One of the main concerns about using social media for recruiting is that employees utilizing these tools will take actions that will damage the employment brand of the company. While this is certainly possible, there is also the potential for damage to be done using the telephone, email, or in-person. Perhaps, it is the ever presence of the web or the publicity that well-known brand gaffes have received that is leading to an overabundance of caution when determining how to use these new tools. This position is understandable, but the bigger concern is lack of trust for employees to do what is in the best interest of the company. Although social media policies can give guidelines, there are still too many unknowns to effectively quantify what can and can not be done. The more companies focus on what could go wrong instead of what could go right, the less likely it is that employees using these tools will achieve superior talent acquisition results.
With policies in place that are designed to prevent mistakes, decision making becomes slower and more bureaucratic. The main reason for this is that employees want to make sure they are on the right side of policy (CYA). So, whenever there is a new idea or strategy with lots of unknowns, they check and double-check with their supervisor. Their supervisor then checks and double-checks with their manager. Their manager then checks and double-checks with their director. Depending on how innovative the new idea or strategy is, the approval process could take a few weeks or months. By the time approval is granted, a faster moving company may have already successfully implemented the idea leaving the process heavy company playing catch-up.
In theory, if your employees make no mistakes things will go well. In practice, it is unrealistic to expect employees not to make mistakes. The complexity of daily responsibilities and pressure to achieve results make it nearly impossible not to make some mistakes. Without the freedom to make mistakes, employees may only do things that they know are safe. While this direction may prevent mistakes, there is a much greater risk of stifling creativity. In this scenario, the employee is more concerned about not making a mistake as opposed to achieving results. Since social media is an emerging tool without well established rules, there are many unknowns. These unknowns mean that employees have to rely on their best judgment when considering a course of action to take. However, if they have been told not to make mistakes, the impact on implementation can be disastrous.
If your company has hired employees to do a job, then let them do that job. While social media is the latest tool to emerge to help employees achieve results, it certainly will not be the last. Unless employees have the trust of the company, it will make it hard for them to not only make decisions about which new tools to use, but also the proper way to implement new strategic initiatives.
–Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)
About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. Our philosophy is simple, “Find a job you LOVE, never work a day in your life”. To learn more, subscribe to our email distribution list or follow us on Twitter.