Hootsuite’s Big Idea: Open Source HR (And How You Can Join the Revolution)

October 13, 2015

Open-sourced technology has changed the world.

By companies putting their code out to the public, developers from everywhere have been able to make improvements to software in less time than ever before. This has spawned a faster, more reliable internet, better medical technology that has helped save countless lives and thousands more advancements that affect how we interact with each other.

Now, Hootsuite wants to bring that same philosophy to human resources. They’ve created a website – HROS.co – where they are encouraging organizations of all kinds to share their HR and recruiting learnings with each other so the industry can advance at the same speed of technology.

“Our hope is that you walk away from this conversation inspired to give back to the community and inspired to make a difference,” says Amplify Talent Founder Lars Schmidt who helped Hootsuite roll out the new initiative. “It only works if more people pick up that mantle and continue to share; continue to be part of the effort.”

Today at Talent Connect Anaheim, Lars Schmidt and Hootsuite Vice President of Talent, Ambrosia Vertesi walked the audience though the details of initiative. Here are the details:

The genius of the idea

A few years ago, Vertesi met Schmidt at the South by Southwest conference. Realizing they shared many of the same philosophies, the two became quick collaborators, spending hours together at the conference sharing some of their biggest strategies (without revealing trade secrets, of course).

Vertesi, inspired by the usefulness of that meeting, wished she could duplicate it with more HR and talent acquisition leaders throughout the world. That thought, coupled with Hootsuite’s core value to “build something bigger than yourself,” helped lay the foundation for the idea of open sourced HR.

So, she brought on Schmidt as a consultant at Hootsuite, and they began to run with the idea. At first, they started on social media – only natural, considering Hootsuite is a social media management company – by encouraging HR and recruiting leaders to tweet out their learnings and helpful articles with the hashtag #HootHROS.

The hope was HR and recruiting leaders could search that hashtag and find stories of other people in other companies tackling some of the industry’s biggest problems. But there was one problem –Hootsuite wanted it to create open-source HR and have it be bigger than them, but the hashtag they picked had their branding in it.

So they eliminated the “Hoot” from their hashtag and shortened it to #HROS. Additionally, they built the website HROS.co and shared five of their own case studies about how Hootsuite overcame some of their biggest HR and recruiting challenges.

Here’s a snippet from one of those case studies on how Hootsuite improved the candidate experience at their company:

  • hootsuite candidate experience

Other companies beginning to share

Of course, the next challenge was getting other companies to share their stories as well. Schmidt and Vertesi began spreading the word about the program, and one of the first companies to join them was the restaurant chain Earl’s Kitchen and Bar.

Here’s a snippet from one of Earl’s case studies, shared on HROS.co, on how they linked culture and strategy to drive engagement:

  • hootsuite HROS hashtag

Next, one of the most iconic companies in the world – Oracle – joined the open HR movement by sharing a case study on how they used Google forms for candidate pipelining and engagement. Here’s a snippet from theirs:

  • hootsuite and oracle

One thing Vertesi was happy about was that, albeit still in the early stages, HROS.co has been attractive to companies of all kinds, from a Canadian-based restaurant chain to one of the world’s largest and most well known companies.

“Open-sourced HR is beyond industry and it’s beyond size,” Vertesi said. “It’s a way of thinking and a way of operating.”

What this all means for you

Vertesi and Schmidt made it clear in their joint keynote: They want more companies to join HROS. Again, their HROS efforts aren’t about Hootsuite in any way and the company stands to make no profit off it; aside from the shared profit all companies would gain by having so much industry expertise openly available.

Instead, it is about improving the HR and recruiting industry as a whole by creating a collective knowledge base that is stronger than any one company’s, Vertesi said. And it isn’t about sharing trade secrets or confidential information, but instead about stating what worked – and what didn’t – at your company.

“It’s time to open your kimono,” Schmidt said. “It is time to be about sharing, about learning; and revolutionizing the whole industry because of it.”

To learn more about open-sourced HR and to participate yourself, go to HROS.co

*Image from Hootsuite

To receive blog posts like this one straight in your inbox, subscribe to the blog newsletter.