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Is HR asking “Who Are Our People?” – Social Media says They Should

Posted on Dec 4, 2012 by in ThiNK First | 6 comments


Have you ever really thought about it?

It’s a simple question, but the answer is complex and possibly makes many people in HR feel distinctly uncomfortable.

Does the rise of Social Media change your answer? It should.

If you are in Human Resources how do you think of your people? Are they the people on the payroll? Is that your people? Or do you think of everyone else as also potentially being part or becoming part of your people? If you are in HR and you aren’t’ experiencing social media, then it’s likely you’ve never considered people outside your four walls. I believe that Social Media should cause HR to dramatically rethink their answer.

People have never been more important. People have the power to impact so much today.

Your human resource pool is much bigger than you think.

  • Your prospects
  • Your customers
  • Your distributors
  • Your suppliers
  • Your value chain

All these people can help you, are you helping them? That can also hinder you.

Are you thinking how you can help your employees interact with the fuller vision  of “Who are our people?”.

It feels like this broader group of people needs a name – any ideas?

You can ignore the bigger people picture, but it’s a huge opportunity.

The people are undoubtedly part of your extended team.

The more they feel like they are part of your team the better you will perform.

They are all people. They are your people. You can ignore them or embrace them.

Most of all, your employees need help to appreciate just how the role of people skills has grown.

Social media, socially selling and social business are all terms we’ve heard. The question is how are you internalizing these ideas?

How are you making your enterprise more human, more people savvy? The big question is: who’s job should this be?

People skills puts HR at a crossroads. Embrace the change and lead. Or sit back and consign yourself to managing headcount.

You go to Finance for help on money and budgets.

You go to Supply Chain for help on sourcing, storing and shipping products.

You go to Marketing to help position your products.

You go to Sales to help sell your offering.

So where do you go for People help?

What does HR mean in an age of social media and social business?

Who’s helping us think about people? Who’s helping us to be people savvy?

There’s lots of new discoveries in the world of people that impact and enhance our ability to play a better game – a world where people skills matter.

  • Positive Psychology – How do we get into flow? What makes us flourish?
  • Gamification – How we learn and what motivates us? How do we respond to feedback?
  • Habits – How do we form habits, how do we change them?
  • Attention & Neuroplasticity – How we have become info snackers. How we learn skills & filter.
  • Storytelling – How we need to think about communicating in ways that let people take our story and make it theirs.
  • Left vs Right Brain – We focus on left brain skills, but how do we develop and encourage right brain thinking?

Who’s helping us learn and enhance our people skills

  • Social is about conversation
  • Social is about connections
  • Social is about content
  • Social is about sharing
  • Social is about helping

Today your employees need help, your enterprise needs help to uncover…

  • How we learn
  • How we share
  • How we filter
  • How we curate
  • How we communicate
  • How we distill and aggregate information
  • How we react and respond
  • How we motivate
  • How we recommend
  • How we form habits
  • How we connect
  • How we tell stories
  • How we bond and form community.

I think these questions impact everyone. I sense many could do better. I feel it’s time for HR to step up to the challenge.

Do you think HR is playing as big a game as it can in the age of social media? Do you think it should do better?

Is the HR function you signed up for, the one you are in now or it changing with the times? Does it make you uncomfortable? Are you up for the challenge?

If HR doesn’t step up, is anyone else going to promote the role of people appreciation?

(It’s time to put the ‘human’ back into HR)

If you can’t rely on the people who have “HUMAN” in their title to put the people first, then who can you rely on?

Image Credit:  dejonghe via and Creative Commons.

Nick Kellet (164 Posts)

Nick is co-founder the social curation platform Listly, that combines crowdsourcing, content curation and embedable lists to drive high-level community engagement, live inside your blog posts. Connect with Nick on Twitter · Linkedin, Facebook and G+ and follow his writing via his other guest posts and on his blogs at and


  1. YES to understanding our internal  (employee) audience as separate and different to understanding our customers!

    • CASUDI It’s true. Two audiences, but the same people skills and tools help you with all your human endeavours. Getting people and getting better at getting people is the heart of it. 
      I like your segmentation. Thanks

  2. HR somehow has lost its way, especially when it comes to recruiting. A lot of tools and overworked processes have gotten in the way of doing what HR is supposed to be doing most-effectively — hiring the right people, and making them achieve their own potential while supporting the goals of the company. You’re right, it’s time to put the “human” back in HR.

    • PaulBiedermann You’re right – “Lost its way”. Putting people front and center – getting back to the humans: ) – Thanks Paul

  3. Even if I say it over and over: Social Media is a revolution and it changes (almost) every aspect of our lives.I liked when Unmarketing said in his presentation: “If you can’t trust your employees to tweet for you, don’t hire them”. Voila: another paradigm shift on the way to social business

    • Tweet4OK Unmarketing This is for sure the age of people connecting around passion.  Thanks for commenting.

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