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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media and HR

In a time of likes, follows, and DMs, it’s clear that social media has changed the way we communicate, both personally and professionally. Almost everyone can be reached on at least one social platform these days. In fact, over 90% of Canadians aged 15 to 34 regularly use social media, as do 84% of Canadians 35 to 49 and 68% aged 50 to 64.

Social media has become key for many organizations’ business strategies. Perhaps you have seen your marketing and PR teams utilize social media to generate leads, engage with target customers, and promote the company. But social media can also be a very powerful tool for HR professionals.

At its core, social media is about communicating and interacting with people. HR professionals can leverage social media in powerful ways—as long as you understand the many sides of social media.

The good

When used strategically, social media is a low-cost tool with huge benefits. Social media opens up different ways to connect and engage with job candidates, employees, and partners.

  • Improve recruitment initiatives: With the massive reach of social media, you can advertise jobs and connect with a large pool of potential employees. This can help accelerate the speed of recruitment while helping you attract the best candidates.
  • Promote brand image: By sharing information about employee wellbeing, benefits and perks, and company activities, you can give candidates an inside look at what it’s like to work at your company. You can use social media to highlight aspects of your company culture that you’re most proud of, whether that’s being a green workplace or championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Show candidates exactly why your organization is a great place to work.

The bad

But with the good also comes some bad. Social media can often be unpredictable and cause harm given how quickly information can be shared and spread.

  • Potential cybersecurity risks: Malicious actors can take advantage of weak security through social media if you don’t carefully protect your accounts. About 21 percent of Canadian businesses reported cybersecurity incidents in 2019.
  • Increased public scrutiny: Because of the broad reach of social media, shared content can be misconstrued, overanalyzed, and picked apart by people far beyond your target audience. Potential employees and customers alike will expect you to walk the talk—what you post on social media needs to be an authentic reflection of your company.

The ugly

Despite the countless glossy images posted online, there’s also an ugly side to social media. When it comes to social media and HR, there are several things that you need to carefully navigate.

  • Policy violations: What happens if an employee posts something inappropriate on their personal account? This is a tricky situation where employers need to act carefully. You may want to implement a policy so employees understand company expectations related to their personal social media use.
  • Negative employee feedback: Some platforms allow current and former employees to rate and review their employers. Negative reviews can easily damage your company’s reputation. To avoid this, it’s essential to follow termination best practices, such as prioritizing exit interviews to create advocates for your organization.

How to make the most of social media in your HR practices

Social media is here to stay, so it’s time for HR professionals to make the most of this powerful tool.

For an in-depth dive into how social media can support you with your work, download our FREE Guide to Social Media and HR. We take a closer look at how social media can enhance your HR practices, while also detailing the risks to keep in mind. By understanding the good and bad of social media, you can protect against risks and harness its great potential.

Download our FREE Guide to Using Social Media as an HR Professional!