A recent news report detailed a revised social media policy implemented by the Kansas state Board of Regents. The policy states that the employer – in this case the local university – can now suspend or fire an employee if their statements made on social media are viewed as “contrary to the best interests of the employer.” The policy was reviewed by the state’s attorney general and was approved.
There’s a statistic that’s been thrown around a lot recently by journalists – even me – who are writing about social business: Four out of five social business efforts will “not achieve the intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology,” according to a recent Gartner study, Predicts 2013: Social and Collaboration Go Deeper and Wider.
This winter I started working with a new client that uses a social business platform. I was asked to log on and use it. Although I had used such a platform before, I wondered if it would hold me back or add additional work to my already full day. I started using the platform and realized something: I loved it.
Forbes last week published a story about social marketing talent. The story briefly touched on the conundrum of the modern hiring manager: Is it wise to hire someone with a lot of social business experience and knowledge?
The narrative detailed the positives and negatives of hiring someone with lots of “Klout.” On one hand, according to the story, a candidate with a lot of social business experience is a “natural sharer,” ready and willing to help add benefit internally and externally. On the other, social business mavens may put their personal brand ahead of their new employer’s brand. They may also create chaos by asking too many questions.
It’s an interesting problem that doesn’t really have a one-size-fits-all answer. Every manager must make the best decision he or she can using the very thing that invariably led to that candidate’s experience: social media.
Start with LinkedIn. What kinds of groups is the candidate involved in? How frequently do they start or comment on discussion threads? What’s the overall tone of those comments? Are they effusive and positive or negative and morose? Has the candidate ever bashed or maligned previous employers or co-workers? If so, was it done in a professional manner? (Yes, it is possible to make an unfavorable comment in a supportive way.) Then take a look at your candidate’s Twitter feed and Instagram if possible. Again, how does your candidate represent him or herself in public? Is the content that’s being created smart, insightful and, most important, professional?
It will be difficult for you to assess a candidate’s internal social business efforts, especially in a climate when it’s nearly impossible to get references to confirm someone worked for them much less how they worked for them. In this case, you might ask the candidate directly about the internal social business work that he or she has done in the past. By listening carefully, you’ll have a good idea if you’ve got a potential star or rogue.
In the end, the only way to see if someone will be a good addition to the social business fabric and culture of your company is taking a chance. However now, with social business, you’ve got a little more background to work with.
According to an April 2014 SNS Research report mobile networks are generating more than 86 exabytes of traffic annually. At the same time, sales of tablets overtook sales of desktop and laptop PCs during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to IDC. This expansion of mobile technologies – in addition to the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend — is contributing to the evolution of social business. Always-on, always available computing makes it easier for employees, partners and customers to connect with a business – and with each other.
People are often confused about the term social business, using it interchangeably with social media, even at the management level. At the same time, IT often treats a social business rollout like any other software implementation. The result: Social business programs often stumble at first, a fact backed up by recent research.