CFOs Skeptical but HR is Embracing Social Media

By | November 10, 2010

International Communications Research, a Media, PA-based independent research firm, conducted a phone survey with more than 1,400 CFOs and found that about half the CFOs said their “greatest concern” about employees’ use of social media was wasting time on such sites during business hours. Besides those concerned about workplace use of social media, another 18 percent were worried about employees behaving unprofessionally while using sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

The survey also found 11 percent were worried about employees posting financial or confidential company information and 10 percent were concerned about employees posting negative comments about their firm. When asked about the greatest benefit for a company of employees’ use of social media, 28 percent said it’s a way to provide better customer service. Another 22 percent saw it as a way to enhance the company’s reputation.

Social Media for Recruiting?

One of the challenges in the printing industry is finding people with technology skills. In the White Paper “Variable-Content Digital Printing: Staff for Profitability” that NAPL published a few years ago, 90% of the companies surveyed said they needed new skills to offer variable data services: 80% said they needed to beef up database management, 72% information technology and there was a tie for third place at 69% between sales and marketing.

But for some HR professionals social media is breathing a breath of fresh air into their daily work load. Finding people who write blogs or are active in groups such as LinkedIn is a pretty good indication that they are comfortable with computers and writing. A recent post on Mashable.com notes the growing number of places recruiters are posting jobs, with LinkedIn at the top of the list. As someone who used to do a lot of hiring, I always preferred to hire someone who had a personal connection to my company.

1. Create an Online Presence That Reflects Who You Are – The trick here is balance. On the one hand you want to be honest and real but you need to still be brief and keep to the point.

2. Make the Most of Your Time – Like preference marketing (how do you prefer to be contacted with which messages: email, phone, SMS text, mail) today’s high tech person has specific channels they want you to use. Find out if they want a phone call, an email or an SMS text and then use that.

3. Individualize Your Approach – It’s not a one-size-fits-all so like you target an advertising message to someone’s interest, target your communications to their interests.

4. Be Authentic – Like in sales, one of the keys in social media is creating the relationship. Be honest and open and look for commonalities.

5. Share Interesting Stuff – It’s hard to believe but many younger people are not consumed by work. Often stories on other subjects have more meaning to them. So sharing news, tidbits, etc. of general interest can create what might be the equivalent of “social media small talk,” which leads to bigger conversations.

6. Focus on Substance – The key to any recruiting is uncovering people’s skills, interests, aptitudes and figuring out how well they fit into the culture of the organization. That means focusing on serious questions too, such as strengths and weakness, and what motivates you.

Has anyone had success in using social media as a recruiting tool?

Howard Fenton is a Senior Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research.

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