Social networking and reputational risk in the workplace

Over 6 months ago Deloitte released their 2009 report on ethics and the workplace this time focusing on impact social computing is having on reputation risk for organisations. The results are very interesting, and given the recent background checking and social media discussions, they also impact individuals and their online reputation.

reputation

Let’s review the result:

  • 74% of employees said it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media
  • 58% of executives agree that reputational risk & social networking should be a board room issue, but only 15% say it actually is
  • 53% of employees think employers should stay out of their social networking pages
  • 40% of executives disagree with employees and 30% informally monitor sites
  • 61% of employees said even if employers did monitor they would not change their online behavior, because they know it’s not private, and have already made significant adjustments to their online profiles
  • Almost 50% of employees said they would not change their online behavior if their company had a policy
  • 27% of employees do not consider the ethical consequences

These figures worry me because to quote James Lovell; “Houston, we have a problem”. (Yes I know he did not actually say that but the real quote won’t work.)

74% of employees agree it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media but only 27% actually think about it.

So let’s break this down

For me this calls for more education of people about their activities online so let’s re-look at The Mother Test:

  1. Make sure you have a consistent profile you are willing to show your mother. It is very hard if not impossible to remain completely anonymous online, even if you never use your real name. For example I know of several bloggers who blog under anonymous names, but I also know who they really are.
  2. Make sure you don’t do/say anything you would not be proud to show your mother. You might not want your mother to see what you have done, but if you had to show her and example yourself would you be proud of what you had done?
  3. Make sure you don’t post pictures/videos you would not be willing to show your mother. Like doing or saying things online, if you had to explain yourself could you and would you be proud of what you have done?
  4. Is your reputation online one your mother would be proud of? You might not specifically say or post anything that is suspect but we all have a reputation, even on sites that are password protected.
  5. Would your activities online make your mother trust you? Trust is the ultimate test of what you are doing and defines your integrity, ability, or character.

(Image: Flickr)

Social media as part of background checking (Part 3)

This is part three in my four part series on social media and background checking.

In the first post we looked at laying a foundation for the discussion and about how social media allows you access to a unique view on a candidate’s character. In part two I discussed the issue of cultural fit and it’s important and how social media can help assess the cultural fit of a person.

In part three I want to look at some of the possible legal issues* with using the information found online as part of the selection process.

Discrimination

The first potential issue is that of discrimination.
Discrimination

I would suggest if you want to learn more about discrimination in Australia head over to the Australian Human Right Commission website and review the information for employers. One thing to remember is there are five primary federal laws that cover this area and each state has their own discrimination Acts. While the overall content of the different laws cover essentially the same areas there are discrepancies at both a Commonwealth and state level and even between the states. Add to this sometimes Commonwealth law applies where at other times both Commonwealth and state  laws apply and finally times when only state laws apply. This is a fairly complex area and a legal minefield.

If employers are to use social media as part of the recruitment process to comply with Commonwealth law they need to ensure that the selection process is not influenced by information around race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.

Continue reading “Social media as part of background checking (Part 3)”

Social media as part of background checking (Part 2)

This is part two in my four part series on social media and background checking.

In the first post we looked at laying a foundation for the discussion and about how social media allows you access to a unique view on a candidate’s character.

Now another method of assessing character is through a process HR calls cultural fit.

Cultural Fit
Cultural Fit
To start let’s look at the DDI Australia Research Report on Recruiting for Culture Fit. DDI use the terms motivational fit from two distinct perspectives; job and organisation. Let me quote their report:

Job Fit Motivation refers to the degree to which the activities and responsibilities of a particular job are consistent with the activities and responsibilities that an individual finds personally satisfying. In short will somebody want to do the job?

Organisation Fit Motivation is defined as an individual’s compatibility with an organisation’s values and mode of operation. While organisational fit covers a range of organisational attributes the most common and frequently cited element centres on the congruence between individual and organisational values. This is often referred to as Culture Fit.

The DDI study found that 90% of respondents rated recruiting as very important to essential, they also reference several other studies that have found the same thing. However only 36% said they always recruiter for cultural and it went down from there.

Continue reading “Social media as part of background checking (Part 2)”

Social media as part of background checking (Part 1)

Right now the Australian online recruitment community have started some very health debate/discussion about the concept of using the content from social media as part of background checking. All started by Riges Younan from Peerlo*.

Most of the discussion from the agency perspective is focusing around the ethics of using what is in the public domain to access candidates. There is a sub-discussion on disclosure and relevance.

In my recent post on social recruiting I highlighted social background checking as one of the 18 use cases. So I thought I would chime in on the discussion, not to mention I have a comment to answer on that post as well. But I am going to try and bring some facts into the discussion as well, because so far everyone is talking opinion, which for me is not enough.

Also before I get going most of the posts and comments have been from the point of view of agencies using the information, not employers, again something I want to expand upon.

A final note this post begins to lay out a foundation, part two looks at the cultural fit, part three legal issues and part four will pull it all together. I split this up as a single post would have been huge.

On with the main program.

Social media provides hiring managers a unique insight into candidates before they join the organisation. Now I agree last Saturday night’s drunken party photos have no place in the recruitment process, well maybe they do let’s see where this goes.

Social Media

Let us start with a definition on what is social media.

From Wikipedia social:

The term Social refers to a characteristic of living organisms (humans in particular, though biologists also apply the term to populations of other animals). It always refers to the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary

From Wikipedia media:

In communication, media (singular medium) are the storage and transmission channels or tools used to store and deliver information or data

In today’s context social media is about using internet technologies so living organisms, humans in our case, can interact in a manner to create channels for the storage and delivery of information or data.

It is more than just Facebook, or Twitter it defines everything we do online where our interactions create and store data that is either in the public domain or being shared privately amongst a closed group.

Continue reading “Social media as part of background checking (Part 1)”

Tips on managing social media in the workplace

Last week I did a short podcast with Nick McCormick, author of Lead Well and Prosper, looking at tips for managing social media in the workplace.

We spoke about implementing guidelines/policies within the workplace along with some of the potential issues and how to manage them.  However given the short format of the podcast, it is only 8 minutes,  it is hard to cover everything but makes the podcast very easy to listen too.

I thought it would be good to also cover some of the tips for creating guidelines/policies here to help you out. The resulting document, in whatever format, needs to achieve five major things:

  1. Have people stop and think before posting, both professionally and personally.
  2. Focus people on thinking about what they are doing and the implications.
  3. Highlight that while disclaimers are good, you cannot hide behind them.
  4. Remind people to keep their online interactions real and authentic.
  5. Ensure people respect the culture of the tools and services you are using.

If you want to learn more about social media in the workplace you can watch my presentation from RecruitTECH 2009 over on Inspecht TV or contact me for more information.

Given the press coverage we have had in Australia, and overseas, this week I would suggest everyone needs to implement these five tips when online.

Do brands have a Dunbar’s number?

Well do they?150

(You do know what Dunbar’s number is right?)

This question was posed by Manu Prasad over in India, thanks to Gautam Gosh for pointing it out.

Manu ponders that:

if there was a Dunbar number for brands, dictated by the number of people the brand can connect with- internally as well as externally? There are two things I read recently which added to the thought. One was the idea of the Intention Economy (via Surekha) which “grows around buyers” and is “about markets, not marketing”, and which is builts beyond transactions alone – conversations, reputation, authority, respect all of which are earned by the sellers and buyers. This is a provisional idea, the other is a report from 360i (via Mashable) which states that “that a majority of social media search listings that appear for brand-related queries are created by individuals not affiliated with the brand”, an increasing trend.

An interesting concept because behind each brand online is a person, an individual who wants to get out and make a difference. Remember when we engage either online or offline it is about one on one relationships and conversations.

Back to our brand and its people. Each of these people are in fact limited by Dunbar’s number. So does that mean a brand is limited by the number of people they have online times 150?

Thought provoking.

(A side note my view is Dunbar’s number applies to people and specific contexts. For example if you are in a social mode while using a service you can only have meaningful connections with 150 people. While if the next day you are using the same service for business you might interact with a completely different set of 150 people.)

A history lesson of sorts

I got distracted today so I started digging through my old blog posts to have a look at some of the subjects I have covered in the last 5 years.

Initially I was very much focused on blogs as a method of solving all of the world’s issues. Mainly because that was the main form of user generated content that we had. (Think – when all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.)

Here are some of my posts that stood out:

How the world has changed, we now have all sorts of tools available to individuals and organisations alike. However the foundations are the same FUSE or “Find, Use, Share, Expand”.

For an organisation to effectively leverage their employee’s in a knowledge economy, these employees need to be able to quickly and efficiently find the information they need. Once found the information needs to be used to create the outcomes required by their KPIs. With this newly formed outcome they will most likely then share with either other employees, customers or partners. The act of sharing expands the outcomes of the employee and the recipient.

Each piece of information you put through the FUSE process can result in your very own virus, a small infectious agent that can replicates inside the cells of another organism. In fact the whole concept of FUSE is much the same as the life cycle of a virus!

FUSE should be your framework for the introduction of social technologies into the enterprise.

ATC Social Media Conference

We are coming to the end of the early bird discount period for the joint event between Inspecht and ATC Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution. while the early bird discount is good, register 2 or more delegates and you get an even better deal.

So why attend?

  1. Listen to Australian case studies from Ernst & Young and Atlassian
  2. Hear from Futurist Mark Pesce
  3. Participate in workshops on social recruiting strategies, digital branding and the use of social networking for sourcing
  4. Watch the debate between Stephen Collins and Jake Andrews, from SEEK, on “Do you need a job board when you have social networking?”
  5. Put forward your own ideas and thought in the World Cafe session
  6. Listen and interact with your peers in the special unconference session where you get to control the agenda

This event was inspired by the ERE Social Recruiting Summit so I caught up with Paul Jacobs from Tribe HQ a New Zealander who attended the event with me to find out why he trekked all the way from Wellington New Zealand to San Francisco. (These are definitely NOT Oscar winning performances but we had fun.)

Finally if you are a member of Recruitment 2.0 APAC you could win a free ticket to attend

Are your offer letters keepsakes?

Something I get asked a lot is “How does social media impact the HR department?”

There are lots of ways, including areas that crosses into the recruiting; attraction, branding, onboarding and closing the deal.

Do your offer letters engage future employees like this?

All kidding aside, any company that can give this much attention to detail just in their HR paperwork should be fun to work for.  I am looking forward to this new adventure.

How about something someone would never throw out?

I don’t think I’ll ever throw this out. It’s a keepsake that reminds me of the major move I made from Toronto to San Francisco and all the sacrifices made and opportunities gained.

Or make your experienced hire feel “like a kid on Christmas morning”?

Enter the Apple Job Offer.
ioffer

(Via Glyph)

These are the feeling expressed by Glyph about his current Apple job offer and Justin Reid’s historical offer.

Just imagine how engaged your new employees will be if they feel proud enough to photograph your paperwork and describe the “tension on the hinge of the folder is perfect: not too tense, not too loose”! Let’s not over look the complete alignment of the above offer packages to the corporate culture of Apple.

Unfortunately onboarding processes are a frequently overlooked part of both recruitment and HR processes.

Jobvite Source: Social Recruiting for All

Late last week Jobvite, who 3 weeks ago secured another $8.25 million in series B funding, launched their latest product Jobvite Source. A product that allows any company to source candidates through a combination of social networks without the need of their larger ATS. Jobvite Source also allows employees to refer jobs on to their contacts across tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Effectively Jobvite Source is taking the social recruiting portion their ATS, Jobvite Hire, and making it available for any organisation to use, regardless of the ATS vendor.

Jobvite Source includes the following key features:

  • Social Networking Sourcing
  • Employee Referrals – across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email etc.
  • Candidate Relationship Management
  • Facebook Application

The images provided to me show a comparison searching for a “product manager” in Jobvite Source vs Google. Where as Google provides a mixture of results, Jobvite Source delivers only potential candidates. A full image was a bit large to place in the post but I uploaded it so you can view.

Other features include a metrics dashboard to show recruiters the progress of their jobs across the different networks.

PR_source_dashboards

I have requested a full demo of the product and will try and post once I have seen it.

Overall an interesting move, the full press release of the launch is available on their website. With an additional $8.25 million I will expecting some big things from Jobvite in the next 12 months.

While Jobvite Source offers lots of features, Australian vendor JobGenie can provide organisations very similar features for a small monthly fee. JobGenie also offers an open API so developers can build right on top of the JobGenie platform, a very unique offering.

Disclosures:

  • JobGenie has been a client of mine.
  • Jobvite were very accommodating of me when I was in San Francisco in June.