Last week I spoke with a friend of mine about changes throughout society, which led us into a discussion of how companies create a company culture. I mentioned that I see human resources departments becoming less relevant to companies that want to create a strong company culture. One could argue in some ways human resources departments add a negative element to companies.
More specifically, it’s not that companies do not need people who understand things like health insurance, employment law, or even best-recruiting practice. It is that social media has caused a shift in how people in human resources departments should go about the recruitment process.
If you search my name enough (Erick Pettersen), you will see words like “online marketing” attributed to me. Or just look through my LinkedIn profile. Every once in a while, I get an email from someone in a company’s human resources department, a headhunter, or another type of recruiter saying they found my resume (one from 2012, as running RW is my job) online.
As the email goes on, it will say they looked through my resume and feel I am a perfect fit for a particular job. The job is usually a marketing position. I cannot stress enough that just because the word ‘marketing’ is in the term ‘online marketing’ that does not make them synonymous. There are huge differences between the fields, and they are not interchangeable.
Unfortunately, people who work within human resources and other recruiting services often try to build teams and create company culture by searching through keywords of the hundreds of emails they receive on a daily basis. But team building and creating company culture cannot be reduced to searching keywords in an email inbox.
Creating Company Culture
Once, a business friend of mine said, “Never accept a ‘no’ from someone who cannot give you a ‘yes.’” That led me to find ways to circumnavigate companies’ human resources departments and talk directly to a decision maker within each company. But the more I attempted to circumnavigate human resources departments, the more I realized many companies did not have those departments.
Now, the question is what is making human resources departments less and less relevant to creating a company culture. I believe social media plays a huge part in how companies are recruiting people and building company culture. It gives decision-makers the ability to connect with potential employees, instead of relying on someone in a human resources department to fill a company’s job gaps.
Company Culture and LinkedIn
Back in 2006, I received an email from a recruiter I met at a networking event inviting me to join a social media site called LinkedIn. I didn’t know anything about the website, but I figured it might be another way to connect with friends and family. I put up my profile and filled out the basic information, and then I didn’t pay much attention to it.
Then, sometime around 2011, I connected with a woman on Twitter named Stacy Zapar, who at the time was a recruiter for Intuit. The more Stacy and I had what I call Twitter-sations, the more I became curious about her. Then, I realized, she was (and is) the most connected woman on LinkedIn.
After I connected with Stacy, I began to realize the power of connecting with people via LinkedIn. So, I set out to connect with more and more people through this social media platform. But even in my years of looking for employment, I never sought to connect with anyone in a company’s human resources department. I always sought to connect with the person in authority, who had the power to say ‘yes’ to hiring me.
Because of LinkedIn’s premium features, which allow anyone to connect with and send messages to anyone else on LinkedIn, the barriers of finding and connecting with decision makers has been lowered. No longer is a person confined to going to websites like Monster or Indeed, filling out resumes, preparing cover letters, and sending them into a pool with hundreds of other emails.
Now, if a person sees a job posting for a customer service specialist, rather than sending all of that information to a general email box, they can connect with the CEO or manager of that department. Social media empowers the job seeker and the job recruiter to connect with each other, without the need of a middleman. Or at least LinkedIn gives them a better chance to do that.
Company Culture and Meetup
One time, while researching companies in San Diego, where I wanted to work, I became a little bent on interviewing with one particular company. It was a highly sought after digital marketing company here in San Diego to work for, so I researched all I could about the CEO of that company.
As I began to research him, I read an article in which he said he preferred to hire people who took the time go to networking events he went to and get to know him. I tried to find those networking events via Meetup, but I moved on to the next project before I could find them.
Though, before I moved on, I interviewed with the manager of the online marketing department of that company. On the day of my interview, when I showed up to their office and told the receptionist I was there for an interview with their online marketing manager, she commented she didn’t know how I got the interview because all job recruitment went through her.
Even though I never figured out the networking events the CEO of that company went to, the power of Meetup gives job seekers the ability to connect with department managers, CEOs, and other people in companies who have the power to say ‘yes.’ The unfortunate truth for human resources departments and other recruitment personnel is social media allows job seekers to circumnavigate gatekeepers.
Creating Company Culture
Though, in spite of job seekers’ ability to use social media to connect with decision makers, what’s hurting human resources most is their failure to develop relationships. Human resources personnel would do well to get out from behind their computers, go to networking events where the job seekers go to, and get to know them. Company culture means as much, if not more, for the employee as it does for the employer. There are six things prospective employees want to know about your company:
- You will offer them more than a dollar amount for their efforts and loyalty
- You will respect them enough to offer them a respectable salary
- You will offer them a non-stressful, or at least a low-stress, work environment
- They will enjoy working for you and at your company
- You will enjoy having them on your team
- Their work will serve a purpose
- Your company’s mission and vision includes making a positive impact in the world
Branding Company Culture
Now, I want to address the CEOs, department managers, and other decision-makers. Part of building strong company culture takes building a strong team. And part of building a strong team means understanding what skills and abilities each member of your team contributes to your company’s goals. It also means understanding the personalities of potential employees. It’s important to add people to your team who are team players and who have a servants’ hearts. Those are the people who will stay until six to make sure a job gets done, rather than just clock out at five.
Of course, the other side of branding your company well and strong team building is understanding when one of your employees can’t stay late. Building that strong team and branding your company well means you are the servant-leader. It means you are staying with your team to help them get the job done. Branding your company well by building a strong team means finding people who will serve your vision well. It also means placing yourself in their shoes, empathizing with their needs, and helping them to become better people so they will be more valuable employees.
The Future of Human Resources
But none of that can be reduced to searching for and finding the right employees by checking your email or even scouring through LinkedIn and searching for keywords. An increasing number of companies are choosing not to make human resources departments part of their company’s structure. But that does not mean people with a background in human resources do not play a vital role in companies’ recruitment processes, strong team building, or helping companies create their company culture.
Whether a person works in the human resources department of a company or for an outside recruitment agency, they would do well to remember part of a company’s branding process is building a strong team. Strong team building is essential to branding a company well and creating a company culture. It is important to connect with those people on LinkedIn, go to the social gatherings they go to, and get to know them as people, rather than to rely on keywords in their email inbox.
Just remember, people build teams, and people’s attitudes help develop a company’s culture. The people on your team and the attitudes with which they do their jobs are a huge part of your company’s branding process.