The 4 Biggest Social Media Trends in HR Right Now

Effectively managing the risks and rewards of social media is one of the biggest challenges faced by HR professionals and recruiters today. Many organizations have found novel ways to use social media to recruit outstanding talent, engage their in-house and virtual workforces, as well as manage their global brands. However, while the upside of using social media is quite large, without the proper policies and safeguards in place this same upside can quickly degenerate into a significant organizational liability. HR and recruiting professionals must stay up to date and in the know about social media.

Below are four of the biggest social media trends I see today.

BYOD: Remember in college when BYOB stood for “Bring Your Own Bottle?” Nowadays, the social media catchphrase is BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device.” The key thing for organizations to understand in the brave, new world of “BYOD” is that they can no longer control the access point that employees have to all forms of outbound communication channels. Whether it be emails, tweets, or videos, today’s employees have almost an unlimited number of ways to post any and all sorts of opinions and/or company information.

The Lesson: Companies should anticipate and plan for a previously unheard of level of social activity stemming from within the four walls of the office. This “over-planning” better enables organizations to fully capture the opportunities of social media while minimizing risks.

21st Century Rules for 21st Century Tools: In the early days of social media, courts often struggled to both understand and fairly judge social media infractions. Nowadays, the intersection, some would say “collision,” of social media and employment law is moving at light-speed. On the management side, states are making efforts to regulate or minimize an organization’s ability to gain access to candidate’s social media profiles, with six states having passed legislation which greatly hinders a prospective employer from obtaining this information. On the hourly side, the National Labor Relations Board has recently made a concerted effort to make sure workplace policies do not inappropriately impact Protected Concerted Activity as safeguarded by the National Labor Relations Act.

The Lesson: Keep a keen eye on legal and regulatory social media developments. It’s changing, almost on a monthly basis, and it’s the responsibility of HR professionals to stay in the know.

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Cheaper and Better: Social media has brought about large-scale improvements in the both the sizes of candidate pools as well as the cost of screening candidates. Whether it be the adoption of “cyber-dating” like applications which promise to optimally match employers with job-seekers or the rapid spread of video interview platforms such as Wowzer, the process of finding and screening candidates has never moved at such an accelerated pace.

The Lesson: Be in the know about social recruiting tools. It can save your organization large amounts of both time and money while connecting you to an even better talent pool.

It’s Not On You, It’s On Us: In the traditional form of recruiting, companies would look to fill a given position at a certain time with a specific individual. In other words, the approach was “I’ll let you know when I have something available and then you can come to us.” Nowadays, companies are saying, “Hey, we know the kinds of people who thrive here and we’d like to chat with you, even if you’re not currently interested in us. This is so we can get to know you even before we know we have a role. If something does come along, we’ll come to you.”

The Lesson: Use social media to build a solid pipeline of strong talent. Your competitors already are.

Steve Miranda is the managing director at Cornell University’s Center for Advanced HR Studies. He is a globally recognized executive and speaker, having traveled to or worked in more than 30 countries.

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