social media HRAdvancements in information technology like the widespread use of social media platforms have affected businesses across all industries and dramatically changed the way human resource professionals do their jobs. Human resource management involves more than just planning a good benefits package for company employees; human resource managers are responsible for knowing and following laws regarding discrimination and privacy protection. These professionals are also expected to help build the company’s brand and reputation using their industry knowledge and expert interpersonal skills. Here are some of the ways human resource professionals are challenged and significantly thrive by online conversations using social platforms.

Screening and Hiring Applicants

Even in the Information Age privacy rights are still cherished by many. As today’s children complain that their parents violate their privacy, parents gleefully remind them that they have no private lives when they post everything on Instagram. Sadly, human resource professionals cannot adopt that attitude when it comes to screening job applicants and hiring new employees. The laws regarding equal employment that forbid discrimination for factors like age, gender or national origin have not changed even though a human resource professional can view pictures and text that would raise red flags about an otherwise qualified candidate. The Society of Human Resource Management suggests that human resource managers create policies to protect themselves and their organizations from allegations of discrimination by assigning a third-party person to screen applicants based on specific criteria for jobs. In this way, hiring managers can make their decisions about job applicants without knowing characteristics about them like race, ethnicity or marital status.

Training and Developing Talent

The days of developing educational materials and then travelling to different company sites to deliver training to employees is a thing of the past thanks to certain technological improvements. Training and development staff can now create customized computer based training modules and deploy them online for the benefit of employees around the world. Online social platforms expand learning options because they create collaborative environments for students and instructors to share and discuss knowledge informally.

Announcing Corporate Changes

While company executive officers love to share good news to appropriate stakeholders, it is the human resource manager that is usually responsible for announcing bad news or other significant organizational changes to individuals and business divisions. Social media platforms like Twitter allow human resource managers to efficiently broadcast announcements to large groups at once which cuts down on rumors that create temporary anxiety among employees. These platforms also facilitate question and answer sessions that are always needed when companies roll out new policies, procedures and systems.

Obtaining Feedback About the Company

Human resource professionals primarily care about measuring and improving employee performance. However, modern managers are also concerned with how the companies for which they work are perceived in the marketplace. When online social platforms are fully exploited, human resource managers can glean candid, positive and negative feedback about company policies, hiring practices and culture from sources like current staff, job applicants and even former employees.

There is no doubt that information technology products and services have improved efficiencies for all business functions in such a way that no viable company can afford to ignore them. For this reason, savvy human resource managers must strive to legally harness the power of social media through carefully crafted policies and procedures that protect the rights of job applicants, employees and the companies for which they work.