Gen Z likes social media, but they don't want to hear from recruiters there

While Generation Z believes social media presence is important to their professional brand, it doesn't mean that they want recruiters reaching out to them through those channels. Read this blog post from HR Dive for more on recruiting via social media channels.

Dive Brief:

  • Members of Generation Z believe a personal social media presence is important to their professional brand — but they still don't want to hear from recruiters through those channels, respondents to a Tallo survey said.
  • The results, released Dec. 10, revealed that Gen Z (defined as individuals born after 1996) favors traditional platforms like email (87%) or professional social platforms, such as LinkedIn (63%).
  • "Generation Z places significant emphasis on how they portray themselves to the world, as their self-expression is now a form of social currency, and that includes the way they think about future career opportunities," Casey Welch, CEO of Tallo, said in a press release. "By better understanding how and where Generation Z is building — and distinguishing — their personal and professional brands, companies and colleges can more easily connect with them to fuel the future of work."

Dive Insight:

While experts caution talent professionals against age-based stereotyping, it's worth noting that candidates' perceptions of recruiting processes matter.

A good candidate experience — one that involves strong communication, clear expectations and honest feedback —  is worth the effort, research shows. Employers and job seekers don't always see eye-to-eye on other factors, but sourcing efforts appear to be a good starting place. Similar to Tallo's findings, a recent Randstad Sourceright study found that while talent leaders said they go to Facebook before LinkedIn to connect with job seekers, candidates tend to prefer to connect elsewhere, including LinkedIn.

And a failure to recognize candidate preferences can have a damaging effect. Nearly half of job seekers in a recent PwC survey said they have turned down an offer because of a bad candidate experience — and even more, said they'd discourage others from applying for a job with a company with which they had a poor experience.

SOURCE: Bolden-Barrett, V. (13 December 2019) "Gen Z likes social media, but they don't want to hear from recruiters there" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from

LinkedIn’s job search feature gets smart

LinkedIn is planning on simplifying their process of finding and hiring talent via their recruitment features. The platform plans on consolidating their LinkedIn Recruiter, Jobs and Pipeline Builder products into one service. Continue reading to learn more.

LinkedIn plans to simplify the process of finding and hiring talent through upgraded recruitment features this summer.

The career platform will consolidate its LinkedIn Recruiter, Jobs and Pipeline Builder products into one service — the Intelligent Hiring Experience — to streamline the recruitment process for its corporate customers. Artificial intelligence algorithms will help talent recruiters find the most suitable candidates for open positions.

“[The] update is about how we can make those tools work even better by fostering collaboration and more efficient sourcing,” says John Jersin, vice president of Product for LinkedIn Talent Solutions and Careers. “We’ve started along this path by bringing more intelligence into our platforms, to ensure our products are working together optimally, and helping both companies and job seekers more easily zero in on the best opportunities.”

With the upgrade, messages between recruiters and potential talent can be shared with HR professionals and hiring managers. The platform also allows the recruiter and corporate hiring team to exchange notes on each job candidate. Recruiters who rely on LinkedIn to discover talent are optimistic the upgrades will make the hiring process more organized.

“I think that would be a great feature,” says Aimee Aurol, talent acquisition specialist for Acuris Group, a media company. “Hiring managers can get a better idea of what I’m doing as a recruiter, and I can see which candidates are moving along in the process.”

Aurol says LinkedIn is her primary tool for identifying and contacting candidates for her company. While the majority of her job placements come from LinkedIn, she says the platform’s candidate suggestions could use improvement. At its current state, Aurol’s candidate searches often turn up the same candidates over and over. But she hopes the updated AI will direct her to a wider variety of available talent.

And Jersin says it was designed to do just that.

“All of these tools are created to help learn your interests and surface the right candidates,” he says. “When a recruiter reaches out to a specific candidate, or a job seeker applies for a role, our AI algorithms take note, matching profiles with job descriptions and highlighting top recommendations.”

LinkedIn’s AI will also take into consideration whether previously suggested candidates were hired or not as it adjusts its personalized algorithm. To help the algorithm learn your company’s preferences, Jersin recommends setting up projects for each available role. Then, go through suggested candidates and save the ones you want to contact — and hide the ones that don’t fit.

Once a candidate is hired, the upgrades allow hiring managers to send rejection letters individually, or in mass. This part of the upgrade was designed to improve the hiring experience for both job applicants and employers.

“We believe applicants will appreciate knowing the outcome of their contact with your company — and it's bad business to leave applicants hanging,” Jersin says. “…one survey showed that over 40% of candidates said that if they don’t hear back from a company they’ll never apply to it again.”

While the upgrades are scheduled to debut in late summer, Jersin says LinkedIn will slowly introduce the new features over the next couple of months. The feature will be included in LinkedIn’s Recruitment and Job Slots membership packages; existing customers will not have to pay additional fees to access the service.

“The new features will make it simple for recruiters to simply keep doing their sourcing and hiring while inadvertently training our algorithms to learn more about their preferences,” Jersin says.

SOURCE: Webster, K. (20 February 2019) "LinkedIn’s job search feature gets smart" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from

Facebook Unveils New Career-Development Portal

Recently Facebook unveiled a new career-development portal that will provide accessible, relevant content to entry-level job seekers. Read this blog post to learn more.

Facebook is jumping into the learning market in a big way, announcing the launch of Learn with Facebook at its New York offices yesterday, a big step toward the social-networking giant’s recently stated goal of equipping 1 million business owners in the U.S. with digital skills by 2020.

Learn with Facebook is a career-development portal that offers introductory, free-of-charge courses in both hard and soft skills. It’s aimed at people hoping to re-enter the workforce after a period of absence as well as those wishing to acquire skills that will help them compete for entry-level jobs in the digital economy, says Fatima Saliu, Facebook’s head of policy marketing.

“We’re facing a major skills gap in this country, and Learn with Facebook is our attempt to address that,” she says. Learn with Facebook has already been launched in France and Germany, says Saliu, and will expand to other markets as well.

Learn with Facebook is a direct move into LinkedIn’s territory, although Facebook representatives denied yesterday that it was seeking to compete directly with the business-focused social network. LinkedIn has steadily built up its own learning offerings since it acquired in 2015 and rebranded it as LinkedIn Learning. Last week, Harvard Business Publishing announced a new partnership with LinkedIn that will allow customers of HBP to access its content directly via LinkedIn Learning’s platform.

The courses currently available on Learn with Facebook include tutorials on digital marketing as well as resume writing and job interviewing. Facebook is working with the Goodwill Community Foundation to develop course material and adapt it to the needs of local communities, says Saliu. “Our goal is to provide accessible, relevant content to entry-level job seekers,” she says.

Facebook is also enhancing its Jobs on Facebook services by allowing businesses to share their job postings on Facebook groups as well as on their own pages and newsfeeds. The company says more than 1 million people have found jobs via Facebook since it launched the service last year.

Facebook is also making updates to its Mentorship tool, which is designed to make it easier for members of Facebook groups to connect with others who have specific experience or expertise. Users will now be able to sign up to share information on what they’re offering or looking for, making it easier for other Group members to find and connect with them on their own rather than going through a Group administrator first, says Michelle Mederos, Facebook Mentorship product designer.

Facebook Groups have enabled people working in high-stress, low-prestige occupations such as certified nursing assistant obtain mentoring and support, says Seth Movsovitz, founder of a Facebook Group called CNAs Only.

Although LinkedIn currently remains the dominant social-media player in the jobs space, it’s clear that Facebook is determined to be a big player as well. For employers that are desperate to fill jobs in a tight labor market, more competition between the two can only be a good thing.

SOURCE: McIlvaine, A. (15 November 2018) "Facebook Unveils New Career-Development Portal" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from

9 things to leave off your LinkedIn

In our rapid-fire digital age, the Internet has completely revamped the way we traditionally look at recruiting. Resumes are sent as PDFs, online portfolios reign supreme, and LinkedIn has become the new Facebook for recruiters in every industry.

Wondering what you shouldn’t include on your LinkedIn profile in order to appear as marketable as possible to potential employers? Read on to find out.

1. Job titles that don’t say what you really do

When trying to describe your previous positions, it works to your advantage to be as precise as possible. That way, recruiters know exactly what your skillset is, and how it might fit into their company.

2. Your age

Unfortunately, some people have reservations hiring someone they think is either too young or too old. Don’t get knocked out of the running for a job by including school graduation years or other age identifiers.

3. Bad spelling, punctuation, and grammar

When writing up descriptions of your responsibilities in each job, take care to avoid punctuation, grammar, or spelling mistakes. Look at it as a test of your writing and communication abilities—highlighted for everyone to see.

4. A goofy profile photo

Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to realize that LinkedIn is not the place to put a goofy or odd profile photo—unless you’re looking for a job at the local comedy club. Spend a little money on getting a quality headshot that will impress those who see it, not make them wonder if you’re a serious candidate.

5. References from previous positions

There’s no reason to include references with phone numbers or contact information on your LinkedIn page. If an employer is really interested in hiring you, they’ll contact you for them directly. However, do encourage people you’ve worked with or for to leave recommendations for you on your LinkedIn profile page. They can really make you stand out from other candidates.

6. Salary or pay

One of the most unprofessional things you can do is include your salary for each position you held at various companies on your LinkedIn profile page. Unless you’re asked, it doesn’t make sense to disclose such personal information on such a public platform.

7. High school jobs

Unless you just graduated from high school, then jobs you had in high school (or earlier!) don’t belong on your professional LinkedIn page. While you may have enjoyed your summer job flipping burgers or mowing lawns, it’s not going to make much of an impression on someone who’s doing the hiring for a position with much greater responsibilities. It’s much better to put your best foot forward by showcasing standout roles in more recent jobs.

8. Personal information

Refrain from adding information about your ethnicity, religious affiliation, political party, or other potentially sensitive or controversial information. Regardless of how open-minded your recruiter may be, saying less is definitely safer than saying too much when you don’t know your audience.

9. Unprofessional posts or memes

Don’t forget that your LinkedIn profile and any posts you make on LinkedIn are potentially going to be viewed by the very person who is going to interview you for your dream job. What do your posts say about you? What about those funny memes (silly cat photos and so forth) that everyone seems to be passing around today? Will they make the interviewer even more excited to make you a job offer, or stay far away?


Read the original article.



Economy P. (4 December 2017). "9 things to leave off your LinkedIn" [web blog post]. Retrieved from address

Can employers access an employee’s social media account?

Original post

The water cooler, it seems, is a thing of the past. Or at least the actual physical water cooler is. These days, many of the office conversations take place online. Employees air their grievances, connect with each other and catch up on each other’s lives through social media.

As technology plays a bigger role in our lives and simple statements that were previously private now become public, employers have an increased interest in what their employees are doing and saying online. Are they disparaging the company? Are they harassing other employees? Are they divulging company secrets?

While these are all valid questions that an employer may want answered, employers need to tread carefully when developing policies regarding their employees’ use of social media. As the technological landscape and employee behavior is changing, so too are the laws governing permissible employer actions in relation to social media.

It is a temping proposition for employers to want access to their employees’ social media accounts. There are some valid reasons that an employer may want and need to know about their workforce’s social media activities. However, there is a growing population of states that have prohibited employers from asking employees for their social media account information.

Most of these state laws, where they exist, prohibit an employer from requiring, or requesting the employee’s social media username and password. Many, including California, Connecticut, Oregon and others also prohibit the employer from asking the employee to access the social media account while the employer is present.

Still others, like New Hampshire, Maine and Delaware, prohibit the employer from asking or requiring employees to add the employer as a friend or to invite the employer to a group that gives the company access to non-public information. In addition to prohibitions on requesting or requiring employee social media account access, nearly all these laws also have an anti-retaliation provision prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against an employee who refuses to divulge his or her social media account information.

Some exceptions exist

Nevertheless, in a nod to the legitimate reasons an employer may have to access information an employee has posted on social media, many of these laws have exceptions for formal internal investigations of employee violations of law or company policy. The laws also frequently make exceptions for social media accounts created by the employee on behalf of the employer, at the request of the employer and/or that are used for company purposes.

Many of the laws also specifically state that a company retains the right to review any publicly available information that an employee has posted on social media, an important exception in light of the fact that many employers research applicants online prior to hiring. As long as all of the information is publicly available, this practice is still permitted under the laws discussed here.

Because so much employee activity now occurs online, employers are wise to stay knowledgeable not only on various new technologies, but also the developing law surrounding protecting the privacy of employees’ online lives. States continue to add these types of laws — the latest being a Connecticut law prohibiting employer requests for social media account access that goes into effect in October of this year.

These laws, while similar, are not all alike, and not all states have them. Employers, especially those with employees in multiple states, should familiarize themselves with the rules governing the areas in which they operate because employee use of social media is likely to only increase as time goes on.

O’Connor, an associate and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, is a member of the labor and employment practice and the automotive industry team. The information in this legal alert is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

Social Media, New Technology Drive Healthy Behaviors

Originally posted March 04, 2014 by Kathleen Koster on

Employers and wellness vendors can elevate worker engagement to new heights by reinforcing healthy behaviors through the seamless application of emerging technologies. From using big data to identify and manage at-risk employees to combining biometrics with the social health version of Facebook, EBN looks at three areas of new technology that can help spur wired employees toward well-being.

Virtual trainers and clinics

According to the National Institutes of Health, users who have a weight-loss coach are 214% more likely to lose weight than those without. However, for most employees hiring a personal trainer is not financially feasible. Yet the interest is there: 74% of American adults want, but cannot afford or accommodate, a “traditional” personal trainer, says David Joseph Aguayo, regional vice president of sales at Anthem National Accounts.

As an alternative, Anthem provides a trainer-centric approach to wellness that doesn’t break the bank. The health insurer partnered with online trainer FitOrbit to provide virtual fitness and real-time, Internet-based coaching. Members begin by answering short questionnaires covering their dietary needs, exercise habits and preferred coaching styles. Based on their individual responses, they are matched with a list of nationally certified personal trainers. After selecting a trainer, the employee electronically receives a customized fitness and nutrition plan and ongoing coaching – the latter via the modern miracle of unlimited texting, plus a weekly personal exercise plan – to support their goals.

In an independent 20-week study, active FitOrbit users consistently lost an average of 1.3 pounds per week. Over three years, the tech platform’s own data shows 0.83 pounds per week of weight loss across all users.

Anthem also delivers the robust benefits of onsite clinics to employers who could otherwise not afford them, using similar technology.

“For employers that want to provide easier access to care or have onsite clinics, but don’t have the financial resources to invest in a brick and mortar facility, online care is way to explore that,” says Aguayo.

Using a new Anthem app, employees can seek medical advice through a live video chat feature that was launched late in the fourth quarter of 2013. Thereby, the employer can drive primary care access for employees without the major cost burden. The white-glove concierge service for health, as Aguayo describes it, gives members access to qualified and very experienced care professionals who can help assuage health issues and prescribe medicine for primary care needs, such as headaches or fever. The best part is the app engages employees where and how they want to be engaged, using text, instant messaging or phone.

The app also helps to keep employees going over the long run, in programs and resources they would ordinarily not participate in. For example, if a member calls in with a question about their health, the customer service advocate uses that opportunity to connect them with a coach or nurse.

“We’re leveraging our technology and investing in our people and trying to engage and create a whole new health experience that’s just in time [for the consumer]," says Aguayo.

Instead of “dialing for dollars” outreach, which most vendors employ to reach as many people as possible, Anthem advocates let members know what’s available at the point in which they’re actually asking for it, when they call in for help on their own.

Aguayo points out that 27% of people Anthem is trying to outreach to and engage with will call customer service in next three to six months to ask a question. That’s a great opportunity to tell them about the resources, capabilities and incentives available.

“We look at every possible pathway to engage people,” says Aguayo, emphasizing the role that technology and, in particular, mobile outreach has in today’s workplace.

Target outreach with big data

Another wellness vendor, Healthstat, implements patient engagement and behavior modification outreach via its electronic health records system, Pro-change Behavior Systems. The behavior change technology and coaches can identify employees’ level of readiness to change their behavior as well as how to best engage them.

“It’s not enough to know their risk profile, you need to know where they’re at, mentally and emotionally, and their readiness to change,” says John Kaegi, chief corporate strategist of Healthstat, Inc.

The system derives information from e-clinical employee health records to channel employees toward healthy living by combining behavioral science and employees’ risk assessments.

On the provider side, the technology prompts the coaches or trained clinicians to ask their patient the right questions, based on the patient’s risk analysis and their readiness to change. They can also proactively reach out to clients before they visit the clinic.

“It’s a lot easier when you have all the information at change behaviors,” says Kaegi.

The health risk assessment survey includes questions on readiness to change along with their risk profile. Straightforward questions (and some indirect ones) help triangulate their information to gauge a patient’s consistency. The program also culls data from the employee’s biometric screening results so the coach knows their data, even if they fail to mention that they smoke or have a certain health issue.

For example, the survey may ask how many times they tried to diet in the last 12 months. If the individual is not mentally ready to change, they may not have dieted before or have just tried brief stints at losing weight.

The Pro-change Behavior System uses a trans-theoretical model on how people change health behaviors and what spurs them to change. Based on decades of research, this model asserts that people fall into five stages of behavior change: pre-contemplative, contemplative, preparation, action and maintenance.

Kaegi says that 80% of Americans are stuck between pre-contemplation mode, meaning they don’t think they need to change, and contemplation, which means they wish they could change, but don’t know how.

Based on this model, the Healthstat program uses a different approach than what doctors may use. If a morbidly obese person sees a doctor, that professional likely advises them to diet or they will suffer greater health risks and eventually die prematurely.

“Sharing information and warnings just doesn’t work with people who are in [high risk] categories. What does work is an understanding, listening and caring coach who can walk them through the change at their own pace,” says Kaegi. Doctors don’t have time for this type of approach, he adds.

If a pre-contemplative obese person is targeted by Healthstat’s process, their coaches suggest the individual schedule an appointment at the clinic by a certain date. If they don’t make an appointment, then the coach is prompted by the electronic health record. A trained coach calls the individual and convinces them, kindly and patiently, to go to an appointment the coach will schedule. Once at the clinic, their staff can treat patients for health complaints like a sore throat or ear infection and then spend the remainder of the 25 minute appointment helping them begin a journey of personal health.

For this program, the employer would need access to an onsite clinic or they could combine with other smaller employers who can’t afford an on-site clinic to participate in a near-site location.

Sharing biometrics online for social support           

In their new platform, online wellness facilitator Keas combines a social media front end with biometric integration to offer employees a fun, social and supportive environment to improve their health while building camaraderie in the workplace. Companies such as The Cheesecake Factory, Pfizer and are customers of the platform, which offers employees customized content specific to their individual health needs. Safeway and Target have recently signed on as well.

When not working or watching TV, adults spend a great deal of time on Facebook and other social media platforms. Keas has created a “Facebook for your health,” says CEO Josh Steven, where employees can share healthy meal ideas and exercise routines in an online community where their peers can like their posts and exchange comments. Comments bring people back into the platform, increasing engagement and making health a two-way street.

Participants can also join groups for challenges and goals as well as enter company-wide challenges to take more steps or eat more greens. Since the platform is fully integrated with quantifiable data from their personal measurement and accountability devices, such as FitBit bracelet trackers, employees can upload their results and receive actionable advice or feedback on how to achieve their daily fitness goals.

A longitudinal health profile that gives employees a basic overview of their individual well-being and health risks provides them with a visual representation of how they are improving their health over time. In addition, quizzes, challenges, weekly goal setting and healthy breaks will be tailored to address high risk issues such BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and pre-diabetes. The platform sets small goals to teach users how to accomplish weekly objectives no matter where they are in their personal health journey.

“Give them information that they can use, that’s actionable and not too medical,” says Steven.

The program requires employees use their names because they behave better, says Steven, though he says those taking part have few qualms because “the tone and quality of participation is positive and encouraging."

While employees can share their biometric information (after agreeing to a pop-up that ensures they are fully aware of the risks sharing their private information), most people instead share examples of how they’re improving their health. For example, individuals will post, “how I reached over 12,000 steps a day” or “how I managed my stress.’”

"Users’ stories are not medical in nature, but they relate to medical conditions that carry high risk factors and drive up health care costs. We approach it from the ‘how to’ or a ‘what you can do’ approach, rather than from hard data," explains Steven.

All too often, a person with high risk factors will stop attending coaching sessions because they fail to do their homework. They feel guilty so they stop participating. This program, which can integrate coaching, suggests manageable and fun goals from which the participant chooses three each week.

"Tech has to be presented in a way that it's not technical. Employees don’t want to know about what tech is used; they want it to be easy, fun and social. We look at technology as an enabler and a tool that makes health fun and social and allows integrated data," says Steven.

Steven believes that the more people are social about their health, the more they can be proactive and make changes like improving their diet and exercising.

“When communicating with peers about losing weight, improving your diet or reversing metabolic screening rates, as long as you’re not alone and have colleagues to share with, collaborate and encourage you, that really drives behavior change,” he says.


Just Over Half of Employers Using Social Media Tools for Internal Communication

Original article

Flash survey reveals little consensus on effectiveness

NEW YORK, May 23, 2013 — Despite the explosion of social media in the personal lives of many people, a new survey by global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) shows that just over half of employers are using social media tools to communicate and build community with employees. Further, among those employers that have embraced social media technology, there is little consensus as to which ones are most effective.

The 2013 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Survey found that 56% of the employers surveyed currently use various social media tools as part of their internal communication initiatives to build community — creating a sense that employees and leaders are in it together, and sharing both the challenges and rewards of work. However, when asked how they would rate the effectiveness of social media tools, only 30% to 40% of respondents rated most of the tools as highly effective. And only four in 10 (40%) rated the use of social media technology as cost effective.




Instant messaging



Streaming audio or video



HR or other function journal or blog



Enhanced online employee profiles



Social networks



Employee journals or blogs



SMS messaging



Leadership journal or blog



Collaboration sites



Video-sharing site



Apps or other mobile approaches



"We believe that social media can be a great tool for communicating with employees in the workplace," said Kathryn Yates, global leader of communication consulting at Towers Watson. "By its nature, social media is designed to build community and could help engage employees on key topics such as performance, collaboration, culture and values. As the need for global collaboration increases, we expect more companies will join those already leveraging social media to creatively communicate those messages."

The Towers Watson survey also found that while four in 10 employers (41%) say they are effective at building a shared experience with their employees as a whole, the percentage drops by roughly half (to 23%) when it comes to building community with remote workers.

"As today's workforce evolves, we know from our research that the growing number of remote workers are looking for clear communication, to be treated with integrity, and want coaching and support from afar. For employers to effectively engage and retain remote workers, they will need to connect them with their leaders, managers and colleagues. We think social media tools can be a real help in making this connection," said Yates.


The 2013 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Survey was conducted in April 2013. A total of 290 large and midsize organizations from across North America, Europe and Asia participated in the survey.

Using Social Media for Learning Gets Better Foothold in Workplace


By Garry Kranz

Social learning may not yet be a mainstay of corporate training departments, although it’s more than a trend inside larger enterprises.

A Jan. 22 report from Bersin by Deloitte, an Oakland, California-based research firm formerly known as Bersin & Associates, says large employers are fueling increased adoption of social-learning tools, such as internal employee blogs, wikis and online expert communities. Enterprises with at least 10,000 employees spent an average of $46,000 on social tools in 2012, three times the average two years ago.

The uptick contributed to an overall spending jump of 12 percent on employee training last year, according to The Corporate Learning Factbook 2013: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market. The study is based on research involving 300 organizations of various sizes and industries.

Most U.S.-based employers use some type of social tool to facilitate greater employee learning, including internal blogs, wikis, subject-matter directories and “communities of practice,” in which employees develop and share their expertise, says Karen O’Leonard, a Bersin by Deloitte analyst who authored the report.

“The big challenge for learning and development professionals is to create a new mind-set of continuous learning, not thinking of social tools as one component within a specific program,” O’Leonard says.

Organizations using social tools face another near-term hurdle: how to seamlessly organize the increasing volume of user-generated content. “We expect content management will become a growing issue. The research shows that the most effective learning organizations have created a strategy for content management and knowledge sharing,” O’Leonard says.

This year’s report uses Bersin’s proprietary “maturity model,” which lets an organization benchmark its learning function based on four levels of effectiveness and business impact.

Most companies are not at the highest rung of maturity, but there is a marked difference between those that are highly mature and those that are still getting there, O’Leonard says. The most effective learning functions are less involved with program management and play an active role in developing long-range strategies.

“High-impact learning organizations have L&D professionals who are very adept at performance consulting and building the capabilities the organization will need in the future,” O’Leonard says, referring to learning and development. “They’re outsourcing noncore competencies and getting away from the business of delivering ad hoc training.”

Also, the manner in which companies spent their training dollars reflects the varying level of effectiveness and maturity. U.S. companies spent about 16 percent of their training budgets on outside learning services, products and consultants in 2012, up from 12 percent in 2009. In general, organizations spent less money on expensive customized training and opted instead to purchase commodity-priced vendor products, the report finds.

At organizations deemed highly mature, the inverse is true: they invested money in instructor-led custom content and assessment programs, with off-the-shelf training products a lower spending priority.

Other notable findings:

The 12 percent rise in training expenditures equates to about $706 per employee. However, companies at the top end of the maturity scale spent $867 per employee—34 percent higher than spending by companies at the lower maturity level.

Many companies beefed up their learning and development staff last year, but the gains were offset by faster growth in the number of employees receiving learning. That dynamic has led to a decline in the trainer-to-learner ratio at many companies and is “one sign of the changing role of the L&D function” from clearinghouse to facilitator.

Training spending increased the most in the technology and manufacturing sectors, which each posted year-over-year increases of 20 percentage points.

The 12 percent spending surge shows companies are reinvesting in skills development after a long period of financial instability, O’Leonard says.

Preservation of social media, what every company needs to know



Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. At times these social media outlets are purely personal communications. Other times, they are part and parcel of how a company does business. How does a company identify which social media data it must retain as part of its overall policies for preserving electronically stored information (“ESI”)? In large part, the answer may be found by examining the degree to which the social media communication is truly a company-related communication. If the company permits or authorizes social media communications on its behalf, it likely will need to take steps to preserve and review such data even if it is made by an employee on a personal, password-protected account on a home computer.

That is not to say a company must always be its employees’ keeper. When company employees create social media accounts for purely personal communications (e.g., a personal Facebook account), a company typically will not have any obligation to preserve such data, particularly where such accounts are accessible by a username and password known only by the individual employee and not the company. Companies can help insulate themselves from ESI obligations with respect to such accounts by enacting policies that prohibit any use of such private personal social media accounts for work-related communications on behalf of the company.

In some instances, however, companies will want to encourage or permit employees to use personal social media accounts for work-related communications. For example, recruiters at personnel staffing companies routinely use personal LinkedIn accounts to reach potential candidates. In such circumstances, even though the companies may not have the passwords or usernames for these accounts, the company may have a duty to preserve the social media communications they contain.

While a body of case law has not yet developed, there is no reason to believe that principles developed concerning other forms of “personal” ESI will not be applied to Facebook, Twitter and their social media cousins. See e.g. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Simply Storage Mgmt, LLC, (applying traditional discovery principles to compel production of social network site data). For example, courts have required companies to produce relevant ESI that their employees stored in internet-based personal email accounts. See e.g. Helmert v. ButterballLLC. Courts may well treat personal LinkedIn accounts the same way.

To ensure that companies will not face the extra costs of disputes with their employees to obtain access to the ESI they are required to produce, companies that rely on employee use of social media should establish clear policies governing the use of workplace computers and other electronic devices that access company systems (e.g., smartphones, tablets and other portable electronic devices) with a particular focus on regulating social media usage on company systems and the duties that may be triggered to preserve data generated from such usage. Companies should instruct employees to engage in work-related communications on behalf of the company only from accounts to which the company has access.

In addition, because social media can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection, companies should alert employees that even when they are outside of the office, certain work-related ESI generated on their personal social media accounts can be subject to the company’s preservation obligations, and that in the event litigation is reasonably anticipated or when faced with a subpoena, the company may instruct its employees to preserve social media content from their own personal accounts, which may contain relevant information.

Taking these steps may help ensure that companies will be able to access social media used by its employees on behalf of the company. However, companies that rely on their employees’ social media use also need to make sure that they can preserve such data to avoid spoliation claims. The Sedona Conference’s Primer on Social Media (available at notes that tools for preserving social media are constantly evolving, and some of the suggested methods currently used for preserving relevant social media data include capturing and preserving static images of relevant social media data or by using site monitoring software.

In making these recommendations, we offer an important caveat: Prior to requesting access to an employee's personal social media account, a company should check with employment counsel to ensure the company does not run afoul of laws that prohibit asking employees for personal social media account passwords.


Gadgets Stir Security Worries for HR

While advances in technology can spawn increased productivity and lower costs for a company, security concerns about the use of mobile devices and social media remain a hot-button issue for employers and HR professionals.

A recent poll by My Sammy and Holos Research found that security concerns rank as the top reason that employers block employee access to social media sites in the office, according to a report by Human Resource Executive Online. Of the respondents whose companies blocked access, 77 percent cited security as the primary reason, followed by productivity concerns at 67 percent.

Facebook and Twitter aren't the only tech trends that keep HR leaders up at night. The hardware that employees use to access these and other Internet sites can open the door to serious security breaches, as well, a report by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) noted.

As the sophistication of mobile devices has advanced in the last few years, so have malware, viruses and other threats that specifically target these devices. "The bad guys are getting better at making their apps look legitimate," Bob Hansmann, senior product marketing manager for Websense Security Labs, said in the SHRM report.

Bad apps can steal passwords and credit card numbers and can track website visits and text messages, said Robert Siciliano of antivirus software firm McAfee.

The problem is compounded when employees use their personal tablets and phones for work purposes.

Employers need to keep their policies and technologies sharp to avoid these security threats, experts say.  For instance, employers can limit the amount and types of information that employees can access on these devices, Hansmann suggests.

Siciliano recommends that employees be educated about the risks and be encouraged to be vigilant when shopping for mobile apps -- whether they be for personal or professional use. The company, however, should always take the lead when enforcing security policies, he said.

"Lock, locate and wipe is fundamental to any bring-your-own-device policy," Siciliano said in the SHRM report. "Not having some control over that device . . . is irresponsible today."