Integrating a new communications channel such as social media into any division of the business requires planning and strategic thought to create a framework around which business objectives can move forward in a considered and measured manner.
HR recruitment is an area in which social media channels can offer many benefits.
Being active in social media channels sends a strong message to potential recruits that the business is forward thinking. It helps make the brand the employer of choice amongst potential recruits, especially Gen Y who will comprise 50% of the workforce in 8 years’ time.
Social recruitment enables conversations and builds relationships with potential recruits prior to employment, allowing brands to screen for higher-quality candidates and find hard to reach candidates which may not be possible through traditional sources such as job boards.
Social recruitment can also significantly reduce candidate sourcing costs, improving ROI for the HR department.
So how does HR take advantage of the opportunities that social media offers and what are the considerations around an HR social recruitment program?
Many businesses skip the important discovery and research phase of implementing a social recruitment program, going straight into the execution of a loose plan that operates without a pre-determined set of parameters. This inevitably leads to less than optimal results at best and outright disasters at worst.
The parameters that should be used to drive a successful social recruitment program come out of a well-planned discovery and research phase.
Points to be considered during a discovery phase would include;
- Legal considerations
- Brand communications and engagement touch points
- Risk management
For example, legal considerations might include examining potential claims of discrimination based on age, economic background or personal information such as sexual preference that could be seen on a Facebook profile because a recruitment program relying solely on social networks may not be seen as being available to the total labour pool.
One of the outcomes of the ‘discovery phase’ is a defined set of HR protocols and legal considerations.
Brand communications is another important consideration in social recruitment. A good example is Unilever which has created an effective social recruitment channel on Facebook called ‘By Grads, For Grads’ www.facebook.com/unilevergraduatesuk. Videos from people in the graduate scheme describing their personal experiences bring a human face to the brand’s recruitment strategy.
The ‘discovery phase’ leads to the development of a social communications strategy, content strategy, channel strategy and engagement strategy.
Any brand operating in a social environment will also need to address guidelines and processes to help manage risk. Social networks allow two-way communication and viral sharing of content; poorly delivered, ad-hoc communications run the risk of unintentional damage to brand reputation.
Scenario planning in the ‘discovery phase’ identifies how to manage a communications crisis in the social channels and the actions and resources required to ensure the crisis does not escalate.
Establishing these considerations as a first step and doing the due diligence in a ‘discovery phase’ before embarking on a social recruitment program will ensure a brand’s HR recruitment efforts are maximised and also produce measurable results.