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.