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It's no secret that technology has changed the world and how organizations do business, and it continues to do so at a fast pace. To keep up, HR professionals must be agile and responsive to change. Admittedly, I was once resistant to technological advances—I was still using a Motorola Razr when the iPhone 4 came out, and I didn't start banking online until 2010—but I am shifting toward becoming an early adopter who embraces the benefits that technology offers. My recent focus has been on increasing my presence on social media to develop my own professional brand.
Social media is changing the way we get news and connect with friends. It's also changing the way we do business—specifically, the way organizations conduct business operations and construct their vision for the future. What does social media mean for HR professionals and their development of Business Acumen?
Here's one dictionary's definition of social media: "Forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)." Let's translate that for business: Social media sites can help you and your organization achieve goals. Here are a few goal-oriented, HR-specific uses of social media for individuals and teams:
Creating the Business Case for Social Media
CNN Money discusses several social networks and specific uses for several top sites. Business News Daily provides guides for choosing the right social platform for your business. Your organization's business leaders will undoubtedly want to hear about social media's return on investment (ROI).
Since the science of calculating ROI in this context has not yet been perfected, consider thinking outside the box to illustrate the ROI to leadership. Tell stakeholders that most social media accounts are free, for instance, and that successful companies are active on these sites. This may be enough to convince leaders to utilize the various platforms available.
Social media is changing how people consume information. It's delivered immediately, can be sent at any time, and can be authentic and unfiltered. Content must be succinct, whether it's delivered in 140 characters or with a video, picture, emoji or sound bite. Showcase your aptitude in Business Acumen by performing a comparative analysis and presenting to leadership a synthesis of the various platforms.
Here are some other pertinent considerations when it comes to ROI:
In developing a social media strategy, HR has a great number of considerations to take into account. How big is your organization? Who is the target audience? What is your budget? Are there cyberthreats? If so, do employees need training on how to prevent cyberattacks? Do you need to update the employee handbook to better address the dangers of viruses, scams, malware, phishing attempts, etc., in order to protect the organization? Are policies in place that establish boundaries for how employees interact with social media sites (e.g., using these sites at work, posting on behalf of the organization, posting to their personal sites, using sites when they are identified as an employee of the organization)? This list is not exhaustive, so start thinking about potential points of entry—yours and your organization's—into the social media realm.
It's time to get with the program—the social media program. Now more than ever, it's important for organizations to be transparent and for HR professionals to sharpen their #BusinessAcumen.
Lindsay Northon, M.A., SHRM-SCP (@SHRMLindsay), is HR competencies specialist at SHRM.
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