Employers fear social media despite enormous potential

social media potential

Social media key to developing strong employer brand and recruiting best candidates but employers shy away from using it.

Over half of employers believe employee involvement in recruitment via social media risks damaging rather than enhancing the employer brand, according to a study of HR decision makers.

The research also found that only 39 per cent are using social media to actively search for staff and only half use it to advertise vacancies.

Three quarters of businesses recognise the need for a change in the traditional approach to recruitment, and two thirds feel they need a stronger story around why candidates should choose to work for them. Yet, only 41 per cent of the businesses surveyed encourage staff to post about their own experiences as a route to publicising their employee brand.

The research found that although businesses are already present on a number of social media they are not fully exploiting the potential of these platforms, particularly for employer brand promotion. Businesses recognise that social media should be used more frequently for recruitment but they fear losing control of their brand.

Two thirds said they would be delighted if employees reposted job vacancies and news stories about the business. But this represents a somewhat diluted version of social advocacy.  The most powerful social statement comes from employees posting genuine comment. Yet, companies are reluctant to allow this to happen unmonitored, and over half say they don’t have time to monitor employee posts. The research also found that 35 per cent allow employees to post on social media but monitor them, while 32 per cent prohibit or control posts about the company.

Guido Nieuwkamp, Director at SocialReferral said: “Employers are missing an opportunity in fearing or not understanding the use of social media for recruitment and to develop a strong employer brand. Instead of encouraging it, they are restricting access, prioritising control over expression. Rather than taking this approach, they need to take full advantage of the possibilities of using social media. By going down the non-traditional route, organisations can expand their reach considerably. It is especially crucial for entry-level recruitment as it allows businesses to reach a pool of younger potential employees who value their virtual connections every bit as much as traditional contacts.

“Businesses with a willingness to move on from the more traditional recruitment methods make their biggest investment – their staff – their biggest brand asset. A genuine employee driven social media presence is one of the biggest assets a brand can have. By enabling social media usage, you will encourage massive amplification of your brand message, resulting in a better reputation for the business itself, wider talent pools and inevitably, more customers.”

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