In the past, our technology clients told Total HR Management that human resources professionals were often are slow in embracing change when it came to anything technology related. Is this true with Social Media? Does it have to be true? The popularity and possibilities that Social Media have brought to us are causing HR professionals to take notice. Total HR has learned our lesson and developed with expert guidance four key strategies for combining human resources and Social Media effectively.
Part of Total HR’s role is to mitigate legal risks for our clients, another very large component is to help support and cultivate your corporate culture and create a productive and profitable working environment. As Social Media becomes more defined in the business world, there increasingly will be a significant opportunity to leverage this powerful medium in many aspects of your business.
Here’s a look at how we think Social Media will affect HR. Let us know what you think as well by getting back to us…
1. Using Social Media to Expand Networks and Increase Access
Regardless of our profession, we now know using Social Media allows us to expand our networks on several different levels. Human resources is no exception to this new reality. Having the ability to interact with colleagues around the country about the challenges facing HR professionals results in the ability to adopt the latest innovations and learn about the latest mistakes in order not to repeat them. By expanding our networks, we increase our access to the latest information and cutting edge tools.
2. Quantify the Productivity and Value of Social Media
Many of us remember when using the Internet at work became popular. Organizations were convinced that employees would spend all day surfing and not getting any work done. Human resources departments are still fighting that battle with Social Media. We must understand which Social Media tools and strategies will give us a greater bang for the buck. Just because many of these tools are free or low-cost doesn’t mean they’re worth investing time and effort in. That lack of cost makes it easy to dive into Social Media without considering what you want to get out of it.
It is essential to create value not only for the business, but also for the internal workforce and the industry. When human resources include employee involvement in corporate Social Media strategy, it also means working with senior leadership to create a culture that supports the change. While using Social Media tools can provide convenience, establishing appropriate metrics to measure results is essential. Simply having a Facebook page or a Twitter feed is not enough. Social Media needs to be quantified in order to be effective.
3. Never Truly Disconnected As Expectations Evolve
Before Facebook and iPhones, it was understood that people weren’t available all the time. Even though companies now try to encourage “disconnect” time, it has become essential for organizations to set expectations and manage those expectations where using Social Media is concerned. This not only applies to employees using Social Media but to customer service.
To understand customer demographics and needs, we can use Social Media to find business solutions faster and from a wider variety of sources. It also means that a business can respond to the needs of their customer faster as well. In the modern world, the truth is that we are never 100% disconnected from our work and these new expectations and reality continue to evolve as technology changes.
4. Do Not Be Afraid — Support Innovation
There is tremendous potential in Social Media for collaboration and the sharing of real-time ideas or solutions with team members. The application of private enterprise tools can be used for internal conferences or team development and meetings. We can use Twitter to keep up with industry conferences, information and articles. Facebook and blogging tools can be used to collaborate and inform employees and clients about practices and methodologies of your business.
Total HR realizes that in order to accomplish business goals, individuals must be encouraged and rewarded for using non-traditional thinking. We are all still adjusting to professional life with Social Media and there remains so much more that we can do. So many positive applications can still be discovered and harnessed to improve both productivity and profitability. The more we use these tools, the more we will grow in our roles. This is just the beginning.
Like our colleagues in marketing and public relations, we are learning what Social Media tools are available and how they can be leveraged in the workplace. Many of the rules regarding what works have yet to be written or tested. One thing is certain: Total HR understands that the growth of Social Media is not going to stop, and we believe our clients need to understand this simple reality as well. The challenge is integrating a cohesive, relevant and effective strategy at every level of an organization, both at Total HR and for our client companies. By supporting innovation and not being afraid of change, you can stay a step ahead of the curve and make Social Media an ally as opposed to an ignorant enemy.
About James Harwood
James Harwood, president and founder of Total HR, has more than 20 years of experience as a human resources executive and consultant with Fortune 500 companies, including Intel Corp. and Tektronix Inc., as well as nonprofit corporations and small businesses. He oversees HR administration departments, including payroll, benefits and workers’ compensation. His areas of expertise include leadership and management development, employee satisfaction surveys and performance management consultation.