In Tuesday’s #assnchat we talked about the many HR issues an association must consider in the Web 2.0 age. The moderator of the chat, Kiki L’Italien, gave us five questions to discuss. We covered a lot so I’m breaking it into two blog posts. I’ll publish Part 2 tomorrow morning.

1. How does social media impact HR and how are associations adapting?

Unfortunately a lot of associations are not addressing these emerging issues which is why this subject needs more exposure. Although many national associations have a professional HR department, and hopefully their HR staff is being brought up to speed through their own professional development, most state (or smaller) associations don’t have the luxury of a dedicated HR department or person. HR is usually part of someone’s responsibilities – payroll, finance, operations, CEO – and they may not be aware of these critical issues.

HR has a lot more to deal with now:

  • Understanding new social media proficiencies for hiring and promotion decisions, and how to use social media legally during the hiring process.
  • Creating meaningful and user-friendly social media guidelines. If Roche, a global company in the regulated pharmaceutical industry, can create effective and concise guidelines for its staff, an association can do the same.
  • Developing social media training programs for staff.
  • Dealing with succession issues for social media staff. Is your social media use siloed with one person or department? What if that voice and face of the organization leaves?
  • Knowing the appropriate and market-rate compensation for social media staff. ASAE doesn’t have a salary survey yet for social media and community management jobs; salary consultants don’t know what to benchmark against.

2. How heavy should the weight be for/against a potential employee based on social media sites they are on?

Recruiters advise us to create a social media footprint in order to get noticed, particularly those looking for social media jobs. But there are serious legal risks to using social media during the hiring practice. Leslie White in her recent post, Keep it Legal: Social Media & Hiring, recommends that someone not involved in the hiring decision check out a candidate’s social media presence and only report back the information that is legal for an employer to ask a candidate, or risk facing discrimination suits.

3. Does an HR director or HR team need to have social media proficiency? Does a departmental head need it?

The overwhelming answer is “yes.” Otherwise, how can they deal with all the issues raised throughout this chat? How can they understand how to develop good social media guidelines and training for all staff? How can they understand the new recruiting reality and required proficiencies? Tammy Tilley talked of developing policies with people who “aren’t into social media” so have no idea what is/isn’t appropriate. Your HR staff needs to be into social media.

Should the goal of associations be to educate all staff to have some basic level of social media knowledge and proficiency, asked Rene Shonerd. Vickie Lester recommends that all staff be coached on how to represent the association in any medium, not just social media. I believe associations are either going to become more social, or die a slow death. It’s time to start accepting that and teach the skills required for our new environment.

But the reality is quite different. Maggie McGary is often asked by fellow staff “how they can know about social media stuff but not have to use it themselves.” Kiki remarked, “that’s like asking how can I find out about the phone without using it?” Maggie has also been asked “if they can use a fake name with members, or a fake photo.” This would be amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic. She adds, “there is still a LOT of fear, sadly.”

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of the discussion about Questions 4 and 5:

4. What kind of social media training should organizations provide to staff? What does a good program look like?

5. Are there other issues that HR departments in associations need to be aware of as a result of changing times?

You can find the transcript for #assnchat on What the Hashtag (search for 9-21-10). #assnchat takes place on Twitter every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. All those in the association community are invited to lurk or participate.

NEW DATE: Kiki will be following up on this topic in a BlogTalkRadio interview with Leslie White, Laurie Ruettimann and Brian Crowley on Monday, October 11 at 11:30 a.m. Eastern.