Thursday, 20 March 2014

The contribution of social media to human resource management

Zhao, Tianzhang is a student in the Social Media MA at the University of Westminster.

Social media helped to generate energy and mobilize a community of support in the U.S. presidential election in 2008, which helped Barack Obama to achieve popularity (Jue, et al., 2010). According to Jue and his colleagues (2010), this fervor of political influence would be of particular value to any community activist, no matter their political beliefs or organizational affiliation.

If this were true what would this mean for organisational management? Most organisations seek to engage employees, clients, customers, suppliers and partners in an effort to achieve brand loyalty to their products and services. However, in today’s world political and business leaders cope with increasingly difficult circumstances in achieving these objectives (Jue, et al., 2010).

What to do? Well, social media is a useful platform for leaders to construct and share their strategic goals in a relatively efficient and accessible way. To gain and sustain competitive advantage, leaders need to rely on the engagement and commitment of those they work with, namely their employees and partners. They also could depend on social media platforms to accelerate and enhance employee innovation, engagement, and performance (Jue, et al., 2010); The elements of human resource management in an organization. In other words, social media

As Jue and his colleagues (2010: 2) claimed, “those who are actively using social media in their organizations can be confident that they have new ways to improve their business performance, create long-term capability, and ultimately sustain their success”.

Based on Jue and his colleagues’ work (2010: 74-75), social media would be a great help at work, which would be reflected in the following ways:

  1.  Incorporated into a company’s corporate culture and critical to its strategy.
  2. cost effective.
  3. scales more effectively to meet a global audience’s training needs.
  4. engages employees in sharing knowledge and expertise.
For example, we can look at the NHS. In practice, NHS states that social media helps them enhance their human resource efficiency. In their 2013 report on their employers, it was pointed out that firstly, social media offers a great platform for both organizations and individuals to listen and have conversations with people they want to influence and talk to. Secondly, social media provides an online platform for HR managers to highlight the working behavior guidance and HR policies. Thirdly, the next generation of NHS employees would rely on getting information from the internet and mobile devices, therefore, how NHS embraces these social media users for the benefits of employees and patients would be significant in developing a sustainable NHS. Finally, if NHS could trust their employees with the patients’ lives, why can employees not be trusted on social media?

To sum up, the relationship between social media and human resource management has an unexpected change in this dynamic environment. For social media researchers, it should be emphasized that the unexpected function of social media would always emerge along with the changing environment in specific industries or working areas. For HR managers and leaders, it is time to be aware of the importance of social media’s impact at work, and think about how to take the advantage of using social media effectively to develop the organization and promote business performance.


CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). (2013). The role of HR in corporate responsibility. Available: Last accessed 1st Dec 2013.

Jue, A.L., Marr, J.A. & Kassotakis, M.E. (2010). SOCIAL MEDIA AT WORK: How Networking Tools Propel Organizational Performance. United States of America: Jossey-Bass.

NHS. (2013). HR and social media in the NHS. Available: Last accessed 1st Dec 2013.


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