Why All HR Departments Need a Blog

The rules have changed and blogging is not just for geeks with a knack for writing anymore. Employees who want to smear you, recruiters who don't want to hire you, PR Departments who want to snow you - are all blogging; is HR missing the train?

As an HR Professional and a blogger I see a myriad of missed opportunities for HR and Corporate Communications Departments when it comes to social networking. Currently, the most common response to employees that chat, surf and blog is to discipline them for not being focused and for misusing company time/resources.

According to a recent ClearSwift Survey, "64 percent of U.S. companies deny their employees access to social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo"; and, "54 percent of HR decision makers have encountered or have had to discipline employees for time-wasting on the Internet". Worst of all, almost a quarter of all HR Professionals have never even heard of YouTube, Facebook or Wikipedia.

Now that's just embarrassing.

There is a treasure trove of opportunity out there for folks responsible for Internal Public Relations and it's time to wake up and jump on the swiftly moving train that is social networking. With companies like CollabAndRate offering an online suggestion box, HR can now do what PR has been doing at places like Starbucks, Dell and Lego: capitalizing on Web 2.0 through the collection of new ideas and increased collaboration.

A properly moderated HR Department Blog can be a place where:

  1. Employees can post suggestions and questions; and where employers can respond, in a safe, properly moderated environment.
  2. Rumors can be brought to light, answered and addressed with clarity and consistency.
  3. Awards, successes, human interest (the good stuff) can be disseminated quickly.
  4. Challenges, disappointments and difficult changes (the bad stuff) can be communicated directly by company leadership to all employees without being muddled by poor communicators in middle management.
  5. An HR Blog can reinforce core values, quickly address real concerns, promote transparency and increase trust all while minimizing mis-information; in a forum that can be anonymous (for the fearful employee) and properly controlled (for the fearful employer).

Close collaboration between IS, HR and the C-Suite is key in order for responses to be credible, accurate and timely. Like any other important business endeavor, it's important that the proper resources and attention be given to blog development and upkeep, or it won't be successful. Good luck and happy blogging!

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  • Jay Tatum

    I think this whole blogging enterprise is the inevitable evolution of the information age. Depending upon where one places one's self and one's company, why blog when texting cbb? Some of us prefer the quiet solitude of a private place while others enjoy taking our laptop or PDA to the Coffee Shop and hacking out comments, responses, and a whole bunch of people don't have a clue what this blog stuff is all about. When the leadership has failed to provide the appropriate guidance in policies, procedures, and practices, anarchy prevails and productivity suffers. If you think the Internet Police will bring peace and justice to cyberspace then you are going to love merging HR with PR, IT, and EAP (those with more serious addictions will be treated off-site). Somehow, adding another function to any HR department or division seems both counter-productive and counter intuitive. I'd rather have my employees doing the work they're paid to do than blog. Do it on your own time or ELSE!!!

  • Wendy Brodnick

    I agree. I think certain companies can really use it to their benefit if their HR professionals are on top of issues, concerns and the challenges of open discussion within an organization.

    Public HR Agencies would probably be frozen in fear about this option, however, it would be a great way for HR to address real concerns especially during layoffs or concerns about seniority.

    Wendy Brodnick
    Consultation and Training Services

  • Mark Salinas

    I think you are on to something. With Technology these days more and more individuals are taking a passive aggressive approach when dealing with their frustrations. The availability to make any claim with out having it qualified or moderated is running rampant out on the web. Setting up a company blog that all are able to access couldn't hurt and at the very least it shows company interest. Great Post!

    Mark Salinas,
    Viscom Technology Group Inc., MN