"Google," which became a verb in June 2006, is among many new verbs that have transformed the way we speak--and interact. Today we "friend" someone on Facebook, "bookmark" a website, "blog" an article, and "text" from our phones. Social media is rewriting how we connect with each other--and it's happening in every aspect of our lives. Twitter transformed how we get our news; Groupon revolutionized how we consume; Foursquare revamped how we "check-in"; and now, social media is redefining how we hire.
More than a decade ago, HR saw the emergence of job boards that allowed employers to reach an expanded talent pool with the click of a few buttons. Since that time, virtual hiring portals have dominated candidate sourcing. As social media infiltrates everyday life, franchisees must leverage these resources to connect with both their consumers and candidates.
Today, one of every six Americans uses social media. Of those, 59 percent interact with businesses through social media sites, with one in four checking in more than once a week (Cone Communications). And consumers who "like" your business give your brand and your bottom line a "thumbs-up." In fact, 61 percent of Facebook users who have "liked" a brand note that they are more likely to purchase from that brand (AllFacebook).
The business case is clear. It is time to seize the day and capitalize on online influence by integrating social media into hiring processes. For franchise businesses with a following, it is the obvious next step, especially for the fast casual segment, where social media campaigns have already shown marketing success.
Social media is already revolutionizing the restaurant industry. The NRA's 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast found that more than 80 percent of restaurant operators plan to increase their social media marketing efforts. Over the next two years, more than half plan to add online review sites, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs into their marketing mix.
Further, according to the 2012 HR Toolbox survey, HR professionals spend 7.62 hours each week on social media sites. What are they doing? They are using online profiles (originally reserved for connecting socially) to hunt for jobs, build credibility and a personal brand, and network professionally.
Social media is a powerful recruiting and sourcing tool for franchisees. Social media takes the old networking adage of hiring based on "who you know" to a new level. The ability of employers to tap into these social networks is quickly becoming an indispensable resource: hiring managers can reach their target demographic more easily, employ a proactive sourcing plan, and drastically reduce costs. Most social media sites allow businesses to Post, Tweet, Pin, and Message open positions free--unlike job boards, which can cost employers hundreds of dollars for each position.
BranchOut, the largest professional network on Facebook, went mobile in the fall of 2011. The program lets members use their Facebook network to look for jobs, source leads, recruit candidates, and cultivate professional contacts. Three months earlier, LinkedIn launched an "Apply with LinkedIn" button, allowing candidates to submit resumes directly from their profile with just a click. Sophisticated talent management systems can pool social media sourcings and quickly filter through applications to identify the best candidates.
Developments such as these continue to drive innovation in franchising. The future of franchise hiring and repeat customers is a two-way conversation. If you're not speaking the lingo, you'll be left behind.
Look at what is working for others who are being successful, and then set goals for where your franchise is headed. Take into consideration industry innovations, relevant social media outlets, culture and brand messages, and the development plan for your franchise business. Open a conversation with your management team and team leaders about where you want to go and what you need to get there. Then empower your team to lead the charge.
Nate DaPore is President and CEO of PeopleMatter. He is passionate about providing team members, including his own, with a rewarding workplace experience that values creativity and innovation. Contact him at 877-230-4088 or email@example.com.
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