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Sonnie Santos- Digital HR Guru

Sonnie gives keynote address for HR practitioners about HR Role in Social Media Revolution

Social web is here to stay.

In the Philippines, though we have a high social media penetration rate, it is still bound to grow, as the internet becomes more accessible in the near future.

update 6/25/14: PH internet 
penetration rate doubles

The millennial workforce is expected to bring the “e” culture in the company they work for, in fact PR and Marketing has began adopting social media in their initiatives.  This will pose a challenge to outdated policies and traditional ways of doing things.

But in all of these revolutionary changes, what is HR role or People Management Department?

In one of my lectures, an IT professional made a remarkable statement, “sir”, he said, “our HR is not on the same page as we and our marketing group are on the issue of social media”.

In my engagement to some companies, majority are blocking access to social networking sites because these are considered productivity busters. But I am in the opinion that HR role should take a more proactive role as strategist, to help the company understand what social web is, and prepare for its eventual corporate adoption. In the absence of a proactive HR role, any of these can happen:

  1. Absence of online philosophy and policy to address reputation related issues brought about by social media use.
  2. Code of discipline does not cover online behaviour inside and outside work.
  3. Other departments will fill the void and take away HR role in putting guidelines and structure pertaining to the use of Social Media. Normally, IT and Marketing spearheads the activity and HR is reduced to an audience.
  4. Online reputation is left unattended and damage to the brand is not addressed
  5. Employees abuse access to social media while at work.
  6. Employees rant about their work experiences, talk about office personalities and post pictures taken inside company premises that may tend to hurt employer reputation, and affect future hiring of talents.

To embrace social media or not is not a generational issue. It’s a business and HR one. Social web is a powerful but neutral tool. If used properly, it adds value to the user and the brand, if used ignorantly or irresponsibly, it can hurt others, the user and the brand. While HR recruiters are the first to adopt use of social media, there are more to be explored. Social web can be used to engage and retain employees, online training, online bulletin board, HR branding etc. But first and foremost, HR role should evolve and take active role in defining online philosophy, setting up of policy and conduct training for responsible use of social media.




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