TikTok-Based HR Conversations Are Coming for a New Generation of Workers

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  • HR teams are still dealing with may of the same issues from last year: quiet quitting, lower engagement and burnout.
  • TikTok could be a way to connect with workers in a more engaging and effective way.
  • The platform can help companies do a better job in onboarding, and with discrimination and harassment training.

The start of the new year hasn't alleviated any of the issues that plagued human resources professionals throughout 2022. Challenges surrounding quiet quitting, overall unhappiness, lower productivity, burnout, discontent with compensation, and layoff fears abound. But among the potential solutions that might offer some relief: TikTok.

Over the past year, dedicated spaces have emerged on TikTok where people and content creators can express workplace-related issues in a relatable and human way. Now, there's an opportunity for companies to enter these spaces too, according to Lynda Folan, an organizational psychologist and managing director of Inspired Development Solutions, a management consultancy firm based in Australia.

"Especially among Gen Z, as they're coming into the workplace, companies need to get agile about how we communicate with them," Folan said. "We've always been nervous in organizations to talk about difficult things, and this platform gives people the opportunity to tell their stories in a safe way."

"Content on TikTok accesses the younger generation in a direct way, so HR teams can set up space to communicate things like, 'How do we deal with discrimination?'" Folan added. "Now, we can deal with those tough topics in a more accessible way than we have in the past."

How TikTok can help human resources

When most employees start a new role, they're required to go through a series of training sessions. Most of the time, companies will require the employee to attend in-person HR sessions or virtual HR webinars, sometimes annually, where they'll hear about topics like avoiding workplace harassment, compliance and ethics training, and workplace-specific safety rules. These sessions can last a few hours, and often resemble more of a lecture than an interactive gathering.

"That's just not how the younger generations communicate," Folan said. "People can use platforms like TikTok to have small, quick conversations rather than these long-winded sessions, sitting down for three hours and talking about an issue."

TikTok videos can last anywhere from a few seconds to up to three minutes, enabling HR teams to create quick videos about issues where employees can respond and raise concerns more openly, Folan said. This also helps HR teams facilitate an open dialogue with employees in a faster way.

"We can get messaging to people quickly, without having to get them together in groups," Folan said. "The whole workplace format has been changing, with people working from home and in hybrid settings. You can't always get people together so easily."

As HR teams dedicate time and resources to creating TikTok content, it not only addresses concerns and issues faster in a digestible way, but it can also save time for employees.

Social media as an HR career

One of the more important skills that HR professionals need today is a keen sense of how to use social media on various platforms. It might even benefit an HR team to carve out an entire position, or even allow existing employees to dedicate time solely to TikTok content creation.

"We've got to change the way we look at communication in general, from an HR perspective," Folan said. "Communication used to be either sending out a global email or bringing a group of people in to talk. Now your platforms of communication are so much more vast."

"Organizations who have team members creating video content for TikTok specifically may benefit by connecting with a broader and more diverse audience than they may reach on traditional social media," said Andre Ben Hamou, co-founder and leadership coach at PeopleStorming, a leadership development and coaching company.

PeopleStorming found several reasons how TikTok can help HR teams keep employees engaged, including how TikTok can replace traditional approaches to information dissemination that don't yield great results.

Workplaces thrive with a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and age groups, and social media helps this grow even further. For an HR team, Folan said you might have a traditionalist on the team who can communicate with older generations at the company, but you also need to have younger employees who are more agile with technology and can communicate with Gen Z.

"If you bring in young people onto your team, they already have a built-in, natural ability in the social media space, and they're more likely to hop on and record a video of themselves without blinking," she added.

Folan said HR teams, and any team within a company, stands to benefit from having younger workers to level up their internal communication methods and branch into spaces, like TikTok creation.

"It always amazes me the things that young people will talk about on platforms like TikTok, without any question, and it's a missed opportunity for HR teams not to utilize it," Folan said. "They'll just openly talk about anything, which is super different from everything we've done before."

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