The Importance Of Social Media For HR
In a world consumed by social media, where much of our lives are spent online, human resources departments need to ensure that they make the most of social media for a variety of duties that they need to fulfil.
Social media is incredibly popular, with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reaching milestone after milestone and still growing, while professional social media sites such as LinkedIn also continue to experience a successful growth story.
Facebook recently surpassed two billion monthly users, with almost a third of the world’s population using the site, while LinkedIn has around 467 million members who showcase their professional profiles or online CVs, and companies all over the globe are given a platform to interact with these users.
With those tremendous numbers in mind, it makes sense that human resources departments would be able to leverage social media in fundamental ways.
Any HR professional will attest to the difficulties they face when trying to find candidates with the skills and experience needed to fill a specific position within their company. Social media can play a key role in making this process more efficient, making it a proficient and convenient talent acquisition tool.
Employers need to embrace the advantages that social media affords their HR departments, specifically with reference to recruiting, as this can be accomplished on a much wider scale than traditional methods through the use of professional social networking platforms such as LinkedIn.
Cost effective and incredibly intuitive as a recruitment tool, social media allows a company’s human resources team to engage with a wider audience, target a quality pool of candidates and improve on the effectiveness of their recruitment efforts.
The simple truth is that a company wanting to be found by a large pool of talented candidates, or wanting access to that same pool of individuals, cannot ignore social media.
LinkedIn – Heaven-sent for HR professionals
While traditional recruitment methods often only target individuals who are actively looking for a new job, social media sites such as LinkedIn give the recruiter access to connect and communicate with a far larger, more diverse set of people who potentially fit the description of the ideal candidate.
With LinkedIn, for example, company pages can be used to post available jobs and users can apply directly to the company through the platform, with the process running seamlessly once a few simple details are made known about the position in question. This can be particularly valuable for positions that are hard to fill, as the way in which LinkedIn works ensures that the best candidates for any particular job are made aware of the position and its suitability to the person based on their skills, experience and ability within a chosen industry.
Job opportunities listed on LinkedIn can easily attract numerous applications from excellent candidates, based on the profile of the company and the details about the specific job. LinkedIn members also have a ‘Jobs’ tab at the top of the page to easily search through available work opportunities, ensuring that the best candidates are only a click away from finding out about a great position that some HR department has posted on the site.
This system is incredibly intuitive, and helps HR professionals to complete one of their most important tasks with robotic efficiency and very little effort. Even people who are not actively looking for something new in the job market can’t help but be informed about interesting available positions in their industry through newsletters from the site or their LinkedIn newsfeed, and that can end up being a win-win for both recruiter and the person who may decide to apply and set up their next career move.
While job seekers are monitoring company profiles on social networks in order to assist their decision-making, HR professionals should be doing the same to prospective candidates who they are considering for a position at their company.
Social media provides HR with a modern way to vet potential candidates. Screening applicants through their social profiles speeds up the hiring process and provides a better idea about who the candidate is. This assists in determining that the candidate will be the best fit for the position and the culture of the business.
Used well, social media as an HR tool can provide an excellent return on investment, thanks to lower costs and higher productivity associated with using social media to effectively recruit people.
Not just about using social media as a direct recruiting tool
In addition to the obvious assistance that social media provides in talent acquisition, human resources professionals can use the popular communication and business tool for other purposes that positively impact their companies in terms of reputation and corporate communication, indirectly assisting with recruitment strategies.
While some companies initially considered social media to be little more than a distraction for employees, many are now realising the power that lies within a system that is so closely intertwined into the fabric of our modern digital society, to the point where we carry these networks around with us all day on our indispensable mobile devices.
The realisation of this kind of power has meant that companies are increasingly appreciating the need to have an active and engaging corporate presence on social media in order to attract top professionals for open roles.
Reputation, culture and communication
One of the ways in which firms can attract top talent is by using social media to display the kind of corporate culture that will encourage top candidates to consider working at the company.
An organisation’s culture plays an important role in attracting and retaining quality talent. People looking for jobs aim to understand the culture of a business before they commit to joining, in order to see whether they will fit in with the culture and have the best chance of professional success and happiness.
Social media is a great communication tool, and many job seekers will look to company pages and profiles on various social media platforms to get a feel for the culture of the business. Communicating the company’s values and culture through social content is an important duty for HR managers to carefully consider and implement.
Social media provides a subtle yet powerful way in which a corporate culture can be publically displayed. Posts regarding team-building efforts, office gatherings, health and wellness initiatives or performance incentives can give job seekers an understanding of what working for the company will be like. Peoplehr blog is a good example of that where you can find all such kind of posts.
Creating a team-building hashtag on Twitter, posting photos from the office party or using an article on LinkedIn to congratulate high performing staff can all be effective ways to demonstrate an organisation’s culture through social media.
Successfully managing the reputation of an organisation is another of the tasks that fall onto the shoulders of HR managers. An active social media presence in itself can present a company as innovative and engaging, and this is precisely what a company should aim to do as part of reputation management.
Nobody wants to work for a company that has a bad reputation, and many job seekers will turn down a job with a company that they perceive negatively, even if that person is unemployed. For this reason, HR should be monitoring social media for mentions, especially when it comes to what former, current and potential employees are saying about the company.
When appropriate, an HR representative can take part in the conversation, but special care should be taken when controversial or negative conversations are being dealt with. Companies need to monitor their social channels closely to ensure that their positive reputation is maintained.
Even if a company has an excellent corporate culture internally, monitoring and responding to negative mentions, comments and other social media content directed at the company is crucial to maintaining a good reputation and safeguarding future recruitment possibilities.
Social media has undoubtedly transformed the way we communicate in our personal lives, and now companies are beginning to realise the strategic value that social media can bring to talent acquisition and other important HR functions.
About the Author
Peter Pedroncelli is a South African journalist based in Johannesburg with a specialisation in media studies. He writes and edits content for a variety of magazines and websites on topics related to social media and business.