Should you join the HR tribe?

TribeHR’s recent acquisition by NetSuite is a high commendation for the Waterloo based software company.  Providing an human resources management (HRM0 product that delivers more than the typical database of employee information, TribeHR leverages available social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and a company’s Facebook page to enhance the employee experience.   The partnership with NetSuite now enables TribeHR to provide integrated access to processes for accounting, inventory, commerce and sales automation to support a company’s full business needs.

Founded in 2009 by Joseph Fung, CEO, TribeHR was developed as a result of Fung’s own frustration with traditional HRM system options.  Wanting to provide mechanisms to foster employee interactivity, connectivity, and engagement, Fung put his vision into reality with the TribeHR software.

Employees receive a “personalized” experience when they access TribeHR, and performance management processes allows for more meaningful “real time” employee performance feedback and guidance. According to Fung, data from user companies validates the positive impact that TribeHR has made on their productivity, employee engagement and ROI.

TribeHR’s social network helps remove barriers to employees and managers keeping connected. Rather than work getting “held up” through lack of timely feedback, TribeHR facilitates the required interfaces to keep the work moving forward, which is an excellent feature of this software.

This higher level of connectivity requires that managers be more accessible to employees; just like the email that cannot be deferred (or ignored!), employee requests can be fairly immediate and can require a soon response.

This accessibility therefore has implications for how managers manage and what employees expect.  Although TribeHR heightens the manager’s ability to monitor work progress and provide guidance in a more timely manner, on the other hand it can make managing more challenging by raising the bar on work delivery, standards, and expectations.

How managers prioritize their work may need to shift to accommodate the “real time” requirements of employees.  Waiting a few days to get a meeting with one’s manager will now be uncommon, yet if managers cannot provide the timely responses that employees expect, then employee accessibility expectations could become a negative and cause their own set of frustrations.  Rather than an employee becoming engaged, they could become disengaged.  Perish the thought!

Thus, the greater transparency afforded by the software not only makes employees more accountable, but also spotlights managerial competency and effectiveness within this new framework.

Further, although the intention of the software is to give HR more time away from the tactics to focus on “strategy”, the sad part is that far too many organizations do not see HR beyond the tactics.  Potentially, as automated tellers changed how everyday banking transactions are done, the strength of TribeHR to manage employee data and the interactions between employees and managers may result in some HR downsizing, rather than providing greater opportunity for HR to be the strategic contributor, which is what Fung envisions will happen.  I sincerely hope that it does.

As managers and employees will need to adapt their work paradigms, so too will HR need to adapt and see the advantages of the software as a leverage to bring increased HR value to the management table.  Hopefully, this will be viewed as an opportunity by the organization and not a threat due to changing the status quo.

This may require a full repositioning of the HR value proposition within the new organization wide-work paradigm that is propelled and supported by such a robust software.  If HR within a particular organization has been traditionally steeped in tactics, then HR (and the CEO!) may need help to navigate this repositioning, which is vital to fully realize the HR strategic benefits that the software affords.

For all the strengths of its features, its user friendliness and benefits, the true challenges of integrating TribeHR into an organization and realizing its full potential is the capacity of organizations to adapt to the changes that the software will initiate.  As with any change of significance, its introduction and implementation must be carefully communicated, understanding that individuals absorb and adapt to change at “their own pace”.  With an effective implementation, TribeHR can only continue to move companies, and its most valuable asset, its employees, forward to a strong future and meaningful employee experience.

Kudos to Fung for his vision and his foresight to develop TribeHR, and yes, I do think you should join the Tribe.

Marylka Empey
Marylka Empey
Marylka Empey is management consultant with more than 20 years successful experience in working closely with organizations to address the “A to Z” of HR related opportunities and challenges. Ms. Empey has significant involvement with the HR Association of Ontario, having served on the Provincial Board, on the Chapter Board as President, and on the Provincial Professional Standards Committee where she contributed to establishing the professional benchmarks for the Certified Human Resources Designation (CHRP). A trusted advisor to management, Marylka collaborates to build effective relationships across the client organization, and acts ethically and with integrity. As a corporate executive, Marylka has experience in both the profit and not-for-profit sector, and was a member of the Executive team reporting to the President / CEO, with full responsibility for setting and executing the HR strategic direction in support of corporate business objectives.

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