The social HR series: building your social media strategy

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Showcase company culture
  • Create targeted content
  • Know your channels

We’re going to let you in on a huge secret: There is a talent shortage in the United States – and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

Surprised? Probably not. With the explosive growth in technology and automation as well as the fast rate of retirement of the baby-boomer generation, many companies are feeling the pain of the skills gap and have begun integrating foreign nationals into their talent pipeline.

You can read more about the skills gap here.

Thankfully, there is a tool that can help you get ahead of the skills gap and reach talent abroad: social media.

The SHRM survey Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition – Recruitment and Screening suggests that more than 90 percent of organizations are already using or plan to use social media in talent acquisition strategies this year. Upward of 70 percent of them are using it specifically to target job candidates with specialized skill sets.

The only problem – where to begin?

Before you start reaching out and searching for talent on social media, it’s important to invest time in creating a strong strategy.

Here are a few ways to get started:

Showcase company culture
With limited outlets to communicate across borders, social media can be one of the best ways to build rapport with foreign national talent because it offers direct insight to your company’s day-to-day activities. It’s imperative that people see your organization as welcoming, relatable and one they could easily join.

Steve Browne, executive director of HR for LaRosa’s Inc., believes the best way to access talented people is to focus on humanizing the process.

“If we use social media to get our culture message across and really tell our company’s story, people will come to us and stay because they can say ‘I can really see myself here,’” Browne says. “But if we lead with talent acquisition or job titles, we lose that personable aspect. It should always be people first – this is where HR is going, and if we’re not there, we’re already behind.”

If you can create a social media brand that displays the human, relatable side of your organization – you’re already ahead of the game.

Create targeted content
Remember, foreign talent is not only adjusting to a new company – they’re likely adjusting to an entire new culture as well. When planning your social media strategy, it’s important that the content you create speaks to the people you target.

Before creating a targeted post or advertisement, consider what a person’s cultural norms and values are. Are they from a collectivist or an individualistic background? Try and understand them as a person first and then create your content based on what’s relatable to them.

Read more about this approach here.

“We need to get people in HR to think of positions as people with talent first,” said Browne. “Once you show that it’s the people who are worth your time, your talent pipeline will fill easily.”

Displaying knowledge in a person’s culture is a great way to show that your company is invested in more than just filling a position, but also welcoming great people to its dynamic.

Know your channels
Almost as important as catering your content to the people you’re trying to reach is knowing which social media platform you should use.

Sure – some general trends are already in place as to what content performs best and where; but it’s important to take the extra time to figure out what truly works for your audience, company brand and culture.

Jim Knight, owner and partner of PeopleForward, believes that enlisting everyone in your HR staff to begin testing and navigating the social sphere will give your company an advantage.

“HR is the conduit to current and potential employees,” Knight says. “That business function needs to determine what the best platforms are for their audience and brand and not be afraid to spend a significant amount of time there.”

For some organizations, adapting to this new structure can seem daunting.

“It’s going to require some education and process implementation, but it will be well worth the effort,” he says. “Hiring rock stars is the silver bullet to internal brand health, and HR should be the catalyst to adopting the steps to make that happen.”

For more tips on building and humanizing your social strategy, follow Browne on Twitter and check out Knight’s book Culture That Rocks.