Over the past few years’ the use of social media to create high profile product and employment brands has gained in popularity. We are seeing greater uptake of social technology to connect and communicate, and a workforce where this is integral to the way they operate. The landscape it still shifting though, we are moving to a place where employee voice and contribution is just as valid and more powerful than marketing spin. In this sense, businesses that are doing great things with social media are successfully integrating people practices and marketing strategy, allowing them to be more innovative, collaborative and responsive to change. I’m going to talk you through these trends in social technology, particularly in the HR space, and the implications for learning and development, internal communication and transparent employment branding; these elements representing the greatest opportunities for HR to support two-way communication, business resilience and agility.
I want to start with setting the scene of what social HR looks like.HR can play a huge role in helping companies become adaptable. So what I’m going to talk about today relates to you, as HR professionals can start to become involved in social HR but also how you can use it within your own businesses. Social HR is about a change to the way we work. HR is already a partner to business in many change management efforts but HR’s efforts would be many times greater if it played a lead role in eliminating the barriers to business adaptability particularly in change management, organisational design, talent acquisition, learning and development and performance. Social HR is fundamentally about people though. Technology helps create greater connections but it should enhance personal interaction and not replace it.
When we talk about social technology it is…
The CIPD recently did some research into the use of social media and I think this provides an interesting backdrop to why we should consider using it. The overall conclusion they came to was that the personal use of social media was high but we were not necessarily leveraging it for it’s full potential in the workplace. In summary, we are not quite there yet. However, they did find that social media helps create meaningful connections between people, aids external collaboration, supports two-way communication and enables us to become more innovative and responsive to change.
I want you to remember, anything social media related needs to be aligned to your organizational culture and strategy. A well executed social strategy is aligned to the culture (values, behaviours) and the strategy (goals, actions) of the organisation. Most of us know that most roads for the successful implementation of any ‘HR’ plan leads to leadership – well this is no different. Leadership is required to enable and encourage social media participation. Secondly, your values and culture should very much inform what your social presence looks like. If you’ve got a firm and button down culture then you’re doing yourself a disservice representing yourself as hip and cool. Remember, social removes the marketing spin. Don’t try and be someone you’re not. The benefit is that you’re more likely to hire people who genuinely fit with your culture.You also want to check in with your IT and marketing department what they are already doing in the social space. What are the social strategies of your brands – how can you leverage that? What restrictions or tools does IT offer – how can you leverage that?As said, before your social strategy and your internal culture needs to be in sync. So the first place to start when developing your social strategy is with your internal culture and business strategies.
These businesses are using social media toolsTo connect and employees internally and enable them to collaborate and problem solveAs a means for leadership for leadership to have two way conversations with their peopleAs a tool for employees to share what it’s like to work for that business. Creating a transparent employment brandTo communicate a carefully created employment message to a wider audienceTwo examples of organizations that are using social media in a way that is aligned to their culture and strategy. Firstly, the NHS social media involvement is being led from their leadership. They are a great example of an organisation using public social tools (including twitter) to connect with employees and customers. They provide a lot of guidance and support for their managers to do this. But don’t get me wrong either, the social tech is used to enhance not replace human relationships. I have also picked vend as an example of transparent employment branding. A number of companies now are going ‘social’ with their employment branding including some of the big and well known employers. However, their oft lauded employment brands are still created by marketers and PR types putting a positive spin on what it is like to work there. Vend is one of the few companies in NZ actually representing what it’s like to work their.They’re lucky though, they’ve got a great culture to show off. So you might ask about those businesses that are not so good looking. That could be you too right. I believe we will see a shift over the next few years to more transparent employment branding. Whereby it’s your employees telling their friends and family and extended networks what it is like to work for you. If you want to control it, your silence or spin is going to quickly become evident. I will also be tweeting out links to more case studies you can read on businesses that are using social media for internal comms, employment branding and learning and development.
Talk through story:Picture this. You’re attending a social event, a birthday party, drinks at the pub, a conference, a networking evening. When you arrive people are already clustered into groups having conversations. You stand on the side of the room and shout “I had bacon and eggs for breakfast and it was awesome, here’s a picture of it”!Who thinks that would be a little weird?What if instead you participated in conversations that are already happening.Participating in social media is much the same as interacting with people in real life the same norms and etiquette apply. Find the conversations that are already happening and engage with them, ask questions, and share with your contributions
Let me paint a picture for you of a different way of learning and solving problems as an HR professional. Imagine this. You can connect to HR professionals from not only all around New Zealand but all around the globe. You share ideas, suggestions and opinions. You share challenges and common gripes. You’re social HR. You then find areas of common interest and understanding, someone has the same problem as you. You form a connection over it. You might then start to discuss potential solutions. Two heads are better than one right? Well imagine tens, hundreds, thousands of heads? You’re connected HR. You come up with a few ideas, maybe one or two of those ideas stand out to you and you decide to take them back to your work.You learn something, you have a solution to your problem, but it doesn’t stop there and it shouldn’t stop there.The last step, and the most critical, is embedding the solutions, continuously improving them, sharing the learning and leveraging off others to continuously improve. That’s truly collaborative HR.We’re going to talk to you about some of the areas where you can participate in these levels of social HR, but firstly
be yourself; natural and comfortable. No need to have rehearsed lines to butt into a conversation or make your mark, just be yourself – introvert or extrovert matters not. The least natural you are, the more likely people are likely to be lukewarm towards you. Think David Brent – then be nothing like him.be curious and interested in what others are about/saying and they’ll be the same with you. You may not think you’re interesting but let others be the judge of that. Start from the point that what you do, who you do it for and where you do it from are facts and start the curiosity trail off – if someone says they are an “information architect” be honest and say “sounds interesting but I really don’t know much about that role, please tell me more…” Repeating back a few key words shows you’ve listened and helps the person feel you’ve understood and appreciated what they do. They are FAR more likely to do the same back to you – and who knows, you may just find yourselves experiencing similar issues (tight budgets and low skill levels in your teams) which you share – then bingo you never know how you might be able to help each other out!Be tactical in your social interactions. This is about establishing why you want to get involved in social media. What do you want to achieve out of it? What are then the best platforms and interactions for you to get involved in. Where are the communities you are wanting to connect with based? Be positive. There are a lot of stories about the bad things that can happen with social media. It is also unsettling putting yourself out there on a public forum. Focus on the positives of the interaction.
NZLEAD is a weekly twitter based conversation around a variety of HR related topics. Every week we put a preview of the topic up on our website and at 7pm Thursday the community jumps on twitter following the #nzlead hashtag to discuss the topic around 4 key questions. At times the conversation is lighthearted and fun and at other times we can get into some pretty serious debates. Now, you might be thinking, how can I get a lot out of a conversation that is 140 characters? The power of twitter and the tweet chat comes from the collective. By that I mean, it’s not just your thoughts and opinions, it’s the cumulative total of thoughts expressed through tweets from a variety of people. You also learn pretty quickly how to get your point across in 140 characters. As a result NZLEAD is more than just a tweet chat. What it has allowed us to do is connect with other HR professionals from all around the world. The open nature of twitter means that anyone can participate in the conversation and anyone does. You follow people and they follow you. Blogs are shared and commented on. And that brings me to the next great part of using social media for professional development, the blog.
HR tweet chats have jumped up all around the world, all of which brings together various HR practitioners. To join in on a tweet chat, follow the hashtag by searching for it, and to contribute just tweet and insert the relevant hashtag. Contributing to HR tweet chats is a great way to connect to practitioners from around the world and a great way to crowd source information and share knowledge and experiences. If you want to find diverse and thought provoking thinking, jump on twitter and contribute to these fantastic discussions!
When you want to get more detailed in your discussion or read more, then that is when the blog becomes a great tool. Within the International HR community there are some great blogs and links to HR bloggers. They will be informative, challenge your thinking and allow you to connect with more people online. People find it daunting to start blogging, but read a few HR blogs and you will be inspired to start your own!
And this happened. Humane resourced.In June of 2013, David D’Souza conceived an audacious challenge for himself – to compile a crowd-sourced business book examining the modern workplace from the world of blogging. The resulting publication, Humane, Resourced contains contributions from over 50 authors and was launched as an eBook with a foreword by no less a luminary than Peter Cheese, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. 50-odd authors, from different walks of life with different experiences providing their insight on the state of the modern world of work.The book of blogs has actually been described as more useful than an HR text book because it gives a window into the world of HR warts and all. It’s enlightening and opinionated. You can buy this book for a few dollars through Amazon. And yes, this is a picture of Dan Pink holding a copy of the book. It is real, not photo shopped!Book of blogs two is currently being produced. You can check out the tweet stream for this conference to find more information.
Last year the CIPD ran a series of Hacks based on some work coming out of the US. Give Hack examples. On another note, IBM has been running hack style sessions for their employees for years. They call them Jams.
Time: 30minsResources: A2 sheets of paper Recruitment and employment brandingIf you’re looking to hire THAT specialist for a role, you often think back to the last time you worked with someone who did that role. Or you tap up someone who you know is supremely networked to share their views on who the industry experts are to look out for. Whilst it’s not about some kind of nepotism or blinkered thinking, having people in your network to either find you the right person or be the right person can take a whole lot of effort and risk out of the situation of a critical hire. Of course there are downsides in that you might not spot that raw talent you don’t know about but if people are good, someone, somewhere will know about them and the more networked you are the more you’re likely to be just a couple of degrees away from that next superstar.Internal communication Why part 2 – think innovation & ideas.The more connected you are, the more people in your network you have, the more you can rely on someone within that band being a breakthrough thinker; a true ideas generator and likely to stimulate you into new ways of thinking about problems to solve and products/services to create. The more diverse your network (in terms of demographics and experiences) the more likely you are to be connected to an innovation architect/creator.Why part 3 – think help, support and assistance.Not necessarily innovation or breakthrough thinking but capacity/capability to plug and people you know can help you do that. You’re good – sure. But you’re better with other people around and behind you. The bigger your network, the more tightly constructed the network the chances are you’re going to fall over the help you need and not have a tiring and fruitless pursuit for help and support. Technical, psychological, physical, spiritual – whatever format it takes. Your network can be your biggest source of generosity and willingness. You do have to put in to get out, but if you do “put in” and help/support others, the benefits are huge.Why part 4 – think learning and professional development.More and more of the learning you do is not from formal avenues like courses, academic qualification programmes or even in-house learning, it’s from your network. They know TONS of information; have a massive array of skills and a wide range of approaches and experiences. They can and should become your Personal Learning Network and none of it is manipulative, disingenuous or undeserved. If you get a lot of learning from your network, it’s probably because you deserve it, have generated lots for others and so it’s a payback thing. WHERE?Talk:Social media can be used for these things. You’re now going to have a go looking at some real life examples. You can research these however you want. Google, evernote, tweet out to the community. Exercise: Split into teams Spend 30mins researching how different businesses are using social mediaPresent back to the rest of the group
ATC conference 1st April 2014
The future of
HR & social
Presented by: Amanda Sterling
The future of social HR
employees in a less
YOU & business
It’s all about
We don’t know what
we don’t know
Social media is…
“any online platforms for networking or sharing
information or opinions, for example Facebook, LinkedIn,
Twitter, or blogs, but not email’.
• Create meaningful connections between people
• Aids external collaboration
• Supports two-way communication
• Enables us to become more innovative and
responsive to change.
Social Technology, social business.
CIPD research paper 2013.
The research cont….
• 76% of employees are using social media for
• They are using it to connect, collaborate,
network, read blogs, comments, articles,
share knowledge, learn more about areas they
are interested in.
• only 26% of them are doing this for work.
Social Technology, social business.
CIPD research paper 2013.
The research cont….
• 53% of ‘senior managers’ are actively using social
• They are using it for networking (52%),
commenting on forums (41%) and to post blogs
or articles (27%).
• Already using it to connect and communicate
externally imagine if they focused these skills
Social Technology, social business.
CIPD research paper 2013.
Three levels of Social HR
• Level One: Social
o Share ideas, suggestions, opinions
o Broadcast to the community
• Level Two: Connected
o Ask questions
o Discover common areas of interest
o Challenge ideas
o Collectively brainstorm
• Level Three: Learning and problem solving
o Implementing solutions in your organisation
o Feedback loop
o Continuous improvement
Courtesy of @Perrytimms,
“Connecting HR professionals from
NZ and around the world to
collaborate and share knowledge”
Global HR communities
#OZHR #NZLEAD #CONNECTINGHR
These are crowd sourced
and curated list.
You can also find links to
these blogs by searching
by the conference
The book of blogs
“this book isn't going to give
you any clear and
prescriptive ideas and tools
that will revolutionise what
you do. But it will spark your
You can read, reflect make
your own meaning from the
content and then go and
start making your own small
changes to HR, to business
and to those around you”
What is it good for?
• Employment branding & recruitment
• Internal communication
• Learning and development
• Innovation & ideas
• Help, support & assistance
and the people who work with you…