Article: The Social Media Wave Is Here To Stay

Strategic HR

The Social Media Wave Is Here To Stay

Social is here to stay; but are companies considering it merely as a tool, a shortterm fad or an overall people strategy?
The Social Media Wave Is Here To Stay

As the Indian HR community, we are on the right path to leverage social channels for attracting and engaging talent


News about People Matters hosting a Conclave on Social Media in Talent Management in Bangalore instantly caught my attention, as for a long time, I was searching for a forum like this to understand the Indian HR community’s view about social media. Being a people-oriented function, HR is no alien to social channels; however, I was curious to understand whether HR considers social media merely as a tool, a short-term fad or as a part of the overall people strategy.

It was an interesting gathering of HR leaders, social recruiting experts and agency representation on the panel. The conference was poised for a great day of learning and a big audience was waiting to uncover the haze around social and HR together in one basket. Here are some key takeaways and learnings from the Conclave.

‘Social’ in talent management is no more a fad

We are in the era of Web 2.0, where we have over 45 million Indians on Facebook and over 15 million on LinkedIn. The talent management function cannot ignore these facts, considering we have more Gen Y employees who are using these channels to communicate. HR needs to “speak” their language and “listen” to them in order to engage and retain them. Social media provides a collaborative platform for HR to do this easier than ever. Social is no more just “cool” and “sexy”, but it is the need of the hour. There is no debate on “why”, the conversation has moved to “how” and “when”. It is now!

Thinking beyond just a tool

The moment we say social media, tools such as Facebook or Twitter pop-up. However, one has to understand that they are merely tools and not the entire strategy. Today, companies are disallowing Facebook and Twitter at workplaces for their employees due to security concerns, but yet expect HR to integrate the ‘social’ approach. Encouraging your talent to be open, collaborative and thus be more engaged can be achieved through providing an open and internal social platform like InfyBubble (Infosys), HUB (Tesco) or Wooq (Landmark). These internal platforms provide a great opportunity for employees to communicate and become a helping “community” for everyone.

Social recruiting – technology is key

Talent acquisition as a function is undergoing a transformation in the new age of digital media. Tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook provide great functionalities to integrate with internal recruiting systems and make it easy for the target audience to communicate. The talent acquisition function should build a strong technology platforms on the careers page and social channels to attract active and passive candidates to explore opportunities. With the mobile revolution, employers should look at ‘mobile recruiting’ as the next big thing in the digital recruiting world. Technology is a great enabler for the recruiting function to bring the much required change in not just the processes, but also in the mindset of recruiters.

Engagement is not just about having fun

This is a topic to debate. Having an engaged talent pool does require an element of fun to get them involved and generate enthusiasm. However, the big question remains if talent only gets engaged with fun activities. HR spends big amount of money on events and outdoors to provide the fun-factor to employees, but shouldn’t they also look beyond? What about people who are not part of these activities? Online ‘social’ can pitch in to increase the level of engagement with some of the socia-economic activities. Infosys presented a great case study about how InfyBubble provided employees a platform to support the “Anna movement”.

Gamification and social recognition – new mantra in R&R

The classic process of rewards and recognition comes with criticism of being ‘one-sided’ and driven by management. ‘Social’ provides a new spin on this concept. Gamification for HR means adopting game mechanics or game dynamics into talent engagement.

How about your employees getting ‘expert’ badges, being appraised on a social media platform, receiving points for their comments, getting ‘likes’ and thus getting a ‘social recognition’? This is a far more effective process than announcing awards in team meetings and functions. Employees can really get a sense of achievement with their colleagues and bosses praising them socially on these platforms.

Employer branding - owned by employees and potential candidates

It is a common belief that employer branding is driven by marketing. The reality is that your corporate brand is influenced by what your employees and candidates say about your company. Today, the referral process works two-ways. Employers are doing background checks of potential hires and candidates are doing their own research about the culture, environment, growth and brand of the company before they join. HR and marketing should leverage social media to facilitate this process, but they should not control the same.

Learning is not an event but an ongoing phenomenon

Today, our training departments are functioning like schools where they expect people with different competencies, skills, motivations and qualities to learn everything at a predetermined time and place. Learning needs to be continuous, collaborative and social. Crowdsourcing is the best method for effective social learning where people can learn from each other in a more virtual environment. Social media helps learning to become a continuous process and not dependent on specific time and place. It is vital that learning teams should provide such experience and platform to their employees to enable social learning.

With power comes great responsibility – social is no different

One of the biggest reasons why 40 percent of companies still remain skeptical about social channels is security and integrity. Every company should have a well-drafted ‘social media policy’ implemented for their employees. The compliance processes should be strictly in place to monitor and counter any threat for data or privacy issues, especially for client compliance. HR should work closely with IT/security departments to minimize potential risks and losses.
I sincerely believe that we are few years away from having matured frameworks and case studies around effective social media implementation on talent management and acquisition. As the Indian HR community, we are on the right path to leverage social channels for attracting and engaging talent.

There is no doubt that social is here to stay and it is up to companies as to how quickly and effectively they can use these channels for their HR/recruitment activities. I could feel air of great enthusiasm amongst attendees about using social media channels for their activities, which will also give way to new practices, innovations and out-of-the-box thinking. I am excited about next year’s Conclave on ‘Social Media in Talent Management’ to see the HR community take a big leap in the social space. Are we ready?

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Topics: Strategic HR, Talent Acquisition, #Social Media

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