Research Reveals How HR Uses Social Media

How the HR industry is using social media

I’m often asked about how human resource pros, recruiters, and talent management people are using or can use social media in the professional and corporate work environment.  It’s more than just sitting around on Facebook all day or playing Farmville.  Social media can provide a distinct business advantage.  HR Toolbox recently unveiled a survey that provides some interesting insights into how the HR industry is using social media and their findings might surprise you.

Research Reveals How HR Uses Social Media

HR pros are using social media, nearly 83% of the 376  surveyed to stay current on industry trends and keep up to date with their industry colleagues.  I’ve found that my colleagues now span the globe.  Social media allows you access to industry experts and practitioners who are writing, talking, and dealing with the same issues that other HR folks are dealing with everyday.  Instead of waiting for a professional publication or the Harvard Business Review to spotlight a corporate thought leader, industry professionals can learn better, faster, and from their peer’s perspective.

Another interesting finding is the use of social media to learn about human resource vendors and service providers.  Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed are using social media to learn about HR related products and services.  These testimonials and engagements with social media go beyond the brochure once again either with the end user , industry expert, or HR vendor.  All the more reason it’s important for HR service providers to be using social media to establish relationships, answer questions, and monitor the industry back channel.

Remember the days when social media when everyone thought that social media was just a quick flash in the pan?  For the majority of business leaders, those days are long behind us.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are still a few stragglers and late adopters who are holding out hope that social media will go the way of the velvet Elvis, liquid paper, and the Palm Pilot.  Average social media consumption is in excess of 7.5 hours a week.  Social media beat out traditional news publications like CNN and the Wall Street Journal in addition to HR vendor and service provider generated white papers and webcast materials furthering supporting my earlier statement of the importance of service providers to establish relationships on social media platforms and with online influencers.  Bottom line is people trust people they know either in person or online.  Social media allows for a more personal connection with products, peers, and friends.

When I bought my iPhone, my world literally stopped.  It changed my life.  Eighty-six percent of those surveyed currently own a mobile device.  Smartphones like the Blackberry, Android, and iPhones have fueled the increase in popularity of the telecommuting workforce and have helped make the case for the he importance of engagement and the rise of the smartphone.  So it’s not surprising that SHRM launched their Annual Conference Smartphone and iPad app.  Companies like Lumesse and O.C. Tanner have released apps in the few weeks specifically targeting the human resource industry which sounds like a smart move considering almost 34% of HR Toolbox survey respondents planned on purchasing a new smartphone in the next six months.

It’s surveys like these that are extremely powerful in making the case for social media not just within your human resource or recruiting department but also your entire company.  As HR begins to understand the benefits and importance that social media brings to the user, it’s safe to say that companies will continue to adopt more aggressive corporate social media integration strategies because of HR’s involvement with senior leaders, employee law, and the employee policy and procedure process.

Photo Credit Unstrappd and HR.Toolbox.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jeff Waldman says

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for sharing your insights. It’s definitely an interesting finding, and although the sample population was only 376 I think it still provided valuable insights. Here’s my take on what I read.

    The research demonstrated that HR is still in the very VERY early stages of user adoption. Before I go further I will say that my perspective is Canadian and we Canadian HR pro’s are a tad behind our American counterparts in social media adoption for work purposes. It seems that use of social media is not really about creating more value; or another way of putting it, supporting the companies that we work for generate stronger business results. Sure social media has been great for doing research on prospective vendors and new HR products, getting opinions from a bigger audience, etc… but there are so many fantastic social platforms that can be leveraged within the various functions of HR. Case in point: for engagement, recognition, performance, communication, or for a socially integrated LMS, or for a highly cost-effective and revolutionary way to do outplacement. The list goes on but you get my point…. eh!! 🙂

    For this very reason I co-founded, which is basically a creative platform to kick Canadian HR in the rear to get moving on understanding, embracing, integrating and leveraging social technology within the many HR functions for the sole purpose of creating more value for the companies they work for.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says


      First off thanks for commenting. I agree with you that we are still in the early adoption phases but how far we have come. I celebrate the simple fact that an organization like HR.Toolbox has put together a survey on this very topic. You and are doing similar things to help educate the HR industry on this topic. You should check out This is my resource page for HR pros getting them up to speed how to use social media.

      Thanks for visiting the site and we should connect outside of this blog post. You are doing good, good work.


  2. Shima says

    Hi Jessica. Great post here that I would love to include this in our monthly E-Mag for the August Edition. Thus, I am seeking for you permission. Do email me if you’re keen 🙂

    Looking forward to hear from you

    Shima from HR Republic



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