The Social Marketing of Diversity

Scientific research indicates the brain transmits 90% of visual information and processes it 60,000 times faster than information in text form[1].  Digital media has transformed the reach of visual content. Digital images such as pictures, videos, infographics, word clouds, etc., can be posted and shared quickly on social networks. On Facebook alone, 75% of content posted globally are photos. On Twitter, photos and videos are re-tweeted 63% more than other types of content (see chart below). In 2013 LinkedIn purchased Pulse, a news reader that presents content visually to its member base.

Retweet stats

The consumption of visual digital content has also led to the creation of many popular platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Flicker and Vine (just to name a few).

youtube

Instagrampinterestvine

 

 
 


Its popularity has also had an impact on marketing and recruitment; specifically in the areas of diversity. As populations become increasingly diverse it continuously creates new customer and employee needs. These demographic shifts in both consumer base and talent pools have put pressure on organizations to build workforces that reflect the markets they are trying to serve. Companies such as RBC have created an integrated approach (as shown below) recognizing the fluidity between consumer, employee and community member[2].

RBC_diversity

Consumer marketing has created digital brand strategies to tap into new demographics and create an emotional experience. The image below is a great example of this. The experience is reflected in the image to create an emotional response. To make you picture yourself using the product. It’s powerful because people can more easily relate if they see images that reflect themselves.

diversity_11

Talent acquisition is no stranger to developing diversity strategies to build their workforce. For years organizations have tried to create programs to attract, source, hire and retain diverse candidates. Few have been able to claim bragging rights. Diversity recruitment has always relied on images to depict inclusion and representation. Social media has enabled this approach to go viral.

Even though diverse images and videos are much more prevalent, prospective candidates have also shifted their approach. They now rely on employee experiences to validate the diversity proposition and actual representation of their prospective employer. According to a Glassdoor.com survey; candidates are signficantly influenced by employee experiences and how they perceive their employer.

 recommendations

 They’re looking for more meaningful and authentic messages from employees that reflect themselves.

A poster for Lakeridge Health is shown in this undated handout photo. The Ontario hospital group is turning QuebecÕs proposed restrictions on religious clothing in the public sector into an opportunity to recruit nurses and doctors.

As employees build their online presence they also provide insight to the demographic composition of their organization. Candidates now have more visibility into representation both vertically and horizontally than at any other time in history. It represents the shift from an aspiration to something that is achievable. It’s this reflection of inclusion through employee experiences that are emotional and impactful. Consider the brand of two employers below:

non_diversity

diverse_workforce

Which one would you click on to find more?

People overwhelmingly chose the image on the bottom. They felt diversity and inclusion were represented and reflected by real employees. It felt more authentic. The visual digital collage created an emotional reaction. A connection. An experience.

The goal is to make you picture yourself working at this organization. It’s employee experience that lies at the heart of talent branding. Creating an experience that resonates with potential candidates. An authentic experience delivered through employees.

I’d love to hear your perspectives on topic! Share them with me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

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[1] http://tech.co/visual-content-will-rise-2015-2015-01

[2] http://www.rbc.com/diversity/why-does-diversity-matter.htm

Evolving Your Social Recruitment Vocabulary

In my last blog post (TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary for Business Use); I spoke about the need for HR professionals to really understand some of the industry technology terms that are being used in strategic conversations. As a part two, I want to expand that conversation and drill down a layer further. This post will focus on deciphering the terminology behind social recruitment.

21st-century-recruiting-8-statistics-to-prove-social-media-is-the-way-to-go-1-638

The term social recruitment was first used as early as 2009, but started to become part of conventional recruitment strategy around 2011[1]. Social recruitment has now become mainstream and many vendors now offer social recruiting and marketing products in addition to their core recruitment management system (RMS) offering. With the increasing adoption and investment in social recruitment, also comes the necessity to articulate ROI and explain its success. But, despite data being available through a multitude of channels, many recruitment functions still struggle with compiling data to answer to the lingering Executive question… Tell me how social recruitment adds value?

Stumped? There’s good new… this is not a quiz!

For a few years I’ve talked about the importance of introducing new metrics into the HR dashboard that can clearly describe the impact of social recruitment.

social-media-for-recruiters

Metrics can be the gateway to tell your story. It provides the forum to share success, lessons learned and forecast strategy based on data. To anchor social recruitment, a new wave of terminology needs to be adopted into daily operational metrics, performance measures, intake discussions and sourcing strategies make it meaningful.

Not sure where to start? First, let’s examine a few common industry terms that you and your team should know and use on a weekly, if not daily basis:

Term Description Why is it important?
Click Through Rate (CTR) Measures the click from the initial link though to the content page. (e.g. the click from the initial job posting link on a job aggregator to the apply button on the job posting RMS). It provides insight into how compelling your content is. The marketing to get you to click on the initial link may be good, but if candidates are not clicking through, it could be due to your content. Companies should use click through rate metrics as an indicator on what’s working and what needs to be improved. You want high click through rates to measure applicant channel ROI.
Employee Value Proposition (EVP) It’s a unique set of offerings, associations and values that will positively influence the most suitable target candidates to choose you as an employer. The proposition must be attractive, true, credible, distinct and sustainable.[2] In a nutshell, it articulates what differentiates your company from your competitors. Why should someone choose to work at your company versus a direct or industry competitor? If you want Manager’s and employees to become brand ambassadors, they need to be equipped with EVP marketing messages to promote the company.
Engagement Two way interaction of your companies brand and content between the end user and the company. Engagement identifies people who express an interest in your brand and content by interacting with it. It provides the opportunity to build rapport, creating a pipeline of candidates engaged with your company brand. Research shows that engaged employees have higher retention rates resulting in bottom line savings to the organization over time[3].

 

engagment analytics_1

 

Job Aggregator An on line database that scrapes and advertises job postings from company websites at no cost. Job aggregators have transformed the traditional job posting model. Jobs from companies are posted in one central place and are SEO indexed. Companies don’t pay to advertise job postings, they are there for free. This makes it more appealing for candidates as all jobs can be found here regardless of where they start their search (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Indeed.com, etc.). Job aggregators provide high source of hire ROI.
Pay per Click (PPC) The amount paid when sponsored content (e.g. job posting) is clicked on a website. This helps companies stay within a budget and measure ROI based on clicks. If you sponsor jobs, you only pay for what is performing.
Reach Reach is the potential audience for content based on total follower count (Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn followers, total Likes on your Facebook page, etc). If your boards have 1,000 followers on Pinterest, then each of your pins could potentially reach 1,000 people. [4] Reach provides insight into the visibility of your content as it is shared (via a like or share) to other users networks. The higher your reach the higher the probability you will attract more applicants.
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is the ability for your content to rank higher on a search engine when search results are returned. Most candidates now start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). The higher your content appears in search results, the higher the probability it will be clicked on.
Social Sharing Sharing content through social media. Most websites recognize the power of sharing content on social networking sites. Social sharing is the modern version of emailing job postings to networks. RMS’, aggregators and job boards, now offer the ability social share jobs on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

engagment analytics_2

 

Talent Brand The highly social, public version of your employer brand incorporating what your talent thinks, feels and shares about your company as a place to work[5]. Your talent brand carries more credibility than employment brand because your employees are advocates or detractors of the message. Talent brand is important because it represents a genuine view from an employee. Tools like LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index allows companies to benchmark against competitors to see how your talent brand is performing to attract and source candidates.
Talent Communities A recruitment product that offers websites geared to specific roles, candidate types or locations where people can register and receive company information and notifications. Talent communities provide specific branding, content and messaging to candidates based on demographic information. While content on talent communities can be engaging, they also serve as the feeder for talent pipelines for specific roles.
Targeted Marketing Recruitment Campaigns Use keywords and/or demographic information to target and attract relevant potential applicants for specific roles. (e.g. Call Centre, Actuaries, Mobile App developers, etc.). Most candidates start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). Unlike traditional methods of post and prey advertisements, campaigns have become a game changer because it seeks out specific individuals that appear to fit the role profile of the job. This creates a relevant pipeline and/or applicant pool. In addition to Google AdWords, social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter also offer these services.

460x250xtalentcommunity

This by no means, is an exhaustive list of social recruitment terms. It’s really meant to be an introduction to some of the more common terms you can expect to hear and see in blogs, articles, white papers and research briefs. So the next time you are asked how reach impacts your sourcing strategy, you’ll be well positioned to give an answer!

If you would like more information on HR metrics, check out my blog post Are You Using Data to Drive Your HR Strategy.

I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know if you found this list useful. You can tweet me @annzaliebarrett or follow me LinkedIn.

Ann_Nov_2012Ann Barrett, Director Integrated Solutions

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[1] Wikipedia

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/duraturo/what-is-an-employer-value-proposition

[3] http://www.bus-ex.com/article/employee-engagement-retention-and-communication

[4] http://blog.hootsuite.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media-metrics-reach-exposure/

[5] http://www.slideshare.net/linkedin-talent-solutions/5-reasons-for-investing-in-your-talent-brand-v3

Course TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary For Business Use

In my opinion, there are three things that have become the norm of modern day societal interaction:

  1. Mobile Devices
  2. The Cloud
  3. Social Networking

I’ve affectionately labelled them the Technology Trio. Most of us could not go an hour without interacting with one, if not all of these items. This Technology Trio is fast becoming the driver of business strategy development; encompassing sales, marketing, product offerings and the employee value proposition.

Technology_Trio

That’s right I said employee value proposition.

Employees are increasingly demanding the use of mobile, cloud and social collaboration at work. Things like importing their talent profile from LinkedIn, requesting and approving vacation on their smart phone or using SharePoint to crowd source ideas from multiple internal and external stakeholders to complete a project.

Discussions about the Technology Trio have also become common place in executive strategic planning discussions. functions including . Departments such as Sales, Finance, HR, Marketing, Legal, Procurement, Operations, Compliance, etc., are now expected to have some general knowledge of the Trio to develop solutions to support businesses strategies.

Cloud-Ops-Model-lg

These could include providing answers/recommendations on whether to use a new SaaS solution to manage sales. What’s the contract/ cost implications if we move to an integrated best in suite solution or continue with a series of best in breed solutions? If  we enable API plugin’s how do we mitigate privacy concerns? If we use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers as part of our sales strategy are they any compliance risks? What guidelines need to be added to our code of conduct around acceptable usage of social media at work? How should we address anonymous employment reviews  on social media sites about our company? How do we leverage big data to gain insights into projected sales revenue or succession planning for baby boomer retirements? What’s our social recruitment strategy? And on and on….

iStock_000012479982Small

For many, this is new and overwhelming territory. Symptoms may include eyes being glazed over, increased heart rate, bouts of perspiration or having to leave the meeting early due to a sudden appointment!

Relax. Take a deep breath.

For all of you who would like a crash course on the essential technology terms* you need to know for your next meeting; this blog post is for you!

 -Technology Terminology Cheat Sheet-

Term*

Definition

Example

Android Is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google. Android is designed primarily for touch screen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It uses touch inputs like swiping, tapping, pinching, etc. to manipulate on-screen objects. It also offers a virtual keyboard.
  • JellyBean
  • NexusGalaxy
  • HTC Mobile
API PlugIn An application programming interface (API) specifies software component inputs and outputs.  Its main purpose is to define a set of functionalities which allow integration (plug in) of new features into existing applications or to share data between otherwise distinct applications.
  • Apply for a job on a recruitment system using your LinkedIn profile
  • Login to TripAdvisor using your Facebook profile
Best of Breed (BoB) Applications that offer specialized functions in specific areas that ERP’s suites usually do not feature. (E.g. Time and attendance, compensation, talent management, financial planning, etc.) Most BoB  solutions are now SaaS and Cloud based.
  • Kronos
  • Salesforce.com
  • HireVue
  • Jobvite
  • JobsDB
Best in Suite (BiS) Applications that provide a broad set of functional capabilities as part of an integrated suite. These components can be sold as standalone modules or bundled. They sit on a unified platform which makes integration easy.
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • Blue Link
Big Data Is an all-encompassing term for the collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications. Big data solutions:

  • Zaponet
  • SAP Big Data
  • Oracle Big Data
Cloud Computing Is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. Shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices remotely as a utility (like an electricity grid) over a network such as the Internet. Cloud computing allows users to access their information anywhere, anytime and on any device type.
  • Google Drive
  • Yahoo email
  • Facebook
  • WordPress

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24614112

Term* Definition Example
Integrated Platform A unified technology solution that offers software that delivers services across multiple subject areas such as learning, recruitment, compensation, talent management, etc. Unlike BiS, there are no modules to sell individually.
  • Workday
Middleware Computer software that connects software applications to other software applications. Think of it as “software glue”. Middleware is used behind the scenes to execute transactions, facilitate data flow or build integration.
  • Custom API’s
  • Web Servers
  • Automated backup system
Mobile Refers to a variety of smart, portable devices that can access the internet and facilitate the usage of apps.
  • Blackberry
  • iPad
  • Smart Phones
Mobile App A computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Apps (applications) are available through application distributors such as the Apple App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry App World.
  • Good
  • Mobile Bank Payments
  • Instagram
SaaS Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud model that delivers on-demand applications that are hosted and managed by the service provider and paid for on a subscription basis (fee/ license).
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Workday
  • Salesforce.com
  • SuccessFactors
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”)search results. The goal is to have content indexed so it ranks closer to the top (higher) on the page when search results are returned. The higher results are ranked, the higher the probability  visitors will see content and click on it. Content can be in the form of text or digital media such as videos, audio files or images.
  • Your content shows up in the top 10 search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Baidu, Naver, Khoj, Achei, etc.

 

social_recruiting

Term* Definition Example
Smart Phone A mobile phone with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than basic feature phones. Smartphones include a touchscreen computer, web browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, 3rd-party apps, etc.
  • Blackberry
  • iPhone
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • HTC
Social Collaboration A processes that helps multiple people interact and share information over the internet to achieve a common goal.
  • LinkedIn
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google Hangout
  • SharePoint
Social Recruiting The use of social media and mobile tools to facilitate sourcing, marketing and recruitment. Many SaaS solutions offer social recruitment tools as part of their suite of products.
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Adwords
  • Jobs2Web
Technology Ecosystem The suite of systems in an organization that make up their comprehensive systems portfolio.
  • Your organizations systems

This list is by no means exhaustive. It should however, give you a good starting point to become a knowledgeable contributor in conversations.

I hope you find this blog post useful. Stay tuned for my next blog post which will delve into social recruiting vocabulary.

I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line via  pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116h LinkedIn or twitter@annzaliebarrett

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett- Director, Integrated Solutions

*Source of terms have been taken from wikipedia.com and modified for relevance.

Job Aggregators – Fad or Future?

A few months ago I did a presentation to a group of global recruitment professionals on social recruiting tools and sourcing channels. The group comprised of HR leaders and many “seasoned’ Recruiters; some of which had been in the industry for more than 15 years. As I started showing the breakdown of hire yield by sourcing channel, a single hand went up and delicately asked “What’s a job aggregator?” As the question was asked I could see heads bobbing in unison relieved that someone had the courage to ask the question. I have to admit, that with all the traction job aggregators have made over the last 5 years I was surprised that it was still such a mystery to Recruiters. So before I go any further I thought I would do a quick recap of what a job aggregator is.

Image

In its simplest form job aggregators are true “job search engines” that collect job postings from other sites across the web (including employer career sites and paid job boards) and store them in a very large database where they are searchable by job seekers. It’s appealing because jobs can be found in one place rather than spending time trying to find every possible place a job would be posted.[1]

Over the last decade job aggregators have evolved from just a central job repository to a sophisticated multi-dimensional digital advertising platform. It’s taken the traditional post and prey model and turned it upside down. So much so that sites like Indeed.com boast job seeker traffic to the tune of 140M+ global visitors each month[2]. In my opinion job aggregators are changing the sourcing game by:

  •  Aggregating job postings at no cost to the employer or job seeker. In other words it’s FREE. Employers don’t have to pay to post their jobs and candidates don’t have to pay to access job postings unlike the pay to post model of Imagetraditional job boards around the world.
  •   Being search engine optimized. If start your search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Job results returned are indexed to the aggregator first, often ahead of the employer site and job board sites. Their high search engine ranking means traffic is directed back to the aggregator site even if the job is advertised on a paid job board!
  • Introducing a Pay per Click (PPC) model for jobs. This brilliant idea piggy backs on internet advertising. Basically it provides employers the ability to sponsor jobs so they can rank higher in search results and be presented to candidates ahead of other jobs that appear for free. Costs are only incurred when a job seeker clicks on the link. Meaning you only pay for results.
  • Enabling employers to set their own budget. Employers are no longer required to pay huge lump sum, upfront, costs for postings. Instead they can set a monthly or one time budget and choose to use it as it suits them.
  • Being mobile optimized. As mobile has evolved, so have the aggregators. Their minimalist approach enables an easy and seamless user experience. Indeed.com has confirmed that about 49 % of global traffic to their site (69M+ monthly visitors) comes from mobile devices[3].

This approach has developed into a model that is fast becoming an industry standard. Employers are paying more attention as aggregators have slowly amassed hire yield away from traditional job boards and staffing agencies. I personally saw this shift in my own organization. The chart below is a simple metric I used (and communicated to the HR Team) to gain insight into our sourcing channel trends. It revealed the decline of job boards and agencies and the rise of social media and job aggregators. I wasn’t alone in seeing this trend. Many large, global employers I spoke to have also seen this trend and like me,  started taking their budgets reserved for job boards and investing them in job aggregator and search engine campaigns. Leveraging the pay per click model. It’s a clear and tangible indicator that job aggregators have disrupted the industry standard for job postings.

Image

It’s this kind of employer insight that has forced job board vendors to rethink how they offer their products and services to remain competitive. The impact is material. In October Canadian job board giant Workopolis launched Social Job Share (SJS), a job distribution product that shares jobs on their website to social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. In May 2014, Monster Worldwide announced its move to a job aggregator, pay for performance model.

spj_facebookJob Aggregators haven’t only challenged job board vendors. Their disruption has also extended to social networking platforms. Facebook launched its Social Job Partnership (SJP) job posting site in 2012. They chose to aggregate job postings instead of asking employers to pay to post. Even LinkedIn has not been immune to its influence. In June 2014, they announced they would be aggregating job postings to their active job seeker population in the US. A strategy shift from its paid job slot offering.

Despite the higher yield of candidate hires and lower ROI, many employers struggle to completely relinquish their use of job boards to aggregators siteing low brand awareness. Recruitment functions complain Manager’s seem to have little or no awareness of brands like Indeed or Simply Hired compared to well known brands like Monster, Naukri, CareerBuilder, Workopolis, etc. The success of aggregators should be a signal to recruitment functions that it’s more important to invest where the candidates are. Manager awareness should not be the driver of a sourcing strategy. Recruiters should be using metrics such as source of hire to educate Managers and build awareness. It certainly doesn’t hurt aggregators to invest in building brand awareness either.

There’s no doubt job aggregators have become a game changer. Their simple, yet effective model has transformed the concept of paid job postings. This forward thinking approach will continue to chart the way we think of sourcing and applicants.

ROIYou may wonder; if aggregators are posting jobs for free, why should employers invest? I love this question because I answer it the way any savvy business person would. If free is yielding a good ROI, imagine what would happen with a real investment?

I’d love to hear your stories/experiences about how job aggregators have impacted your sourcing strategy. Contact me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

 

[1] http://www.job-hunt.org/findingjobs/findingjobs_job_aggregators.shtml

[2] Indeed Interactive Conference – 2014

[3] Indeed Interactive Conference- June 2014

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 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

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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

How Does Big Data Impact You?

Big data has become a big topic in the industry. It’s transforming business strategies by providing companies with key information in the areas of talent, social media, mobile, brand, engagement, products, consumer preferences, etc. So what exactly is big data and how does it impact you?

big_data2Wikipedia defines big data as a collection of sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications1. Basically, as more people start to use technology to facilitate transactions more digital data is being collected and stored. At its core, mobile devices, the internet and social media capture multiple terabytes of information. Consider by 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion people2. That’s one out of every six people on the planet will use a mobile device to conduct work. With all of this volume traditional data warehouses can no longer store all of the data being collected. eCommerce companies such as AdKu have created a niche market, offering their services to collect data analyse it, correlate it and highlight both positive and negative trends. This provides a goldmine of rich data. Historical data can be analyzed and used to forecast potential trends and consumer preferences which can be built into business strategic plans.

You are also impacted by big data. Accessing information via technology leaves a digital footprint of demographics, preferences, number of visits, number of shares, etc; which shapes the way products and services are being developed, marketed and delivered to you.

Here are three examples of how big data impacts you:

  • Tailored Digital MarketingYou may notice on your Facebook news feeds you are now presented suggested_postwith “suggested posts” better known as ads.  These posts are not random, but based on big data analysis that serves up targeted, relevant suggestions based on historical trends such as pages you’ve visited, pages you like, search results, etc. Almost all social platforms have an analytics component build into them. Whether you’re on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and of course Google, companies can use this data to better to understand who their audience is and what content is resonating with them. This subtle, yet effective marketing technique has transformed the way businesses reach potential customers. By looking at historical data and analyzing trends, companies can predict products you may be interested in. Instead of casting a wide net, big data provides the opportunity to cast a smaller, highly relevant net. The end result is higher sales.
  • Volume Discounts– The concept of discounted prices for consumer items on-line is not new. If you’ve ever used hotels.com or hotwire.com to book a hotel, you will know these companies buy rooms strategyin bulk and allow consumers to purchase them at discounted rates. This model has now evolved where groups of consumers can buy a variety of discounted products on online through digital coupons, or Groupons. The consumer will only get the deal if a number of other people also buy the coupon. To help reach the minimum, Groupon encourages sharing the deal with friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Digital coupons provide the opportunity to collect information and begin to analyze consumer supply and demand trends on a per month, week, day, and even hourly basis[3]. To understand these trends Groupon acquired Adku, an eCommerce company specializing in big data. Analysis on this data means more relevant deals are served up to consumers increasing user adoption and sales. As coupons are shared, more consumer data can be collected and analyzed.
  • Your Career-. Many companies are moving to more sophisticated human resources management systems (HRMS) as a one stop shop to assess talent within the organization. Newer systems are geared to “manage” talent, shifting away from pure transaction processing.open big data Companies can collect and store data pertaining to work experiences, projects, goals, deliverables, performance ratings, work history, job levels, age, gender, accreditations, etc. Many systems also integrate social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Add to that other system integrations such as applicant tracking systems, payroll systems, background checks, on boarding, etc; and the amount of data that can be analyzed collectively is exponential. This big data provides a wealth of information to companies seeking to understand talent pools, succession planning, retention, etc. at macro and micro levels. Companies can also use data to better understand how overarching enterprise objectives are being imbedded and delivered down the chain. This provides a holistic view of an employee over time and may serve to predict which individuals are top talent.

So your contribution and interaction with big data is inevitable. Next time you see a tailored ad remember big data predicted it!

By Ann Barrett, Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

[1] Wikipedia.com
[2] IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc#232073, Dec 2011
[3] http://steinvox.com/blog/groupon-big-data-play-winning-startups-focus/#ixzz2VpVJ9lwl

The Mobile Revolution Continues: How Social Media Revitalized the Food Truck Business

social_food_truckMany articles and blogs have focused on how social media has helped corporations grow their business. There are so many great tips and success stories on how social media has impacted HR, marketing and digital media functions. Social media has also revolutionized many industries, providing a platform for creative entrepreneurs to develop, market and launch their products. One such example is the food truck. Now for many of you who are over, let’s say 30; you may have memories of food trucks as sterile mobile canteens that served basic drinks (tea, coffee, and soda), hot dogs and cold pastries. The 21st century has seen the rise of the social food truck. Many creative chefs have chosen to fuse the restaurant and street food food_truckexperience on wheels. The food truck offers a mobile option to inexpensively introduce great food to the masses. It is the purist reflection of what social media embodies. Meeting the masses where they are.

Through social media the food truck industry has literally been re-vitalized, creating a niche market for cooks and chefs alike. Their popularity has transcended the social realm into syndicated television shows such as Eat Street and Anthony Bourdain’s series Parts Unknown.

So how did social media rejuvenate the food truck industry?

Building The Brand

The first step with any good product launch is building a brand presence. Food trucks are no longer sterile, silver vans that lack personality or ffood_truck_pics_phonelare. On the contrary, they are works of art, reflecting the theme of the food, the character of the chef with playful, catchy names like Roaming Dragon, to build brand recognition.

Once the brand is established, the food trucks use a social media ecosystem to promote their products. Within the ecosystem you will find, at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google. Let’s not forget the delivery channel. Like the vehicle, it’s mobile.

Proprietors want people to know what kind of food they’re serving, recognize the truck and of course, communicate where they’ll be so you can buy the food. Applications like Instagram (100M users), Pinterest* (47M users) and Vine (via Twitter) provide the perfect channels to do all that. The beauty of these apps is customer can also participate in the experience by adding their own pictures and comments. They are then instantly shared their with friends through other social platforms in the ecosystem. Best part? No cost.

Engagement

Entrepreneurs rely on building their customer base by getting the “word” out there. With 1.1B people on Facebook, 500M on Twitter and 343Mfood_truck_phoneon Google* they represent the biggest, free, social distribution channels in the world. Every day menus and locations are posted and tweeted to a growing customer base. While content is pushed out, customers also engage in the conversation by posting comments, taking pictures of food, by asking questions and telling owners which locations they should include in their route. Tweeting or posting endorses the vendors and their products.  As we know, recommendations carry considerable clout. People are much more likely to try a new product or service if it’s recommended by someone they know. That translates into tangible sales.

Marketing Your Location

One of my favourite things about food trucks is their use of integrated GPS apps. Food trucks don’t necessarily go to the same spot every day. They diversify their routes to expand their customer base. Customers who want to experience new food trucks can download apps that track the ones closest to them.  All done in real time, on mobile.

food_truck_appMy blog post wouldn’t be complete without weaving in how this ties into social recruiting. With such an integrated social ecosystem, proprietors can easily advertise job openings to their fan base. 

The rise of the food truck through social media is an interesting and creative story. It’s another demonstration of how social media is creating new markets.

Kudos to all of those creative food proprietors who operate food trucks and offer good quality, flavourful food, at reasonable prices.

 
Support local businesses by finding the food trucks near you.

US:                 www.foodtruckfiesta.com

Canada:         http://streetfoodapp.com/

Toronto:       http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/

* Data courtesy of Digital Marketing Ramblings

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy