SHRM 2011: The Only Thing Missing In Social Media Presentations at #shrm11? Fun!

Dawn Burke Dawn Hrdlica, Recruiting, Social Media, Social Recruiting

At SHRM11 I was given a heads up to see Matt Kaiser, talent management strategist for NAS Recruitment.  Kaiser presented “Social Media: The Reinvention of Recruitment”, which was simply focused on the basics of social media recruiting.  If you were looking for the next generation of Social Media recruiting, this wasn’t the venue for it. However, Matt was a terrific and engaging speaker. Check him out.

The venue was packed! Standing room only.  Fire marshals shut the doors to the overflow attendees. Very velvet- ropey.  It is very easy to get jaded in the HR blogosphere that there is nothing new to say in this space. But if you haven’t heard it (which this crowd had not)- it’s new to you. The packed session was a reminder to the jaded that there are still so many who have a true need to learn social media recruiting.   From square one.  Now.

It was not a shock to hear 54% of comps polled by Robert Half still ban social media at work.  It was disappointing but not surprising to see only a smattering of hands raised when asked “who all is on facebook…who all is on twitter”?  It was equally non-surprising to see everybody raise their hand at “who all is on LinkedIn?” Yet it is doubtful any are really using LinkedIn to have conversations.

Nevertheless, Matt, knowing his audience, had good points for the 101er which included:

·         Know what you want to get out of Social Media
·         Set Goals
·         Solidify your Personal Brand
·         Develop a Social Media Policy
·         Think Mobile (This actually was a nice newer 101 tidbit.)

In addition, there were some interesting tidbits one may want to check into if you need to start managing ALL of your Social Media Activity from one space.  Matt suggested Spreadfast.  I’ll throw in one other you may want to check out called Crowdbooster.

After describing each point, Matt typically followed up with “you now must create an action plan” around each of his main points and all their subpoints.  After about 30 minutes, I started to see attendees glaze a bit because now it feels like work.  A lot of it.  And I am new to Social Media, and oh, I don’t even have a twitter account……eyes roll back in head….

I do not disagree with Matt Kaiser’s take.  He was a fabulous speaker with a relevant topic for the appropriate audience.  I simply suggest one thing was missing. Fun.

Where’s The Party Man?…

There is a spirit of fun these new social mediums have that simply cannot compare to typing an ad on a typerwriter in 1985. Well, not unless you were typing your ad with the sweet, sweet sounds of Duran Duran in the background.  The spirit does not include a long Franklin-Covey list to check off when you are through.

I think that presenters on social media recruiting spend a bit too much time on steps and not enough time on the fun, personalized, authentic, interaction that truly, really-really gets people to learn the tool. People, even adult people, like to have fun.  When something is fun, we simply do it more.

I may suggest a session that is “Social Media Bar”, where you give the new comer a real life taste of twitter.  Set up their account profile, set them up with a few hash tags and let the conversations begin. The magic of that interaction will transfer to the “real life” work application fairly quickly. Because, well, work is life.

There is definitely a time to have a plan, but sometimes the best strategy is no strategy at all.

Dawn Burke
Dawn Burke, founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, most recently serving as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.