Lately I had many conversations and debates with colleagues from my company regarding the social media in general, and especially their use at work. By colleagues I mean not only HR people but also people from Risk mgmt, corporate banking etc.
Yeah, kinda forgot to mention – for those that don’t know me that good – am working for a large CEE Bank, both on national (training and development in Serbia) and international level (various programs).
Now, for a GenY representative close to GenX by age, working in a Banking Group, no matter how modern it is, is already a huge challenge. Banks are meant to be safe and secure, so there are so many procedures and rules that simply piss me off sometimes.
I mean, I do understand why there is a need for rules in a Bank, of course, but it looks like that people sometimes invent them just to be able to both defend themselves for being inefficient and to be able to make more steps in the process and make it pretty much ineffective. Not to mention that quite often security means locking computers but not educating people to delete important data from shared folders etc…
In conversations I mentioned earlier, I got feedback that all social media networks have to be forbiden on all computers during working hours, because they are such a distraction. Others were amazed that I constantly have TweetDeck started with twitter, facebook and linkedin feeds moving on the screen all the time. They told me that when I get older I won’t be able to have such concentration.
And these guys are probably right. Social media are a huge distraction. And it’s definitely not easy to follow feeds from 3 different services with who knows how many different topics, while at the same time being focused on the 3 full days offline meeting with 10-20 people in the same room.
It is not easy for them. I understand and accept.
However, for myself, this is not just an ability to do 2 things at the same time. For me social media is the way of living, in a way. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin are tools, not just platforms to play Farmville or Treasure hunt and other games, or to put your half-naked photos of last nights party or even to fulfil your voyeristic needs…
And no, I’m not a freak. 🙂 I just use all of these networks for every day business… On that particular meeting, I was following a hashtag of people tweeting from some conference…
Of course, I do understand that not everyone is this deep into social media and ethics at the same time, so I do have realistic expectations, but I still think that forbidding social media at work is a bad idea. People should be educated how to use it properly and you can easily have all your employees as strong advocates of your brand online.
(Not to be understood wrongly – many older employees easily hop on this high-tech-social-media train, however I’ve put emphasis on GenY-ers as they are all into it)
Now, allow me to try to give you an overview of how social media can be used, in HR in particular.
Most obvious and the most used scenario is recruitment – almost all recruiters are nowadays using linkedin and facebook to both search for candidates, as well as to do a background check on them.
However, most of them are not doing that properly. God knows how many times have I been contacted for jobs I simply don’t fit into (not all people in banks are financial analysts :)).
Also, recruiters should set all prejudices aside before screening candidates, because candidate’s political views or crazy party photos are not something that really affects business directly (unless you are a human rights organization and his profile picture is with KKK hat :).
Free tip: instead of being so narrow, try to dig a bit deeper. Point is – don’t search for negative content (because you will find it for sure), but on the contrary – check if his online behavior fits into your corporate culture, check if he is active in groups that promote the same values like your company. Check his interests too, and compare them to those he wrote in the CV – see which ones he expresses the most, and chances are that you are very close to his social profile.
Even if most of the social media buzz in HR world is about recruitment, it doesn’t end there. Far from that, as a matter of fact…
You noticed that these youngsters that you are hiring lately are not playing the same game as you did back in the days, right? They seem to arrogant, often ignorant, no respect for formal authorities? Yup, I know, not easy to handle…
But you know what? in most cases, it is not their fault. You are the one that threw them on the road that doesn’t fit their tires. Don’t get it? Did you try driving a Smart car offroad? You just don’t do that… 🙂
Free tip: prepare a fitting working place for them. Every generation needs different environment to feel comfortable, so they do too. Their environment is high-tech, with flexible working hours and connectivity everywhere. For you a Blackberry or Iphone is something that by hierarchy only top managers get, while for them it’s just one of the basic, default tools. Also, they erased the dividing line between private and business life and are using their private networks in everyday business all the time (example: hey, do you know anything about this training company? -umm, I think that this company used them earlier this year, lemme check! (he msgs his friend in this company and minutes later info is there)).
If you now think that your company is “not that old-fashioned”, because you have modern structure, training programs, advertising etc. please check out the latest shift:
What do you think now? Do your employees feel “fit” in the working environment you are offering? Are they satisfied enough not to consider all the headhunters calling all the time?
Now stop thinking and act.
…to be continued…