Social media is hitting human resources in a big way. Forbes predicts that 2013 is the year companies will be integrating social technologies into their recruiting and employee development programs. Silk Road’s State of Social Technology and Talent Management study revealed that three quarters of human resources leaders believe their companies are behind in using social networking technology.

Forbes discusses gamification, incorporating game mechanics into non-game activities like marketing and recruiting, the demise of the resume, Klout scores (ranking on your activity in social media) and personal branding in job search and career advancement, and the change from searching for active job seekers to passive candidates in recruiting. Three areas where HR should consider getting involved in social media are policy, recruiting and employer branding.

Social Media Policy

With advances in technology and quickly evolving social media platforms, HR departments are increasingly tasked with walking a fine line between employee privacy and employer security. The Society for Human Resources Management reports that 40 percent of their members’ organizations have formal social media policies. A social media policy minimizes the risks posed by social media in the workplace when these key points are considered:

  • The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees’ rights to discuss work conditions on social media sites without employer retribution.
  • Employee behavior not protected under the NLRA includes disclosure of trade secrets, use of offensive language and harassing or disparaging comments about employees regarding religion, race, sex or disability.
  • Advise employees in writing with signature acknowledgment that all forms of communication on company equipment are subject to monitoring and train employees on the policy.
  • Enforce the policy equally with all other disciplinary policies.

Job Posting and Recruiting Activities

Recruiters and employers are delving into social media for recruiting, in spite of hesitations about legalities and compliance with employment law. LinkedIn (and LinkedIn Recruiter) is growing into much more than a career profile and resume database as it adds features and redesigns the platform to attract more recruiters and job seekers than ever before.

HR can advertise openings, evaluate candidates, research competitor recruiting and announce recruiting events such as job fairs, internship programs, and on-campus recruiting participation with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts and YouTube. Small employers can compete with larger employers for employees more equitably with low-cost and no-cost social media avenues, saving money on traditional print advertising.

Employer Branding

The traditional resume and cover letter are rapidly becoming obsolete with social media outlets such as LinkedIn where employees showcase their skills and experience. The same is true for employers, who are developing employer branding to attract and retain talent and establish their companies as employers of choice. Social media allows employers to highlight their company cultures, define their open positions, introduce candidates to top management and talk about corporate mission, vision and values online where the prospective employees are.

Image Credit: Google Common Use License

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