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Social Media in the Overall HR Talent Strategy

We are living in a world completely consumed by social media. This is particularly prevalent where millennials and Generation Z are concerned, the generations who have grown up on gadgets and Internet. Statistics show that a whopping 4.48 billion people use social media globally and social media has impacted everything from how we interact with one another to the way we learn about the world. Therefore, it’s only natural that the importance of social media to be taken into consideration in how companies manage its talent attraction and branding strategy.

Social media is an extraordinary [recruitment] opportunity. It’s word of mouth on steroids.

Human Resources Executive

It is such a powerful tool that HR leaders can use it to create meaningful engagements between the organisation and prospective employees. These online engagements around an organisation are critical for building a company’s image as an employer of choice. This makes social media an appropriate tool for corporate branding and engagement.

It is interesting to note that not many HR professionals are keen on using social platforms to find talent. A recent national survey in the US indicates that 24% of the participants ranked social media as their least favourite recruiting strategy. The study concluded that the issue however focuses less on social media and more on HR professionals who did not know how to create a compelling marketing strategy that includes social-media components, and so avoided using social media.

While there are many benefits of social media, its implementation in the day-to-day functioning of HR can be complex. This is because any form of employee engagement requires the participation and support from all other business and corporate functions. HR needs to build its partnership with marketing because most HR leaders generally are not equipped with the right skills or experience at maximising social-media platforms for talent attraction.

Here are some recommendations for HR to incorporate in an organisation’s social media strategy:

  • Review and formulate a strategy that aligns across functions

It would be helpful to start by assessing how the organisation is presently using social media. Which platforms, the tone of voice and general approach. Evaluate how the various posts have performed and decide if that is how the business wishes to be represented. A useful question to consider during the process is if a job seeker were to come across your organisation’s Instagram or Facebook page, for example, would they feel attracted to work for your organisation? Is there an approach that would resonate with them and then make them seek out further information about the company and either apply for a role or keep the company on their radar for future employment?

Other considerations would be to have a robust HR social media strategy that aligns various objectives — not just talent acquisition and other HR goals, but also that of the marketing department because a solid organisation’s vision and value proposition will be attractive to customers and employees.

  • Be approachable, creative and engaging

It’s not advisable to publish the same material up on every platform without modifying it appropriately. Organisations like UPS use social media to showcase their corporate mission and diversity very well. General Mills has dedicated job pages on YouTube and LinkedIn that reach different audiences.

An organisation doesn’t exist without the people who work there, and happy employees make for a more productive and more appealing company. For example, Dell and Microsoft received recognition for how well they highlight their employees and how employees highlight their companies internally and externally in approachable and friendly ways. The Marriott Careers Instagram page, which is designed for both employees and potential employees, features real employees sharing advice, answering questions, and their testimonials. It’s important to use internal and external HR social media to strive for employee engagement and job-seeker engagement.

  • Promise to be responsive

Engagement needs to be a two-way street and HR professionals have a big role to play. It’s crucial for HR professionals to respond to candidates who make comments or leave questions and the responses need to be genuine and original. This will help the organisation to differentiate itself as one that takes the time to make personal connections with its online audience.

Where do we go from here?

HR needs to play more than just a supporting role in social media. Social media can redefine employee engagement, employer branding, and talent acquisition for organisations and so HR needs to work closely with marketing and the rest of the business to ensure that they use various platforms in the appropriate way to position themselves and the company to attract the right talent to the organisation. Adhoc posts and interaction are now insufficient. HR has a critical role to play in setting the organisation apart from the rest and creating a valuable and meaningful online presence.


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