Hays UK blog


Your social media responsibilities as a leader

By Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources

In today’s digital world it is now the norm to find influencers within your industry posting on social media on a daily basis. With such easy access to this content (and on such a large scale) we often find ourselves thinking “where do they find the time to do this?” or “should I be doing the same thing?”

As a leader, every minute of your day is crucial, so it’s easy to assume that spending time updating your LinkedIn profile or sending a few tweets might be lower down on your priority list. However, in this digital era it is now vital to maintain a consistent and engaging social media presence – both for yourself and your organisation. Here’s how:

Position both yourself and your business as industry experts

The most important PR activity you can do for yourself (or your organisation) is to contribute to the idea that you’re experts in your respective fields. Social media content is relevant to any public facing activity you do – whether it’s hosting or speaking at events, creating reports and advertising campaigns, or any sort of customer engagement. One way you can increase the impact of this interaction is by sharing this content on your personal social media.

How do we know this? Well according to a survey of CEOs, 82 percent of them believe that C-Suite executives who embrace online activity gain a competitive edge. Similarly at Hays, our execs and directors frequently share their expertise by giving useful advice to employers as well as job seekers. We have found that this shared and created content has worked incredibly well in terms of reach, engagement and awareness this has brought to our business. The critical part is acknowledging what your areas of expertise are.

Get started by just sharing and commenting on a piece of your company’s content on your LinkedIn? If you’re unsure which content to share, your Marketing team should be able to help you.

Establish yourself as a trusted leader

Think of it as communicating with your fellow peers. You’ll always feel confident in a presentation if you talk about something you have great understanding or passion for – social media works the same way! Support your digital identity with your own strengths and experience, and your messages will resonate.

Our CEO Alistair Cox commented in a recent blog that never before have leaders been under so much intense scrutiny now that we’re all connected. On a daily basis, their actions, whether good or bad, can be picked apart on a world stage. In fact, trust in our bosses has fallen to an all-time low, at least according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer.

A key factor in engaging an audience is through storytelling, and that communications through trusted leaders are more powerful than advertising. I know for Hays at least, having a CEO and Managing Director who are personally present online gives us more trust and transparency.

Be human through your machine

Content such as blogs, podcasts and so on are a fantastic way to talk directly to your audience with more of a personal tone than your company marketing. These are the channels that your customers are using all the time anyway, and they see a lot of ‘noise’ from generic advertising. By communicating your more human side instead (while of course still discussing the industry you’re part of), your company’s brand values as well as expertise will shine through. The vast majority of people will be more likely to buy from a company whose values and leadership are clearly communicated through its social platforms.

Attract (not retract) new talent

Your social channels should not only be used to attract customers, but also potential employees. You can reach a wider pool of talent if you create a strong online presence – so this is well worth investing in. For example, we enjoy sharing key moments for what it’s like to work for Hays on our Instagram, where we encourage our staff to post images of internal events, award ceremonies and fun office activities using the hashtag #WeAreHays. This is our way of showing our Instagram followers what it is like to work for us.

Set your tone

If you start becoming more active online, then it is more likely that your employees will do the same. Doing so, you will become a role model and show your employees how to prosper as potential leaders .

Our CEO Alistair Cox has been a LinkedIn influencer since 2012, where he frequently posts leadership blogs. As a result of this effort, he was named one of the UK’s top ten influencers in 2015. By setting this tone within our organisation, our workforce became incredibly tied in to what he was trying to achieve, resulting in us winning LinkedIn’s award for ‘Most Socially Engaged Global Recruitment Company

See the bigger picture

An online platform enables you to share the ideas, values and initiatives that are part of your organisation’s objectives. If you are haven’t already, consider the benefits your online activity could bring to your organisation, brand reputation, talent pool and engagement levels. A strong profile benefits your personal brand as well as your company’s, so it’s well worth it.

For more information or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant.

About this author

Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, IT education and healthcare.


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