Using Social Media in Human Resources Management
Social Media change the way we communicate internally and externally in the business. Previously, we were living in an army style leadership and management. All orders were delivered top-down without any instant feedback. We had to wait for first results to see whether the decision works or not. We were not in a direct two-way contact with employees and customers. Social Media change rules, all employees can discuss, collaborate, inspire, comment and complain. In seconds, we can see the impact on our target audience. However, the implementation of the social media strategy in Human Resources is a difficult task because few other departments are involved, and specialized skills and competencies are required.
Human Resources is a strategic business function that designs tools and processes for all employees. HR spends a large proportion of the day communicating with staff and managers. HR employees should not sit in the office and fill Excel tables. They should spend time with employees helping them to solve personal and business issues. There is no other function in the organization that can realize higher benefits from being the real social media animal.
The visibility of Human Resources in the organization is an important topic on the daily agenda of any HR Professional. The visibility is a key to success because the invisible HR Professional has no impact on decisions and is not being consulted. Everyone ignores such a person because it does not contribute, and it cannot stop or cancel any decision. The visibility builds a possibility to influence proposals positively before the final decision is made. Social media increase the presence and visibility of Human Resources. Managers and leaders keep in mind that there is a person who can help.
Many leaders and managers have a wrong perception of social media. They believe that a Twitter account and Facebook Fan Page are enough for HR. They are not right. HR has to build the right mix of different social media tools and channels to increase the impact on employees and external audiences. The mix needs to be unique because there are many fishermen fishing in one sea. The organization needs to be original and targeting the precisely defined target audiences.
In addition, less and fewer employees read emails often. They prefer another way of communication. The smart internal social network allows to build specific communication channels for employees. They do not have to be set by IT Department; employees can join topics of the interest. However, the company can also arrange topics that are obligatory for everyone. Like no employee has the option to opt-out from the performance management topic.
Many employees do not use a personal computer anymore. They are with clients, selling products and services. They use iPad or the smartphone as an essential working tool. They do not read emails, but they can follow Twitter account or they can just chat with friends on Facebook. Social Media can inform all employees in the field almost instantly without disturbing them. They can just read them as email later. Being mobile is a priority number one for Human Resources.
Mobile technology allows the introduction of the HR Gamification. We are social animals and like to play games. There is almost no one who does not like to play. The HR Gamification is a great way how to make painful and annoying HR processes entertaining. The gamification increases the attraction of the target population, and the message spreads quickly across different target groups.
The successful presence of Human Resources in social media starts with the strategy. It sounds like an easy task, but many departments are involved in the communication with employees, customers, and external audiences. The Marketing and Product Development departments intervene and protect their interests. The HR social media strategy needs to involve all functions that share the same interest. The development of the plan takes time, but the company has the single face and the brand name benefits from it.
The strategy itself is not sufficient; HR has to identify right topics to communicate internally and externally. Social Media are not just the replacement of an email. HR set define the excellent, entertaining and engaging content strategy and how the content should be promoted. The Twitter message is too short to tell everything. However, it is an excellent tool to raise the attraction and forward people to the right spot on the Intranet or Internet. Developing the engaging content is another task for HR.
Social Media are a great tool for Human Resources, but they require a significant change in the mindset of HR employees. They have to start thinking without boundaries, and they have to start writing the cross-functional content. Being successful in social media raises the attention but it takes time.