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Top 5: Set-Ups for Success Using Social Media for HR

A couple weeks ago, I spoke at the Western Region IPMA-HR Annual Conference in San Diego. The conference theme was “Navigating New Horizons,” so I tried to have some fun with the nautical metaphor, as demonstrated by these slides. NOTE: If you’ve seen my slides before, this is all new material!

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Though the slides give you a sense of my thoughts, I flesh out the “5 Set-Ups for Success” below:

1. Build digital bridges. So you do some tabling at the local college, university or job fair. What kind of information do you collect? Name, address, home phone number…Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, cell phone, etc. Oh wait, you don’t collect those last three? Why not collect cell phone numbers so that you can text potential candidates job announcements or start following prospects on Twitter. What if you ran a contest for local students to check into historical sites in your community on FourSquare, then grant the winner a lunch with the mayor or other quasi-celebrity of your town? Use Blog Talk Radio or Talkshoe to interview current employees, capturing their knowledge in ready-to-download podcasts…the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
2. Let Gen X/Millennials surf. When I asked workshop participants to raise their hands to learn who was blocking social networks, nearly 90% of the room pushed their palms in the air. Ignoring social media and hoping it goes away is not a solid recruitment or succession plan. Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and GovLoop and YouTube are all valid tools for connecting and collaborating with peers. In fact, you may be handicapping your personnel by preventing them from participating in these real-time knowledge portals..
3. Protect everyone with policy. This tip can be summarized in two pithy phrases: (a) Know how you’re gonna hire and (b) Know why you’re gonna fire. Spell out in no uncertain terms how you intend to use the Internet for finding out about job candidates. Will you be dropping their name in a Bing or Google search to see what comes up? Will you be foraging their Facebook profile for unflattering photos or their LinkedIn account for discrepancies from their resume? Be clear and steer clear of sticky privacy issues. Also, what constitutes appropriate use of the Internet by employees both during and outside of work time? In a presentation just before mine, a sharp lawyer shared several cases where even off-duty conduct caused unwitting employees to get canned. And while you’re at it – ask the people who use this technology most to help you create the policy. Throw a sample social media policy in a wiki and let them have it…they’ll feel a sense of buy-in and will live by the rules they wrote!
4. Harness Boomer hang-time. Boomers have been tossed amidst some tumultuous financial waves over the last couple years. The sense of insecurity caused by this ebb and flow of available cash for retirement is making many of them stay in the water a bit longer. Many Boomers planned to cycle between periods of work and leisure anyway, so they’ll weather this storm just fine. In the meantime, how are you saving their knowledge for the next wave of workers? I continue to recommend that HR folks equip new hires and interns with a Flip cam, asking them to set up informational interviews (scripted and spontaneous) with near-retirement Boomers. Ask them about their jobs, their favorite memories – get that rich media ready for recruitment and on-boarding activities…and you might even let those young professionals use their tech-savvy to put together their own training modules.
5. Get wet. Time and again, early adopters say the same thing: just get started. Do something small. Try. Fail. Try something else. The riches of the ocean are revealed only to those who don the wet suit and snorkel to see what lies beneath the surface. So jump in!

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