How to Design a More People-Centered Organization

Sponsored by Performica

In today’s world of work, it’s easy to find two very different types of people — self-promoting “squeaky wheels” whose voices are often the loudest, as well as those who quietly deliver without much recognition. Both bring something to the table. Still, leaders often judge an employee’s value based primarily on their visibility. This kind of bias is a critical reason why it’s important to build a people-centered organization.

But what can leaders do to better understand everyone’s true contributions? And how can they use these insights to develop more engaged, productive teams?

This issue matters, not only now, but for the future of work. That’s why I want to dig deeper with an HR tech innovator and entrepreneur who understands what it takes to design a more productive, people-first work culture.

Meet Our Guest: Alex Furman

Please join me in welcoming Alex Furman, CEO and Co-Founder at Performica, a people analytics platform provider. Previously, Alex co-founded Invitae, where he was responsible for growing the company’s collaborative culture of innovation at scale.

His first-hand experience as a senior business leader with technology expertise makes Alex an ideal guest for this discussion. Join us as we explore how you can leverage technology to build a more equitable and effective work environment…

Designing a More People-Centered Organization

Welcome, Alex! How do you define a people-centered approach to organizational design?

For a truly human-centric organization, we need to understand how people actually operate in the context of getting work done. Historically, we haven’t done that. We’ve thought in terms of org charts, business units, profit centers, and vertical silos.

But people are our greatest asset. And they’re social. The dynamic, cross-functional way people actually work doesn’t show up on org charts.

So to optimize people as an asset, we need to make sure everyone is seen, heard, valued, supported. That means moving away from analyzing org chart boxes and looking through the lens of humans working together.

Finding Hidden Influencers
You say teams rely heavily on “stealth influencers.” Could you tell us more?

As the head of people at a rapidly growing tech company in 2014, I wanted to see who was actually working together in real time. So I asked our engineers to connect our internal systems and create an org graph.

Soon it was clear that we had been over-celebrating those who were good at promoting themselves. Meanwhile, we were under-recognizing quieter “non-leaders” who were actually stronger influencers.

It was humbling. But that was the beginning of a solution to an important problem in the corporate world.

Tech’s Role in a People-Centered Organization

How can technology help leaders build a more people-centered organization?

We all know people are a company’s biggest asset. At most companies, 75-85% of expenses involve things like payroll, office space, travel and entertainment.

But people are also our biggest liability. We see this when cultures go sour and top performers start leaving. It becomes hard to attract talent and this can cripple a company.

But truly knowing your people and how they work is like a superpower. For example, one of our customers is going through significant change management. In this company of 1000 people, we identified only 24 people who are driving about 50% of employee sentiment and engagement.

So we’ve worked with senior management to target their interventions through that group of influential people. Now we’re seeing a massive and very measurable positive effect.

For more insights from Alex about how you can build a more people-centered organization, listen to this full podcast episode. And be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Also, to continue this conversation on social media anytime, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Fostering Friendships In the New Remote Workplace

Friendships are an essential aspect of work life. But friendships among remote employees aren’t the same as relationships among people who spend time together in an office.

In office environments, extroverts usually do the heavy lifting needed to encourage social bonding. But now, team members often work from different locations. Getting remote team members to feel comfortable just talking with one another is hard enough—let alone convincing them to interact socially the way friends do. Nevertheless, the effort can pay off in multiple ways.

What can employers do? One of the best ways to strengthen relationships in the new hybrid work environment is to plan regular opportunities for informal interaction during the business day. Any company can benefit from encouraging stronger relationships among employees, whether people are located onsite, offsite, or both.

Building Remote Social Ties: My Story

As the Founder and CEO of a high-growth company, I’ve experienced the benefits of making space for social events, first-hand. During the pandemic, I started hosting virtual office hours as a forum for anyone to drop by and ask questions about business goals or discuss ideas. Initially, most of the folks who participated were managers with whom I worked directly.

Then I hosted a team escape room game and a margarita mixology class. That changed everything. I saw an increase in the number of new employees who felt comfortable attending. As particiption surged, I could tell this was a good move. Now, people from all over the organization join our group conversations and bring valuable insights to my attention. 

But of course, all relationship-building opportunities are not equal. Some simple guidelines help. For example, at Elevent, we’ve found that participation is highest when a social event has a specific start and end time during the work day. This means employees aren’t forced to sacrifice family time so they can bond with co-workers.

Also, you’ll want to identify these events clearly as social. Don’t just vaguely schedule a “hang-out” session or a happy hour. Instead, plan a specific activity. Invite people to build a desktop garden or sample some unique ice cream flavors. Create interest with a focal point that brings people together around a shared common experience.

Why Work Relationships Matter

Gallup research says work friendships are a key employee engagement indicator. But this metric is sometimes overlooked when measuring productivity because it is often accompanied by hard-to-quantify levels of employee happiness and work satisfaction.

Stronger friendships can also lead to better communication, which improves business effectiveness and innovation. This helps organizations identify and resolve issues that could otherwise erode employee trust and retention.

Surveys continue to indicate that positive social environments help anchor individuals during times of internal or external stress. Friendships help provide paths for ongoing growth, even during difficult challenges. They also offer the support people need to come forward when they experience problems, so they can resolve issues and learn to perform more efficiently and effectively.

Friendship as a Productivity Metric

After an extensive multi-factor analysis, Gallup has developed a tool that diagnoses workplace health based on employee responses to 12 simple statements. Statement 10 is: “I have a best friend at work.” That’s because strong friendships are associated with a deeper work effort. So, how does Gallup interpret these results?

Specifically, when 20% or more of an organization’s employees agree with this statement, workplace engagement is considered “good.” That’s the current level of U.S. engagement. But Gallup estimates that when employers move this ratio to 60%, they can significantly improve results across several business parameters:

  • 36% fewer safety incidents
  • 7% more engaged customers
  • 12% higher profit

Furthermore, when friendships are strong, employees are less likely to seek other job opportunities and more likely to feel comfortable taking innovative risks.

So essentially, friendships help people enjoy working, which means they dedicate more creative time and energy to their work. They also mention problems when they happen so employers can resolve issues quickly, rather than waiting to react to unwanted resignations.

Bottom line: an open-door policy makes sense. You’ll find plenty of advice telling leaders to seek input from employees and reward people who speak up. But communication won’t improve if your policy isn’t backed by a culture of trust.

On the other hand, if you encourage stronger social connections across your teams, you can create the kind of “speaking up and speaking out” environment that is likely to make a real business impact.

Real-World Views: Workplace Social Bonds

With scheduled meetings centered almost entirely on work, organic interactions usually suffer. And with online meetings, screen fatigue is always a factor. So it’s important to treat employee attention as a finite resource. Start by assuring employees that both are important, and provide a framework for people to engage in both. Here’s how several companies view this need:

Ally Financial

One notable example is Ally Financial. Shortly after COVID-19 changed the way many of us work, Ally changed its employee support model to a remote-first approach. This meant Ally had to consider multiple employee needs that didn’t exist before March 2020.

The company made a commitment to demonstrate care for employees holistically. To increase wellbeing and social connection, Ally launched new services, experiential modules and group challenges geared toward physical, mental and financial fitness.

Virtual fitness and meditation classes can easily become group activities that prioritize social fun. This means simple events like comedy shows, group trivia games, and “Family Feud”-style team battles can become useful tools to improve workforce friendships and happiness.


Another well-known company focused on the communal aspects of the employee experience is Deloitte.

The company’s analysts looked deeply at how the pandemic tested the limits of employer-employee relationships, concluding that the future of work is likely to feel more like a team than a family. However, Deloitte cautions that if organizations move dramatically toward impersonal work models, employees may feel replaceable. If they sense this kind of threat, they could react by competing with colleagues, rather than working together toward common goals.

This is why Deloitte underscores the need for sustainable strategies. For example, one way to demonstrate this kind of commitment is to host ongoing virtual events. By dedicating time to a bi-weekly or monthly cadence, employers can ensure that employees have the time and support they need to cultivate stronger relationships.

Final Thoughts

Companies that treat virtual social events as an integral aspect of workforce engagement and retention are fostering essential social bonds—regardless of where employees are located. When people feel welcomed, comfortable and supported while spending time together in casual activities, they can develop friendships that ultimately improve individual productivity and happiness, as well as organizational profit.

The Benefits of Allowing Employees to Build Personal Brands

I recently attended a talk on personal branding given by Dorie Clark, bestselling author of “Stand Out,” at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

At the conclusion of the talk, I asked Dorie her opinion of employers that restrict employees attempting to brand themselves using social media. I was in agreement with Dorie’s answer that employees should be allowed to build their personal brand.

Employers are concerned that employees frequently writing and posting could embarrass or negatively impact a company’s reputation. What employers fear are employees who build their reputations outside their business, making them more attractive to recruiters and other employers.

I used to observe employers attempt to retain employees by denying them training or asking them to work long hours to make it harder to network and attend interviews. Today I see employers creating processes for approving employees social media posts that are often arbitrary, slow moving and without transparency.

Some employees have told me that their posts have lost some relevancy as weeks and months pass waiting for employer approval. Employers in the financial industry, hiding behind the excuse of compliance and regulatory approval, have told employees to stay completely off social media.

The courts and the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) have weighed in a with variety of opinions, many of which have tilted in the direction of employees having some right to free speech. I understand employers’ point of view and their concern about protecting their reputations. I also would advise employees to not use social media to rant about their work grievances, how much they dislike their boss or to speak ill of their employer. An emotional outburst on social media disparaging an employer could stay with the writer throughout one’s career.

Employees creating original content, or commenting online, is an opportunity for employees to further intellectually engage, stretch themselves and grow as leaders in their field. This growth is beneficial to the employer as new relationships are formed, employees think of new ways to analyze and solve problems, and the company enhances its reputation having an emerging industry superstar as a member of their team.

Employers that hold back their employees, and don’t let them grow, run the risk of sliding into obsolescence. Employees pushing the boundaries of their expertise will bring new knowledge that has been vetted online (and likely offline as strong online relationships can lead to strong offline relationships). This gift of constantly flowing knowledge into companies will keep employers updated on changes in their industry. Employers can use this as an effective feedback mechanism to allow themselves to pivot quickly when necessary.

Job security is a relic of the past. Anybody can be fired at any time for any reason. Every employee needs to create their own career insurance. Writing and posting on social media allows employees to expand their network of contacts. Employees can show the marketplace their insight, expertise, skills and desirability as a potential hire. As the global economy continues to progress towards a knowledge-based, gig job market the competition for employment will become furiously competitive.

Advanced degrees and specialized education are becoming so commonplace that these credentials will transition from being competitive advantages to being minimal requirements on a job listing. References have lost much of their impact on the hiring process as many employers, worried about the threat of litigation, provide nothing more than basic information about an employee when asked about an employee’s performance. A person’s ability to stand out from a crowd will be crucial to obtaining employment. Having a strong social media presence in one’s field will be a key tool necessary to differentiate oneself from the thousands that will be seeking every work opportunity of the future. TalentCulture’s CEO Meghan M. Biro wrote an excellent article, “Five Reasons Why Social Media Should Be On Your HR Radar,” that details the importance of your social media brand and recruiting..

Employers must let employees write and comment on their social media personal pages about their industry. Employees need to be thoughtful and professional about every post they write, and every comment they make as they are creating a permanent record for all potential employers. All posts should contain an employee disclosure that their posts and comments are personal and do not reflect the views of their employers.

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Social Leaders: The New Frontier for CEOs

Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln—all incredible social leaders who impacted the world in which they operated. Their success had nothing to do with being online, being on the right channels or knowing what time to post. It was about the ability to bring people together, facilitate agreements through communication, and collaborate to drive efforts towards one common direction. A social leader has the vision to bring about change and the ability to convince others that it can be done.

There are the traditional characteristics that make up a good leader. But to be a social leader, you need to have certain traits that make you enigmatic. These traits are what give some leaders an aura, a charm that makes other people want to work for them. They are the ability to:

  • Communicate
  • Collaborate
  • Be open-minded
  • Have confidence
  • Be proactive

If you’ve got the five characteristics above, then you can start focusing on the following actions to get things done:

Bring People Together

If you’ve ever worked with someone who’s great at disaster management, you know how powerful the ability to bring people together is. Bringing people together around a cause, be it to achieve a goal for the organization or to create a movement to drive a movement, is the most important action that social leaders can perform.

Action 1: Bring people together by following the ripple effect—reach out to your closest, most trusted network and have them do the same. The number of people you’re able to connect is directly proportional to the strength of your core group of people.

Facilitate Agreements

We all know that just because people are close-knit or are part of the same team doesn’t mean they have the same views. In fact, having a healthy amount of conflict is a defining factor of the strongest teams. As a social leader, you must be able to facilitate agreements as these differences arise.

Action 2: A social leader will never take sides. To get people to come to agreements, you must facilitate the communications and follow up on actions afterwards. Let people come to their decisions. You just have to make sure that they get there.

Communicate and Collaborate

Email, phone calls, meetings, just talking to someone while you get from point A to point B—it’s all part of the daily routine of a social leader. There’s usually no such thing as “it’s too late to talk now.” Social leaders will communicate and collaborate as the thought strikes when a personal drive is at the highest.

Action 3: Social leaders aren’t afraid of talking out half-baked ideas. In fact, they know that conversation and collaboration is one of the best ways to mold and grow a concept rather than thinking about it on their own. In short, many heads are better than one.

It takes a very special kind of personality to be a truly social leader. One who believes in the power of others, who knows they’re not always right, and who accepts that there is always something more to be learned. I think if you’re able to ascend to this type of leadership, you’ll probably have a lot more fun getting things done.

Photo Credit: fitness360 via Compfight cc

Meetings: A Snapshot of Your Organization's Culture

Meetings are cultural artifacts that give us a snapshot about how people in the organization relate to each other. They tell us all we need to know about power and authority, decision-making, communication patterns, and the way people relate to each other.

Meeting rooms containing long narrow tables where the leader sits at the head, and meeting rooms with round tables where everyone sits facing each other provide vastly different pictures of power, authority, and relationships. Posters proclaiming good meeting habits tell us about the espoused meeting culture while the food fight we see during the meeting shows us the culture that actually exists. Meetings provide us with a thumbnail picture of the organization’s culture and a powerful means to shift it.

Sarah Miller Caldicott writes in a Forbes article how CEO Alan Mulally’s use of meetings was key to Ford’s turn around: “… it would have been a moot victory had Mulally not also changed the way meetings were conducted, the way supplier agreements were developed, and the way people treated each other day-to-day. It has been reported that before Mulally took over, internal meetings at Ford were like mortal combat. Executives regularly looked for vulnerability among their peers and practiced self-preservation over collaboration. Mulally changed all that, making executive meetings a safe environment where data could be shared without blame, improving collaboration and setting the stage for innovation success.”

Productive, collaborative meetings require a different kind of meeting agenda, an agenda that puts as much emphasis on the meeting’s process as its content. We have found that the Meeting Canoe™ provides meeting leaders with such a framework. One that produces seismic shifts in the way people meet. What follows is a description of the Meeting Canoe™ framework and questions to use in developing your meeting agenda.


Welcome: How will you create a meeting environment where people feel well received?

Connect: How will you build connections between meeting participants so they can work effectively together? How will you build links between meeting participants and the work?

Discover: How will you foster curiosity among meeting participants?

Elicit: How will you engage meeting participants in imagining their preferred future?

Decide: How will you go about deciding: what, how, who, and when? How will you create a decision process understood by everyone present?

Attend: How will you bring closure to your meeting so everyone knows what has been decided, the path forward, and has time to reflect on the meeting experience?

Creating meetings where people feel welcome and connected to the task at hand helps create an environment that supports fruitful dialogue. Listening, straight talk, and inquiry are the essential skills needed in the discover and elicit portion of the agenda. Being clear at the outset about the process the group will use to make decisions provides everyone with a clear understanding of the rules of the game. Attending to the end provides closure to the experience, giving all those present an understanding of the decisions reached, the path forward, and a way to improve future meetings.

When your meeting carries with it the electric charge of Autonomy, Challenge, Learning, Meaning, and Feedback, your meetings transform into a productive work experience. The more features you use, the better your meeting will be.

Autonomy – The ability to influence the meeting’s design and its outcome

Challenge – The prospect of stretching your skills

Learning – The opportunity to learn and grow

Meaning – The chance to work on something important

Feedback – The capability of measuring the meeting’s progress

Meetings provide a rapid way to shift your workplace culture no matter where you sit in the organization. The beauty about what happens in meetings is they are under our control. The choice you make about how you lead and participate in meetings is yours. If you are a meeting leader, you can use your power to create meetings such as those conducted within Ford, or not. You can use the Meeting Canoe framework, or not. You can create meetings that carry an electric charge, or not. You can decide if your meeting experience will be one of self-preservation or collaboration. It’s up to you.

Photo credit: Bigstock

#TChat Preview: How to Make Meetings Worth Everyone’s Time

Last week the TalentCulture team talked about how hiring managers can reduce the cost of hiring and this week we’re discussing how to make meetings worth everyone’s time with Dick and Emily Axelrod, founders of The Axelrod Group, Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large-scale organizational change.

Too many of us feel that meetings are time-wasting, energy-sapping affairs. Most meetings feel like useless gatherings endured at the expense of the real work that needs to get done. But meetings can be productive! Tune in to learn how!

Sneak Peek:

#TChat Events: How to Make Meetings Worth Everyone’s Time

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 4th — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how to make meetings worth everyone’s time with this week’s guests: Dick and Emily Axelrod, founders of The Axelrod Group, Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large-scale organizational change.



Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Nov 4th

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, November 4th — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why have meetings become such a pain in the business bottom line? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What meeting roles and responsibilities do you recommend and why? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can we use meetings to understand and empower our organization’s culture? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

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Engage Passive Candidates: The Three Rules of Recruitment Marketing

Longer job vacancies and slower time-to-fill can derail an organization’s ability to reach business goals, making it imperative to have a robust talent pipeline at the ready to stay well connected to high-quality candidates. Technology, such as a recruitment marketing automation tool, mobile-optimized career sites, and a social media presence, can streamline processes and provide you with pools of warm talent from which to source when your organization is ready.

Three Main Components of Recruitment Marketing

In many ways, recruitment marketing is simply getting in front of the right people, at the right place, at the right time, with the right information. But most importantly, it’s about developing and driving an employment brand so organizations can attract and hire the best and the brightest. There are three crucial tenets of recruitment marketing: consistency, relevance, and authenticity.

  1. Create a Consistent Experience

When establishing a strong employment brand, a focused message that is true to your company’s core mission and values is key. Regardless of the methods of communication, it is important to keep a consistent brand across all channels—from career sites, social media sites, and job listings, to screening and interview questions. Each touch point with candidates is a valuable chance to make an impression with your brand.

As candidates turn to social media more to look for jobs—increasingly so from their mobile devices—it continues to be an important channel for attracting passive candidates. Employers should also have a content-rich presence on social media, in order to reach savvy job seekers and on-the-go-candidates. Statistics show that 88% of job seekers are using at least one form of social media, while 70% of companies have made at least one hire through social media.

  1. Deploy Relevant Content

Engaging with candidates regularly is a vital aspect of recruitment marketing, but what you are communicating is just as important. When it comes to communications directly to candidates, develop tailored messages that speak to their interests based on location, industry, job level, etc. Be clear about what sets your company apart from other employers.

Leverage technology to create talent pools for sourcing candidates to automate this process. Engage and nurture passive candidates who may not yet be ready to apply for a job, but are interested in the company’s employment brand. This not only provides access to a warm pipeline of talent, it also creates a positive image of your company, and keeps your brand top of mind when a candidate begins to shift from being a passive candidate, to one that is ready to take action and apply.

  1. Make It Authentic

Generic descriptions and stock photos are a common practice for career websites, but the lack of your company’s true culture can be damaging. Savvy job seekers want to know what it’s like to work for you, what the office environment is, and who their potential coworkers are before they decide whether to apply for a job. The more realistic, the better.

Through their individual, real-life stories, current employees can support your company’s value proposition and key messages. Leverage those workplace stories and bring them to life. Story-telling, video, and images can be used to craft recruitment marketing campaigns tailored to showcase what you have to offer and convince passive candidates that your organization is one for which they want to work.

Get Started

Job seeking behavior has forever changed, making the old tools and the status quo irrelevant in today’s new era of job seeking and recruiting. Achieving your recruiting goals requires a strategic recruitment marketing plan. The talent is out there— you just need to have to right tools and strategies to find them and keep them connected until you are ready to hire and they are ready to make the leap.

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#TChat Recap: Why Sourcing Referrals Can Improve Retention

This week the TalentCulture team discussed why sourcing referrals can improve retention with this week’s guests: Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, President/CEO of Xceptional HR, author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert; and John Sumser, Principal Analyst at KeyInterval Research and editor at

You want brand advocates! If an employee is satisfied at work, whose performance is consistent, and of course is rewarded fairly, then he or she is much more likely to suggest referrals.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Oct 14th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: Three Steps to Selecting the Right HR Technology – Wednesday, Oct 14th, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


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7 Things Successful People Know About Decision Making

After a few reps at the gym your muscles naturally start to fatigue. It’s a sign that you’re working and your muscles are responding. In the same way that your muscles eventually give out during a workout, your mental muscle starts to fatigue throughout the day, hampering your ability to care, make choices, stay motivated, weigh decisions, and ultimately take action.

Radishes and chocolate chip cookies can help us understand why.

In 1998, Roy Baumeister and colleagues asked people to sign up for what participants thought was a taste-perception experiment. The researchers formed three groups: radish eaters, chocolate-chip cookie eaters and non-eaters (control group). They asked the participants to skip one meal and arrive hungry for their scheduled appointment. When the radish and chocolate-chip cookie eaters arrived for the appointment, they could smell freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies. On the table before them they found a bowl of beautiful red radishes and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and chocolate candies.

The radish eaters were instructed to eat two or three radishes and told they could not touch the chocolate-chip cookies or candies. The chocolate chip cookie eaters were instructed to eat two to three chocolate chip cookies and/or candies but not to touch the radishes. The non-eaters did not participate in this part of the study.

Once the participants had finished eating, the researchers asked all three groups to solve an unsolvable spatial puzzle. The subjects could abandon the task at any time.

Who quit first?

The radish eaters. The chocolate chip cookie eaters and non-eaters stuck with the task longer and for more or less the same amount of time. The early quitters, the radish eaters, reported feeling more exhausted than the other two groups.

So what do these odd food choices have to do with making a company-wide decision or considering change?

It takes significantly more self-control to avoid the temptation of mouthwatering chocolate chip cookies and candies than it does to avoid eating radishes. Resisting temptation took a bigger toll on the radish eaters. That resistance depleted the mental energy needed to tackle the puzzle and thus the radish eaters to abandon the task more quickly. On the other hand, subjects in the chocolate-chip eating and non-eating conditions depleted fewer mental resources maintaining self-control and could more easily spend additional time with the puzzle.

If resisting cookies can make your mind weary, imagine what resisting a big change in the workplace can do to you, after adding in all the other stuff you do every day. Resources like willpower, decision-making acuity and focus are depletable properties of the brain. New and unfamiliar routines and choices challenge the comfort zone of our ingrained habits. When we effect a change or resist something that we would normally not resist, we force ourselves out of our comfort zone. It requires energy and can wear you out.

Psychologists call this ego depletion or simply, mental exhaustion. It’s a state of mind where you can lose critical elements of your self-control and other mental processes that require focus and conscious effort.

So think about it in these terms. Your alarm goes off. You make a decision about whether or not you are going to press snooze. Then you decide how frequently you are going to press snooze. Then you get out of bed and make a decision about whether or not you are going to take a shower. Hopefully you make the right choice. Then you decide what you are going to wear. Then you decide if you are going to work out. Then what to eat. Then what the kids are going to eat. Then what direction you are going to drive to work. Then this and then that. By the time you get to work, you have made so many decisions already that your decision-making capabilities are already depleted. The good news is that if we know this universal truth about our brains then we can operate a bit differently.

Here are some very simple things you can do to counteract the radish effect:

  1. Routinize as much as possible: The more of a routine you have in the morning (e.g., waking up at the same time, eating the same thing for breakfast, having a system in place for prepping everything, etc.) the better off you are. When you leave options open in the morning, you are tapping into your limited well and causing depletion on tasks and things that really don’t require much thought. For that matter, if there are any tasks that can be routinized throughout the day, not just the morning, do so. Your brain will thank you when you have to focus and decide on the things that really matter.
  1. Do what you can do the night before: Before you go to sleep at night take care of the things that are easy to take care of for the next day (but can deplete you if you focus on them in the morning). Making simple choices like what you will eat for lunch tomorrow, what you will wear, or fleshing out tomorrow’s to do list will minimize the amount of energy you need for making these choices the next morning.
  1. Have a uniform: I am not suggesting wearing the same thing every day. However, I am suggesting finding a few looks that work for you and buying that look in different colors. The less time you spend agonizing over which shoe and belt works best with which pants or skirt, the more mental energy you will have when you are helping a client decide on the best avenue to take with your product line. Ever notice that Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day? Some of the most successful people may not have the most creative outfits but they certainly make up for it with their power brains.
  1. Be diligent about replenishment: We all know we need to sleep, eat well, exercise, take breaks, allow for mindfulness and relaxation. But very few of us are as disciplined about these aspects of human functioning and performance than we are about checking our emails, responding with urgency, working around the clock, constantly being on, and all the other stuff that goes hand in hand with depletion. Be as diligent about creating the space for replenishment as you are about working. Elite athletes and performers understand that they can only practice for a set amount of time before they require rest. The same is true for every human and their mind. The mind is an athlete and can produce extraordinary results if provided with the replenishment it needs.
  1. Make the most important decisions first thing in the morning: Knowing what you know now, don’t save the life altering and company-altering decisions for the end of the day. If you have an important decision to make at work or in your personal life, do it first thing in the morning. Do the difficult stuff when you are the least mentally taxed and save the easy stuff at the end of the day.
  1. Set some boundaries: According to Gloria Mark and her colleagues at the University of California-Irvine, 3 minutes is the average time we spend on a given task before we are interrupted or our focus shifts. This doesn’t bode well when faced with having to make an important decision. Thus, give yourself the necessary mental space when you have an important project or task. Set boundaries by removing distractions and creating uninterrupted time, if only for ten minutes, so you can concentrate on the task at hand.
  1. Sleep off the emotion: If you are having a strong emotional reaction (positive or negative) to something, keep the decision at bay until the storm of the emotion blows over. Although emotions are incredibly informative and provide useful information, when an important decision is made through the lens of emotion, decision-making can become skewed. Give it some thought and let it marinate over a good night’s sleep. Remember, negative emotions can skew logical thinking just as much as positive emotions can. Unless you’re an emergency room doc, you probably can give the decision 24-48 hours to marinate.

Being disciplined with these simple steps gives your mind the foundation it needs to be rock solid when it comes to decision making and tackling problems.

#TChat Recap: The Neuroscience Of What Keeps Leaders Up At Night

This week the TalentCulture team discussed the neuroscience of what keeps leaders up at night with Dr. Nicole Lipkin, author of What Keeps Leaders Up at Night and Y in the Workplace: Managing the “Me First” Generation.

Leadership has two common derailers: one is being too busy to win and the other is being too proud to see. Understanding the human side of change and our innate biases can help all of us move through change more effectively and efficiently.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more about the link between psychology and neuroscience and the impact it has on our productivity, performance, focus and general state of being.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Oct 7th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: Why Sourcing Referrals Can Improve Retention – Wednesday, Oct 7th, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Big Stock Images

What Small Business Can Learn About Recruiting From Big Business

It seems like it’s always the biggest companies that dominate our news feeds. Small businesses can push their way through, too, but how? How are we supposed to make a big impression to a large audience? Simple–social recruitment.

Here are a few of the best practices for social recruiting and why it’s important for your small business. And remember: Now’s the time to make your web presence mobile-optimized or you’re getting the boot from Google.

Consider Your Talent Pool

Who are you trying to attract? Mark Zuckerberg (@MarkZuckerbergF), creator of Facebook, said he only hires employees he would work for. Nearly half (49 percent) of recruiters who recruit online say the talent pool has immensely improved quality. Small business means you’re more likely to engage with everyone more often, which is why hiring for cultural fit is important to maintaining a team who works comfortably together. Happy employees tend to be 12 percent more productive than their unhappy coworkers.

Who Are You Reaching Out To?

If you’re hiring for specific positions, specify your posting accordingly. Mary Porter, Nordstrom’s director of talent acquisition, says companies need to engage their audiences through content. Porter suggests using motivational messages to attract your ideal candidates. Seventy-three percent of recruiters are recruiting candidates socially through creating engaging content. Start by:

  • Defining your audience
  • Locating them on social media
  • Looking into what favorite pages and trends they follow
  • Mimicking and creating based on those trends and pages

Think Outside The Box

Wow your audience by creating and placing content in unconventional areas. Taco Bell, for example, posts content on Pinterest one of the lesser used recruitment media. Taco Bell is known for their ahead-of-the-curve thinking on social platforms. You don’t need to be a tech company to create innovative content to reach your audiences.

Creativity and innovation are a big deal to today’s top recruits. Idea-driven work is more interesting and stimulating than routine work, and if your workplace doesn’t actively employ a culture of innovation, the chances are good that you’ll be passed over by excellent talent,” says the Switch and Shift team.

Improve Employer Branding

Even if your open positions may not seem exciting, market their best parts. Nordstrom ran into a similar issue: Porter said hiring for finance positions isn’t as fun as hiring for retail employees, but the positions must be filled. In creating a more attractive outreach procedure, the team produced video testimonials and featured current employees working the same positions on the company website. In two years, video will be 74 percent of internet traffic, so follow in Nordstrom’s footsteps and make video a part of your recruitment strategy.

As an alternative, write a bio feature on employees who work in departments and positions for the jobs you wish to fill. Not only is it an avenue for employers to explain daily activities to your prospective candidates, it also increases employee recognition. Only 46 percent of senior managers view employee recognition programs as a worthwhile investment. The number one reason employees leave their position is because they don’t feel appreciated and recognized. Two birds with one stone–appreciate existing employees while promoting a job opening!

Ninety percent of candidates are using mobile devices during the job search. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics to pull in the candidate pool of your dreams. Think outside the box, think like your audience and promote your organization through a true and positive light.


Photo credit: Bigstock

Growing into the Role of Manager

Not everyone is born to lead. In fact, most people don’t want to be managers — only 34% of respondents to a recent CareerBuilder survey said they aspire to leadership positions. And yet, there are new manager positions being filled every day. This means there are a lot of managers that may not actually want to be in their position. Leaving isn’t always an option, especially when you have car and house payments to make. So for those managers who need to do a lot of growing in a very short amount of time, here are a few pieces of advice.

Work Less, Facilitate More

One of the first things you’ll have to learn about being a manager is that you’re no longer in charge of doing things, but rather making sure they get done. The difference is that your role as a manager is more about assigning tasks, tracking them, and making sure your team is on track to accomplish them. This means getting out of your office and listening to what your employees are saying. This sounds simple, but you’d be surprised. Most managers (52%) don’t take the feedback from employee engagement surveys.

As an employee, your value was measured by the number of things you got done, the number of tangible things produced or crossed off a list. As a manager, it’s measured by how your team performs. This means actively engaging with the people on your team. As Greg Satell (@Digitaltonto) explains, you can’t be passive when it comes to talking with your team.

“Simply saying, ‘I have an open door, come to me with any problems’ is a cop out. If you want to know what’s going on in your organization you have to go out and actively look for problems, not just wait for them to come to you.”

Because your work is defined by other people, you need to make sure your team, as a whole, is working the way you would as an employee.

Take the Effort to Develop Talent

Working off the idea of listening to your employees, new managers should also understand employees are the ones doing the work, and as such need to be developed so they can work better and produce better results. The analogy is a bit dehumanizing, but humor me: is it not worth spending the money to fix a printer that works perfectly fine aside from one little kink? You could always buy a new printer, I suppose, but that’s not really an option when it comes to perfectly fine employees, especially when the costs of replacing an employee far outstrip those of replacing an appliance.

You can hire the best, brightest employees on the face of the Earth, and you’re still going to have to develop them. With up to 90% of learning taking place on-the-job, you’re going to have to make the effort of properly training employees when they arrive on their first day, and developing them from then on out. It’s not going to be a cheap process, but investing in them is a much better use of company money than trying to find someone new.

Beware Scope Creep

Once you’ve accepted that you’re now a manager in some capacity (whether you like it or not), you’re going to have to behave like one. This means knowing what makes a project manager successful, as well as what can sink a newbie. One thing you should always keep in mind is the idea of scope creep. For a manager who’s not really sure about what a project will actually entail, this means that what they thought was a small project can turn into a much larger one as they realize what they’ll need to accomplish the goal they initially set out to conquer. This can turn projects sour quickly, and make you look incompetent as a result. Christine Marciano, a Commercial Training Consultant for Nationwide, advises using templates to outline your projects before diving into them:

“I think scope creep most often can occur when the project manager, trying to be flexible, begins to accept additions to the project without accounting for the possible need of more resources: time, money, manpower . . [templates are] effective because of the tools’ ability to help the project manager communicate with stakeholders and teammates, and also to add standardization to the mix. Folks move around regularly in our company and the consistency in the form is comforting.”

We want regularity in our process, but being a manger is anything but regular. And while you most likely may not have wanted to be one, stepping out of your comfort zone and being a manager can be one of the most reward, most satisfying experiences you can have, especially when you see your team prospering around you.

7 Ways Your Team Can Grow and Stay Together

You may have heard the adage, “Those who work together, stay together.” Or wait, is it, “Those who play together, stay together”? I’ve heard them both. Which one is it? Does it matter? I think they’re both true and important. Especially at work.

A big part of getting a group of employees to gel is by adding non-work-related elements. From a study by the State of Friendship, a good portion of adults (36 percent) met one or more of their closest friends at work. And when employees have good friends at work, they’re much more likely to stick around—therefore, helping with retention. One study found that 67 percent of employees chose friendships with coworkers as the top reason why they were staying at jobs.

I probably don’t need to mention how friendships build upon an already strong company culture, but I will. Wouldn’t you agree that working together is a lot easier when you actually like those you’re working with?

We can help promote healthy work relationships that turn into coworker friendships. Here are some things you can do to support and help your team organically grow (and stay) together:

1. Share Food. It’s one of the first things we do together (many companies take new hires out to lunch on the first day) and then we have to eat again every day. That’s why it’s only natural that you would take time to catch a bite with a coworker at that new burrito restaurant or bring in donuts to share.

2. Play Games. One of the fastest ways employees can get to know each other—especially from different departments—is to play a game together. At our office, we have a group of people from IT, HR, development, product, marketing and sales that meet up in the conference room daily board games during lunch. When I need something from someone in another department, I usually have a “game” buddy I can ask for that favor.

3. Exercise. Of course, exercise is good for us on so many levels. Some companies organize basketball or softball teams to play together on our off hours. Groups of people go lift weights or do cross-fit together on their lunch breaks—maybe even a weekly “ultimate frisbee” group. Some companies organize Fitbit contests. I even see employees doing yoga during breaks.

4. Watch TV. Some people gather around one of the televisions at lunch to watch TV shows like Parks & Rec or Portlandia. Sometimes they’ll even break up a movie over several lunch breaks and pop some popcorn to catch a movie they’ve been wanting to see.

5. Celebrate. We’re all at work to do a job, but there’s no harm celebrating at times. Use some of those special days, like Cinco de Mayo or Pi Day, to have a chance to all bring food and celebrate the day. We have regular scheduled cheese parties during lunch where we all brought a fancy cheese.

6. Carpool. It can be fun and cost-effective to organize a carpool for people who live in the same area. You get to know each other better and can even sneak in a little extra brainstorming on projects when you’re pressed for time. And, of course, the world will be a better place (think about the environment).

7. Grow A Garden. Our office building offers little plots of free land employees can use to garden. Why not have a team garden? I’ve visited with my friends in the product department about some pressing matters, and they took me on a walk to show me their team garden. They have tomatoes! And you know, if they can grow tomatoes together, just think of all the things that team can accomplish together.

Most of the time we’re focusing on hiring for skills and training our employees. Just remember, one of the most important aspects of working together as a team is enjoying the work. Work should be fun and productive.


Photo credit: Bigstock

2015 Trends for Optimizing Your Company’s Web Presence

Keeping up with changes and trends in SEO isn’t an easy task, but it’s important to do. Facebook users alone account for 2,460,000 pieces of content shared to the web every minute. It’s easy for content to slip through the cracks if it’s not optimized properly. SEO has the ability to make content on websites stand out.

So what are the trends for 2015 in optimizing web content to gain readership among candidates and clients? Nine in 10 job seekers say they’ll use a mobile device during the job search. If you’re experiencing low website traffic and engagement, there are some steps you can take to keep up with the talent competition.

How are you posting?

SEO has been the longstanding foundation of optimizing web content, emails, social posts and everything in between to increase traffic. Companies find top keywords that would rank highest on the search lists and integrate them into their content where appropriate. However, 2015 brings a shift in search terms. Search engines are increasing their focus on semantic search. Instead of matching keywords, the trick is to work common vernacular into the mix. Generally, when we go to trusty Google for the latest on job postings or to conduct research on a company, we search exact questions or statements. This is essentially what semantic searching entails. Tommy Landry (@tommy_landry), founder and president of Return on Now explained:


“A good analogy is that of a headhunter or free agent recruiter. Have you ever received an email about an exciting new opportunity’ for which you were completely unqualified? Did they say your resume suggested you’re a fit? This is a case of blind matching of keywords with no qualitative overlay.”


In your web content, emails, social posts and job ads, instead of linking words from a keyword list, try linking the full statements or questions that candidates or clients might search to find your content. Consider searcher intent, and make your content contextually applicable. This style will help search engines guide your audience toward your site.  


What are you posting?

When looking for the right voice to use in your posts, pick something that not only embodies the employer brand, but is engaging as well. Past SEO trends suggested that each piece had the right amount of relevant keywords; today, there’s an urge to focus on what readers will engage with. With the increased emphasis on language-based optimization, HR has to make the copy more engaging through highlighting benefits, position requirements, and even key ‘call-to-actions.’ Highlighted text, links and headlines draw the most attention to a post. Frontloading information at the top of the post is vital, considering only 10-20 percent of readers actually make it to the bottom of a post.


Keep in mind, 55 percent of readers will only stay on a page for less than 15 seconds. Google will track the number of visitors your page receives. This calls for grabbing your audience within the first sentence before you lose their interest. Reach out to humans, not robots: write content that will entice readers to your brand instead of bore them. Use statistics, useful facts and up-to-date information so your content is useful to readers. Give them a reason to read on and stay on your page for more information.


The key to creating content that entices readers lies in that old saying, “Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Offer rewards or drawings to those who click and engage in your posts. This easily gains interest because readers have a chance to win or learn something. If you don’t have anything to offer, feature a video: 84 percent of all Internet traffic by 2018 will be video content. Simply posting the video alone isn’t enough, though. Since Google can’t watch your videos, you should still optimize your video description for SEO in order for the video to show up on your audience’s search pages.


When it’s time to promote your content on social media, keep in mind that brevity rules. On Twitter, the perfect length of tweet hovers right around 100 characters. On Facebook, the posts that receive the highest level of engagement are less than 40 characters. Whether it’s a tweet or an email subject line, it can be tempting for content producers to utilize the maximum length allowed. But keeping it concise will produce the best results.


Once you have a strong following, your audience will assist with the rest of the work. Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to these brands (53 percent). Familiarity and engagement will pat you on the back after all that work. Top deciding factors for job seekers to reach out to a company include a good reputation for great services and products (20 percent), a great reputation for a good place to work (56 percent) and reputation for great people within the company (17 percent).


Organizations can optimize their website, email and social pages to best attract and engage their desired candidates and clients. Overall SEO copy optimization will improve searchability and make job seekers more aware and interested in what your company has to stand for. Doing so can easily manipulate who the company pulls in and quickly measure what words and phrases are working and which aren’t.


Using Social Media To Get Promoted

You have created a great blog and published it on your website. But, unfortunately only your relatives visited your blog and appreciated and you did not get any response from other persons. If you want to promote your blog  you have to be very tactical on using the social media. You have to spend a maximum of your time to promote your content. But if you say, you have spent so much time on creating the blog and now you don’t have time to promote it, then I have to say that this post is not for you. But if you want to increase traffic, let’s find the below points.

Tweet Your Blog

Twitter is the best place to share a link. As soon as your blog finished tweet the blog post link in Twitter immediately. You will find some automated tools that can instantly submit a link to your recent blog post on your Twitter stream. You can also submit it manually.

Share in Facebook Page

Recently, many people are using Facebook. Create a Facebook fan page for your blog.  Also, you can become a fan of another Facebook fan page which is similar to your topic. Join the conversation on the other page and invite others to join in your page. Do not forget to feed the blog post in your Facebook page. Update your status update with interesting and informative posts  so that people feel to join in the conversation. Be active on your Facebook page.

Use Pinterest to Share Your Post

If you use photos in your blog post, you should use Pinterest to promote those photos. Pinterest is a great visual social bookmarking site to share various photos. You need to Pin images from other content so that it does not look like that you are promoting yourself only. If you do so, nobody will Follow you. This is a very important factor.

Use Google+ Community

Google+ is a great option for driving thousands of views of your blog post. After joining in the similar community in Google+, you will find so many cool and interesting conversations are going in the community. By giving a vote to others blog post, you will add value to your profile. When you have a new post, share it with your favorite 5-8 communities.

Use LinkedIn Followers

LinkedIn is a tremendous place to get connected with professionals. If you are writing blogs on professional topics, LinkedIn is the perfect place for you. Get connected with the more people, the more people will see your profile. Join in LinkedIn groups and share relevant blog in the groups. Remember, if you share irrelevant blog in the group other members will treat you as a SPAM.

It is not a surprise now to get the audience by using social media as in the modern business era, it is a natural choice to get promotion from social media. Billions of people are now using social media and it is the high time to get attraction from lots of people with the relatively low cost.


Image: bigstock

Finding Value In Social

Social is the great ice breaker. It allows people to get introduced, forge relationships and to share experiences and information, of all types, with ease and speed. The world of social has changed immensely over the past 10 years. When I think back to my early forays into this medium, I’m astonished at how much it has grown; exploded is actually a better description.

Social Is What?

Initially, many people were unsure of how to use social, so it got a bad rap as a nonsensical waste of time. Updates about what someone was eating or watching on T.V. were not highly received, however over time, people learned and adjusted their POV to socially interact in more meaningful ways. It, also, became apparent that social could unlock the door to reaching greater masses of people in meaningful, business ways. This is when opportunities opened up to greater possibilities and social was allowed to assume its place among other media and communications platforms. In the scheme of things, social is still a relatively new medium and undergoing immense evaluation.

Newness aside, social is certainly a highly sought-after communications platform and without a doubt has eclipsed other media sources as the go-to source for a multitude of interactions. In my opinion, the only other two communications platforms that come close to social with a substantial share of audience capture are broadcast and mobile. Where social is concerned, it has done something which few other communications vehicles can boast; it has brought groups of people together in such a way as to unite them with like causes, beliefs, professions, and pursuits. And more to the point, social has given them a platform from which to interact in real-time.

Social As A Public Service

Never before have strangers been united and able to interact in such a familiar way. For example, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children uses Facebook, to issue Amber alerts. Prior to this, Amber alerts were broadcast in more traditional ways using television, radio and on highway signs. Comparatively, these communication vehicles pale by comparison to social. When given the time sensitivity of finding missing children, social has certainly stepped up to the task of disseminating urgent information.

Enter The Marketers

People much more creative than I have found ways to optimize social and turn it into the behemoth it has become. Marketers continue to find ways to manipulate it to their benefit, but its full potential has yet to be recognized. A few years from now, it would not surprise me to see it as a different and very grown-up communications source. The professionals who research it, study it, calculate its value in terms of money, and apply tools to uncover who in the population is paying attention to it, will find ways to help social develop into a more functional and well-rounded medium. Marketers have already found that social can be included as part of a successful integrated marketing solution, when coupled with other more traditional communications.

Social For Employment

Another way that social is being used successfully, is by recruiters and employer branding professionals who are seeking out potential new talent and promoting the employment benefits of their organizations. Given the number of people and job seekers (passive and active) using social, this makes a lot of sense and is a good way to promote jobs and branding. For job seekers, it’s a fine way to network and conduct company research. Social can reveal a lot about a company, and likewise, uncover information about job seekers that may go beyond work history.

It’s Not Perfect And Neither Are We

As with anything, common sense and discretion need to be used when interacting on social media. There is such a thing as TMI (too much information.) This can be an area where it can go wrong for people. In our desire to forge relationships and show the human side of ourselves, we can lose sight of what we say and how we say it.

We have all heard the stories of how someone lost a job because s/he bad mouthed the boss or revealed a proprietary company situation broadcast style on social. What these individuals lost sight of is that social is, well, social. This means that comments published on social becomes public knowledge for anyone to see, and this also includes, photo opps and selfies that reveal too much.

Likewise, social is a great vehicle for promoting products, events and recognitions, but no one wants to be barraged with information that is self-serving. Also using social in high-volume for the purposes of selling is tantamount to telemarketers calling during dinner.

So in closing, some of the nuggets we have learned about social to date are: use it with care and conscience, integrate social with other communications vehicles when it makes sense, be friendly and show your human side but don’t over share, be sensitive to how social is used for the greater good, use it as a resource in job searches and job updates, build relationships and share valuable content and last but not least, have fun and enjoy it for what it offers. And remember, social is the great ice breaker.

Shareology Review: Sharing Is Powering The Human Economy

Bryan Kramer’s book, Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy is not only a celebration of the new sharing economy but a primer on how to thrive in it. It’s the result of some serious thinking by a serious thinker, a veteran of Silicon Valley who was feeling patently unfulfilled by the dull trajectory of marked success. Bryan began to do some serious soul-searching: this is a soulful thought influencer, people. I know this to be true as I have spent time “IRL” with him. As he did, he sought out kin and wisdom, colleagues and like minds in social media, and realized that his particular intelligence lay in the fertile intersection of technology with social philosophy. Basically, he realized, what we do in this economy is share. And we are not only what we share, but how we share it, why we share it, what we share, and even when we share it. And he points out, we don’t all know how to share. And in this global and human economy, to share well with others, means everything.

Bryan is remarkable at defining the tech-induced radical transformation of work and brand. We had been sharing information the same way for thirty thousand years or so. But with tech, everything has changed: there are no boundaries now, no borders: we’re connected on a global scale in ways that collapse time and distance. This also means that the way we can influence and effect change has been entirely transformed. It may be a cliché that the whole world is different, but is it’s true. Like his other book, Human to Human: #H2H— which eloquently demonstrates that what drives the economy is not business interactions, but human interactions — Shareology is smart. He articulates concepts with an infectious and courageous intelligence. The idea that information’s shareability is far more critical than we realize also drives home the idea that we are, indeed, people — all communicating and exchanging information with each other. He also explains the varying styles of sharers – which in this mobile and social world is certainly a key personality and behavior trait. The need to connect, he writes, in is our very DNA — but the way in which we do it is entirely different.

This book is able to delineate the importance of company brand: not just as a logo or a heavily invested mirror of core values, but as a tangible, share-able entity. And how much your brand is working — how much it matters — can be measured by how much it is shared — its Shareability Quotient. “If you want people to share your stuff,” he writes, “they need to trust you or identity with the content you’re producing, period.”

I couldn’t agree more. While Bryan uses some buzzy terms (“Special sauce”), he’s also hit on something that is both incredibly profound and incredibly simple. It may well be something intrinsic to millennials, who have grown up sharing everything — and who know how to do it. But for anyone in business who doesn’t (come on, admit it), the first part of this book will be an entertaining, upbeat, and eloquent education.  As for the second part, he goes well beyond most in terms of looking at media and behavior, about how its methodology across the board There’s an especially crunchy section on the intersection of automation and human interaction — a must, without question, in this particular era. The ideas are so well thought out that I’d say he created a new discipline here: Share Theory. This is definitely a book that will influence and effect change — in powerful, re-humanizing ways.

Hiring Graduates: The Challenges

With 30% of companies expecting to hire more graduates in 2015 than in previous years, UK organisations have expressed concerns about sourcing graduates that have sufficient people skills. New research from Hay Group reveals that as many as 80% of HR Directors feel that recruiting graduates with sufficient people skills is a challenge. Are companies who are taking on new graduates just causing themselves more headaches, or are graduates worth investing in?

As you might expect, employers and graduates take a different view on the situation. Statistics show that 90% of HR Directors believe that employees who have good people skills have a greater commercial impact, and 83% disclosed that graduates who didn’t have the necessary emotional and social skills would not become high performers. Countering this, 69% of graduates said that soft skills ‘get in the way of getting the job done’ and believed that they would succeed in their job role irrespective of this.

Are Technical Skills More Important Than People Skills In The Workplace?

Any HR Director worth their salt will say that first and foremost applicants need to have the right technical capabilities in order to succeed, but people skills shouldn’t be overlooked.

While 76% of HR Directors were concerned that graduates were not prepared for the workplace, David Smith, a Consultant at Hay Group, commented that graduates have the potential to develop soft skills on the job. He said: “It’s now down to organisations to recruit and develop graduates in the right way, so they appreciate the role these ‘softer’ skills play in their own development and the value they offer to the business.”

But this may also suggest that what the current stock of HR Directors and what new graduates consider to be people skills could be quite different. While graduates may have the right approach when dealing with other graduates, they need time to settle into the company culture and to pick up on the people skills that are expected of them by seasoned employees.

Are Graduates Worth The Investment?

It costs businesses between £500-£1000 to take on a new graduate. It seems that businesses are doing their best to provide training in order to boost people skills. 91% of HR professionals believe that their organisation has adequate training and 83% say that their managers dedicate more time to developing people skills than technical skills.

How Long Does It Fake for Graduates To Reach Proficiency In People Skills?

There’s no fast track here. The majority of businesses expect it will take between six months to two years for graduates to gain the people skills needed to perform effectively for the business.

Looking to the future, HR aren’t all that confident in graduates either. 77% are concerned for the future leadership of their organisation based on the soft skills of their current graduate employees. Yet perhaps graduates mark a new direction for businesses and will have a greater impact than HR Directors give them credit for.

Graduates Are The Future

By 2020, we can expect that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce and many of them will be recent graduates. Organisations need to put strategies in place to make the best of the skills that each individual in their workplace has, whether they are a seasoned employee or a new graduate. Successful companies know the value of their whole team.


#TChat Preview: How Disruptive Technologies Will Empower The Future Of HR

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at its new time from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we discussed why true relationship building rises above social, and this week we’re going to talk about how disruptive technologies will empower the future of HR.

The next 5-10 years will bring unprecedented change to the workplace and the role of Human Resources. There will be those disruptive digital HR technologies that will influence the form and function of HR in a myriad of ways including how and where we work today, how we recruit and hire, and how we train and develop the workforce.

Not every technological disruption will be adopted nor will it transform HR for the better, but the fact remains that empowering a better workplace and workforce has already started today.

Sneak Peek:

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

Thank you to all our TalentCulture sponsors and partners: Dice, Jibe, TalentWise, Hootsuite, IBM, CareerBuilder, PeopleFluent, Silkroad, Predictive Analytics World for Workforce and HRmarketer Insight. Plus, we’re big CandE supporters!

#TChat Events: How Disruptive Technologies Will Empower The Future Of HR

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, May 20th — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we talk about how disruptive technologies will empower the future of HR with this week’s guest: Alexandra Levit, Future of Work speaker, writer and author of “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.”


Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, May 20th

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 20th — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Shep will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How would you define disruptive technologies for the workplace and HR?  #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What are the potential top 3 disruptive HR technologies emerging in the near future?  #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How are tech companies and HR partnering to improve end-user adoption?  #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

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Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


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#TChat Preview: How True Relationship Building Rises Above Social

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, at its new time from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week, live from The IT@Cork European Technology Summit, we discussed the impact of gender diversity on technology business performance around the world, and next week we’re going to talk about why true relationship building rises above social.

Long gone are the formal protocols of the “offline” networking world. Professional and social networking took a lot more work to uncover, establish, and deepen mutually beneficial business relationships.

Social media has made connecting and networking so much easier and accessible to nearly everyone with an Internet connection and a mobile device. In a hyper-connected world, those who are able to build, maintain, sustain and leverage their entire network outside of social, be more successful, and impact the world.

Sneak Peek:

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

Thank you to all our TalentCulture sponsors and partners: Dice, Jibe, TalentWise, Hootsuite, IBM, CareerBuilder, PeopleFluent, Predictive Analytics World for Workforce and HRmarketer Insight. Plus, we’re big CandE supporters!

#TChat Events: Why Internal Customer Service Is So Important

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, May 13th — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we talk about why why true relationship building rises above social with this week’s guest: Rob Garcia, Silicon Valley product executive and co-founder and Chief Product Officer at ConnectUp.


Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, May 13th

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 13th — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Shep will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How did you manage relationship building on and offline today?  #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What are your 1-2-3 relationship-building steps for excelling in social?  #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What communication vehicles do you prefer for work vs. personal use?  #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

BTR stitcher_logoItunes_podcast_icon



Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


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Facebook: Filling The Word “Friend” With Value Again!

Let’s take back the word “friend” and fill it with value again! Why? Well.. It seems to me that Facebook has done an amazing thing – they now own the word “friend”.  The problem is that they have devalued the word while adding value to their brand.

How many of you use “air quotes” when you say so-and-so is your Facebook “friend”?  That’s exactly my point.  The word now, more often than not, just means that you exchanged a keystroke with someone.

I’m not suggesting that connecting through Facebook is a bad thing; I’m saying that few of us actually take the time to connect in the ways that a real friend would.  We are missing the chance to use social media as a tool that facilitates real relationships and instead using “friends” as points in a popularity contest.

How Can We Counter The Facebook Takeover of The Word ‘Friend’? 

Let’s start with breaking completely out of our online world for a moment and do something really cutting edge: pick up the TELEPHONE and CALL someone.  Make someone feel special by connecting voice to voice with them and having a real-time conversation.

Then take everything you know about face-to-face relationships and bring them back with you online:

1. A friend is not just an audience. 

Friendship is not a one-way information push; it is a two-way interaction loop. Ask questions, listen to and HEAR the answers, ask more questions.  It takes ongoing interaction to get a clear path through the digital noise out there!

2. A friend is not just a number.

Think about how many times you hear television ads that end with “to us, you are not just a number, you’re a person” (except for SleepNumber Mattresses, who play with that and say “to us, you’re not just a person, you’re a number!”).  The point is to remember that each interaction involves a real person.  Yes, I do have over 2800 Facebook friends, but I do pay attention and respond to all comments and postings on my walls and photos.  Does it take time?  It sure does, but all real relationships take time, so I would expect nothing less!

3. A friend has shared interests.

Friends connect around shared interests, which attract additional friendships that turn into communities of interest.  YOU are the hub of your personal social media “community of interest,” so consider it your responsibility to provide content relevant to your friends interests.  Hint: if you are authentic in your online and offline “profiles,” what you are naturally inclined to share will automatically be of interest to your friends.  Save yourself some effort and just be genuine from the beginning!

4. Friendships require maintenance.

We are all calling these tools “social media,” yet we are becoming LESS social!  Facebook status updates do not count as a relationship.  Back and forth conversation ABOUT your status update, however, is a much more social interaction.  But don’t let it end there.  Take the initiative to reach out and GIVE value rather than expecting everyone to come to you…remember, friendship requires an ongoing flow of giving and receiving.

5. Do unto others…

The way you engage with people makes an impression no matter what tool you are using.  Look at your own behaviors and ask yourself, “Would I want to be my friend??”  Are you noticing and affirming the value of individuals and groups in your network? Are you genuinely interested and paying attention to the people behind the texts and words on a screen?  Are you going out of your way to be of service to others in your network?  That’s the kind of friend I would want to have and to be.

A real friend is not just a number and a photo on the screen.  Remember that next time you’re on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or blogging or ANYtime!) and do what it takes to be a friend.  One by one, we can take back the word “friend”!

‎”Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ~Anais Nin

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#TChat Recap: How To Look People In The Eye Digitally

Building and sustaining authentic relationships IRL are not always easy, and it could be even more challenging to do it online. It has never been easier to connect with people by a simple click on the “add” button, but how do we foster and strengthen the relationships?

This week’s #TChat guest: Ted Rubin, a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist, and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, shared his insight on how to build strong relationships online and how to look people in the eye digitally.

Many of us learned how to connect properly with people at a very young age. We learned how important eye contact, strong handshakes, and listening skills were. Paying attention online, where acceptable response time is shorter and content is populating on your Twitter stream in a millisecond is hard, but it can be done.

Relationships are a two-way street and to maintain them we need a genuine interest in the person on the other side of the screen. Simple gestures such as tailored comments, questions about shared interests, birthday wishes, and thoughtful advice goes a long way. To call people by their first name and learn something about them while reaching out consistently will make a difference.

When we listen and really hear people, only then can we figure out how we can serve them in the best way possible. This is key advice for organizations, brands and professionals working on growing community, land new business or connecting with customers.

At the end of the day, we are all humans that want to be understood and connected with like-minded people.

Did You Miss The Podcast Show? Listen On BlogTalkRadio, iTunes or Stitcher:

See What The #TChat Community Said About How To Look People In The Eye Digitally:


What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Wednesday, April 22nd, with a NEW time:

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. Next week’s topic: How To Turn Horrible Bosses Into Happier Relationships.

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


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When the Social Collaboration Magic Happens

Mercy me, my MySpace experience is one I’ll never forget. It was my first foray into social media beyond simply blogging, online groups and forums like AOL, and sharing collaboratively via email.

There I was early in 2007, in front of my computer setting up my MySpace profile. I filled it out, not sure of where exactly this online adventure would take me. I hit “publish” and waited.

Ten minutes later I received a connection request. Eagerly I read, in graphic detail, a business proposition of sorts from another woman. Yes, that. A minute later I deleted my profile not sure what the heck I had gotten myself into. So much for the magic at that point. (I’m sure it’s a different experience today.)

Before that email was my social tool of choice. I know, based on what I know and practice now, that’s practically blasphemy. I used it when journaling to family and friends during travel with my wife, collaboratively communicating with colleagues and peers on projects, and communicating real-time with whomever included all of the above.

Many of you may have had similar experiences. If so, you remember that what may have seemed foreign at first – take email for example – a tool I started using way back in the late 1980’s when I attended and worked at San Jose State University. Not only did we have email to communicate with one another campus-wide via email and intranet, we could communicate with any other campus in the state and UC system as well as many other educational institutions.

Of course, email had been used even before my experience at the university. It was also supposed to be the demise of businesses everywhere, public or private, because employees were (are) loose cannons who will share critical business information with complete strangers and competitors alike.

It didn’t thankfully. Now, many of us did (and still do) share too much erroneous and volatile information, inappropriate messages that should’ve been deleted before the send button was ever close to being hit. No, I won’t share a story here, but just know I’ve been one of the many.

What it did do – including the email, the Internet, online forums and more – was increase productivity, innovation and the speed of positive business outcomes. There are smarter academics, entrepreneurs and captains of industry than me who can attest to that. All of these tools and activities had to be adopted and sustained over time in order to bring so much good to fruition, not only by leadership, but also by nearly every single individual contributor inside the organization.

Blogging was my second social activity of choice at the time. I also joined LinkedIn, but after setting up my initial profile and connecting for a handful of others I knew, I didn’t do anything with it (which has changed dramatically for me since). And then I joined Twitter and tweeted out: I’m setting up my Twitter account and have no idea what to do next. After that I joined Facebook where my early social sharing adoption took hold with immediate family and friends.

In 2010 is when Meghan M. Biro and I co-founded the TalentCulture #TChat Show on Twitter (and now have expanded beyond that into multiple online social channels and now includes audio and video), and look where that’s gotten us – a growing highly collaborative community of thousands of HR, recruiting and business professionals who network, learn, share, innovate and engage online with one another every single day around the greater theme of empowering a better workforce and workplace one day at a time.

However, all this adoption has been primarily on external social networks. Plus, the way in which people access the Internet has been transformed in recent years as more people use mobile devices to go online practically anywhere today. There are now 5.2 billion mobile devices in use across the world, compared to only 789 million laptops and 743 million desktop PCs. And according to Aragon Research, by the end of 2015, 85% of businesses will have defined some form of bring your own technology to work.

What about social media and networking inside organizations? With rare exception, it’s been tough enough to get traction with any new social network today, but it’s been even harder to get it internally. Or at least, what’s been difficult has started to finally be embraced with limited open arms.

Many HR technology software providers have embedded the power of social collaboration into their talent acquisition and talent management software (including my own PeopleFluent), so that from the point of being courted by a company, to then being hired, onboarded and beyond, companies can better enable workforce collaboration and communication and amplify their people and the value each brings.

The McKinsey Global Institute has estimated productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees, and the potential for revenue amounts to $1.3 trillion per year. Also according to McKinsey, a remarkable 83 percent of respondents say their companies are using at least one social technology, and 65 percent say employees at their companies access at least one tool on a mobile device.

Given the focus on engagement and some other key internal communications trends, communicators will take a more active role in promoting the adoption of internal social media, which will require a strategic change management initiative to move away from email that still dominates the enterprise today (thank goodness). It must be a cultural adoption throughout an organization, practiced by business leadership but fully embraced by everyone else.

According to Social Media Sites within the Workplace by Prof. Hope Koch, PhD of Baylor University, employees had a greater sense of well-being and organizational commitment and better employee engagement when participating on internal social sites.

But this kind of organizational change means understanding how your current level of employee engagement impacts the ultimate adoption and continued usage of any social software, something that the principal of Holtz Communication + Technology Shel Holtz emphasized on the TalentCulture #TChat Show.

Ultimately what business leaders should invest in is social collaboration software. Besides the improvements and possible return outlined above, it might also be used as an “early warning” system to improve overall risk management. Remember, social networks can be a giant public sieve for inadvertently sharing proprietary corporate secrets and inappropriate employee behavior. Most of us do a pretty good job of not sharing that much, but when emotions flare for whatever reason, transparency isn’t usually one for restraint.

Lastly, according to The Social Workplace Trust Study, when employees are empowered to communication openly internally as well as externally with others, and to engage regularly across social networks, employees evidence greater loyalty to and trust of their employers, have more pride in their work, and feel that they can make a difference at work.

Here’s my proposition (and I promise it won’t make you squirm): when we can network, learn, share, innovate, engage, even play with one another every single day, both inside and out of our “motherships,” that’s when the social collaboration magic happens and we can all empower a better workforce and workplace one day at a time.

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman co-founded and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro. He’s also currently the Product Marketing Director for Total Talent Acquisition products at PeopleFluent.

photo credit: The magic wand via photopin (license)

#TChat Recap: Adopting Social Software For Workforce Collaboration

There is no question about it – social software enables workforce collaboration and communication. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees, and the potential for revenue amounts to $1.3 trillion per year.

So why is it so hard to get adoption traction for internal social media and internal communication? How can enterprises today resume responsibility for communication happening among employees and even encourage it?

This week’s #TChat guests: Shel Holtz, Principal of Holtz Communication + Technology and a prolific blogger and co-host of the first and longest-running communications podcast shared his insight on the adoption of social software for workforce collaboration and communication

Email has proven to be very hard to move away from as an internal communication method, and is often the only communication tool that organizations use. So what happens when employees are not given tools that provide value and can work alongside with email? They find external collaboration tools on their own.

With a lack of better options, email do provide stability in a fast-paced world where tech is constantly changing.

Organizations will need someone to be in charge of the message mission control. It is vital to be looking at the company culture and then initiate leadership mandate to initiate change. When leaders empower their employees to use social software and inform them about benefits such as an increase in efficiency, collaboration, and productivity, only then will we see the true benefits of social software.

Some enterprises are concerned with controlling the message, especially in highly regulated industries.

What would happen if instead of fearing the message, leaders would rethink the communication in their organizations based on mobility? It could encourage brand ambassadors to emerge, working collaboratively towards a common goal and strengthening the Oh-So-Important company culture.

See What The #TChat Community Said About Social Software For Workforce Collaboration:

What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Wednesday, April 15th!

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. Next week’s topic: Looking People in the Eye Digitally with Ted Rubin

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


photo credit: by timothy muza

#TChat Recap: Email Productivity A #NewWayToWork

“Email is the oil that runs the enterprise” – Carolyn Pampino

This week’s guest Carolyn Pampino, Design Director for IBM Social Business, focuses on designing better ways for business people to receive, act on, and share information – something that is vital in today’s virtual, social and hyper-connected society.

Let’s be honest, email can be overwhelming and painful at times. When Carolyn’s team researched email end-users, they found that there were a number of people walking around feeling guilty that they would miss that one extremely important message, buried somewhere in their inbox.

Email is unpleasant simply because it’s a method of communication that was invented in 1971, and has not changed or evolved to deal with an increased flood of communication. Messages that are not created as equals are treated as such, categorized by name, date, and subject.

To add fuel to the fire, we can access the overload of messages at all times through any of our devices.

Yet, traditional email it’s one of our most indispensable methods of communication, used across generations. So what can we salvage?

The goal is to make the end-user more productive and increase happiness. Instead of creating a new mail client, the amount of email that we have to deal with needs to be reduced, showing us what to focus on. Basically, make it relevant or make it go away.

So, can technology ease the burden that technology itself has created for us?  Will email be able to act like our personal assistant, streamlining our life? If it transforms to be more collaborative and intuitive, maybe, but it’s unclear how good.

See What #TChat-ters Said About Email Productivity A #NewWayToWork

What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Wednesday March 18th!

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. The topic: How To Manage The #NewWayToWork.

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!

Passive-Recruiting Photo credit: Startup Stock Photo