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HR Must Lead for Social Media to Succeed

Kristen Harcourt Dec 22, 2014 12:24:00 PM

Social_GroupingA lot has been written about the importance of HR leveraging social media, but very little about the flip side of that coin: the important role HR plays in organizations looking to leverage social media in areas like customer service and marketing.

I think it's something worth spending some time on, though, because HR may, in fact, be the most pivotal partner an organization needs to bring to the table in order to realize social media success.

In a recent blog post, marketing and social media expert Mark Schaefer, suggested that social media success might not depend on ideas from marketing or technical solutions from IT, but on shifts in corporate culture and change management driven by HR.

Think about it for a moment. If you want to transform the way you service your customers, is it as simple as giving your call center Twitter accounts? What about moving into social engagement as a key platform to market your business? Is getting your sales reps on Instagram all it takes? Of course not.

Transformative change like that means changing the very core of your organization to embrace a new business model. It means figuring out what roles are needed; what skills and behavioral traits you need in those roles; finding out who in your organization has them; if they don’t, where to find the people who do and how to attract them; and how to develop and retain them. It means moving an organization from a traditional way of thinking to one that embraces the immediacy and transparency that social media success requires.

These are the issues that HR deals with every day. This is HR’s wheelhouse and if organizations are going to succeed, HR needs to be at the table leading this transformation.

To play that role, though, HR needs to believe in, understand and embrace social media. It won’t be enough to apply change management templates to moving a department from traditional customer service model to one that is always on, ready to have conversations with customers in real time on social channels. That means the new HR practitioner needs to understand these growing and evolving channels and how they are forcing us to change the way we interact.

Do you think HR is ready for this challenge?

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Kristen Harcourt

Written by Kristen Harcourt

Kristen Harcourt is a highly trusted, creative and collaborative advisor who is passionate about people. She really enjoys helping companies make the right people decisions to achieve long term productivity.