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Social media and human resources

The impact of using social media in HR

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Social media and human resources

  1. 1. 1 Solvay Business School Master of International Business Economics and Management Course: Global Human Resource Management Academic Year: 2012 - 2013 Social Media and Human Resources By MELIH ERDEM
  2. 2. 2 Table of contents 1. Introduction 2. Theoretical background 2.1. Definitions of the concepts 2.2. The social media dimensions 3. Literature review 3.1. The use of social media in Human Resource department 3.1.1. Internal use 3.1.2. External use 3.2. Strengths and weaknesses of the use of social media in HR 4. Case-study from HR perspective 4.1. Zerobuffer sprl. 4.1.1. Company description 4.1.2. The use of Social Media within Zerobuffer 4.2. European Professional Network (EPN) asbl 4.2.1. Company description 4.2.2. The use of Social Media within EPN 4.3. Toyota motor Europe Nv 4.3.1. Company description 4.3.2. The use of Social Media within Toyota motor Europe Nv 4.4. Case study from employee perspective 4.5. Personal work Experience on HR & Social Media 5. Critical Analysis 6. Conclusion 7. Bibliography 8. Annexe
  3. 3. 3 1. Introduction The last years the phenomenon of social networking websites has become increasingly popular and offers tremendous opportunities for companies. The emergence of this new communication media is impacting also Human Resources behaviours and practices. Some companies are even hiring HR managers with social media skills. Moreover, an inventive use of social networking techniques provides companies additional capabilities to get business value. It is now a reality that social media can’t be ignored anymore, even in the human resources area. The purpose of this paper is to clearly define what social media is, and to study the use of social media in HR activities. It also aims to identify the challenges organizations face with this new working tool. In a first part, we provide the theoretical background required for having a global understanding and knowledge of the topic. We start by explaining and giving some clarifications about the concept of social media. Based on this, we describe how companies are using those new technologies in their HR department. Currently, we can distinguish two different scope of application. Social networking websites are used as well as for internal and external activities. Finally, we identify the strengths and weaknesses of the introduction of social media tools in companies ‘systems. In a second part, we conduct a small survey among different companies working in different business fields and size. Different questions were asked about whether and how social media is implemented in their HR department. With the help of this research, we will provide a critical analysis about what is done in practical ways and what is written in the literature review. 2. Theoretical background According to Kaplan&Haenlein (2010, p. 59) the concept of ‘Social Media’ is at the top of the agenda for many business executives today. Decision makers, as well as consultants, try to identify ways in which firms can make profitable use of applications such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Second Life, and Twitter. But despite all this interest, there seems to be very limited understanding of what the term ‘Social Media’ exactly means. This is why in a first part, we want to provide an understanding of this poorly understood concept. 2.1. Definitions of the concepts The use of social networking sites (SNSs) in HR is relatively new. However the use of e.g. Facebook, MySpace or Twitter for recruiting, hiring and/ or, termination and disciplinary actions purposes is clearly growing. Unfortunately researches on these practices are lacking. Many questions about using these sites for HR practices have yet to be addressed, including questions about the validity and the usefulness of information obtained on these sites. Other interesting
  4. 4. 4 questions that remain unaddressed are about the applicant perceptions of employers’ use of these sites and the legality of using these sites. (Davison, Maraist & Bing, 2011, p. 153). Before we can go deeper into the connection between social media and HR, it is of primary importance to fully understand the concept of ‘Social Media’. According to Kaplan & Haenlein (2010, p. 59) social media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundation of Web 2.0. Important here is to make sure social media is not confused with related concepts such as Web 2.0. or User Generated Content. In order to describe the term ‘Social Media’ in a more practical way, we can state that it roughly means different ways in which Internet users interact with one another online. It also involves activities like creating and commenting on blogs, sharing contents or communicating with friends via social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010, p. 60). All across the world, social media is gaining importance in a rapid way. The use of social media has become a daily necessity for some users, specifically to the young generation Internet users called the Millennial Generation or the GEN Y. As there is clearly been a rise in the use of social media, the question that arises from this is whether this usage is linked to a particular generation or if it is a common pattern across all age groups of Internet users (Rai, 2012, p. 260). Unfortunately, given the limitations of this paper we will not go deeper into this topic. The use of SNSs for recruiting purposes seems to be widely accepted. This is due to its close relation to the act of posting a job advertisement on the Internet. This type of social media activity consists of no more than posting the advertisement on a social networking site. Some social networking sites (e.g., MySpace, Facebook) have acknowledged this evolution and even add classified sections for job seekers and job poster (Davison, Maraist & Bing, 2011, p. 154). Social networking sites allow users to create web-based profiles where individuals can interact. SNSs: ‘‘allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system’’ (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). According to recent reports in media, an increasing number of hiring managers are using SNSs such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to help in the screening and selection of the applicants. A 2009 survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com found that 45% of over 2600 hiring managers reported searching SNSs to learn about job candidates. Give the growing percentage of employers using SNSs to gather data on applicants, it’s reasonable to expect that this practice affects various HR decisions, including hiring, training, promotion, and termination (Brown & Vaughn, 2011, p. 219).
  5. 5. 5 2.2. The social media dimensions Social media is a web based technology that acts as a bridge for various activities. It may be communication, chat, event organizing, tourism, marketing, collaboration, information interchange etc…It connects millions of people across the globe and gives an opportunity to everyone at free of cost/at a low cost service. Social media can be classified in four main sectors: Entertainment, Communication, Information and Business. You tube, MySpace, Armor games etc. of video and games sharing sites fall under entertainment. Sites such as Twitter, Face book, Google+, Orkut etc. comes under communication. For information sites such as SDN, Ask.com, Wiki answer falls under this category. For business function few sites that are classified in entertainment acts as marketing strategy for business. Advertisement is posted on popular sites to attract business. Facebook, MySpace, video marketing are widely used for business purposes. Young people are easily attracted to social media sites due to its design features and easy to navigate. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects professionals with each other and helps them to exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of other professionals in the world. You tube has become one of the largest video media for marketing. Lots of new sites with new attractive features are being introduced. Social media sites are trying their best to attract more visitors towards them. Other important tools used in the business domain are Yammer, Co-op, OrangeHRM, Glassdoor and Salaryscout. They are providing great support to the HR department. 3. Literature review 3.1. The use of social media in Human Resource department The potential of social media use within the HR department is enormous. Initial adopters are trying to reduce turnover and to improve recruitment, commitment, affinity and retention through the use of social network while others are fostering knowledge flow and processes. We will describe how visionary companies are leveraging social media tools in the HR department in order to gain efficiencies and competitive advantage within their organizations (Leader-Chivée, L., Hamilton B.A., & Cowan, E. 2008). 3.1.1 Internal Use Communication Social Media provides an efficient mean of communication within organizations. It facilitates collaboration and conversation as it allows readers to provide feedback and comments. Facebook and Myspace are very powerful tools to communicate information and ideas. Blog can allows communicating important messages to workers. Rather than sending emails, companies are posting information and are referring employees to the key posts for communicating information. This is also helping in reducing email traffic (HRvetting, 2012).
  6. 6. 6 Training and developing With the arrival of social media, organizations are leveraging this new technology to train their employees. Mobile learning, nano learning, Twitter, and wiki’s are all being used to deliver training in a “just-in-time” manner. Other social media tools used to train and develop employees include the implementation of microblogging tools such as Yammer, Co-op, the creation and sharing of YouTube videos and, the development of micro-training programs using Udutu Teach Facebook application (HRvetting, 2012). Employee Management Easy to use solutions for small- and medium sized companies are available free of charge. Tools such as OrangeHRM provide modules that enable companies to manage their employee information regarding new hires, performance appraisals, salaries, the possibility of organizations to align the HR processes along with their organizational goals (HRvetting, 2012). Task Management Social Media is being used to simplify the management of tasks and to save time spent in task reporting. Company groups are created on Facebook or MySpace where employees can post their tasks and status updates. The uploaded task can be discussed and entered on a daily basis so that everybody is aware of who is doing what and to avoid any overlapping or duplication of efforts. This social media tool also allows HR managers to identify talent for projects, new roles and opportunities, while encouraging collaboration to solve problems. Moreover, complaints or issues can be raised directly to the HR department (HRvetting, 2012). Building relationships Companies are setting their own social network up to connect their employees across the different departments and geographical locations and help to build relationships across the organisation. The network allows activities such us event planing, photo-sharing and discussions. By offering employees these tools to connect between them organizations are facilitating a collaborative corporate culture (HRvetting, 2012). Compensation and Benefits Tools such as Salaryscout are being used by employees to find out if they are fairly treated in terms of compensation package. They can have access to other salary profiles and people are allow to rate and comment on individual compensation packages, they are able to locate salaries in their area and compare salaries from around the world (HRvetting, 2012).
  7. 7. 7 3.1.2. External use Recruitment As more and more people use social media to search for suitable jobs, HR management equally uses and segment these tools to find suitable candidates to fulfill their open positions making the process more narrow and simple. LinkedIn is the most valuable and attractive tool available today to support HR throughout the recruitment process. It provides an opportunity for candidates to position themselves within the industry and get in touch with the organizations without hassle. At the same time, it becomes easier for HR to identify candidates, pre-screen their CV’s and move forward with the hiring process by saving loads of time thanks to this virtual process (HRvetting, 2012). Compensation and Benefits Social network solutions such as Glassdoor are currently available to share information regarding specific jobs and companies. The information is normally provided anonymously by employees of the company, former employees, and interview candidates and even by the same companies. Information relates to salaries, atmosphere in the company, office pictures, interviewing questions and company review providing candidates with all the information needed to make a more informed decision and manage better their careers. Other sites like SalaryScout are available which is a network of users looking to benchmark their salaries and benefits when preparing for an employment interview.This allows HR to better negotiate with candidates their compensation packages and provide a more fair treatment (HRvetting, 2012). Building relationships Social networking can assist companies to build and leverage talent networks. Throughout tools such as Ning, HR can create its own social network online at free cost which provides the opportunity to search and join groups that are particularly dedicated to a market or a position HR is recruiting and to develop relationships with new candidates and hires. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, LinkMe and Twitter are other social networks used by HR to build relationships with potential candidates (HRvetting, 2012). Maintenance of Corporate Brand Companies are using more and more social media to promote, improve and reinforce corporate image and personal brand in the market. Information regarding the company, the expertise, accomplishments about the brand and how they like would to be known can be setup in the social media profile users. It works very well as information get straight to individuals and it helps companies spread the word about their organization and what they do (HRvetting, 2012). Promoting and Advertising Different ways to promote and advertise companies using social media are being used by HR. HR can promote the company to the targeted audience on the appropriate social media by
  8. 8. 8 knowing who is using which media site. Some companies have their workers and managers running online career fairs, taking about life in the organization and attracting potential employees throughout usage of social media (HRvetting, 2012). 3.2. Strenghts and weaknesses of the use of social media in HR It is no longer possible for Human Resources management to ignore social media. As reviewed in the previous item social media has various scope of application. Social networking sites have numerous advantages over traditional human resources tools by enhancing and optimizing usual human resources activities. But, organizations which adopt social media also have to face some major challenges. Overall, social media is a cost effective tool and enable timely targeted dialogue (DiStaso, McCorkindale, & Wright, 2011, p. 327). Setting up a corporate social networking for communication within the organization, building relationships or task management provide better transparency inside the whole organization (Leader-Chivée, Hamilton, & Cowan, 2008, p. 43) and improve morale, motivation and job satisfaction among staff by encouraging collaboration between employers to solve functional problems (Van Zyl, 2009, p. 907). Further, social media enable organization to keep their employee up to date to internal events (like new hires) and maintaining continuously dialogue (Stoller, 2012, p. 40). Using social media in hiring process enhance certain aspects of the recruitment. Such tools allow companies to recruit from a broader pool (Zeidner, 2008), offer a source of information concerning “passive jobseekers” (DeKay, 2009, p. 102), provide additional information HR professionals can use to screen applicants (Madera, 2012, p. 2), help employers looking for the character of the person they are hiring (Mary, Charlie, Jitendra, & Bharat, 2010, p. 16), and building relationships with candidates (Stoller, 2012, p. 40). Besides that, companies using social networking tools, for example for corporate branding, promoting and advertising, have also advantages for job applicants and stakeholders. It allows finding information on new employers and gauging an informed picture of company’s culture. It makes the corporate culture and common practices of the company more transparent as well as the positive and the negative aspects (Laick, & Dean, 2011, p. 298). However, companies have to handle with different issues by introducing social networking tools in their organization. Broadly speaking companies have to recognize the time commitment needed in forming useful relationships (Stamper, 2010, p14) and the time that may be required to learn to use efficiently the new social media tools (Grensing-Pophal, 2009, p. 44). Moreover, staffs can have difficulties to stay current with the rapidly changing of social media world (DiStaso, McCorkindale, & Wright,
  9. 9. 9 2011, p. 326). Another concern is the accuracy of the information employers can find on social networking websites. It can convey not current or false information (Stoller, 2012, p. 41), Companies can’t ignore the risk associated whit these technologies. A major challenge for companies is the lack of control associated with social media. They have to manage intellectual property leakages, loss of confidential information, criticism of management or the company and embarrassing employee behavior that can damage the brand (DiStaso, McCorkindale, & Wright, 2011, p. 326). Two other risks related with social media are harassment and public disparagement (Segal, 2011, p. 84). In addition, social networking technologies give access to a large volume of information which can be used in a social engineering attacks (Van Zyl, 2009, p. 913). The use of social media presents also ethical considerations. For instance, monitoring employee behavior outside the work creates dilemmas situations (Leader-Chivée, Hamilton, & Cowan, 2008, p. 45). By using social networking technologies in recruitment process employer may face discrimination and violation of privacy laws issues. Through reviewing social media sites employers can discover individual’s race, ethnicity or other protected information. This can cost the company both in the financial sense and damage the company’s reputation (Mary, Charlie, Jitendra, & Bharat, 2010, p. 14). Moreover, exposure of personal information can be easily shared between supervisor and subordinates. As part of the recruitment process, social media can’t replace an one-to-one contact because some attributes can’t be evaluate on social networking websites, firms can fail targeting the right online communities or unintentionally eliminating candidates by being quick in judgment (Stamper, 2010, p. 13) or because potential applicants may not necessarily be active on social networking websites (Kaplan, & Haenlein, 2009, p568). Finally, organization that use social networking websites as a selection tool are perceived less fair than organization that don’t, what lead to lower job pursuits intentions for these organization. This can leads to negative perceptions of the company (Madera, 2012, p. 4). Thus, social media are valuable tools as far as they are manage finely. 4. Case-study from HR prespective: As there are still lots of research to be done regarding the topic of this paper, we thought it would be interesting to personally conduct some research. In order to have a broader overview on this subject, three companies pertaining to different industries and various sizes were interviewed. The purpose of the survey was to first identify present status of social media within the HR departments and second to make connections and linkages with the established literature. We also considered important to explore both the local and the global market by incorporating both local and multinational companies. The companies interviewed were Zero buffer Sprl, European Professional Network (EPN) asbl and Toyota motor Europe Nv. Various questions were asked across these companies. These questions can be found in annexe. We will first provide a company description and second we will detail the use of social media tools within each of this organisations.The sample size was limited due to time constraints.
  10. 10. 10 4.1. Zerobuffer sprl. 4.1.1. Company Description Zerobuffer is a multinational company which performs in the Information Technologies (IT) industry. The company provides risk and project planning for small and large scale IT projects . It is a software engineering services firm that develops designs and delivers enterprise-class products and cutting-edge web applications for its clients. ZeroBuffer's experienced team of developers combined with a commitment to comprehensive project management and a structured quality assurance and testing program, has delivered successful software applications on time and on budget. ZeroBuffer has created new products and applications and enhanced existing solutions, using practice teams with areas of expertise including Open Source, Web 2.0 technologies, Java Enterprise, and Ruby on Rails. One of its offices is located in Brussels and it has also offices in Moscow and Istanbul Company has 65 employees. Although it is new to market, company has already worked with a broad range of clients all around the world (ZeroBuffer, 2012). 4.1.2 The Use of Social Media within Zerobuffer Zerobuffer frequently uses social media in its HR department from several point of views and it has became an important tool within the company’s recruitment process. ZeroBuffer uses especially Linkedin in order to check 2nd and 3rd connections of the applicants. When a recruitment need arises, HR department asks the company's current employees whether they personally know a suitable candidate meeting the competences and skills required for the position. If an employee suggests a person that fulfills the requirements, HR department start to collect specific information about that candidate from professional web pages like Linkedin, Yammer and Stackoverflow. Stackoverflow.com has become a very important tool in the IT field. A membership is required in order to use this site. It presents technical questions to its members and evaluates their knowledge and technical abilities based on their answers. Sackoverflow shares these test results with the public. It is also open to recruitment companies or HR departments, which want to use this data in order to select more qualified people for performing a specific task. Zerobuffer is using this website during its recruitment process. The company also follows the blogs of its employees and future employees from their own blogs or public blogs such as on wordpress.com. Facebook and Twitter pages are also checked for recruitment purposes. These personal pages sometimes give an idea about the candidate and allow knowing how candidates use social media to follow latest developments in the sector. Social media plays an important role in the intranet communication of Zerobuffer. Company uses Yammer.com to share ideas or opinions. Instructors are also allowed to engage and interact with users via online discussion boards (Yammer, 2012). Zerobuffer pay an annual tuition fee for online courses in order to provide specific courses to its employees. 4.2 European Professional Network (EPN) asbl 4.2.1 Company Description
  11. 11. 11 European Professionals Network is a non-profit organization settled in Brussels by high-educated professionals in 2009. EPN basically seeks solutions against the challenges that professionals face in today`s multicultural and highly competitive business environments. EPN provides career development tools through wide-ranging activities and programs. Besides, it promotes networking opportunities both in general and on the basis of sectors, and tries to contribute to personal & social empowerment of professionals. It also acts to increase the active participation of professionals in societal projects and social responsibility engagements. European Professionals Network has 15 employees and its office is located in Brussels (EPN, 2012). 4.2.2 The use of Social Media within EPN The Human Resources department of EPN actively benefits from the advantages that social media tools promise. Different means are used during their recruitment processes. EPN intensively use LinkedIn to search for potential best candidates and benefits from the fact that it provides the CVs of possible applicants. When a new position is opened, HR conducts a comprehensive research in LinkedIn. They create a list of around ten candidates that they consider to be the most suitable for the position. Then, HR gets in contact with them and asks if they would be interested in the position that company offers. Company invites the interested candidates for interviews and select the most appropriate one. Another mean to search for candidates is to post the vacancy announcement in their LinkedIn group account and Facebook account. Although the company works with different recruitment agencies, they experiences that they get quite impressive applications through the effective use of social media tools. EPN is also using social media instruments in order to promote company brand. They aim to increase the attention and participation of targeted people in its events and programs. After disseminating the event`s announcement throughout the company’s e-mail database, it is also posted in the company's LinkedIn and Facebook page. This is coordinated and managed by their social media director. Once the announcement is posted on social media platforms, EPN creates discussions and comments specifically on the related activity to promote it as much as possible. EPN has grouped professionals in five different sub-platforms based on the various sectors. Separate LinkedIn group accounts have been created for each sub-platform to ensure they attract the most relevant people for each event. EPN invites professionals within that specific sector to join the group promising some extra advantages for the group members. EPN promotes the company to the most targeted audience. Although EPN's main focuses are on LinkedIn and Facebook, the company often uses Twitter and YouTube. EPN has his exclusive pages and accounts, and all multimedia content is immediately posted after each event. 4.3. Toyoya motor Europe Nv 4.3.1. Company Description
  12. 12. 12 Toyoya motor Europe Nvis a Japan-based company mainly engaged in the automobile business and financial business. The Company operates through three business segments. The Automobile segment in Brussels is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of car products, including sedans, minivans, cars, sport-utility vehicles and trucks, as well as the related parts and accessories ( Toyota motor corporation ,2011). Toyota Motor Corporation is one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers and began selling cars in Europe in 1963. Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA (Toyota Motor Europe) is 100% owned by Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota Europe,2012). The head office of Toyota Motor Europe is located in Brussels, Belgium. Toyota in Europe has operations in 17 countries with 9 manufacturing plants, 9 vehicle logistics centers and 14 parts distribution centers. Caetano in Portugal (one of the nine manufacturing plants) is a joint venture in which Toyota Motor Corporation has a 27% share. The data for this plant is not included in this report. Similarly, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Russia (TMMR) is fully owned by Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota Europe, 2012). 4.3.2 The Use of Social Media within Toyota Motor Company Nv Toyota is intensely using social media within HR department. It has developed a social media response room staffed with six to eight people in order to monitor the online conversations and ensure a promptly response. It is answering to consumers on its four Facebook pages. LinkedIn is of course the most important and interesting social media tool available today to help HR in recruiting employee. Toyota uses it in HR as an opportunity for candidates to place themselves on company. Furthermore it becomes easier for HR to locate employees and pre- screen the person’s resume and move ahead with the process for future hiring. One of the major tasks for Toyota HR is employee management that involves, new employee, performance of existing employee, salary details, and so on. HR need to have all the employee related information stored at one place, so that accessed when required. Sites like Orange HRM is world are leading open source HRM solution for companies. OrangeHRM offers flexible and easy to use solutions. By providing modules for personnel information management, employee self-service, leave, time & attendance‚ benefits and Toyota recruitment service is able to manage the crucial organization asset people. Virtual reporting involves hassle, disturbance and can be time consuming for both manager and employers. The task management can become simpler with the advent of social media for HR. All you can do is create a group in Facebook/MySpace and let the employee post their task done for the day on that page. Toyota's employees can discuss and add the entire task on daily basis and report the tasks of the day so everyone in the company is aware of what the other person is doing. Additional they can place complains, issues or any other problem directly to HR via this system. 4.4. Case Study from Employee perspective A questionnaire was provided to two employees working in different industrial sector. One from the IT company and the other from a Manufacturing company in India. The outcomes are a bit
  13. 13. 13 different from each other. Let’s have a look at it. In an interview with the employee from manufacturing sector, her experience with HR was quite different. The counts of employees in mid-sized companies are not too high in number, so the management of staff and policies requires a small team of HR. She was interviewed by technical manager and met HR only for salary negotiation and explaining the company policies. Her next meeting with HR was on joining date, where in some formalities are to be done in terms of signature in code of conduct. She hardly met her HR in office. Performance is measured by her technical manager and sends across to HR for final approval. In terms of access to social media and the official use of it, she does not have enough time to complete her daily task to look back social media. Her main use of social media is for communication and video surfing. During performance raking social media activities are not considered. Promotion and salary hikes are purely on performance and contribution to the company. Social media in her sector is not well utilised in terms of talent finder. Interview with an employee – IT Company (Selva Kumar, Satyam Technology limited, India) In the interview with a person of IT background, it is quite interesting that many do not have access Internet at work place. The recruitment process remains the same in which HR comes in for salary negotiation. On the date of joining, HR gives an introduction on the company policies and the office culture practiced. They have intranet blogs to post their views on policies that needs to be reviewed. Since IT companies’ employee in thousands, direct contact with HR is not really possible. Quarterly meetings are held by HR to address any gaps. In Most companies, Internet access requires approval from HR. He feels that employees sit on chat messenger to kill time and thus by reducing productivity indirectly. Social media has been strictly restricted to employees. Employees’ hope that things would change and give them access to outer would during office time. 4.5. Personal work Experience on HR & Social Media Employee: Elango Murugesan (85798) – Infosys Technologies limited, 2007-2011. The topics such as HR and social media arise when a graduate seeks for a job. My first experience was the same while looking for jobs. Initially the recruiting process begins with a written aptitude exam followed by a technical round in which the Technical manager takes part. After clearance, HR comes in the picture. His normally checks the communication skills and the ability to answer general questions. Negotiation of salary, location of work, company policies are discussed later. Once offer letter is issued, the candidate joins office on the date of joining. The group of fresher is welcomed by the HR and the campus customs are informed. From there, training and project allocation takes place. IT companies would classify employees in units according to the technology they are assigned for better management. Each unit would consist a technical hierarchy of managers and a group of HR’s to define the policy of the particular units. As an employee, my interaction with HR was too low. We worked on a project which had multiple teams. Each team was headed by a lead and the leads report to Project manager. Project managers report to delivery manager who intern communicates to the client. In this hierarchy, HR does not take part in the project work. Normally employees are not granted internet access at
  14. 14. 14 work place. We log on to client network using VPN and access the applications. In case, Internet access I needed to get information from web sources, HR has to formally approve access for a limited duration. Due to unstable market condition, working hours has been increased as a measure of cost reduction and to increase productivity. There are slim changes of access to social media sites. Role of HR from employee point of view: 1. Recruit and train employees 2. Act as a resource manager and allocates the required resources to the project teams. 3. Maintain company policies and promote them to employees. 4. Management of employees and takes care exit policy of employees 5. Set performance measurement goals and promotions 6. Set salary hike based on experience and performance Benefits of Employees from HR and Social media perspective: 1. Social media sites are strictly not permitted, but with exception of technical community sites such as SDN for SAP. 2. Intranet chat messenger to communicate within the employees 3. Performance rated on policy set by HR and does include social media interaction allowed by HR. 4. Company blog gives a change to employees to express the need to revise some of the existing policies. 5. Quarterly meeting with HR held to discuss any discrimination by managers. HR activities remains a shadow in the eyes of employees since the interaction between them are not often. Employees do not want more restrictions on them which results in performance loss or employee exit from the company. External Social media interaction has been seen as negative by HR while using at office in terms of productivity 5. Critical analysis Conducting a case-study within different industries on how social media is being used by HR managers is very interesting, but what is even more useful is to look at if and how theory and practice match with one another. As stated above in the literature review, the potential use of social media within HR departments is great. HR managers have the ability to adopt social media both for internal as external use. But is this true and what is being done in practice? When comparing the answers of the three companies we have surveyed, it becomes rapidly clear that social media is indeed a very important tool for companies. For example, the HR department of the company Zerobuffer makes particularly use of LinkdIn for recruitment purposes. The same applies to companies as EPN and Toyota Motor Europe NV, where LinkedIn is again used to search the best possible candidates to recruit. This is no surprise as LinkedIn is already described
  15. 15. 15 in theory as the most valuable and attractive tool available today to support HR throughout a recruitment process. However, LinkedIn is not the only useful social media tool to help HR managers in the recruitment process. HR management of Zerobuffer for example, also gather information on possible candidates on professional web pages such as Yammer and Stackoverflow. Another common point, valid for the three companies we surveyed is the frequent use for internal and external purposes of social media tools such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter etc. According to the theory, social media provides an efficient mean of communication which helps to reduce email traffic within companies. Facebook and MySpace are powerful tools to communicate and to share ideas. For example social media plays an important role in the intranet communication of Zerobuffer. Another social media tool used by Zerobuffer for private communication is Yammer.com, whereby ideas and opinions can be shared between employees. Moreover, social media tools such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter may be used externally to build relationships with potential candidates by creating an own social network online. In addition, HR managers of Zerobuffer check Facebook and Twitter pages for the recruitment of their candidates. The training and development of employees can also be supported by the use of social media tools. Zerobuffer pays an annual tuition fee for online courses. Udemy.com is used in order to take some special courses for its employees. Blogs are another way to communicate important messages to employees. In the company Zerobuffer, blogs are used not only used to follow own employees. Future employees are followed as well by the HR department by reading blogs (public blogs) created by this latter group such as the ones you can find on wordpress.com. Toyota Motor Europe NV is even a step further in its implementation of social media in HR. It has created a response room based on social media, wherein six to eight people are constantly monitoring (and responding at all times to) online conversation. Consumers can ask questions on one of the four Facebook pages of the company. Theory shows us that the management of employees within companies can also be facilitated through the use of tools such as OrangeHRM. Toyota Motor Europe NV is an excellent example of this as employee management is one of the major tasks of the Toyota’s HR department. OrangeHRM provides modules that enable companies to manage their employee information such as new recruits, performance appraisals of existing employees, salaries. It allows companies to align their HR processes along with the organizational goals. By creating groups in Facebook and MySpace, task management is simplified and time is being saved. This is made possible by creating a group page on Facebook or MySpace, where employees of Toyota Motor Europe NV post their finished tasks. Additionally, employees can posted complains or any other issue directly to HR via this system.
  16. 16. 16 6. Conclusion This paper highlights the growing connections of social media tools and human resources. Currently, there is a widespread understanding of the concept of social media as a way in which Internet users interact with one another online. Yet, detailed research into the uses of social networking websites in HR activities has not kept up with the emerging popularity of these new technologies. Despite this, we emphasize the broad opportunities social media offer for the HR department. Further, because research on these practices are lacking we addressed several questions to three companies on whether and how social media are used. Without much surprise, social media are mainly used for recruitment and communication. Other uses like training, employee and task management are not ignored. A multinational firm, Toyota Motor Company, has even made one step further by creating a team in charge of the Facebook pages of the company. Today, thanks to their numerous advantages these new technologies are forming a part of companies’ strategy. But, some risks are associated with the use of social media tools. These weaknesses don’t have to be ignored. Managers have to deal with it and try to minimize the damages. Nevertheless, we believe that with a good integration (notably by adopting a social media policy) and an appropriate training about to use of those new tools, companies will gain efficiencies and competitive advantage by optimizing and enhancing some of their activities that previously were done in a different way.
  17. 17. 17 Annexe Following questions have been asked to companies for the case-study: 1) What is the importance of social media for your HR department? 2) Are you using social media in other department of your company? 3) Which types of social media tools are you using? 4) Are you using the social media in your intranet communications? 5) Are you supporting your employees to use social media tools ? 6) Are you using the social media for training of your staff? if yes how? Name of organizations and contacts: Zerobuffer: Name: Mesut Celik Managing partner e-mail: mesut.celik@zerobuffer.com , Rue Du Bon Pasteur 51 B08 1140 Evere Belgium Tel: +32 486573128 info@zerobuffer.com European Professional Network (EPN): Name: Yakup Uzun General director Auguste Reyerslaan 207/3, 1030 BRUSSELS T : +32 2 734 7900 GSM: +32 485 060 119 F : +32 2 734 7900 yakup.uzun@epnetwork.eu
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