Social media has invaded every aspect of our lives including work and leisure. While businesses are using social media for their benefits, it is not surprising that the HR function too has taken the social media plunge. As an HR professional, you have seen that.

You know that in HR, as in any aspect of business, networking is crucial. You identify possible candidates to fill key positions in your organization via networking. And in today’s internet driven age, plain old face to face networking has been replaced by online networking on social media.

So how exactly are HR managers using social media and what are the benefits they are seeing from this online networking.

HR and Social Media- Two Pronged Benefits

Use of social media by HR is helpful in 2 areas –

  1. Recruitment
  2. Employee engagement and motivation.

Using Social Media for Recruitment

A study by staff.com has found that 92% of the companies are using social media for recruitment and 45% of Fortune 500 companies include links to their social media profile on their career page sections. You probably knew it, but LinkedIn is the #1 social media site that about 93% HR managers refer to while recruiting, followed by Facebook at 66% and Twitter at 54%. This infographic offers more interesting details.

Some HR managers mentioned that they post job vacancies on the company’s social media pages and are inundated with responses. This makes at least the step first of getting a database of candidates to choose from that much easier.

Several industry experts revealed that they do look at a candidate’s social media profile if he/she has been selected for the interview. The aim of doing this is to get a more comprehensive picture of the candidate, apart from what information the resume would provide. And most HR managers said that they essentially compare the candidates’ professional profile with that of the job requirements. And it also serves to cross-check whether what has been mentioned on the resume matches with the information on the social media site.

This article in Forbes Magazine calls 2013 the year of social HR. In fact, there will be recruitment agents who specialize in social media recruiting. These agents are just like your recruitment consultants, but their job would be to scan social media profiles and refer to you apt candidates. Start-ups like Entelo and Talent Bin are already in this business.

Pitfalls in Using Social Media for Recruitment

One of the risks in using social media for recruitment is that you open yourself to potential costly law suits by disgruntled (rejected) candidates who may allege discrimination. The fact is social media profile gives you so much more information about the candidates than their resumes ever could. And some employers do misuse the information to indulge in discriminatory hiring practices.

But overall the benefits of using social media for recruitment far outweigh any associated disadvantages.

Using Social Media for Employee Engagement and Motivation

Employee engagement and motivation are key to employee retention. HR managers are increasingly using social media as their ally in achieving these goals.

Social media can be used effectively to make employees feel connected to the company and its mission. The first step of course is identifying the most popular social networking site for your employees based on demographics.

HR managers can use social media to break down silos in organization. Social media encourages greater interaction between members of different departments, who perhaps otherwise would not even be aware of each others’ existence. Besides creating a stronger organizational team, such interactions can breed strategic ideas that benefit organizations.

Twitter feeds can be set up for quickly disseminating information. This will also reduce emails jamming up inboxes. Several HR managers comment that using social media networks as a means of communication ensures quicker and faster responses and generates meaningful discussions across the board. Something that is rarely achieved by emails.

Appreciating employees via social media- for instance posting the “Worker of the Month” and other notifications on social media- has its own and obvious advantages. Everybody likes their 2 minutes of fame and what better way of ensuring this than appreciation that can be shared online with their friends, family, and indeed the entire world.

It appears that not only 2013, but the future for many years to come will see a close and evolving relationship between social media and HR.

 
 
 

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