR transformation perspective, the level of noise around SMAC - social, mobile, analytics and cloud is hard to ignore. If you have been on the conference circuit, these themes have been thrown around a lot with specific sessions built around this. There are also new and emerging vendors to match each of these problem statements with a SAAS or PAAS magic bullet. The risk as always is ‘noise and fuzziness taking over real utility & impact’.
Here are some use cases around SMAC beyond the noise:-
Social - Think social or social learning, the HR community leans towards enterprise social networks. Having an ESN is a favourable but not a necessary condition in social learning, it is the culture of sharing, storytelling, discussing failures and success that makes the difference. Cut out the noise by thinking beyond threaded conversations and start investing in building a culture of learning by encouraging employees to work out loud. The digital footprints left by employees are a great way to capture tacit knowledge within the organisation. An easy way to leverage enterprise social is to leverage it within an integrated communication campaign as part of any HR project.
Integrated conversations and Working Out Loud > Social > Threaded Conversations.
Mobile - The easiest thing to do when combining a mobile learning strategy is to push e-learning on mobile devices. Voila - you have now activated mobile learning. But what made us think the employee wanted to take a 45-minute e-learning course on their personal device. Mobile is not about additional real estate where you will splash existing content, which was not getting used, anyway. You can cut the noise by de-linking mobile with e-learning. Think of use cases around testing, gamified assessments, performance support, video-based simulations, narrow AI for level 1 feedback.
Mobile > Additional real estate > e-learning on mobile device
I asked Mahalakshmi R, Head of HR India at Mondelez International, and here is what she had to say:
“With everyone spending more than 70% of waking hours on the mobile - it is only but obvious that the social is the way to engage: both the current employee base as well as future talent. As we implemented Workday at Mondelez, we realised that there is much higher adoption of the mobile app : with colleagues choosing to access to policies, employee data or even byte sized learning on our MondelezInternationalUniversity (MIU)- on the go, vs on the laptop. Clearly, Mobile devices have become ubiquitous, and revolutionized the way people access digital content- with increased flexibility and mobility”.
Analytics - The business is usually agnostic of input and reporting data even if we believe that there is any big data potential out there. Engagement, revisit rates etc are good to justify the investments in learning tech, but their value is limited. Even if you have a big data widget sitting on top of your LMS / LXP, you are probably over analysis data that your customers do not see value to begin with. You can cut through the noise by running algorithms and indices around proficiency data. Can you combine cognitive assessments done via mobile, with simulation scores and field readiness / on job checklist type of scores based on real observations. There are use cases in measuring customer service proficiency or sales proficiency and map it out with either NPS data or revenue data to draw a corelation.
Proficiency Index > Analytics > Engagement / Training hours data
Cloud - Okay, so you are happy to migrate to cloud-based LMS or LXP. This means easy access for your employees across a range of devices. What does not change is that they still access is the content hosted within your learning system. Cut the noise by establishing an open architecture where employees can access open content providers. Think of TEDx, MOOC platforms like Coursera & Udemy. Use these as essential ingredients in your learning journeys.
Cloud > proprietary content
There is a significant amount of data and resources available on the said themes and for the curious practitioner, access to use cases is not a roadblock. I asked Mahalakshmi for her advisory for fellow HR professionals:
“1. Leaders leading by example: It is crucial that the CEO and CXOs embrace and are visible users. When reviews get done on using insights from these platforms, the broader organisation naturally veers towards the same. The first advice to People Leaders on the Tech journey is - please do not try to “help” the CEO by doing it for her/him or training the assistant. Instead, have them try it out directly and use it with ease.
2. Intuitive UX: Taking in early efforts to ensure that user experience is not only seamless but also intuitive–makes the design and pilot period slightly longer–but pays off with the organisation being able to navigate, feeling complexity crushed and realising that no complex training is needed for the employee base to adopt and leverage these platforms
3. Do not have a backup / backdoor option. Go all in”
So where is the HR community in India with all these trends? There is a lot of interest, conversations, and webinars, but that is where it ends. Many talking about it - few doing it.