Entries Tagged 'Recruiting' ↓

My Blogworld presentation: Why CEOs Should Love Open Employee Access to Social Media

Please keep in mind that this presentation was designed to serve as speaker support and was not intended to be a standalone presentation.

Recruiting scheme has employees add jobs widgets to Facebook profiles

Despite the fact that most companies still block access, and you still routinely read about business leaders who insist that lost productivity is the only conceivable result of employees spending work time on social activities, it is time to move beyond the arguments against blocking. There are eight distinct ways organizations can benefit from their employees’ social connections if only they will develop models and processes to support the extraction of that value.

Recruiting is one of those categories. According to a June 22 article appearing on recruiting site ere.net, several organizations are already figuring out that employees’ networks can prove far richer sources of referrals than traditional recruiting channels.

Article author Todd Raphael lists several companies that have turned to employees’ social networks to identify top-shelf candidates. While my thinking on recruiting has been focused on querying employees about whom they know based on their involvement in online peer groups, Raphael points to the development of widgets employees add to their Facebook pages. The widgets contain lists of open jobs. The vacant positions are seen by employees’ friends visiting their pages. In most cases, if an employees’ Facebook friend applies for and gets the job, the employee earns a referral fee.

The idea of paying an employee for a referral is hardly new, but the analog version of the concept required an employee to tell someone, one-on-one, about the job. That process mostly limited employees to sharing the information with people they knew well and with whom they interacted regularly. A widget on an employee’s Facebook pages exposes the job to those connections with whom employees don’t have strong relationships, expanding the reach of the information to those with whom the employee has weak ties.

Among the examples…

  • Staff at Virginia Mason Medical Center can add a widget to their pages that lists jobs like a director of nursing informatics and a range of IT jobs. Developed by recruiting firm Bernard Hodes, the widget has found its way onto a few employees’ pages. Once the Seattle-based organization formalizes a social media policy, it will roll the program out to all employees.
  • Some Enterprise Rent-A-Car employees have already received referral payments for jobs filled based on the widgets they added to their Facebook pages.
  • Employees from Hyatt will also have the opportunity to list open jobs on their Facebook pages and distribute the information to their friends.
  • Using a utility from a company called Referrio, Cisco Systems listed 11 jobs that would each pay $2,500 for the employee who referred a candidate sourced through his or her social networks.

Recruiting agencies — whose business models are threatened as employee networks become better sources of candidates — are shoring up their value by developing the products and services to support employee social network referrals. There’s Hodes, noted above. And a company called Select Minds is developing a service that will notify targeted employees by email of open jobs. For example, writes Raphael:

Let’s say hypothetically we’re talking about a software job at Nationwide, and that the job is in Dayton, Ohio. An automated email about the job opening might go out to 1) Nationwide employees in any region who are in IT jobs, and 2) all Nationwide employees in Dayton. The SelectMinds email allows employees to either email selected contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to tell them about the job, or update their LinkedIn and Facebook statuses (and soon Twitter, just not on the demo I saw) with info on the job. The chain of link-forwarding gets tracked as it moves around online, and the employee either gets the whole referral kitty, or can share part of it with a second person, depending on how the company sets it all up.

The employee who’s doing the referring can tell their company, via a short form, how well they know their friend, and what they think of them. The referring employee also gets emails notifying them if their contact has expressed interest in the job.

Meanwhile, recruiters view a dashboard listing how many times a job was referred, and how many applications came in for it. A recruiter can drill down and see who’s referring who.

Needless to say, the notion that companies will turn to their employees to help fill important jobs — but expect them to do it only from home — is absurd. In order for employees to help the company recruit needed talent, companies will increasingly turn to their employees’ social networks, which had better be wide open from work if companies are going to derive the greatest possible value from the effort.

TUC offers up workplace advice for social networks

The UK’s Trades Union Congress has published a three-page brief outlining its position on how companies should deal with social networks like Facebook. THe PDF document covers four main issues…

  • Productivity – “We believe that good employers should consider allowing their staff personal use of the internet in general at the workplace, during break times, provided this is used responsibly and doesn’t interfere with work or could compromise the employer’s reputation.”
  • Personal conduct — “Employers may have some valid concerns about the way their employees conduct their personal lives, such as breaches of commercial confidentiality or damaging the company’s reputation by slandering co-workers or clients…(but) we’re concerned that some companies may be over-reacting to this increased level of knowledge about what their employees say about their work.”
  • Recruitment — Any employer who takes equal opportunities in recruitment seriously should not be considering this. As only a minority of potential staff will have public profiles on social networks, using information from this source can give an unfair advantage or disadvantage to certain candidates. ”
  • Security – “If employers help staff with training on IT security and identity theft, those staff will also have a better idea of how to minimise security risks to themselves and their company on social networking.”

These are just excerpts; read the entire document. I have to disagree with the TUC’s recruiting stance. After all, if I have a Facebook profile that helps me win a job over somebody who doesn’t, all I’ve done is exercise some initiative to make myself more marketable than the competition. It’s not the candidate’s problem that others haven’t figured out that a solid online presence can help you get hired.

The other side of the coin

While many organizations are frantically blocking access to websites, Serena Software, a 900-person company in San Mateo, California, is taking the opposite approach, actively encouraging employees to spend time on Facebook — at least an hour each week — to keep their profiles current, interact with clients and fellow employees, and recruit from among Facebook’s millions of prospects…er…profiles. In addition, the company has set up an employees-only group to act as a rudimentary intranet where employees can share documents and videos and update business information. Heather Green has the full story on BusinessWeek‘s Blogspotting blog.

Different world, same issues

Even in Russia, HR professionals are talking about blocking employee access to online content. This article, with so-so translation, appeared in the St. Petersburg Times. In it, HR and recruiting professionals take varying approaches to addressing the time employees spend at work on social networks. Reading the points of view made me shake  my head. All those many thousands of miles away, and dealing with Russian networks — not Facebook and MySpace — and the issues are exactly the same as they are here.