(This is the third and final in a series of three blog posts that recap learning sessions offered at the recently concluded annual SHRM conference. Social Media Director Joan Ginsberg gave HRAGD members the opportunity to choose a session for Joan to attend and blog about. This session was chosen by Darla Schlact, who has been an HRAGD member since October 2011.)
Social media, according to presenter Jessica Miller-Merrill, SPHR, represents “the biggest shift in business thinking since the industrial revolution.” It is that shift that should make HR rethink social media, because the way we live and do business is shifting with it.
Jessica made it clear that social media really doesn’t represent changing business norms. Social media is the current pause in the evolution of business norms.
The way we do business is changed – or evolved – through social media because the prevalence of communication through social networks requires each business to be
- In the moment
- Able to provide answers immediately
So what are the problems that prevent business – and HR – from adopting social media in a broader way?
Fear of risk – the idea that social media is fraught with risk is prevalent, fueled in part by employment lawyers who don’t even use or understand social media themselves. Jessica made sure the audience understood that there are risks, but that there are also tools that can help minimize or mitigate those risks. She also explained that it was very difficult to understand and minimize risks when there is no basic understanding or use of social media. Finally, Jessica cautioned that not having a social media plan is probably a greater risk than using social media wisely.
Fear of unproductivity – According to Jessica, during any given work day there are 64 minutes of unproductive work attributable to smoking, and only 7.2 minutes that are from people on Facebook. In fact, with mobile access rising rapidly, use of mobile applications can actually help employers reach employees more effectively. In fact, Jessica claimed that 70% of the people in the bathroom are also on their phones. Using mobile to reach this employees can actually increase productivity.
Social media is pushing boundaries, and it is important for employees to know what those boundaries are. With Google logging 223 million searches for the word “jobs” every month, isn’t it important for employers to find where their candidates and employees are and use those numbers to “be where the people are”?
In order for HR to get social, they need to
- LEARN (about social media)
- PLAN (their social media usage)
- ACT (just do it)