Social Media in the Workplace: Who’s Using It?

With all of this talk of digital natives and digital legacies, let’s take a look now at who is actually using social media in the workplace.

[tweetthis]Like it or not, your employees are checking Facebook at work.[/tweetthis] They may even be taking photos and posting to Instagram of that awesome potluck the CEO threw for the entire administrative team last week. #yummy! #thanksboss!

But what does social media really mean for your business? Are you utilizing the tools of social media to change the face of your company? Is your newsletter changing with the times, or is it still a 3-sided page that gets mailed out to the masses? Newsletters are great for dumping large chunks of information on your clients and colleagues. But social media allows you to piecemeal that information out in little tidbits, bite size morsels if you will. As we’ve discussed before on this blog, it’s important to grasp that millennials are a new creature entirely. Give them 140 characters and they’ll come up with something poignant and life-changing (or at least they will think it is so). But hand them a printout of 4-5 meaty articles in a company newsletter, and you’ll be lucky if they even read the first and last sentence of each paragraph (cut to freshman English in college when the assigned reading was almost as boring as the Sunday newspaper that your dad read at the breakfast table).

So in this digital age, social media begs companies to cut to the chase and get to the point. Your audience’s attention span is dwindling with each new generation that enters the workforce. These kids are all about instant gratification, technology at their fingertips, and short snappy snippets of information. So let’s give the people what they want!

1. Use social media for recruitment (check out our Social Media & Recruitment blog here: http://peoplescapehr.com/2015/06/)

2. Check out your online reviews – you may not be using social media but I guarantee your customers are!

3. Improve communication with your employees – think blog, Twitter, hashtags, and collaborate with your employees outside of the box.

4. Brands are necessary. Is your company recognizable? The more you use social media, the more presence you will have amongst your colleagues and potential talent pool.

Like renowned author and business speaker Erik Qualman says, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”

What’s Your Status? Facebook Branding in the 21st Century

“People spend money when and where they feel good.” – Walt Disney

As a master of invoking emotion in the hearts and minds of children everywhere, Disney was able to sell a brand worldwide that still brings in millions of dollars every year, decades later. When a product speaks to a person, that person feels something – and is able to justify spending money on something that is important to him or her. In this same token, products on Facebook are using emotional responses to create a recognizable brand. Using videos, catchy lines, and triggering feelings in individuals viewing their Facebook page, companies such as BMW, McDonald’s, 3M, and Budweiser have all seen success this year with their social media branding. How can companies that are not as well-known as these use similar strategies to make an impact?

At the top of the list for successful strategies in Facebook branding for the companies mentioned above were the following:

  • Visually stunning (science based or otherwise) videos which stylishly
  • Partnerships with socially successful brands such as MTV
  • Building on the momentum of popular events such as concert festivals
  • Piggybacking on popular holidays, sharing photos of holiday treats
  • Announcement of the brand’s presence on another social media site such
  • Gratitude towards fans
  • Videos that pull at the heart strings
  • Short videos that feature humor to grab the viewer’s attention

Why is social media branding a topic that HR Consultants would be concerned with and want to share with our clients and readers? Put simply, branding is about people and organizations, and so is Peoplescape. We want to offer a full range of people-oriented services to our clients, and because we know the business of people, we know how important it is for you to reach your target audience through social media branding.

[tweetthis]Creating a loyal fan base on Facebook means generating views, likes, and shares.[/tweetthis]

Creating a loyal fan base is equivalent on Facebook to the number of views, likes, and shares that a company receives. How many views are you currently getting on your Facebook business page? Do you have a Facebook page? Peoplescape is looking to expand their audience on all forms of social media, and we would love to help you do the same for your company. Targeting a generation of social media addicts is the way to go if you’re looking to attract new brand followers, and these are a few easy ways that we can all do it!

Social Media and Recruitment

Love it or Hate it, social media is not going anywhere. Along with it comes the debate over whether or not to use it in recruitment and then, how and when to use it .

I’ve heard arguments on so many sides of it.

“Don’t Use It”
Social media profiles can give potential employers more information than they need to make employment decisions. For example, the photos may tell you information about age, gender, and national origin. The profiles may tell you about religious beliefs or sexual orientation. The content on their page may suggest political affiliation or show details about out-of-work activities that don’t pertain to employment decisions. The fear seems to be primarily around discrimination.

“Use It”
There are numerous benefits to using Social Media in your recruitment strategy. Employees can reach out into their networks and post about open positions and that leads increased engagement. Not to mention, you can reach passive job seekers more easily than using a standard job board.

Then there’s the question of how and when and which sites to use?

This question may be easier answered depending on the Social Media platform. For job postings, consider encouraging individual employees to post the link to your ATS on their social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn about open position in the company, especially if a number of your successful hires have come from referrals. This should also be embraced on a company level – embrace Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as marketing and recruiting tools. From a recruiting standpoint (directly contacting potential candidates), I tend to prefer LinkedIn as it is the most popular Social Media site for posting about professional details.

I’ve heard discussion about researching a candidate’s social media profiles after you have selected your final candidates. This again could still put you in hot water with learning information about the person that is protected. There seems to be a lot of chatter about an employer’s ability to limit or monitor an employee’s off-work activities. The EEOC held a meeting last year to hear information about topics surrounding Social Media and one recommendation that came from an attorney in that meeting was to use a 3rd party company to review social media profiles to avoid the potential of seeing sensitive information.

All in all, I’m a supporter of leveraging social media to reach more potential candidates and increase engagement. The more people that see and share your job posting, the larger and better pool of candidates an employer gets to pick from! Where I draw the line? Beware of reviewing social media content on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to make employment related decisions – there’s just too much sensitive information you may be able to pull from these sites to sway decision based on appearance, politic views, non-work activities, protected classes, etc. rather than on the merits of their skills and experience.

Seeking a “Digital Native”

The phrase “digital native” is a fairly new term that is being employed by a number of companies, particularly in the media, digital, start-up and tech worlds. Doing a quick google search for “digital+native+jobs”, I found the following:

An ideal candidate is a digital native, who has a passion for learning and always uncovering new opportunities in the digital space, and who has a solid grounding in the world of digital media and technology.” – for Sr. Digital Strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi LA

The Social Media Manager is a digital native, skilled in onsite attendee engagement in a face paced environment.” – for Social Media Manager at Oracle

“Requirements: Digital native and experience with Google Docs or Microsoft Office” – for Administrative Assistant at Revzilla.com

These are just a few of the many came up. So what is a “digital native”? According to the Oxford Dictionary a digital native is “a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age.” On the surface it seems like a harmless phrase to throw on to a job description, in fact, it seems likely that an employer might want someone like this for a Social Media position; however, if being a digital native is a requirement as seen in some of the posts above, are you unintentionally sending a message of age discrimination?

Would you consider someone who was born 40+ years ago (1975 or before) to be a digital native? To put this in perspective, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft on April 4, 1975. So would you classify those born in this year as having been familiar with the internet and computers from an early age? Not to say that skills and competencies can’t be learned, but by definition, the term digital native seems to point more to a specific generational group.

The EEOC has not yet had a claim of age discrimination based on this qualification, but with claims of this type on the rise, I would venture to bet it is on the horizon. Furthermore, as we’ve seen in several cases, especially in California, statements such as the ones mentioned above can have an adverse impact on one (or more) protected classes by disproportionately hiring candidates under the age of forty.

At this point in time, I would use this phrase at your own risk, but seriously consider how and in what context you are using it.