Thursday, January 20, 2011

Taking You & HR Social - Confront Your Fear!

Several years ago I received an odd request in my Inbox - "Join my network on LinkedIn" was the message.  I thought to myself, "what the heck is LinkedIn?"  I wasn't sure if I should accept or not.  What was I afraid of?

I seem to hear this response more and more when I discuss social media with my colleagues.  Typically their fear is masked in criticism or a joke.  Are they simply afraid to learn?  Maybe they won't catch on quickly enough to be accepted; maybe they will look foolish and lose respect, or maybe they won't have enough time to spend on social media because they are too busy. Yeah, sure.  I have lots of free time to spend on social media.  (Sorry for the moment of sarcasm.)  The classic excuse is that if we start using social media at work, every single employee will never work again and the entire organization will come to a grinding halt.  (Anyone remember rolling out the Internet on employee's desk tops?)

What are they afraid of?

What I understand now is that I was missing out on so much content.  The opportunities to learn, network, stay current in my business, and also contribute were moving past me so quickly I didn't even know they existed.  I was still waiting to network at my next semi-annual conference.  Sad, but true.

The more I engaged and learned about twitter, LinkedIn and other tools, the more I grew professionally.  God forbid I ever believe I no longer need to learn in order to do my job effectively!

So, what is everyone afraid of?

My perspective has changed so dramatically that I can't believe anyone in HR (or quite frankly, anyone at all) isn't involved.  Ranging from my personal facebook page, to an active LinkedIn site, to daily tweets, and even this blog (soon to be upgraded in a big way) - social media is now fully integrated into my personal and professional lives.  But going social is much more than a personal branding exercise.  

Let's look at a quick example of the transition in my workplace relative to recruitment (there are many, many other applications).  Twelve months ago we did not have much of a recruitment presence on any social media platform. Fast forward to today - we're hiring great candidates through a contract with LinkedIn, our recruitment team is becoming active on twitter, our facebook page is beginning to find it's "sea legs" and we now consider foursquare a potential recruitment tool.  Considering that most, if not all, of the employees I (read here -> "we") will hire in the future are active on some form of social media, can you afford to miss out?

I'm not afraid anymore.

Where are you on the social media journey?  Are you taking your time and learning about the tools available to help you get current?  Are you reaching out to others in your network to help you?  

Or, do you still believe that this is just a fad, and social media will never catch on (just like those cell phones in a bag that you plugged into your car never did either). 

What are you afraid of?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of and


  1. Wow Jay it almost sound like you have a little rage issue. Just kidding I really think it is passion. And sadly is what I find pretty much anymore is most people are not passionate about much. And if it means having to learn something and more work many choose to sit on the sidelines -or stick thier head in the sand.

    It is wonderful to see you so sincere and committed to this effort. Great post - I love tweeting with you and seeing your take on the world.

  2. Many thanks for the kind words Dave. I am passionate about this topic, but not only because I enjoy social media. I truly believe it should be a core competency in today's business environment, particularly for HR. I think my competitive side may have come out a bit in this post! Look forward to meeting you IRL at HRevolution!

  3. "...maybe they won't have enough time to spend on social media because they are too busy. Yeah, sure. I have lots of free time to spend on social media."

    This struck me in a way I hadn't considered before. The perception that people sometimes have of social media tools is that they are frivolous at best. How many times have we heard "I don't use Twitter. I don't need to know when you're eating a taco." or something similar? Ignorance of the tool robs it of value.

    At the same time, those same people will look down on users, partially because they DO care about tacos, but also because they appear to have so much free time, they can waste it on social media. They miss out on the fact that the connections and networking make the rest of the job easier.

    Just like Lean. It's not something you do on top of your job. It's how you do your job better. That's the message that we should be spreading.

  4. Thanks Dwane. It's been somewhat of a frustrating experience trying to raise others awareness of the power of social media. I know I can not "convince them," but I can remain focused on educating them. One strategy I've used lately is letting my colleagues know that they can not offer an opinion unless they have taken the time to understand how the various tools work. Otherwise, their feedback simply has no value. A tough message, but one that I think is fair and honest.

  5. Nice post Jay-
    What strikes me recently is that the content moves so fast. Here it is a full TWO days after your post, and now is when I happen to have the time to review blogs for the week and see what nuggets there are for me to harvest.
    Good for me that the content is there when I want to see it, but I don't always feel part of the conversation because people are moving on to the next day's posts!

  6. Tim - I know exactly what you mean. It seems everything is moving at the speed of light lately. Thanks so much for stopping by!