Sunday, 26 October 2008

Social capital - recruitment and retention


   In my Knowledge Infusion webinar, I talked about the increasing importance of social capital.  In Kennedy's webinar, I talked about some activities HR can take to develop it.

For example, in recruitment, HR can

  • Develop their Employee Value Proposition / Employer Brand to focus on the sort of people who value relationships
  • Look for people who understand the need to build their connections and relationships, for example through their use of social networking sites to increase the size of their network etc
  • Look for people who have a high level of social intelligence
  • Tap friends and contacts of existing employees through the use of referral schemes
  • Let team members recruit new members of the team.


And when thinking about retention, HR can:

  • Ensure teams actually do team – personally as well as professionally (ie that they really do work as teams rather than as groups)
  • Articulate the benefits of working in the team (for example, by including this in a review of how an agreed EVP has ben delivered, going beyond a statement of benefits in a Total Reward Statement) so that this becomes a basis for rational as well as emotional engagement and therefore supports intention to stay
  • If relevant, use contracts / retention bonuses to retain the team
  • When people do think about leaving, encourage them to move into a customer or partner organisation, which can actually enhance rather than detract from social capital.


And, of course, HR can also ensure that that social capital is enhanced through ongoing management activities, whether these are face-to-face, or aided by technology (particularly web 2.0).

I think that as teams and social capital become increasingly important, these activities could increasingly act as differentiators and opportunities for competitive advantage.

And I think that they are are all particularly relevant at the moment, given the present economic and business conditions.  Many organisations are now paying increased attention to retaining human capital when they undertake restructuring and downsizing but very few organisations (none of the employers of the participants on the webinar!) are yet thinking about retaining social capital when they undertake these sorts of changes.

It would be god to hear from you if your organisation IS paying attention to maintaining or even developing its social capital at the moment, or if you'd like to talk about how you might be able to do this.



  1. Hi,

    I have had a major problem with recruitment with 2 companies I have started, one in the UK and one in Morocco.

    It was even stranger in Morocco, with such a large available workforce, that we couldn't find anyone who wanted to work!

    In the UK I think we just contracted the wrong calibre of people.

    Anyway, that was then, this is now, and it seems I am having another human resources crisis. I have started a secretarial services company and am facing staffing issues again. I thought originally my Mum (semi-retired) would start the ball rolling, but she doesn't really want to work. I have tried to maybe outsource to India, but am worried about the quality.

    My question is what you would recommend? Should I find freelancers? Housebound workers? They would be a very ethical option as it is work they could easily do as well as anyone else.



  2. An interesting article highlighting the importance of quality over quantity where job candidates are concerned. An efficient candidate sourcing, screening and selection process is the key to hiring higher calibre staff.


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