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Former Member

Me, Myself & I: Identifying the Real Value of ‘Me’

A couple of days ago, I read an interesting report suggesting that 80% of 1600 CEOs surveyed are concerned fundamentality about  two things:

  • The increasing level of complexity of their business as they try to get more intimate with their local customers and
  • The increasing strain of not having the right skill sets within their organisations

The frightening statistic was that over 50% of the same CEOs acknowledged that they were worried that they didn’t have a solution to these two problems. It didn’t dawn on me at that time that what we have been missing and what many of these CEOs have appeared to miss is that if we reframed the question, the answer may be closer to home than one thought.

Control has been in the hands of the employer for as long as I can remember. But how this generation decides to interact with the corporate world has undergone a revolution. Who would have thought you social policy or access to Facebook would have a fundamental impact on whether someone came to work for you. Today’s reality is that good people, the rock-star talent that we all hunger for, will control the conversation. They will choose where they wish to invest their time.

Any hiring manager will tell you about the challenges of finding a warm body never mind one of rock-star proportions. In my previous post, I talked about the impact of real GDP growth would have on Indonesia. Extrapolate that against an ageing population pyramid and the conundrum becomes all the more frightening.

So we need to ditch the long held beliefs of the individual as an employee.

We need to embrace the concept of the “IDENTITY of ME.”

Step 1:  We need to recognize the different elements of My Identity (ME)

Today’s ME is not merely the individual with an Employee ID who has a performance review once or twice a year. Today’s ME a multi-layered persona; it includes professional, personal, social and collaborative layers that when stitched together bring about a valuable IDENTITY of an individual.

How much of this is measured, acknowledged and rewarded remains a mystery. It still baffles me as to why we do not reward employees for how they leverage their IDENTITY for the benefit of the organisation.

What is clear is that an employee whose ME does not feel the love will take his or her social collaborative and value personas out the door. The essence here is for us and organisations to be able to embrace that there is a proposition were my true identity has Value. Crack this and you may very well take large percentage points off your attrition rates. You may even unearth a new loyalty paradigm.

Step 2:  To scale and be successful we must find a way to tap into the value of ME

Our role as managers has to be to help inject these facets of ME into the organization and quantify the true value of ME, my IDENTITY in terms of revenue or perhaps change or be able to quantify value outside of revenue terms. Meanwhile the employee must continue (and will) to build on the different layers or in simple terms enhance their IDENTITY. This is a DNA element that has long left the dock.

Step 3:  The Complete ME requires an integrated enabling infrastructure

Think about ME as a person who adds value in group. Now think of the power of ME when I leverage my personal network to drive the larger agenda. Think of the power this brings to solving issues from on-boarding to invoice management to social learning.

Now think about the value of being associated with this IDENTITY. Supporters of Sports teams have done this for decades. It has a tribal effect.

The opportunity to leverage the value of this new data-set is simply mind boggling. It cannot and must not rest in transactional HR. It can and should be a specific science that helps HR become more of a credible asset in the boardroom.  We are in a unique position where we can now fine-tune and empower true talent brokering, creating dynamic teams of employees, customers, partners and even suppliers.

These teams can solve problems and ship products at the speed and quality that today’s highly informed customer expects.

I think we would all agree that this is infinitely more powerful than the general purpose resource management profile that most organisations currently use today at the time of hiring, re-allocation, performance review and firing/retrenchment.

The real performing happens between these events. That’s when employee insight is needed the most.

Today’s customer expects firms to break through organizational silos and rally around their business problems in field marketing, product launches, customer pitches or support inquiries. There are are crucial lessons to be learned from. We need to get better at identifying the rock-stars.

But we must also learn how to institutionalize well-performing processes and these new interaction models. These are based on who did what; how they did it; and most critically, whether it added value to move the economic dial.

The Next Decade

The race for market leadership will be via a new, connected, people-centered framework not system-centered one. Organisations that are on this journey are likely to win the war for talent by simply creating a platform for IDENTITY to permeate through its walls.

Whilst social may be the new dial tone in what we do, I would suggest that Identity is the New HRIS Pulse challenge not the debate on cloud or on-Premise technologies. Getting identity wrong handicaps your odds of success no matter how shiny your social tools or how big your budget.

The next decade will belong to the ultimate brokers of real people intelligence. They will trade on that indispensable currency while the rest of the leadership sizes up what effectively competing and winning in the 21st century will entail.

Identity is the new HR.

Till next time.


I would like to make special mention of Sameer Patel (@SameerPatel), whose work and time I have leveraged as part of this post.