Monday, December 17, 2012

Social Media and the HR Executive

A good corporate image is now more than ever absolutely essential. In the post-Enron era it seems the spin doctors are busier than ever managing just about every customer facing contact point imaginable. Quite honestly I think that is the right thing to do…from an official corporate perspective. But what about those leaders inside the company that might help balance the corporate spin with a voice that is a bit edgy or confrontational? Specifically, what should the Human Resources executive do in this situation?

Playing It Safe is Lame
The safe play is obviously to hide behind the press releases and stumble out of the office every night dizzy from so much “spin.” But somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. The Human Resources leader is supposed to balance the needs of the organization and the employees. Right? Those employees are bright, committed, and paying attention to everything that happens in the workplace. They don’t speak in press release language, or God forbid, ever use the word synergy on purpose. So who is going to keep the conversation “real” if the HR executive doesn’t?

No one, that’s who.

Social Risk or Social Reward
Enter social media into this mix. Five years ago I worried about the perception of company wide emails I had to release. Now I send several dozen messages per day to the universe via twitter, facebook, foursquare and Linkedin. That’s a huge change in a short period of time. While all of those messages are not specifically directed to employees, they all can certainly track them. Does that pose a risk for me? For my company? For Human Resources?

Yes, yes and yes.

But there is an upside that simply can not be ignored. It is so incredibly obvious, and I believe essential for the modern Human Resources executive that it must be incorporated into everyday life. Embracing social media specifically as a Human Resources leader does more than open up your own world (which it does to a degree that is impossible to accurately describe.)

It allows for one of the primary links between the employees and the company to be accessible, real…to be human. Does that create a huge opportunity for me? For my company? For Human Resources?

Yes, yes and yes.

How About You
Are you the Senior Human Resources leaders in your organization? Have you built social media into your work and personal life? I bet it was a bit intimidating at first. Everything new is intimidating. Get over it. Be the bridge that effective HR is supposed to be.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit  photo credit


  1. Great post Jay!

    I couldn't wrap my head around Social Media a few years ago. It was dumped on top of me in an organization that over-burdened their employees to begin with and I was automatically turned off.

    As you describe,my current involvement in social media has opened doors, provided insights and connected me with like-minded professionals I would have never met.

    I agree that HR needs to get on board before this ship sails and we are looked at as a relic unable to keep up with the times.

    Best Regards,


    1. Thanks for the comment Janine. You and I are definitely on the same page!

  2. Thanks for the blog post and thank you for your participation in the research process! I think that reputation risk is high because of the immaturity of the space. I think actually that reputation risk really isn't the scary part of this!!

  3. I enjoy reading about this blog. I want to know about this because I want to work as an HR Executive. Thanks for sharing this information here. I will try to find a hiring for this kind of position.

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