Social HR initiatives are currently revolutionizing recruiting, as shown by the many recruiters flocking to professional social networks such as LinkedIn, Plaxo and Ning. People are becoming experimental with new technologies like Careerify and BranchOut. But this is only the tip of the iceberg of how HR can use social media.
Organizations should be using personal social networks, such as Facebook, to effectively build relationships with employees and candidates, rather than simply posting job vacancies, which isn’t the best use of social media. They could also take advantage of Twitter’s broadcast abilities to send out valuable career and industry information to thousands of users, or upload day-in-the-life videos to YouTube to show candidates what it’s like to work at the organization. They could also use social networks to develop mentorship programs to engage and develop employees. For example, organizations that want to leverage employee networks for recruiting may utilize a Careerify as we aggregate the employee social networks together. Irrespective of the use, social media can also provide a better understanding of how candidates and employees truly view the organization as an employer.
That being said, sometimes an organization’s workforce may not be ready for Social HR initiatives. Sometimes change can cause resentment among employees. Your workforce may look at Social HR initiatives as cumbersome, redundant and only for younger employees. That’s why it’s important to develop a unique strategy, specific to your organization’s and employees’ needs, based on their readiness for change. While you can learn from and incorporate best practices from other organizations to develop your strategy, you should never simply replicate what other organizations are doing.
Identifying Your Purpose
You can only begin to develop a Social HR strategy once you have identified why you want to use social media and what you hope to achieve. What is your purpose and what are your end goals for joining the Social HR world? While every organization will have different specific goals, there are four main reasons to adopt a social HR strategy: engagement, research, alerting and supporting.
Engagement — Social HR initiatives can be used to engage employees and external stakeholders, such as potential recruits or other professionals in your industry.
Internal Employees — Social HR initiatives can be used to boost employee innovation through information sharing on wikis or to help with employee development through mentoring programs on social networks.
External Users — Social HR initiatives can be used to build relationships with potential candidates who might not even be looking for a new job or to leverage the knowledge of other professionals in your industry through crowdsourcing to help you solve current challenges.
Research— Social HR initiatives can be created to better understand users. This could include understanding what job candidates are looking for in a particular industry or organization, as well as understanding how current employees perceive your organization’s policies and benefits.
Alerting — Social HR initiatives can be created to broadcast information to users and can spur action on their part. While corporate websites are a way to share information, social media allows information to reach users in a real-time basis. It also allows for users to respond to the information and share it with their networks.
Support — Social HR initiatives can be created to support job candidates and current employees. This could include employee blogs that help candidates navigate the interview process or an internal social network that current employees can turn to and ask questions about benefits and career development. Internal Social HR initiatives tend to be most beneficial to larger organizations that have several thousands of employees to support. External Social HR initiatives can be used by all organizations that want to engage groups of people on social media.
Once you have identified a purpose, you can set more specific goals such as recruiting or leadership development. But before you choose which social media sites to use, it’s important to understand your end user and how to reach them.
Next week’s blog will be a continuation of building Social HR strategies for your business.