Social Media loosely stands for technology-enabled online communications, which is used by people to post and share content and interact socially with others. This interaction can take a number of forms like soliciting user comments, getting definite opinions on some issue or recommending products or services to people with related interests.Social platforms and tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, are very popular and can strongly influence collective and consumer behavior and opinion outside the traditional model of advertising and print media.
Today more and more companies are using social media for professional networking, personal and professional branding, marketing products or services, serving consumers, and recruiting employees.Within organizations, especially for the HR function, both internal and external communication has benefitted from the advent of social media. HR can now use various ways to communicate the worth of an employer brand online and use it to attract talent from social networking sites.
Most organizations now have some form of a social media policy, which determines usage of social media at work. Companies are not only permitting employees to use social media but are also creating internal platforms to engage, increase productivity and retention of talent. They have recognized that the rising number of Gen-Y employeesstrongly favour social media to interact both socially and professionally. HRis further promoting the use of social media to drive collaboration among employees and make it easier for them to talk about work, give feedback and share best practices.
Hunt for Talent
Social Media allows HR to reach out to a widely dispersed audience and find potential hires in the shortest time. LinkedIn, one of the largest professional networking sites worldwide, makes it easier for HR practitioners to create company profiles and post job vacancies for potential hires. Using advanced keyword searches and looking through recommendations from one’s own trusted connections is also helpful in hiring for key open positions.
Talent acquisition through social networks translates into decreased hiring cycle time and a better screening of profiles for competency and organizational alignment—in a cost-efficient and immediate manner. On-demand searches for candidates get easier for HR teams using professional networking channels like LinkedIn and saves big money on recruiting agencies and marketing spend.
Dell India has been actively using social media for talent acquisition, product development and internal collaboration. Dell even has a Social Media and Communities (SMaC) University certification worldwide for empowering employees to leverage social media.Half of its talent acquisition team is SMaC certified. Dell has included a job search option on its Facebook page to enableindividuals from around the world to look for available openings. It also maintains a live feed of all jobs through DellJobs and CareersAtDell on Twitter.
HR professionals are increasingly using social networking sites to get a broader sense of whom they are going to shortlist for job openings. The 2011 findings of a survey by Reppler, a social media monitoring service, inform that more than 90 percent of sourcing managers and recruiters visited prospective employees’ profiles on social media and an astounding 65 percent of them discarded a candidate based on their profile data on social networks.
Facebook today has more Gen-Y members than LinkedIn.This has led companies to add a separate career section or page on their Facebook account. For instance, Wipro has a special career page on Facebook packed with audio-visual bytes on campus walk-ins, openings, higher education programs and a range of employment branding content.
Making connections with passive job seekers who are a potential fit but stay away from job boards is yet another advantage of social recruiting. Staying in touch with ex-employees on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn also keeps the window open for rehiring talent that has moved on.
Vehicles of Engagement
Until a few years ago, the use of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and LinkedIn by employees during office hours was dismissed as an unacceptable time-stealer. HR and IT took it as a common cause to make stringent policies and firewall rules around social media usage. However, winds of change are headed for the workplace with rising numbers of multigenerational teams relying on social media as a way of life and effective communication.
Forrester analyst Josh Bernhoff, whilesharing the findings of a recent employee empowerment survey remarked in AdAge,“In case you’re wondering if you should allow employees onto social networks (and trust me, you can’t stop them), try this fact: workers who use social media are among the most positive. 48 percent would strongly recommend a company’s products and services and only 22 percent were detractors, for a net score of 26 percent — among the highest of the groups we surveyed.”
Indian IT majors like Infosys, Wipro, HCL, TCS, and Cognizant Technology have made huge investments in developing Facebook-like internal social networking platforms to promote higher employee engagement and thereby a strong brand image and a productive workforce that is loyal.
Happy employees are both satisfied and engaged. Social media activity plays a big part in making them happy. Employees outfitted with Blackberries and Android phones have very little downtime even after work hours. Access to social tools allows them to connect with friends and family without crumbling under work pressures. Already, HR is talking about regularizing Facebook breaks, amid brewing debates, for enhanced psychological engagement and increased productivity.
Social networking opportunities bring a clearer correlation between organizational performance and the level of employee engagement. From an HR standpoint, it makes good sense to regularize opportunities for social interaction in the workplace for sustained business growth. HR teams rather than laying guidelines on how not to use social media must encourage employees to leverage it for company advocacy.
Winds of Collaboration
Social media offers myriad collaboration opportunities to HR professionals in terms of knowledge sharing, networking, positioning the employer as a thought leader and promoting awareness about the company, all of which complement overall talent acquisition strategy in the long run. Through HR groups and Question & Answer forums on LinkedIn, they can post challenging questions relating to diverse employee situations, receive brilliant answers, discuss workplace issues and share best practices with peers.Linked:HR, besides, thousands of industry-wise discussion forums on LinkedIn, is the world’s largest Human Resources group available to HR professionals for staying abreast of the latest and the next in their domain.
Organizations today are gradually moving towards integrating social networks internally for employee collaboration. Large to mid-size corporations are veering towards enterprise social networks like Yammer, which are great for all types of internal communication and team projects. Free, safe and secure, Yammer allows users to create work and non-work groups with features like post updates, private messages, likes, follows, file sharing and email alerts. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, which are meant for public use, Yammer is designed for private communication between company employees, spurring innovation and sharing of ideas on any project.
Mark McDonald, lead analyst at Gartner and co-author of the book The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees sums it aptly, “Social media presents a new approach to handling an age-old HR problem related to knowledge management… Such tools allow workers access to knowledge either synchronously (people interacting directly with each other) or asynchronously (knowledge transfer that might occur through a wiki or blog).”
Finding Indian HR Influencers on Social Media
The idea of digital influence as a success factor and personal branding is central to those who are actively using social media channels. As a result, mapping digital influence in terms of mentions, sharing, and reach have assumed critical importance. The same holds true for Indian HR professionals who have been seeking ways to identify the influencers in social networks and connect with them.
In a firstever attempt to trace topIndian HR influencers on Twitter, SHRM India, a part of the world’s largest Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), released its report on theTop 20 HR influencers recently. A list of 50 Twitter influencers was compiled and 20 individuals were shortlisted based on criteria including the follower count, impressions, HR related tweets, and retweets. Kavi, topped the list of HR influencers followed by Vineet Nayar, CEO,HCL Technologies, Gautam Ghosh, Abhijit Bhaduri, Wipro chief learning officer, NS Rajan, E&Y's global HR advisory head, Elango, Mphasis chief HR officeramongst others.
Using a data-driven approach, the report was created using popular Influence measuring tools like Tweetlevel, Twtrland, and TweetReach.The unique SHRM India Influencer Score was also used to look at not just the size of the engaged audience but also the topical impact of the content posted by the HR influencers. The first of its kind report marks a turning point, despite its single network focus on Twitter, in that it sets the tone for deeper conversations at the junction of influence, social media and HR in the Indian context. Since its release, the report has increasingly led to debate on the nature of influence and its determination on social media, a powerful endorsement of the role of this platform in creating a groundswell of opinion and exchange of ideas.
In the larger context, given the ever-increasing infusion of social media in office spaces, it is imperative that HR, marketing and legal functions work together to craft and evangelize an effective social media policy. The hidden key to success lies in turning ad hoc communication, collaboration and knowledge management on social networks into a disciplined strategy aligned with business goals and carefully measuring ROI of social media initiatives.
Sanjay Joshi is an Editor at SHRM. Republished with permission. Copyright ©2012 SHRM India All rights reserved