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Small Business Digest


Dec. 2-4 Conference to Highlight Web Technologies for Recruiting

Traditionally, when a company sought new employees, staff in the human-resources department would craft a job description and post the advertisement in local and regional newspapers. Some employers even turned to head hunters to track down qualified employees.

But now with social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter increasing daily in popularity, hiring managers are catching on that they can tap into another avenue in their search for the right employees.

The “Social Media and HR Summit: Recruitment, Retention and Engagement in a Web 2.0 World” is a two-day conference hosted by Aon Consulting in Chicago that will feature innovative thinkers from several leading corporations.

The speakers will share how they use “emerging Web technologies” to attract top talent to their firms. In addition, the speakers will discuss how these sites help them derive greater value from their current employees. The conference is scheduled for Dec. 2-4 at Chicago's Aon Center.

The conference was organized by M. Lee Smith Publishers, a leading supplier of employment-law information, training resources and employer best-practices guidance, and Lawrence Ragan Communications Inc., which  produces 16 or more newsletters focusing on employee communication and media relations, among other areas.

Nearly 200 HR professionals, communicators, legal experts, social-media professionals and corporate recruiters are expected to attend, according to Melissa Underwood, a Ragan staffer who helped plan the event.

“We researched the best-case studies and experts who could share their expertise with this audience,” Underwood says of the speakers. They are Brian Baker of Aon Consulting, a leader in his field; Shel Holtz, a well-known Web 2.0 expert; and Alfred Lin, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of, who has a successful employee-engagement story to share.

Visiting social-media sites during the workday is often prohibited by employers because the engaging sites have been thought to decrease productivity. Now, the sites are used by companies to attract desirable candidates, along with communicating workplace-benefits information to staff.

“In this age of layoffs, slashed budgets and diverse media channels, HR is being forced to do more with less,” says Brian Baker, vice president of organizational performance and implementation for Aon Consulting, in a news release about the conference.

“Social media [constitute] the new solution to the need to transform organizational communication and employment-branding,” he says.

But there’s also a downside. Employers must ensure that their use of the sites to attract candidates and current employees’ use of the sites don’t violate state or federal regulations or reveal confidential company information.

The event will take place in two parts: Track One will focus on using social media to build an employment brand through workplace communication that increases employee loyalty, focus and productivity. Track Two will provide instruction on using social media for employee recruitment, retention and engagement.

Case studies will provide examples to attendees of what works and what should be avoided.

For more information about the event, visit


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