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Has social media created a generation of 'job flirts'?

David Woods , 12 Apr 2012

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The UK is becoming a nation of ‘job flirts’ thanks to social networking, with 70% of workers using social networks to find out about potential opportunities according to a report from Taleo Corporation.

The UK Social Talent Management report found employees use social networks to look outside rather than inside the company, with two-thirds (66%) of respondents 'flirting' by using social networks to enhance their career prospects outside of their current company while less than half (45%) use them to look for internal opportunities.

For passive job seekers, social networks are valuable for finding out about career opportunities, and keeping an eye on social networks is seen as an easy, quick way to identify available jobs within their sector. This can be clearly seen from the survey findings: 39% plan to use social networks to find new jobs, 40% to research prospective employees, and 32% to apply for job roles. Ultimately, employers run the risk of losing top employees by failing to utilise these networks by choosing to instead rely on intranets and company websites.

Office staff are active across a wide range of social tools for professional purposes, with 72% of employees using social media at least once a month. More specifically 21% use LinkedIn; 20% use Facebook; 9% use Google+; and 8% use Twitter.

The report shows that UK businesses need to better understand the potential value of a social talent management strategy. Many companies see social networks as mere distractions for their employees rather than recognising the tremendous opportunity that they represent. Although many organisations (61%) have a social networking presence of some kind, only 10% of employees routinely use social networks internally to discuss work with colleagues, and just one in four think that employers leverage their social network connections. Forming a sound social network and connecting this to a talent management strategy should be at the top of successful business agendas in 2012.

Dave Wilkins, VP of Taleo Research, said: "Social networking is here to stay, so to retain top talent in the current environment, employers should leverage internal social talent practices to better engage employees and identify top performers. Employers need to focus on building a strong employer brand and incorporating social media presence into their talent acquisition strategies. At the same time, companies need to do a better job in tapping into employee networks and self-identified areas of expertise without being perceived as overstepping boundaries.

"Businesses who can successfully use social talent practices to harness the collective wisdom and expertise of their teams while also connecting with a broader pool of external talent will be poised for success."

The report states that lack of internal investment in social talent management and overall lack of Talent Intelligence can lead to unnecessary turnover, leading to additional spending and investment in external social systems. Companies should adjust their social and talent awareness efforts to be more internally focused, reducing their hiring requirements by creating a more engaged and collaborative work environment, helping them to fully realise the potential of their workforce.

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