This morning the social media team and I went to a presentation on social media “hazards” presented at the TNSHRM conference. I had high hopes for the session covering some of the important concepts to understand. as an HR professional. Unfortunately, the speaker took approximately 99% of the time talking about how social media is a dangerous thing for HR and recruiting professionals.

In the presentation that the social media team and I are doing, we plan to mention that yes, there are potential pitfalls; however, there are also great gains to be had by participating in social media. I think it says a lot about your leadership practices by what you do or don’t allow employees to say.

More importantly, if your company is terrified of what people are going to be saying on social networking sites, then that’s a bigger problem than just social media. Here are two short videos from others on the team discussing their thoughts on this topic and what companies should do instead of following the standard lawyer advice of “stay away at all costs.”

Dave Ryan

@DaveTheHRCzar

Melissa Fairman

@HRRemix

Lyn Hoyt

My good friend Lyn Hoyt talked about this topic a while back in relation to another edition of the TNSHRM state conference.

But, the lawyer’s presentation did not start out as well as it ended. The round table began with the pitch. It was a power point talking about the ‘why you should have a social media policy.’ It was based in fear as the motivator to take action and illustrated with a sewer pipe. Yep. You heard right. A sewer pipe photo illustrating that the information flowing through social media is nothing more than $%*#. And then a picture of a manure spreader popped up illustrating how this sewer of information spreads. To me it illustrated the uphill perception battle that there is nothing of value being published through social media. They see it as a pure social, entertainment and marketing tool. It is a waist of time, not a business tool. Big mistake.

After the lawyer finished, many of the questions revolved around Labor Board and protected conversation. Then I introduced myself as the Social Media Outreach VP at Middle Tennessee SHRM. I immediately told him I did not share his view that all social media was a sewer pipe. He was a bit embarrassed. I asked if he tweeted or was on Facebook. He did not. So I respectfully asked that I hoped he or someone in his office would be involved in social media as a way to best advise their clients. Because policy should not only address negative outcomes but educate on positive practices. I specifically addresses a point in their policy that tells management not to friend employees on Facebook. I asked why? And told him managers should be trained to engage employees at all levels in order to foster communication. source

And finally, one of the things I have said for five years is this: if you are afraid to use social media, don’t do it. But just know that if I’m in the same industry, my company will eat your lunch, because we are not afraid to find the good candidates, engage our employees, and build our brand using social tools.

Look for more great content coming from the TNSHRM state conference this week!

I often get people who tell me they are too busy to read blogs in the HR/recruiting space. I just shake my head, because as busy as they might be, I am doing that (and more) every single day. Yes, it’s a conscious effort to do something to enhance my own knowledge, but it has been worth it so far and I can only imagine how much it will continue to impact my career and professional development.

Why do I encourage people to read blogs?

  • It’s an amazing way to increase your creativity.
  • Being satisfied never made anyone great. Stay hungry.
  • You’ll be smarter than those who don’t take the time for it.
  • It’s free.
  • You can save money on a consultant. Seriously.
  • It isn’t someone else’s job to train you. You have to own your own growth.

And that’s just scratching the surface. I position my own use of social media as a competitive advantage. If you want to be successful, work to understand it. As the Social Media Director for NASHRM, I’m always available for a quick chat, whether it’s about social media policies or recruiting with social tools.

It’s not rocket science or brain surgery (or rocket surgery). All it takes is a willingness to learn!

If you\’ve read much in recent months, it\’s probably had some flavor of social media running through it. It seems like there\’s no way to get away from the topic, no matter where you turn. But every once in a while a great question comes up that can\’t be ignored, and that\’s what happened this week. Check it out:

We want to let our employees know that we have set up a Facebook page, but we don\’t want to give them the impression that it\’s okay to use Facebook at work. What should we do? As the HR rep at my company, my boss is waiting for a response. Help!

-J

My take on Facebook

  • I think it\’s a great tool for your business to interact with people on a more personal level (assuming you\’re maintaining it once it\’s set up).
  • If you\’re worried about employees spending all day surfing the web, that\’s a problem with your own culture and leadership, and it\’s not affected by this decision.
  • How many of your employees have personal cell phones? They can access Facebook at any time, even if you block it with your company firewall/filter.
  • If the point of your Facebook page is to get the word out about your company, then make use of your employees. They know a lot of people, and they are your marketing team to the world. Turn your employees into champions for your brand.
  • If you want to encourage the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites at work, but you don\’t want it to be completely out of control, why not create a social media policy? Here\’s a site with 40 examples of social media policies.

Anyone else have an opinion they\’d like to share with J?

If you have a question you\’d like to get an answer for (whether publicly or privately), just shoot me an email.

Photo by daveynin.