Recruitment and Social: the Shift in Control Employers Forget

You heard it before: the consumer is increasingly in control, and marketers have a hard time catching up and reconnecting with an increasingly connected consumer. Your future employees are connected and demanding consumers as well. And it impacts recruitment.

The future of a business is not only about regaining trust of – prospective – customers in the strict sense. Your business has many customers, everyone in its ecosystem and beyond. This obviously includes employees as well. When it boils down to the future of your business, your workforce  is essential.

I was completely stunned when reading recent findings by Gartner, stating that “monitoring employee behavior in digital environments is on the rise, with 60 percent of corporations expected to implement formal programs for monitoring external social media for security breaches and incidents by 2015.” I know using social media in the workplace, can pose security threats. However, you do not fight them by what we can call spying. It’s again a typical example of the ‘controlling’ instead of the agile and empowering organization.

We often talk about topics such as security, BYOD, employee engagement, policies, etc. when it concerns using social media in an HR context. Finding the right balance is always a matter of good policies (in the sense of clear agreements, not of top-down and suffocating restrictions) and processes.

Recruitment: are you in touch with your future human capital?

However, many organizations still think too much in terms of control, just as they do in marketing. Today’s it’s social media, tomorrow it will be something else.

Another – often debated topic – regarding HR and social is the fact businesses screen potential candidates on social media and some even look at social scores such as Klout.

What most seem to forget is that the agreement between an employee and an employer is a relationship. Your workforce of tomorrow looks at your reputation as a business too.

So, it seems pretty obvious that organizations having top-down and suffocating policies on social media usage, or worse, will ultimately pay a price. They are not only disconnected from their customers in the strictest sense but also from their future – maybe most brilliant – employees.

UK-based hyphen, recently conducted a poll, showing that many businesses are out of touch with Generation Facebook. Whether you call them Generation Facebook or not, it’s clear that the younger workers take into account your ‘policies’ and ‘practices’ regarding their digital way of life as well.

The poll found 47.8% of  younger workers (aged 16 – 24) claim “they would not work for companies  who impose such measures (strict policies against the use of social networking tools).”

Employees are consumers and customers: what’s your recruitment reputation?

Just like the consumers of today, the young workers of today and tomorrow have their expectations and there is no reason to assume they will agree to work the way your business has been operating for ever. They want to have their say, just as the connected consumer does.

There is a shift in control regarding the relationships between organizations and consumers. There is – and increasingly will be – one in the relationships with your employees as well because your future employees ARE Generation Facebook. Younger consumers ARE younger workers and ignoring what they want is closing the door to the future backbone of your business, just as ignoring the voice of the customer is closing the door to revenues.

Just watch. It’s about people, remember? And social isn’t only about marketing, it’s about business – and thus HR – as well. So, what’s your reputation going to be in attracting new talent?

Generation Facebook and your future employee is watching you, at least as much as you are watching them.

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  • Dan Perez

    16-24 year olds may state in a poll that they won’t work for an employer who limits/restricts social media use until they’re actually offered a job in this economy and they realize that having a few dollars in their pocket is better than being broke.
    Who are we kidding here? Seriously…

  • J-P De Clerck

    Hey, Dan. You’re right: there’s a difference between what 16-24 year olds state they look for in an employer and what they do to get a job. Furthermore, there is – depending on where you live – a serious recession. However, this does not mean we should ignore these findings. The word “employee” is also a very broad term. I suppose there is a difference between a highly-trained IT consultant, an office clerk and a janitor (without saying one is more important than the other). Contrary to popular belief there are still many jobs out there, although it differs obviously. If I, as a manager, want to get the best brains in my business, you bet I’ll take into account their wish list. Furthermore, what do you prefer in an organization? Those that know what’s going on in the world or those that know as little as many executives, hidden in corporate ivory towers, do? If you don’t look at what younger generations want, you might end up hiring monkeys, as is the proverbial case when paying peanuts. Actually, many innovations within the corporate world are driven by younger generations that are understanding and using the tools that create the possibility for new models of work, innovation and management. I’m not talking social media here, it’s just a part. To give you one example: the – proven – advantages regarding efficiency in adopting mobile CRM, are mainly driven by the demand of customer-facing workers themselves. If an organization feels proud just because it hires people instead of trying to hire people who have at least the basic knowledge and understanding of what is happening in this increasingly digital world, it misses the point. Employee engagement matters and younger generations are not the same as us. Ignoring that, instead of turning it into advantages in general, is having a short-term vision. My two cents.