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#PRin2012: Talent Acquisition Goes Social

The latest monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Business indicated a brighter employment picture and significant increase in future hiring plans. Similarly, the Manpower survey of hiring intentions, represents the most promising hiring outlook since 2008.

Monster.com has reported an uptick in online advertising in recent months, and a recent study from WantedAnalytics found that hiring demand, specifically in the public relations industry has steadily increased in 2011. In looking at the number of new online job ads hiring for PR managers and specialists over the past 90 days, the study saw a 10-percent increase compared to the same 90-day period in 2010. That report indicates that beyond an increase in specific job openings, there is a fundamental shift taking place in the way the job market functions.

The year ahead will see employers identify new ways to leverage the social networks of employees’ to recruit and retain talent. Over the course of 2010 and 2011, you likely read a great deal about social medial policies. According to the October 2011 Booz Company Buddy Media Survey, 65 percent of organizations have social media policies and another 29 percent are in the process of developing or planning a policy.

Social media policies and guidelines are essential; employee networks boast a formidable power.

As of November 2011, LinkedIn claimed more than 135 million members. With policies in place, and employees well connected throughout their respective industry, in 2012, companies will be poised to better harness their employees networks to strengthen the organization. Businesses will find ways to capitalize on these networks by utilizing employee referral programs.

In 2011, all employees became an asset (or liability) to marketing, publicly representing themselves and, as a reflection, their brand online. The coming year will find employees encroaching on HR territory, serving as brand ambassadors to prospective employees. A coordinated effort between HR and public relations to offer continued social media training and guidelines is essential. PR practitioners with social media responsibilities will begin looking at retention and recruitment metrics in their own analysis.

Even those organizations not yet prepared to commit to hiring must take significant steps in 2012, if they hope to retain valuable talent and survive the next decade. Employees whose profiles are on LinkedIn (and Google+) essentially have their resumes “out there” and are more likely than ever before to be approached by a competitor. Organizations that have been retaining employees simply as a result of a fear of the economy will be increasingly vulnerable as savvy growing businesses easily acquire their top talent.

The economic recession of the early 1990s was marked by several years of high unemployment, but five years later, the “dot-com boom” hit. Overnight, it seemed jobs were plentiful, with companies striving to outdo their competitors in perks as they fought to hire and retain talent. The economy will again turn, and the steps organizations take in 2012 will determine whether they are positioned for success.

Valerie Simon (@ValerieSimon) is an innovative developer of teams, communities, products and communications programs. She is co-founder of #PRStudChat (PR Student Chat), a trending Twitter chat that brings faculty and students together for dynamic discussions with professionals; and co-founder of HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out), an initiative designed to use social media to leverage relationships and help facilitate introductions between employers and prospective employees.

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