Monday, April 2, 2012

HR and the Social Media

HR was often the last to catch up with technological advances in the industry. However, when it came to social media, HR has been at the forefront. HR professionals across the world are successfully using the social networking sites to connect with their stakeholders and building networks.

In this article, we will see how HR professionals can use social media effectively to UP THE ANTE and does it make sense for them to play the role of gatekeepers when it comes to employees using these forums.

Social media has provided us with a reach like never before to interact, engage and collaborate. And HR people have been gung-ho to embrace social media. Being a part of the social network keeps them abreast of the latest developments in both technology and people practices. It keeps the company in the news and helps disseminate the right information at right place at the right time.

Social media can act as a very powerful platform for recruiting. However, the buck does not stop there. It opens up a wide plethora of opportunities like networking, knowledge sharing, precipitating the corporate culture, positioning the company as a thought leader, raising awareness about the company, increasing employee engagement or simply having an ear to the ground and all this helps identifying and attracting the potential talent.

Talent Pipeline: Social media allows HR professionals to stay connected with a large audience who can prove to be potential hires at a later stage. This serves to keep the Brand alive and helps in sourcing at the right time. Staying connected with former employees also helps to arrest information loss and paves the way for rehiring.

Creating a network for knowledge sharing is also done admirably through social networks. Positioning the company, sharing the company’s vision, culture and best practices not just helps building the Brand, but also attracts the right type of people to it.

The challenge that HR people face is in the amount of regulation they need to deploy in allowing access to social networking sites for the employees in the organization. Unrestricted access is not going to help HR measure the impact of social media. Indiscriminate usage will also result in employees losing focus and time. There are industries-specific and topic-specific sites. Some even focus on networking within regions and nations. The trick is to identify which tools and applications provide the most value, as an engagement and collaboration platform and then establishing appropriate metrics to measure the results.

According to a TNN report, Gartner, said that fewer than 30% of large organizations would block social media in 2014. The agency said that in 2010, almost 50% organizations blocked social media websites in the office. The report carries the words of Andrew Walls, research vice president at Gartner saying that "Even in those organizations that (nowadays) block all access to social media, blocks tend not to be complete,certain departments and processes, such as marketing, require access to external social media, and employees can circumvent blocks by using personal devices such as Smartphones."

Constantly evaluating the impact of social media tools by asking employees for their feedback on the areas impacted by their interactions on social networks might help get a pulse of the usage and types of media. Another approach to evaluating the use of social media is to carry out polls and researches on those networks to check how much it impacts the organization positively.

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