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People strategy

The Changing Structure of HR Departments

Clare Hopping

Altaide_E2_80_99s_lifeWith new technology comes new responsibilities, and HR departments have begun introducing new roles and teaching new skillsets to remain effective in a business world growing more dependent on innovative tools and software.

In a technological age saturated with smartphones and tablets, the differences between old and new recruiting methods are more apparent than ever. TribeHR points out that methods all recruiters once utilised, like newspaper ads and local employment offices, are practically unrecognisable to today’s candidates.

Now, effective hiring hinges on social media usage, with Facebook and Twitter serving as the main channels of information. Modern recruiting means faster and wider information dissemination as well as increased engagement. And unsurprisingly, HR departments are changing their entire organisational structures in order to adapt.

The HR Department: New Structure, New Priorities

“The Human Resources Department as we know it is gone,” states Alfred Walker, author of Web-Based Human Resources, in Workforce Magazine. For reference, he describes the current complexities that hound the field of HR, including the scarcity of skilled workers, and particularly those who are able to build for the systems of the future.

“Technology is the underlying foundation upon which the new HR organisation will operate,” Walker explains. As such, HR departments need to start prioritising a new structure. Elyse Schmidt of RecruitingBlogs remarks: “Talent acquisition teams will need to transform and expand, adding new positions like ‘Content Strategist’ and ‘Digital Marketer,’ as well as expertise in social media, SEO, and demand generation.”

HR departments can also look to and learn from other departments, such as IT and marketing, as they transform. Walker explains how both traditional roles (e.g. analysts, programmers, database administrators) and new ones (telecommunications specialists, LAN, PC, and web specialists) in the HR department will start to overlap with those on the IT staff.

Furthermore, Schmidt explains how customer marketing can inspire recruitment marketing by utilising “[similar] tactics like content, email, social media, mobile, automation, etc. to engage candidates.”

HR Department: New Skillsets, New Roles

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Most CEOs want an HR person who is, well, “not a typical HR person,” according to SIOP. May cites the importance of flexibility and creativity, allowing an HR department to be “responsive to the changing needs of its client organisation.”

Schmidt sees the necessity to equip the talent acquisition team with new skillsets in order to convey an organisation’s “meaning and value through design, messaging, and experience to impact the best candidates to apply.”

Along those lines, here are five essential roles Schmidt says a modern recruiting organisation should fill:

1. Employer Brand Manager: Defines your company’s brand identity and amplifies it on digital channels, clearly communicating what you offer in terms of culture, education, and employment in order to connect with candidates.

2. Content Strategist: Decides how to market your brand and message through blog posts, LinkedIn Pulse, videos, infographics, and even Facebook memes that can attract quality candidates.

3. Social Media Coordinator: Strategizes best social media practices, creates profiles and personas, and taps into the right channels, all while keeping an eye on the latest trends and answering direct messages to maintain constant communication with candidates.

4. Digital Marketer: Follows up with the candidates your company attracts by optimising your career sites. Also utilises SEO, design, and calls to action, personalising your appeal to help candidates find the right jobs.

5. Recruitment Marketing Manager: Integrates all departmental efforts to direct the recruitment marketing team, strategy, budget, and processes. Uses motivation to attract the best candidates and create quality relationships through email, content, campaigns, and social media channels.

“No one prefers just a job,” Schmidt explains. “Modern candidates want culture, inspiration, incentive, camaraderie, and meaning. And they want it to come to them through the channels they use most.” In this rapidly changing world, HR departments must likewise change their processes — with all these digital channels at your disposal, why not use them to your advantage?

(Image credits: Jacques Froissant/flickreuforic services/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.