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Employee Orientation programs are perfect partners for social media

July 6, 2010

[tweetmeme source=sparkandco only_single=false <a href=”http://www.URL.com”>http://www.URL.com</a>]

There are people who are really interested in helping organizations deal with social media for external purposes – marketing, product development, user communities, and then there are those that are more interested in helping organizations figure out how to incorporate social media internally – learning, user support, communities of practice and so forth.  Are there any folks that are helping organizations deal with this challenge holistically?  It seems to me that it could end up being another silo’d affair, where marketing has their own strategy, product groups do, too.  And then HR has one for recruitment/employer branding, and the learning folks are pitching something different.

This can become brand suicide in one day: employee orientation.

Many of us will have built these or least attended employee orientation programs and others may think of it as “orientation day” – where you fill out your forms and are told about the benefits that you will get later (not right away) and maybe you meet some corporate big-wig and watch one of those uplifting videos…Perhaps your experience was more like this scenario: you start work at your new organization, walk in the door and…no one knows what to do with you, so you get stuck in some meeting room with a binder to review.  Many of us have experienced a less-than-stellar orientation experience.  Not a great feeling, especially if you thought the organization was great and turns out that it was all hype.

How about looking at your orientation program as the conduit from external to internal?  What might people know of your organization (brand)? What might they know about your organization as an employer (employer brand)? How can you continue to tell the same story using social media?  Orientation can actually start as soon as you accept an offer.  Setting up a password-protected site where they can input their employee information to the HR system, take a tutorial describing the benefits and read organizational strategies would really help many employees feel confident coming into work on their first official day.

Here are some other ideas to improve the process.  Set up an orientation hashtag on twitter (your recruiters would love you for that), give the new employees the ability to blog about their experiences – privately if your organization is a bit more conservative, publicly if you choose.  Allow these new employees to create the new employee video and post onto video sharing site.  Create an online scavenger hunt, using social media, storing all their links in a social bookmarking service.  Create a Voicethread with the neighbourhood map and allow others to share their favorite coffee spots, lunch places or secret walks.

Joining an organization is a pretty social affair – why not use some of the tools available to make it a good one?

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