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Increasingly, a potential employee’s use of social media is a consideration for employers. Discuss why employers have this new focus in their recruitment and selection policies.
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It is one of the challenging topics as it bypasses so many morals and compliances. In recent times there has been an explosion of social media popularity. The world is witnessing a social media revolution. The statistics of social media use are astounding. Thus there is no surprise in the fact that social media is pervading in almost every aspects of our lives be it personal, professional or social. Though efforts are being made by a large number of businesses to utilize the supremacy of social media to their benefits, it is not hard to realize that with the benefits the social media has some intense challenges and problems.
It is very important for any business, organization, employees or the employers to consider the various aspects of how social media can affect the employment as well as the business as a whole.
Many employers have adapted to the fact changing workplace ethics and have allowed employees to use social media only for the business development and viable associations. While few employers have allowed the use with a motive to foster better understanding among the employees and to promote a more idealistic environment. Though it has some advantage but it also comes with some ethical and legal consequences. Thus the employers role in minimizing these associated risks plays an important role in effective management of the business. In this essay we will discuss the employer’s possible reasons of this new focus of social media in their recruitment and selection policies. The pros of social media in workplace are recruitment of potential candidates, branding, low investment, large audience, targeted market, networking capabilities, ease of conducting research and training and development. The cons being it can decrease the productivity too, immense concern of the privacy and security of the data, inappropriate behavior, bad reputation etc (Kabalkin, 2015). Social media rendezvous is a practically new subject for both employers and employees. The employer concern is to how to get benefits by using this platform and how to make sure that employee use of social media at work is neither distracting nor harmful to the organization growth and culture.
The social media reach to the business world has stretched greatly. Although it started as a form of personal communication but not various types of businesses recognizes the advantages of using the social media for their development. There are different sites which are being used for different purposes like personal sharing sites were people share personal details, photos etc, then there are some which co-exists between personal and professional and some can be identified as completely professional (Vroman et al., 2016). Internally it can be used for the company’s advantage by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their communication and externally it can be used to maximize the contacts and impact by creating explicit targeted advertisements. To develop a formed relationship company uses there profiles and pages in different popular networking sites which help them generate brand image and content with the people. Also it helps to connect with the customers directly, making them experience a more personal feel. According to one of the survey done with over 3000 customers and non-customers it was found that engagement in social media helps in creating a positive corporate reputation especially among the non-customers (Dijkmans, Kerkhof, & Beukeboom, 2015). Apart from transforming the way companies conduct their business the social media has also transformed the way companies hire now. Few personal professional sites are used by an individual as well by organizations. An individual explores the job prospects and businesses use to discover more information on sustainability of the applicants. The personal information’s that was not easily available before can be found on social sites without any efforts. The HRD (Human resource department cannot prevent or control people from exploring the prospective job candidate information’s which is publically available. Thus the company faces difficulties in ensuring that only legitimate criteria are being used in the hiring process.
Information’s being shared on social sites draws rigorous participation and additional information. People don’t care where the information and come from and whether to keep it private. This information’s are used to gains personal and professional gains by either spreading or selling it to those who will exploit it. Thus the lack of concern of personal data protection and privacy rights by the corporate has led to various legal consequences. With this rising concern many global entities have passed legal rules and constructed policies to mandate privacy and personal data protection for using social media. It is not against the law for an employer to read the information which is available on social sites, but when making a hiring decision the employer is not legally permitted to consider the social site information’s.
Hiring based on information’s from social media access can lead to disastrous results like allegation of illegal discrimination. In one of the survey it was found that 91% of US recruiters agreed that they use social networks to screen potential applicants. Some recruiters have taken this screening practice further in a way that it may be a breach of the Privacy Act 1988, adverse claim action under Fair work Act 2009 and Australian consumer law (Eills, 2011). Only 6 % of hiring managers accepted that the social media activity notably affected their hiring decision while 40% admitted that it had some impact as the information’s required was not intended to be used for hiring process. A US survey found that one common reason for not selecting or short listing a candidate for hiring were based on the lifestyle information’s from the social sites (Vroman et al., 2016). Though most businesses do not appreciated the controlling of social media use for hiring but few studies have established one major legal problem like misuse of personal information which can result to lawsuit from individual.
The recent growth in the use of social networking site shows immense potential. However the concerns raised needs to be resolved through good structured policies and practices by the businesses, taking into consideration like the validity & accuracy of the information on the social sites, their accessibility, privacy issues, costs and benefits associated and its effect on the factors like diversity and equality in the hiring process(Broughton et al., 2013). There are visible benefits of using the social media in the recruitment process like it is a quick and easy way of finding potential employees with certain specific characteristics and experience unlike the usual applicants thereby improving the quality of candidates being hired, it also gives access to a wider range of candidates, it helps to gather more information that would have nit be possible with the traditional method of hiring, it also helps in presenting a realistic job preview thereby fostering realistic expectations from the job. It is important the fact that the social media activities can impact the workplace by compromising of confidential information or mistreating of employees or unnecessarily and over use of social media (Rosenberg, 2016). One major concern is that there needs to be a clear boundary between the work and personal life by differentiating between a range of situations. It is exceptionally important for both the employers and the employees that there are multiple ethical concerns involved. Aside from loss of productivity in the workforce it can damage the reputation of the organization as a whole. An updated recruitment policy prohibits actions and events that are unlawful and adequate systems in place ensure the data privacy of the organization (Brown, 2011). Adhering to statuary, regulatory and policy guidance can help the employees to avoid the probable mistakes of using social media in hiring process (O'SHEA, 2012).
This trend of social media use can affect communications among and within the organizations. Thus it is important develop a policy where the employees are clear as to what and what not is acceptable. Instead of having an excessively formal policy it should focus more on the ethical and disciplined approach of using social media in recruitment process. Regardless of the legal implications the employer insists to analysis the social profile, the legal risks can be minimized by ensuring few points like conducting a personal interview before analyzing the social media, obtaining a written consent or permission of the candidate to go through the social content, involving a third party to conduct the social media search, using a standard form of social media search of all the candidates, keeping a record of all the social search done and narrowly framing specific work place policies that gives the employees good guidance and examples of using social sites. Even though policies and regulations are defined all the decision makers should be aware of the legal implications and consequences of bypassing these policies.
Furthermore the employers need to judge and maintain a balance between being vigilance in the use of information gathered through social media and the significance that the information might have on the recruitment process. With the widespread use of social media it is significant that the use of this method of screening and hiring will increase with time. By using it as a part of wider strategy of hiring process, avoiding over investing, training of those involved in the social hiring process, ensuring the data and information of the applicants secured and using it as a relatively informal medium an organization can minimize the risks of legal implications and effectively use it at the same time.
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