At this point, I think it’s fair to say we’ve all accepted that our employees are going to be on social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or whatever else is the new fad. Early on in the outbreak of social media there was a tendency for Human Resources to say, “not my area, that’s a tech thing.” We now realize that because social media is so overreaching for all our employees, HR can’t take a back seat. HR needs to be involved and have a presence. Most companies have worked to develop employee policies and procedures around social media usage and, with the guidance of the National Labor Relations Board, are determining what an employee can and cannot post. But, what if we don’t look at social media as the necessary evil and we, in HR, embraced it’s use within the workplace. Can there be a place for social media to exist in the workplace?
The answer is YES. While social media can be a productivity suck and foster inappropriate behavior (it’s easier to write a post than to say it to your face), on the bright side there’s a lot about social media that can be positive in the workplace. Social media can be a great communication tool. Rather than squelching it, Human Resources should embrace what their employees are already doing and communicate with them where they are – on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Social media offers a great venue for networking and reaching remote workforces. Additionally, social media allows for collaboration in real time.
Below are some real world applications of Human Resources using social media:
Recruiting – In a competitive recruiting market, it’s difficult to recruit for many positions without using social media. Social media has become the primary place to source candidates for many recruiters. On social media, recruiters are able to post positions, review resumes and network to find the best candidates. Recruiters can also use social media to check references and gather information about a candidate.
Training – When it’s difficult to gather employees together to deliver training, offering webinars or using Google Hangouts for small groups can be a great way to reach employees. Putting together training videos and sending them out through social media is another way to train employees.
Communication – With an increase in remote workforces, communicating with employees has become very challenging. Social media is a great way to reach employees. Groups can be set up by department, project team or the whole company which can allow for private conversation and dissemination of information. Remember the town hall meeting when everyone was able to ask the CEO questions? With social media this could be done in a chat room so that employees not on site also have a voice.
Collaboration – In addition to using groups to increase communication, these same groups can increase collaboration. Social media allows employees to send documents back and forth, comment, make changes and see those changes in real time.
So, the simple answer is, embrace it! Social media is here to stay. What ways is your HR department using social media?