Social media: the new Excel?

by Hannah Norton05 May 2015
Social media will soon be a competency most employees will need on their CV much like Microsoft Word or Excel, the global VP of talent of a multinational company with a Singapore base says.

Hootsuite global VP of talent, Ambrosia Humphrey, took some time to speak to HRD on her trip to Singapore last week.

In less than 10 years, the Canadian-based social media management company has grown to include offices around the world, including the Singapore outfit, which opened in 2013.
“We see social media as more of a competency, rather than just an addition,” Humphrey told HRD.

“Much like Microsoft was able to make Excel a competency, where everybody around the world had to have it on their resume, we really believe in five years that social media is going to be one of those things.”

Because Hootsuite is a company based on the use of social media, it does not seem unusual that the skill is something the HR department screens for when hiring employees.

“It doesn’t have to mean that they are a social media ninja, but just aligned in the idea of thinking of it as a competency, and something they want to learn about and grow with us on.”

Singaporeans - according to digital and social media marketing specialists Hashmeta - are some of the most active social media consumers in the world.

In fact, Hashmeta figures state that 74% of Singaporeans use social media regularly, with the country having 70% social media penetration – more than double the global average of 26%.

But much as it can be used as a competency, it can also be a liability for companies.
Take the case of telecommunications giant Singtel and the leaked directive, for instance.

In March Singtel was forced to apologise to its rival for a leaked directive urging bloggers to vilify rival companies M1 and Starhub, which was circulated online and prompted both companies to take up the matter with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

Clyde & Co legal director and employment law specialist Julia Yeo said the controversy served as a timely reminder for HR leaders to put in a place a strong social media policy.

“I cannot overemphasize the importance of having social media policies in place. Firstly, to write the policy, because that helps you to think through what is the company’s view on how employees interact with each other on social media, or with the outside world. Secondly, once you come up with the outline of the policy, you can then think about how you are going to implement it. This might be in terms of training, or a toolkit [and deciding] whether you need to upgrade your internal systems, and of course having a trained team that can handle the PR issues arising from this.”


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