Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces. This is the final post in that series.
Social media and technology are not new topics in the world of Human Resources. If you haven’t been thinking and talking about them for at least the last couple of years, I ask – where have you been? Early adopters have been talking social for years now, and even those that were a little later to the party have been at least marginally aware for the past couple of years that there is something to this “social thing.” Companies and HR departments are slowly becoming more tech savvy and realizing the value of technologies and how they can make our companies, departments, and processes more efficient and effective. However, despite that there is still a ways to go and progress to be made. As we’ve seen time and time again throughout our examination of Spherion’s 2015 Emerging Workforce Study over the past several months, there continues to be a gap between what employees believe and expect, and what employers realize and act upon.
Looking at some key statistics from the Emerging Workforce Study, we see that social and technology appear to be key drivers in attracting talent and keeping them satisfied, engaged, and productive once they are on board. I suspect these numbers will only continue to grow as time goes on. And employers seem to realize that, but sadly aren’t sure exactly how to address it:
- 50% of workers believe social media outlets at least somewhat influence their view of a company for whom they may work
- 47% of employees expect their user experience with their HR department to match what they are accustomed to in the outside world; however only 24% report that their HR departments provide mobile applications for work related processes
- 54% of workers indicate they spend anywhere from less than an hour up to 6 hours in a typical workday using social media tools or mobile applications to get their job done
- 50% of employers admit they still struggle with how to address social media policies or practices in their workplaces
What Does This Mean For HR Leaders?
There are a few things that become evident from these statistics, and become key takeaways for HR leaders. The first is the importance of employment branding and social engagement. If 50% of potential job seekers place at least some merit in how companies are portrayed online, it seems rather important the HR departments have a handle on what’s being said about them. This might mean taking on responsibility for owning the company’s Glassdoor or LinkedIn pages. It might mean creating and managing Facebook and Twitter career pages and accounts. Or for public facing companies (i.e. retail, healthcare, or other public services) it very well may mean partnering with your marketing department to ensure your messaging is consistent. Think about it – if a customer has a bad experience with your company, are they likely to want to work for you, or refer someone else to work for you?
The second key takeaway is the concept of the consumerization of technology. As our outside world and our lives become more and more dependent on technology and the efficiencies it provides, our expectations in our work worlds tend to align with that. In this app driven society in which we live, in which we can use our smart phones for almost anything we need to do, it stands to reason that what we need to accomplish in our jobs should reflect that as well, and the statistics show that almost half of us believe that. However, only about a quarter of employers are providing this reality. So as HR leaders, we need to stay on top of latest trends and technologies and constantly be evaluating ways we can implement and upgrade our existing processes to reflect the reality of the outside world. And it doesn’t need to be all or nothing, all at once. It might mean starting with one system or process that touches the most employees and upgrading that, and then continually evaluate other options going forward. However you approach it, technology is not going away, and it’s our responsibility as savvy HR leaders to be aware of our options and how they can make our workplaces better and more productive.
And the third key takeaway is the social media is not going away. Not only that, but many employees expect and need to use it to be productive in their jobs. Not being sure of how to address policies and practices is no excuse. Blocking social media sites in the workplace is no longer the answer. You can equate it to the use of the internet in the workplace…was there a time when companies did not provide access to the web? Sure. Is that acceptable now? Of course not; workers rely on the ability to research online and access sites to do their jobs. Social media is just the next evolution of workplace productivity tools. Many people rely on crowdsourcing, networking, and information mining that is possible through social media sites to enhance their productivity. Can social media also be a time suck and productivity deterrent? Perhaps. That’s where good guidelines come into play. Managing for the exception is never a good practice in any aspect of HR or leadership.
As I’ve said throughout this series, it’s a changing world out there. We as employers we need to be aware of, on top of, and embracing the tools and resources available to us to keep us competitive and effective. We need to understand the trends and changing expectations of the workforce to position ourselves to attract and retain the best talent available. Using the excuse that we just don’t understand is no longer acceptable if we want to survive.
This post was the final in a series of six posts over the past several months relating to Spherion’s 2015 Emerging Workforce Study. If you’re interested in reading the previous posts, you can find them here:
Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.