Communication: Advancing our Humanity in the Digital World



Humans have walked the earth for 20,000 years. One could argue that until the time of the Lascaux Cave paintings in France in 17,000 BCE, the only way for humans to communicate was to stand face to face and speak (grunt) directly.. We have a rich history – from cave paintings to tablet etchings, smoke signals, hieroglyphs, the Rosetta Stone, Gutenberg’s press, telegraph, telephone, and now the Internet, web browsers, SMS – with virtual reality on the horizon.

The 21st century has brought amazing new technologies –great advances, that have also hindered our relationships and interpersonal growth. It’s easy to make a Skype call. There is no risk to sending a broad email. This is where skills matter. The painter in Lascaus not only needed to know their message but had to understand the medium. Gutenberg didn’t craft his own message, he realized that the Bible would be the proof of his technology. Da Vinci and Michelangelo pushed the medium to convey existing messages, with their own message baked in.

As we enter the 21st century, communication channels abound. SMS, Skype, Facetime, email, Facebook, blog, website article, podcast, WhatsApp, Netflix, YouTube – as well as traditional media outlets – TV, newspaper, magazine, radio. Almost all of these give the individual the ability to publish their own message to large audiences. In this world, we have teenagers becoming YouTube stars –Bieber and others - who bring their own message to the masses using new technology.

This new era of communications has huge ramifications for HR professionals. The most obvious of which is to search these channels to learn more about candidates and employees. Doing a web search on a new candidate has been common practice for years.

These tools empower all of us to connect as humans. If the traditional interview process involves an applicant screening, background search, phone screen, and then flying a candidate for a face to face interview – these new technologies now enable a virtual conversation at every stage of the process.

As we enter 2018, it’s incumbent upon all of us to become savvy in the new tech and to learn and establish a presence on each of these new channels. The best and brightest 21st century talent thrives in these worlds – and when it comes to recruiting, retention, and engagement, the most successful HR professionals will be those who navigate these channels.



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