I’m not sure how many of you noticed the NYT article a few months ago on MIT student bloggers.
M.I.T.’s bloggers, who are paid $10 an hour for up to four hours a week, offer thoughts on anything that might interest a prospective student. Some offer advice on the application process and the institute’s intense workload; others write about quirkier topics, like warm apple pie topped with bacon and hot caramel sauce, falling down the stairs or trying to set a world record in the game of Mattress Dominos.
Posting untouched student writing — and comments reacting to that writing — does carry some risks. Boring, sloppily written posts do nothing to burnish an institutional image, college admissions officials say, and there is always the possibility of an inflammatory or wildly negative posting. ((Lewin, Tamar, October 1, 2009. “M.I.T. Taking Student Blogs to Nth Degree.” Retrived from http://nytimes.com.))
Certainly we have our recruiters on the blogs (look how many recruiting and HR blogs there are nowdays). And we’re all over linked in and facebook, especially facebook where we can characterize ourselves and our organization with some personality. But I’m not really sure how many of us have looked into employee blogging. Employee blogging are not those snippets of quotes that you see on recruiting pages. They are not the rehearsed lines of “I love my company so much” branding with precision. Instead, they are the raw, uncensored words of employees and their lives at your organization.
I think that employee blogging holds less risk than student blogging. Students are expected to say whatever they want, but employees are still bound by the employment contract, and while we may tell people to write whatever they want, at the end of the day, employees still want to keep their jobs. If you use employee blogs, you’re probably also selecting some of your smartest, most productive performers (and hopefully well compensated engaged employees too). If this is the case, you have little to worry about. What you will have is a blogging forum that tells potential employees what a day in the life at your organization really might be like. Candidates get to hear from the mouths of real practitioners what to expect and what the culture holds, and even what some of the pitfalls are. If you’re lucky, you not only attract the right people, but you might even weed out those who are not a good fit for the organizational culture.
In a few months, I’ll be hitting year number 5 of blogging at systematicHR. Come on everyone, it’s time to get in the blogging game already. 🙂