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Stuart Lauchlan

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Social media not delivering strategic HR results


Organisations are not achieving the full potential of Big Data and social media as part of their HR strategies and need to re-examine their policies surrounding such tools. 

That’s one of the conclusions of the Global Assessment Trends Report, a study based on the results of an online survey conducted in late 2012
and completed by 592 HR  professionals from companies headquartered throughout the world. 
The report – sponsored by talent management firm SHL –  focuses on three areas: the HR landscape in 2013, the nature of assessment use in organisations, and the use of technology in assessment.
HR priorities for 2013 remain pretty constant.  Engaging the workforce (55%) and developing leaders (52%) remain top priorities followed by  performance management, workforce planning/ talent analytics and training and development.  Nearly 75% of respondents said that their organisations want to improve the way 
in which they measure talent. 
But the report suggests that despite the high profile given to social media and Big Data in recent years, at present there is little evidence to support the notion that they are of practical benefit.
Less than half of respondents reported using objective data to make decisions about the workforce while an equivalent number say they use talent data to drive business decisions.
 Fewer than one in five respondents were satisfied with their systems’ ability to 
manage talent data. 
The report notes: “The potential associated with Big Data is getting much publicity, but the excitement is slowly dissipating as companies realise that the data they have may not give them the insights they need for a variety of reasons: too much data to manage effectively, quality issues, and difficulty in finding the skills within their workforce to provide accurate analysis and insights based on the data.”
On the subject of social media, the survey found that social media data is not yet regarded as critical to hiring decisions.  Some 60% of companies use or plan to use social media searches as a hiring tool in 2013, but less than 30% believe the data is useful in determining candidate fit. Only 11% believe it is critical to hiring decisions.
The report notes: “Less than one-fifth of respondents stated that their organisations have a formal policy in place regarding the use of social media for hiring. Nearly 50% of respondents indicated that recruiters and hiring managers are allowed to review candidate data from SM sites, although only 20% are allowed to use that data to make hiring decisions.”
Survey respondents also found that the benefits of social media as a source of assessment data are questionable as the data acquired is often neither objective nor consistent. 
“Less than 30% of respondents reported that information from social media sites is useful
in determining candidate fit, similar to findings from the past two years.,” states the report. 
“In this year’s survey, we also asked about the data coming from social media sites to determine its perceived usefulness to HR professionals. Just over 10% of respondents indicated
that data from SM sites is useful and/or critical to hiring decisions.”
The report makes a number of key recommendations to organisations: 
  • Review the types of data you currently hold on your employees and candidates. Identify meaningful business outcomes relevant across the employee lifecycle – from recruitment to hiring and development. Linking these outcomes
and the data sources will help HR measure and improve the effectiveness of talent management initiatives.
  • Be selective about the people data your organisation owns and retains. Prioritise objective data about candidates’ and employees’ competencies and measurable organisational metrics. Examine the usefulness of the data to enable decisions at a functional and organisational, as well as at an individual level.
  • Ensure your organisation has a formal policy on the use of social media in recruitment decisions, specifying which information is of value and fair to candidates, and how it is to be used.
  • Consider whether mobile assessments could add value to your talent acquisition processes, evaluating the potential advantage and whether they are appropriate to your candidates or your business. Consult authoritative research to ensure the assessments are fair, secure, and as reliable as those administered via PC or laptop.

2 Responses

  1. Social media is all about engagement

    Engagment is priority for HR but how many HR teams have a social media strategy that actually does this? In my experience it’s quite rare which is because they don’t fully understand how amazing social media is for this. It’s a real shame.

    Talk to accessplanit for your businesses training management system and training management software needs.

  2. Engage for success

    It is great to see the HR sector recognise the important part engagement plays in the overall success of a business.

    Businesses invest thousands of pounds in staff every year, but the question still remains; are employees ever really that engaged or does everything go in one ear and out the other?

    Research published late last year by the Engage for Success task force confirms what we have known for a long time – the key to long term business success is to engage employees and make them feel a valued and vital asset. If staff feel undervalued and are not given the opportunity to develop their skills, they will become unmotivated and disinterested in the business, with performance levels and productivity suffering as a result.

    A business would not survive without driven individuals, so it is vital that organisations get the most out of their staff and give them an opportunity to hone their skills and progress up the career ladder. This investment in staff training and development will also foster company loyalty and a willingness to help the company succeed and grow.

    When businesses engage their employees successfully, the benefits are clear. Staff morale is much improved, existing skills are polished and performance levels are of a higher standard. However, for those businesses who continue to live in the dark ages, complaints and resignations can follow unhappy staff.

    Kevin Young, general manager EMEA, Skillsoft


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