Google For Work: Confessions of an Early Adopter

I volunteered to be an early adopter for our Google for work pilot in August of 2016. I was already familiar with the Google Suite, storing my personal documents on Google Drive; hangouts with friends, creating blog posts on docs and planning my dinner parties on sheets. As a technology and social media geek, I was eager to participate in this new initiative.

For those of you who may be wondering how Google could be a contender to replace the Microsoft Office suite, well the truth is, they have a very interesting business model that is more attuned to how we use mobile.

Microsoft offers a basic suite of applications; typically (Outlook, Calendar, Word, Excel and PowerPoint). This is the foundation for how the vast majority of us work.  For those who need other applications like MS Project or MS Visio, etc. programs must be bought through a licensing fee and added to the suite through an IT professional. Alternatively enterprise licenses can be purchased and charged to the company based on the number of employees. Microsoft created a fantastic mini-monopoly for business using their applications.

Google at work is a significant departure from the traditional Microsoft model. In a nutshell, it provides users the same experience as using it for personal use. Taking head on the notion that people have better technology at home than they do at work.  Along with the basic processing functionalities, G Suite leverages the cloud and provides communication and collaboration tools that truly enable virtual work.

GSuite

One of the key differences with Google Suite, is basic functionality can be supplemented through 3rd party app add-ons. This is very similar to how we use mobile. Our smart phone is a series of apps that enable us to execute key transactions. We create an app ecosystem to enable our work.  Docs and Sheets for example; require add on’s to really make them effective. This allows the user to pick the relevant apps as add-ons instead of being limited to the application. This allows competition for the right price and service.  Another key difference is mobile offerings are solid and mature.

Microsoft has responded to Google’s service offering by introducing Office 365. You get all the familiar tools of Office with the addition of partnered collaboration such as Skype and One Drive for cloud. I did briefly use this suite at a previous employer. The service offering is quite different from Google, but the change aspects are significantly lower. The mobile offering on Office 365 in my opinion is still immature.

Our Google at work pilot lasted several months and then we were officially transitioned at the end of 2016. As an early adopter it’s now been a year since I transitioned. The switch was not seamless and had a number of challenges. I will say that I love many of the features that GSuite offers, such as Google Drive, the flexibility of accessing and opening google documents on my phone, collaborating on documents without having to save multiple versions and of course, video calling my colleagues! I used MS Outlook for the majority of my professional career and I don’t miss it. I’ll be honest and say I’m still struggling with mastering Doc’s, Sheets and Slides, but I’m committed to making this work.

The underpinning for success is to get people to think differently about this new way of working. I wanted to share some suggestions/ recommendations for those contemplating or are in the process of moving to Google for work:

  • Change management is critical for success. Besides executive sponsorship, employees need to understand GSuite is a different way of working. For example, shared drives will be replaced with Google Drives which provides a different way of sharing, accessing and collaborating on documents. Time and effort need to be invested in getting people to focus on the new way of working and not trying to replicate MS Office processes/ functionality through Google. Back to my consulting days, replicating old processes on new technology will not yield any value.
  • Application Mapping is essential to increase user adoption. While Google has work processing apps such as Sheets, Docs and Slides, they very immature in the capabilities they offer compared with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Users need to understand how they can get the same output using the GSuite tools. So if I build and run marcos in Excel, I need to know how can I replicate that same output using Sheets. This was a huge gap for many of our business segments as they felt they were losing key functionality through the move. Document and the areas of concern and work with the business areas to build assurances they can get what they need with the new products.

GoogleProducts

  • Identify add on’s and supplements as part of your general release (GA). For people who never used Outlook (I’m thinking of your Millennials and Gen Z’ers), it may be easy to transition onto Gmail for work. For the vast majority of employees, functions such as listening to voicemail via your messages or setting reminders for follow ups have become a main staple that impacts productivity. It’s worth the time to identify the “must haves” and deploy the appropriate labs or add on’s so users are minimally impacted. This goes a long way to minimize the change. Consider offering Google Sync as an initial step to move off network drives.
  • Continuously educate. Transformation is not easy. Replacing something as significant as a Microsoft office suite with a Google suite is going to have some casualties and a lot of noise! You will have a subset of users who refuse to change. Who cannot grasp something new. Who will constantly complain. On the other side, early adopters, those looking for new solutions will be willing to live with trade-offs. Tools and education need to be provided to help users bridge the gap from old to new. Forums for feedback are important in the change strategy. More important is offering continuous training on the core applications. I’m a huge proponent of self-service, but for things as big as this, I would recommend having experts deliver training using a hangout or classroom. Users will feel more confident if there is on-going training/ resources available to help them combat their day to day gaps in using new tools.
  • Ensure you have the necessary hardware: Prior to using GSuite, we didn’t have video calling capability. Most of our employees sit out in the open and may have desktops. When Google was deployed, we offered training via hangouts but didn’t give people headsets for video calls. Most people couldn’t participate and you can imagine what impression this left. It was a scramble to order hardware (headsets and cameras) for people to truly leverage the new technology. This had to be built into our on-boarding provisioning process as well. Ensure you think about the hardware logistics for maximize initial usage.
  • Promote the mobile offering. Google has a mature, sophisticated mobile platform. The GSuite works easily and seamlessly on mobile. Users on the go or work from home will love this flexibility.

gsuite-ios-293x300

Google for Work is another example of providing an alternative business models that’s disrupting the conventional way we do business. We’ve seen this time and time again (Taxi industry and Uber; Online vs. print media; Hotels vs. Airbnb, etc.). Not only has this benefited the consumer by providing alternative solutions, but it forced Microsoft to deliver a competitive offering with Office 365.

I hope your move is successful. I would love to hear how your transition went.

Like what you see? Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter @annzaliebarrett, or subscribe to my blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

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

_________________________________________________________________________________

[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.

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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

 

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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.

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.

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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 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

Is Your Organization Ready for Social Recruiting?

It’s hard to believe that less than five years ago many companies were still contemplating whether social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could be used as sourcing channels. Fast forward to 2013. The landscape of recruitment has significantly changed. The industry is in the midst of shifting away from traditional recruitment practices to what is now called “Social Recruiting”. Social recruiting is a model focusing on pro-active sourcing, brand marketing, engagement and metrics on social and mobile platforms. In a 2011 Jobvite survey, more than 80% of companies indicated they were using social media as part of their recruitment efforts.

So how are companies successfully using social media to assist with recruiting? Here are a couple of key suggestions to help you move to a social recruiting model:

  • Don’t treat social media as an add-on to your existing recruitment process – Social recruiting is an interactive, candidate centric model. It means socialinteractionthinking about sourcing in a drastically different way. Traditional recruitment focuses on a requisition centric approach. Recruiters spend administrative time screening out applicants to get to a qualified pool. Social recruiting turns this process upside down focusing on pro-actively finding qualified individuals and engaging them to market job opportunities. Instead of recruiters narrowing the applicant pool, they’re generating a qualified candidate pool through engagement. Successful companies have realized that social recruiting should focus on engagement, marketing and proactive sourcing. So, if you’re using social media as a job posting board it’s like using a smart phone to only make phone calls. If you don’t use the other options you won’t truly yield all the benefits.
  • Focus on engagement to build talent pools– Social media provides potential candidates with the opportunity to learn about your organization in an open and transparent way. Platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed allow people to anonymously provide feedback about their experience with New-Rules-of-Recruiting-Promocompanies. In the social world, opinions carry a lot of clout. Most people will take feedback into consideration to help them form an opinion about a company. Candidate behavior is also shifting as social media becomes more commonplace and accessible. More than 60% of candidates expect to use a social media platform to engage with recruiting. Successful companies have realized that having a social media presence means providing a forum for people to interact. Candidates need to have an avenue to ask questions, provide comments or talk to someone if they want more information. What channels are available for your potential candidates to connect and communicate with you?
  • Really Proactively Source– Many companies buy into the concept of proactive sourcing but have trouble successfully executing. The shift from traditional post and pray to proactively searching can be a huge change for recruiters. It requires a thorough jobseekers_statsintake conversation to understand the search criteria. Most of all, it requires patience and perseverance. Statics show that 88% of all job seekers have at least one social networking profile. Successful companies have realized that they need to invest in training to ensure recruiters have the necessary skill set to execute. Consider partnering with a third party vendor with expertise in boolean search. If recruiters understand the basic concepts of online searching they will feel more confident executing.
  • Use metrics to anchor your strategy– Like any good strategy, metrics should be a core element.  Successful companies have realized that metrics can be used to tie their strategy together:
    • Measure to anchor accountabilities: Develop guidelines around what will be measured. Set expectations around ROI, and anchor accountabilities by creating benchmarks and frequently measuring against them. Hold people accountable for their performance.
    • Expand what you measure:  Traditional measures such as source of hire and cost per hire only tell part of the social recruiting story. Consider adding engagement and branding measures such as #followers, InMail acceptance % and talent reach to your dashboard to show the broader picture.
    • Refine your strategy based on results:  What is the data telling you? What are the accomplishments and gaps? What are the trends? As you consider your strategy for the next year let the data help you make the correct decisions. Make sure you communicate and share the your findings so there is transparency into the model.

These are just a few suggestions you can use to help build your social recruitment strategy. What tips would you suggest?

Is Resistance to Social Media @ Work Futile?

SEO Manager, Community Manager, Mobile App. Developer, Virtual Lead Generator and Recruitment Optimization Specialist. Most of these jobs were unheard of ten years ago. The high rates of user adoption on social media platforms have created new jobs to support technological development and new ways of working. Traditional jobs have also evolved as social tools permeate into our day to day work. Companies have realized they need to embrace social as part of their overarching strategy in order to remain competitive in the market. Resistance to social media may not only hinder company performance, but can widen the skill gap between you and your competition in the job market.

Don’t believe me?

Selling-Through-Social-Media-to-Close-More-Leads-InsideviewLet’s take a look at sales as an example. Traditionally sales people spent a significant amount of time cold calling and cultivating relationships to build their client base. There were limited ways of tracking information, let alone mapping out connections. Social media has revolutionized the approach to lead generation. Virtual networks help sales people identify, learn and connect with potential and existing clients by showing recent activity, new connections, job updates, people movements, status updates, etc. The savvy salesperson uses social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) to market themselves, and research people they want to get in touch with before making a call. The picture above shows the correlation between social media usage and increased lead generation.

Traditional Approach                                       Savvy Approach

  • Blind cold calling to generate leads      Uses social to research leads/ introductions
  • Relies on paper                                      Leverages mobile to get information on the go
  • Manually track clients                            Leverages social /CRM
  • Not on social media                               Use social media to engage and communicate

How about Marketing? This one is a no brainer. The introduction of targeted content marketing on the internet andsocial-media-industry-report-benefits-marketing-stelzner-march-2009 social platforms means messaging is reaching relevant audiences. So, if you’re a sales professional you won’t see job adverts meant for java programmers. Social media data also provides key insights to understanding consumer preferences, demographics and metrics around success/failure of targeted messaging. Content marketing has also evolved to become interactive. Savvy marketers know that fostering engagement between the company and their audience through a social forum builds brand awareness and relationships which can translate to new customers and customer retention.

Traditional Approach                                   Savvy Approach

  • Relies on push content strategy          Creates an interactive strategy to foster engagement
  • Limited/static social presence            Offers content types through social platforms
  • No mobile strategy                              Optimizes content for mobile

Recruitment has typically been an industry leader using social media . New-Rules-of-Recruiting-PromoNew industry terms such as Recruitment 2.0, Social Recruiting and Social HR have emerged to describe the shifts in recruiters work and tool kit. Think about it. Job boards, applicant tracking systems and staffing vendors were key sourcing channels to generate a just in time candidate pool. However, high memberships on social platforms have resulted in a shift to proactive sourcing to seek out the best candidate instead of just relying on the applicant pool. The savvy recruiter participates in social media to promote their brand, connect, search through networks and leverage managers networks to build proactive pipelines.  Savvy campus/college recruiters understand that pro-actively cultivating relationships with students and providing a forum to interact builds an emotional connection to the company and brand.

Traditional Approach                                       Savvy Approach

  • Spends time screening out applicants    Pro-actively searches and engages candidates
  • Requisition based searches                     Uses social to build candidate pipelines
  • Relies on career centre postings             Cross promotes jobs on social networks
  • Only interacts on campus                        Uses a variety of social platforms to interact
  • Opts out of using social media                 Cross promotes company social channels

One last point to think about is the new work force. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that young people have the highest

Edison-research-graphuptake on social media platforms (as shown). As they enter the workforce they have an expectation they will use some sort of social media platform (internal or external) in their job to collaborate and/or communicate.  As a result companies have started to transform the way they communicate, engage and collaborate internally.

So, to stay relevant and competitive you need to be willing to embrace new ideas and adopt change.  Job descriptions now incorporate using social tools as part of day to day operations. Whichever way you look at it, social media at work, is inevitable. Which means resistance to social media in the workplace is futile.

By: Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

The Evolution of Social Media for Visual Marketing

CnnI remember when CNN was first launched in 1980. Many people wondered how successful a specialty news channel could be. Would there even be enough content for a 24×7 channel? Almost 25 years later Ted Turner’s risk paid off, making CNN one of the most available and watched channels around the world. The success of that specialty channel paved the way for the television industry to think about marketing content for specific demographics. Other specialty channels soon followed such as MTV (1981), the Cartoon network (1992) and the Food Network (1993) just to name a few.

imagesSocial media is also evolving. Traditional social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and mobile platforms had limited image presence. Status updates, tweets and texts were quick ways to communicate. As a result specialty social channels started to emerge focusing on different types of media content. In 2004 Flickr was launched as a social site to store and share photos. Its popularity took off, but after Yahoo’s acquisition the product direction changed limiting its usage and availability. The launch of YouTube in 2005 offered a forum to communicate, teach and learn through video. Videos are publically available and accessible through search. Its success is astounding. More than 3 billion global views a day and more than 48 hours of video uploaded every minute.

pinterest_smallThis availability of visual content (images and videos) has shifted the way people view and seek information. If someone wanted to learn how to change their privacy settings on Facebook, they would probably download a video on YouTube that shows them how to do this. Most people now prefer this approach rather than reading  pages of instructions. Even bloggers have started to use images to help attract readers to their content. The desire for visual content has resulted in social media channels now using image content as the primary interaction point.

The launch of Pinterest and Instagram in 2010 and Google+ images in 2011 are great examples of how social media continues to evolve to solicit interaction and foster browniesengagement. One may wonder, like in the early days of CNN, what traction can Pinterest or Instagram have? Images evoke an emotional response.  In the words of Fred Barnard “A picture is worth one thousand words”. If you’ve used Pinterest you’ll know you can search, view and “pin” images to a board to visualize your dream kitchen, your favourite foods, shoes, clothes, travel destinations, the list goes on. That emotional response has a powerful draw that keeps people coming back. Think about the brownie picture on the right from Pinterest you’ve been eyeing, what feeling does it evoke?

In only two years Pinterest has developed a huge following, to the tune of 1.9 billion global page views per month, making Pinterest a marketing goldmine.

2013 saw many social platforms make updates to expand its use of images and graphs. Facebook launched its Graph search allowing users to create broader searches on images, videos and other content. LinkedIn removed its partner applications and replaced it with the ability to add video and images from websites directly onto your own personal profile. Twitter also launched its video app Vine, allowing users to embed 6 seconds of video into tweets.

graph search_fb

Innovative employers have realized that visual product and company branding marketed through social media channels builds followers through emotional connections. According to www.mdgmarketing.com the impact of articles featuring compelling images averages 94% more total views than those without.

Recruitment functions can also realize the benefits of image marketing through employment branding. Adding employment branding images and/or videos to postings, communications and social media presence can increase reach to potential candidates. Recruiters should leverage their LinkedIn profiles as front line employment brand ambassadors of the company. Every time a prospective candidate looks up information about a Recruiter, employment and/or company branding should be part of what they see to build that emotional connection with the company.

SLF_Ebrand

So, consider the opportunities your company can have using visual marketing build your customer base and attract talent.

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Building Relationships in the Workplace

iPhone-social-appsThe information revolution has changed the way we communicate with one another. Tweets. Facebook Posts. Pintrest. Instagram. Google+, text messaging, SMS, BBM, emails… the list goes on. Mobile technology has made social interacting viral allowing people to access and update their information at any place, any time, via their smart phones.

The irony of using social technology to interact, is we move to a transactional way of interaction rather than an interperersonal way of interacting. As we continue to develop our virtual skills, we need to continue developing our interpersonal relationship skills.0418_couple-texting_sm

Most of us spend 40 hours a week (if not more) at work. We typically interact with the same group of people every day, all day. Having good working relationships with your colleagues creates a fun, positive environment and makes your time at work more enjoyable.

Relationship building is also important to achieving goals, career progression, learning and eveloping. It’s a career investment. Here are a few tips on how you can cultivate your work relationships:

85406129_8Make time to meet people in person– Many of us work in different locations and we’ve become accustomed to emailing or calling in for meetings. Why not make an effort to have some of your meetings in person? Walk over to another building if it is close enough. Toronto/Waterloo, why not take the train and make a day of it? Schedule a series of meetings in person at that location to meet the people you work with. By meeting in person, you get to know each other. Once people get to know each other they feel more comfortable and develop trust with one another. When trust is established more genuine conversations take place.

People at lunchTake a work meeting and add a social component- Having a meal with someone is a truly social component to a relationship. Have you ever met someone for the first time over a coffee or lunch? Did you notice that your meeting didn’t seem as formal, and may have been more relaxed? When we add a social dimension to a meeting, we are really introducing a casual approach to listening and sharing information. When people feel relaxed they are more open to communicating and having a genuine conversation.

79365710_8Introduce yourself to someone new: Do you work in an area where you pass by someone that you see every day, but don’t really know who they are? Take a moment to introduce yourself. Meet for a coffee to learn more about them. It’s a great way to develop your skills and expand your network.

Add an ice-breaker to your Meetings: Most people typically meet/call and get right to the point. Try starting your conversation with an ice breaker to establish a more comfortable mood. How was your summer? How was your weekend? What’s new? How is your day going? A few simple questions to show interest in the person you are meeting with can help set a more relaxed the mood for the rest of the conversation.

 What types of things have you done to build your work relationships?

Ann_Nov_2012

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy