The network is King – what this means for HRFor years, smart companies tried to treat the customer as king. Smarter ones, including many in Richard Branson’s Virgin group, realised that to do this, first you needed to treat the employees as king – engaged and motivated front line staff are the only people who can really put the customer first.

But in an increasingly connected world, the distinction between customers and employees blurs as they become ever more interconnected via a myriad of online social networks. Some of these networks your organisation has some influence on (and is involved in the conversation), but most it probably doesn’t.

So smart companies understand that the network is now king and change their thinking and corporate behaviour accordingly.

What does this mean for HR? Well, lots of things such as the death of organisational hierarchy and what this means for our leaders, and how we treat the exit of a highly connected individual. They’ll be subjects for future posts. But for now, let’s focus on starting at the beginning with attracting talent.

No longer can your employer brand be represented by information on your recruitment website. A prospective candidate is only a couple of clicks away from an existing employee and independently finding out what it is REALLY like to work for you. Or they could visit the many organisational review sites such as or You should think of them as Trip Advisor for your company and your employee value proposition.

Brand and employer brand become one and the same thing. HR and Marketing become two ends of the same continuum – the first with a more internal focus, the later external. Both are representing the values and the experience of working with and doing business with your organisation.

HR needs to have as much involvement in the ‘social’ representation of the company as the marketing team – I can’t tell you the number of companies I work with where marketing ‘control‘ the official social channels and HR don’t get a look in

More importantly, HR should understand that the unofficial network (ie not the official twitter account or Facebook page) is far more powerful and all you employees are potentially involved in this. You actually need to be a great employer, not just say you are one if you want to attract the talent you need. Your ‘net promoter’ score has never been more important.

If you’d like to inspire and enable your HR team in embracing the future of work, then call Simon on 020 3488 0464 or email

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