People are no longer a company's best asset, they are its best technology.
Is it time perhaps to rename human resources something like human resourceful? I was reading the McKinsey Quarterly article about making Web 2.0 tools work (guess they didn't get the memo about the end of the term Web 2.0). In it the authors talk about a wide range of technologies.
I beg to differ on the terminology, I think they mean tools.
Technologies may enable tools and they exist on two sides of them. The application/tool platform side and that of the human using it. A dry system and a wet system (the brain). These new tools are built with the user in mind instead of the task - ERP, CRM anyone?
They are developed and designed to assist people in doing what they do naturally - connect and collaborate. Most of these tools are imperfect - are doing nothing - until people contribute to them. Then they become interesting. You will need to watch out for the unexpected forming of groups and potentially engaging participation.
Those are the risks that come with the messy system that we call humans.
The authors discuss six ways for managers to unlock participation:
If you, like me, are looking at these six points and thinking you've seen them before, it's because you have. These are (or should be) the characteristics of a modern organization, one that places the attention on people and team work.
For many years we probably paid lip service to implementing those ideas. Now we are looking at them through a new lens - contribution and connection are the new currency and a competitive advantage. Everything moves way too fast for us to go it alone anymore.
If you look at any kind of people system, substitute managers for influentials, or A-listers, or leaders, what do you find? Just curious.