As I read article after article about social media and what it means to Human Resources, the more I see that this is a huge topic that is only going to get messier and probably create far more questions than anyone will have answers for.

Here are some examples of the different topics and the opinions being formed. I encourage you to take a look at these articles, and particularly the comments, to see the many discussions taking place.

  • There is the argument made by fellow blogger Lance Haun that you don’t need a social media policy. His opinion is that too much policy is a bad thing and if the focus is on education, there isn’t a need for policy. Do you have a policy? Do you need one?

 

  • Another example is a very scary article about Pre-Crime coming to HR by Mike Elgan that essentially shifts responsibility for employees’ future behavior to the company based on what can be learned by mining social media platforms. Will HR ultimately end up responsible if you don’t monitor social media?

 

  • There is an interesting article written by Michael Greco regarding whether updating profiles after an employee leaves is considered breaking the non-compete agreement. How do your contracts read? Is social media included when your employees sign their employment contracts, non-competes, and confidentiality agreements? Do you think it should be?

 

  • Then there is the debate about whether it is ethical to use social media when recruiting. Laurie Ruettiman wrote a post citing personal experience as an example of why it is wrong to do so. Do you use it to recruit? Do you believe it is public and therefore okay? Do you think it is unethical?

 

  • Jeannette Palodino wrote a blog post about the success IBM has had in using social media to engage and retain employees. The choice of whether to promote its use or restrict it is yet another hot topic. Has it been a useful tool for you to engage employees? Have you considered using social media in this way?

 

Reading all of these articles has led me to three conclusions:

There seem to be an equal number of people on each side of each issue and pretty much all the arguments are compelling.

The only certainty is that there is no certainty. Things are changing rapidly and even the Supreme Court is ruling on both sides of many of these subjects, depending on the situation.

Human Resources should not ignore social media. It is already having a huge effect on your department whether you like it or not, and it is not going to go away.

Do you discuss the impact social media is having on your employees, your company brand, your methods, and the legal ramifications of these impacts? Do you use it, monitor it, and keep up to speed on the debates that are occurring around social media?  Please share your experiences in the comments.