HR and Social Analytics: The Good and the Bad

This week, NetBase and SAP came out with a social intelligence report infographic on HR titled, “The 10 Things we Love (and Hate) about HR.” The fascinating data presented by this infographic paints a picture of HR’s image on the web. While plenty of people are singing HR’s praises, there are still some perpetuating the negative stereotype sometimes affiliated with HR as well. The mixed bag of opinions about HR expressed in social media provides a wonderful tool for HR pros, a performance report of sorts.

With 315,000 conversations regarding HR on social media, there’s no lack of representation. The Net Sentiment for HR (which is a fancy social media metric way of  analyzing good vs bad feedback on the web) is 57 out of 100. That’s not too bad, but it’s not great either. It definitely suggests that HR could be doing a better job at proving it’s usefulness and importance to workers. We all know how vitally important the functions HR performs are, but does everyone else?

So what is HR doing right? Almost half of the positive talk on social networks about HR was employees shouting out a thanks to HR for receiving checks, training opportunities and other HR related functions. Nearly a third of positive social media shares praised HR for managing work-life balance. 10% appreciate how HR attempts to create a pleasant and healthy work environment. There were other aspects employees praised as well, but these were the largest and in my opinion, the most important and easiest to accomplish for HR. This leads me to believe that when HR is doing their job right, people take notice, and appreciate.

Now for the bad news, what do people think HR needs to do to improve? One third vent that HR doesn’t approve requests deemed by employees to be important. 30% see us HR pros as lazy. Ouch. Whether that’s because 30% of HR departments are actually lazy or because they’re not able to prove their worth to employees is hard to say, but either way, HR needs to do a better job at proving their functions to everyone within an organization. 15% claim that HR is accident prone. While mistakes may be somewhat inevitable, you must remember that the mistakes you make in HR take a huge toll on peoples lives. Mistakes in payroll and benefits mean an employee is getting the short end of the stick, and this will upset them. Now employees have the ability to slam us immediately after a mistake is made, which is even more incentive to not make the mistakes in the first place. That’s a fairly long list of things to improve, and the infographic includes a few more, but where there’s negative feedback, there’s room to improve, and obviously HR needs it.

Everyone in HR knows that our reputation in the business world isn’t exactly rock solid. That said, it seems that more and more people are noticing, and praising HR for performing functions that improve their lives, and workplace cultures. If everyone in HR does their best to deliver the services we are supposed to, and do it well, people will see this, and our image will slowly but surely improve. Perhaps social media’s ability to call out industries will serve as a wake up call to HR.

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