6 Little Known Uses of Social Media in HR

It’s no secret that social media is widely used in modern recruitment but it may mean we’re overlooking other areas of HR where it could be equally as beneficial. Researchers over at BLR examined how human resource professionals are using social media and discovered some interesting results, for example do you give your staff public praise for their achievements via Facebook?

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We’re going to take a closer look at some of the wider HR uses of social media, to not just recruit but engage, inspire, inform and retain employees as well as boost employer branding.

The Top Uses of Social Media by HR Pros

According to BRL today’s HR professionals are primarily using social media for the following 5 tasks:

  • 25% Teambuilding
  • 26% Onboarding
  • 34% Training
  • 41% Employee communications
  • 69% Recruiting

Clearly recruitment is the primary focus indicating that many professionals don’t consider social media for other HR uses. However, research shows that it could be worth looking outside of the box.

Little Known Uses of Social Media by HR

1. Giving praise and recognition

The benefits of giving employees praise for their work are huge, from higher productivity, to improved employee retention, to great employee branding. Giving public praise through social media is therefore a sensible next step for forward thinking HR pros.

2. Publicizing Events

Asides from using social media to raise awareness for events, whether it be a charity fundraiser or an office christmas do, posting about the occasion following the event with pictures and tags further promotes not only your employer brand but staff engagement and team building.

3.Communication

Lets face it, for many who use social media its not unusual that Twitter or Facebook gets checked more than work email. HR pros are making the most of this by using social media to communicate information that might otherwise get overlooked for example, a new training program, schedule changes or new wellness initiatives.

4. Real Time Communication

The added benefit of using social media to communicate with employees is that for many it’ll result in an instant push-notification on smartphone. This makes it a highly useful method for informing staff of last minute changes, or as suggested by BLR, emergency notifications.

5. HR Blogs

Now technically a blog isn’t social media but blog content is highly sharable and easily distributed through social channels. Keeping a HR blog and promoting it through Facebook for example, is an ideal way to keep employees and colleagues up to date with industry-related news and information.

6. Research

There’s a plethora of information to be discovered on on almost any topic via social media. From Renewable Energy to Medicine to Fashion, there’ll be a Facebook Page or a Twitter user (or similar) dedicated to the subject. Naturally this leads to interesting discoveries, trends and debates which can successfully be used, for example, in knowledge management (KM).

Other (More Popular) Uses of Social Media by HR

Background Checks

Naturally, this isn’t anything new but it certainly belongs on the list. Social media is of course an excellent tool to find out what your hires might not readily admit on their resumes, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be negative.

It’s one thing spotting an ‘Interest in politics’ on a resume, it’s another to see proof that your candidate is actively involved in a local community campaign. Either way, it’s worth checking applicants out online to find out more and why they’d be a good (or bad) fit for your company.

Employer Branding

With the right people at the helm, social media can catapult any company into the limelight of successful employer branding. The result? More applicants, better applicants, less cost per hire, better culture, stronger staff retention and even higher revenue all thanks to a more positive image in the public eye.

When Social Media Backfires

Naturally, in the wrong hands social media can go wrong. Last year HR employee Poppy Rose Cleere, 21, who was in control of @hmvtweets decided to tweet live from HMV, a British entertainment retailer, about the sudden layoff of 60 employees including herself. Queue instant (viral) bad press.

Some may say that HMV deserved it, others argue that Cleere took advantage of her position. Bosses later deleted the Tweets but the damage was irreversible illustrating the fine line between social media success and failure (worth keeping in mind).

Social Media Stats

Last but not least, lets take a look at the stats as reported by BLR. When asked the question “Will your social media use change in 2014?” their HR respondents answered with the following:

  • 0.3% Our use will diminish
  • 35.1% Our use will stay the same
  • 60.3% Our use will increase
  • 4.3% Other (unspecified)

Are you part of the 60%? Let us know your thoughts and further suggestions on how to use social media as part of a HR strategy with your comments below.

Image Reference: Flickr Jason Howie

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