Opportunities and Challenges of Social Media in Human Resource Management Essay

This paper covers numerous opportunities and challenges that human resource management could experience while engaging into social media in the workplace. A number of opportunities that could benefit the organization in using social media are enhancement in the HR recruiting process, communication and productivity of company. Also, social media can reduce overall cost of organization, such as training. Furthermore, could prevent employer from legal issue when searching for candidate information online like facebook. Finally, a social media channel is a good source for management to obtain feedback about employees’ satisfaction and external interest about the organization. On the other hand, several challenges that organization might face when using social media in HR are that employee may waste lot of time in social media, unsatisfied employee may take an advantage of social media for revenging on an employer or an organization, employers has to monitor what their employee doing online which sometime is timely consuming. Also, the recruiter has to balance using social media. Because extremely using social media might exclude some qualified candidates who do not have access to the websites. Finally, HR faces significant challenges as they seek strategies that will enable them to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in this dynamic and emerging information century.

INTRODUCTION

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Social Media is mainly the Internet and mobile tools allowing people to share, collaborate and publish information. The growth use of social media has already gained importance among every part of our lives since quite few years ago. Facebook, the second most popular social media sites which current has over 500 million users after Google (KPMG, February, 2012). Social media could benefit an organization in many areas; however, if not used and managed effectively, it can cause many legal aspects, financial risks and personnel risks. Given the potential risks and benefits of social media in the workplace, it is crucial for HR managers to develop policies and procedures governing its appropriate use. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media are changing the way we interact, and many organizations are struggling to respond to the dynamic environment changes. HR is the keepers of policy, procedure for the employee until social media changed the game.

Many organizations started realizing the importance for social media and it is not only about community and relationships but about how to increase businesses exposure to local job hunters and business network. In the coming years companies will take social media in advancement which going to be the year of emerging social media in HR. According to searchenginejournal.com 80% of companies use social media for recruitment and 95% of them use Linkedh (KPMG, February, 2012). In particular, most Fortune 500 companies have already ongoing using social media in human resource management.HR managers need to find effective ways to communicate policies, administer, training employees and update systems, prevent turnover ,manage company culture, ensure morale is high, facilitate change, enable succession and identify staffing needs, and so much more. The power of relationship management and social media are well documented for recruiting processes. All companies should have a social media policy in a place to communicate to employees what is suitable to say and what could potentially cost them their jobs. This requires an HR manager to make sure every employee has knowledge what should be the company’s official position and response to potential questions. Utilization of social media tools in the organization can cause several challenges as well as ton opportunists for human resource management professionals.

There are several opportunities of using social media in human resource management. First, using social media in human resource can improve recruiting techniques. Nowadays, very few companies posting advertisements about job opening in the newspapers or job board. Alternatively, nowadays most recruiters turning to social media sites for attracting top talent. A survey conducted for CareerBuilder.com found 45% of employers were utilizing social media to screen potential employees, more than double from the year earlier (2012).Therefore, learning positive social media techniques, management can communicate more effectively, increase employee interest to change, improve feedback processes, and manage difficult systems. Tolan (2012) reports “HR technology will find new ways to use the social space to find great candidates. Social media will be used to find a larger and more connected talent pool of candidates for companies looking for particular skill sets”. He reported in 2012 and now we are 2013 we already seen this is happing around most of large companies. In fact those new techniques enhance candidate quality as well as overall cost for the company.

Second, many studies shows social networks allow organization to improve communication and improve productivity among employee. For example, professional social media site like LinkedIn allows employee to join group discussions and interact in conversation with other professional in similar industry. In other worlds, build internal and external mutual networking in working place . Therefore, this increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover of employee. However, sometime for employee having a lot of networking could be challenge for companies although because, it will be easy for them to shift to other job with networks they already know. In short, social media can improve internal and external communication, but also in long term it could turn to be threat to the organization turnover.

Third, using social media can reduce training and development cost for companies. They can save traveling expensive for training and startup costs such as tools, infrastructure and consulting. E-learning is a flexible training method that nowadays companies uses online instead of traveling or attending class room. It can be used anywhere, at any time, on just about any device. This is good method for employees who are seeking for continue skill enhancement and self directed learning. Furthermore, using social media could facilitate sharing information about the company. Social media is an excellent media for companies to share positive information. If any company doesn’t already have a Facebook page; it’s should request marketing team to create one. Each time an individual “likes” a page; all of their friends see that endorsement and may become motivated to visit the site. Therefore, they get to know about the products and services; therefore they get interesting to work with the company. In brief, nowadays most training are conducted online in social media which could reduce the overall cost of training included reduce printing cost for courses lectures because everything is available online. Fourth, using social media can prevent employers against discrimination and negligent hiring charges. According to federal and state law prohibit potential employers from asking certain questions during interview phase that are not related to the job for hiring ,for instance, personal questions.

This could be considered discrimination based on certain protected categories. Hence, social media provide employers with the information that they could not ask during interview, since legal restrain and strictness. For example, companies cannot ask for photos and videos attachment with applicant Resume. However, social media sometime provide employers with information such as, race, ethnicity, religion, disability and age. Human resource managers believe in use social media in the screening phase before interview while others believe after interview. Allyson Willoughby general counsel and senior vice president of people at career website Glassdoor, suggested that employers should wait using social media searches until after they meet candidates in the interview, because, not everything in the social media is correct and maybe not the same applicant in social media. Many social media users use fake identity to get famous and to make friends online. Indeed, HR managers can use social media information before the interview phase and later on they can match with the accuracy information after interview. Finally, many companies’ use social media to get feedback from internals and externals, for example, visitor’s number can show how many people are interested and have wiliness to be part of the organization. Feedback tool in the social media allows anyone in the company or outside to rate and provide feedback on anything about company. Besides, inquiries and questions that may come from sites may help HR to monitor what people saying about HR practices. Therefore, it will be easy for recruiters to adjust their way of attracting
talents and professionals.

There are several opportunities of using social media in human resource management. However, there are also several challenges that HR manager still facing with difficulty to address. One of those challenges is making sure employ suitable employee that compile with government bodies requirement such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Besides, issue can arise when HR recruiter use or focus in specific social networking platform for example LinkedIn as hiring process ,so the recruiter is only considering a small sample of large internet labor pool population. In addition to the challenge who should manage the internal communication content on social media? How can it be done? Many questions still create some of challenge to HR professional. Although, social media hold several of challenges in HR; however, some challenges could not be valid to other companies.

First, challenge that companies faces when using social media in human resource is that employees spend most of their time online rather than focusing in their duties and responsibilities. Accordingly, productivity of the company is suffering in the long term. According to (Under30CEO) studies show that “younger workers are more likely to get distracted at work with technology. Employees born between 1980 and 1985 waste almost twice as much time as those born between 1960 and 1969” (Conner, 2012). Therefore, one side effect of 24/7 online for younger workers is depression which can cause the productivity of work to suffer. Additionally, university of Wisconsin-Madison conducted study shows that depression among younger age has raised, with a correlation to excessive using Internet. 56% rise in depression in this age group within the past six years (Conner, 2012).In fact companies should address in their social media policy that employees are prohibited using social media during work time, unless for only employer purpose. Second, discrimination issue challenge that human resource professional may face when using social media.HR professional can use social to get away from some lawful dispute about discrimination at the same time ,if they failed to use the information in good health it could turn against them and be as a challenge. For example, obtaining personal information
about ethnicity and then reject applicant in the hiring phase could cost the recruiter to get in to legal troubles. Discrimination in the hiring process based on social media research could cause a company to get into investigation by the EEOC, as well as possible to get into action for suspected violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many other federal and state statutes. All in all using social media to obtain some illegal information about candidate could be benefit for recruiter only if it well utilized or recruiter could get into serious legal troubles.

Third challenge using social media in HR is that unhappy employees could use online social media to launch online attacks against company or employers. A company’s reputation is often very important thing for company brand. Bad reputation of any company could lead in losing customers, revenue, investors, and employees. The National Labor Relations Board says workers have a right to discuss work conditions liberally and without fear of payback, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on any social media. In other worlds, in recent rulings and advisories, labor regulators have acknowledged many such blanket restrictions illegal. According to Mark G. Pearce said “Many view social media as the new water cooler” in which federal gave full right protection to employee to express their right in social media. Therefore, some employees not only take advantage for expressing their rights and freedom, but also take advantage for any revenge or any unsatisfied action or promises that employer fail to accomplish. In other words, this could lead to defamation which is publishing something false about someone that could harms their reputation and put them in trouble. Fourth, using social media at work may be a common source of malware or spyware which can cause security risks to an organization. Companies face challenge in how to protect and keep up with update with variety of tools in an intelligent way to monitor, control and manage different users using social media in the workplace. The best solution is every worker should only have specific access to social sites, some company policies provide very specific guidance on who should have access to specific sites. Since, if company fails to deliver protection to specific sites the risk of malware or spyware can spread on an entire internal
network and can cause disaster on the company’s bottom line. Also, malware and spyware can also attack internal networks with spam, target users with phishing attacks, and steal user names and passwords. Furthermore, the time takes for IT departments to defend against ongoing malware and spyware attacks can be extremely timely consuming. In fact sometime organization avoids this challenge through outsourcing to external firm to monitor and control the security of their social media websites. Fifth, one of the challenges when using social media in HR is that HR needs to place main concern on management training to ensure all managers are able effectively to convey expectations and outcomes of social media, which some time in short term could be costly for companies. While in long term could be benefit for manager understanding social media. According to Stacey Harris, principal analyst at Bersin & Associates says that “Our research found there was a one-to-one correlation between the effectiveness of an organization’s line managers and the overall effectiveness of its HR function. Therefore, companies have to provide training to all employee especially line managers for an effective HR function. All in all, company may require additional training for managers but at the same time training could be done online which could reduce the time and cost of the organization. Sixth, HR that uses social media for recruiting maybe excluding qualified candidates who do not have access to or who choose not to use social networking technology for applying for job. For companies to reduce this challenge; they have to balance between traditional method in recruiting and social media. According to SHRM reports that “about two-thirds of organizations have never used or no longer use social networking websites (69%) or online search engines (65%) to screen job candidates. Twenty percent currently use social networking websites for screening, and 28% use online search engines. Twelve percent plan to use social networking websites to screen job candidates, and 7% plan to start using online search engines for screening”(April 2013). Therefore more than 50% of organization realized that not effective using only social media in screening and job recruiting process, while using both increase chance to choose qualified and talent employee from different source.

Finally, the challenge that HR facing is to keep up with rapidly enhancement
of technology include social media, one good example, nowadays all social media are in applications such as I-phones and android applications. In order for any company stay competitive in the market. They have to truck and understand how market and environment dynamic works. By doing so it could be timely and costly; however, it will keep the company growing and sustain in the market for long time compare with those only focus on only the current stage with HR.

CONCLUSION
To sum up this paper covered a number of opportunities and challenges human resource management could face when use social media at workplace. The opportunities that HRM can achieve when using social media might enhance recruitment techniques, communication and productivity of the organization. Additionally, using social media can reduce training cost, since everything could be implemented online such as training, classes and discussions. Furthermore, using social media might prevent HR recruiters to get into any lawful dispute, due to discrimination and/or negligent when they search for information about candidate before interview. Furthermore, social media sometime is a good source where management may perhaps obtain feedback about whom are interesting in the company and getting information about performance of specific task in the organization. Social media has several opportunities as well as has many challenges such as, employee wasting a lot of time surfing in the social media instead of working in their tasks and responsibilities. Besides, despite sometime social media can prevent recruiter from legal dispute; however failing recruiter using social media could lead to serious issue to the organization. Furthermore, unsatisfied employee could use public social media such as company blogs as tool for revenging to employer or the organization, hence, this is not only destroying directly employer but the whole organization reputation. In addition, growth of social media technologies putting a new turn to employment problems ,since employees gradually more access to social media, employers have become more interested in regulating and monitoring what their employees are saying online, and for many good reasons. Besides, using social media could cause higher security risk for organization information and data because of malware or spyware. Also, sometime could cost company in
trainings older generations for using social media. Additionally, HR face challenge to balance between using social media and traditional method of recruitment, because, only focusing on social media; they maybe excluding qualified candidates who do not have access to or who choose not to use social networking technology for applying for job. Final challenge in HRM using social media is that to keep up with dramatic enhancement in technology and social media. Nowadays, only the technological changes are happening more quickly, developing with society changes and even changes in community values and these trends in many ways have become equally strengthen. Realistically many thinking the use of social media in HR is simply gone disappear with time. To present there is no substitute of social media which provide the best of technology and platforms to keep in touch with employees, but then there is nothing better than being there. In the world , technology organizations becoming unidentified, this is a classic mistake which should be avoided. Human Resources have always fighting with issue of reaching out. The last decade has provided the HR management with social media which provides enormous reach. It is up to the HR management to regulator in to this. However, at the same time one needs to ensure that one is not too dependent and cooperation on the sanitation factors of employee relations. HR faces significant challenges as they seek strategies that will enable them to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in this dynamic and emerging information century. Therefore, established organizations that follow quickness and innovation will do well to employ this new generation HR social media, such appointment is both a serious challenge and the important opportunity.

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