Social media in HR – it should be about so much more than recruitment

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In a recent blog (‘HR analytics – past, present and future’) I talked about how, with three-quarters of companies either using or planning to use social media sites for recruiting, sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are becoming increasingly important in job searching. Building on this, social media is now creating an even wider and louder debate for HR and a wide audience are considering how social media creates a platform for greater organisational success. 

Talent acquisition has been the most obvious area of opportunity within many companies who embrace social media’s potential. Done well, this can include accelerating the entire recruiting process from posting openings to sourcing candidates, reviewing CVs, making an offer and on boarding. There is obviously a link here with lean administration, efficient recruitment process and value for money and it is clear that HR is increasingly interested in the ROI considerations of using social media as a recruitment platform. Put simply, that means measuring sales conversions and targeting traffic. But another core ROI feature includes identifying, creating and measuring prospect engagement. 

My view is that prospect engagement, building knowledge capacity and organisational effectiveness are now big themes in the social media debate. If HR need convincing, the obvious benefits offered by social media as a consumer and brand-oriented set of tools are well established. My view reflects that of Neil Morrison MCIPD (@neilmorrison) and a keen HR writer for the CIPD. Social media can be used for much more than marketing and recruitment. Social media is the platform for external brand identity and a platform that can enhance the ways in which we work, learn, communicate and lead. 

KPMG agree and show how social media can reinforce the supply chain through collaboration with employees, candidates, customers and suppliers. The BIG Lottery Fund have gone beyond talent acquisition and harnessed engagement via social media through innovation in the design of BIG Connect, their latest internal social media tool addressing three main areas – communications, groups and projects. 

I am sure that HR innovation and appetite for using social media is clear - a view supported by the CIPD. They say that from initially being seen by some employers as a potential threat to their reputation or as a distraction for employees, many workplaces are now embracing social media. 

On the ground there seems tentative interest but HR practitioners do seem to remain cautious. We can see this in the most recent CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning survey where half report having social media as a strategy. Great news, but over a third of HR respondents say that while they use social media they don’t fully understand how to maximise it.

The CIPD argue that HR cannot ignore the debate, and with that I can return to my initial point - social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are more important to candidates in the job search than ever before. It is obvious that HR in recruitment utilise these. But maximising the use of the social media platform to harness the creation of internal knowledge sharing and social capital is the bigger picture. That internal capacity for organisational knowledge catapults a brand into the market and offers excellence and effectiveness in reputation.


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