- Social Media & HR
These days, it seems everywhere you go, you are hearing about someone’s Facebook post, a most recent tweet or a pinned post! And, while this is not a terribly new phenomenon around the water cooler or at the happy hour, it is now popping up in corporate meetings. What once used to be reprimanded as a waste of company time and employee resources, online social portals are now being embraced as internal tools to facilitate communication.
I had heard and seen companies using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Other Social Networks (OSNs) as marketing and recruiting tools but their use was mainly as another external communication tool-leaving out the newspaper and yellow pages for the internet. But, the new concept is mainstream companies using it internally. Some of the companies’ top executives, recently have been sending out Facebook updates, LinkedIn messages, and tweets during conferences, board meetings, and strategic planning sessions.
Social media today has emerged as a powerful business and HR tool. These tools are now being applied to enhance employee engagement and talent acquisition, improve internal communication, promote team companionship, communicate on a global scale, and create internal points of contact that were previously unavailable.
Below are 10 Social tools most popularly being used by organizations in India and worldwide for internal communications:
Facebook: Well…does it really need an introduction? Anyways…Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. When Marriott International announced it was opening a new Courtyard by Marriott property in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India it got over 300 CVs through its Facebook page. The page had 1.1 million likes in just one month!
Yammer: Yammer is a private social network that helps employees collaborate across departments, locations and business apps and, can be considered the enterprise version of Facebook. Yammer focuses on businesses, and only individuals with the same email domain can join a given network. A few months ago, Godrej Consumer Products started using Yammer. What surprised Sumit Mitra, head – group HR and corporate services, the most is the rapidity with which employees caught on to it, irrespective of age, location and hierarchy. It is rapidly emerging as a platform to share best practices across the business, and has now been rolled out across the Godrej Group.
Twitter: Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called “tweets”.
Skype: Skype is a software application that allows users to make telephone calls over the internet. Features include instant messaging, file transfer, and video conferencing. It can foster face-to-face communication with colleagues located all over the world without the travel and cost.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a business-oriented Social networking service. It is mainly used for professional networking. One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of professional relationship, called Connections. It can also be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.
Google+: Google Plus is a social networking and identity service by Google Inc. It is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author. It is the second-largest social networking site in the world after Facebook. It includes all of Google’s applications for networking, like Hangout(video calls and texts).
Pinterest: Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes. Businesses these days are using it like a virtual noticeboard. Rather than printing notices, and ripping pages out of notebooks and putting them onto noticeboards, executives simply “pin it” onto their very own virtual noticeboard (boards).
Wiki: A wiki is a website that allows for the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages. Wikis are often used to create and power collaborative community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis. At Xerox, Chief Technology Officer Sophie Van Debroek turned the process inside out by setting up a wiki that would allow researchers in the R&D group to define collaboratively the company’s technology strategy.
Podcast: A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, made available for download via web syndication. Internally, podcasts would be extremely useful for instructional videos, messages from senior management, information sharing, tutorials, etc.
Digsby: Digsby is an instant messaging (IM) application that supports most mainstream IM protocols such as AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Hangout, ICQ, Jabber, and Facebook Chat. Digsby also supports e-mail notifications and alerts from MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Alternatives by companies themselves: Once, considered as a disciplinary offence in most premier companies, Social tools are now being highly encouraged. But, because of security concerns, some companies have built their own social networks. These networks offer the advantages of Facebook while maintaining a closed network environment. For instance, Yum! Brands (you better know it for Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, etc.), world’s largest fast food restaurant company, runs a closed social network called iCHING. They believe that creating their own social network would enable teams in India to share information with teams at their headquarters in Louisville, KY. They have created a space for employees to share ideas and get feedback from others around the globe who are working on new products for Yum! and for communication to flow freely.
The usage of social media tools has increased how quickly employees get information straight from the top to the bottom without any filters. It is flattening out the curve and creating an environment where line employees know just as much as their bosses do…and sometimes more. It may even become a technically advanced version of a Grapevine! Although some barriers to entry still exist (slow adoption, security concerns, senior management apathy, fear of technology), the HR departments of most organizations, today realize that effective internal communication is one thing that can’t be compromised when striving for a happy and effective workforce that directly relates to the long term success of a business.
About The Author
Tanya Saraswat is currently pursuing MBA (Human Resource Management) at Delhi School of Management, DTU. She aspires to be a freelance personality trainer in the future.
Tanya, in her own words: “I am an optimistic, intuitive person; enjoy writing, and associating with new people; an eccentric worker, a social media buff and…a Google addict. As an icing on the cake, I am a coffee lover and a foodie!!!”
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