Very few people would deny the fact that social media plays a major role in business today. However, one thing that many people outside Europe don’t realize is that social media usage and policies in Europe differ quite dramatically from those in the U.S. and Canada. Most significant is employer access to social media accounts, a subject that is often contested between company owners and privacy advocates.

Applying For Jobs Via Social Media

Although many companies actively recruit job applicants using social media, countries in Europe often have restrictions on collecting personal information via social media, making the use of traditional online applications an issue. France, for example, prohibits employers from asking applicants about subjects unrelated to the position they are applying for. However, social media remains a popular way of letting prospective applicants know when and where positions are available, and how to apply.

Many companies that operate in Europe have a multinational staff. Because these employees may not be able to gather in one location easily, social media allows for greater coordination among those involved in the hiring process. Even when applicants are unable to apply directly through social media, this technology is a tool that HR staff can use to streamline their hiring process.

Screening Applicants And Monitoring Usage At Work

Many employers in the U.S. have used personal social media sites to screen applicants, a practice which often has been controversial in other countries. Germany allows employers to use professional networks, like LinkedIn, for screening, but not personal networks like Facebook. In many European countries, it is also illegal for employers to request or demand access to their employees’ social media accounts.

Although many companies like to allow their employees to express themselves freely, some find it helpful to monitor the usage of social media at work. Some European countries, particularly Spain and Switzerland, allow monitoring of these interactions with written permission from the employee. One way in which these practices help is by ensuring that employees do not share confidential information or insult the company.

Better Overall Communication

Because so many people use social media at work, it has largely replaced the use of phone calls and emails. The fact that major social media sites have mobile versions makes these sites very accessible by mobile phones and other devices. Many people who would otherwise find it hard to take the time to send feedback find it easy to do so while using their social media accounts.

Social media also makes it easier for employees to collaborate to act on feedback. In most cases, feedback from employees, as well as customers, involves issues where there is a better resolution from a cooperative effort. Employees who can work together in this way will accomplish far more than many of their peers.