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by Mike Essex on 26th March 2010
Human Resource Management (HRM) and Search may seem unlikely partners, however a shift in employee working patterns online has changed the crossover between these two areas.
With the increased number of employee forums, social networking applications and anti corporate blogs it’s now more important than ever that this department gets searching. This article outlines a few core ways to do so and there are also some quick tips on ways to use search for Human Resource Management to conclude.
Human Resources Forums
There was a time when the only way to compare your career to that of others was to chat at a conference or to ask your colleagues. Neither option was particularly good, both being more likely to breed angered looks from colleagues on the lower salary scales than to provide any useful knowledge for your next company review.
Hop on to 2010 and the Cafe Pharma boards are full of medical sales reps sharing information on wages and benefits packages. Skip over to Monster or Reed and you can complete salary surveys and find information in seconds. Or jump on to blogs in your industry and ask around, hidden by the veil of the internet if you ask a question that offends someone.
So with all this information – and not all of it good or true – it is important HR Professionals also use these tools. By searching for the best industry blogs and job boards you can see the common salary trends and hot topics. It’s then easier than ever to ensure that staff are given the best rewards package. Alternatively if staff have unrealistic expectations then you can show them your research and bring them back down to Earth.
Social Networking Applications
Whilst staff can carry out salary research on social networks, and even hunt for jobs through the likes of Linkedin, the more important concern here is company embarrassment. Although it might seem a tad paranoid see this MSNBC article for proof there’s no shortage of firings through social networks, especially Twitter.
It’s also very easy to gain such information. Unless an employee has vigilant privacy settings you can pretty much find their online profiles on all social networks with a search for the network, their name and location.
The kicker here is that too much knowledge is a bad thing. Do you monitor every tweet your employees send on the off chance they make a company reference? Are you really that concerned if your employees are dressing up as Peter Pan at the weekend? How can you tell if that employee Linkedin profile is for work or for them to find a new job?
To solve this, the better solution is to search for mentions of your company within social networks. With Google Alerts , or monitoring Twitter, you can easily spot references to a company name and decide if they are worth following up. Rather than babysitting every employee, search each site for references and then punish the repeat offenders.
Anti Corporate Blogs
If an employee is unhappy you ideally want them to use the correct channels, however the Internet makes it so much easier to vent your frustration. Compared to complicated grievances procedures, reading and posting on an anti corporate blog certainly seems the easier solution. McDonalds are faced with no shortage of these – a search for ‘anti McDonalds’ bringing up 5,340,000 results (oddly including the McDonald’s videogame which I seem to remember fondly). With this many outlets it’s impossible to monitor and shut down every one.
The solution? To create your own place for employees to vent their frustration. For McDonalds UK this takes the form of Our Lounge, a forum for employees to share their voice, read positive news stories and even get McGCSE’s. Whilst it’s a small step, even if it reduces the number of negative complaints aired in public by a tiny margin it’ll help.
And the rest:
There are other worries too of course. Staff uploading offensive videos to You Tube. The wealth of correct and incorrect HR Legislation. Employee’s raunchy dating profiles. CV’s appearing on job boards. Employee safety concerns online. The list goes on.
All of these problems, in fact this whole article, requires an eye on growing trends. The best way to view trends is to go direct to search engines who have practically done all of the work for you. If all else fails search for your company name with the words ‘anti’, ‘pro’, ‘salary’, ‘benefits’, or various positive and negative adjectives. This will be more than enough of a starting point.
Six Ways you can use search for HR now:
1 – Search social media for references to your company. Warn any trouble makers but don’t watch every employee post or picture vigilantly.
2 – Search for anti corporate blogs. Counter incorrect information and try to build a dialogue. If all else fails and their posts are untrue you can always sue for libel.
3 – Search for pro corporate blogs. If there aren’t any, make one – Give employees a voice on your terms, but don’t go over the top with company praise. If people write inflammatory posts discuss their concerns.
4 –Search for industry blogs. Are they making good / bad reference to your company? What are the growing concerns over jobs in your industry? Are there training lessons you can learn?
5 – Search on job boards. Search for jobs in your industry. What are competitive salaries / bonus schemes? Can you match these or risk losing employees to these job listings?
6 – Search competitor websites. What are they offering in terms of employee options? Do they have employee blogs / boards? Copy their best practice.
Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...