How to get employees to use your social HRMS tools

Social HR is a buzzword often seen in print and online but who is using it to its full potential? The benefits and opportunities of making social media-like technology and tools available to the workforce are clear:

  • Better, faster and more transparent communication, in real time.
  • A softening of hierarchical divisions with more casual transactions.
  • Transformed recruitment processes and techniques, creating talent communities and pipelines.
  • Crowdsourcing of knowledge and resources (often across traditional divisions along functional, positional and budgetary lines).
  • A more effective employee voice, with fewer barriers caused by differences.

However, despite most people’s familiarity with the world of social media (as at the time of writing, LinkedIn has 467 million reported users, and Facebook has 1.79 billion) many still do not use it regularly in their role. Some of this may be down to lack of knowledge or understanding, or simply personal preference, yet there are some organizational factors at work that HR professionals could seek to address.

1. Start them early

Change is difficult, especially adopting new ways of working. But imagine if social HRMS had always be part of “the way we do things around here”, part of the culture. Well, for new employees you can do more than imagine. The chances are that social media – maybe even gamified assessment exercises – played a part in their hiring. Given that, your new employees are ripe for using social media in the workplace because it is already included in their perception of you as an organization.

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Capitalize on this factor by using social HRMS as part of the onboarding process to encourage their use. Use LinkedIn to connect new hires with key personnel, create online group learning and discussion opportunities, and point them toward relevant content that will help them understand the organization.

2. Reduce formality

In the social media world, job titles and physical location are increasingly marginalized. What’s more important is what you know and what you post. For anybody used to a stratified corporate structure, roles and responsibilities can be a barrier (I can’t talk to him, he’s in Finance or I can’t talk to her, she’s the COO, etc). Social HRMS makes it easier to communicate across traditional barriers, and making efforts offline to minimize unhelpful ‘standing on ceremony’ will help encourage use of social media.

Social engagement is transforming ways of working

3. Address the negatives

Putting employee communications online is open to risks and those risks can in turn discourage social media use. To sidestep this factor, take a few preventive measures. For example:

  • Ironclad data security to reduce the possibility of malicious activity, such as fraud, spam mail and virus attacks.
  • Create a safe place for employees to express criticism of the organization (preferably constructive, of course) to avoid random negative posts and complaints that might otherwise interrupt a productive working environment.
  • Publish a social media policy, encouraging appropriate use (and pointing out which traditional communication methods might be replaced or augmented by social media) and identifying any definite prohibitions.
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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall