Thursday, June 26, 2014

The HR Age of Enlightenment

In his session at SHRM 2014, Glassdoor Head Talent Warrior Will Staney spoke of the pre-web days of HR as “the Dark Ages.” Companies blindly advertised jobs in newspapers, and job seekers blindly scanned the newspapers. Maybe the right candidate happened to be reading the right newspaper and spotted the right ad. Probably more often, they did not.

Those Dark Ages are over and HR has moved into a new Age of Enlightenment in their recruiting abilities, Staney said, thanks in large part to the power of social. Dawn broke on this new age with Web 1.0 sites such as Monster, Dice and Careerbuilder. Today it Web 2.0+ sites such as LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Craigslist and Staney’s own Glassdoor are shining more light than ever on the entire talent acquisition process.

No longer are the blind seeking out the blind. Companies have multiple ways of finding and contacting prospective employees, including connecting with them through current employees. The flip side of this is that it puts more pressure than ever on the company to have a powerful and authentic employer brand. The company must be one where its employees would want people in their networks to work. It must also be one that comes across well on the sites that candidates are visiting when researching potential employers.

That employer brand, however, is not in HR’s hands, as Staney pointed out. It’s not something the company decides upon, it’s defined by what brought the individual employees together at the company, what values they share. A company can uncover its employer brand by talking to employees to find out why they work there, how they landed there, etc. HR then can – it must – use social tools like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to tell the story of what it’s like to work at the company. In this way HR will build internal advocacy and engagement and give employees a way of amplifying the employer brand.

Of course, HR’s ability to find, recruit and retain the best workers goes beyond social media. In this Age of Enlightenment, leaders in HR and throughout the organization can use robust analytic tools to elucidate mountains of data – from social media as well as from in the workplace – in order to identify top performers and their behaviors and habits, devise best practices and attributes based on those findings, find the best workers (externally and internally) to fill roles based on those attributes, and continue to develop workers throughout their careers.

In this way, the advent of social media and other smarter workforce technologies are proving to be a boon not just to HR professionals, but to everyone in the workforce.

You can view Staney’s deck from SHRM 2014 at

from Social Business Insights Blog


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