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  • Writer's pictureSherry

SBCo Newsletter- January 2010

Social Networks for Talent - Get in or Lose Out - Sherry Benjamins

Social networking is a hot topic everywhere and it is not a fad. It is here to stay and will alter our workplace in ways that are not even apparent today.  One of the most dynamic areas for HR will be in attracting talent.  There will also be plenty of new collaboration and sharing tools for employees and we are seeing innovation in this arena right now.

First, let me comment on using social media tools for attracting talent. A recent Kennedy report confirmed that a majority of recruiting organizations rely on the Internet and on-line communities for finding talent.  This is not surprising, however, "reliance" has a broad definition and frankly, we see clients just touching the surface.

One of our clients said, “This younger generation expects access to all the social media tools; they are totally wired and live off these connections. We have to figure out how to relinquish control – forget control.”  Social media tools will transform the definition of community and our ability to stay ahead of the competition.  It will do this in two ways; the way you search for talent and in how you build internal communities of employees.  Let me touch on both briefly.

Do not fear, for those that know me, I am not giving up on face to face relationship building – it is too critical to my own learning and fun quotient.  However, I am taking the time to incorporate these tools into our relationship building and business overall.  We have been doing this for some time now in serving our clients and I thought it would be great to share what we have learned and how easy it is to take a few small steps that can pay off in big ways.

It was not long ago that our “front end” of search to identify targeted pools of talent relied on phone calls and creating organization charts.  We still need those strategies but to accomplish this with cyberspace tools has taken us, and I know some of you, to an entirely new level.

Here is What We Have Learned:

Our first response to this newly connected world was the concept of creating a unique website for each position. This website goes far beyond a typical job description by giving the candidate extensive information about the company, the position, what makes it a great opportunity, and more. It is truly a unique marketing vehicle for your position....and something you can easily do as well.

The advantages of these websites:

  1. Significant reduction in time to generate candidates by streamlining the upfront process of getting compelling information to market.

  2. Easy for people to share the information with others, thus increasing the exposure of the position in the target market.

  3. Access to the site via mobile phones.

The old method of distributing information about the position is no longer efficient.  Sourcing today requires getting out in front of as many people as possible, employed as well as unemployed, and social networking sites support and accelerate "getting messages out."

This does not mean that identifying all possible sources of gathering information and identifying candidates is abdicated to social networking.  We use research methodologies and build relationships in appropriate associations, conferences, consultants, etc. Identifying candidates today includes all forms of networking, online and off line.

How is Social Media impacting your organization?

Organizations are just now determining how to use social media and define how to exchange information and resources across multiple businesses and geographies.  Organizations are going to have to decide where the boundaries are going to be set.  There are some fascinating “Trailblazers” as I became aware of when reading “Social Media at Work” by Arthur Jue.  He and his co-authors are organizational experts from Oracle and they have a practical and down to earth view of the issues. Check out their new book; it is very current and informative.

The authors state that “shared knowledge is a new currency” in our organizations and with our employees.  It is intended to build competitive advantage and I can only imagine how global communities will emerge in the next 6 - 12 months.  IBM has the “Beehive”, Best Buy has their “Blue Shirt Nation”, Hewlett Packard has their “Watercooler.” We should be on the look-out for new trailblazers for they will set the pace.  We can learn what works and how we can leverage knowledge across time zone, language and function.  Pretty exciting for the future!

Expanding our use of social media in organizations will:

  1. Facilitate connection to broader communities

  2. Change our view about internal vs. external and support “open” systems

  3. Open dialogue among experts and innovators beyond the immediate work group

  4. And, there will be controversy - some "good" and "bad" about security with your IT partners.

We plan to share what we are learning and how social media strategies can leverage internal recruiting performance.  Consider small steps whether it be in the attracting of talent category or sharing of internal knowledge.  Let us know how it’s working and if we can help you into this evolving territory.

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