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4 Ways HR (and Other Departments) Can Use Social Media

It’s not always obvious how an internal department can benefit from social media.

I hear this all the time: “If I’m the human resources rep for my agency, wouldn’t I just send everyone an email to let them know about programs and deadlines? Why would I use an external social media site?” These questions are understandable, as it is not always obvious how an internal department such as human resources can benefit from embracing social media. Let me try to make you a believer.

Not Everyone Has Email

This isn’t something that most staff members think about, but every worker at your agency likely doesn’t have an official department email account. Many times, roles such as beat officers, street workers, and part-time or seasonal parks and recreation staff do not have assigned emails. How do you communicate about wellness fairs, open enrollment and benefits to employees who don’t have agency emails? You might post the information in break areas, or include flyers with paychecks and other offline methods. Using social media profiles to help communicate this information just might come in handy.

Awareness vs. Reinforcement

Let’s talk for a minute about using social media for awareness versus reinforcement, because it’s an important concept that will align your use of social media with offline efforts. Awareness refers to showing someone information for the very first time. Reinforcement, on the other hand, means they previously heard about your information and they are seeing it again for repetition. Your primary goal as a traditionally internal-facing department is to use social media for reinforcement. Employees may not take action on open enrollment the first time they notice it on a flyer in their paycheck. But after seeing gentle reminders on social media a couple of times, they may be more likely to finally enroll.

Reaching Retirees

Government benefits administrators need to communicate with retirees on issues such as retirement, pensions, senior wellness, etc. The question is: Would your social media efforts even reach them? More seniors are using social media than you might think. According to 2016 Pew Research data, 34 percent of Americans age 65 and over are on social media. The most popular platform for them is Facebook (36 percent), but the second most popular is LinkedIn (11 percent), followed by Pinterest (9 percent). The point is that your retirees certainly don’t have an official agency email address any longer, but there’s a chance of reaching them on social media.

What to Share and How

Another great reason for the human resources team to use social media is that you already have great content. Social content is very visual these days. While your traditional HR newsletter probably wouldn’t perform well on social media (it’s too lengthy and text-heavy), postcards tend to work. Grab a screenshot of one of your postcards that features a large image and minimal text, add a relevant hashtag, link to a splash page for more information, and you’ve got the recipe for highly shareable content.

Video also has tremendous reach on social media, and it’s only going to grow. Add a little social recruitment into the mix by shooting a quick smartphone video showing a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work for your agency. Talk to personable staff members about their jobs, make it quick and lighthearted, and be sure to have good audio. You can repurpose the video clip on Facebook, Periscope and YouTube, and point viewers to your job opening page.

With a little creativity, the social media possibilities for human resources are endless. Given this, how could other internal-facing departments (think information technology, auditors, etc.) benefit from social media? 

Kristy Dalton is known as "GovGirl" in the government technology industry. She has been called on as an industry influencer and has a passion for social media, technology and digital strategy. Kristy is the founder & CEO of Government Social Media.