HR and Social Media

 “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” – Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog

The convergence of technology, media and ideas has brought in the phenomena called ‘Social Media’.  Sharing have never been as important as it is now. Endorsing a view of members connected by a group becomes an avalanche in no time. The focus is shifting from searching content to combing through a colleague’s or co-worker’s choice brings, as it brings in lot more credibility. In a situation like this, Organization holds the biggest opportunity of making its mark. The customer stands a greater chance to be turned into a marketer and employee metamorphosed into a brand ambassador. The social networking and blogging allows sharing of ideas .  These thoughts brings in the opportunity for a company to try out something what , truly resonates with the employees .

Few months back we had a industry leader managing an internal initiatives through blogging .As reported by Business Standard and Rediff Business, [Infosys employees vet anger on HR Issues and blog , April 15] Infosys managed blogging under the leadership of Nandita Gujjar . The motive was to offer employees a platform to share their views on the initiatives taken within the company. It did require the HR Policy of the company to be redefined. They categorised views and refined them as there were hard comments by the employees which had personal attacks rather than sharing a concern.   The responding became manageable for the leadership through the categorisation. This initiative emphasised the culture of listening to employees more intently with managing live responses, at a much larger domain.

HR Policies designed for social media needs to maintain certain areas  which would enhance the freedom yet make the process manageable . Confidentiality including the proprietary information about the company and the customers’ needs to be sealed . Respecting others is a value which needs to be driven by this policy. The employee should refrain from posting personal comments on peer, reporting leaders or any individual. This further includes competitors. Employees should not use the platform to defame or disparage the competitors to the business. In case the employee shares an opinion about the company, it should be with a disclaimer of a personal view point which cannot be treated as a public statement by the company. Any business plans or ideas to be implemented should not be blogged. The employee further needs to protect themselves from making any comment to media through their posts .The outline for blogging needs to be drawn with the time and infrastructure limit . The employer needs to be clear about the employee blogging within the work hours. The measure for moderation used for blogging needs to be made clear to the employees. The deletion and monitoring must be self explanatory to keep the enthusiasm alive. The disciplinary actions taken for any non-adherence should be included. Finally this policy needs to be linked to other areas including Code Of Conduct , Media guidelines , IPR and etc . 

The social media have been redefining certain functions for HR . Social networking and recruiting have been popular. The recent addendum is Social background verification. The  Social Intelligence  Corp. launched Background Verification service which offers reference check on potential hires through social media.  It includes a monitoring service to the companies wherein they can keep a tab on the employee behaviour in social media. This service enables an employer to access a systematic and compliance friendly report which would help them in decision making. Several other practices , if implemented would create a better impact for the company . YouTube offers an option of an individual channel. This can be utilised by the company by uploading relevant videos such as  a leader’s Town hall address or employee’s reflection about the company  to establish its brand in the industry . Mahindra and Mahindra have been leading from the front on this.  The senior leaders tweets about various employee related activities  .The reply to them are regularly gathered and religiously worked upon .

The concept of offering a platform will work only when ideas are lead and freedom is respected. The platform will bring in employees and decision maker to brain storm on several issues within the organization. It will depend on how this gets managed. As shared by Seth Godin, in his blog, “Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals. Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals.”

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