Embrace the power of social media


Remember that old thing called the internet? Organisations were convinced that employees would spend all day exploring the web and not getting any work done. The battle continues – except this time social media is the battleground.

I’m perplexed. In spite of the mounting evidence to support the benefits of engagement in social media, why would you want to restrict your workforce from tapping into networks of millions? It’s my belief that people come from a place of good intent and that everyone is trying to do the right thing. If you have a policy to prevent staff from doing the wrong thing or wasting time then, to me, you are essentially treating a symptom of an underlying performance issue. It’s high time that the HR world moved from analogue to digital.

Is social media always a peripheral activity that gets in the way of real work? This kind of thinking may be hindering your recruitment efforts – especially if targeting the Gen Y demographic.

Social media has already become a weapon in the war for talent.  A recent study found that young professionals are searching for working environments that accommodate social media, device freedom and remote work options. And trust me when I say that they’re prepared to take a lower salary to get it. Yep, the desire of young professionals to dabble and work in this space more freely is even strong enough to influence their future job choices.

A recent CISCO study highlights the seriousness of the next gens workforce demands. More than half of young employees surveyed said they would accept a lower paying job that had more flexibility with regard to device choice, social media access and mobility than a higher paid job with less flexibility.  It gets better. More than half of uni students surveyed globally said that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would decline the job offer, or find a way to compromise existing policy.

Social media is like word of mouth on narcotics. It has the unique ability to amplify debate, so previously hidden voices and opinions of an organisation, whether positive or negative, can be more apparent. While this terrifies suspicious HR folk, when you encourage a process of interaction between entities that are different, you are left with an important insight – a non-linear interaction between people that helps us challenge our current paradigm.

The so-called experts in this space say control, or clamping down on employees using social media is not an option and is more likely to result in more rather that less misuse. Social media cannot be controlled – it is simply too open, too vast, too unregulated, and often too anonymous.

Legendary examples of organisations that have got it right include Dell Computers, which has set up an internal social media and Community University to train staff across all its business units.  Even colleagues in the public sector are getting the point. The Victorian Department of Justice has produced a simple short video to encourage and guide employees in using social media. Over 70,000 hits. I suspect about 69,990 more hits than your average social media policy.

Tip 1: If you put fences around people you get sheep and sheep are notoriously stupid.

Tip 2: Nothing amazing has ever been done in isolation – embrace the power of social media.

Tip 3: Get ready for social mania.  The next wave of social media activity will be at an enterprise level. Internal social networks will soon flourish.

Tip 4: Social media is here! Stop waiting for the messiah.

Reanna Browne is an Adviser in Strategic Workforce Planning & Development in the NT and is the 2011 winner of the AHRI HR Rising Star of the Year. Reanna’s views on social media are her own and are an excerpt of her keynote presentation delivered at the Darwin AHRI HR Practices Day.

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Justine Mills
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Justine Mills

Hi,
I agree with the key points raised in this article. The team at Head Hunters Recruitment use Social Media all day long to keep in contact with both clients and candidates. We agree with the recurring message of the article – better to join the flow of traffic than fight it. Great article. Best wishes
Justine at Head Hunters Recruitment Brisbane

Loren de Laine at Johnson and Johnson Pacific
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Loren de Laine at Johnson and Johnson Pacific

To Reanna’s point, organisations’ choices in social media adoption and usage are indicative of their ability to innovate and move with the changing times. Candidates are becoming increasingly savvy in evaluating their future employers and demonstration of new innovation and a Company’s willingness to adapt and change will become increasingly critical in attracting high potential talent moving forward.

Michael Cains
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Michael Cains

Spot on! Organisations that restrict social media access could be compared to those 50 years ago who restricted access to telephones. And with smartph0nes staff have access anyway. I think an organisation who puts up a case not to allow has a fundamental problem with trust or the capability of staff and managers to use social media constructively. An employee who is spending all day chatting to Facebook friends would probably be the same person who spent all day on the phone making private calls. The same applies – allow use, allow intelligence, and use it to further your business… Read more »

Yvonne Walker
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Yvonne Walker

Completely agree!! Organisations should make policies to cater to the 95% of people who come from the right intent (to quote your blog) and not the 5% of people who don’t.
I’ve had to counsel a staff member for inappropriate use of social media during working hours in a previous role – and I would still advocate for allowing staff to use the amazing scope of social media to contribute to the profitability of your business.

More on HRM

Embrace the power of social media


Remember that old thing called the internet? Organisations were convinced that employees would spend all day exploring the web and not getting any work done. The battle continues – except this time social media is the battleground.

I’m perplexed. In spite of the mounting evidence to support the benefits of engagement in social media, why would you want to restrict your workforce from tapping into networks of millions? It’s my belief that people come from a place of good intent and that everyone is trying to do the right thing. If you have a policy to prevent staff from doing the wrong thing or wasting time then, to me, you are essentially treating a symptom of an underlying performance issue. It’s high time that the HR world moved from analogue to digital.

Is social media always a peripheral activity that gets in the way of real work? This kind of thinking may be hindering your recruitment efforts – especially if targeting the Gen Y demographic.

Social media has already become a weapon in the war for talent.  A recent study found that young professionals are searching for working environments that accommodate social media, device freedom and remote work options. And trust me when I say that they’re prepared to take a lower salary to get it. Yep, the desire of young professionals to dabble and work in this space more freely is even strong enough to influence their future job choices.

A recent CISCO study highlights the seriousness of the next gens workforce demands. More than half of young employees surveyed said they would accept a lower paying job that had more flexibility with regard to device choice, social media access and mobility than a higher paid job with less flexibility.  It gets better. More than half of uni students surveyed globally said that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would decline the job offer, or find a way to compromise existing policy.

Social media is like word of mouth on narcotics. It has the unique ability to amplify debate, so previously hidden voices and opinions of an organisation, whether positive or negative, can be more apparent. While this terrifies suspicious HR folk, when you encourage a process of interaction between entities that are different, you are left with an important insight – a non-linear interaction between people that helps us challenge our current paradigm.

The so-called experts in this space say control, or clamping down on employees using social media is not an option and is more likely to result in more rather that less misuse. Social media cannot be controlled – it is simply too open, too vast, too unregulated, and often too anonymous.

Legendary examples of organisations that have got it right include Dell Computers, which has set up an internal social media and Community University to train staff across all its business units.  Even colleagues in the public sector are getting the point. The Victorian Department of Justice has produced a simple short video to encourage and guide employees in using social media. Over 70,000 hits. I suspect about 69,990 more hits than your average social media policy.

Tip 1: If you put fences around people you get sheep and sheep are notoriously stupid.

Tip 2: Nothing amazing has ever been done in isolation – embrace the power of social media.

Tip 3: Get ready for social mania.  The next wave of social media activity will be at an enterprise level. Internal social networks will soon flourish.

Tip 4: Social media is here! Stop waiting for the messiah.

Reanna Browne is an Adviser in Strategic Workforce Planning & Development in the NT and is the 2011 winner of the AHRI HR Rising Star of the Year. Reanna’s views on social media are her own and are an excerpt of her keynote presentation delivered at the Darwin AHRI HR Practices Day.

4
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Justine Mills
Guest
Justine Mills

Hi,
I agree with the key points raised in this article. The team at Head Hunters Recruitment use Social Media all day long to keep in contact with both clients and candidates. We agree with the recurring message of the article – better to join the flow of traffic than fight it. Great article. Best wishes
Justine at Head Hunters Recruitment Brisbane

Loren de Laine at Johnson and Johnson Pacific
Guest
Loren de Laine at Johnson and Johnson Pacific

To Reanna’s point, organisations’ choices in social media adoption and usage are indicative of their ability to innovate and move with the changing times. Candidates are becoming increasingly savvy in evaluating their future employers and demonstration of new innovation and a Company’s willingness to adapt and change will become increasingly critical in attracting high potential talent moving forward.

Michael Cains
Guest
Michael Cains

Spot on! Organisations that restrict social media access could be compared to those 50 years ago who restricted access to telephones. And with smartph0nes staff have access anyway. I think an organisation who puts up a case not to allow has a fundamental problem with trust or the capability of staff and managers to use social media constructively. An employee who is spending all day chatting to Facebook friends would probably be the same person who spent all day on the phone making private calls. The same applies – allow use, allow intelligence, and use it to further your business… Read more »

Yvonne Walker
Guest
Yvonne Walker

Completely agree!! Organisations should make policies to cater to the 95% of people who come from the right intent (to quote your blog) and not the 5% of people who don’t.
I’ve had to counsel a staff member for inappropriate use of social media during working hours in a previous role – and I would still advocate for allowing staff to use the amazing scope of social media to contribute to the profitability of your business.

More on HRM