Social media and HR - arch enemies or vital partners?

This article was originally published on Changeboard.com The recent ban by Portsmouth City Council on their employees accessing social media sites such as Facebook while at work, has provoked much debate in other companies and organisations.

I suspect that a large number of HR departments up and down the country are looking at the issue in more detail than ever. Retailer magnet Theo Paphitus encapsulated the social media detractor’s point of view very well when he said this in a recent interview: “At Ryman, we had to knock this problem on the head about a year ago, when it became obvious that too much staff time was being eaten up by this nonsense”.

What HR departments might be less familiar with though, is the strong case for the integration of social media into the workplace. Tony Hseith of Zappos, has this to say, “If you don't trust your employees to tweet freely, it's an employee or leadership issue, not an employee Twitter policy issue” While he might not be as well know in the UK as the Ryman’s Dragon, the recent sale of Zappos to Amazon for the best part of a $1 billion illustrates that he also knows a thing or two about running a successful business. Indeed it’s not a coincidence that Zappos is considered by many as the best place to work in US.

What this tells me is that producing a sensible, successful corporate policy on social media usage is very difficult if you don’t use it yourself. It’s very easy to jump on the bandwagon of negativity if you have no idea what the advantages could be for your department and your company.  If you’re struggling for a place to start then it’s well worth considering some of key benefits of social media for the HR profession

Information intelligence

Over the last two years there has been a proliferation of blogs covering HR and recruitment issues. Information can be updated in an instant and breaking news now travels in seconds rather than hours or days. Relevant industry conversations take place daily on sites like Twitter and useful content is continually being uploaded to sites such as YouTube and Slideshare. Is this market intelligence you can afford to miss?

Networking

LinkedIn and Twitter offer the opportunity to expand your professional network like never before. Organisations like “The Firm” (The Forum for In House Recruitment Managers) are also proving this isn’t just happening in cyber space. After starting life as a LinkedIn group they now have regular events, which allow corporate recruiters to meet and network in “real life”.

Recruitment strategy

Recruitment budgets have been slashed and the recession is making it less likely that the very best people will be tempted to move role. Against this backdrop, “social recruiting” is giving many companies a cost effective and dynamic way to evolve their recruitment communication strategy.

Communications

Social media is also driving a corporate communications revolution for many organisations. Major CRM systems such as Salesforce.com are integrating Twitter and Facebook so that customers can communicate with companies directly via these channels. Secure network services such as Yammer are making internal communications more informal and useful while social networking and wiki technology are finally dragging the corporate intranet into the 21st century.

The aggressive consistent growth of the social web should be proof in itself that we are dealing with revolution not a fad and progressive companies like Zappos have already integrated it deep into the culture of their business to great success. As similar positive case studies emerge expect the debate to become more balanced and social media to start being seen as the force for corporate good rather than something that should just be banned.

Another piece of the jigsaw

Just a quick blog post to let you know that I’ve launched an additional Twitter feed. SRlinks is an automated stream of links that I have either shared on Google Reader, bookmarked on Delicious or posted to my link blog Social Recruiting. Unsurprisingly most of the links will be about social recruiting and other related recruitment, technology and web 2.0 content. I’ll start by sharing three or four links a day and will increase the frequency if it proves popular.

I’ll still be posting the most interesting links on my main Twitter account, I just want to make sure I’m not cluttering up the conversation on there with every single link that I bookmark!

My social media "jigsaw" currently looks like this -

Recruitingfuture.com – My main blog for longer thoughts, comments and discussion

Twitter/Mattalder – My main Twitter account for conversation

Work/life stream – Repository for the most interesting and relevant links as well as my own shorter content (blog posts, comments, pics, videos etc)

Social Recruiting – Link blog specifically for videos and presentations related to social recruiting

Twitter/SRlinks – Unedited feed of links from my Google Reader shared items and Delicious bookmarks.

Please feel free to subscribe to as many of them or as few of them as you want!

What the F*ck is Social Media - One year on

I posted the first version of this presentation last November. Great to see that it has been updated and I really like the just f**king do it message. There is a lot of talk and not a lot of action in the Social Recruiting space at the moment, I hope that we'll see this change in the coming weeks and months [slideshare id=1729461&doc=wommaseminar-090716072512-phpapp01]

Six key elements of Social Recruiting

Well deserved congratulations to Mike Taylor for organising such a well attended and well received conference last week.  It was great to have such an event in the UK and really interesting to see the momentum building behind Social Recruiting, something which will be  force for  seismic change in our industry During my presentation at the conference I defined what I believe to be the key elements of "Social Recruiting". I wanted to blog them as my "beta" attempt to draw a line in the sand and get some discussions going. I've no doubt people will have some very valid alternative views and I'd be really interested to hear what they are

In my opinion the key elements that make up Social Recruiting are:-

Social Advertising

Often dismissed as not being "proper" social media marketing, there is no doubt that advertising in social channels is an important and effective tool. Highly targeted and available across most social platforms (including LinkedIn), social advertising is already delivering bottom line results in the recruitment industry

Portable Content

Increasingly, more companies aren't just putting their content on their corporate recruitment sites they are letting the content go to their candidates and travel around unhindered in the social space. Platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are already being utilised to take key content (with video being one example) beyond the traditional company web site

Referral Networks

Expect to see much talk of "Social Graphs" , "Nodes" and "Ties"  in our space in coming years. Referrals and word of mouth have always been key in recruitment and technology is going to turbo charge this as we move forward

Authentic Conversations

Profiles of current employees have been a big part of recruitment websites in the last ten years. Things are now moving towards more authentic real time communication. Conversations between current / past employees and future hires whether officially sanctioned or not are already becoming an important part of the recruitment process

Reputation Management

A highly complex area in which no two situations or responses will be the same. The key thing here though is for companies is know what is being said about them and where it's being said

Social Sourcing

I really liked the phrase "chatter mining" which Bill from TwitterJobSearch used at the conference.  In areas where the best talent still remains difficult to recruit, social media is offering more and more ways for skilled recruiters to identify and engage with top quality prospects

So, what does everything else think?

Let's take the Social Media discussion to the next level

I was looking back through the Digital Recruiting archives the other day and realised that I first wrote about social media and recruitment in this post from 2006. It's great to finally see the recruitment industry getting it's head properly round social media even if it has taken a while! It's also good to see the the concept of personal branding becoming mainstream and I think today's post on Mashable is perhaps one the most practical things I've ever seen written on the subject. So now I think the time is right to step the debate up a bit and take things to the next level. Over the next few weeks I'm going to try to introduce some new ideas into the debate as well as expanding on some thoughts I've had in the past.

I'll be kicking off straight after Easter with some thoughts on Social Graphs and their potential to change the recruitment landscape even further. In lots of ways they already have......

Have a great Easter break!