Corporate Social Networking: What Is Role Of HR & Learning?

Corporate Social Networks

It’s no surprise that corporations have a love/hate relationship with the use of social media inside the company. As Business Week reminds us in recent article, there is reason for the tension inside companies on how they should handle usage of social media.

On the one hand, Millennials have social networking in their DNA, and are saying,”I need these tools to be productive.” But the legal folks, and yes, some HR folks, are saying, “This could implode, remember the dark side of using social media and be aware of the experience of Domino’s Pizza“. For those unaware of the Domino’s Pizza fiasco, two former Domino’s Pizza employees used YouTube to create a fictional video account of unsanitary conditions in a Dominos pizza kitchen in Conover, N.C. The story became front-page news on the NY Times.

One solution: Create social media guidelines and be sure all employees understand how to follow them.

IBM’s social computing guidelines are very informative and they have since grown to cover social media usage on sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as inside the company network. Essentially these guidelines urge employees to be open and transparent, to remember they are personally responsible for what they publish, and perhaps most importantly, to take a deep breath and think about what they are doing before hitting the send button.

See the complete IBM Social Computing Guidelines here.

Once you have developed a strategy and a set of guidelines, your next question: How Can Social Networking Be Used for HR and Corporate Learning?

In the July issue of T&D magazine, in an article entitled Social Networking: A Force For Development, a number of concrete uses for social media were outlined:

  • Link learners before and after a formal training event
  • Engage Millennials—Perhaps as reverse mentors to senior executives
  • Provide new content prior to a face to face class
  • Provide links and resources to new content
  • Determine future training needs by searching tags and reading conversations
  • Reinforce and sustain learning try using twitter for this

Additionally, you can read a detailed post I wrote about ways to specifically use Twitter for learning & development here.

What are you doing about developing a social media strategy?

[tags]Social media, corporate social networks, corporate learning, Human Resources, IBM, Business Week[/tags]

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About Jeanne Meister

Jeanne C. Meister is a best selling author of three books, internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker. Jeanne is Partner of Future Workplace, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting organizations in re-thinking, re-imagining and re-inventing the workplace. Jeanne was recently voted by her peers as one of the 20 top influential training professionals in the United States. Jeanne’s name is synonymous with the establishment and institutionalization of global corporate universities. Jeanne is the author of three books, Corporate Quality Universities and Corporate Universities. Jeanne’s latest book is, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Collins, 2010) is in its 10th printing.No information is provided by the author.


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I’m actually doing a project right now regarding social media and social networking and the role they play in corporate organizations.

  2. Tom Evans

    Great perspective. As with any form of communication, it’s essential to use good and common sense and play by the rule book of professionalism and respect.

  3. Good stuff, Jeanne! It’s exciting to see organizations explore how to use social media in really valuable ways on the inside. In our book, Social Media At Work (due out in November), we note the importance of creating guidelines as you’ve suggested here. It’s always a balancing act between providing enough structure, and allowing enough freedom. Looking forward to the next few years to see all of this take hold even more!

  4. To add another policy/guideline link, one should reference what the USAF is doing. Find a Summary at Social Media Today:

  5. Thanks for sharing this article on corporate social networking with us. Our company is fairly small and as far as I know we do not have a starndard policy in place, but we have found the use of corporate social networking technology to be highly useful, especially when it comes to engagement and building relations.

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