The Internet has changed fundamentally since 15 or 20 years ago. Web 2.0 is now the magic word: information no longer flows in one direction from the sender to the receiver; instead users now generate their own content. This has created new opportunities that can also add value for HR departments. For example, stay-in-touch programs make it possible to maintain contact with former employees via social networks. And students can keep their fingers on the pulse of companies they’re interested in thanks to the Twitter newsfeed.
A recent PwC study clearly shows that, if social media are implemented correctly, they can add value in the field of HR.
Nevertheless, a well thought-through decision-making and implementation process is needed to ensure success. The results also bring to light which hurdles and stumbling blocks an HR team may encounter while trying to successfully implement social media, and what they should pay particular attention to.
There are a few actions which are of use for every HR department, irrespective of sector or focus:
- Get an overview of the platforms and their possible uses so you can find the most suitable platform for your purposes. Your company may already be represented or being discussed on certain platforms – perhaps among customers, perhaps among (potential) employees.
- Create space so that your company can gather experiences with social networks. Don’t try to ban social networks and online communities from the workplace – thanks to smartphones, you’ll never succeed anyway.
- Develop a strategy for using social media. Set rules so that social media are used consistently throughout the company. Don’t only consider HR, but work closely with your PR, marketing, production and compliance departments as well. Don’t set your strategy in stone, otherwise you won’t be able to respond to short-term developments.
- Set clear boundaries for the use of social media. It’s time-consuming and therefore costly to update social media. Concentrate on the platforms that are relevant for you – that way you can make more out of less.
- Make use of the know-how within your company, hold training and brainstorming sessions and allow your employees to feed in their personal experiences with social networks. You’ll be surprised how much knowledge you already have within the company.
- Provide sufficient human resources and equip staff with the necessary skills. It takes time to keep content up to date and communicate with users. Employees entrusted with these tasks need to be able to process input from outside the company quickly and flexibly.
- Integrate social media into your existing HR processes. The new media shouldn’t be managed in isolation, but should be actively linked to onboarding, development and alumni processes, for example. This helps create a consistent and uniform experience.