By Melissa J. Anderson

According to a new research report by SilkRoad, a Talent Management Software Provider, the use of technology like mobile devices, social media, and the cloud by corporate employees is driving the adoption of these technologies by Talent Management professionals.

For example, more and more employees are using their own personal mobile devices in the office – and, while some of that usage is personal, a large portion of it is simply to connect with colleagues and clients. Similarly, recruiters are using their personal mobile devices to reach new hires. The report explains:

“Disruptive technologies and tools, such as personal mobile devices, tablet computing, and social media give the workforce access to a wealth of information beyond the 9 to 5 day. HR professionals must prepare and retrain themselves, so that they can work in multi-disciplinary teams to develop a cohesive strategy for new technology.”

The research also shows that Talent Management functions are increasing their usage of enterprise technology on their own terms – rather than through IT – and that these programs are often piecemeal or not integrated well into corporate systems. Talent leaders have an opportunity to create more streamlined, integrated approaches to Talent Management software that can result in a more forward looking, business focused talent regime for companies.

Social Media at Work

According to SilkRoad’s surveys of 5,752 professionals, 2013 represents the confluence of a number of factors that will determine how technology is used within corporations to manage talent. First of all, the report says, employees are engaging with social media at work, whether on their own devices or on company computers. Almost half (43 percent) of employees have complete open access to social media, while only 24 percent said their internet usage is monitored and only 16 percent said social media is blocked at work.

Three quarters of respondents said they check social media websites on their personal devices one a day or more.

Interestingly, the study showed, the top reasons for using social media websites at work included connecting with coworkers, followed closely by connecting with others in general. Additionally, 44% said they are using social media to connect with customers. All of this means that social media isn’t going anywhere – companies can either rely on external sites like Facebook or Twitter, or enable employees to connect with one another through their own enterprise sites.

“Because employees will access social media regardless of restrictions, Talent Management professionals have an opportunity to determine how to channel the power of this technology, so that employees are using it productively for business,” SilkRoad suggests.

This could also improve employee engagement – since employees are looking to connect with one another, facilitating these connections could benefit the company. The study says, “What’s more, results indicate that organizations implementing social projects in the workplace should incorporate the “fun factor” into their plans. Gamification or reward systems and contests might be key ways to engage and motivate employees.”

Technology in Talent Management

Beyond looking at technology as a workforce-wide engagement strategy, SilkRoad says companies could benefit by investing in systems that are specific to HR or Talent Management.

The top use of social media identified by respondents was recruiting and hiring (64 percent), followed by learning and development (54 percent), and then performance management (34 percent). The report continues:

“Branded recruitment portals articulate company messages; internal company sites encourage employees to apply for open positions, offering them opportunities for career growth and development; employee referral networks support participation in the company culture. Learning and Development professionals are also leveraging internal social technology for collaborative learning. Employee directory listings and team sites highlight valuable expertise and insights that everyone can share.”

Using more social technology in Talent Management could be a step toward further engaging Talent Management professionals in what they do, while also improving corporate performance around Talent Management moving forward. SilkRoad adds, “Innovative software applications for HR management and Learning must accommodate this new reality. Recruitment, Learning, and Performance may ultimately be managed from the smallest devices.”

By ensuring that HR professionals have the right tools to do their jobs (and the tools they are most motivated to use), companies can get the most out of Talent Management functions.