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 broke it into two blog posts. Yesterday I posted the discussion about these three questions:

  1. How does social media impact HR and how are associations adapting?
  2. How heavy should the weight be for/against a potential employee based on social media sites they are on?
  3. Does an HR Director or HR Team need to have social media proficiency? Does a departmental head need it?

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

Even though many association staff use social media personally, there’s a big disconnect for many about using it for the association professionally. However, in a member’s (or policymaker’s or journalist’s) mind, it’s possible they see a staffer as representing the association no matter what the staffer might think. Training that addresses appropriate social media behavior and privacy issues is necessary.

To create an interest in learning about social media, it’s helpful to review its benefits for the staffer, member and association. What’s in it for me? Include an introduction to current tools and lingo (social media 101) as well as discussion about how social media has changed spokesperson and control issues. Who speaks for the association — the official spokesperson or the employee? Employees need to know what and when to share.

It’s critical to address personal privacy issues and teach staff how to use privacy and other settings on the different social media platforms. Patty Leeman brought up a frequent staff dilemma: What if a member friends me? Do I have to say yes to the president? Make sure you cover issues like this during training and in your guidelines. By the way, our answer to that question was “no.” My member friending policy evolved into – if I’d have a beer with you in real life, I’ll be your friend on Facebook. Otherwise, ignore.

Other topics for training:

  • Time management
  • Social media culture and etiquette — how to behave and interact on these platforms
  • Listening tools
  • How to use social media for customer service
  • Understanding your social media policies or guidelines. Policies are of no use if your staff doesn’t know and understand them.

Who does this social media training — staff or consultant? There are pros and cons to each.

  • What if the staffer doing the training thinks they know what they’re doing in social media, but they don’t? Who’s in a position to judge?
  • Staff can see it as yet another responsibility and not want to do it. Some, like Karen Altes, will do it because they love it but her “real job” hasn’t gone away. It’s hard to balance it all effectively.
  • There might be less staff resistance to what a consultant teaches, but there must be a budget to hire them. It’s important to choose your consultant carefully. A lot of for-profit social media advice doesn’t always translate to associations that are leading their members into the social media world, rather than following them there.

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

The privacy issue came up again. People are reluctant to give up the boundary between their personal and professional lives, and that is what social media represents to them, as demonstrated in Maggie’s example in Question 3. Christina Smith wondered how a chat on this topic will change as more of the ‘privacy-is-dead’ Gen Y’s take on a greater number of leadership roles.

Other issues to consider:

  • Flexible working options and telecommuting
  • Ghostwriting and transparency
  • Hijacked accounts and other social media mischief
  • Time management issues
  • The culture of ownership and silos in associations resulting in duplicate efforts, lack of sharing and greed for getting credit.
  • Associations have a new role as their members’ social media coach – a natural part of our professional development and networking mission. Karen Altes said that her association’s goal with social media is to be a knowledge source on how members can use it in their business. “We are leading them there, not following.”

My final thought: Associations may need social media therapists more than they need social media consultants. Lots of issues & baggage.

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.

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