It is no longer uncommon for one to start their day off by checking their Facebook newsfeed or updating their status on Twitter. With that mentioned, it is without doubt that social media has turned into a part and parcel of our everyday life; making a huge impact on most of us. In a recent statistic report, it is stated by Daniells (2012) that on the average, there are 3. 5 billion pieces of information being shared on popular social media Facebook every single month (para. 3).
It demonstrates how frequently used are social media and how powerful social media is as a tool. In addition to affecting individuals, a recent research stated that among the fortune 500 companies, it is indicated that 58% have active corporate Facebook account and 62% having a Twitter account (Daniells, 2012, para. 3). Affecting almost everything that revolves around us, it is certain that social media would too have an impact on Human Resources, where human capitals are powered. Social media now plays a major role in the hiring process.
Citing a recent research by Society for Human Resources (SHRM), Doyle (2011) stated that companies using social networking site to hire showed a steady increase from 34% in the year 2008 to 56% 2011 (para. 1). This comes to show how much impact social media have on one of the key functions of human resources, the hiring process. Many might now question, so how major social media help in the hiring process? First and foremost, social media is able to reach out to the masses thus serving as a tool for major or minor companies to connect with the mass and hire.
In a recent study conducted by Titlow (2011), it is reported that a whopping 89% of the companies in just America itself uses social media as a tool in reaching out to the mass to hire (para. 2). This comes to show how rampant and fast moving it is for companies using social media to aid the major function of hiring. Among all the social media available, LinkedIn is the most popular source used in the hiring process. So what is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the leading online professional directory of individuals and companies (Doyle, n. . , para. 1). In addition to connecting people in the business world, LinkedIn is also a platform that allows employers to post the various jobs available in the company. Prospective employees that are interested in the various jobs can apply through LinkedIn in a simple click of a button. Besides advertising the jobs available, LinkedIn provides detailed information of various companies for both applicants and business partners in the various industries which empowers and enhances communications in different businesses.
Apart from using social media to reach out to the masses to hire, social media is too a popular platform for employers to screen employees prior to hiring each individual. Third party companies are engaged to screen potential hires before employing them and coast is not all clear after one is being accepted into companies, companies will continue to run from time to time to check on their employees. Employers would also not hesitate to fire employees if information provided on social media were found to be not satisfactory.
Based on a recent report, Dobrin (2011) stated that among the employers that uses social media as a pre-employment screening, 18% of the employers found content on various social media that helped a potential employee in clinching the job. On the contrary, 35% of the employers had found information on social media that influenced them not to hire a candidate (para. 2). In the same report, it stated the various content that lead to prospective employers hiring a candidate while doing pre-employment screening.
Based on the candidate’s profile, a few crucial factors that lead to hiring candidates include: Being able to get a good feel of the candidate, candidate being truthful in their qualifications and various personality traits such as creativity, outstanding social communication skills and being all rounded. On the flipside, employers have too found unsatisfactory information posted the various social media that leads to them in not hiring a candidate or even firing a current employee.
Ranked in order, below are the top reasons that deter an employer from hiring: Posting of inappropriate photographs or information, content about them using drugs and drinking alcohol, bad mouthing about previous employer, colleagues or even clients, having poor communication skills, making discriminatory comments, lying about qualifications and lastly providing confidential information about their past employers are all factors affecting their employment (Dobrin, 2011, para. 2). Employees and applicants who think that ocial media and their private life have no influence over getting or losing their jobs, would now have to think twice about it. This once again comes to show that how social media have an increasing impacts on Human Resources major functions of hiring and dismissing workers. On top of that employers would also have to bear in mind that social media would too have a negative impact on the company if interviewees feeling sour after an interview or employees are unhappy working in the company.
It is not uncommon for prospective candidate or staff of various companies to post their resentment or work related on popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter or other social media, which may give a considerable dent to the company’s reputation. Other than affecting the hiring and firing process of Human Resources, social media is too a good communication and networking tool for employers and employees in an organization. This is particularly useful in Multinational Corporation or larger scale companies where employees could range from hundreds to thousands.
It is understandable that it is close to impossible for all the staff in the various departments to mingle with staff from other departments in such large corporations or organizations. Thus with the usage of social media, companies are able to mitigate such issues that arises in the company. By using social media as a communication tool, employees are able to better understand and connect with people outside of their department and even socialize with all other employees in the same company that they rarely get to see or mingle with.
Based on the information and profile page, employees are able to gain more information on various co- workers. A good illustration would be that employees can now get to know co-workers with similar hobbies and form groups on their own to allow better networking even after work. This foster unity and closer bonding in companies that is difficult to achieve from other platforms. With better bonding in companies, it is no doubt that it will boost productivity and overall morale in the company.
Companies that branch out to overseas can too improve communications by using social media to make up for the cultural differences and lack of communications due the international status of companies. This communication tool is not only useful for large companies; it can be utilized on small and medium enterprises as well. For example, in a recent interview that I went, communications are no longer established through the normal phone calls or snail mails. The usage of emails and social media platform are definitely more prolific.
I work in a small scale events company; we often have mini online discussions to delegating the jobs and how to execute the event when there are any upcoming events. My employer and I rarely communicate through our mobiles. We often communicate based on emails and the company even set up a Facebook group to facilitate communications and work related discussions. We are also allowed to share our opinions and views on certain work related matters. In addition, any bonding activities or outings were too discussed and voted on Facebook.
This facilitates communication as everyone can discuss together at their own convenience and the time taken to decide on such matters are now effectively shortened. This is definitely one good example on how social media can improve the function of networking and communications in a company. Last but not least, in Singapore’s context, albeit the usage of social media as a tool to hire and screen employees is not widespread in the as of yet, our local market is slowly picking up.
In using the empowerment of social media in the various Human Resources functions, the landscape of local job seekers is now moving towards a new change and direction. We thus cannot overlook the importance and impact of social media on Singapore. A study conducted by Kelly Services (2011), a well-known employment agency in Singapore and worldwide stated that 21% of the respondents stated that they currently looking into social media for employments in addition to the various recruitment websites.
It demonstrates that social media is active in Singapore as well as a recruitment tool. Though slower than other countries, we are surely not lagging behind. However, it is also stated in the same study that more than one third of the respondents expressed their concern that social media might negatively impact their career when unwanted information are being shared. Thus, this group of employees intentionally changed the content posted on the various social media to prevent themselves from getting into trouble.
To well prevent unpleasant incidents that arise from the use of social network, 36% of the respondents stated that companies implemented regulations to govern the usage of social media. In my point of view, I would say that social media brings about more pros than cons to Human Resources Management. The amount of people that social media as a platform can reach out is countless and not able to be replicated by other systems that are currently in place. Social media not only act as a recruitment platform, it acts as a networking platform that allows workers and companies to communicate much more effectively thus broadening their network.
Furthermore, more and more companies are incorporating social media alongside with their day to day operations and their human resource practices due to the benefits the system can reap. Since social media is so die casted into the current world and age, there is no reason for Human Resources to not use this powerful tool in their daily operations. Many might then argue that social media brings about negative impacts to Human Resources Management such as the invasion of privacy of employees, abusing the social media system so on and so forth.
I would however say that there are two sides to a coin and it inescapable that social media might bring negative impacts in relation to Human Resources issues. We should then always look on the bright side and appropriately use this platform to improve the various functions that human resources can carry out such as recruitment and training development in an organization. On top of that, the bonding opportunities that social media can bring to a corporation is priceless, it allows employees to connect better, like in my case how my employer created a Facebook page for discussions and networking.
With such better understanding we can definitely work better with our co-workers which will improve the quality of our output and create a healthier working environment. To sum all up, advancement in technologies such as usage of social media are inevitable, we should embrace the possibilities and advantages that social media can bring to aid in human resources functions. If systems are well calibrated and used appropriately it will no doubt boost the productivity and overall morale of the Human Resources department and the organization on the whole.