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HR puts social media to work through social recruiting

HR professionals have long been wary of social media, but emerging social enterprise tools tailored to HR may make them change their minds.

For those who still consider human resources too risk-averse to adapt to new technology, the powerful ways HR is harnessing social media might be surprising -- especially in the field of recruiting.

With the growing availability of top-notch social tools at their disposal, HR professionals are harnessing social media in new ways that add value not only to the employees they serve, but also to the business as a whole.

"HR is in a unique position to leverage the power of social -- to more effectively engage employees, retain talent and attract new employees," said Jacob Morgan, principal and co-founder of San Francisco-based Chess Media Group, a management consulting firm. And of all the specialties within HR, experts say recruiters have had the most transformative success with social media.

Social recruiting gives HR a leg up in the war for talent

Talent acquisition and social networks are a natural fit, so it makes sense that recruiters have made the most of new social technologies.

"Building relationships is everything in HR, and there's no better way to do that than using social media," said Christine Empie, senior ERP recruiter at Atlanta, Ga.-based M9 Solutions, a business technology consulting firm. "I can now reach out to hundreds of thousands of people yearly."

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Empie, who has worked as a recruiter for 16 years, has seen a sea change in the way she does her job. "It's hard to believe, but people actually used to fax their resumes to me," she said. "Then you'd follow up by phone before the days of email. My friends used to recruit straight from the phone book." Now, with more than 2,000 direct connections on LinkedIn and more than 17 million second and third connections, her social recruiting power has kicked into overdrive.

Empie is particularly excited about her HR social media management software, Bullhorn Reach, which allows her to post jobs to eight different social networks simultaneously. The tool also allows her to analyze metrics that measure the efficacy of her social recruiting efforts.

According to Morgan, the power of social recruiting is the ability to break into someone else's network. "If I'm able to ask a weak tie for help, they'll be able to reach out to their network, which more than likely won't overlap with mine," he said.

HR professionals are not only using social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for social recruiting. Enterprise social tools like Chatter, Yammer and Tibbr help businesses tap into the wisdom of every employee.

"Finding experts from within your company is now easier," Morgan said. With enterprise social software, "it's easier to find and share information. It streamlines work and leverages the wisdom, intelligence and knowledge of the whole organization."

Morgan went on to explain that this kind of two-way engagement is not only good for improving business processes, but it's also an incentive for employees to remain engaged and excited about their jobs. "The reason why talent leaves an organization is because they get bored and aren't passionate about what they're doing anymore," he said. "Collaborative environments allow employees to engage in what they are passionate about -- and be rewarded for it."

Social HR helps identify and cull future leaders

The way businesses are able to communicate and engage with their employees is a boon for HR, according to Rob Koplowitz, vice president and principal analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. "When we looked at the business value of social, we couldn't find an area that it wasn't good for," he said.

For example, Koplowitz described the experience of one major retailer that recently rolled out a social network for its whole operation -- including for in-store sales associates. Managers were able to monitor and engage with the network and begin to identify employees who demonstrated a passion or an expertise in a particular area that might extend past the limits of the sales floor. "These employees can be targeted for promotion," he said. "The business is able to informally mine for talent from within."

What's more, social media can be a key tool in developing that talent, he said. "Because of the important role of internal learning, employee training is a hotbed for social."

Koplowitz said a large part of the time and expense of employee education and learning management can be minimized with e-learning and interactive social learning tools. And employee onboarding time, for businesses using enterprise social networks, is much less than for those not using them.

The future of social tools in HR

Experts say the growth potential of social HR tools is enormous. "Social can be a vast repository about how work gets done," Koplowitz said.

The question for HR becomes: Can we capture what our employees do effectively and mine that data to train new employees? If the growth of enterprise social media over the past five years is any indication, the answer will certainly soon be yes. But as Koplowitz pointed out, HR deals with issues that are often private -- from benefits management to payroll -- and this may have kept HR out of the social game at its beginning stages. However, HR is a highly social endeavor at its core, he said.

More and more, social HR is seen as a win-win for managers and employees -- all things HR can feel good about. Better late than never.

This was last published in October 2012

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The Simulearn system is a Massive Open On line Course and Learning-Management-System for use by Human Capital Management practitioners, with embedded talent-management capabilities that has an enterprise resource planning element to it. Therefore, Simulearn (www.workerwon.com) and the Fligby (www.fligby.com) product are a MOOC and LMS to help HCM professionals via the use of a LMS, while offering ERP capabilities. Wow… Now that is a lot of acronyms and fancy words, to explain just how impressive the Simulearn featuring the Fligby product truly is. Talking a lot of talk over here you say? Not much walking the walk you say? Well then, allow me to explain.

So, Fligby www.fligby.com is a stand-alone best of breed OR on board integration ready SaaS, which is only available on line. The Fligby product is a First in Class or disruption capable management and leadership training tool.” So what… You’ve heard of such systems being offered exclusively on-line before,” right? Wrong. Fligby is the first in class, to fully adopt emersion style learning process, by having the learner enter a live action serious video game (if you can call something this advanced a video game) simulation. However, the truth of the matter is it is a simulation or simulator which is on par with the sorts usually reserved for training commercial airline pilots or for military combat systems use. Using a twenty-nine point psychological scale model, learners are cast into the role of the new General Manager of Turlu winery.

The system takes the learner “New GM” through the processes of employee interviews, board-room meetings, appointment scheduling, conflict resolution, as well as some more not to be mentioned issues and events which one could encounter as a General Manager or a leader. The sort of issues and events readers will learn about by taking the course. We literally can’t give away the ending, not because we are afraid of spoiling it for would be learners, but because the simulation is so complex that the conclusion will be on a learner by learner or case by case basis. We can say that one of the prime goals or at least the way to conclude the game with the best possible outcome, is the “Simulation General Manager Learner” must lead their eight member executive staff to finding a state of Flow. The reason for this is that as in real life when employees and employer alike are in a state of Flow, they are at their optimum peak levels of efficiency.

“What is this Flow you speak of?” Glad you asked. Flow is the world famous holistic team oriented leadership theory, created by world renowned psychologist and Professor Doctor Csikszentmihalyis. His concept of Flow and its use as a leadership style have by read and practiced by such leaders and dignitaries as former President of the United States Bill Clinton, Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers, and countless other high ranking and/or ultra-successful executives and leaders. His theories and concepts are so well known and respected that the Fligby team chose his group minded concepts of leadership and efficiency to build the simulation around, and for this reason the learner as General Manager must try to find a way to create an environment whereby your top eight executive board are all motivated, excited about their work, challenged, on task, and happy. The reasoning is quite simple, happy employees are simply more efficient than those employees who find no satisfaction from their jobs.

“OK wise-guy, you sold me on the fact you have a revolutionary learning platform, which is offered on-line, and is like no other management training system as far as thoroughness and real world application. But you said that it had ERP and HCM capabilities and features as well!” In deed I did, and yet again I am glad you asked. See while the learner is in the simulation they are being measured on those twenty-nine points of leadership skills I mentioned earlier. As well as teaching the learner through emersion style simulation, the program measures the learner’s attitude towards work, a leadership role, present leadership capabilities, and even points out areas of leadership skills which need improvement. The program then generates raw numbered leadership scores, for all you data fanatics in the business. Once a manager or HCM professional has the scores of the learner they can use it however they please plugged inside their ERP data base alone side employee attendance and other collected information.

Finally, the system itself has a HCM component, as the simulation monitors the times and dates of log in and log out, length of time spent in the simulation, and time frame each learn required to complete various sections or chapters. This data can be utilized and calculated for whatever reason or purpose a HCM professional decides is useful. That is provided it is the company who purchases the system, as Simulearn and Fligby will not release peoples scores without permission from the individual or corporation whom purchased the system for learner(s).
The role of Simulearn and its staff, aside from distribution and sales, is to be professor coach solution providers. At certain points in the simulation learners will be expected to share as a group or at least with the professor coach why the learner made the decision they did, why the simulation judged the decision good or bad, and how in the future they would approach the situation presented in the simulation differently. As solution providers, the Simulearn team also ensures that any questions and issues with Fligby product are answered thoroughly and professionally. Through this combination of simulation and discussion, the learners gain an awesome amount of knowledge and in deed experience in a management or leadership position. If a company or individual is interested in measured progress or a data driven approach towards its HCM, an employer can request that employees use the system annually or at every half-year period. Those numbers could be compared against the prior scores to get an accurate measurement if an employee is in fact learning more or losing valuable skills through lack of utilization and under-use.
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