Follow the Crowd

I had lunch with my mentor about a week ago and we talked about WorkMoreHuman.  She was very complementary of our new logo and asked how it came to be. Would you like to know? Though crowdsourcing! I was thrilled with the outcome of my crowdsourcing project and got to thinking about how beneficial crowdsourcing can be for so many areas of human resources. And, you should, too.

What is crowdsourcing? Simply, it’s obtaining the wisdom of the crowd. Relying on a cooperative effort of a diverse pool of experience and knowledge results in outcomes that are more powerful and accurate that individual efforts. Plus, crowdsourcing reflects the mind set of our younger generations who are used to communicating and sharing knowledge in a world where information is readily available with few barriers.

Crowdsourcing offers a way to open HR to the consumers of HR services, by putting more of it in the hands of employees, who often know what they need better than HR. Shifting HR processes to the crowd enables you reduce your use of resources and to deliver services more effectively. Here are a few ways you can use crowdsourcing (and its close cousin social networking):

  1. Building and managing your company’s reputation. Pay attention to sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Your employment brand is critical for attracting quality employees, who rely on these data for a perspective of your company’s culture.
  2. Crowdsourcing labor. This is how I developed my logo. My last employer occasionally used Fiverr to develop web banner ads. While this is a significant change in business model for many companies, it can also be a significant source of savings.
  3. Seeking talent. Networking and finding candidates not only via social media, but using mobile recruiting, gamification, and referrals.
  4. Social recognition and social collaboration. Consider using tools that harness the power of outsourcing to provide recognition and generate and share ideas.
  5. Crowdsourcing performance evaluations. Traditional reviews can be augmented or replaced with real-time crowdsourced performance assessment and recognition data.
  6. Developing/reviewing your core values. I recently conducted this exercise with one of my clients.  Rather than having senior executives define values/important behaviors, ask your employees what really matters.

Here is some guidance for incorporating crowdsourcing into your internal HR processes:

  • Provide specific challenges, each with a clear purpose. Failure to do so will result in chaos and irrelevant topics and tangents.
  • Motivate employees to participate. This will come easier in high trust cultures.
  • Allow time and space to innovate.
  • Don’t throw out ideas. To truly innovate, you must cultivate an environment where it’s okay to fail. Doing so will encourage more ideas and innovation.

There are a lot of decisions that HR makes—decisions that impact a company’s strategy and its ability to carry out that strategy. Actively encouraging input from the crowd will give everyone a sense of ownership and enable you to make better decisions for your company, while increasing innovation and efficiency and decreasing costs.

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