When we hear "social media" and "HR" in the same sentence, it's usually in a negative context. "How can we keep employees off of social media at work?" or "I saw something bad on a candidates social media profile, what do I do now?"
But social media can also be used creatively in several areas of the HR function. Consider the following uses for social media that you may not have considered:
Communicating important inner-office or organizational updates to employees often falls upon HR departments. The standard mass email can be a great medium for getting a quick message out, but what if your communications requires more collaboration, input or feedback?
Meet the Enterprise Social Network. Imagine LinkedIn or Facebook, but with just your employees. And don't let the word "enterprise" scare you, think of it instead as "company-wide". Enterprise social networks allow you to open lines of communication within your organization, help employees connect with each other, and integrate a number of other key social media components, including:
- Blogging/Microblogging - have the experts within your organization share information with other employees
- File sharing/collaboration - rather than emailing back and forth with updates to a Word document, collaborate on the same document in the cloud and share comments on a message board
- Group Communication - allow employees of special interest groups (departmental, diversity, mentoring, etc.) to connect and communicate
Most employees remember their first day vividly. The first days can often set the tone for the rest of their career at an organization. If you think about the standard onboarding process, it's full of paperwork, benefits discussions, training, perhaps some type of orientation, phone numbers, lists, etc. It's enough to make a new employees head spin, on top of meeting all of their new colleagues.
What if you could use social media to simplify the process? Imagine an online portal (intranet, enterprise social network, etc.) that streamlined the different parts of the onboarding process? It might look something like this:
- Paperwork - Rather than a binder full of forms, what if all of the new employee paperwork was located online? It could be easily downloaded at a convenient time, or maybe even completed online. Then once it was completed, it could be submitted to the HR department. Oh, and it could be tracked that whole time.
- Orientation/Training - You may have the same orientation program for each new employee...here's who we are, here's what we do, here's where the water fountain is. But let's think about efficiency...what if you filmed this orientation program and made it accessible online for employees to view at their convenience, comment on and ask questions? Could you do the same thing with some of your new employee training programs?
- FAQ/Phone Numbers/IT Info - New employees always remember where they put all this information in their new desk, right? Well, maybe not. Perhaps having this information accessible when it's needed is a better idea. Quick example - I need to ask our IT Manager a question, I look up his profile in our enterprise social network, and I also see a picture of him, his email address, and some details about him. How helpful!
Recruiting is the HR function most commonly associated with social media. Recruiters are using LinkedIn and social networks more than ever to identify candidates, post jobs and find talent. If you're looking for a good overview of how you can use a platform like LinkedIn to assist you with your recruiting efforts, check out these articles: How to Use LinkedIn to Recruit: 10 Tips and Recruiting with LinkedIn (Event Recap).
Let's take it a step further. If you're recruiting for a challenging position, or are having trouble identifying quality candidates, consider using all of the data that's available to you online. Take for example a recruiter attempting to identify web developers for their organization. Rather than a limited search just on LinkedIn, why not expand the search to social networks for developers: sites like GitHub and StackOverflow.
The evolution of social recruiting uses platforms like Entelo and TalentBin to pull data from all over the web (like in the example above) automatically. It then uses this data not only to evaluate the quality of a candidate, but also to evaluate how likely they may be to change jobs.
The HR departments of organizations may spend a lot of time worrying about what employees are doing on social media and what policies they need to protect themselves from the dangers of social media. But there are also applications for using social media and the principles that guide it to create efficiencies within the organization.
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