C'mon my HR brothas and sistas! Make them fear the underdog.

You got no time for the messenger,
got no regard for the thing that you don't understand,
you got no fear of the underdog,
that's why you will not survive!

--Spoon, The Underdog

That was one of the songs playing on my Shuffle as I ran early this morning, and it got me to thinking about HR Tech last week and all the smart people I met who are in this industry.

Strategic, savvy, sometimes sassy, smart people who really understand the business role that HR should have in organizations today. (Technology is cool, but people are cooler.) These are people who also understand the power of social media and its impact on businesses.

Sadly, there are still too many HR suppliers keeping social media and social networking at arm's length. In fact, I thought I saw a stat recently that over 60% of companies in the U.S. still don't allow social networking at work. (Business leaders, read this - Why CEOs are blind to trouble.)

Social media - hrumph - it's for kids, it's a time waster, it's a productivity killer, it's silly and we ain't afraid of no silliness.

Yeah, but your competitors' no longer think it's silly. And they're hiring folks who get it.

You got no fear of the underdog, that's why you will not survive!

(The Qualigence Recruitment Learning Conference last week featured a panel of recruiting experts including Gerry Crispin who told a quick story about 5 MBA graduates being interviewed together, and when they were asked would they work for a company who doesn't allow social networking, they all said unequivocally no.)

My recently released eBook Conversation Starters just scratched the surface of how social media can help companies engage more effectively and personably with customers, prospects, media and other influencers and marketers like - your employees.

But when I read the thoughtful posts and comments on HR Bartender's post Is Human Resources Capable?, Chris Kieff's discussion that The HR Department Should Own Social Media, and Jon Ingham's post HR's responsible for social capital / media, a painful theme arose:

HR is the bullied underdog, incapable of managing more than new employee processing, pushing benefits paperwork and conducting exit interviews. Forget understanding the business, marketing and managing social media initiatives. Let other departments that "get it" take care of that.

You got no fear of the underdog, that's why you will not survive!

Not surprising, the consensus of all the thoughtful commentary was that the marketing/communications folk should be the stewards (not owners) of social media initiatives and HR can help with monitoring and risk management. (Eastman Kodak's social media guidelines state - Our people from Marketing, Information Systems, Legal, and Corporate Communications worked together to create these 10 “rules.” It also had this lovely pitch - What is your ROI (Return On Ignoring?) - Love it!)

But out of all the recent insightful posts and thoughtful commentary, I didn't really hear:

Just read the social media policies at Kodak, IBM and Intel. Huge theme - personal responsibility.

Own it. For those entering the HR profession and those further their HR education should make it a point to broaden their curriculum with business management, marketing, communications, technology and social media courses.

C'mon my HR brothas and sistas! Help grow the business and make them fear the underdog.

This sh$t's 4 real.

Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn)

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