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It was on the 25th of July, a rainy day when the HR conclave was scheduled. The HR students of SIIB had been working very hard for months for this very day. Landslides on Pune Mumbai highway were a cause for concern for the students. Nevertheless the speakers and panellists were able to make it .They were greeted warmly by the students of SIIB .A flex saying HR conclave Social media hung majestically at the entrance. Social media in HR, a very relevant topic in today’s times .The invitees included Mrs Pranali Save (Director HR Tieto Software technologies), Colonel Brij Kishan (retired Army officer, consultant on behavioural skills and soft skills), Sahil Tewari(HR at Amazon),Vishal Thakur(HR at Tata Capital) and Arun S Kaimal(HR Manager for Danaher India Private Limited leading HR support for 21 Operating Companies (OpCos) for Danaher Corporation in India)

Speech of Keynote speaker Mrs Pranali Save Director HR Tieto Software technologies:

Gone are the times when social media used to be considered a taboo at the work place and organisations made attempts to deter their employees from using it. With the advent of smart phones , today everyone is connected to the internet and social media 24 by 7.

Organisations then thought of using this to their advantage. Various methods that they came up with:

  • Talent acquisition
  • Learning and Development:
  • virtual class room
  • Leverage knowledge talent, standardize learning for all, cost effective
  • Crowd Sourcing
  • Gamification: In 2010
  • Glassdoor and ratings
  • Employer branding
  • Employee Engagement
  • “The People Cloud”

HR as a function has often been accused of being a management’s advocate rather than being an employee champion. Through Social media, HRs also get a chance to understand their employees better and implement policies more in line with employee needs.80 % companies use social media for hiring.95% use linkedin.67% employees fell social media is a better way to interact with the company.

The integration of Gen X , Gen Y and the baby boomers with respect to social media

Pranali Save brought to light a very interesting aspect in this regard. She explained how these three categories have very different perspectives when it comes to social media and getting all three on the same page can be a tough game some times. The “ baby boomers” are very often at top positions and radical changes in order to leverage social media and engage the Gen Y may not appeal to them .It is the job of the HR then to help them see each other’s perspectives and promote overall growth and engagement.

Col Sunil Brijkrishan

A retired Army officer, consultant on behavioural skills and soft skills .The Army is probably the zenith when it comes to employee motivation. Soldiers are engaged and motivated to an extent that they are ready to die for the country. Thus some of the methods used in the army for the purpose of motivation and engagement can find their place and be used effectively in the corporate world as well.

An interesting panel discussion then took place with Colonel Brijkishan acting as moderator. Colonel Brijkishan kept energy levels very high and the audience was completely engaged.

Panel members: Sahil Tewari (HR at Amazon), Vishal Thakur (HR at Tata Capital) and Arun S Kaimal (HR Manager for Danaher India Private Limited)

Some interesting facts that came to light: 60 % employees can’t live without social medis.45 % employees can’t resist touching some form of social media every 15 minutes. Employers could either crib about it or use it to their advantage. Smarter organisations have chosen to do the latter.

Vishal Thakur explained various ways of using it:

  1. re-joining period: Linked in (helps in recruitment). Social pressure itself helps in validating and ensures veracity to an extent. For example a person will be hesitant to put up achievements and activities he has never done because he/she knows he is under several eyes and many of them know what he did. This is the power of social pressure. Nevertheless you may find fake profiles. As an HR professional, It is important to perform due diligence and background checks .In any case a linked in profile is more informative than a plain CV
  2. On Job period: Yammer is now frequently used cater to the social needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy.
  3. Post leaving Period: Linked in provided a pool for rehire: the Ex employee pool. Certain organisation have portal for their alumni to connect as well.

Vishal Thakur mentioned that your Social media (for an employee) must have content that you would be comfortable putting up on the walls of your drawing room.

The transparency Age

“The higher a monkey climbs, the more his bottom shows”. This is vey true in the corporate context today says Arun Kaimal. He emphasized on the need to be more authentic in the era of social media. He urged the audience to only showcase those details on social media that were authentic.

If you call in sick at work and next day you are tagged and have pictures put up at Goa, it questions your integrity. Another important question that came up was “As an HR professional, would you employ someone if he wasn’t social media?” To this Sahil Tewari replied, firstly If a candidate is not on social media, he loses out on several potential opportunities of employment. Secondly whether he would be recruited or not would depend on his merit and also the role that he is being recruited for. If he is being recruited for , presence on social media is not a must but for a role like digital media, social media would be an important factor.

“Is prying on an employee social media page ethical on the part of an organisation?” was another food for thought and a topic for debate.

Social media is important but we (employers and employees) must note that “Charm is what catches the eye but merit is what wins the heart!”

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