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4 Ways Human Resources Can Use Social Media to Its Advantage

iconHuman resources icon5 min read
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Social media and human resources are an excellent match. With social media being an integral part of mainstream society, companies of all sizes and types utilize it on a daily basis because of its large-scale media outreach. If your human resources department is organized to manage the social structure of the company, social media is an excellent resource. 

Some see social media as a hindrance to their workplace, concerned that employees will spend their time on it instead of on their work. However, human resources is about managing people –the very “social” aspect of social media. These powerful tools provide a savvy HR department with the ability to merge the company’s brand and ideology with its current –and future– employees.

Recruiting and talent acquisition

This is the part of social media that HR departments adopted immediately. Seeing the power for recruitment, more than 84 percent of organizations are recruiting via social media with another 9% planning to do so. Getting to know your potential employee before you meet them is a huge part of the Human Resources hiring process. And anyways, you’re already doing most of your recruiting through social media – in fact, 70% of managers said they have had success hiring candidates through social media. 

Most people think you would use this just to rule out potential candidates who use;  excessive profanity, post inappropriate things or display behaviors that don’t match up with your company culture, which makes sense. However, HR has been using social media for so much more than avoiding problematic personalities.

Many companies are now evaluating candidates’ presence on popular social media networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and other specialty sites specific to their professions such as open-source community forums. Doing so will not only help evaluate potential candidates’ merits and contributions, but also supply an inside look into their online persona. According to The Harris Poll, 1 in 5 hiring decision-makers (21%) said they are not likely to consider a candidate who doesn’t have an online presence. And, Statista reports that according to a global survey of hiring decision makers in North America, 58 percent of the respondents regarded social professional networks as a source for quality hires.

From the candidate’s position, utilizing the internet to find job postings has become the primary resource for employment opportunities. Job posting websites such as CareerBuilder and Indeed are not necessarily defined as social media in the traditional sense, but promoting those opportunities through media outlets with the company’s various social profiles will only assist in advertising the post.

Enhancing brand and company identity

Social media also plays an enormous role in company branding and marketing, whether your company is B2B or B2C, both types of customers look to social media to engage with business in many ways. Having a strong presence in these online communities is vital to the success of your business, because it allows for a less invasive way of communicating to occur with potential clients and thought leaders. Positive ideas, comments, questions and answers from employees related to business goals reflect that brand in a popular social setting.

If your business doesn’t have a strong online presence, it’s going to be very difficult to keep up with your competitors. Social media allows you to communicate with potential clients and community-thought leaders in a non-invasive way. 

Whether you use Facebook ads as a way to advertise your product or Twitter as a customer satisfaction tool, social media is a great way to bring your marketing strategies to your target audiences’ home turf. People feel comfortable perusing their social sites of choice, so if you can get your brand to appear where they’re already spending time online, you’ll notice a big difference in online web traffic.

For instance, Dominion gets stoked about our fiscal kickoff and our social platforms reflect that. Our people tweet, post, retweet, and take tons of pictures of everything we’re doing, showing everyone how awesome we are!

Encouraging employee engagement

With social media extending into more areas of our daily lives, it’s not exactly surprising to see it start to fold into work life as well. Now it’s up to human resources to use these media outlets as a positive communication tool that enhances the relationship between employer and employee.

Employees are an extension of a company’s brand and representatives of its culture. They represent where the company has been, where it is, and where it’s going. Exhibiting that identity on social platforms allows the world to really know who your company is and what it's all about. 

That said, be considerate when interacting with employees on social media and let them set the tone for the relationship. Some employees may feel like they’re always at work if an employer engages them on a social platform. Keep it light when it comes to this kind of communication, nothing too serious. This is a place for (consensual) callouts like work anniversaries, public praise, and other employee recognition activities. 

In fact, the latter are ideally suited for social media. Old school employee recognition ceremonies happen and then everyone goes back to work, almost instantly forgetting about it. Celebrating these awards via social media with your employees gives immediate, positive and public feedback that resonates. It also gives them a chance to show their family and friends how awesome they (and their company) are!

Streamlining corporate communications

With social media extending into more areas of our daily lives, it’s not exactly surprising to see it start to fold into work life as well. Now it’s up to human resources to use these media outlets as a positive communication tool that enhances the relationship between employer and employee.

Even if your employees aren’t all active on social media, it can still be a great tool to engage with them internally. Social media sites are designed to be user-friendly and easy to understand, so whether your company has 50 people or 500, there are a number of ways you can use social tools to increase engagement. I’ve worked jobs where all employees were invited to a special Facebook page that would allow them to request shift changes, quickly and easily pass along relevant job information, and even tell fun work anecdotes. This was always a great tool to not only improve how we worked as a team but also brought us together as individuals.

However, chances are not every employee in your company participates in social media at home regularly or even at all. For those who want to keep their work life at work and their social life, including social media, separate, there are now many internal tools that can help companies with internal communication.

They include simple social-like chat tools like Slack, but more robust intranet platforms have taken design cues from social media to improve their user experience. 

For example, Microsoft’s Yammer is a great tool for large businesses to communicate internally, making it simple for employees to find subject experts and solve business problems easily and efficiently. Businesses are also using Yammer to share ideas and have a space for employee comments on campaigns and other company highlights.

Whether you’ve been involved in social media since the early Myspace days or it’s a bandwagon you’ve hopped on recently, there’s no denying that social media is no longer solely for millennials. Since the dawn of the internet, social sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have become an integral part of our society, and this is particularly true for the business world. With social media being fully present in all of our daily lives, it’s up to HR leaders to utilize the (mostly free) tools necessary to achieve the above goals. 

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