Dear Employee/Employer: Be Social or Be Irrelevant

If, as a job candidate, you haven't built up your personal online brand -- accomplishments and most importantly beliefs and values -- you risk becoming irrelevant to any forward-looking employer regardless of your domain expertise.
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As companies continue to tighten their purse strings, every hire they make has to be strategic to the business. Recently, I came across an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal that lists four 'must-have' job skills for 2013. Coming in at number two, just after clear communication skills, is a person's online brand. I believe that 'social organizations' will be the ones which will thrive over the next decade. A social organization is one that leverages mass collaboration to improve business agility and customer delight. By the end of this decade, the millennial generation will comprise over 75 percent of the workforce. That future workforce is mobile, social and hyper-connected, with a deep desire for a real-time understanding of events. If, as a job candidate, you haven't built up your personal online brand -- accomplishments and most importantly beliefs and values -- you risk becoming irrelevant to any forward-looking employer regardless of your domain expertise.

However, the most important challenge is not with the perspective employee but rather the employer's ability to adopt a social business mindset to recruit and retain social savvy and active candidates. For businesses to stay competitive and connected, and to recruit the very best talent, they must be able to demonstrate social intelligence and caring. It takes courage and a culture of transparency for businesses to empower employees to connect, and to scale the company's mission.

In the book, The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, which I co-authored with my colleague Brad Martin, we talk about the six crucial elements to social business success: Culture, People, Strategy, Process, Structure and Technology. The profile of the very best talent is a "social employee" who goes above and beyond to contribute to the success of the business. But in order to find these people, businesses must know what to look for and how to best recruit them.

In the social era, companies must hire the people they trust, and then trust them to do their work. It is the character of the people that shape a company's future. It is true that the best players usually win, but it is not about how smart you are, or past accomplishments, but rather how much you care to collaborate and win as a team. The talent acquisition process in a social business has to embrace a new model for today's social talent. A business with a social mindset will clearly have the advantage in today's connected economy.

Human Resources practitioners agree that traditional recruitment processes are costly and not very effective. A recent study showed that only 25 percent of hires are top performers. How can an industry that spends $120 billion per year on recruiting produce only one high performer for every four hires? For me, the answer is easy: They're not using social networks to vet quality candidates. According to a 2012 survey by Novo Group, four out of five HR leaders said searching for top talent is their biggest challenge. We believe that businesses can improve their recruitment processes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs using social networks.

A social business recognizes that the very best talent is not actively searching for job opportunities; they're too busy changing the world. The very best talent is social and collaborating with their network to teach and be taught. The paper-based curriculum vitae is dead, and the future of talent acquisition will be digital and network-based.

The web is the new resume and social networks serve as mass references. Social businesses want social candidates to be part of their ecosystem. They look for candidates with an online presence that showcases accomplishments, networking capabilities, and measures of their influence. All things being equal, if you have two candidates, it will make sense for most brands to hire the person who is more socially active because their ability to impact others is so much greater. With this shift in the way that companies recruit candidates, they're hunting for talent, rather than waiting for the talent come to them.

Social businesses look for judgment, experience and influence as the three important criteria for talent acquisition. Be social or be irrelevant. The choice is yours.

This post is part of a series co-produced by The Huffington Post and Blogworld, in conjunction with the latter's NMX BusinessNext Social 2013. That event will feature some of the world's leading social-business luminaries and influencers, each of whom will be speaking at the event to provide an up-close look at how the world's most successful businesses harness the power of social.

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