Social Media Can’t Fix What’s Broken

A couple years ago, I thought that social media, at least when it came to HR and recruiting, was an online bubble bound to burst quicker than you can say Second Life.

After all, HR professionals tend to suffer from stasis, and that’s slowed the growth of social media somewhat, but not the increasing awareness that we’ve got to do something different to really make a difference.

So social media has become short-hand, in a way, to filter out some much more fundamental issues that have long plagued our industry.

Technology changes quicker than mind-sets, and anyone who’s ever survived a systems implementation can tell you that the next best thing isn’t necessarily the best thing.

While the tools and terminology have evolved since social showed up on the scene, the conversation among talent practitioners hasn’t.

Last month’s TalentNet Live! National Recruiting Conference proved, at least for me, that we can’t can our function move forward without first figuring out some critical competencies.

We like talking about the future of talent acquisition, but that dialogue often happens at the expense of examining the past, meaning that, as the aphorism says, we’re doomed to repeat it.

Sure, as a #TalentNet panel suggested, video’s a great way to improve candidate experience, but ultimately, the only thing that can improve candidate experience is to improve recruiter’s responsiveness.

We don’t need another platform to do so, only the desire, and that seems to be sorely lacking.

Similarly, in the case of internal talent communities, while these are a great way to foster employee engagement, they can’t be used as a quick salve to fix a fundamentally flawed culture. The idea of an employee ambassador should be an organic one, and those best suited to the task quick to self identify.

So why don’t they? The same reason resume black holes or high attrition rates do: the fundamental failure of HR to embrace people over processes. One of the most common misconceptions of social media is that it’s a distraction, and for recruiters involved in the conversation about its relative merits, that’s absolutely true.

The reason HR has difficulty aligning with the business has less to do with the business and more to do with HR. As long as we sit and see ourselves as a separate silo rather than parts of the larger “talent community” of our own internal employee populations (hardly a new concept), or forget that the we’ve all been job seekers at one time and likely will be again, then we’re not really changing anything.

It’s great to build a talent network, but as long as you’ve got a frozen pipeline sitting dormant in your ATS, you’re not really moving anything forward.

As long as you try to promote employees as marketing collateral to reach external candidates rather than, you know, promoting employees as internal candidates, then you’re not finding a solution, only embracing the status quo.

It’s time to stop talking about if you should be using social media, but instead, asking why. The most commonly cited answers at #TNL, and in our industry dialogue, are things that really don’t require social media.

It all comes down to improving the world of work. Social media’s not a quick fix for improving a broken mindset. Talk, like social media, is cheap, but creating value from either relies on actual action.

Which is why the ultimate impact of #TalentNet, for both the speakers and the attendees, wasn’t determined by the discourse of the day, but our collective ability to drive change for people who couldn’t care less about the big picture or our buzzwords: our candidates, customers and clients.

Let’s stop talking to each other and start talking to them – being social matters, no matter what media you choose to use.

One Comment on “Social Media Can’t Fix What’s Broken

  1. Pingback: Millennials and Social Media | Snark Attack

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