How Has Social Media Influenced HR Technology?

By Stuart Hearn

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Love it or hate it, social media has changed our lives in profound ways. That much is undeniable. It influences the way we communicate, the way we network, the way we date and even impacts the world of work — more specifically — in the realm of HR technology.


This influence is easily understood when you consider how we spend one whole day of each week online. In fact, Brits spend longer on social media than in the pub or queuing. Social media has integrated itself into our everyday life, helping us feel comfortable, connected and content. Because of this, it seems natural that software developers would use social media when designing HR technology — resulting in increased employee engagement, participation and enthusiasm.


As the founder of a performance management software system, I have spent a lot of time examining the intricacies of social media, incorporating the best parts of it into our package. Below are the four top ways I have witnessed social media influence HR technology for the better.


  1. Instant, In-the-Moment Feedback


We live in a world where we can solicit and deliver opinions instantaneously. For the most part, this is a good thing. In our private lives, if we want to find an answer to a pressing problem or we are concerned about a particular issue, we take to social media and have an answer in a matter of seconds — an answer that offers reassurance or much-needed advice. This is something we — millennials in particular — have come to expect. As such, it is a convenience and tool employees have also come to expect in their work lives.


Most effective HR software allows for the exchange of real-time feedback. This feature encourages collaboration and efficiency with regards to problem-solving. It also serves to improve engagement by boosting a feeling of teamwork. On top of this, it can improve relationships between manager and employee, which as we all know is critical in terms of employee engagement.


In-the-moment interaction isn’t solely relevant to work productivity, however. Using a software such as Slack let’s employees create channels to keep in touch with each other and get support as and when they need it. This is important in terms of mental health, which is an ongoing concern. As we move into 2019, companies will increasingly become social enterprises and take great care of, and interest in, the wellbeing of their employees.


  1. A More User-Friendly Interface


Simplicity is key when it comes to HR technology. If you require extensive training on a particular technology, this might be a red flag to look for a better option. Feature-rich and seemingly fancy technology with all the bells-and-whistles might sound impressive from the outset, but it quickly becomes tiresome and frustrating, especially when you just want to get on with work.


Knowing this, most HR technology providers seek to make their interfaces as user-friendly and simple as possible. They also want to make them familiar, which is why you might see some similarities between the interface of your HR technology and that of your favourite social media platform. Replicating this interface, to a certain degree, will hopefully cut down (or eliminate) required training time, leaving managers and employees to get on with their work.


  1. Increased Use of Multimedia


Echoing the sentiment of increased simplicity, HR technology is now opting to engage, inform and motivate employees through the use of multimedia. Of course, multimedia is replete on social media, particularly on Facebook. Generally, we like to watch videos in order to take in information — in fact, watching videos improves learning results and information retention.


HR technology often makes use of short videos in order to train or inform employees. It is quick, it is an engaging medium and it is one employees generally favour — particularly given how much they are exposed to it in their private lives.

Employee engagement and motivation are ongoing concerns and pressures for HR. We want our workforce to be motivated to perform at their best, and that means making them comfortable and (within reason) adapting to suit their needs. Social media is showing no signs of slowing down. Rather than worrying about its possible negative effect on quality of work, companies should be proactive and question how they can best utilise this tool to their benefit, and to the benefit of their employees.


About the Author: Stuart Hearn is the CEO and founder of Clear Review, a performance management software system. Stuart has helped companies around the globe boost levels of employee engagement through the use of technology and improved employee-manager relations.

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