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Social HR and the Employee LifecycleWhen I present social business as my passion, the typical listener assumes I’m talking about Yammer, Facebook or Sharepoint. It’s interesting to see how they can easily confuse social platforms as the same as being a social business. But it’s not.

It’s easy to become distracted by shiny, new tools and platforms, but these are just delivery channels. As I’ve learned, and I’m sure as you have as well (if you’re reading this post), being a social business is so much more than that. Social within a business may have began with Marketing and IT, but let’s face it… we’ve reached a point where it’s clear that Human Resources is the GLUE in creating social programs that are not only relevant and adoptable to employees, but ones that transform your organization and its culture. If you’re truly looking to transform your organization through social tools, then your purpose should be based on the human ingredients necessary to drive that change: employees.

I emphatically believe that a social workplace considers employee behavior in order to create a truly collaborative and  integrated social experience. HR is critical in understanding the needs of your employees so that social tools enable them to be productive, communicative, and engaged in their daily work life.

Your roadmap to accomplishing this is through the employee life cycle.

Whether your employees are onboarding, developing or growing their talent, maintaining status quo, or separating, they are all somewhere within that employee life cycle and have unique needs. What involving HR and basing social programs on the employee life cycle provides:

– Connect with real work goals and processes
– Focus on improving performance
– Involve people who have the power to take action regarding these goals
– Balance employee actions with business context
– Increase employee capacity, productivity and recognition
– Focus on learning about learning, in settings that are collaborative and relevant

Ways Social Can Be Infused into the Employee Lifecycle

The base camps for the employee lifecycle can vary based on your organization’s needs and objectives. What I’ve outlined below are  based on the base camps I’ve developed for organizations. Oh, and to help illustrate the points below, I’ve also created this shiny infographic for you. Feel free to download, share and use.

Social HR and the Employee Lifecycle by The Social WorkplaceAttraction

  • Reputation and Brand – Somewhere a conversation is taking place that will effect your reputation as an employer. At a minimum, you should be listening to the social conversation to mitigate brand risk but ideally you would be contributing value to the conversation stream as well.
  • Talent Communities – Create talent communities to connect and develop job seekers and at the same as you share insight into your corporate culture. When implemented thoughtfully, these can become real communities rather than just socially sourced lists of names.


  • Peer to Peer Recruitment – A key area that social really enables. Allows companies to use their own employees as brand advocates and give potential hires a unique perspective into the culture of the area of the company they are thinking of joining.
  • LinkedIn overwhelmingly trumps Facebook, even though more candidates are looking to use it, and Twitter as the social network recruiters use to search for job candidates, but it’s on Twitter where a recruiter finds the most success as Twitter followers are three times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection.
  • Referral Schemes – Recruitment is dependent on referrals as a source for qualified candidates. Further develop and expand your current employee referral programs by tapping into the digital social and professional graphs of your employees and leverage their social connections.


  • Role Specific Wikis – Maintain knowledge about particular business functions as living, breathing documents and enable employees to provide feedback to enhance subsequent user’s experiences.
  • Experience Forums – New hires often have similar questions and concerns. Establish a  forum where they can reply to a question from another new hire with a solution.
  • Knowledge Connection – Allow new hires and long time employees to contribute and share tacit knowledge around the ins and outs of being successful in a new role.
  • Track Search Terms and  Refine – Save and analyze search terms. This will help to illustrate any large gaps in material that new hires are attempting to locate as they get started within the company.


  • Promote Relationships — Extend virtual classrooms beyond the course time by allowing employees to connect before and after the course, creating a stronger social support system.
  • Motivation through autonomy — Encourage autonomous, self-directed workers and learners by enabling just-in-time, fast, and targeted learning opportunities.
  • Social learning creates a positive attitude toward learning, which leads to learning more efficiently.


  • Goal Development – Permit  employees to solicit feedback from each other so they can set specific development goals that is collected via peer review.
  • Idea Generation – Foster  innovation that have acknowledged results. Create a portal where employees can submit ideas, where peers vote on the submissions, and, most importantly, have your executive leadership review the ones that have been voted to the top. Moreover, seek to IMPLEMENT the ideas that are most viable. Employees will stop submitting ideas if they feel that they will never come to fruition.
  • Peer Development Groups –  Connect employees on similar development plans so they can encourage and support one another. In doing so, you will promote leadership.


  • Social Recognition –  Remove isolated recognition experiences by allowing employees to be recognized by their managers and peers on platforms where such recognition can be shared among other portals and social collaboration platforms.
  • Social Performance — Give employees a way to track how their actions impact overall company performance and help them meet their (and their team’s) shared objectives.


  • Exit Interviews and Feedback – Establish a dignified exit process by soliciting genuine feedback.
  • Known Talent Pool – Use retired employees as an excellent project-based, flexible source of experience.
  • Employee Referrals – Candidates referred by former employees are pre-screened candidates and tend to fit the companies needs.
  • Alumni Community – Keep in touch with employees who already know your business. As they increase their skill sets, they become a talent pool worth tracking.



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