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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: All About Culture


Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: All About Culture

At exaqueo, we believe that culture is the way in which you work--the norms and values that define who you are as a business and what makes you different. It's how you get work done and the way people are expected to behave. Culture is your foundation and then your build your business around it. That said, here’s the latest news on workplace culture. Enjoy!

1) The Ultimate Guide to Improving Workplace Culture from SnackNation

“Improving workplace culture is a thorny issue for most business leaders. It’s something that they probably know is important, but can’t quite get a handle on. Finance, strategy, product development, operations – those are the tangible, measurable elements of their business.

But Culture? That’s the definition of the “soft stuff,” the stuff they probably skimmed over in business school, the stuff that makes their eyes glaze over whenever speakers bring it up at conferences. However, more and more leaders are learning it’s no coincidence that the biggest, best, and most innovative companies also happen to have great cultures. In fact, so often these companies are great precisely because they have phenomenal workplace cultures…”



Job Search Advice You Can't Miss From Twitter + NPR

It's that time of the year--THE busiest time for job searching. If you're a job seeker, this is your Super Bowl, your Miss America, your World Cup. And just in time for your big, mecca moment, NPR and Twitter have pulled together a team of experts (including me!) to help you with your search. In addition to recruiters and hiring managers from both companies, I'll be joining the panel along with career and job search experts including Craig Fisher, Alexandra Levit, Curtis Midkiff and Laurie Ruettimann. We'll all be answering YOUR questions about job searching and sharing our tips.

How's this working?

The chat will be one hour, co-moderated by the @NPRjobs account and Twitter’s @JoinTheFlock.

How can I ask a question?

Submit your questions (starting NOW!) anytime before Friday, January 25 using the #NPRTwitterChat hashtag. We'll tackle as many as we can.

Can anyone join?

Yep. And you can help us promote it too. Try this tweet: "Career advice from Twitter, NPR, @SusanLaMotte @lruettimann @fishdogs @levit @SHRMSMG: 1/31, 5-6p ET, Ask ?s now: #NPRTwitterChat."



The Future of Social Recruiting in a Nutshell

Where's social recruiting really  headed? Bullhorn Reach asked 20 recruiting thought leaders for their thoughts on the future of social recruiting. Here's mine: “Marketers use social media to get instant feedback, engage with customers, and extend a brand in one click. The future of social recruiting is using social channels the same way marketers do. Savvy leaders will use social channels to learn more about their candidate base and turn that data into rich, powerful insights. Sourcers will tap into conversations for evidence of performance and smart recruiters will use that insight to save time by encouraging wrong-fit candidates to self-select out, and right-fit candidates to find their way in quickly. It’s not just the channels — it’s the rich data the channels provide when used in innovative ways.”

Read nineteen more great perspectives here.



Don't Recruit on Social Media

Wait, what? Don't recruit on social media? But I thought you were a social recruiting advocate? Yes, yes I am. I'm also an advocate of advancing the way we think and report out about recruiting in conjunction with advances in the field. Last week the fab @Jason_DFW shared an interesting infographic about recruiters' use (or lack of) of Facebook and Twitter.  Today, CareerXRoads shared their latest source of hire data and, GASP!, for 2011, only 3.5% of those surveyed used social media to make external hires.

The data isn't surprising at all, really. As a field, recruiting/talent acquisition/HR is making some major missteps in the way we think about the affect of social media on recruiting, how it is being used versus how it can and should be used, and what the data actually means.  But first, a few admissions.

First, source of hire is dead.

There's no more accounting for source of hire. There simply isn't. The thing is, recruiters know this. And yet we continue to talk about it as if it hasn't changed at all. We admit that with any given candidate, there are likely a minimum of five sources that a candidate can choose or reference.  Whether it's self administered (the candidate decides, on a survey for example, which source they'll report), or through direct application (the candidate clicks a Jobvite that came through Facebook), there's still no telling which sources played into the decision to apply and which was most influential or important.

Second, recruiters aren't using social media to make hires.

If they're using social at all, they're using it to engage, share, research, locate and influence candidates.  But for some reason they don't see this as recruiting. If they're not using social, it's because they can't see past the immediate process steps for a search they're currently working on.

So what does this mean for social recruiting? As recruiting and talent acquisition leaders, we need to stop only thinking about the transaction and the process. We need to think about the influence points and inputs along the way.

  • What did the candidate think when he read your job description on the job board? Did that make him apply? Maybe. But what made him accept the job? And what were the inputs along the way?
  • Why do thousands of candidates follow company career Facebook pages? Why are they asking questions on those pages and interacting heavily with recruiters and employer brand leaders that engage with them?

Imagine sitting with a bunch of marketers in a conference room. They're talking about their media buy and marketing planning for an upcoming product launch. They don't focus on one source of purchase for the customer. Sure the process of purchase matters--without it, you don't sell and you don't make money. But to drive the purchase, you engage. Personally. And on multiple touchpoints. That's why marketers LOVE social media. They can better understand the customer through engagement, and better connect, build loyalty and target them this way.

And right now, recruiters aren't getting that. They're so focused on process, they only see the role of social in process. And if the new hire doesn't say "I found the job on Facebook" and the recruiter doesn't say "I hired the person through Twitter," they think social is worthless.  I would too. But it's far from it.

So don't recruit on social media. Engage. Recruiting is the process. Branding is engagement. Without both, you're missing the boat. Want to know HOW? That's the next post. Stay tuned.





Get Your Learnin' On

I love speaking at conferences--mostly because it means a free pass. And I get to hear some super fab people and really listen and learn. Take MediaBistro's Career Circus earlier this year.  Before and after my musings, there were stars like Richard Cho from Facebook, Saul Colt from FreshBooks and Laurie Ruettimann, the Cynical Girl. One thing I've been working on (feedback from my Brand Experiment, more on that later) is listening. Not just hearing people, but listening. And conferences are a great place to do that. You're unencumbered by the daily stresses that follow you around your local office and you can think beyond yourself, your role, and your organization.

So here's a deal--three conferences that can help you get your learnin' on with a contest and a few discounts too! I'll be sharing some wisdom at each but check out the rest of the line-ups. They're super. Oh, and let me know if I'll see you there!

October 24, 2011: I'm hosting  ERE's Recruiting Innovation Summit at Facebook HQ with a speaker line-up that includes Zappos and Intuit..

  • If you're attending you'll get a special email, with a private contest. That's all I can say for now.

November 8, 2011: I'm lucky to be pairing up with the fantastic Steve Boese on creating a social recruiting strategy at Brazen Careerist's Social Recruiting Bootcamp webinar.

November 16, 2011: We're talking social media and talent at Social Media Plus in my hometown of Motown Philly.

  • Use the discount code SS15 for a special discount to attend.

Suggest any other great events in the comments...



Consider Paella

Really, it's a great dish. Tomatoes, seafood, flavorful rice.  What's not to love? Okay, maybe the ridiculous cost of saffron (it takes something like a million flower blossoms to make one saffron thread), but other than that, it's fantastic. I finally learned how to cook paella with my friend Rakhi in a Culinaerie cooking class last weekend. It was a Catalan cuisine class with dishes from that famed region of Spain. And famed it is.Spain in general is really well known for its food. And as the chef instructor talked about why and why in particular she prefers Catalan paella, she told us the story of how she drove five hours from Barcelona to Valencia to try the Valencian paella and then turned around and immediately drove five hours north it struck me that people go out of their way to verify the reputation of a brand. Catalan PaellaThink about the last restaurant where you tried for ages to get a reservation.  Either you read a stellar review, or read a friend's tweet about their fantastic meal.  When you finally get a table, you're expecting greatness. And the restaurant either solidifies or breaks its brand.

It's like a recommendation, or a referral--hallmarks of brand growth for both people and products.  Social media has dramatically changed the way we share what we like--and what we don't.  So when the chef waxed poetic about the Catalan paella, I was expecting greatness as we cooked. And greatness was delivered.

No one knows exactly why the Catalan region of Spain has such a great reputation for cuisine. It might be that it's really close to France (where cheese and wine reign supreme), or have to do with the region's weather and ability to cultivate certain crops.  But it has a reputation for amazing food. Just ask any chef.

This is where brands get tricky. The greater the reputation, the more auspicious the brand, the bigger fall you take.  After all the cooking class hype, if the paella was, at its best, decent, it would have failed the test. That's because I was expecting greatness. 

So consider paella. And consider how "great" you want your brand to be. Delivering greatness is one thing, but the expectations it creates is another. Just be sure you're ready to live up to the hype.



The Brand Experiment

Social media means that for the first time, consumers can be so honest and open. They can tell you when you suck and that can spread everywhere.  Their CEOs hate it, but in actuality, it's gold.  Marketers truly know how their products and brand are perceived and the can re-market and re-brand if needed. And that got me thinking. About me. If ask someone flat out: "what do you think of me?" I'm likely to get a vanilla, bland response. Few people have the guts and honesty to tell me the truth. My years in HR have made me pretty self-aware. I know what I can and can't do.  But as I was working on re-branding my website I realized I don't have a good sense of what people really think about my brand.  Brand isn't just skill--it's the entire package, the perception, the "who you are in a moment."

These days, companies seem to be moving away from 360-degree feedback.  They're focused on engagement which is often a measure of managing upwards.  You may get to give feedback on who's above you but you don't have a true sense of those around you. And these days, 360 isn't about the circle, it's 3-dimensional.  Who's in front of you, paving a path for you to follow? Who's behind you with a better idea or solution? And what can you learn from it all? That's where social media comes in.

Social media makes it even more complicated.  It takes who knows you to exponentially new levels.  More feedback, right? Sort of. You can measure who follows you and how often your content is shared. But unless you're Lady Gaga soliciting a reaction from the crowd, it's really hard to measure true sentiment. Honest, real, sentiment that's not a reaction to an incendiary blog post.

I love working. If I didn't I wouldn't have started at 14 and never stopped. I get real value from helping, teaching, innovating, strategizing, problem solving and making sense of chaos.  I get feedback every day--at work, from friends and family and online.  But it still leaves me wondering: what do people REALLY think of me?

It's simple really. There are ten questions. It's totally anonymous. All I ask is that you keep it professional, and keep it honest. Here goes...

commence The Brand Experiment: tell me what you think.



Talent Strategies For Post-Recession: Prepare to Connect

Attention companies: this post's for you. In September, The Conference Board predicted that salary increases for 2010 would only be 3% (lowest in 25 years). In Canada, increases are projected to be only 2.8%. Unemployment hit an all-time high in October. But manufacturers and retailers are predicting turnarounds in 2010, and that means jobs won't be far behind. What does that mean for talent? It means it's time to strategize and time to connect. It's not just social networking, it's a conversation. Your candidates want to talk. I did a survey recently of job seekers to see how their habits have changed over the past year.  Now the recession certainly has been going longer than that, but 12 months of change will tell you a great deal about the habits of job seekers. I had planned to cull a list of top trends for companies to pay attention to in preparing their talent strategies for 2010, but there's truly only one thing to keep in mind about your job seekers: They're online. And they're looking for you. Not your company, but you.

When it comes to talent and recruiting, being reactive is the worst possible strategy. After all, when the economy does turn, all of the great talent in the market will diminish quickly, and unprepared companies will be left scrambling. In order to be proactive, it is important to see what's changed since the economy turned. And for 2010, it's all about the connections.

In the past ten years since job boards have grown to be a job search staple, job seekers are increasingly using online strategies more and more in their searches. What's different though, is how they're using their online time--to connect. And as we begin to close out 2009, the increase in connections, means companies must rethink they way they interact with their job seekers.

In the down economy, job seekers were inundated with advice to network: "tell everyone you know you're looking for a job." Dozens of career experts included networking and the use of social media in their tips.  Business Week even started a Recession Job Search online information exchange.  Job seekers are increasingly going one-on-one to get what they need--from career advice to open positions.

In my survey, when asked where they're getting their advice, online experts is overwhelmingly the top answer. But when the same respondents were asked what they wanted online experts to do better (open ended question), the common response centered on individuality. It's not that job seekers are high-maintenance and need alot of attention. But web 2.0 means that more online users have the ability to learn from each other. And knowing it's possible means that they want it. From career experts and from companies.

"I want more personalized help. Following general advice is one thing, but when that advice doesn't work - what next?," said one respondent.  Simply put, another replied "candor." Others wanted help on talking to companies directly, complaining they never hear back from employers, and that they can't find one person to talk to.

The emerging trend is direct contact. When career experts are telling job seekers to seek out connections through expanding networks and social media, job seekers are taking that advice seriously. They're finding out names of recruiters and calling and emailing them in record numbers.  Several recruiters I spoke to indicate that job seekers are no longer just waiting to hear. They want to talk, they want to know. Now.

But companies haven't yet been able to fully answer that trend. While there are more than 50 companies recruiting on Twitter, and dozens more with freshly minted Facebook pages, job seekers continue to get frustrated that these efforts are more information sharing, than they are networking.

"I wish people who list themselves on job sites/social networking sites would also list their phone number so I could just call them and ask them directly if they are hiring or their company is hiring" says one job seeker.  And it's a common sentiment.  In the almost two years since the recession started, job seekers have become increasingly aware that sending their resume into a black hole is highly unlikely to result in a job.

In fact, when asked what advice they need most, survey respondents consistently asked for help in making direct connections. They can find the people. But they just can't get to them.

"Most people I email don't ever respond at all for any reason or when they do, it's weeks later and there isn't a job opening at their company. It's nice to find people's names and job titles but what good is that information if you can't [reach] them [directly]?"

Seems fair, especially when 44% of job-seeking respondents say the primary reason they use social media is to connect with people they wouldn't find otherwise. It isn't that easy of course. The economy means that companies haven't had as many recruiting resources, or resources to put into social networking or other sourcing strategies to more personally connect with candidates. But we're looking forward, toward 2010. And companies that want to be able to compete when the economy turns better have resources in place to connect.

How can companies plan to address this trend as the economy rebounds? Prepare to connect.

Start with online connection strategies. If you're going to use social networking, then you have to actually network and talk to the people who want to talk to you. If you're only posting jobs on Twitter, then it's not much of a network, is it? Use social networking to actually network.

  • Join the conversation on your company's Facebook wall. Don't overmanage, but join.
  • Put names behind those company logos online. Make sure people know who they're talking to.
  • Reply to your "@ replies" on Twitter. Engage candidates!
  • Host chats to easily answer candidate questions.
  • If you don't have the resources to engage effectively on social networks, then don't tout them.

And for those busy recruiters who can't answer email and phone? Or those candidates who aren't online?

  • Customize voicemail messages so candidates expectations are set.
  • Use out of office tools daily to manage expectations on email as to when candidates will hear back (if at all)
  • Be clear in job postings and on your careers site, how and when candidates will hear back and where they should go to find the answers they need.
  • Use employees outside of recruiting and HR to answer questions. Post their names on your Careers site and rotate them.
  • When a current employee refers an candidate, have an automatic email reply go to that current employee with an FAQ so the employee can answer the candidates' questions.

And then think about strategies for the future:

  • Are you prepared to directly connect with candidates?
  • How will your Careers site evolve to allow for networking?
  • What's the messaging you want to convey to candidates?
  • How does networking fit in with your Employer Brand? More networking means more people representing company messaging. Have you prepared them to network?
  • What other company tools can you re-purpose for networking? For example, if you're company sells products online and you have a customer service center, why can't you have a candidate service center (phone, online messaging capability etc.)

The key thing to remember is that connecting isn't just about social networking or being online. It's really the candidate experience. It's finding the best way to make the process as personal as possible while also being realistic. No one wants to feel like a number--whether you're returning a scarf or applying for a job. You want to be able to get answers, help, and information when you need it and feel like it was tailor-made for you. That's the direction job seekers are headed.  Companies, are you?