Business Today

Roll Call on Twitter

From using social media as a recruitment tool and building employee engagement to marking attendance, HR practices are taking a leap.
twitter-logo Chitra Narayanan        Print Edition: July 19, 2015
HR practices taking to social media big time
Bang In The Middle, a three-year-old ad agency in Gurgaon, has moved its attendance systems to Twitter.

When it comes to talent search, companies have taken to social media like a duck to water. A LinkedIn survey pegs that nearly 44 per cent companies in India use social media to hire. HR practitioners are increasingly using social platforms for engagement and as a learning platform.

But just imagine using social media for attendance. Bang In The Middle, a three-year-old ad agency in Gurgaon, has moved its attendance systems to Twitter. Six months ago, the agency junked its old-world attendance register and created a special hashtag for its employees on the micro-blogging site. Each morning, the agency's staffers post selfies on Twitter with the hashtag #PresentSir. "We are a new-age company. We felt we should use new-age methods," quips Managing Partner Naresh Gupta. The advantage is that employees who are out for meetings or at a client site can register their presence from there. "Attendance over Twitter gives me two things - location and a time stamp." It can also tell clients whether the person they are dealing with in the agency is in office or not.

Going public with attendance is very in. Take the Modi government's attendance.gov.in portal, whereby any citizen can find out if an official is present. Apart from transparency, the portal was also supposed to generate nifty analytics on how regular at work the government servants are.

Indeed, a host of plug and play attendance apps and software that large companies use throw up automated analytics at the click of a button. On the downside, these systems using biometrics or access cards can cause irritation among employees who are "on the move". Reports suggest the government's attendance system has already run into non-compliance issues.

The drawback in the Bang In The Middle Twitter attendance system is that the collation of each employee's records is still manual. For a 50-member office, it is not a big deal, but for large corporations, social media attendance is not practical right now. As James Thomas, Country Manager, India, Kronos, says: "A lot of adhoc attendance solutions get deployed in workplaces when solutions need to be industry grade, scalable, reliable, and sustainable to larger populations spread across locations." But he admits the impact of social media is an engaging conversation especially among millennials and Gen Z who would seek flexibility. As Gupta says: "It makes the entire process of coming to office a little more fun. People even check-in in groups."

Nabomita Mazumdar, Partner, Cite HR, a community for HR professionals, describes how companies like e-Zest announce their employee of the month on Facebook or how PriceBaba shares its work culture on YouTube. "Inventive ways are here and we will see a new high in firms using social media," she says.

LISTENING POST

It's all About Politics

Facebook and Twitter are full of political debates and posturing. Yet, Sean Parker, the Silicon Valley billionaire behind Napster and Spotify and even Facebook (he was the fi rst president), feels there is space for a network devoted to politics. Enter Brigade, a start-up set up by him that aims to increase civic participation by asking users to make snappy judgement calls on issues and then see how their thinking matches with their friends. Investors in the app include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and veteran venture capitalist Ron Conway. Will it get America more engaged in politics? And, will it fi nd applications in India?

Super Private Network

For those worried about privacy, here comes Minds.com, a social network launched on web and mobile with the support of the infl uential Anonymous, a group of hacktivists. Just like any other social network, you post and your friends can view your updates. But the difference is that advertisers and government cannot access this as it offers end to end encrypted private messaging. And privacy does not mean lack of reach. The more active you are on Minds, the more you are rewarded with a greater reach that you get to control. How it works is that users who post more are given points that can be exchanged with views - the network will promote your posts. Sounds a bit contrarian, though.

Ask Away Anything

Quora has gained immense popularity as an ask anything service. Can newbie on the block Reveal challenge Quora? There are some differentiators. Reveal encourages users to ask and respond to questions, and rewards them by offering cryptocurrency - reveal coins. Every response has to begin with a photo or a video followed by text. Members can also earn reveal coins by referring new members to the network.

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