‘NSBE 50’
Annual Employer Preference Survey

Staying Connected in Today’s Business World

By Zandra Zweber and Danny Herres, University of Connecticut
Peter D. Bachiochi, Ph.D., Eastern Connecticut State University

It’s safe to say that you can’t stay connected today without being online. We live in a world that revolves around the Internet, social media and other online communication.

Increasingly, companies have seized upon social media sites as venues to recruit
future employees. However, only about a quarter of NSBE student members report using Facebook or LinkedIn to find information about potential employers. Respondents to this year’s NSBE Annual Employer Preference (“NSBE 50”) Survey reported that, of the two, they perceived LinkedIn as the more effective job search or resume service. This is likely because the main purpose of LinkedIn is professional networking, whereas Facebook was created as a social networking site but has evolved to be much more than that. Facebook’s beginning as a place to gather and have fun may speak to why social media sites aren’t used as often as they could be as job search tools.

Online job boards such as CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com have been used for years by individuals on the job market to post their resumes and by companies to list job openings. How are social media sites different? First is the frequency of usage: of the NSBE members who reported that they maintained an online profile on a social media site, approximately two thirds monitored their profiles once a week or more frequently. Job opportunities on these social media sites can get high visibility because of the frequency with which people view them.

Job hunting on social media sites involves more than just posting a resume or searching employment ads. There is the added value of having a social network. Social networks and professional networks overlap: approximately 87 percent of NSBE members rate knowing someone working at an organization as a good or excellent way of finding out more information about it. Approximately 75 percent of NSBE members rate the organizations’ websites as good or excellent ways of gaining employment information. These sources could be combined, by having job hunters utilize the social networks they make on social media sites and by having employers post information there about their organizations. Used in this way, social media sites potentially serve as a very efficient and effective way for individuals to search for a job. Organizations now target certain groups of people by providing them with bits of information about the organization that are important to the groups, just as marketers use information from social media sites to control what ads each individual user sees.

With social media sites, you are more than just a resume. Your social media profile comes with a person, a life, a resume and a social network attached to it. Moreover, NSBE members have the training necessary to allow employers to maximize the effectiveness of their online presence.

Staying Connected Once You Are Hired

Members of an organization often form groups with employees that are similar to them, for socializing, networking and providing and receiving support. These groups are often referred to as employee resource groups (ERGs), employee network groups, or affinity groups. For example, organizations may have a black employees network, a gay/lesbian alliance, etc. It probably isn’t surprising that 75 percent of NSBE members plan to join such an employee group if their employer offers one.

NSBE members were particularly interested in the social support offered by employee resource groups. The other benefits, such as leadership opportunities, better community ties, and improving orientation to the organization were also key factors in wanting to join an ERG. Ironically, the biggest concern about joining one of these groups was the potential for social isolation from other employees. There was also a concern that joining an ERG might lead to being labeled a “troublemaker.” One note of interest: those who didn’t plan to join an ERG were most skeptical about the potential exposure to senior management that those who planned to join expected. Overall, NSBE members believed that the benefits of joining an ERG far outweighed the potential drawbacks.

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