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SHRM survey cites significance of social media in HR

Two-thirds of HR leaders said they have found new hires through social media; Adaptive Insights releases new planning tool for finance.

A large majority of human resources professionals believe it is important for job seekers to have a presence on...

LinkedIn, but maybe not so important to be on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

In a sign of the growing prominence of social media in HR, a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said that 54% of HR professionals believe it is very important for job aspirants to be present on LinkedIn and 33% believe it is somewhat important.

By comparison, only 2% of HR professionals said it was very important to be on social media giant Facebook, and 23% said it was somewhat important.

"It says if you don't have a LinkedIn profile yet, you really should get one," said Evren Esen, director of survey programs for SHRM. "Our members are saying that just to have a presence on LinkedIn is very important."

The survey included six major questions, she said, and likely will be repeated in a couple of years to see if the numbers change for the significance of social media in HR.

"Facebook is not considered to be a solely professional social-media outlet, though some companies use Facebook and have a presence on Facebook," Esen said. "The combination of personal and professional for Facebook make it less desirable."

Similarly, only 1% said it was very important to be on Twitter, and 17% said it was somewhat important. Google+ scored 4% as very important and 15%, somewhat important, while 2% said it was very important to have a blog and 21%, that a blog was somewhat important.

Out of SHRM's 275,000 members in more than 160 countries, who are mostly HR managers or HR generalists, 3,000 were randomly selected for the survey. Four hundred completed it, registering their opinions on the importance of social media in HR.

Among other key findings:

  • 40% said it is very important and 43% somewhat important to be on a relevant professional or association social networking site.
  • 77% said their top tip is to feature a complete profile on a site and 73% said to keep public content professional.
  • 65% of organizations have hired employees who were found through social media in the past year, including 57% of organizations that sourced on LinkedIn; 30% through professional or association social networking sites; 19%, Facebook and 8%, Twitter.

The survey indicates that social media is allowing HR to find candidates that might have eluded it in the past, Esen said. Instead of posting a job vacancy, companies are using social media to reach out to potential candidates based on the skills and profile of the individual.

She added that a lack of a social media presence is probably going to make a candidate stand out in a negative way. Only 6% of survey respondents said it is not at all important for a job seeker to be on LinkedIn.

Of the respondents, 52% were from private for-profit companies; 19%, public for-profit; 16%, private, nonprofit; 9%, government and 4%, other.

Esen said she is pleased with the survey partly because it helped put numbers on trends that SHRM believed existed in social media in HR.

The survey, taken in collaboration with, and commissioned by Miami-based recruitment firm Ascendo Resources, was conducted between July 7 and 21. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5%.

Adaptive Insights updates CPM software

An update to Adaptive Insights' corporate performance management (CPM) software includes a tool to help financial planners to better analyze business performance and strategy.

Called dimension attributes analytics, the tool dramatically expands the range of analysis beyond budget and planning without increasing the size of a modeling application, said Paul Turner, vice president of product management at Adaptive Insights. This is important because finance departments are moving into areas such as sales and operational planning, he said.

A user, for example, might use the tool for analyzing sales by products. Now, without increasing the size, complexity or scale of the modeling application, the user could add more dimensions to the analysis, such as sales by product brand, supplier, weight or location.

Craig Rucker, vice president of finance at Active Interest Media, which offers magazines and related consumer shows, Internet sites, and books, uses Adaptive Insights CPM software and said he is looking forward to using the update. The dimension attributes tool will allow him to involve the sales staff in forecasting sales by product lines, for example.

"I was quite excited to hear it was being released," Rucker said.

An existing dimensions tool allowed users to tag data with certain attributes, but only one attribute at a time, Turner said. The upgrade allows tagging of metadata, which allows a product implemented as a dimension -- say, a line of memory sticks -- to have several attributes that describe it. This will allow for better planning, for example, of how many units of high-capacity, fast or miniature memory sticks a company would plan to sell in a region such as Europe next month, Turner said.

Adaptive Insights allows users to access data through in-memory computing, which is much faster than accessing it from discs.

 "We are enabling finance departments to slice and dice their plans across more dimensions," Turner said. "They are able to extend their planning into other areas of business -- sales, human resources or operations, for example -- that might require more dimensions."

A modeling application could involve scenarios for capital budgeting, valuing the business by discounted cash flow, or what-if scenarios for managers.

The dimension analytics can also be used for workforce planning by bringing in more dimensions, such as employees' skills, tenure and sales territory.

The new dimension analytics should also make it easier for more managers to take part in the budgeting and planning process, he said.

Adaptive Insights also added new search capabilities to its Web-based spreadsheets so users can more easily and quickly search for data, like an individual account or a particular metric. Managers use the spreadsheets to enter forecasts, plans and drivers, or variables that affect budget items.

"Finance users or business managers can easily search for accounts by account code, such as account '6300,' or by the name of the account, such as 'Office Expenses,' or search for business drivers like units, price, or discount to look at results or make adjustments," Turner said.

"You're seeing organizations moving to decentralized planning," he said. "Cost-center managers are producing their own budgets instead of sending requests for finance to plug in numbers or finance doing the budgets itself."

Rucker said he and others at Active Interest Media are already using the new search capabilities and called them "a huge help" in the budgeting process.

The enhancements are provided as part of Adaptive Insights' standard service with no extra cost, he said.

Next Steps

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How does your organization use social media for recruiting?
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HR doesn't use social media for recruiting, but I think that it would be an excellent idea. I personally ask around on social media to get leads when we have open positions. 
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Thanks for the comment, abuell. Sounds like you might be in line for a bonus if one of your recommendations is hired. 
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Sadly, although we are heavily involved with our customers via social media outlets, we have yet to take the step in using it for hiring and recruiting. However, given the success that CERN has had with using social media for hiring, I suspect that it will not be too long before our recruiters start using it as well.
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My industry has a glut of potential recruits and a limited amount of work. Lucky for us, not so good for those who want to be hired. Consequently, we need only a very limited use of social media to bring in the talent we need. 
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mcorum - Nice point on CERN's success in using social media for hiring. I found a 2012 article in ComputerWeekly.com that documents CERN's success in using Facebook for new hires. 
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ncberns - Sounds like you are working in a pretty good industry. If you can share the industry, that would be great. Thanks for the comment.
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