How Will the Continuing Evolution of Social Media Impact the Workplace?

by Jennifer Miller on December 14, 2015

in Human Resources, Social Media, Workplace Issues

social media at workI’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion (a staffing and recruiting organization) and am participating in the release of findings from Spherion’s Emerging Workforce® Study.  All opinions are mine.

Social media touches every element of the workplace. Whether it’s a customer service employee who tracks his company’s Facebook feed for disgruntled customers, or job seekers scanning Pinterest for job openings, social media continues to shape the way job candidates, employees and employers interact. Spherion’s latest research from their annual Emerging Workforce Study (EWS) uncovered several interesting trends related to organizations’ use of social media. Even though social media went mainstream several years ago, not all companies have it figured out. According to the EWS, 50% of the employers surveyed in 2015 say they struggle with how to address social media polices or practices with their workforce. I reviewed the EWS research; here’s my take on how social media intersects with key elements of the employment life cycle:

Recruitment. Job seekers do pay attention to those company social media accounts. Half of the workers surveyed say that a company’s presence on social media outlets “at least somewhat” influences their view of a company they might consider working for. So, it’s important to keep your social media accounts fresh. Nothing is a bigger turn-off to job seekers than seeing stale content. Better to focus on one social media outlet and do it well than spread your company’s resources too thin.

Interactions with Human Resources. This much is clear: employees expectations have soared because of their tech-friendly experiences as consumers. HR departments are struggling to keep pace with these expectations.  My colleagues who consult in HR practices say that very few HR departments are getting it right when it comes to connecting with prospective employees.  Job seekers want a simple user experience when they apply online. And when they come to work, they expect a similarly easy-to-use onboarding experience. Nearly half of the employees surveyed during the EWS expect their user experience with HR post-hire to be seamless as well.

Employee productivity. Not only do employees demand social-friendly recruiting and onboarding processes, they also view social media and mobile apps as key productivity tools once they’re on the job. 39% of employees surveyed believe that social media sites and tools will help them do their job better. Yet only 24% of their HR departments provide mobile applications for work-related processes. Interestingly, one of the biggest concerns cited by HR professionals regarding social media—decreased productivity due to employee distraction—isn’t really an issue. Over one-third of employees surveyed said they used less than one hour a day online with social media to help them get their jobs done.

The Emerging Workforce Study results indicate both employees and employers are adopting social media as a key communication tool. To be sure, there have been missteps from both employers and employees. Luckily, many employers’ dire predictions for the use of social tools at work haven’t come true. Social media, like all technology, continues to evolve. Employers should view social media as ever-changing. In doing so, they can capitalize whatever new technology comes down the path.


About the Emerging Workforce Study: For more than 18 years, Spherion has examined the issues and trends impacting employment and the workforce. This year, Spherion’s “Emerging Workforce Study” was conducted between March and April of 2015 by Harris Poll, a Nielsen company. The study polled over 2,000 workers and 225 human resource managers on their opinions and attitudes regarding important workplace topics such as employee engagement, job satisfaction, generational differences and work/life balance. One of the study’s goals was to look for indicators for what the workplace will become. As the perspectives and attitudes of the workforce evolve, employers must better understand employees for greater business success.

You can also follow Spherion on Twitter (hashtag #EWS2014) or join them on Facebook.


Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers (like yours truly) for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. I was free to form my own opinions about the data supplied by Spherion and all opinions are my own. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


image credit: Copyright : rawpixel


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