Social Media has become an existential part of our lives. However, can Human Resources and Learning & Development Professionals use it as a powerful tool? To me, the answer is a resounding Yes!
At a recent gathering of LnD & HR professionals, I was asked, “What can we possibly use social media beyond the basic recruitment?” My answer: Everything.
Let me elaborate. Everything that falls under your Key Responsibility Area can be accomplished using social media. Let me show you with a few examples:
- Background Checks: I know most of you are already aware that LinkedIn is the number one recruitment source. So I wont bother to tell you how to use it. (In case you wish to know more on that, just drop me a line on email@example.com) However, what you’re possibly not doing is checking out the social pages of potential candidates.At Vanilla Skills, we always look up the profiles of shortlisted candidates. In one such case, we were hiring for the position of training coordinator. We found what we thought was an ideal candidate. The lady told us how passionate she was about training and how that was her dream job. When we crawled through her social profiles, we found that her passion was singing. She aspired to be a professional singer and the job was simply a stopgap arrangement ‘till she made it big as a singer’. That made us reconsider our decision to hire her. Had we hired her, she might have been more focused on finding singing opportunities than her job.
- On-boarding:Businesses want a new employee to get on the business and run from day 1. After all, business cannot stop for a new employee. The HR often struggles to get a day or even a few hours of the employee so as to comfortably induct them to the company and their new role. Social media can ease this dichotomy. Ranging from a video to induct employees to Skype calls, HR professionals are getting creative in their usage.
- Employee Communications: You email them; then you call them to tell them you’ve emailed them; then you call them to get a reply on your email. That’s the poorest form of communications, not to mention a tremendous waste of time and energy. Why not reach out to them on platforms where they are active? That is of course easier said than done. After all, where are they active? A helpful hint: Which are the platforms that are most associated with the term ‘social media’?
- Team Building: Ever seen the current tween & teenagers play together? They each play on their own gaming device, or occasionally exchange it. When someone is stuck at a level in the game, another ‘team member’ steps in, helps and then goes back to his/her own game. The concept of teamwork has evolved. It is time to think what it means for us.
- Identifying symptoms that an employee is likely to leave: Let’s try empathy here. What would your actions be before you actually consider leaving an organization? Perhaps you complain about the boss. Well, more than usual, I mean. After all, we’ve all heard that people don’t leave organizations; they leave their managers.Traditionally, they would complain to the HR. The new school of thought is HR doesn’t/ won’t listen. (Hey, don’t hate me for telling you what everyone’s saying.) So they go online and complain. However, they can’t openly do it. So they go to sites like glassdoor.com and talk about it anonymously. You might not know the names directly, but if you are smart and make some discreet enquiries, you might be able to identify who is posting complaints.An important piece of advise here: Don’t punish the victim. They are complaining because they feel victimized. Either do something about it that will stop them from leaving or prepare yourself for them to leave.
- Identify Training needs: What are your colleagues doing on the social media? What is their language like? What’s their social behavior like? Does it match the skills required for the job? Do you see skill gaps? What about the bosses? What are they complaining about? If you keep your eyes open and read between the lines, you will find that your TNA process has evolved as well.
- E learning: Yes, I am aware that it is being talked about a lot and people are still experimenting with it. Here are a few ideas that seem to have been well-liked:
- Interactive Videos: Videos lack a certain human touch. While machines and technology will never be able to replace humans (or so we hope), interactive videos might add more human touch than the usual ones. If you want to know what I mean, check out www.englishcentral.com
- Quiz: They watched the video or perhaps sat through a traditional training program. How do you know what they truly absorbed? A quiz will not only give you a measure of their learning, it is a great opportunity to fill the gaps by telling the quiz take what the correct answers are.
- Gamification: Games are an important part of trainings. Perhaps it is time to take the games online. Ranging from existing online games to special games created with your goals in mind, e-games can help one learn important lessons.
- Extending learning: Well, quiz is one of the methods for extending the learning. Sharing relevant articles & videos, online activities, hyperlinks to relevant games are a few other ideas. It is also a good idea to encourage participants to share experiences of what they applied and how it fared for them. This will encourage other as well as give you insights for your future work.
- Rewards & Recognition: Traditionally, people would showcase their trophies & certificates on a wall. The wall has gone virtual. Have you?
An important thing to remember is that social media is not a substitute for your work. It’s a tool and a very powerful one at that. Use it as such and its utility is only limited by your imagination.
If you would like to connect with me, I’m very active on LinkedIn. Or you can Tweet to me on @benitadua or look me up on Instagram. You will also find me on Pinterest. I’m always excited to know what you think of my work. Your comments are welcome. If you think your friends in HR or LnD can benefit from this article, feel free to tag them in the comments or share the article with them. After all, that’s what social media is all about. 🙂
N.B. The above article, written by me, originally appeared in Ekaakshara – an award-winning quarterly magazine for the Learning n Development Community. It has a readership of over 20,000 professionals world-wide.