The newest HR career skill making waves right now

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Throughout 2013, demand for social media skills among HR job openings grew 39%, according to research by Wanted Analytics, which looked at the language of all positions posted online to determine the result. Since 2009, HR position advertisements explicitly requiring social media skills have grown about 900% to one in 20.

While there are still plenty of companies that do not require social media skills, it has become a preferred skillset in the industry, explained Bentley University adjunct professor Alyssa Hammond, who lectures on social media. “It depends on the candidates they’re reaching out to, because more seasoned candidates may not be online as much as millennials are. So I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker (not to have social media skills), but it definitely enhances the skills of someone in HR because at some point you’re going to be recruiting someone younger.”

#NZlead Director, Amanda Sterling, who runs social media courses for HR and organisations, told HRM Online the results were not surprising as the majority of the workforces - 76% according to a recent CIPD study - are now using social media for personal use.

She explained that this not only represents a significant opportunity to harness social media within the workplace, it places more pressure on HR to get to grips with how their employees are communicating.

“Social media use is happening within workplaces whether they like it or not. HR needs to be on top of that. It's not about trying to control the message... It's about guiding your employees on the similarities and differences between using social media in their personal lives and in their working lives,” she said. 

Sterling adds that embracing social media also presents opportunities for learning and development, recruitment branding and internal communication.

“It's not all about the technology, it's about the people using the technology… You've got to understand the tools, but also how they sit in the context of your culture, values and organisational purpose. HR are in a unique position to guide the business on how to get the most of out the social technology,” she said.

Social media tips for HR
  • Don’t direct job seekers to your organisations Twitter account or Facebook page unless you know it is up-to-date
  • Keep an eye on your company’s online reputation - pay attention to what people are saying about your company and glean whatever helpful info you can from the criticism
  • Create a clearly-defined social media policy and revisit it every six months as social media developments move fast
  • Create a Facebook group before a training sessions where employees can get an idea of topics and gain a feel for the trainer prior to the session
  • Create an HR blog where employees can ask questions anonymously
Related articles:
Five tips for using social media for recruitment without crossing the line
Kiwis ahead of Aussies in social media recruitment

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