Social Media Tools Used In Talent Management

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Social Media Tools Used In Talent Management

The popularity of online job boards like is declining yearly as social media becomes a more valued channel for many employers. The use of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks for this purpose increased by 10% last year while the use of job boards fell by 3%. LinkedIn is understandably the most popular social site for recruitment, due to its robust ability to connect potential employers with passive job seekers. SHRM finds that 96% of companies that recruit socially use LinkedIn. Posting a job on LinkedIn not only makes it possible for the position to be found by active job seekers, but also to be placed in the path of passive job seekers, who comprise 70% of the current workforce. Encouraging employees to share advertised positions with their own networks can yield 10X the number of applicants for a given position.When it comes to social media recruiting, Facebook (66%) and Twitter (53%) were also found by SHRM to be popular resources for employers. Depending upon your industry, there may be professional associations with specific social networking sites that can be an excellent opportunity to get your position in front of a qualified audience. Regardless of the channel, 55% of employers using social media to advertise positions find that it lowers the cost of this aspect of the hiring process.

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Social Media and the Talent Brand

Having a strong talent brand is seen as essential to attracting the best and brightest in today’s increasingly competitive employment market. As reported in Forbes, a strong talent brand touches on every point in the employment funnel from pre-candidates to existing employees, and a solid one can reduce the cost to hire by 50% and reduce turnover by 28%. Social media is arguably the most important channel for shaping and communicating your talent brand. Employers should use their social media channels to showcase your corporate culture through both the static areas of a site or page and through posts that highlight the success stories of existing employees in a way that emphasizes your commitment to support and foster employee development. Google’s recruitment page on LinkedIn is an excellent example of how an organization can use social media to build its talent brand and employer value prop and customize that message across various demographic pools.

Screening Candidates Through Social Media

60% of employers report that they use social media to screen potential candidates, according to a survey by job posting site Recruiters and hiring managers use candidates’ social profiles to verify information on a resume or cover letter, to gain insights into their professionalism, to access their fit with company culture and to assess their communication skills. Social media can also identify potential red flag issues that can result in a decision to eliminate a candidate who might be a risky hire. Employers often find inappropriate photos or videos, information that points to drug or alcohol use, discriminatory comments that may indicate undesired attitudes on race or gender that would be a risk in the workplace, or other content that shows a negative attitude regarding prior employers or colleagues. In this way social media can help employers avoid the cost of a bad hire and at times, confirm a hunch that a candidate won’t be a good fit for the organization even when objective criteria are pointing to a different conclusion.

Win the Talent War with Modern Recruiting Tools

Social media is just one of many modern tools that successful companies leverage to attract and retain top talent. To win the talent war, you need access to integrated solutions that provide the flexibility to interview, accept and on-board seamlessly. Learn more about how Asure Software’s talent management tools can deliver more efficient talent management to your organization.

talent management and social media

In this post I present some of the ways in which social and digital technologies are transforming talent management throughout the employee life cycle. It’s important to note that everything I describe is currently possible based on available technology; however, not all of the practices are fully developed or widespread. In fact, many of them haven’t progressed past the idea stage yet. Today’s tools and technologies are much more advanced than the individuals and human systems that could (and should) employ them. Most organizations are still getting started with their digital transformation efforts, and they’re leveraging new technologies in conjunction with their talent management practices to different degrees. But the effective deployment of new technologies is on the radar of all top talent management professionals, so it’s just a matter of time before these ideas become realities.

Talent Acquisition
The logical place to start when talking about the impact of social and digital technologies on talent management is talent acquisition, where the greatest advances have been made. Anyone who has searched and applied for jobs in the past 10 years is very familiar with how technology has transformed the application process, which in most organizations (and virtually all large ones) is now almost completely digitized and automated. Job boards, like Monster and Career Builder, were early players in the digitization movement, but they have been struggling to maintain their relevance in the past five years due to the rise of social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter (which are also used for job posting and advertising), as well as career site scraping services like Simply Hired and Indeed. Both social networking sites and search engines are now used for candidate searching and sourcing, particularly for hard-to-fill roles with unique skillsets.

There are other ways in which social and digital technologies are impacting talent acquisition that may not be as well-known or commonly understood. Social media sites in particular (such as Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest) are a great way to promote an employer’s brand and offer realistic previews of work life, people and culture in organizations. Online games and simulations can also be used to get a sense of what working for an organization would be like, and give organizations themselves an opportunity to determine if a prospective candidate would be a good cultural fit and potentially successful.

Some employers are recognizing the value of digital alumni networks or communities to maintain strong relationships with former employees. One of the primary motivations for doing this is that the employees may return one day and/or make referrals to or from their personal and professional networks. Similarly, talent networks enable organizations to establish and maintain relationships with professionals in key areas like IT and engineering, even when there isn’t a current opportunity to have those folks be a part of the organization.

Social media has actually transformed every stage of the recruiting process in significant ways – so much so that the traditional recruiting funnel can be recast in “social” terms. At the top of the funnel are activities like social advertising (i.e., placing job ads on social networks like Facebook), social sourcing (i.e., searching for candidates who meet certain criteria on networks like LinkedIn), and social referrals (i.e., having current employees share position openings with their online personal and professional networks). And at the bottom of the funnel is social screening (i.e., reviewing a candidate’s public activity in social networks to identify potential hiring risks).

Helping new employees make the transition into their roles and responsibilities, as well as learning the culture of the organization and how things are done, is another way in which social and digital technologies can enhance processes and improve the employment experience for individuals. Anyone who has started a new job in the past decade is probably familiar with how digitization of various activities, such as payroll set up and benefits enrollment, has transformed the new hire experience. But there are lots of other potential applications, some of which have already been implemented, but most of which will be developed in the years to come. For example, virtual new hire groups can be formed in an organization’s intranet, with chat and/or discussion features that allow new employees to help each other navigate their initial experiences. The intranet can also be used to facilitate virtual buddy systems and enable mentors to help new hires learn “how things work around here.” And a variety of wikis can focus on the things that are most important for new employees to learn and know, particularly with respect to specific policies and procedures.

Learning management is probably the second most advanced area when it comes to adopting and adapting to new technologies. As with recruiting and other processes, the initial advances are in the area of digitization, with social software applications evolving next. One of the obvious digital impacts is the increased use of elearning and online learning platforms with self-paced study. There are also countless instructional videos on the web, both free and fee-based, that address a virtually unlimited range of topics. And we can’t forget MOOCs – massive, open, online courses – which have proliferated in the past couple of years. Finally, many organizations have also started to leverage tablets and other mobile devices for learning, as well as using simulations and games to help employees develop specific skills.

In addition to offering training through a variety of multimedia channels, organizations are increasingly using a range of digital tools for assessing employees’ skills. They’re also allowing employees to play an enhanced role in identifying their key skill sets and training needs, and can even have them create their own learning and development plans. Allowing employees to take a more active role in their own learning and skills management enables organizations to develop and maintain a more complete and accurate knowledge and skills database, which in turn enables them to maximize the value of the workforce in which they’ve already invested.

Formal learning management systems and platforms are also beginning to incorporate social technologies in a variety of ways. Promoting connections and interactions among participants, as well as with the instructor, can enhance the learning experience both during and after a course. Creating course-based cohorts that allow people to continue to interact with each other via a digital community – even when their shared learning experience is face-to-face – can promote both knowledge transfer and retention, in addition to increasing commitment and engagement through interpersonal connections.

Informal learning – which is now also referred to as social learning – is greatly enhanced by social technologies as well. In fact, this is probably the greatest opportunity and area of growth for organizations of all types and sizes. Through private social networks, intranets and other internal platforms that have incorporated social technology elements, organizations are better able to facilitate employee learning as they perform their job duties and complete work activities. Along with the networks themselves, features like advanced search, identified subject matter experts, digital communities of practice, wikis and more enable employees to access and learn from colleagues who are not just next door or down the hall, but even in another city, state or country!

As organizations move forward with leveraging technology to enhance learning initiatives, it will become increasingly important for them to address issues related to digital literacy and digital competencies. For the past several decades we’ve generally taken what I refer to as an LIY, or Learn It Yourself, approach to digital knowledge and skills. Although organizations may invest in teaching someone how to use a specific application related to their job, they make virtually no investment in helping individuals learn how to use general digital tools like Microsoft Office and even email. Left to their own devices, most people – and I include myself in this group- are much less efficient and effective at using these tools than they could or should be. As our tools get even more sophisticated, we need the foundational knowledge and skills to be able to use them well – and this foundation should probably be provided via more formal training. In other words, many people need to be “taught how to learn” in the Digital Era. If organizations aren’t going to provide the formal training workers need to do that, it’s probably in an individual’s best interests to pursue those kinds of development opportunities on their own.

Performance Management
Performance management is also being transformed by social and digital technologies. Going paperless is now a standard in many organizations, but the changes are evolving beyond that. Specifically, because of more advanced technologies, performance evaluation doesn’t have to be a major bureaucratic process that only gets completed once or twice a year. Now managers can capture and provide feedback to employees nearly continuously, so that they always know how they’re doing and where they stand. This informal feedback can also be directly fed into the formal performance management process, which can help increase completeness and accuracy and minimize surprises.

Although most people don’t think of performance management as something that can be fun and energizing, new features like gamification and social recognition are intended to do just that. There are a variety of software platforms (e.g., YouEarnedIt, WooBoard, Small Improvements) that digitally leverage game elements and social tools to enhance an organization’s performance, rewards and recognition initiatives. The goal of these platforms and tools is to increase employee morale and engagement, which in turn can increase employee citizenship behavior and job performance. What many of them offer is a social “atta girl/atta boy” system that enables any employee to provide thanks or recognition to any other employee who has helped them or someone else in some way. Employees collect badges and points for the positive impact they’ve had on clients and colleagues, which can be converted into specific rewards. These rewards can include company-oriented items like extra time off, lunch with the CEO, and branded swag, as well as valued personal items like dinner and entertainment certificates, tablets, and high-end cookware. The platforms are very flexible, so organizations can leverage them in a way that best fits their culture and employee populations.

Career Development
As noted earlier, new social technologies, particularly those that allow employees to create and maintain their own organizational profiles, can enhance an organization’s efforts at helping employees develop themselves as professionals and manage their careers. With a more complete and accurate skills database and employees who have better tools and more motivation to engage, organizations are better able to assess the skills of their workforces and develop more sophisticated approaches to planning, staffing and career pathing. More effective systems that are better populated with current and accurate employee data provide a stronger foundation for organizations to create more reliable and flexible succession plans.

Social and digital technologies also better enable employers to identify high potential employees by leveraging more data points, applying sophisticated analyses, and eliminating the biases and errors that can come from human judgment alone.

A company called Fuel 50 has a solution that demonstrates how digital technologies can facilitate career engagement and planning in organizations. They have taken career counseling to new levels. With traditional, paper-based approaches, counselors guide individuals through a series of card sorting exercises to identify their most important values, aspirations, desires, etc. The resulting card stacks are then fed into a system and analyzed, and counselors schedule follow-up appointments to discuss the results. Fuel 50’s platform not only digitizes the exercises by using tablets, it enables counselors to provide feedback and discuss the results and their implications with individuals in real time. Not only that, the data gets fed into a system that can help an organization with staffing, career pathing, and succession planning. This is a great example of how high tech can also be very high touch.

Leadership Development
There are also several ways in which the implementation of social technologies can enhance an organization’s leadership development efforts. Leadership blogs, for example, can help more junior leaders learn from the philosophies, styles and experiences of more senior leaders. Leaders at all levels can form virtual support groups with their peers to discuss specific challenges and opportunities, and can also form cross-generational and cross-functional mentoring groups. Organizations can further enhance mentoring efforts by adding more opportunities and channels through which mentors and protégés can communicate with one another, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of their interactions.

Both within specific tiers and across tiers, leaders can also form groups to share best practices. And of course junior leaders can access leader wikis and other tools to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to increase their effectiveness and be more successful.

Everwise, for example, is building an ementoring platform that uses data and analytics to create the best possible matches between mentors and protégés, as well as a variety of software tools (and more analytics) to facilitate the process and ensure it is meaningful and successful for both parties. They also emphasize their use of “real people” in conjunction with technical tools – yet another example of the necessary interplay between high tech and high touch.

Final Thoughts
In addition to transforming talent management, social and digital technologies are changing the nature of work itself. Those changes have extensive human capital management implications, ranging from human capital strategy, organizational structure, and staffing – to job design, training and development, performance management, and compensation. I’ll address those changes in a future post. In the meantime, as always, I welcome your comments and questions.


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