I spent a couple of days attending the Middle Tennessee SHRM conference in Nashville, Tennessee as part of the social media team. Several of us were there to introduce “social media” to HR professionals who were not already involved. We talked in terms of recruiting, awareness, the National Labor Relations Act and why it was important for HR departments to be aware of, and using, the tools of social media. I also brought up a personal reason for HR professionals to be using SM. This is “reputation capital.” To that end I thought I would revisit a post I wrote in October of 2011, Reputation Capital: Key to Hiring in the Future.
The other day I bought a book on impulse (yes, an actual book … I am still “old school” in that regard.” The book is The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and I am very happy I picked it up. It is very interesting so far and I predict it will remain so. It is also chocked full of potential blog posts. As I was flipping through the book I came across the chapter on predictions. The first one caught my eye: You will be hired and promoted based upon your reputation capital.
According to the authors:
“Reputation capital will be the top currency in the 2020 workplace. This is the sum total of your personal brand, your expertise, and the breadth, depth, and quality of your social networks….. This means looking for employees who have not only wide, deep and high-quality social networks but also demonstrate a track record of turning those networks into increased business value for the organization and a stronger personal brand for themselves.”
Obviously this statement goes well beyond just having a list of names on your LinkedIn profile. As an individual you will have to have an active list of contacts that you have more interaction with on a more frequent basis. You will need to be active on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and whatever other social interaction platform is active at that time. You will need to help people understand how that network will help a prospective employer.
From the company perspective the basis of selecting talent will not only be the skill set the candidate possess but the value of the network they have and the potential it has for improving the business of the company. In reality, the progressive talent hunters should already be doing some selection on this basis. And progressive candidates should be touting the quality of their network.
Some jobs and some industries are already trending in this direction. My daughter works in the theater business on the management side. Her last two jobs she has been hired, sight unseen, on the basis of her reputation for quality work. (And I am very proud of her for having earned that reputation.)Her social network is not so much her LinkedIn profile as it is the large number of show business contacts she has made in the past 10 years. It is a somewhat small community, but many industries are similarly small.
The important lesson here is that reputation is more than just the work you produce. It is also tied up in who you know and how well you know them.