When HR needs PR

There’s no debating the fact that we live in the age of instant communication; information can span the globe in mere moments. Take news of the May earthquake in China, for example; information was spread instantly by Twitter users, easily scooping news organizations. In fact, many reporters were relying on tweets for information and reporting it on-air. “Tweets,” as messages on Twitter are called, are abbreviated text messages that can be instantly posted on online and sent to the mobile telephones of selected friends. For those of us who have made communications our profession, it has been remarkable to witness the evolution of Web 2.0, but along with the fascinating developments we’ve made are also a number of challenges that require adapting our organizations to the constantly evolving communications paradigm.

Social networking and all things Web 2.0 have become mainstream topics of great debate and conversation among public relations professionals- from YouTube, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, and millions more- there are new avenues for people to share information arriving every day. There are billions of pages on the Web and thousands of new sites go live every day; Wired Magazine stated that “nine blogs are created every minute and 2.3 content updates are posted every second.”

Chances are, people are communicating about your company online, whether it be employees on social networking sites or bloggers, it’s important for HR professionals to understand how the blogosphere can shape opinions about your organization and affect recruiting- especially when there is controversy or a crisis involved. Are you prepared for those challenges? What happens if your organization is the victim of bad news or rumors started online? What if a small issue becomes a crisis because it is blown out of proportion by bloggers? Hopefully your organization has a crisis communication plan in place- the time to figure out how to best address negative news coverage is not while enduring it. HR needs to work closely with PR in order to monitor organization’s reputation in mainstream media, the blogosphere and social networkasphere so you can adequately address any concerns that job seekers might bring to an interview. Your best candidates- the ones you really want to hire- are doing their homework and reading what’s out there. So take a walk to your PR department and talk to them. If your organization does not have a public relations department, there is a wide array of agencies that can work with you. .

This age of instant communication allows those of us who work to brand our organizations as good employers a wealth of opportunities and seemingly endless avenues to tell the organization’s story. Are you tapping into the power of the Web to brand yourself as a great place to work?