Employers are now using social media websites for recruitment, advertising and communicating with customers.
The web has allowed companies to advertise on a far larger scale increasing their customer base and hopefully increasing profit.
Employees participate in discussions about new business technologies, sharing and gaining knowledge in their field.
So increased profit, increased visibility, knowledge gain and larger customer base, this must be a good thing or is it! When do you switch off? Platforms like Facebook are available 24 hours 7 days a week, are you or your employees? If a customer contacts you on LinkedIn when you are catching up with your friends, do you wait until your business day starts or do you respond? The power of an unhappy customer tweeting about your company cannot be underestimated! Customers expectations will change as companies now appear to be available all the time, there is no 9 to 5 on Facebook.
This is the challenge Human Resources departments are facing each day, we know that Facebook, Twitter and other sites are only going to increase so how do we manage it? Expectations have to be set and managed when you are using social media for your business needs.
Rigid and inflexible policies on social media have no place in today's society; employees are able to access their social media sites from their smart phones throughout the day.
HR departments should be developing a social networking guide on how and when employees use social networking sites rather than a policy.
Companies need to take a lighter approach, showing trust in their employees, increasing employee engagement and still managing their business expectations and search engine optimization strategy.
It would be naive to ignore the damage that could be done by an irresponsible employee and we believe that guidelines defining standards and reserving rights for the company are important if you want to protect your reputation and brand.
Trust and check is important and "manage people as they need to be managed"; the tiny minority of people who are going to misuse social media and do something silly are going to do it anyway.
Many UK Human Resources departments now have to be at the very forefront of social media and networking, it is a very powerful tool which whether we like it or not is only going to get bigger!