Social media as a digital platform has had a tremendous impact on how we communicate and maintain dialogue with friends, family and colleagues. The advent of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have presented to us a democratic platform where everyone has an opinion and an equal chance of being heard. Social media, in the way it is structured, allows people to share their life events, their opinions on matters of political or social significance and their feelings. The hallmark of this medium is in the two-way, instant communication that it offers vis-à-vis other traditional media channels like television print, where the communication is only one-way.
Because of these very benefits of the digital platform, it has become a rudimentary practice for every organization to have a social media presence for marketing or for corporate HR engagement. In any organization, HR is the function that deals with all the employees related matters like payroll, recruitments, employee engagement, learning and skill development, work environment etc. It is also the responsibility of the HR function to communicate and generate conversations about various HR practises such as talent acquisition, leadership, employee communication as well as attracting future employees. Social Media as a tool helps them do just that.
Through social media, conversations have changed both internally and externally in organizations. There is a need to create an engaging two-way dialogue between the company and the employees. HR uses social media to create this dialogue. As we are aware, the main task of any HR personnel goes beyond filling up excel sheets with employee details. There main job lies with knowing the pulse of the employees – what works for them, what doesn’t? With this tool, all the employees can engage, collaborate and react in a public forum in the presence of HR. These online conversations around an organization are very critical for building a company’s image as an employer of choice. This makes social media an apt tool for corporate branding and engagement.
Another critical aspect of an HR personnel’s life is their visibility in the organization. If the HR are not visible, then they are not involved with the employees. They do not have the employee related insights needed to take important HR decisions. Social media provides HR an opportunity to create a relationship with every employee in the organization, irrespective of their location. As employees become aware that there is a window where they can go for a resolution to any issue, the visibility and credibility of HR as a function increases. It is also a great platform to get a general feel of how an organization is perceived by its employees and potential recruits.
Recruitments is one of the most sought-after areas of HR on social media platforms. These platforms have accelerated the speed of recruitment process which involves steps like posting a job, getting resumes, taking interviews, making offers and so on.
In addition to that, social media can also be used for taking a 360-degree feedback from employees. It can drive collaboration between different stakeholders of the company and the employees. It can also aid learning and development through real-time, on-the-go access to training.
While the benefits of social media to HR are many, the implementation of social media in the functioning of HR is not an easy task. This is so because any employee engagement requires the involvement of all other business and support functions. It also requires HR to be adept with handling of digital media skills and competencies.
HR needs to develop the right mix of tools for its social media presence. Having a page on key social media portals is not enough. With a right mix, they will be able to engage with the right audience at the right time. Some channels will target external audience while others will target internal employees. The purpose of some interactions might be corporate brand building and talent acquisition, while for other channels, the purpose could be dissemination of valuable information regarding employee benefits. Hence, knowledge and skill are important aspects while developing the HR strategy on social media. The right strategy also takes into account different facets of social media campaign execution such as deciding the media mix, content type, channels, target audience and tools.
Social media also allows for an informal way of interaction compared to official meetings and emails. HR emails often get lost in the barrage of emails employees receive every day. On a social network, it is easier to stay abreast with topics that an employee may follow. HR may make employees follow relevant topics and pages related to the organization on social media to ensure no one misses out.
HR personnel need to ensure administration of social media forums as well. As employees interact outside of their offices about their organization, a social media policy needs to be set in place and employees need to be educated on it.
As social media is a vivid and highly interactive platform, the onus of engagement lies with employees to act as influencers and make it count. While it is easy to get oneself engrossed in the daily chores at work, it is helpful to follow and learn from the leading industry thought leaders who are making a profound difference in their respective fields by voicing their thoughts through their blogs, pages and articles.
Every year, Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) India recognises Top 30 HR influencers who have created a digital impact through their social media presence. Released by SHRM India, the objective of the report is to appreciate and recognize the contribution that the best and most effective Indian HR professionals are making in their specific industries. The list includes thought leaders from all over the country such as Abhijit Bhaduri, Gautam Ghosh, Achyut Menon, Prabir Jha, Ruchi, Dr. NS Rajan, Kunjal Kamdar, Gurprriet Singh, Ashish Gakrey and Anil Dagia.
These influencers have created a distinct name for themselves through social media and enjoy the support of a steady social media following on various networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs and Klout.
Social Media plays more than a supporting role in HR. It redefines employee engagement, communication and recruitment for the organizations. As we can learn from the commendable work that the influencers in SHRM India’s report have done, a mere presence of HR on social media is not sufficient. The need of the hour is to set yourself apart from others through a valuable and meaningful presence.