HR Leaders are facing unprecedented challenges as corporations move to remote and hybrid work models. Add to this a clear shift to gig work, which has accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic and reflected in the historic numbers of employees that have quit the workforce in recent months, and you have the perfect storm. This is all happening within the context of a fractured and politically polarized society that is often demanding corporations take a position on key social issues or face backlash from social media mobs.
While social media has historically been used by corporations to market to an audience that is increasingly moving away from main stream media consumption, it also represents tremendous risk. What employees and customers say online can be easily amplified to millions of connected social media users within minutes. When this message is reflected as negative sentiment toward a brand, the company can be faced with tremendous customer erosion and financial loss.
It’s clear social media is here to stay. The increase in remote workers has contributed to an increase in social media use. According to a study by kepios.com, last year alone there were 400 million more social media users than in 2020, reflecting a 10% growth rate. In essence, 70% of the eligible population is currently using at least one social media platform.
Organizations are quickly realizing that in order to protect their brand’s reputation they must assess the character of their new hires. Beyond extensive and time-consuming interviews, social media screening currently represents the best method to triage an organization’s candidates. And unlike criminal background checks and credit checks, an organization can leverage social media screening before a conditional offer is made – providing a crucial data point for risk assessment.
The above trends are beginning to prove out in the data. According to a broad survey by PBSA and HR.COM, when respondents were asked which areas of background screening organizations were considering expanding upon or starting to use, social media was the top selection worldwide. The survey concluded:
Improving the quality of hires and protecting company reputation are more important than ever…social media is the New Frontier
Outsourcing this function to a qualified social media screening company is critical. In the US this means a social media screening company that follows FCRA and EEOC guidelines and provides a thorough and unbiased view of the candidate’s online persona. The incremental cost for the social media background is easily justified given the overall risk companies are faced with today including a possible serious hit to the brand from a single social media post from an employee. Whether you are concerned with brand reputation, workplace safety, insider threats or simply place more emphasis on your company culture, social media screening is the best method for mitigating these risks.