HR community slow to grasp commercial advantage of social networks

HR people are inveterate networkers and have been quick to join social networking sites to further their careers. But, they are slow to use Web 2.0 to promote their businesses – to build brands, boost income streams and improve client satisfaction.

This is the main finding of a new report published by PR consultancy CHA.

CHA chairman Colette Hill says: “Most HR professionals and many of the advisers are on LinkedIn. But they are primarily building their personal profiles, job prospecting and vacancy filling. Social networks are capable of so much more.”

CHA’s report, Conversations at your fingertips, is based on research by online specialist Pass It On Media. The executive summary is available to download free from

The research looks specifically at the HR community’s response to the Web 2.0 revolution. Its other main findings are:

  • While some big employers are beginning to use social networking as an internal communication tool, others remain nervous about starting conversations they fear they cannot control.

  • The tone of posts is unusually positive. Fleur Hicks-Duarte, managing director of Pass It On Media, was surprised by the lack of negative sentiment: “Most consumers use social networks to share frustrations and disappointments. Yet there is very little of that in this context.”

  • Conversations are broadly about the working environment & friendship at work, salaries & related issues, how people are feeling, work/life balance & holidays. There is very little discussion about HR strategy.

  • The key ‘venues’ for conversations are message boards or forums, which account for 54%, followed by social networks such as LinkedIn (23%) and blogs (23%).

  • Most of the employment-related conversations are individual rather than company based with little corporate activity initiated by HR consultancies.

Hill concludes: “Social networking is still at an experimental stage so there is an element of trial and error in developing strategy. It is a matter of having a go, learning and adapting. The momentum is there; the benefits are evident and already enjoyed by other sectors – there is not a moment to lose in joining the revolution.”


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