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Don’t kick HR out of social media

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Yesterday, an article popped up on my LinkedIn feed entitled “5 reasons HR should be banned from your company LinkedIn page“.

While the headline seemed a little harsh at first glance, I have to admit the author Chris J Reed, who is also the CEO and founder of Black Marketing Asia, made some valid points.

Among the five reasons Reed gave for why HR should stay far away from their brand’s LinkedIn page were poorly written job descriptions, and “self indulgent” posts about the company’s internal efforts.

“What does a local event that your chairman/CEO visited for some PR stunt or an award to an HR manager say about your brand to your customers, clients, potential commercial customers and partners globally? It’s a self indulgent, inward looking mentality rather than customer facing one,” he wrote.

Fair enough. It is no secret a majority of those in the HR industry are still trying to understand how to best leverage on social media.

This is where Reed is right. HR practitioners are still mastering the art of thinking like marketers; the difference is while marketers’ customers are external, HR’s are internal – the employees themselves.

Reed goes on to say he’s found the best examples of LinkedIn company pages are “where they have clearly been run by corporate communications or ideally marketing teams who have brand awareness and know about B2B social media marketing and content marketing”.

This is where I have to disagree. I’ve previously written about the collaboration HR should have with marketing, because I really believe both sides have plenty to learn from each other.

Yes, LinkedIn pages manned by teams whose strength is brand communication is great, but I think banning HR from one of the company’s biggest online platforms is a mistake.

[ALSO READ: Can HR finally embrace social media?]

In the Jan/Feb issue of Human Resources, Rich Atkinson, HR director (APAC) for global operations at PayPal, wrote: “HR will need to adapt to attract and engage a new generation of employee and, at the same time, raise the grey ceiling to retain an ageing employee base. With the learnings from Gen Y, hopefully we now move faster in evolving our talent and career management, work tools, benefits and engagement planning to reflect the changing nature of the workforce.

“To do this effectively, HR will become the chief (employee) marketing officer. We will be able to segment the employee base and then build the employer brand, HR products and strategic internal communications accordingly.”

On top of that, with social recruiting taking off in a big way, many companies are making great strides in figuring out what works best for them in the sometimes confusing and intimidating world of social media.

[ALSO READ: 12 techniques for hiring Millennials

Employer branding from company websites, social networks and even word of mouth has a strong link to attraction and attrition, which is why I believe it is a conversation HR should not be cut off from.

Instead of getting kicked out of the discussion, or – just as bad – wait to be invited into the discussion, I think HR should make a concerted effort to be involved.

Talk to your marketing peers about how to better brand the company on social media so that it’s not all “self indulgent” posts or job listings which don’t connect.

Build a relationship with marketing, learn how you can adopt their strategies into HR, and prove that any company silly enough to ban one of the most business critical functions from social media are making a big mistake.

Image: Shutterstock

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Sabrina Zolkifi
Deputy editor
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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