I had a big “ah-ha” recently that compels me to write this post. I’ll start with the light bulb thought.

HR professionals have substantial opportunities to generate enhanced value, that can significantly impact their careers and companies in ways they may not be aware.

Ok, that may not sound very profound and some reading may say, “Yeah, yeah we already know that.” But it became an important “ah-ha” after experiencing a series of recent events that punched up this point. (By the way this is an example of the process and result of creative thinking).

Event #1: Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Ben Slater of Beamery on the topic of recruiting as marketing – Recruitment Marketing: Important or Illusion? The Complete Expert Review. Seeing some human resource activities as marketing activities is a useful and evolving trend. Approaching it that way, I believe is very helpful in achieving better results.

Key thought: HR professionals are marketers

Event #2: I was asked to conduct a series of webinars underwritten by the fabulous card company MOO regarding employee advocacy, which I referenced in a previous post – Need A Fresh Approach to Employee Engagement? Conducted for SHRM, that webinar was created through the lens of enhancing the role of HR and titled, The New Face of HR: Are You Ready for Employee Advocacy?.

The 2nd webinar on employee advocacy, delivered for HR.com, was from the point of view employee engagement.

If you’re not familiar with employee advocacy, it is employees championing their company’s product or service with their authentic voice through social media.

Key thought: HR professionals can impact marketing and elements of marketing such as branding though employee advocacy.

Event #3: I participate in a weekly Tweetchat conducted by the great guys from Switch & Shift, Shawn Murphy and Mark Babitt called Social Leader (#SocialLeader). Last night we were talking about how to get key leaders in an organization to become more social and see the advantages of doing so. This is where I chimed in, “This is where HR can play a meaningful role!”

…and that’s the moment when all the dots connected and this surge of conviction welled up in me…

Key thought: HR professionals need to be leading the way in being Social Leaders. We need to be skilled and expert at knowing its value and use.

For all the reasons presented in the webinars and interview, it’s a logical, important conclusion.

One final connecting piece. I am part of the IBM Influencer-Futurist program representing talent management in the New Way to Work category (#Newwaytowork). We look at and for trends that impact workplaces now and into the future, all of which directly impacts human resources. Social media is definitely one and yet many are still resistant to. It is the key thread through all the themes referenced above.

HR professionals as social leaders really is a “new way to work.”