Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Five Tips for Companies Dealing with Social Media Oversharing

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

The following is a guest post from Paige Holden. She is the Director of Communications for XONEX Relocation and Holman Moving Systems. She is also the lead editor and regular blogger for Mastering Mobility: HR’s Guide to Relo. This article was originally written for Software Advice, a company that reviews and recommends HRIS solutions to companies seeking to streamline their HR functions. 

social media sharingSocial media sharing has changed almost every aspect of the workplace. Acting as the great equalizer, employees may have just as much visibility on the web (and sometimes more) as their employer.

And now that younger workers are entering the workforce–a generation that grew up with these social media tools and personal transparency as the norm–HR departments that have traditionally kept a tight lid on sensitive information are faced with a new challenge: how to keep confidential and proprietary information under wraps.

Now more than ever, employers need to have a plan in place to deal with office gossip and complaints that, in the past, were confined to the relative obscurity of the break room. These rumors and gripes can now go viral, impacting a company’s reputation–and perhaps even their bottom line.

So what can companies do to prepare themselves for online oversharing? I’ve outlined five strategies businesses can employ to stay on top of the online conversation:

1. Be Aware

The first step to managing social media behavior is to know that Pandora’s box has been opened. Conversations that used to happen at the water cooler are absolutely happening online today. It’s human nature to want to learn as much as possible about the things that affect you—and workplace issues fundamentally affect us all, in different ways, every day. Salary, health benefits, relocation benefits and inter-office politics are ripe for discussion and debate.

Often, the knee-jerk reaction is to over-regulate, but this can square companies against employees’ freedom of speech—a losing battle from both a legal and reputational perspective.

2. Have Departments Collaborate to Monitor the Conversation

Foraging into social media without proper experience or knowledge is a bad idea. If companies want to have a larger and more influential presence on the web, departments should collaborate for optimal results. Social media monitoring is a great opportunity for the HR and communications (or marketing) departments to work together.

3. Look for Patterns and Address Issues Accordingly

Identifying common types of conversations and complaints can help you figure out employees’ main concerns so you can take steps to resolve them.

Having a broad view of the conversation can also help HR managers identify trouble spots in the company and give management teams real-time feedback on workforce issues, which is a great tool for tweaking policies and mitigating any discontent.

4. Develop and Execute a Social Media Policy

A good social media policy will remove any guesswork when it comes to what should and shouldn’t be shared on social media, and remind employees why certain things should remain private.

5. Create Layers of Transparency

The million dollar question is whether or not social media and oversharing will push companies to be more transparent. The answer is yes—both internally and externally.

As we continue to move forward into the digital age with employees who demand open lines of communication, HR managers will have to take a good, hard look at corporate culture. Is it shifting? Are employees’ needs changing? Most importantly, is HR changing with them? Sometimes it’s easier to tune out the noise. But the reality is that the world is changing quickly, and companies that are open and engaged will have a distinct competitive advantage, especially as it pertains to recruitment and retention.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Introducing Social Media into Your Recruitment Process

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The post below was contributed by Greg Moran, the CEO of Chequed.com, a Predictive Talent Selection suite used by organizations like Subway and Disney to hire better. You can keep up to date with Greg on twitter @CEOofChequed.

As the liability of a bad hire increases, recruiters around the world are embarking on the search for new, more effective means for finding the right candidates.  Yet, there’s no reason to take to the hills or sail the seven seas if the plethora of social media remains untapped by your HR department. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t just about status updates and games like Farmville anymore. They also serve as great facilitators for the candidate selection process.

However, the question isn’t only whether or not you’re using social media, but whether you’re using it effectively. You won’t be surprised to learn that by only occasionally posting available positions or haphazardly firing out job alerts on Twitter won’t win the heart of many candidates. Rather, it’s important to use social media in a way that not only scans for potential candidates, but that truly connects your HR department with quality candidates.

But before we go any further, we must first note that while social media and web research can be invaluably beneficial, it is critical that prospective employers use such tools ethically. Recruiters are responsible for investigating candidate and reference checks in a manner that is objective and in accordance with legal standards (for more information checkout the legal issues of reference checking). Information pertaining to a candidate’s health, sexual orientation or religion should be avoided at best, ignored at the least. As long as such sentiments are clear, recruiters are encouraged to jump into the world of social media with enthusiasm and high expectations!

Earlier this year, Bullhorn and CareerXroads both released reports indicating that LinkedIn was the most relied upon social media tool of all recruiters. But there’s no reason to put all of your eggs in one basket!  Get creative; branch out.  For instance, the same Bullhorn report found that a Twitter follower is nearly three times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection. Pinterest, the site of virtual personalized pin boards, and Foursquare, the individualized GPS system, are both great tools for researching a candidate’s background.  Likewise, they can provide a fair amount of information regarding the candidate’s intentions and ambitions.

Similarly, wise recruiters understand that leading candidates can often be linked back to the references they provide and that these references may one day become job candidates themselves.  Be sure to call upon the social media described above to learn more about the names listed as references on a candidate’s application. Doing so may not only validate the quality of the reference, but may also allow for a quality opportunity to network with the reference.

It’s important to understand that much of social media is user generated, indicating that your candidate may have carefully censored the information he or she made available. So to supplement the smorgasbord of sometimes-bias social media, don’t forget to include basic Google searches in your candidate selection process.  Google has a tendency to turn up information that is not user generated, but that will be equally vital in your selection process, such as previous convictions.

While recruiting is an age-old field, the methods involved therein don’t need to be antiquated.  Social media, when used effectively and ethically, allows human resource representatives to increase productivity, reduce total expenditure, and subsequently improve hiring outcomes. It’s an equation that makes sense.

 

3 Workplace Practices to Clean Up this Spring

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Today is the first day of spring. During the season of rebirth and renewal, people are eager to clean out their cluttered garages, revamp their tired wardrobes or get started on projects they keep putting off. Similarly to the improved changes you can make to yourself or your home, your organization can also take part in a transformation.

Giving your company a good spring cleaning will help you uncover inefficient and unnecessary workflows or outgrown policies and procedures. Here are three areas you should be sure to keep clean:

Social Media

More than 50 percent of people in the United States visit social media sites. The different internet communication channels will help you showcase your brand and connect with your customers in several ways. However, if you don’t have a strong social media policy, the disadvantages of the tools might outweigh the benefits. Drafting a sound policy can protect your company from risks, such as a reveal of confidential documents or slander from disgruntled employees. See what to include in your social media policy here: Create a Social Media Policy to Protect Your Business and Employer Brand.

Employee Reviews

Giving your staff positive and constructive feedback is critical for the development of their careers and the success of your organization. Annual reviews include the summation of the feedback you give to your team members throughout the year and the goals you want to help them accomplish. Make sure you take adequate time to prepare for them. Performance reviews conducted correctly help your employees focus on achieving success. See how your performance review process measures up here: Four Key Elements for Conducting Productive Employee Performance Reviews.

Low Performers and Poor Behavior

Poor performance can impede workplace productivity. Useless distractions or careless mistakes from staff members waste your organizations resources, time and money. Coworkers of poor behaving employees can also be affected if they have to pick up the slack or spend more time fixing errors. Although confronting low-performing workers can be challenging, taking care of the situation quickly will help your organization maintain success and high employee morale. See tips for helping your poor performers improve their work habits here: Addressing Poor Performance in the Workplace.

Keep the practices in these three areas of people management up to date and well documented to set your company up for year-round success. For more information on workplace spring cleaning tips, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Create a Social Media Policy to Protect Your Business and Employer Brand

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Nearly 64 percent of internet users in the United States visit social networking sites, according to data from eMarketer. Knowing that more than half of the country’s internet users participate on these sites, it is a safe bet to assume that some of your employees are also participating.  

Social media allows organizations to increase their brand awareness and interact on multiple levels with their customers. Although your company will experience several benefits when taking part in different networking sites, there are risks to be aware of as well.

As an employer, it is important to understand how your workforce’s interactions on the internet can affect your company and brand. Legal experts recommend drafting a policy that informs employees of appropriate uses of social media to help your company reduce its risk of unfavorable business situations, which can include but are not limited to:

  • A reveal of confidential or propriety information
  • The presence of negative comments about your company from employees
  •  A lawsuit regarding copyright infringement

Include the following must-have subjects in your company’s policy to reduce adverse effects from social media:

Guidelines

State that your company respects employees’ rights to use social networking sites. Inform them that you understand social media’s importance and their desire to express themselves. Let them know, however, that you have created guidelines to embrace the emerging technology and ensure that they use it responsibly. Make it clear to employees that your company’s policies regarding issues, such as equal employment opportunity and harassment, also apply to their use of social media at work.

Responsibility

Notify employees that their activity on social media sites should not be considered private. Although many networks allow their users to control their privacy settings, employees must be aware that others, including their friends, followers or connections, will view their content. They should also know that their actions on the internet are permanent, even if they make attempts to remove or delete information or conceal their identity. Explain to employees that they should use common sense and consider how their actions on social media can affect the company’s reputation and their own. Include language that says employees can be held legally liable for their online activities.

Respect

Protect your organization by encouraging employees who are upset, frustrated or angry to have private conversations with their managers or coworkers instead of posting critical comments on social media sites. Taking this step will help protect your employer brand. Employees must respect company information, whether it concerns coworkers or customers. Your policy should state that workers can not disclose confidential or propriety company information on the internet, and they will be disciplined if they do. Additionally, make employees aware of copyright and fair use rules. They need to know that copyright infringement and plagiarism laws also apply to the internet, so they should reference their sources and abide by copyright standards.

Data shows that some of your employees are most likely interacting with social media. Defend your brand and educate employees by drafting a comprehensive policy. For more information on using social media to promote business and avoid risks, or for additional help on drafting a policy, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: webtreats

Are You Using Social Media for Employee Communications Yet?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The post below is a guest blog from Stephanie Clark who serves as the Marketing Coordinator and Social Media Manager for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services.

Have you seen the social media traffic stats on the night of Sunday, May 1, 2011? While President Barack Obama announced to the world that a U.S. military team killed Osama Bin Laden, Twitter topped 5,000 tweets per second.  Care to guess how many of your employees updated their Facebook status that night? The news spread like wildfire on various social media channels, per CNN’s report, as details unfolded through reputable and highly-followed twitter users.

More and more businesses are jumping into social media to educate consumers and create brand awareness. At the same time, this way of communicating has also changed how organizations approach their own workforce, by offering another method of sending out information. A 2010 Watson Wyatt survey showed the most popular topics to engage employees through social media are collaboration and team building, adapting to change, and promoting health and wellness. On the other hand, for messages around business changes, employees widely prefer face-to-face communication. Social media provides another avenue to engage employees in a way they like to receive information.

Paper memos are a thing of the past. Long-winded emails may be going in that direction as well. Here’s a thought: Try pasting the next employee memo you compose into Microsoft Word and conduct a Flesch-Kincaid readability test. If your memo scores higher than a seventh or eighth grade level, some employees may not understand it. It’s hard for employees to genuinely care about what goes on in your company when information is presented at a level they don’t understand. Keep it simple if you want to reach everyone in your company with the message.

For years now, IBM has engaged with employees through social media, even before they used social media externally for marketing. Companies such as Virgin Media have gone the route of video blogging on a YouTube channel exclusively for employees. Viewers see and hear someone as if they are speaking only to them, and yet a wide audience is being reached.  Also, this offers workers the opportunity for commenting in a public forum.

Who doesn’t like to hold the remote? Like most individuals, your employees probably prefer to control their own communication experience. By asking questions, offering suggestions and learning other employees’ perspectives, they create news that is relevant to them on a level that makes sense. What is a better way to become a true stakeholder? Forums, blogs and social networks are a great way to encourage employees to connect and interact.

If you’re not using social media in your organization yet, internally or externally, it’s never too late to start. Many resources are out there to help you get started. A few helpful links are listed below.

How to create a LinkedIn company page
http://learn.linkedin.com/company-pages/

How to create a Facebook page for your business
http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

How to create a YouTube channel
http://www.ehow.com/how_4493894_create-youtube-channel.html

How to create a Twitter account
http://support.twitter.com/entries/100990-how-to-sign-up-on-twitter

How to optimize your Facebook privacy for business
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/12067/How-to-Optimize-Your-Facebook-Privacy-for-Business.aspx

Six non-fluff answers to your social media questions
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10268/6-Non-Fluff-Answers-to-Your-Social-Media-Questions.aspx

An Analysis of Our Social Media in the Workplace Survey

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

From July 29 through Aug. 29, 2010, CAI conducted a survey on “Social Media in the Workplace” with 227 member organizations. The results have been compiled and include some of the following observations:

  • Social media policies in member organizations vary widely. While 24 percent have formal policies in place, 33 percent have only guidelines and 43 percent have none.
  • Depending on job role, 41 percent allow employees to access social media during work hours. Fewer (25 percent) allow access regardless of job role, while 35 percent do not allow access at all.

  • More than a third of respondents reported obstacles to using social media in their organizations. They included lack of policies or guidelines in place (47 percent); impact on employee productivity (46 percent); concern about legal issues (46 percent); and lack of knowledge in using tools (44 percent).
  • Nearly half of all organizations surveyed use social media for networking/relationship building and branding/marketing. Another 20 percent are considering using social media for these initiatives.
  • Some 30 to 41 percent use social media for external communication, reaching new customers, recruiting and sales.
  • A large majority (84 percent) of organizations believe their use of social media for business purposes will increase over the next one to three years.

The results indicate that while most respondents believe social media will be part of the business world in the near future, if not already in their current activities, they are not necessarily setting any guidelines or policy on its use. Legal experts are warning that an absence of such rules can result in  situations of employees using social media that put employers at risk, including:

  • Revealing confidential or proprietary information via social media that can be viewed by millions.
  • Making discriminatory or other critical comments regarding the company, its employees and/or its clients.
  • Promoting the company’s services or products without disclosing the employment relationship.

CAI can provide your company with guidelines in developing a social media policy that satisfies any goals you and your organization have regarding using social media effectively for recruiting, sales and/or networking while providing you with adequate legal coverage for employees who abuse the privilege.

For information on how to create this policy or to discuss related issues to this item, including more survey results, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Liako

Employee Social Media Use at Work – What Can (Or Should) You Do?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

While more than half of CIOs report completely restricting their employees from accessing social media sites during work hours, there has been at the same time a general rise in social media use at offices. Such an apparent contradiction can result in confusion and even anger at the workplace, particularly for new hires who could visit social media sites at a previous job but now encounter restricted or no availability at all for those sites at their new positions.

To add to the dilemma, how can an organization forbidding social media activity monitor employees who partake of them on their personal mobile devices? It is a growing concern among owners and operators of businesses in all sizes, and unfortunately, according to the latest word from the American Bar Association, it is still unclear legally how much control employers can exert over their employees.

Yet there are some basic measures you can take, if you feel uncomfortable about an outright social media ban yet do not want your employees to spend an excessive amount of time updating their status on Facebook, Twitter and the like. They include the following:

  1. Inform employees that the terms of your company’s equal employment opportunity, sexual harassment and other policies extend to social media use at work as well. They do not have a license to blog on whatever they feel like on your company time.
  2. Review with your employees the fact that commenting about legal matters or litigation involving your organization via social media is not allowed. The same rule applies to any work-related grievances.
  3. Encourage employees to ask questions and discuss issues with their supervisors regarding whether their social media activity may affect their workplace. This dialogue can help them realize the differences between their personal opinions and the positions taken by your organization, and why it is essential to separate them.
  4. Remind them that the Internet is permanent, even if they “remove/delete” the comment later or attempt to make it anonymous. They should know they can be held personally responsible for any content you post online. That warning alone may curtail them from extraneous social media activity.
  5. Employees should know they can be held legally liable for anything they write or present online. That includes, but is not limited to, commentary, content, or images judged defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous, or creating a hostile work environment.

For more details on how you can establish social media use policies for your employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: heyjudegallery

CAI is on Twitter

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

We are pleased to announce the introduction of CAI’s new Twitter account, @CAIHR!

Our new Twitter account will be used as a forum to share and discuss current stories and events in the world of HR.  Through this account, we look forward to connecting more personally with other professionals and discussing the latest employer issues.  We are constantly finding interesting articles and cases that we can now offer immediately with others who hold common interests.

We also look forward to hearing what other HR professionals have to say and learning from them.  We are excited about the dialogue that will come from our page as well as meeting new people throughout the world of HR.

We invite you to follow us to keep up with the latest information and stay involved. We hope you will take the time to visit our page, share your thoughts with us and tell others who are interested to join us as followers as well.

Using Social Media for Employee Communications

Friday, May 28th, 2010

It’s an all too familiar refrain from HR professionals – employees missing response deadlines, asking why and when their benefits were changed, and getting upset about “new” policies.  But you know that you’ve sent out a number of communications and done everything short of putting the employees in a closet and forcing them to fill out the required form or read the information.

I can’t promise you it will result in 100 percent participation, but one new trick you may want to try is social media.

“Social media?”  you say.  “Isn’t that just for people sharing their photos and the endless details of their monotonous lives?”

Well, yes, and no, but that really is the point.  The key to communicating to an audience is to talk to them where they are, and it is highly likely that many of your employees are using social media.  So how can you take advantage of the huge growth in social media usage to improve the responsiveness of your employees to important HR requests?

The first suggestion is to ask employees if they use social media and if so, what websites they most often utilize.

If most of your employees are not social media users, or if the ratio is around 50/50 but you really want to try something new, your best bet is to set up an employee communications blog.  This will give you the ability to communicate the messages you’d like to send and to encourage the interaction of employees through commenting.

The process of setting up a blog can move quickly and easily, especially if you use one of the more common free platforms like WordPress or Blogger.  You’ll want to privatize your blog if you only want those within your company to have access.  Or you may want to show the world what a great company you have, which is the approach that Zappos.com takes.

Of course, the most popular social media platform right now is Facebook.  Knowing that Facebook has such a large number of active participants may push you in the direction of setting up a corporate page for your employees.  Setting up the page can be done quite quickly.

Keep two things in mind– your employees may not feel comfortable linking their private profiles to a corporate page, and you will have to adjust the privacy settings of your Facebook page if you only want employees to view it.

Another social media platform that may be more appropriate for your HR goals is LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is most often thought of as the more professional social network.  Through LinkedIn, you can set up a group that requires approval to join and invite employees.  You can set your group up to automatically send e-mails when you’ve posted information, either discussions or news.

Twitter is another alternative you may want to consider.  Setting up accounts on Twitter is easy, and you can protect your tweets.  For your employees to receive the information you send, they will have to follow you.  The challenge for communications using Twitter may be the 140-character limit per tweet.  You could consider using it as a way to get the word out about a new post to your blog or Facebook page.

You may want to start by dipping your toe in one of these alternatives as a way to support the methods you already use, or you may be ready to completely transition.  Either way it will be important that you fully research and understand the new platform you choose to use, whether it be a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or one of the many other alternatives.

Are you considering using social media for employee communications?  What advantages and/or disadvantages do you see?  If you’ve already implemented a social media platform, please let us know your thoughts on how it is working.

Photo Source: benstein

Workplace Insights Invites You to Blog

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

As we continue to blog about HR trends and topics, we are reaching out to you, the readers and experts to help contribute.

We are calling on you, our valued members, to be guest bloggers, share your stories, your insights and your successes with the rest of us. Your advice on what works for you and your company can be tailored and utilized by others to help create a solid workplace and help retain top talent.

Ideally, resourceful blogs will be around 300-500 words each. They should be written from your point of view and share your professional expertise. Topics can range from advice, employee retention tips, auditing and metrics. It can also cover your HR successes or workplace tips.

This opportunity will allow you the chance to promote what innovative methods and programs you and your company have created and executed successfully for your employees. It is a great forum for providing you feedback and interest from other firms about what you have accomplished.

So if you are interested in guest blogging, e-mail us for more information.