Large companies finally seem to be embracing so-called Web 2.0 technologies that include personalized intranet portals and social media, according to Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey.
The big story here is the rate at which companies are adopting role-based employee portals — intranet sites personalized for users. Forty-one percent of the companies surveyed said they’re deploying or piloting portals while 24 percent indicated they plan on doing so in the next two years. Meanwhile, only 2 percent are planning to roll out a traditional intranet in the next two years. One reason could be that 86 percent already have an intranet or are piloting one.
Social media also are finding their way into the workplace, according to the survey. Twenty-three percent of the companies already use social networking tools with 14 percent planning to do so in the next two years. Blogs are being used by 21 percent and plan to be introduced by 13 percent. Wikis — those collaborative online workspaces — are currently used by 15 percent with 13 percent planning to do so. Even podcasts are now used by 19 percent of companies; 10 percent plan to introduce them into the communication mix.
Michael Rudnick, Watson Wyatt’s global portal and collaboration leader, says employers are realizing the practical usefulness of Web 2.0 including social media. “We are seeing substantially more dissatisfaction with older technologies that cannot be personalized, as employees become much more familiar with Web 2.0 tools and the benefits they provide. Such benefits range from ease of global collaboration to better communication and increased productivity.”
I believe there’s some shake-out left to come. So many new communication media exist that it’s sometimes difficult to discern what will serve employee communication best. Twitter, for example, is the hot player right now, but it remains to be seen if there’s a long-term practical application of it in the workplace.
Still, it’s good news that organizations are embracing the interactivity and collaboration that Web 2.0 enables.