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The rise of popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter has had an almost revolutionary impact on the way that people communicate and interact with one another online. It is a great way to keep in touch with rarely seen family members or friends, find people with similar interests, promote a business and a hundred other things besides. Given the way that it links people together through social networks, it is perhaps surprising that HR teams have to some extent been slow on the uptake when it comes to using social media. Listed below are just some of the ways that it can benefit an HR team and business in general.

Recruitment: One of the biggest reasons that HR teams should use social media is that it really does open up a whole new world of recruitment possibilities. Although a position may be advertised internally and externally, its profile may not always be high enough to attract the most suitable candidates. Websites such as LinkedIn are ideal for building up a list of contacts and potential candidates for vacant or upcoming jobs, and they also give a feel for other things such as market conditions and attitudes. Even a company profile on the most famous of social media platforms, Facebook, will offer the chance to advertise jobs as they come up to a wide range of interconnected people.

Collaboration: This is another area that social media can help an HR team, and one great example of this is by creating a Wiki for the company, business or internal departments. The point of a wiki is that everyone can add items to it, thus increasing the general pool of knowledge. This might be a simple wiki such as one on how to deal with phone calls or sales, or something more complex such as internal disciplinary procedures. Collaborating using social media such as Wikis can be done at any time, but particularly at those times of day when not a lot else seems to be happening.

Communication: When talking of social media, many people only think about the big external platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Some forward thinking businesses have taken a look at this and have seen how it could be adapted for internal use. By having an “in-house” social media connection, communication between people in large businesses can be a lot more effective. Quite often in large organisations it can be difficult to put a face to a name, or even be entirely sure what a person’s position and responsibility is. Internal social networking is a novel way of connecting employees within a company in a way that enables them to communicate on a much more personal basis.

Productivity: People are using social media in all manner of ways to help with productivity, and one example of this, is by monitoring current external trends. Some businesses may monitor social networks for the increase in use of keywords which may have an impact on their business, and the HR department can show employees how to do this to their benefit.

Legality: Many businesses have strict policies when it comes to bringing the company name into disrepute. A surprising number of people each year will defame the company they work with, or their work colleagues over social media such as Twitter or Facebook. This may have certain legal ramifications and in some instances may lead to an employee’s dismissal. Monitoring social networks for this sort of unpleasant activity is starting to become more routine for those people who work in an HR team.

About the Guest Blogger:

Richard McMunn is the director and founder of a career and recruitment specialist. Richard has written a number of books and helped numerous applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes.

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For an outline of the main social media platforms in 2013 – below is humourous explanation using donuts. Hmm… Donuts.