Social HR is identified as the practice of using social media platforms for HR functions. Social HR has been mostly used for recruitment but has also shown to be helpful in boosting employee engagement, working on employee development, and facilitating internal discussions.
Social HR has been promoted by vendors and HRIS analysts for some time now, but many companies are still fighting against integrating social HR into the workplace. One major concern is that it will distract employees and employees will abuse it, no matter what platform is introduced. Many employers are also unsure of exactly how to integrate and optimize social media use throughout various stages of the employee lifecycle.
While employee abuse of social media is difficult to address, the truth is that employees will communicate in social ways whether it is made simple and accessible or not. Allowing employees to easily communicate with one another and putting controls in place may be a better option than simply “disallowing” employees to access social media and possibly stunting your workplace growth because of it. As for integrating social media into different stages, there are many ways to do just that.
Social HR for Recruitment
By 2020, about 50 percent of the workforce will be made up of millennials. Millennials have generally made it clear that social recruitment is expected of top-performing companies. The expectation is not just true of millennials anymore either, as able-bodied workers of all ages are now occupying a greater percentage of online presence than ever before. Applicants not only expect to apply for a job with a company through an online source, they expect to get a feel for the company’s personality through an online display.
Corporate social media presence and the employee candidates’ ability to apply for any company at any time via mobile apps, rather than companies seeking out candidates, have begun to change the way that recruitment works. Job listing is not dead, however. On the contrary, it is just as feasible to quickly pull a vast pool of candidates that may have already been considering applying to work for the company.
HRIS can help to streamline recruiting by making it easier for employees to fill out applications from the comfort of home – or wherever they may roam with their mobile phone if your HRIS includes mobile accessibility. However, if you simply try to attract candidates using old school techniques you may be missing the mark even with active HRIS recruitment functions in play. Taking the time to link up your HRIS to popular social media sites may help you to get the most out of your recruitment processes.
Select the Right HRIS for the Job
First and foremost, you will have to find an HRIS that offers modern recruiting and applicant tracking options. If employees can’t fill out an application online, you are going to have a much more difficult time attracting top talent and getting them through the door. The best HRIS solutions should make it exceedingly simple to post job ads through social media and automatically funnel interested employees into the proper place to apply when they click.
Create a Real Social Media Presence
When companies create social media profiles just to try to create an online presence, it is painfully obvious. Even if your sole purpose of creating company social media accounts is to use them for recruiting, maintaining the pages periodically and doing something to make the pages unique and fun fosters a better company image and is more likely to attract smart and savvy candidates. It is best to switch up the posts, as well, as a barrage of job postings can look desperate.
Include Your Employees in Recruitment Efforts
Employees have always been a great source for job candidates and that is not likely to change. When social media is included, however, it opens up whole new realms of possibility for recruiting through employees and including employees in the search. Employees can share job openings postings with their friends, message employers to check out certain applications, and help in a myriad of other ways.
Use Social Media as another Screening Tool
Social media gives a concise snapshot of people, so it can be very helpful when used as a screening tool. While most social platforms have the option to make profiles private, not everyone uses these options. If you can find out more about a candidate to help you decide if that person will be a good fit, it will only help improve your recruitment processes and save you time weeding out people that it otherwise may have taken you three interviews to filter out.
Select the Social Media Platforms That Work for You
Since it takes time and effort to start and maintain social media pages, it doesn’t make sense to get on every available platform and start a page. Chances are good that just two or three social media sites really fit with your company culture and work with your recruiting strategy. Instead of going crazy researching, simply ask your current employees what sites they are on to perpetuate the culture that you already have working for you.
Starting Out Social
At the beginning stage of the employee relationship, it is relatively obvious that social HR can be helpful. Being able to view a “snapshot” of an employee candidate’s achievements, skills, and personality using a LinkedIn profile or even a Facebook profile makes it easier to get a rounded view of an employee than simply meeting with an employee one time and reviewing a resume. By managing the social conversation and perception of your company, you may also work to attract the right candidates.
When new employees are hired, utilizing social media resources also makes it easier to import their information and begin the onboarding process. New employees can use social forums to ask questions about the new job and then begin to learn at a faster pace. Current employees can also use boards to offer advice to recently onboarded employees.
Social Learning and Development
Social learning allows employees to train and learn anytime, anywhere, which also enables companies to progress employees through training steps and programs at a faster rate. As employees complete training steps, HRIS systems are able to track and log the new qualifications with the rest of the employee information. This can be even more helpful when HR systems are set up to alert managers that employees are qualified to fill open positions.
Social learning also lets employees create a public face that gives them a pride point within the organization, allowing them to showcase their own expertise and interests. From there, employees can engage in exercises that promote learning, collaborate with coaches to obtain the information that they need to move forward, and develop relationships with peers. Integrating social learning tools into the workplace can help to solidify an employee’s position within the organization, improve engagement, and speed the development process.
Gamification of Training
Many companies have not only begun to see the merit in facilitating training online but changed training into a gaming format that allows social collaboration or competition. Gamifying training helps to better engage employees, as employees are actively participating in “scoring” instead of simply watching or listening to lectures. Actually, studies have found that employees are better able to use the skills and recall the information that was presented in this fashion. It is important for companies to carefully craft gamified training to make sure that the skills and lessons are the main focus of the “game” in order for the programs to be successful.
Social Collaboration for Projects
Gamification and social collaboration have shown to be just as effective for real-world projects as they are for training. When a team of employees can conveniently access a project file from remote locations, it can help to boost productivity exponentially rather than having employees present in one place at one time. Adding a gamification element makes projects seem easier and more fun, so employees are much more likely to be interested and actively engaged.
Social Check-Ins Instead of Performance Reviews
Many companies have hung up the annual performance review in favor of required weekly or monthly social check-ins. Having access to continuous real-time data and feedback from customers and peers helps managers continuously stay up-to-date on employees’ performance, including progress or problems. Using this information, managers can send employees frequent messages regarding performance, both as required and as needed to address performance needs or to recognize a job well done.
Continued Engagement and Satisfaction
While the merits of social learning have been well established, employers are beginning to see the value in using social HR to retain employees by fostering engagement and continued satisfaction. Social media can be used to give recognition in a very public way that no other medium can deliver on the same scale. Since analytics are built into many social HR programs, employers can review the data to determine the actual return on investment when using social for improving retention.
Using Social for Exit Interviews
In many workplaces, exit interviews are used to glean information that can be used to improve employee retention and satisfaction. There are many advantages to using social HR to conduct exit interviews from a distance when the employee feels ready. Retired employees or employees that have moved onto another job often feel less anxious when the interview is not conducted in person and may be more inclined to share honest information that can be helpful for future retention.
Should You Adopt Social HR?
Social media is here to stay, with greater numbers of users trying different social platforms every single day. Social media has permeated every age group and people from all walks of life use social media, though people may gravitate towards one specific platform or another depending on their preferences.
Integrating social media into the workplace in the form of social HR can help to bring your organization to the next level, but there are many things that should be considered before adopting the new functionality.
Ease with Which the Technology Can Be Adopted
Many HR software programs now come with social HR options that can be set up and used either as part of the base package or as an add-on. Selecting this type of social media platform may help you to ensure that workplace social use is actually work-oriented and may allow you to select features that will be relevant for the type of collaboration that is needed in your workplace.
However, the social function may come at a price and employees will need to be trained and encouraged to use it. Employees will obviously not already have an account, so using the social media program that comes with HR software will not be second nature the way that it may be with social accounts that the employees already use daily.
Whether Employees Already Use Social
If a vast majority of employees already connect regularly and have professional profiles posted on a site such as LinkedIn, it may make sense for your organization to simply go where the employees already are. Crafting policies and tasks around social media use that is already occurring can save the hassles and costs associated with making a culture shift in order to integrate a new social option.
On the other hand, if a survey shows that the majority of employees don’t use social media at all or use very different platforms regularly, you may reconsider adding social HR or consider adding a social platform through your HRIS solution. It is important to weight the estimated costs and time that it will take to introduce the new communication tool against the potential benefits before moving forward.
How Workplace Productivity May Be Affected
Allowing employees to access social media at work can impact productivity in both negative and positive ways. Social media can be addicting and distracting, with many non-relevant items, pictures, and videos flashing before employees’ eyes at a rapid pace. In some cases, employers find that integrating social media into the workplace reduces productivity as employees begin spending large percentages of time clicking back to social media out of habit.
In some cases, though, social collaboration and social HR actually increase productivity by speeding up processes and enabling better communication. Having employees set up profiles allows organizations to import needed onboarding information in seconds, rather than having employees fill out paperwork and manually enter the information. It is also simple to share videos, chat in real-time, or share large amounts of information quickly when there is a common social platform used in the workplace.
Authored by: Dave Rietsema