As 2011 comes to a close, many people begin thinking about the coming year and ways they can either lose old habits or pick up a new, positive one.  This year I’ve had the opportunity to speak with more CEO’s and CHRO’s than ever before and one question comes up time and again.  Should I learn about social platforms? 

The answer is a layered one, the first of which is easy.  Yes, as a CHRO, you should know about social platforms.  In reality, you do not need to be an expert, you just need to become and advocate and champion.  You need to be willing to hire HR and marketing professionals who know the intricacies of how to use social tools and the reasons behind using them.  You need to have an understanding of the value that is becoming more apparent as various sites enhance and refine their social services and offerings.  The reality is you need to be open to social because it is no longer a trend or an option, it is a valuable way to do business.

What are the top reasons CHRO’s need to embrace social?  

It’s a communication catalyst-  Being involved in social media platforms is a way to be involved in the conversation that is happening about your organization.  It is your way to have a real-time view of what employees, candidates and customers are saying about your brand. Leaders have struggled for years to get these same groups of people to give feedback via survey and now you can obtain this information on a regular basis online.

For collaboration and the wisdom of crowds-  Using the wisdom of crowds and achieving shared outcomes has to be one of the best reasons to get involved online.  Long gone are the days of only pushing information out to various groups of people.  Today, it’s about the conversation and the ideas shared both ways.  Social platforms are a way for you as the CHRO to not only be part of this conversation but to LEAD  and give direction to the conversation.  Additionally, capturing the ideas and expertise of a group of people for minimal cost and at increasingly faster speeds is the best benefit of crowd-sourcing  information for your organization.

To know thy competition-  Whether you are the CHRO of a large, global organization or a small business, one of the key components of running a business is knowing what the competition is doing.  Social platforms are  a perfect way to aid in monitoring.  Not only that, you may see what they are doing and have an idea of how to do it better, so it becomes a way of taking best practices and ramping them up a notch.  You can also see what their employees, candidates and customers are saying about them.  Believe me, if your organization is not doing this, your competition is likely already monitoring you and determining how to stay ahead in the game.

There are many more reasons and benefits for the CHRO to become a knowledgeable advocate of social media platforms.  If you were speaking with your CHRO, what reasons would you give them and why?  Share with us in the comments.