Hold onto Your Top Talent Using Social Media

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are all the rage – there’s no escaping them, they’re everywhere – even in the workplace, and whether you like it or not, they’re not going away.

Here at the CK Group, we are passionate about social media and the benefits it can bring to your business. We are strong believers that social media can be an invaluable tool in not only attracting and recruiting staff but also in retaining them. From our experience, when it comes to social media, staff retention is often an area which is overlooked and under utilised. In fact, a survey conducted by Melcrum, found that of 2,600 respondents, only 11% said they had used social media to the benefit of their HR Department (Personnel Today, 2010)[i].

We think HR departments are missing a trick here, so in a bid to gauge the use of social media in HR employee retention schemes, between October 2010 and February 2011, the CK Group surveyed 87 HR professionals and 60 employees. We wanted to find out if and how social media is being integrated into employee retention schemes nationwide.

So let’s start with the basics. We all know that critical to organisational success is keeping your best employees, plain and simple. But in today’s market the harsh reality is that top talent is hard to come by, and holding on to them is definitely not as easy as it used to be.

Why not use every tool available to help ensure this happens? This is where social media can play a starring role in your employee retention strategy. After all, with so many of our employees engaging in social networking during work hours, 81.6% according to our survey, why is it that only an abysmal 10.7% of respondents stated that they use social media as part of their employee retention strategy– surely this is a missed opportunity?

Perhaps you don’t know where to start or you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of venturing into the realms of social networking? Well here are seven practical tips to help you get started:


1. Don’t assume the worst:

It is so important that as employers we understand why and how our staff use social media whilst at work. Do not automatically presume they are using it to chat away to friends or to bad-mouth your company. Have you ever considered that they might actually be using it to perform more productively in their jobs?  For example, they might be blogging about your products, trying to reach elusive customers or exchanging information with industry experts.

So whatever you do, don’t assume the worst and don’t ban social networking sites all together. By banning every site, you’re ultimately telling your employees that you have no trust in them and nothing will push your employees further away from your organisation than this.


2. Encourage your employees to establish and actively maintain their social networks:

Actively encourage your employees to establish, maintain and build their social networks – you want them to communicate a personal brand that is a reflection of their role within your organisation but also them as an individual.

The key here is to avoid implementing pointless rules:

  • Don’t insist that employees have separate personal and professional networking accounts – this is simply impractical.

–          Do allow employees to state their job title and company information on their Facebook profiles, after all it is part of their identity and will automatically feel more connected and loyal to their organisation by broadcasting this information.

By giving your staff this freedom, you will directly enhance the pride they take in their work, and thus the loyalty they feel towards the organisation.

3. Communication should come from the top:

Social media and internal blogging is a great way for Executives to communicate their vision and aspirations for the company – sharing their passions will help to motivate and retain your talented employees.

Communicating from the top using social media may also help to erase those hierarchical differences that undoubtedly exist and help to bring everyone to the same level. It will also make employees feel that they are being heard and valued.

Why not try using podcasts or micro blogging platforms such as Yammer to help broadcast communication from the top?


4. Create alumni networks:

The concept of employee alumni networks isn’t a new fad – they’ve been around for donkey’s years and can be an extremely valuable retention resource for your company. After all, just because employees may have left your organisation, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t still loyal.

All too often, it is employees or ex-employees that are driving this effort and not the company, this is a fundamental mistake. If you as a company haven’t already set them up, you’re missing a trick.  It’s easy enough to do – just take a look at AstraZeneca’s Alumni Network on Linkedin.


5. Ideas sharing:

It’s a fact that actively involving your staff in decision making will increase your chances of holding onto your top talent.

Using social media is a great way to do this – it will get your staff talking, and most importantly sharing ideas with one another. The information nature of social networking platforms mean that employees may feel more free to openly brainstorm ideas without feeling that they are being watched or scrutinized.

An example of a company that have got this down to a tee is Kraft Foods. In 2009 Kraft decided their company needed a little facelift. As with any company, Kraft were aware that their employees are the people that knew their brand best. Therefore, in a bid to generate ideas, the company implemented an internal social networking tool in order for employees to submit their ideas.

In order to cultivate ideas sharing and ultimately increase your employee retention, you need to stop meticulously controlling your employees use of social media and start concentrating on how you can set up online ideas forums, or maybe start a conversation via Twitter.


6. Give your employees the freedom to express their creativity:

Encouraging creativity is key to employee retention. It sounds obvious, but your employees really need to enjoy their jobs in order for them to stay loyal to your organisation. So stifling creativity in the workplace is a big no no.

A great way to get those creative juices flowing and really create a buzz in the workplace is to use Youtube.

A great example of this in action is the Deloitte Film Festival. The organisers asked employees to create short videos in response to the question, ‘What’s your Deloitte?’  Employees were allowed to work in teams of 1 to 7 people to make videos reflecting their experiences of working for Deliotte.  An impressive 400 submissions were received with 2,000 people taking part [ii]. The channel has had over 400,000 views and 33% of staff reported they felt more loyalty to the company as a result.  So why not give it a go?


7. Give your company culture some oomph!

You can use social media to do this. A great illustration of this is the clothing retailer Zappos’ innovative use of Twitter. 300 of their employees are active users of Twitter, and the company are passionate that it helps employees get to know each other in a different way than they would within the workplace, therefore creating a more positive friendly culture. After all, friendship and camaraderie between employees is one thing that will definitely keep them sticking around for longer.  They even hold Twitter classes to help their employees get started.



Whichever way you look at it, social media is revolutionising the ways in which businesses are run and how we communicate. So like it or lump it, we all need to learn to love it. Fact.

Using social media to retain your best talent may seem like an uphill struggle – but, as with any other tool, when it comes to social media – you really do get out what you put in.

As we have illustrated, major companies are already harnessing the opportunity that social media can bring in terms of employee retention. But our survey highlights a distinct lack of uptake with the companies we surveyed, with only 10.7% stating that social media was part of their employee retention strategy.

So, if your company is in the same boat, we strongly recommend that you get involved now. Social media is nothing to be afraid of – it’s affordable and effective and we hope that these simple tips will help you keep hold of your best talent. Go on, give it a go, we dare you.

[i] http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2010/05/27/55744/social-media-benefits-are-not-reaching-hr.html

[ii] http://www.youtube.com/user/DeloitteFilmFest

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Could Social Media be used in Drug Development?

social-media-bandwagonWe’ve all heard of social media being used within marketing and PR. It’s even been known to help patients manage their medical conditions or to increase disease awareness. But according to The Boston Globe, social media could also be used to help facilitate drug development.

It’s possible that pharmaceutical companies could gather information from prescribers via social media which then may help to find new uses or benefits for existing drugs.  For example, in the past, without the use of social media, an anti-tuberculosis drug was found to increase patients sense of well-being, whilst Viagra was developed as a result of a clinical trial of drug for chest pain.

Some believe that a social network focused on patients and physicians sharing their experiences of different drugs could be invaluable. It could lead to the discovery of new uses of drugs and unanticipated benefits of others – thus leading to more and more research studies which are shared on this open platform.

So why, in the age of Twitter and Facebook, isn’t social media and new technology being harnessed to aid drug discovery?  There are already a number of sites that are half way there – for instance, on the website PatientsLikeMe, patients openly share their experiences of different drugs.

There are other websites which have been set up my governmental organizations such as NIH and Sage Bionetworks. However, an open forum, or even a community in which both patients and physicians can interact is still lacking. But why? Well that’s simple, big pharmaceutical companies aren’t allowed. It seems that any attempt to research unexpected benefits would be frowned upon by regulators, and pharma companies could subsequently be hit with large fines and legal action.

Consequently, there is a call for regulators to consider the benefits of the role of social media in drug development and the risk that suppressing innovation in this field might lead to. Indeed, it cannot be denied that should patients and physicians share their experiences in an honest and coherent way, there could be a remarkable scope for the pharmaceutical industry to learn from existing drugs – thus accelerating the development of new medicines.

Are you looking for a new position in the pharmaceutical industry? Click here to search our current pharmaceutical jobs online now.

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Does your employer use facebook to retain staff?

No doubt you’ve heard about the ways in which social media can be used to find a job and recruit staff, but have you ever come across social media being used as a means of retaining employees?

CK Clinical is in the process of conducting some research into just this – the use of social media in HR employee retention strategies.

If you could take a moment to complete this short survey for me, it would be greatly appreciated. To complete the survey, please click here.

Once all the results have been collated and analysed we will be producing a white paper report analysing the use of social media in staff retention.


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HR in Pharma Networking Event Preview 2: Guest Speaker – Mike Taylor

We are very pleased to welcome Mike Taylor as a guest speaker at the HR in Pharma Networking Event. Mike is the founder of Web-based Recruitment, and is an expert in the use of social media.

In the second of a 2 two-part series, Catherine Gutsell interviews Mike to find out a little more about what he plans to cover in his presentation on Friday 25th June.

The HR in Pharma Networking Event is the first event of its kind and the aim is to provide a useful insight into some current issues affecting you and your peers as well as giving you an opportunity to network with other HR professionals.

Interested in attending? Please contact Catherine Gutsell at cgutsell@ckclinical.co.uk to reserve your place now.

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CK Clinical Share Their Social Media Experiences at the Social Media in Recruitment Conference

Last week, CK Clinical, the leading pharmaceutical recruitment consultancy, was invited to share their social media experiences with 250 delegates at the 2010 Social Media in Recruitment conference.

Jonathan Hart-Smith, Managing Director at CK Clinical, presented a case study of the strategies CK Clinical has successfully implemented since the last Social Media in Recruitment conference in 2009.

As a result of implementing a comprehensive social media marketing strategy, CK Clinical have seen great results with registrations increasing by 83% and traffic to the website doubling in 10 months.


The Social Media in Recruitment conference was a resounding success and as a result AllTheTopBananas.com have made a video of feedback from delegates of the conference.

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Global Gathering for the Second Social Media in Recruitment Conference – 22nd April 2010 – London


Around two hundred forward-thinking Recruiters from the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and nine European countries will be gathering in London on the 22nd April 2010 for the UK’s second Social Media in Recruitment Conference.

With a broad mix of delegates, including Corporate Recruitment and HR professionals, Recruitment Agencies, Recruitment Advertising Agencies, Recruitment Software Providers and Job Site owners there should no shortage of questions for the expert speakers!

Mike Taylor from Web-Based-Recruitment.com, organiser of the 2010 Social Media in Recruitment Conference, has programmed the event to show how a wide range of Social Media tools can be used effectively as part of an online recruitment strategy.


2010 Social Media in Recruitment Conference Programme

The subject areas to be covered at the Conference (including some brand new social media case studies that will be published for the very first time at the 2010 Conference) will include:

  • Strategies for using LinkedIn as part of your online recruitment plans.
  • Insights from Google to help you recruit using social media.
  • How to maximise the use of Facebook pages as a recruitment tool for your company. 
  • Key strategies for using Twitter effectively in recruitment, including the use of automated tools.
  • How online communities can play a part in your social media recruiting strategies.
  • The legal issues surrounding social media and employment.
  • Social media strategies for Generation Y job seekers.
  • Social Media Success Stories
  • Social Media Discussion Panel


Social Media in Recruitment Success Stories

Having attended the conference in July 2009, Jonathan Hart-Smith, Managing Director of CK Clinical, gained a great deal of insight into the impact social media can have on recruitment and is looking forward to sharing his experiences at the conference. You can get a heads up as to what Jonathan will be covering at the conference by watching this Youtube video:

Mike Taylor, conference organiser, is particularly excited that delegates from the first conference will be sharing the Social Media Strategies they have implemented since attending in July 2009.“I have never heard of delegates from a previous event coming back as speakers for the next event and sharing their success” commented Taylor. “They have a unique story to tell and both have seen their businesses grow as a result of using social media.”

“If you are a Recruiter and you are unsure about how you should be using Social Media in Recruitment then the Conference offers an ideal opportunity for you to learn from others who are already embracing social media as part of their online recruitment strategy” continued Taylor.

Full details of the conference and speakers, including how to save £50 by booking by the 16th April 2010, can be found at: www.SocialMediaInRecruitment.com (Twitter #SMIR)

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CK Clinical: Social Media Success Story

social-mediawCK Clinical to speak at the Social Media in Recruitment Conference.

Taking place on Thursday 22nd April 2010, the Social Media Recruitment Conference is the second largest of its kind in the UK.

The aim of the Social Media Recruitment Conference is to help Corporate Recruiters, Recruitment Agencies, Recruitment Advertising Agencies, Job Boards and Recruitment Industry Suppliers get the most from the use of social media. The organizer, Mike Taylor, from Online Recruitment Marketing Specialists, stated, “There were over 150 people at the first Conference which was a clear indication in the interest in Social Media. Next year’s conference will be held some nine months after the first one which means that there will be plenty of new things to talk about and discuss.”

Jonathan Hart-Smith, Managing Director of CK Clinical, the specialist pharmaceutical recruitment consultancy, attended the Social Media in Recruitment Conference in 2009 and will be speaking at the conference on Thursday 22nd April 2010.

Jonathan will be speaking about what he has learnt from the first conference and how it has impacted on his pharmaceutical recruitment consultancy.

In preparation for the conference, Mike Taylor, Managing Director at Web-Based Recruitment, has published a series of audio and video interviews with some of the speakers of the conference, to give an insight into what will be covered at the conference.




The conference will take place on Thursday 22nd April 2010 at the British Library Conference Centre in London. If you would like to register to attend Social Media Recruitment Conference, please visit their website.

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