From Print to Social to Mobile...the Natural Progression

October 19

I recently attended a local healthcare HR event where Steven Ehrlich, Vice President of Global Initiatives for TMP Worldwide was invited to be the keynote speaker. The topic the organization selected for the all-day event was the impact of social media on human resources. The participants represented a cross-section of HR from compensation to labor relations, to recruitment. They were clearly enthusiastic and excited to be together after their all-too-brief summer hiatus. For those who have not attended one of Steven’s presentations — let me simply say he is an energetic, engaging and most importantly, an informative speaker. On this particular day, Steven asked the audience several questions. In his bold voice he asked how many organizations have a Facebook page and are actively using it to engage their workforce — promoting opportunities within the organization. Two or three hands went up in a room of about 80 participants. He then asked how many were using LinkedIn to promote and recruit for their organization; four or five hands were proudly raised. He finally asked how many participants were using mobile to engage job seekers and communicate with employees — the room was silent.

As an RN and an HR professional, one who has worked in the world of recruitment operations for longer than I sometimes care to acknowledge, and in the year of 2011, I was frankly surprised by the audience’s responses. I was expecting at least half of the participants to raise their hands in response to Steven’s inquiries.

I understand. The healthcare sector is rarely the first one to embrace a new unproven communications tool and perhaps for good reason. There are other far more pressing priorities that absorb both attention and resources. Successful results and outcomes are mission critical and experimentation with what sometimes appears to be invisible new social media — is not aligned with the desire to execute tangible and measurable results. But, what if use of social media for the purpose of recruiting and providing information about your organization can offer results and influence the job seekers' decision process? What if it works as well as, or even better than the standard print ad that the department head, the chairman or the hiring manager requires?

Clearly, the healthcare sector is evolving and embracing the use of social media to engage in conversations with patients, donors and the community at large. However, the use of social media to promote conversations among job seekers and employees continues to lag despite the fact that in a study conducted by AMN Healthcare in December of 2010 it was reported that 41% of RN’s have used Facebook to network professionally.

Take a look at the recent study conducted by Tag.Microsoft. The study reveals the rise of mobile marketing and the continued demise of print advertizing. The graphic is most compelling as you ponder your recruitment advertizing dollars. The bottom line is that uses of social media advertisements have risen 175% since 2007. I am not suggesting that social media is a panacea and a solution for all of your recruitment challenges. If only healthcare recruitment were that easy! However, I am suggesting that if you haven’t already done so; consider adding social media to your recruitment sourcing portfolio. Take some time to educate your organization on the reasons why some social media makes sense in engaging the workforce and attracting new talent. Explore LinkedIn and Facebook – listen to what is being said about your organization, see what your competition is up to, join relevant groups on LinkedIn and post comments. And, the next time Steven asks his questions --I hope to see everyone’s hand raised!

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