Social Recruiting Sets Expectations for Social Training

by Sharlyn Lauby on January 29, 2013

According to Jobvite’s annual social recruiting survey, over 90% of companies used social recruiting last year as part of their hiring strategy. Now call me crazy, but it only seems logical that if companies are using social media as part of the hiring process, then employees will expect to see it once they get hired.

It makes no sense to hire someone using Twitter then tell them in company orientation that Twitter is banned. It sends the wrong message on day one of employment.

That’s why I was very interested in the latest offering from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) – the social media for learning certificate program. And was thrilled that ASTD invited me to check the program out first hand.

social media, social recruiting, social training, ASTD, employee engagement, certificate

This 2-day program is not focused on social learning (although the topic is discussed). It’s also not a “Here’s how you use Twitter and Facebook” session. The program is focused on bringing together instructional design and social media to strengthen the learning experience.

Employees who are hired using social media tools will expect to see social media in training. Companies building a brand presence on social media will want their employees to connect with the brand via social platforms. It enhances employee engagement. The question becomes how to create effective activities that support the learning objective.

The program was designed and facilitated by Jane Bozarth, author of the book “Social Media for Trainers”. Jane lives and breathes this topic and her passion shows in the program. What I enjoyed was the way she engaged the group without “selling” a particular platform. Because it’s not about specific platforms…it’s about creating a learning experience.

I don’t want to give away the entire program but let me share an example of a discussion we had during the program. It was focused on photos – smart phones with camera and video capability, camera and video editing apps, and social sites that support sharing images.

One of the ways we learn is by visuals. We can create powerful learning experiences by using the right images at the right moment. This not only applies to technical training, where we can take photos of actual equipment or shoot a quick video of how to do something, but it also applies to soft skills.

For example, what if during your next leadership training program, you asked participants to take a photo that validates your company culture? They all have those smartphones – right? In fact, instead of begging and pleading with managers to put them away…send them out on an activity with them. Ask them to upload their photo to a site and debrief the photo collection as a group.

As individuals and organizations do more with social media, the expectation will increase that social tools will be incorporated into all aspects of an employee’s career. Initially, it might seem easy to introduce social tools into the learning experience. But like everything that’s done during training design, finding the right tool for the best outcome can be a challenge. Especially when you consider the pace that social tools are changing.

If your organization is trying to figure out how to bring social into the learning experience, I’d suggest checking out this program. I consider myself rather knowledgeable in both instructional design and social media and I learned more than a few things. It also got my thought process started on how I could do more when designing programs in the future.

Is anyone out there using social media in their training programs? Share your experience in the comments.

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