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Human Resources Q&A: Is social media on your radar?

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If not, it should be!

As defined by Wikipedia (one of the earliest forums of the social space), social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The evolution of this space in recent years is, quite frankly, mind-boggling! However, as with most anything that appears daunting, when you chunk it down into manageable, bite-sized chunks, it becomes much less overwhelming.

There will be times in your career where you will be responsible for creating, sharing and exchanging information. And whether you’re creating a new policy, sharing new insights, or exchanging best practices, the many social media options available to you could in fact enhance your ability to get work done, help develop your industry expertise, and potentially increase your value to your organization as an HR professional.

Creating via social media

As mentioned in a previous article, Making it happen as the Lone HR Ranger, it’s no secret that the typical HR professional in the nonprofit sector is going it all alone. But, you don’t have to go it alone if you can get comfortable interacting and collaborating with your HR peers in social spaces. For example, HRPA offers a virtual “Water Cooler” – a casual meeting space to collaborate with those in your chapter or those in your industry. With your annual professional membership, this space is accessible for you to conduct research and learn from a wide range of perspectives — from those who have likely experienced a similar challenge and who are more than willing to pass on their learning — along with the pitfalls to avoid!

Sharing via social media

I think we can all attest to the increasing speed at which information is shared online. Furthermore, social media has opened up an entirely new medium through which to share information - with your colleagues, HR professionals,and the labour pool. For example, an in-house intranet or an organizational Facebook page gives you the ability to share important information that can maintain a front-and-centre presence, while offering a real-time mechanism for employees to respond to quick polls or share their ideas and suggestions. All in a matter of seconds!

Exchanging via social media

Think about the times when you’ve simply needed to find out when other organizations are planning to close the office over the holiday season. Or which payroll supplier is most commonly used among those in your industry. Social media offers an array of options through which you can post your question and receive relevant data, in short order, that you can to take into consideration when faced with best practice inquiries. Explore the various available groups and pages on social media websites to find trusted and reliable sources of information related to your query.

With so many options available, you’ll need to do some research to identify the right social media channels for you and your organization. Start with your end goal in mind. What do you need to create? Who do you need to share information with? Who has the experience you need and where are they likely to be?

Once you've answered those questions, think about how social media might be an added source to enhance your HR value.

How are you leveraging social media?

To submit a question for a future column please leave a comment below or contact No identifying information will appear in this column. For paid professional advice about an urgent or complex situation, contact Veronica directly.

V. Utton & Associates offers boutique-style human resource management services to small and mid-sized organizations with particular expertise in the non-profit sector. For a fresh "VU" on people practices contact us at

Disclaimer: Advice and recommendations are based on limited information provided and should be used as a guideline only. Neither the author nor make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability for accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided in whole or in part within this article.

Please note: While we ensure that all links and email addresses are accurate at their publishing date, the quick-changing nature of the web means that some links to other websites and email addresses may no longer be accurate.

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