How to Make Human Resources Social Media Decisions

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Social media isn't going anywhere. That's why human resources social media decisions require strategic consideration to ensure that your employees are using social media appropriately at work — and hopefully in ways that can benefit your organization.

For today's workers, social media isn't just about chatting with friends. It's a vital avenue for building relationships and professional networks as well as collaborating with others across the office and around the world. In fact, according to The Evolution of Work, the ADP Research Institute's® latest research report about the changing nature of the global workplace, 88% surveyed say social media will become the collaboration platform for work now and in the future.

So rather than banning social media tools in the workplace, smart corporate leaders are working to determine how to manage social media at work and harness its potential for increasing inter-enterprise collaboration and facilitating positive communication about the organization to the outside world.

Platform Overload

Numerous social media platforms exist, but not every platform is the right fit for your business and your objectives. For instance, Facebook and LinkedIn offer groups for private communications, as well as the ability to communicate with the rest of the world. Yammer, on the other hand, is an enterprise social platform service that allows users to share internal information socially with specific audiences, such as enterprise-wide, specific work teams or colleagues. Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube also offer their own unique components for interacting and collaborating. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, the most popular social media platforms used by CEOs are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, in that order.

Choosing the Right Platform

To determine which platforms to use in your workplace, think about what your team hopes to accomplish through the use of social media. In many cases, HR leaders hope to use social media tools to increase collaboration across their workforce, including far-flung telecommuters.

Start by surveying employees about which social media tools they use most often or would be interested in using for workplace communication. In addition, enlist the HR department to spend a few weeks using each of the tools under consideration to assess the workplace collaboration potential of each one. After taking these steps, discuss the results internally to select the tools that will be most effective for your workforce.

Coaching for Collaboration

Once you've selected the social media platform or platforms to use at your organization, it's time to put them into action. While employees may be accustomed to using social media in their personal lives, harnessing the tools for workplace communication and collaboration is a different matter. Employees may need time and patient coaching to begin using social media as a workplace tool.

You should go beyond just holding a meeting to explain how you want employees to start using social media at work. Instead, create an entire arsenal of communication products to speak to each employee in their own way and to provide everyday reminders of the importance of using social media tools properly.

For instance, your human resources social media team could develop a webinar that explains the appropriate ways to use social media at work, create videos that offer examples of beneficial ways to use social media at work, publish a brochure or flier with quick tips that employees could post by their monitors or post blog entries detailing social media success stories. By regularly providing employees with reminders of how using specified social media platforms can help the organization achieve better results, employees will increasingly integrate social media into their normal work habits.

Walk the Walk

Most importantly, leadership should serve as the shining example for employees by championing the use of social media. That can be accomplished by simply communicating often to your employees through your networks, sending updates about benefits and other HR communications via Facebook or Yammer or posting personnel-related videos to the business's YouTube channel.

As your employees grow accustomed to receiving organizational information through social media, they will more readily begin using the platforms for their own work-related collaboration.

For more information on how the workplace is changing, download the report: Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace.