Emerging Best Practices: Different Strokes

One aspect of social media that confounds recruiting managers is figuring out whom to assign these new responsibilities. This happens even before there’s a social media initiative. While the challenge is real, it is putting the cart before the horse, since without a social media plan its impossible to know what to assign, much less who has the requisite skills to succeed.

Instead, a review of the existing workforce and corresponding recruitment efforts will show where social media can make a difference. There are two approaches: first, find the trouble spots – where you constantly struggle to fill a few critical jobs. These are often smaller, specialized departments (like IT) or other specialized groups. Some organizations will have several of these. When struggling to fill these roles, contract workers or third party recruiters are frequently employed. These are easily the most expensive ways to fill a job, and a social media alternative may save money. In these cases there are often commonalities to the group which can be developed into a theme for a talent community. Developing a talent community is a popular way to get started in social media, and is most effective when targeted to a specific group. Success here should reduce costs (sometimes dramatically) which helps sponsor other social media efforts. Most importantly, a controlled deployment like this does not require you to abandon the existing recruiting efforts and risk a big, public failure.

Second, there’s that part of your workforce that takes up the bulk of your recruiting resources. These are the line-hires, where you have most of your requisitions. Talent communities don’t always work for large groups where a common (and interesting) theme may be impossible to find. Alternatively, a networking 2.0 strategy can be developed. Using social media tools, an organization can develop each employee’s online rolodex to expand, engage, and capture contacts exponentially, turning the entire company into a recruiting machine. This combines internal referral programs with a relationship-orientation. While it requires a change in the transactional nature of current recruiting processes, these are pretty straightforward and  the payoffs can be huge.

The key is to start with some kind of workforce segmentation, define targets, and select the appropriate social media tools. We call this the “Different Strokes for Different Folks” method for developing a social media strategy. It clarifies the plan, and the skills needed at tactical levels. Figuring out whom to assign tasks is simple once the tasks are clear.

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