Limits to the Viability of Social Media

Prepare for a data dump from our most recent summit in Las Vegas.
By Dirk Olin

You missed it. Well, most of you did. A few hundred of us descended on Las Vegas in early December for the annual RPO Summit. And I’m here to make sure that what happened in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
The reason? Well, there was the predictably awe-inspiring level of thought leadership that was shared among recruiting industry luminaries and technology mavens (the latter who joined us for the first HR Demo Show.) But beyond that, attendees also imparted an astonishing amount of self-referential data and state-of-the-world guesstimation that, while best appreciated in person, remains for vicarious consumption via the power of pixels. Our internal polling system (run by our friends at mResource) gleaned the following from among those in attendance:

  • Two-thirds reported that they were attending their first RPO Summit, testimony to the silo’s swelling ranks and thirst for knowledge of “better practices”;
  • Only half declared that “RPO is the best solution to recruiting”—which means that some of you have been doing brilliant work and others need to get marketing—of course, it also means that in-house solutions sometimes work;
  • Asked what brought them, 56 percent declared for “education,” 18 percent for “networking” (from either the practitioner or provider side of the equation), and 26 percent said they were “considering RPO” (see above—68 percent said they already have some level of an RPO relationship);
  • As for the geographies of those with current engagements, 48 percent said they were in a “global RPO deal”, while 37 percent said they were “strictly in the U.S.” (some made no declaration);
  • Scope? Some 75 percent said they had an “end-to-end deal”, while 12 percent identified theirs as “purely administrative”;
  • When reason for attendance was recast, 30 percent said they were either “looking” for a provider or “testing the waters,” while 40 percent said they were either negotiating or renegotiating, and 30 percent (not that the choices were mutually exclusive) simply said, “Vegas is fun.”
  • Asked about the challenges that RPO presented, roughly one-third said “no real challenge” (really?), a third said “governance,” and the rest split between “timely and effective implementation” and “missed SLAs”;
  • We asked their predictions on recovery in 2011: 61 percent said “anemic” (less than 3 percent growth), 22 percent voted “strong” (3 to 4 percent), and a scary 17 percent predicted a recession “double dip”;
  • Depressingly (well, recessingly), 72 percent forecast 2011 unemployment as hovering between 9 to 10 percent, but 16 percent (gulp) said it would top 10 percent; and
  • Getting granular, we asked about talent shortages by job category, and it wasn’t even close: 59 percent said IT specialists;
  • When asked the same question grouped by corporate function, the answer was less definitive: 29 percent named engineering, 23.5 percent said sales, IT came in at 24 percent, with finance at 12.

So what does it all mean? It means you missed it. Sure, you just got an interesting data dump. But, as recently chronicled in the journal Emotion, Michael Kraus, Cassey Huang and Dacher Keltner watched game tape and then measured how frequently members of NBA teams touched each other. (I’m not making this up.) They wanted to see if such contact had an effect. It did. Teams that were measured as having touched each other frequently early in the 2008-2009 season—even after accounting for player status, preseason expectations, and early season performance—did better than teams that touched less frequently.
However viable social media is, you can’t tweet or Skype your way to elevation. Next May, when we combine our HRO and RPO Summits with our second annual HR Demo Show in Vegas, make sure you’re there. Because, even with the power of pixels, too much of what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas.
Dirk Olin is editorial director of HRO Today magazine.

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