Are You Using Data to Drive Your HR Strategy?

2014 is shaping up to be a year that will disrupt the way traditional HR functions operate. As technology, social media and data continue to become interwoven into the fabric of the workplace, HR must start to think and act like business functions by using data and insights to drive their strategy.

Business accountingNot that long ago, thought leaders called upon companies to treat HR as a strategic partner alongside the CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. to bring insights to human capital within the organization. HR, like business functions will need to rely on data, trending and analysis to assess and shape new initiatives.  Over the last few years, business functions (marketing, sales, legal, communications, products, operations, compliance; just to name a few) have expanded their data sources to include social media insights, internet analytics, search and traffic patterns. That coupled with “listening” to what people are saying about the company on social platforms provides key information on developing and/or tweaking strategies. This data is also extremely useful for HR to gage satisfaction, employee insights and dissatisfaction.

You may wonder how HR can use data for strategy when most of the data is based on operational transactions. To that I say, follow the lead of the business. HR can use a combination of operational, internet and social media metrics to analyze recruitment volume, sourcing effectiveness, candidate experience, retention and brand impact.

Here are a few ideas on how you can put data to work to help build your strategy:

1.      Recruitment (Talent Sourcing)- Building your workforce  is critical to achieving the organizations’ goals

a. Measures:  Source of Application, Source of Hire, Cost of Sourcing Channels

 Data Source: RMS/ATS

Strategy:  What channels have proven to be most effective for hires? Are there any shifts or trends that are emerging quarter over quarter or year over year? Invest your sourcing dollars wisely. Analyze data over time so you can see what sources are yielding and providing good ROI.  Your data will guide you to make sound, informed decisions.

 Cost per paid channel

 b. Measure:  Recruiter capacity

 Data Source: RMS/ATS

Strategy:  Do you have enough people to execute the work?  Analyze recruiter capacity against volume and complexity. Be prepared to dig deeper to speak to efficiency of work. Recruiter capacity impacts both service levels and the quality of output they can provide in a realistic time frame.

2.       Talent Sourcing Interactions- impacts brand and consumer opinions about the organization

a. Measure: Candidate experience

Data Sources: Glassdoor, Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Strategy: As social recruitment becomes more dominant, candidate experience is playing a more critical role impacting attraction. Like it or not candidates’ feedback about their employers are becoming more prevalent and visible online, whether the employer has a social media presence or not. It’s important to understand and assess chatter as more candidates rely on authentic feedback to make employment and product decisions about the organization. Organizations that embrace feedback and make improvements not only impact talent sourcing, but may also impact bottom line sales.

 6-british-entertainment-retailer-hmv-lost-complete-control-of-its-social-media-team-when-rogue-members-used-the-account-to-childishly-live-tweet-a-massive-firing-at-the-company

b. Measure: Manager experience, Recruiter Performance

 Data Source: Survey

 Strategy: How do businesses know if their products or services add value? Feedback about the service and its value is critical to fostering good working relations to achieve the organizations goals.  Use manager feedback to fine tune your service offering. Identify areas for improvement and acknowledge and reward great service.

 

3.       Talent Management – retention is critical to building and sustaining human capital in the organization

a. Measure: Retention

Data Sources: ERP, Performance Tools, Exit Interviews, LinkedIn

Strategy:  Why are employees leaving your organization? Where are they going?  Are certain departments or job functions prone to lower retention than others? Analyzing data will provide insight on which companies are attracting your talent and what jobs they are moving into. Social media has made it easy to get that information. Channels like LinkedIn can run talent analytics on employee changes (coming and going) to help you understand your competition.

 talent flows

b.      Measure: Employee experience

Data Sources: Glassdoor, Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc; Engagement Survey, Internal Crowdsourcing

Strategy: The ability to solicit feedback from employees has never been easier for HR Functions. With internal and external social media and collaboration tools available it’s quick and simple to get a sense of what’s working and what isn’t. Canned annual engagement surveys may feel like a corporate exercise rather than an employee centric forum to voice opinions or ideas.  Happy and engaged employees are more likely to stay and move within your organization than those who feel they have no voice.


I hope these few examples get you excited about the possibilities that are are at your fingertips.  Be cognizant that your metrics should be meaningful and actionable. Use your data to drive strategy, not file in your metrics folder!

I would love to hear about some metrics your company has used to help drive your strategy. Comment on my post or send me a tweet @annzaliebarrett

What Will Be the Title of Your 2014 Chapter?

happy new year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. As the New Year begins, it provides a sense of optimism, opportunity and possibilities. I like to think of it as ending the chapter of the previous year and starting a new chapter charting your course for the year ahead.  So what will the  title of your 2014 chapter be? For some the chapter may contain goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. The title of your chapter can guide you on creating a plan to help you achieve those goals. It can serve as an anchor to remind you what you set out for the year.

elearning

If your 2014 chapter has aspirations for a promotion or career change (and of course more money), consider exploring development opportunities that may be available to you through your company’s eLearning tool or education/training programs. Social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ also have free groups you can join to participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions. Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea.

It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your holistic career plan.

Maybe you’re quite happy win your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be the start of new relationships. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. I am a firm believer that different perspectives can help you make a more informed decision about what’s happening both beside you and around you. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.  Perhaps three people internally and three people externally. Maybe they’re acquaintances that you casually interact with that you would like to get to know better. Build you networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Pick a few people and reach out to them. If  you can’t meet in person, set up a virtual coffee. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.

LinkedIn_edit_profile

Regardless of your end goals. as I wrote in my last blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profiles to include accomplishments, skills and projects you completed. Having an updated profile helps build your brand and showcase your updated skills.

Finally, and most importantly, incorporate your personal goals and objectives into your 2014 chapter. The way we feel is the foundation of
healthylifestyle

how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having balance helps put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals.

As for me…the title of my 2014 chapter will be an expansion of my 2013 continuous improvement philosophy, simply: “Expanding My Perspectives Through learning”.That will include both professional and personal goals.

I look forward to hearing what titles you come up with for this year. I wish you every success in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett !

How To Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the year. For me, it seems like just yesterday it was the end of summer and fall was in the air. Reality check; it’s December and that typically means annual performance review time.

writers-block-atlantic-webworks

For most of us, this time of year can be stressful as we try to document our performance by reflecting back on our contributions and accomplishments. In larger organizations it doesn’t just stop at individual performance assessments. Calibration sessions are held to compare you against others across departments to justify ratings. So it’s important to take time to clearly and succinctly illustrate how you delivered against your goals. One of the most important questions you, as an employee, need to be able to answer during your performance review is…Why should you get the rating you are asking for? If you are self-managed, a Telecommuter,  or didn’t have an “active” Manager work with you through the year, it’s even more important to use examples to build your case. Managers don’t always have insight into your accomplishments or remember feedback from others. It’s up to you to weave them into your performance assessment in a meaningful and appropriate way.

Here are a few suggestions to help you document your annual accomplishments and deliverables to position the rating you want:

  1. Build a habit of documenting your accomplishments throughout the year: As an employee it’s a good practice to keep email_folderstrack of the work and successes you’ve had throughout the year. If you wait until mid-year or year end to try and recall your deliverables you may forget important accomplishments. Here are few things you can do track throughout the year:
    1. Use Email Folders: If you get feedback via email take moment to create a performance folder in your email system. That way you can file your feedback through the year and pull it out to refresh your memory when you’re ready to start writing your assessment.
    2. Use your Performance system: If you have an ERP/performance system, book a 15 minute meeting in your calendar each month to update accomplishments against your goals. You can then pare down your contributions during your mid-year and annual review.

     

  2. Use specific examples to articulate how your work mapped back to your goals: Goals are formulated according to Create-Smart-Goals

S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) principles. As such they are typically broad. Use specific examples of your deliverables (specific results) as evidence on how you met and/or exceeded your goals. Let’s look at an example:

Goal: Expand Managers knowledge of social media sourcing options

Documenting deliverable option 1: Through conversations with Managers I spoke with them about social media to help educate them on sourcing effectiveness. Many of the Managers I work with now use social media as a sourcing option for their vacancies.

Documenting deliverable option 2: During my intake conversations with Managers I took some time to speak to them about using social media as a viable sourcing option. I used a variety of approaches to help show them why social media was an important avenue to source. An example of how I achieved this was working with Manager X for the RequisitionTitle.

Manager X had traditionally used job boards and staffing agencies to attract candidates for their role. Through my partnership and advice I worked with Manager X to position how we could use social media as a sourcing option for their role. During my intake conversation I worked with Manager X to get a thorough understanding of the requirements of the candidate profile. Once we had agreement, I showed them how I could generate a list of potential candidates within minutes through a LinkedIn search based on those criteria. I showed Manager X how the targeted search brought back relevant, qualified individuals rather than waiting and relying on applicants which we would later have to screen into the candidate pool. I also supplemented this approach by sharing our job aides with Manager X on how they could use their LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts to cross share their job to their network. I also suggested ways they could identify people within their network as viable candidates we may want to contact.

As a result of our social media approach we ended up hiring a candidate from LinkedIn. At the end of the process I asked Manager X about their experience using social media as a viable sourcing channel. They were pleasantly surprised by the results and were appreciative to learn about newer ways to find ideal candidates. Manager X is now a convert, and will use social media as viable sourcing channels for upcoming vacancies. This was also reflected in the survey feedback I received from Manager X. Manager X also sent an email (see attachment) expressing their thanks for my guidance and time in utilizing new and innovative approaches to sourcing.

So, in two examples above, the first option speaks to how the goal was met. However it doesn’t provide any specific examples on how it was met. This makes your assessment subjective. The second option provides a more detailed approach to articulating how the deliverable was met. By outlining how you approached the situation, showing the before and after, then backing it up with some  metrics/feedback, it makes your assessment objective. The last sentence also wove in the email feedback relevant to the example provided.

good_job
3.      Demonstrate how you’ve taken feedback to improve: Always make a point of regularly asking your Manager for feedback. There two reasons for this. First, if there are areas for improvement you want an opportunity to have time to address it. Secondly, if there aren’t any areas for improvement it should serve as confirmation you are carrying out your goals and deliverables well. There shouldn’t be any surprises at year-end. In your annual assessment use some specific examples to show how you’ve incorporated constructive feedback and/or coaching to improve. Not only does it show a positive attitude, it also shows your wi


4.     
Showcase your star performance through your summary:  You are your best PR 

star_performer

person. You have to do a good job of  selling your own performance. Managers rely on this as they need good examples to take into calibration sessions. Each year should be seen as a journey of your learning, development and accomplishments. Use the summary section of your performance assessment as a reflection of  one key item against each of these buckets during the past year. Remember use specific exampl


I hope these few tips will help you build the confidence to document your deliverables, accomplishments and fantastic feedback in an appropriate way that is easy for both you and your Manager to use in your performance review

I wish you good luck and all the very best for the New Year ahead!

By Ann Barrett; Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

How Twitter Is Changing the Way We Interact

I have a confession to make…I’ve become a bit of a Twitter junkie. If you had asked me eighteen months ago why Twitter is such a popular tool I would have shrugged by shoulders in bewilderment. At the time, I too was puzzled as to why so many people were using this channel to read “tweets” about what people were doing all day. I thought aren’t people already using Facebook for that?

As a social media professional I kept circling back to how we could leverage Twitter as a strategic channel for engagement and marketingimagesCAPM27TL. I often struggled with how I could use this channel for recruitment. Earlier this year I attended a Brainstorm conference which had one day dedicated to how to use social media for campus recruitment. Although I am not a campus recruiter, I did know that Twitter was an important channel for students and new graduates. Chelsea Newton and Michael Mahoney from Talent Formula delivered an amazing workshop reviewing all the relevant social  media channels. One comment that really resonated with me, one powerful statement that I still think about today is this; “…If you are looking to put together a social media strategy, you have to be on the channels to understand how they work.” It sounds so obvious, but it was really profound. Right then and there I logged into my dormant Twitter account and started tweeting to Michael, Chelsea and the group about what I had learned and observed. It was enlightening, powerful and liberating. People were actually responding and re-tweeeting me!

A few weeks ago, I was reading an article in Canadian Business magazine (yes an actual magazine) talking about how Twitter has changed the way we watch TV. The article stated that 70% of TV viewers now watch shows with a smart phone/tablet in hand; using them a second screen in imagesCAZ5Q2YGTV viewing. So, I have another confession to make…I too have adopted this practice. On Sunday nights I arm myself with my iPad and tune into to watch one of my favourite shows, The Walking Dead. Through a simple #hashtag thousands of us around the globe tweet our comments, reactions, predictions, etc. before, after and during the show. Many of the actors also tweet their own commentary encouraging further conversation. TV shows such as the Talking Dead take questions from Facebook and Twitter as discussion items for the show. It allows for much broader participation and engagement. The ability to interact with people in a shared conversation through Twitter has changed the way I watch certain shows.

As I use Twitter more and more, I realize why it is so popular and impactful:

1) Quick updates– You can share a thought, observation, picture or comment on the fly. It’s easy to do.

imagesCAKE6HJS

2) Expands Sharing- The integration of Twitter on other social media platforms and websites allow you to share pictures, articles, webpages, comments, updates, etc. to your followers that is easy to consume. Re-tweets are also fast and networking friendly.


3)
 
You can participate in conversations– You may say, can’t we do this on Facebook? I’ll answer it one word. #Hastag. This humble, yet revolutionary invention allows people to come together and participate in imagesCAK1XFF9conversations.  At the last conference I attended, conversations and observations were shared collectively through a hashtag. Even if you couldn’t participate in person, you could still be part of the conversation and contribute your ideas, thoughts and feedback.

4) You can follow people without being intrusive– Twitter has limited profile information. The idea is to converse. Most people feel comfortable “following” other people they don’t’ really know, but want to get to know. It’s the perfect bridge between Facebook and LinkedIn.

twitter-tablet-hed-2013

5)  You can have a single opinion or a unified voice- Twitter is a great way to rally people around a single cause. Good or bad. Product
launches can generate oodles of hype and amplify brand. In the case of JP Morgan, it can also provide a unified voice for disgruntled people sharing feedback and comments about the company.

So a few weeks after my Sunday TV + Twitter ritual, I circled back to the initial question; how can recruitment use Twitter in a more meaningful way? It’s no surprise the primary strategy is still based on a job board approach. While this may be low hanging fruit, it’s still missing the essence of what Twitter really represents; engagement. A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Bilal Jaffery who got a job at Enterasys through a tweet back to the CEO. The lesson is social media is more powerful if you take the time to converse. It means investing in creating a pipeline of people you would like to have a further conversation with. So how do you do that?

1)      Build up your follower base- As you start to follow other companies, you may notice people who are of interest. Start to follow them. Get to know them.

Twitter-Recruiting

2)      Participate in conversations- I can’t stress this enough. To make yourself visible you have to participate in conversations. So add your two cents!

3)      Be responsive- Conversations are two way. If you are tweeting you should also re-tweet and respond to tweets.

4)      Direct Message People of Interest- When you see someone you want to talk to direct message them.

5)      Don’t Spam- Don’t tweet just for the sake of tweeting. It’s better to a have a few quality tweets (including jobs) instead of hundreds that clog up peoples tweeter feed. You will be “unfollowed” pretty quickly and it could damage your reputation.

Twitter is a viable contender in the recruitment space. Many companies who have followed the steps above have touted success through product sales, brand, recognition and hires through its usage. McDonald’s,  AT&T, Cogent Company and Enterasys are few examples of this.

I hope these few tips will help you start thinking about how you can use Twitter for recruitment. I would love to hear from you so please tweet me @annzaliebarrett

twitter

Happy Tweeting!

Career Product Marketing- What Are You Selling?

In my last blog post I talked about how organizations are using crowdsourcing to improve marketing messages to make products more appealing. I spoke about how HR functions can also utilize this rich data to improve its employee value proposition and employment brand. As Recruitment functions start to climb out of a 2.0 model attention is being directed to use social media platforms for recruiting. In a quest to increase reach, many companies continue to push out long, traditional, wordy job postings that serve to instruct the reader rather than entice them. It looks something like this:

old_jd

If product marketing took this approach it would be the equivalent of pushing out a product specification to attract buyers. Sounds absurd right? Marketing knows they have to develop compelling messages to entice the reader to at least find out more about the product. Messages are developed into visual ads where social media acts as a forum to engage and interact with consumers. The difference looks something like this:

samsung_spec       samsung_product_ad

What if recruitment took a business approach and treated “careers” as products they’re trying to sell? Each vacancy would represent an individual product marketed through a job ad. The marketing approach would centre on crafting key messages to attract relevant prospects for the product. Job postings would be more marketing friendly focused on key communities to interact and engage in a meaningful way.

For companies who have embraced this type of thinking the outcomes are creative and concise ads geared at soliciting relevant prospects with links where the reader can learn more.

ASCPUN201006237Ad00701

1234807_10151794314309346_1163308203_n  microsoft_jobad

Think about what is attracting you to these ads. What makes you linger? Visual and emotional cues make you want to read more. Visual content marketing has a higher impact on social media because it’s easier to consume and share.

Some companies such as Salesforce.com have taken this even one step further by extending career marketing to a video format. This approach is far beyond recruitment 2.0, and actually moves into the realm of recruitment 4.0. Here, the Manager takes an active role in the recruitment process. The video is short, engaging and easily downloadable so it can be viewed on the go. Prospects are also offered the opportunity to engage with the Manager via social media (in this case Twitter) for more information. This creates the opportunity for real interaction instead of a one way push.

salesforce_pic

A forward thinking approach.

I know many of you reading this may think this is a huge amount of work that requires a lot of money. Not to mention, Managers would never do a video. To that I would say, start small. Do you have a few key roles you can start with that you can pilot? Start to create the foundation by shifting the mindset. Many companies have fantastic in-house creative, brand, communication and digital teams. Partner with them. Learn from them. Small successes pave the way for larger successes.

To help you get started, I’ve mapped out how recruitment can craft career marketing messages using the same thought process as a product marketer. Product marketing essentially has to answer three main questions for consumers:

Business Product Marketing Messages Career Product Marketing Messages
1- What will this product do for me if I buy it? (What’s In It For Me- WIFM?) 1- How will this job utilize and/or enhance my skills and develop my career? (WIFM?)
2- What are the main/exciting features of this product? What does it do? 2- What are the main/attractive features of this job? What would I do? (Keep it concise)
3- How is this product different from its competitors? 3- Why should I work for your company instead of your competitors?

I hope this blog post has energized you to think of your job postings in a new way! I would love to hear about your success stories.

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Has Your Company Embraced Crowdsourcing to Improve Your Employee Value Proposition?

Crowdsourcing is one of the hottest conversation topics on the web. I predict it will be the most “buzzed word” of 2013. Companies are starting to pay attention to crowdsourcing as viable, cost effective ways to develop new product lines, new technologies, solve problems and improve service. Crowdsourcing is also important to HR as it can provide a wealth of knowledge in understanding employee experiences with a company’s employee

crowdsourcing

value proposition (EVP) and employment brand.

So, what exactly is crowdsourcing? The term crowdsourcing is a mix of the word “crowd” and “sourcing” first coined by Jeff Howe in a 2008 Wired magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”[1]. In essence it’s an online database where people can contribute content (written, video, pictures) by posting it in a public forum which can be viewed and shared by others. Availability on the internet makes it easier to search and find information. Integration with social media sites such as Facebook means reviews can be cross-shared to friends. Apps let you search and review on the go through mobile platforms.

To demonstrate the power and value of crowdsourcing to the business and HR, I thought I would do a cross comparison from two strategic crowdsourcing sites; TripAdvisor and Glassdoor.

tripadvisor_logo

 

I am an avid and loyal TripAdvisor member. Over the years I have become dependent on TripAdvisor to help me make informed decisions on what hotels to stay at when I travel. I find the reviews invaluable and will not make a decision without consulting TripAdvisor first. I also pay it forward by writing my own reviews, thus sharing my experience with others.

glassdoor_logo_250I was first introduced to Glassdoor through Facebook. I got a few invitations from friends in my network requesting I join.  At first glace I didn’t understand its value. However once I saw there were anonymous reviews providing real insight into the culture, work, management and environment of an organization, i was hooked.

Sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor are powerful because of their reach. As the stats below reveal, the traffic, membership and visibility on these sites is enormous  More importantly…they are still growing.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Reach
  • World’s largest travel site[2]
  • 50M visitors per month
  • 20M business visitors per month
  • 1.5 Reviews posted every second
  • 21M registered users[3]
  • 260K companies globally
  • 5 company reviews
  • A new member joins every 7 seconds
glassdoor_reviewEvery company has a vested interest in promoting how great they are. They want to you buy their product and/or attract top talent. Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are authentic. They are reflective of genuine experiences from a variety of people who have interacted with the company.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations compared to only 14% from advertisements[4]. This has put pressure on companies to become more authentic in their brand promise and employment value proposition.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Authentic
  • Reviewers have actually stayed at the hotel.
  • They have no vested interest in portraying the hotel as good or bad.

 

  • Reviewers are either current employees or former employees.
  • Reviewers write reviews based on their employment experience.
  • Anonymity allows for more genuine feedback without fear of reprisal.
tripadvisor_travllerphotosCrowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are transparent about the brand promise. They help to answer the question, Is the company/employer genuinely delivering what the promise?
  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Transparent
  • Pictures and videos of hotel rooms, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. from reviewers provide real examples of what is delivered versus what is being advertised.
  • Potential travellers have more realistic expectations about the product they will receive.

 

  • Viewers have more realistic expectations about day to day operations, work environment and management styles.
  • Employees rate the employee value proposition (career progression, growth, development, compensation, benefits, etc.) against what they experienced. This helps set expectations for future prospects.
tripadvisor_reviewsIt’s my opinion that companies should be grateful for crowdsourcing through sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor. Think about it. Customers and employees at no cost; are providing companies with feedback on what they’re doing well and what they can improve on.

Actionable Feedback. It’s a goldmine of rich data.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Actionable Feedback
  • Reviewers provide suggestions for improve.
  • Reviewers provide feedback on what’s working.

Companies that are focused on continuous improvements can create action plans to fix shortcoming.

Positive feedback can be woven into marketing and advertising to highlight positive attributes, making the brand promise more credible.

  • Reviewers provide suggestions to Management on areas they can improve.
  • Reviewers provide feedback on things that are working well.

Employers can cross reference engagement results with reviews. Retention strategies can be created based on feedback.

Positive feedback can be woven into employment branding and the employee value proposition messaging, making them more credible.

 

If you reviewed two hotels at the same price point and one had predominantly negative reviews and the other had predominantly positive reviews; which one would you choose? Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they influence people’s opinion and ultimately impact their decision. That has a bottom line impact.

 

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Reviews Impact Decisions
  • Positive reviews may yield more sales.
  • Negative reviews may result in a loss of a sale opportunity.
  • Companies can assess referral ratings based on reviews.
  •  Positive reviews may attract better talent to your organization.
  • Negative reviews may turn off top talent.
  • Employers can assess referral ratings based on reviews.
reviewsCompanies cannot ignore crowdsourcing’s impact on the bottom line any longer. Smart companies will acknowledge suggestions and make improvements to demonstrate they are listening. This willingness to change also builds credibility as reviews validate changes.

HR Departments should be conscious that employee opinions not only have a direct impact on talent sourcing strategies, but may also carry over to net promoter scores (NPS), product sales and customer retention. Dissatisfied employees may not buy or recommend company products to a friend. That impacts the bottom line.

 

 

 

 

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/eTourismAfrica/trip-advisor-2012

Is Technology an Enabler or a Driver?

When I first started in the field of eRecruitment the use of technology to automate forms and processes was still formsrelatively new. If you’re thinking that was back in the 80’s or 90’s you would still be in the wrong decade. As late as the early 2000’s many companies were only using technology to enable job applications, on-line form completion and on-line pay statement reviews. Technology was regarded as an enabler to complete and facilitate processes, drive efficiency and reduce costs and administration. Organizations drove articulating specifications on how technology could enable process automation.

044625-japan-technology-company-sharp

It’s September 2013. As I write this blog post I am in Tokyo, Japan; one of the most technologically connected and forward thinking countries

in the world. My older iPad feels like a clunky machine compared to the smaller, thinner more sophisticated  smart phones, tablets and cameras they are using. Everything here is done by technology, from animation to toilets. As I look at people on the train engrossed in their smart phones playing games, texting social networking, taking pictures, etc. it occurs to me technology has evolved to become a driver changing the way people interact and use it. You may say isn’t technology still acting as an enabler, allowing us to execute processes such as texting and gaming? My rebuttal would be, technology has become a  driver because we are adapting to it.

My example is a simple, yet powerful one that shows how technology influenced us to adapt to it.  It’s called apps. When Apple imagesCAGEOSCElaunched the iPhone back in 2007, the concept of using third-party applications (apps) to present subsequent social networking programs and shop (iTunes) was a new and innovative concept. I would categorize it as a driver because most consumers didn’t even know they wanted it until it became available. Once people started using it, adapting to the new presentation and functionality, the demand was almost insatiable. Every company wanted to develop their own app to reach consumers to drive business. Today every mobile vendor offers apps as a standard operating feature of their phones and/or tablets. Consumers have been driven to use apps which has actually changed the way we interact with technology.

blackberry-crash-600x450

Technology is driving change. Organizations need to re-think about how they can realize its value in the marketplace. Resistance to its adoption has clear downstream bottom line impacts. Take consumers opinion on the recent bid to acquire Blackberry by Fairfax Financial. Public opinion revealed many perceived Blackberry was too slow to adopt new features onto their mobile platform which other companies such as Samsung capitalized on. The result was decreased consumer consumption and market share.

How does this impact recruitment?

Organizations also need to recognize the significance technology is playing in the attraction and retention of talent.

Managers_need_to_be_like_students_embrace_technology-426x283

For example, we know that the usage of mobile devices will continue to grow as the primary way people access the internet and information. We  can infer the absence of a mobile strategy will exclude larger percentages of the population interacting with your brand. As social networking tools become a more dominant way to learn about employers, interact with them and read reviews on what others say about them, recruitment and talent functions will need to embrace these tools as a relevant and meaningful ways to engage and communicate.

If your organization isn’t doing it, your competitor will.

The Evolution of Human Capital Metrics

Last week I was privileged enough to moderate a roundtable of HR professionals at the first Indeed.com international conference. Our topic of conversation centered on big data, HR Metrics and ROI. The participants represented a variety of industries including insurance, banking, retail, IT and professional services.

indeed full logoThe group talked about how talent strategy and recruitment has been shifting over the last couple of years due to technology innovation, mobile, social media and Millenials entering the workforce. With so much activity happening electronically the amount of data available to be captured, deciphered and analyzed can be astounding, not to mention overwhelming. Some of the participants said they had a hard time figuring out where to start. As the roundtable continued we also talked about the shift from relying on RMS data to using data warehouses and/or HRMS’ which integrate data from a variety of different sources. The focus on using big data to help articulate ROI in the form of human capital metrics was still an area all our companies continue to work through. As I reflect on our conversations I realized that human capital metrics also needs to evolve to include new skills such as engagement and collaboration to reflect the modern workforce.

Let’s start with collaboration. Not a new skill, but usually used to assess project management and ITbanner-about related roles. Newer generations such as Millennials rely on collaboration and crowd sourcing techniques to complete work and build relationships. As reliance on virtual interaction and engagement play a greater role in attraction and retention, collaboration is fast becoming an essential skill for all jobs across organizations, especially leadership and management roles. Let’s look at two human capital metrics that can evolve to give credit to this skill.

  • Quality of hire– measures the calibre of external new talent determined by early performance indicators with the organization.  Collaboration is gaining more industry acceptance as criteria for performance. In a recent blog post the CEB updated their definition of quality of hire to incorporate collaboration. The new definition now reads; a new hire’s current and likely future effectiveness at completing his or her individual tasks, and contributing to others’ performance and using others’ contributions to improve his or her own performance[1]. The updated definition pays homage to collaboration as an important contributor to both measuring-employee-performaindividual and organizational performance.
  • Ready Now Candidates– Measures the number of potential successors that can be developed for managerial and leadership positions[2].  With an almost even distribution of Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials in the workforce, engagement and collaboration are two important skills that people managers need to bring to the table in the modern workplace. Organizations should build in measures to gage how effective Managers are at collaborating below, across and above their positions. This can be done as part of an employee, manager and peer review. Managers with higher rating on collaboration can not only manoeuver within the organization, but may have a higher effectiveness in leading and managing teams.

 Engagement is a current measure in the human capital vernacular. Most organizations typically send out their engagement survey once a year to gauge how connected employees are. The outcome should be to develop an action plan to address areas where engagement is low. Through blogs, social networking channels and crowd sourcing websites (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn groups, Glassdoor, etc.) digital dialogue, or what I call engagement; is also becoming a more relevant indicator of employee retention, performance and the employee value proposition.  

 Consider that from a talent sourcing perspective, more candidates want to have a relationship with a potential employer before they make a decision on whether that employer is a good fit for them. I equate it to dating; you have to go on a few dates before you know if you’re ready to make a commitment. Let’s take a look at how two human capital metrics can evolve to include social engagement.

  • Employee Engagement Index– Measures employees’ engagement in their work. Turnover may occur if employees feel disconnected between the organization’s employment offer and their own needs. Employees on-going interactions and communications will continue to shape their opinion of the organization influencing retention and commitment[3].  Organizations are challenged to find new and different ways to continuously engage with their employees to learn about, assess and identify areas for improvement. Social platform and collaboration tools for feedback and ideas with interaction can have a positive influence on the employee’s perception of the organization, impacting both commitment and retention. Organizations that only rely on annual surveys and/or do not engage in dialogue with employees risk employees, engagement_surveyusing other public avenues to share information and voice opinions about the company.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score– Measures the difference between the number of employees who are “promoters” (recommend organization as an employer) and number of employees who are “detractors” (would not recommend the organization as an employer)[4].   Through crowdsourcing and social networking there is a broader forum for both detractors and promoters to make their opinions viral. Through outlets like Glassdoor and ratemyemployer.com, anonymous reviews can provide rich insight into an organizations work culture to potential job seekers. Organizations should be using technology to regularly engage employees earlier in the employee life cycle to pulse check their perceptions.

Talent sourcing has typically been the topic of attention on how social media and technology are workforce planninginfluencing recruitment approaches. It has higher visibility because it’s a front line operational function that can measure results. Talent management also needs to embrace changes and recognize that newer generations bring different skills to the table. Using static measures that don’t incorporate or recognize these new skills can impact performance management, succession planning and retention. Employees will continue to assess their employment offer promise and evaluate how closely it aligns with reality.

By taking collaboration and engagement into consideration, how would it impact the way you view your talent pools?

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] CEB Corporate Leadership Council, “The Metrics Standard” (2013):

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] ibid

Are You Really A Collaborative Team Player?

collaboration_learningSocial Media has played a signficant role in facilitating collaboration through interaction, sharing information and soliciting feedback through public forums. Younger generations growing up with social media and the internet have become accustomed to collaborating through groups to accomplish tasks. This behaviour has now become a norm which has carried over to the workplace.

As organizations expand into global markets and new generations enter the workforce (think of Millennials) working virtually, in a collaborative way, is now a requirement to stay competitive.

Many organizations have adopted collaboration tools, to provide the technology for active participation. The shift to virtual working through collaboration is not without its own challenges.virtual_team Think about cultural differences, time differences, languages, geographies; and how to bring all of those together in a productive way. At the heart of collaboration lies relationship building and trust. Both of which are not easily accomplished without putting some effort into it. Even through technology may be used to virtually interact, the communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate collaboration may still need to be cultivated. Take the time to invest in building your skills to get the most out of your virtual work experience.

Here are a few things to consider when collaborating virtually:

  • Be open-minded: Working in groups can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Listening to and/or reading various perspectives, approaches and ideas can increase your knowledge and expand your own thinking. Group experiences are most gratifying if you keep an open mind to other people’s contribution and ideas. The goal is to work together to achieve a common objective. The more people feel “safe” to share their ideas and perspectives, the more interesting and genuine the contributions will be. It creates a positive, innovative environment where people can appreciate other viewpoints.
  • browser-hangoutShare Information: Have you read an article that you think may be beneficial to someone else? Are you working on a project where you could use someone else’s expertise? Share information with those who may benefit from it. Once you share, you will notice that your colleagues will in turn start to share with you. You may also start getting invited to other meetings where you can share your expertise and perspectives.
  • Participate in the conversation: What makes group projects so successful are the ideas and perspectives that each person brings to the table. When you’re at the table participate in sharepoint the conversation. If you’re using a technology platform provide updates and suggestions to contributions that will enhance the virtual conversation. This allows you to showcase your skills and knowledge and learn from others at the same time.
  • Be Respectful: When participating virtually be respectful of other people’s ideas and suggestions. Even if you don’t agree with something avoid writing comments such as “that won’t work” or “that doesn’t make sense”. Dismissive comments may curb collaboration rather than encourage it. Instead help direct the conversation to address your concern. As an alternative try, “What might be some of the risks or constraints we may need to consider”?

These are just a few suggestions to consider when working collaboratively. Are there some recommendations you want to share?

 By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Gen X: What are you doing to retain them?

There are lots of articles, blog posts and studies centred on the millennial generation. Born between 1980-2000; Millennials comprise about 29% of the current workforce, just shy of Gen X at 33% (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers representing 38% (1946- 1964)1 . This has resulted in a more even distribution of multiple generations in the workforce. 

behold-a-millennial-in-its-elementEven though Millennials have been labelled as needy and narcissistic their entry into the workforce has had a significant impact in helping change the way organizations communicate and approach work. First, their reliance on technology, in particular mobile, has pushed the envelope to adopt more mobile friendly solutions at work. Things like approving transactions (e.g. registering for an on-line course) on mobile devices, IM’ing (texting) and adding apps on phones are all current technology interactions Millennials are accustomed to.

Second, the daily use of social networking channels to facilitate engagement and collaboration. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, etc., are all various social platforms Millennials use to interact, convey information and build networks. Their ease of use and navigation on these channels has challenged their older counter parts to get with the times and use these as relevant ways to communicate and interact. Millennials assume employers use these tools as forums to engage with employees and customers, solicit feedback, build networks and work across functional teams.

Third, the erosion of traditional hierarchies. Unlike Baby Boomers who work within a disciplined hierarchical structure, Gen_xMillennials approach collaboration in a broad, encompassing manner.  They have no problem booking a meeting with a VP (bypassing the chain of command) to help them better understand issues or network. This approach is challenging traditional authoritative hierarchical structures in the workplace. For Gen Xers who have been molded to abide by current hierarchical protocol, they may feel liberated by this new approach and at the same time overshadowed by the Millennials ability to effect change so quickly. 

As much as Millennials have helped push the broad adoption of social media in the workplace, in my opinion I think Gen Xers were really the first generation to embrace technology and gamification on a mass scale. The consumption of technologies for personal use such as PC’s (personal computer), Sony Walkman’s, cell phones, Nintendo game consoles, CD players, etc. were all widely adopted and embraced by Gen X.  The development and availability of different forms of content such as videos’ and the internet laid the foundation for eCommerce and digital marketing. 

In the current landscape Gen Xers are now sandwiched between soon to be retiring Baby Boomers and the masses of Millennials continuing to enSandwich-Generationter the workforce.2  Gen Xers have been in the workplace for almost 20 years, accumulating a variety of experiences and building their skill set. For them retention is centered on flexibility, career and skill development and of course career progression.  They are focused on carving out a career and will work through a variety of different jobs to build skills to keep their career moving forward. The acquisition of new skills and experiences can be viewed as a form of “career security” where skills and experiences are portable from one job to another3. Gen Xers are described as a highly motivated and tenacious generation. Their general attitude is if we don’t like it, we’re out of here.

It is estimated by the year 2020 approximately 33 million jobs will open up in the US as Baby Boomers start to retire4 . In Canada that number is career-progressionapproximately 9.8 million5.  Organizations need to develop a holistic human capital plan to mitigate the risk of losing Gen Xers who may not feel like they have opportunities to progress or move in their careers.  Baby Boomers in positions of management will also need to adjust their approach to managing across generations to retain talent. Both Millennials and Gen Xers who find themselves working in a rigid hierarchical structure may seek out other environments that are more collaborative and empowering.  Here are few things organizations need to consider in human capital planning to retain Gen Xers:

      1. Don’t favour Millennials at the expense of Gen Xers– Your Gen Xers have 20+ years of experience under their belt. They have worked through different jobs to amass skills and gain experience. Consider what Gen Xers bring to the table. Forward thinking, technically savvy people who embrace new ideas coupled with solid experience will yield your company good leaders who can think strategically.
      2. Have serious conversations about career progression – I’ve had a number of friends leave organizations due to lack of career advancement opportunities.  Discussions about progression are important to Gen Xers at this stage of their career. They’ve put in the time and want to see there is some pay off for their hard work. Gen Xers expect to start having serious conversations about their next position and how management will help them get there. If they don’t feel there is a genuine commitment they’ll look for an employer who values them.
      3. Be inclusionary– Does your organization create an environment where your Gen Xers and Millennials are sitting at the table to provide input and strategic insight? Gen Xers want to feel they are valued in the organization and want be included in discussions where they can contribute their insights and expertise. Millennials want an opportunity to learn from their counterparts in a collaborative way. If your organization deems Baby Boomers as the only qualified group to be involved in strategic planning and decision making you will not only find yourself at a competitive disadvantage, but quickly find some of your talent (Gen Xers and Millennials) going to other companies who value their insight and observations.

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      Gen X’ers are valuable assets to your organization. Don’t take them for granted!

      By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

      1. [http://brighterlife.ca/2012/07/19/bridging-the-gap-in-multi-generational-teams/]
      2. [http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/Gen-X–Stuck-in-the-Middle-79865.aspx]
      3. [http://www.examiner.com/article/keys-to-the-retention-of-generation-x]
      4. [http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/hispanic-jobs-baby-boomers-health-2721781-1.html]
      5. [http://beyondrewards.ca/Articles/Art10-05.html]