The subject of Social Media in the workplace came up this week.  I was talking with an executive and explaining how employees can help recruit talent by evangelizing their job, company, team on social media.  Of course you can also repel talent thru social media if your people don’t like their jobs, company or team.  His response was that the company’s social media policy prohibits anyone from writing anything about their work in their online social communities.

I understand that there are regulatory confines that companies must adhere to, and I also get that you don’t want your people talking about proprietary information on social networks, but within reason if you have happy employees and need more of them, then by all means let your people talk you up!

  1. The referral dilemma – Let’s call this the sushi restaurant phenomenon.  I’m not going to be the first to try a new sushi place.  I’ll let others try it first and if they stay healthy then I’ll check it out.  Our young professionals have grown up with social media.  Generally speaking, they seek out the wisdom of others before stepping into new territory.  They get referrals and check reviews for EVERYTHING – and that means jobs as well.  If your employees have a gag order then it will definitely have a negative impact on your ability to attract talent.
  2. Too many scary words – Chances are your policy was written in HR and edited by legal.  I imagine that the original intent was to protect you from malicious behavior and out of the courtroom.  Valid reasons.  But, did you think of how amazing your employees can be as a magnet for new customers and new recruits?  Rather than a policy that tells them what they CANNOT do, how about a policy that explains the reason for the policy and tells them what they CAN do?
  3. Encourage transparency or you’ll get anonymity –Your company will get reviews – you can’t stop that.  The case for allowing social media activity is that perhaps the reviews will stay positive (praise in public, correct in private).  If you don’t allow the public praise then you may indirectly be inviting public criticism anonymously. Take a look at glassdoor.com if you haven’t yet.
  4. Ease your recruiting burden – Just as in marketing, recruiting is a multi-channel process.  The extent that your employees promote your company on social networks will have a direct impact on your company’s inbound (free) activity when you have an open position.  This reduces your cost per hire, increases the quality of your candidate flow, and creates efficiencies during the hiring process.
  5. Encourage Storytelling – As leaders, we are all really good at paying attention to trouble spots on project, people, process.  We don’t, however, pay attention to our successes nearly enough.  Why not encourage your people (and your leadership team) to tell stories about the amazing things that are happening?  What better way to promote what a great place your company is?
  6. Friendly Competition – One of our recent client engagements was focused on building and increasing awareness of the company in their market.  They wanted to begin to build a reputation as thought leaders with their potential customers AND expose themselves to a pipeline of future talent.  They decided to divide the company into social media teams.  The objective was to get great content out on social networks – about their projects, interesting articles, employee successes.  Points were given for original content, repurposed content, mentions, retweets, etc.  What a great way to drive attention to brand-building throughout the entire company!

In closing this month – here are some recent numbers as reported by glassdoor.com.  More than 50% of job applicants check your reputation before they decide whether to apply for a position with your company.  87% of job seekers are more likely to visit your career site AFTER reading employee profiles and reviews.  78% of job seekers admit that employee social media profiles are influential when deciding where to work.  Get Social!

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