Generation Y and the Role of Social Media in the Workplace


Have you, do you, or will you look at your employees social media profile? Maybe the better question is, will you admit that you have?  In today’s connected world in which Generation Y’s percentage of the workforce is increasing, the issue of your employees’ social media footprint, and what restrictions you as an employer can place on it, must be addressed.  

We were speaking to a group of business students last week and the issue of privacy came up in the discussion.  Many of the students in the audience were in the process of applying for jobs, asking for help to improve their resumes, and wondering what it was going to take to make themselves standout in the pool of applicants. One commonly overlooked area that kept coming up was social media. More specifically, they were curious how their social media footprint would impact their transition from college to career. 

When we were working in hospitality and were considering an applicant for an open position, did we seek some assistance from Google, Facebook, and Twitter?  Yes. Was it the most ethical thing to do? That’s up for debate. Does it happen often? Yes. 

The strategy going forward, from the applicant’s perspective, is simple. Make your profile private. If I, as the company, am going to invest financial resources in recruiting, selecting, training, and developing you, I want to make sure I’m getting the best possible candidate. By putting the highlights of your personal life on social media, you’re slowly, although indirectly, reducing the return on my investment. 

But what can the company do, or what should they be doing about this? This is a question that continues to be discussed by all levels of management. We know without question that snooping around an applicant or employees social media profile happens, albeit unofficially.  

With that being said, we encourage you to visit this issue within your own company. What is your organization’s policy on using social media in the hiring process? Do you have a policy? Can employees’ social media profiles have an impact on your business? Should an applicant or employee’s social media be involved in HR-decisions?

This is a topic that needs further research.  We are in the preliminary stages of a research study on social media and HR-decision making.  At the conclusion of this research, we hope to understand organizations’ policies for dealing with employees’ social media footprint. In addition, we want to quantify the impact, if any, the social media footprints of applicants and employees has on HR-decisions in the workplace.  

These two themes appear simple, but have dramatic ramifications for the future of how we manage Generation Y employees, a group that is slowly starting to become the most populace in the workforce.  As always, we look forward to conducting the research and disseminating the results to organizations so they can better address the needs of their internal customers. 

Drs. B & T

photo credit: ePublicist via photopin cc

Job Hunting Season: Open for Business

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With the spring academic semester underway, students across the nation are starting the nerve-racking process of looking for jobs and internships.  One indicator that job hunting season is here can be traced to the number of “Can you help me my resume?” emails we seem to get each week.  We are always happy to help our students, and as each year goes by, it seems the students are getting more and more eager to make the best impression possible when they interact with recruiters.

Recruiters visit our campus for a variety of reasons that traditionally include attending career fairs, delivering company presentations, and in many cases, conducting in-person interviews with qualified student candidates.  

In hopes of bridging the gap between academia and industry, we frequently highlight the benefits for students attending a career fair, including: gaining exposure to many companies, developing relationships with potential employers, and learn about companies or sectors they may not have considered when thinking about future employment. 

From a recruiter standpoint, there are two main reasons for attending a career fair: First, finding quality employees who fit your company’s culture, and second, to convince high quality candidates they should apply for jobs within your organization.  Unfortunately, just like our students, recruiters just showing up at the event is not enough.  To truly be the employer of choice for students, recruiters need to make sure they standout in the minds of fair attendees (students, and quite often, faculty). Here are some tips for recruiters as they attend collegiate career fairs this spring:

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  1. Bring enough people – Something we have noticed over the years is that many companies choose to bring only one or two company representatives to the fair. These are the same companies that end up having lines, which becomes discouraging to students who are coming in between classes and want to talk to as many companies as possible. Some might perceive companies with a line as the “popular” choices, but be aware you will not be able to speak to each individual who wanted to talk with you.
  2. Bring the right people – It may seem obvious, but be sure to bring people who enjoy interacting and represent your company well. You want to give those at the career fair an accurate picture of the type of people who work at your organization.  By doing this, you give the student a realistic preview of the culture and go a long way to mitigating voluntary turnover right after joining your organization. 
  3. Stand up and approach – Many times we see recruiters sitting behind their table, checking their smart device and waiting for potential applicants to approach, and interrupt, them. Get up, walk around the table and be present. Say hello to the students as they walk by, try to engage and you will see a higher number of interactions and better quality applicants.
  4. Make your booth an extension of your organization – You are trying to capitalize on the benefits of attending a career fair, so make your booth a good representation of your organization. If your organization is a fun, laid back, and engaging place to work, bring some props that will indicate that to potential applicants as they walk by. If your work uses a lot of technology, bring a display that shows what you do – it’d be a bonus if you make it interactive so potential applicants could participate.
  5. Do not cancel – If you are scheduled to attend a career fair, there are people who are counting on you to be there. From the hosts to the potential applicants, you will create a poor image for your company by canceling. The hosts of the career fair may decide not to invite you back, and the potential applicants will have a poor first impression of your company and may no longer consider a position.

Career fairs can be an excellent source of applicants, particularly if you are looking for upcoming graduates or have internships to offer. However, as with any business activity, you need to put the effort in to do it right in order to get the most out of your investment. 

Drs B & T

1st photo credit: Mays Business School cc
2nd photo credit: Penn State cc

Providing Timely Feedback

As 2014 gets into full swing and the realities of the upcoming year are upon us, we encourage you to take a few minutes to think about a frequently overlooked area of Human Resources, the performance review. 

Through our teaching and research initiatives, we have found that hospitality companies, especially those that employ part-time and seasonal workers, fail to provide appropriate work-related feedback on a consistent basis, if at all.

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Guest Blog #1: T. Trent Dang Discusses the Merging of Industry and Academic Goals

During my fifteen years in the gaming industry, I’ve also had the pleasure of being an adjunct instructor at two fine universities for about half that time. Being in this somewhat unique position, I’ve often thought of how both sides can assist each other with their endeavors so when Dr. Thomas asked if I would like to write a guest article, I thought what a great venue to put some of these thoughts down on “paper.”

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No Mentor? Seek Career Advice from Faculty

Frequently students who are seeking guidance approach us.   Many of the issues are not specific to a class they are taking, but relate to their own careers in the service industry. These questions can range from guidance on where to look for a job and how to format a resume, to more complex issues such as what is the appropriate career path and how to handle tough interview scenarios.  

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