Social Media in business and especially in human resources is not a new concept. Almost 75 percent of organizations throughout the U.S. now use social media for recruiting which makes sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ important HR tools for searching and recruiting for job positions. However, HR can also leverage the advantages of social media in other beneficial ways. In fact, companies who already use social media for a variety of HR tasks say that these platforms are becoming core tools to help identify, create and measure both prospect and employee engagement. Yes. Social media now represents much more than just a marketing and recruitment tool, it is platform that can enhance the ways in which we work, communicate, learn and lead.
Social Media Promotes a Collaborative Environment
HR departments across the globe find that social media is conducive towards improved information distribution and a functional collaborative environment for all employees, working across departments, regions and remotely. Social media offers a more functional way of engaging employees across all levels allowing them to be brand ambassadors, share news, information and resources. These platforms create unified engagement with all corporate members near and far, allowing them to interact with each other across all devices.
The Need for HR to Adapt is Clear
The challenge for most HR department leaders is that there is not a lot of solid data to corroborate the use of social media for enterprise communication and distribution, but recent statistics do indicate that employees spend a lot of time texting and messaging over social media platforms. In fact, the average American spends close to two hours per day communicating on a mobile device via text messages, a higher rate than the 1.6 hours a day they spend messaging on their computer. And when all times are combined, we can easily say that enterprise employees spend about 3.4 hours a day on their devices. If we also factor into the equation that more than 80% of all mobile activity is social media related, then we can conclude that employees are already communicating via social media even when there isn’t an enterprise plan in place.
From Theory to Practice
Taking steps to integrate social media into the workforce is still a very tentative interest for some businesses. The fear lies in thinking that employees will spend their time on entertainment rather than on company interaction. For some HR departments, the solution has been to integrate proprietary social media platforms (work related only) which can be done by integrating useful Unified Communications tools with social media interface tools. However, many HR companies have seen just as much success through the standard social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Another reason for a lack of social media integration is that HR directives often report that having social media integration as a strategy but don’t fully understand how to maximize the benefits.
How to Leverage Social Media for the Organization
Regardless of whether you have a ban on social media use during work hours or not, chances are the organization’s employees are still tweeting memes, Instagramming lunches, and Facebooking office selfies.
According to the Pew Research Center , approximately 70% of workers use social media at work. So if you think your company is curbing social media use in the workplace, think again.
The solution is to stop limiting employees from social media and instead focus on using it to benefit the company and the employees. Just how does HR implement effective social media practices? Here are 7 social media implementations other companies have used to find success.
1. Offer Small Mental Breaks
A recent PRC survey conducted on corporate employees shows that the number one reason workers turn to social media in the first place is to get a mental break from work. This is not something that should be discouraged. In fact, Psychology Today suggests that an occasional mental break from work promotes productivity and creativity.
When used responsibly, social media can give workers the short mental breaks they need recover and stay motivated.
2. Offer a Place for Employees to Make Professional Connections
Social media interaction can allow employees to strengthen intra-organization relationships which can lead to promotions, training, and growth opportunities for both the organization and the employee.
3. Use Social Media as Forum for Personnel Solutions
Your employees are likely already on social media talking about work, asking for advice, and venting their frustrations. The HR department can turn this into an opportunity by creating a question and answer platform where employees can receive answers to work related problems they can’t solve on their own.
Posing a question can even help HR managers find new creative ways to solve existing issues. Sometimes it is an outside perspective that can make a change and social media is a safe platform to gain multiple new perspectives.
4. Strengthen Organizational Relationships
When you integrate social media into the workplace, coworkers can use it to interact with one another, track projects, and build stronger relationships which leads to more cohesive and productive work teams. It offers an easy way to share ideas, encourage communication and improve engagement at work. In turn, this can help boost employee morale, production and engagement.
5. Improve Information Delivery
Social media offers a viable platform to discover and deliver job-related information. It helps employees quickly find company information, helps departments coordinate hiring efforts, and allows you to rapidly disseminate important memos to teams and departments.
6. Improve Employee Recognition Programs
These social platforms offer an excellent route for recognizing and rewarding employees for accomplishments. Here your company can recognize outstanding performance, anniversaries, birthdays, new hires and more.
This allows for better employee integration, and team building because employees become aware of outstanding performance and can congratulate each other. Social media is also a viable way of staying up-to-date on company events and it promotes social interaction with other coworkers.
7. Increase organizational productivity
Contrary to what many companies believe, social media usage may increase the organization’s productivity. In fact, McKinsey Global Institute suggests that most companies do not use social media to its fullest potential, and if they implemented just a few of these ideas, HR could improve productivity by as much as 25 percent.
Social media has undergone some massive changes in the last few years. Use of these applications in the workplace is almost unavoidable, so businesses should take advantage. After all, employees are already using these platforms during work hours.
Instead of spending time and energy trying to keep employees off of social media, you might encourage them to use it productively in ways that improve your employees’ experience in the workplace.