Social Networking: How to take advantage of the human web

8 Oct

Here it comes! The last compulsory blog post related to the use of web2.0 tools for companies. But fortunately, this experience gave me the taste of sharing my “knowledge” (if we can say so) with you my dear readers. I therefore intend to keep this blog updated with any information that I find interesting or any discovery that I make about Web2.0 technologies, which are always on the move.

But back to today’s topic: Companies’ usage of social networks.

Social network can be defined as a set of connections through individuals that lead to an expansion of one’s business or social contacts. Today, social networking can easily be achieved on the Internet: People can create their personal identity and share information with their contacts on an online community.

Social networking is more popular online. Indeed, the online community is a gigantic database of people that share common interests, and because it’s global you can get to know helpful contacts that you would be unlikely to have met otherwise. There even is a theory called “the six degree of separation concept” that conveys the idea that any two people on the planet could make contact through a chain of no more than five intermediaries.

The six degrees of separation concept

This clearly highlight the huge potential of social networking in linking up with others, keeping in touch with them and above all connecting with new contacts that can give you a hand in a specific area.

It is widely known that individuals use social networking should it be in their personal life (to keep in touch with friends on Facebook) or their professional life (to connect with potential employers with LinkedIn).
But companies have realized the value of social networking, and benefits for businesses are numerous.

Internal benefits:

• Enable ongoing and integrated communication
• Encourage employees creativity and foster innovation
• Support collaboration and employees engagement
• Build corporate culture and increase employees satisfaction

External benefits:

• Build relationships and trust with your customers
• Keep in touch with clients, suppliers and partners
• Gain exposure
As regards Airservices, I will try to explain how social networking can be used from a Human Resources perspective both internally and externally.
Human resources management is a key issue for Airservices because their workforce is ageing and 30% of their staff is forecasted to retire over the next 5 years.
Using social network could be part of their workforce plan to ensure that Airservices has sufficient and capable staff to deliver organisational objectives.

Internal social network:
  • Fulfill hiring needs through collaboration: Referrals from existing employees have been shown to be one of the best recruiting source. Advertising job openings on an internal social network, will make employees aware of the latest positions available without interrupting their day-to-day work with loads of emails.
  • Keep job descriptions accurate and up to date: By collaborating with hiring managers and teams, the HR department can truly understand their needs and adapt the job description so that they can reach the right audience to find the specific talent they need. HR manager can sometimes have a hard time to understand the specificities of each position. To help them, topics for every team in the company could be open, where they could discuss and explain the reality of their job and the qualities required to do it well.
  • Integrate new employees: For a new recruit it is always hard during the first few weeks to get to know who is who and what everyone does. An internal social network can act as an ice breaker and help new hires to get to know their co-workers, browsing through their profiles and connecting with them on the online community.
External social network:
  • Create a set of potential applicants: Airservices could extend the social network externally to have graduates and other people seeking employment with Airservices join the network and upload their current certifications, qualifications, work history and references, so that Airservices has a ready pool of potential canditates to draw from.
  • Showcase the company: To attract the best employees you need to provide them with an attractive value proposition. This means that potential candidates want to feel that by joining your workforce they will have the opportunity to do meaningful work in an enjoyable environment. Showcasing Airservices work, achievements, people but also corporate culture is a good way to convey a positive image of the company to attract the best candidates.
Some famous companies already took advantage of Social Networking to recruit new talents:

Feel free to read my team related posts about the use of social networks at Airservices to:

REFERENCES
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14 Responses to “Social Networking: How to take advantage of the human web”

  1. Charleston Telles October 8, 2012 at 2:03 PM #

    Hi Aurelie
    I am glad to see some Social Networking strategies for HR departments and recruitment companies. Our team’s case study is all about HR and E2.0 strategies to them.
    I specially liked the point about “Create a set of potential applicants”. I have the same view, where recruiters can create a pool of candidates that can be used or at least prioritized when a new role is available. That will indeed improve the way candidates used to be selected.
    Keep posting great ideas.

    Charles
    (https://charlestontelles.wordpress.com/)

    • aureliequt October 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM #

      Hi!

      I’m glad you like it.
      I wanted to take a different approach to web2.0 tools for this post since I already had highlighted their benefits for other purposes such as knowledge management, effective collaboration or easy communication.

      Creating a set of potential applicants is indeed helpful to save time when you have to fill in a position quickly. Especially if you use filtering tools to screen out inappropriate or irrelevant candidates.

      Since your team is focusing on HR for the last assignment, I suggest you have a look at this paper: http://www.nigelwright.com/Assets/Documents/TheImpactofSocialMediaonRecruitment.pdf?1341494342

      It’s all about the impact of social media on recruitment.
      Might be helpful 😉

  2. knowlsey92 October 8, 2012 at 4:09 PM #

    Hi Aurelie,

    I enjoyed reading your final blog I found this topic to be very easy.
    I liked in your Internal Network, about having links so up about promotions and job offers rather then sending them out via email

  3. Claire de Larrinaga October 9, 2012 at 10:21 AM #

    Hi Aurélie,
    Interesting article as always. We don’t think very often about this use of social media in HR but it’s actually a really good way to promote the company to potential employees.

    I have even heard of firms that advertise their job opportunities only through social media because for them it is a way to scan candidates and to reach only the one already famliliar and confortable using social media.

    It also important for the perception potential employee may get from your company. An updated Facebook page; an interesting Twitter account, and an original way of using social media to reach me would give me a good first impression of the company and make me want to learn more about it.

    Looking forward to read from you,
    Laters,
    Claire

    • aureliequt October 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM #

      Hi Claire,

      Great contribution!
      It didn’t cross my mind that recruiting through social network is a great way of presenting your company as innovative.
      Reaching candidates who are already familiar with web2.0 is also really helpful should the company wish to embrace an Enterprise2.0 culture.

      Thank you for adding value to my post 😉

      Aurélie.

      • Claire de Larrinaga October 15, 2012 at 8:35 AM #

        Hey Aurélie,
        Maybe it goes a bit far but I came across this article recently and it reminded me about your post :

        http://www.4mat.com/blog/qr-codes-in-recruitment-blog-12131119419

        –> Recruiting using QR code. Obviously, not the way to reach the largest audience but maybe a good way here again to screen tech-savy candidates.

        Laters,
        CLaire

  4. paulbrouard October 9, 2012 at 11:12 PM #

    Hey Aurelie,
    The use you plan to make of social networks in Airservices is really interesting! Using those for both internal and external purposes is pretty smart!
    From what I know about social networks though, I believe you will have to deal carefully with the privacy settings of every employee of the company. You might have to prevent any external person from getting insights about the company, the whole hierarchy and more, don’t you think?

    Cheers,
    Paul

    • aureliequt October 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM #

      Hi Paul,

      Nice to see you around here again.
      Through the external social network, the company only advertise what they want their potential candidates to see.
      They don’t have to release any confidential information, so there is little risks that external users will dig out any compromising company details.
      It is only once you are hired that new recruits have access to the restricted internal social network, thus protecting employees’ personal information to be disclosed.

      I hope I answered your question 😀

      Aurélie

  5. EDIE CHENG October 10, 2012 at 6:43 PM #

    Hey Aurélie 😀

    Wow I agree with all your arguments especially that organizations should try their best to showcase their culture, company and work since it is the only way to differentiate from other competitors among vying for talented applicants’ attention.

    However, I share a bit different idea with the strategy of creating a set of potential applicants, considering about the data maintenance and keeping the data up-to-date is not easy, since applicants might not update their employment status frequently.

    Creating a talents pool is amazing, but it is comparably passive (waiting for potential applicants to provide their info), instead, I believe that company should take the initiative and be active in fighting for the right candidates.

    So how to enhance strategy 1 would be very essential: promote the company’s culture and value, thus to make it a dream place to work. I think Google has done a great job in this field. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2012/09/google-and-apple-top-microsoft-and.html

    Cheers

    • aureliequt October 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM #

      Hi Edie!

      You pointed out something that I forgot to mention: the drawbacks of social media recruiting.
      I have to agree that with this innovative method some risks can arise:
      – irrelevant applications that can lead to time wasted
      – lack of reliability of applicants information
      – lack of confidentiality of both companies and candidates information

      However I believe that a good strategy can help overcome these issues.
      Social networking platforms allow you to use filters to reduce the amount of irrelevant content you can receive. By employing keywords relevant to your industry or your specific job position it is easy to screen out bad candidates to connect only with those that fit with your needs.

      Creating a talent pool CAN be done passively (as mentioned in my post), but as you highlighted it is not enough as some difficult-to-fill jobs can require headhunters to jump in. What best than social networking can help to do so?
      The pool of potential candidates can be enlarged through the active research of relevant contacts. HR employees can use the network to discover hidden talents that they wouldn’t have been able to find otherwise.

      Google is indeed succeeding in being candidates’ dream workplace and they do use social networks to recruit their employees.
      I’m not surprise that Apple is a close 2nd.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Cheers,

      Aurélie

  6. Laura October 14, 2012 at 5:57 AM #

    Very interessing post. Thks Aurélie, I’m studdying marketkng, it’s very helpfull.

  7. Karen E October 15, 2012 at 8:20 AM #

    Great post Aurelie. I found an article that is quite useful in understanding how to ‘legally use Facebook to conduct background check’: http://www.pcworld.com/article/230398/hiring_managers_use_facebook_to_vet_prospective_employees.html
    #1 – Make it clear and up-front in the hiring process.
    #2 – Remember once you view it, it puts in a legal conundrum.
    #3 – Consider a third party to do the research for you. The third party researcher may be able to view information such as gender, religion, age, etc, but not report it back to the hiring manager. Only required information is reported back to protect the employer against and legal action.
    #4 – Understand the information may not be 100% reliable or accurate.
    The employer can get into quite a tricky situation if they do not communicate the practice upfront. It is important that they know the legal risks involved and evaluate it accordingly. Being transparent is also a key in social media recruitment.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Internal Social Networking for Airservices: Can getting employees to talk to each other boost engagement? | candiceruddle - October 9, 2012

    […] team mates to check out the social networking strategies that they have covered this week: Andrew Aurelie Alex […]

  2. Let’s play a game : spot the social network ! | enterprise 2.0 - October 10, 2012

    […] If social networks are often considered at a personal level to find job opportunities, too few companies see how they could used them to advertise their company to potential employees. It can be a good way to give a modern image and to reach vast pools of qualified (and connected!) potential candidates. Have a look at my team member’s blog Aurélie to learn more about Social Network in a HR perspective. […]

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