Oracle HCM Product Spotlight: Workforce Reputation - Part 1

By Mark Bennett

The ever increasing presence of the workforce on social media presents opportunities as well as risks for organizations. While on the one hand we read about social media embarrassments happening to organizations, we see that social media activities by workers and candidates can enhance a company’s brand and provide insight into what individuals are, or can become, influencers in the social media sphere.

Oracle Workforce Reputation Management helps organizations make the most value out of the activities and presence of workers and candidates, while at the same time also helping to manage the risks that come with the permanence and viral nature of social media.

What is Missing from Understanding Our Workforce? 

“If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three-times more productive.” 

Lew Platt, Former Chairman, President, CEO, Hewlett-Packard 

What Lew Platt recognized was that organizations only have a partial understanding of what their workforce is capable of. This lack of understanding impacts the company in several negative ways:

1. A particular skill that the company needs to access in one part of the organization might exist somewhere else, but there is no record that the skill exists, so the need is unfulfilled.

2. As market conditions change rapidly, the company needs to know strategic options, but some options are missed entirely because the company doesn’t know that sufficient capability already exists to enable those options.

3. Employees may miss out on opportunities to demonstrate how their hidden skills could create new value to the company.

Why don’t companies have that more complete picture of their workforce capabilities – that is, not know what they know? One very good explanation is that companies put most of their efforts into rating their workforce according to the jobs and roles they are filling today. This is the essence of two important talent management processes: recruiting and performance appraisals. 

In recruiting, a set of requirements are put together for a job, either explicitly or indirectly through a job description. During the recruiting process, much of the attention is paid towards whether the candidate has the qualifications, the skills, the experience, and the cultural fit to be successful in the role. This makes a lot of sense. 

In the performance appraisal process, an employee is measured on how well they performed the functions of their role and in an effort to help the employee do even better next time, they are also measured on proficiency in the competencies that are deemed to be key in doing that job. Again, the logic is impeccable. 

But in both these cases, two adages come to mind:

1. What gets measured is what gets managed.

2. You only see what you are looking for.

In other words, the fact that the current roles the workforce are performing are the basis for measuring which capabilities the workforce has, makes them the only capabilities to be measured. What was initially meant to be a positive, i.e. identify what is needed to perform well and measure it, in order that it can be managed, comes with the unintended negative consequence of overshadowing the other capabilities the workforce has.

This also comes with an employee engagement price, for the measurements and management of workforce capabilities is to typically focus on where the workforce comes up short. Again, it makes sense to do this, since improving a capability that appears to result in improved performance benefits, both the individual through improved performance ratings and the company through improved productivity. But this is based on the assumption that the capabilities identified and their required proficiencies are the only attributes of the individual that matter. Anything else the individual brings that results in high performance, while resulting in a desired performance outcome, often goes unrecognized or underappreciated at best.

As social media begins to occupy a more important part in current and future roles in organizations, new kinds of measures are needed. Those measures that provide insight into how well someone can use social media tools to influence communities and decision makers, keep abreast of trends in fast-moving industries, present a positive brand image for the organization around thought leadership, customer focus, social responsibility, and coordinate and collaborate with partners. These measures must demonstrate the “social capital” the individual has invested in and developed over time. Without this dimension, “short cut” methods may generate a narrow set of positive metrics that do not have real, long-lasting benefits to the organization.

In part 2, we’ll look at Oracle’s Workforce Reputation Solution and how it addresses these challenges with a combination of tools and measures.

Twitter LinkedIn Facebook


Mark Bennett is a Director of Product Strategy at Oracle. Mark focuses on setting the strategic vision and direction for tools that help organizations understand, shape, and leverage the capabilities of their workforce to achieve business objectives, as well as help individuals work effectively to achieve their goals and navigate their own growth. His combination of a deep technical background in software design and development, coupled with a broad knowledge of business challenges and thinking in today’s globalized, rapidly changing, technology accelerated economy, has enabled him to identify and incorporate key innovations that are central to Oracle Fusion’s unique value proposition. Mark has over the course of his career been in charge of the design, development, and strategy of Talent Management products and the design and development of cutting edge software that is better equipped to handle the increasingly complex demands of users while also remaining easy to use.


Mark, This post is a great lead-in to three important topics. The first is reputation management (obviously intended), but I think your insights also provide a great foundation for further discussion on the importance of social influence and (a relatively under-discussed topic) emergent leadership. I will skip to number three, emergent leadership. An emergent leader in this context is one who takes the initiative to communicate and collaborate with other people toward a common outcome ... often outside of their job function and expected day-to-day activities. This concept both supports Mr. Platt's observations and ties nicely into the related goals of employee engagement and reduced turnover rates. Some initial thoughts on the topic linked in the URL field. I welcome any additional insights and discussion. Thanks again for providing a well thought out and structured foundational post.

Posted by Andy Jankowski on February 26, 2014 at 08:37 AM PST #

Thanks for the feedback and excellent observation about identifying emergent leaders, Andy. I recommend readers check out Andy's post - it provides an important insight into how companies can tap into an often overlooked, vital resource for sustaining business performance.

Posted by guest on March 08, 2014 at 05:01 PM PST #

Post a Comment:
  • HTML Syntax: NOT allowed

Oracle is the Human Capital Management solution of choice for more than 13,500 Oracle customers in over 140 countries, including 8 of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies and 30 of the top 40 innovative companies.


« July 2015