Human Resources

Heisann… (That’s “Hey There” Or “Hello” in Norwegian). My grandfather was Norwegian. That was for him! I was lucky to have him in my life. Anyways, I was reminded this past week that social and HR is hard.

I am immersed in social media every day. Comes at me all the time. I rarely talk about social media unless I am asked because it feels like I am talking about a telephone. I would rather use a telphone than talk about how it works. That line is for you Joe!

I use social for HR to network, share, recruit, engage with employees, build communities, lead ideas and snoop on what other HR Pros are doing with social and HR. I also use it for employment branding for my company @EnergizerJobs . So you could say I work in social with HR. If that is your goal, interest, situation or opportunity then I would like to point out a few things about social and HR. This is not a tirade, just my thoughts.

My purpose of this list is to share with others the problems I have discovered in the last few years. If you work in a big corporation and in HR, chances are you have experienced some of this stuff.

The problem with social and HR is that…

  1. You have to go first. Being the first HR Pro to do social for you company is like converting people to a new religon. You believe it, but others do not. Even though you may not know much about your social media journey, stay true to your beliefs.
  2. You have to be comfortable being a chameleon. You must speak and translate between two HR cultures. Traditional cultures who have little experience with it and the social media culture who know it and want to learn how it can help our industry. Careful with the traditional culture. Their ignorance can make your days long.
  3. You need to figure out how social can—> save your company money with recruiting, improve engagement, increase brand visibility (i.e., employment branding), attracting talent and share your company’s vision. You need to find metrics to measure this. HR Pros love measurement and goals.
  4. Your CEO needs social to share his/her vision of the company. The quarterly town hall is not enough. If you work at a big (greater than 10k people) global company very few people know the vision of the CEO or president. Your job as the social HR Pro is to get them to believe in using it to share their vision.
  5. Some people will give you lip service that social for HR is important, but have no idea why it is important.
  6. Many senior HR leaders will want to learn more, but not commit to doing social. This will leave you feeling lonely. Don’t give up.
  7. HR Pros are paid to manage liabilities. Many will see social for HR as another liability. Show them how it can help. See point #3 above.
  8. In the beginning, doing social for HR will add more work to your plate. So be smarter with it. Use it to do your normal (i.e., recruit, network, communicate, engage) HR work better. This will enhance your work like a the remote control did for your TV watching. You will meet new people and know your existing network better. Use social to interact, then meet in real life. Meet the people you interact with online in real life.
  9. When you do it well, it will look easy. Nobody will care or realize how much work it took. Same way nobody calls your payroll team to thank them for paying them correct and on time. No body will call you to say you did a good job.
  10. Social and HR work isn’t glamorous. You don’t get paid any extra money either.
  11. If you screw something up with social and HR it is public. My advice is to screw up when you are small and nobody is watching. Learn from those screw-ups, then do it better next time. You won’t get fired. Just don’t be stupid. And please don’t ask me what stupid looks like.
  12. Don’t wait for approval to do social and HR. It will never come. Take authority of social before it is given to you. Your business leaders expect you to be using it to bring them talent. Stop right now and go ask them. I bet they agree.
  13. If you build a strong public presence, some HR Pros will think you are all about becoming “famous”. That’s not your problem.
  14. You will be critiqued by people in a mean way. Go buy your tissues now.
  15. You will be critiqued by HR Pros who have no idea what they are talking about.
  16. Some of your ideas will be new and exciting to you and old news to everyone else. Social is fast paced.
  17. You will have no resources to make this happen. Find believers in your network and work with them. They will help you.
  18. Nobody in HR will care when you get a ReTweet by someone cool on Twitter. Even if it means 1,829 talented people just saw something cool about your company.
  19. There is a fine line between promotion of self and promotion of people. Social is about the people. Always, always…always promote other people.
  20. If you are introducing social to HR, I pray for you. You will be asking people to use their imagination to do stuff in HR in a different way. This is a new experience to them. So to round off my list like a game of Black Jack….here is the 21st thing that will make it worth it….

Inside each problem with social and HR is an opportunity to lead. There is an opportunity to reach out and build something with people that we can’t build alone. People want to help. People want to make your company better and themselves better while they are at it. Your job is to show them why they should help, then how they can help. The HR transformation is going on around us and will keep going on. Has been for my 13 years of HR. Use social to speed up the transformation.

Social media will soon be like the telephone. Another cool tool that can help us do our jobs better. In the meantime, I will go back to using social for HR. It’s much easier.

Bet you could add to this list. What do you think people need to know about doing social and HR?

Related: How Recruiters Can Get Started with Social Media.

Image: Shutterstock


About Ben Martinez

Ben Martinez is an HR Pro who blogs at the HR Hound. Ben is a self-proclaimed family guy, exerciser and HR journeyman, of Fortune 500 companies.  Fantasy sports hater -  avid sports watcher. Ben wrote the book on coffee networking, so if you’re in the St. Louis  area, hit him up for a cup.  Contact Ben on  Twitter. Views are his, not his employers.

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