Last week, we interviewed a strong, independent business entrepreneur, who has grand vision for HR. She started her blog, Blogging4Jobs, a way to differentiate herself from others and to build her own community for job seekers and employers. Even though her social media presence might have contributed to losing her last corporate gig, she was not discouraged. She saw the bigger picture: Social Media is the cornerstone to almost everything pertaining to HR. And it has. Her blog, Blogging4Jobs, was named one of the top career sites for job seekers by Forbes. Her consulting company, Xceptional HR, strives to provide businesses solutions such as workforce social media, recruiting strategies, and HR consulting. Who is she?
Her name is Jessica. Jessica Miller-Merrell.
Jessica did not graduate from college with a bachelor degree in human resources management; she has a degree in Anthropology and Business. Her first job was with Target which put her into a management training program. By fate, she was then placed in charge of hiring and recruiting. Jessica was unlike most of HR recruiters; she knew that she had to go find job seekers where they are at. Back in the 90s, most people use internet for 2 purposes: porn and online-dating. With that information, she started to find job seekers by using dating websites, which provide her personal and location details about these candidates.
After leaving Target, her social media presence became the very reason she was let go from her job. Nonetheless, she was not discouraged. She saw the light at the end of the tunnel. She started her own consulting company, Xceptional HR, in 2007. She foresaw the future that social media was going to bring to the table. Because she is aware that HR is typically 20 – 40 months behind everything else, she uses her blog to update and inform HR what they are missing out.
Jessica is not afraid of speaking her mind. She is not going to speak for something she does not believe in. Consequently, many big companies are sometimes scared of her and her blunt honesty, as she controls a massive following. However, it is because of her honesty that has kept her strong after all these years.
Jessica tells us that there are a few major problems that she envisions happening in the HR industry. Technology is trending towards a user-centric experience instead of an enterprise focus. Recruiters will have to pay more attention to what candidates want and need simply because of the impending labor shortage in addition to the consumer driven world we live in. Rhetorically, Jessica asks why are the big legacy companies are not making changes to their HCM software to go towards this obvious trend? As HR’s mindset evolves, these big companies, such as IBM, need to step up their game and evolve with the rest of the world.
Jessica’s perspective on senior practitioners is aligned with a few of our upcoming HR expert profiles’ point of view. Senior executives are not either not paying attention to the way the world is changing or they are just simply ignoring the problem. The bottom ranking strategists, recruiters, and HR staff see the problem and want to change. However, they are being rejected by the senior level due to the lack of understanding of the consumer shift that is happening. Consumers, which include candidates and employees, want things now. They are looking for instant feedback. For the rare HR practitioners that are “stuck” in the corporate ladder, they break free like Jessica and build a following they take with them to elicit change.
In this era, the common practitioner faces multiple challenges within recruiting. They are great tools that have yet to be unearthed by the masses. However, they do not solve the employee problems that already exist internally. Jessica warns that if HR do not fix the employee engagement, retention, and turnover problems that have largely been ignored by most organizations, then HR will be forever stuck in the cog within the flywheel. Your employees are consumers in this social world; they will not be loyal to you if you ignore the glaring holes you have in your culture.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Jessica Miller-Merrell. She is the new voice of empowered recruitment and social strategists that make corporations cringe when she opposes them, or loves her for shaping recruitment to what it will be today.
For more information on Jessica, please visit her blog, Blogging4Jobs.