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6 Social Media Recruiting Strategies You Should Be Doing

Some people are still skeptical about social media recruiting, though I can’t figure out why. The success stories on both companies and individuals finding their dream match through a social media recruitment campaign keep rolling in. Stacy Lambe got hired by BuzzFeed because of a meme he created of Hillary Clinton. Dawn Stiff was hired thanks to her Vine video by The Economist.

The question is, what should you be doing for the recruitment magic to happen? Here are 6 social media recruiting strategies to get you going in the right direction with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Twitter

1. Become Best Friends with #Hashtags

Twitter uses Twitter for social media recruiting so it must be a good platform. The one thing that many recruiters don’t take the time to understand from the beginning are hashtags. It’s all too easy to put a “#” in front of a word and expect it to work. But if you don’t know the reach of that particular tag in terms of numbers and geography then you’re not using it right. If your chosen hashtag is getting lost in a sea of other tweets, it also won’t work. For example don’t use #jobopening but try adding your city’s abbreviation as well. Use tools like Hashtracking or TweetBinder to help you out.

2. Ask Employees to Tweet Job Openings

Lean into your existing network to spread the word. But before doing so, make sure that you have a solid Social Media Policy for your employees and that they understand what’s expected of them. They are your brand ambassadors after all, especially if you’re going to ask them to tweet job openings. It wouldn’t do to have someone post a job in one tweet and then crib about their boss in the next.

LinkedIn

3.Use LinkedIn’s Recruiter Homepage

LinkedIn is probably the first choice for social media recruiting by recruiters so it only makes sense that they provide a solid tool for the job. This is done through their paid product, LinkedIn Recruiter. Other than the basic LinkedIn functions you’ll get access to a matching algorithm which provides potential employee suggestions based on your recent activity and lets you monitor job application activity. It’s definitely a powerful tool to incorporate into your social media recruiting strategy.

4. Don’t Ignore the Power of LinkedIn Groups

There’s very little chance that you’ll read an article on social media without the word networking coming up. It’s just that important and that’s exactly what LinkedIn Groups will provide you. Be careful about the content you post because some groups provide limitations for recruiters. Make sure you know the basics about Company Branding on LinkedIn because it will determine how your organization is viewed.

Facebook

5. Use Facebook’s Search Feature the Right Way

Did you know, in Facebook’s Search you can type “People Who Work at Microsoft” and even filter the results by city? In fact, you can even search for “People who work at Microsoft and have friends who work at Oracle”. Very helpful if you’re trying to find someone at a company who has friends at the company you’re working for. Talk about powerful searching.

6. Engage in Paid Advertising

In 2013, Mashable revealed a 29% increase for Facebook ads every year, reaching 4.3 billion social engagements last year alone. Instead of investing in a recruitment agency, you can take the power of targeted Facebook advertising into your own hands and create a simple yet effect job opening ad and share it with an extremely targeted audience. This strategy is also far more effective than posting an ad in a newspaper which we all know often results in more bad than good CV’s.

There’s no end to this list and of course there are other tools including Google+ and Pinterest which shouldn’t be forgotten. A solid social media recruiting strategy should be well planned and documented to include the target audience, where they spend time online, guidelines for establishing relationships and which social channels to used. To be truly effective you’ll also want to include measurable KPI’s. I hope that this was enough to get you started and look forward to any additions you can make in the comments below.

(About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment by creating a new paradigm between company and employee. Paul has delivered transformational interventions for more than 50 blue chip organizations in countries across Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Egypt, Korea, U.A.E. and India.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

How To Use Instagram To Recruit: 5 Easy Steps [Infographic]

By this point, most of us have come across the term, “social recruiting.” With the rising importance of fostering a successful and sustainable company culture and hiring people who are not only the right professional fit but the right cultural fit as well, employers and human resource professionals have started to turn to the power of social media networks, like Instagram, to help with their recruitment efforts. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that recently surpassed 150 million active users and counting – 70 percent of whom log in to the site at least once a day. That’s a huge pool of potential employees!

A few articles have surfaced about how some companies have started to use Instagram from a recruitment perspective. Vocus, a cloud-based marketing and public relations software, hired a marketer with a background in social media to manage the employment brand, including their activity on Instagram. Instead of taking the traditional HR approach, Veronica Segovia created a separate Instagram careers account (@vocuscareers), specifically for the hiring side of the business. Segovia published a blog post announcing their presence on Instagram to both employees and candidates, which included guidelines on how employees could get involved. “We looked at Instagram as an opportunity to make contact with passive candidates, to show them that Vocus is a cool, fun, young company”, says Segovia.

But the question remains, can you really recruit candidates for a job through Instagram? The answer is yes, but it has to be a combined effort. Instagram is most effective as a complement to other social media channels – so it’s best if your company is already using other social media sites (as you should be!). Before launching the @vocuscareers Instagram account, the company had been actively brand building on other channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Images posted on Instagram can be repurposed for other corporate social profiles, such as the aforementioned, helping extend your reach. The real focus with Instagram should be on maintaining the image of your brand, which aids in the recruiting process by attracting people who want to be more familiar with your company.

So where do you start? We’ve put together an infographic below that outlines the ways that Instagram is most useful and how to use it properly for recruiting, employee engagement and brand building in 5 easy steps.

Recruiting-With-Instagram-WEB

Do you have an example of using Instagram to aid in your recruitment or employee engagement efforts? We would love to hear about it. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Written by Rachel Scott | Infographic by Tara Burt

(About the Author: Rachel Scott has a diverse background in advertising and communications that includes everything from working as a Research Assistant for the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, working in the Public Relations department for CJSF 90.1 FM, to her most recent role as Marketing Assistant at Clevers Media, a marketing and consulting agency based in Vancouver, BC.

Currently Rachel is the Marketing and Content Manager at Boost Agents. Boost Agents brings together growing, forward thinking organizations and qualified creative, marketing and communications professionals through our timely and ethical process to make the perfect cultural fit. Whether you are a candidate (job seeker) looking to boost your career and need someone to help take you to the next level, or a client looking to grow your team, we’re excited to be part of the process with you.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: Twin design via bigstock

 

Social Influence and Your Brand: Connecting the Dots [Webinar]

“Don’t try to invent a tribe. Show up to lead one that exists.”
Seth Godin

Today’s hyper-connected digital world has opened the door to a whole new era in brand development.

Employers, HR professionals and job hunters, alike, are rapidly embracing digital channels to elevate their market presence and amplify their share of voice.

With proactive players setting a torrid pace, no one can afford to stay on the social media sidelines. But social networking doesn’t guarantee influence — and activity without strategy can put a brand at risk.

Join the Experts

So how do you create a digital brand roadmap that makes the most sense for your goals? What’s the best way to ignite your social agenda? And how do you measure its impact?

If you’re looking for expert guidance, you won’t want to miss this very special webinar event:

“Using Social Insights to Build Your Brand”
February 27, at 2pm Eastern Time / 11am Pacific Time.

LeadTail webinar CTATalentCulture founder, Meghan M. Biro will join forces with the social marketing and insights specialists at Leadtail to talk about how top HR and recruiting influencers are driving market awareness and engagement through social channels.

You’ll learn how social media best practices can move your brand forward and how data-based insights can inform your strategy.

For example, the session will focus on questions like these:

What elements define a personal brand?
Why are social channels ideal for brand building?
Who influences the HR and recruiting community today — and how?
How can you successfully apply these social techniques?

In addition, Meghan will reveal how she has leveraged social media to become one of the most recognized experts in the HR and recruiting space.

“Social channels have created a phenomenal opportunity to reach, engage and influence all the constituents a brand must touch — business allies, customers, prospects and employees,” Meghan says. “I’m excited to team-up with Leadtail, as we empower brands to expand their connections and strengthen their business relationships.”

Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to join members of the TalentCulture community on Twitter, as we share ideas and questions using the #TChat hashtag.

Don’t miss this dynamic informative event! Register now, and join us February 27th.

Participating Organizations

Learn more about Leadtail, and connect with @Leadtail on Twitter.
Learn more about TalentCulture, and connect with @TalentCulture on Twitter.

Register now for this webinar: Using Social Insights to Build Your Brand.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Behavior In Business: 8 Human Insights Leaders Should Know

It’s impossible to be in the business world each day and not feel psychology at work. Each of us brings our human nature to a job — regardless of our title, expertise or organizational setting.

Leaders who value the psychological aspects of work life are much more likely to gain trust and inspire top performance from their teams.

These concepts may seem simple, but they can complicate workplace dynamics, and their impact is often measurable. That’s why they deserve attention from anyone who works with and through others to achieve business goals.

Are you thinking today’s leaders already “get it”? If so, this may surprise you…

Leadership Has Evolved? Not So Fast

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “Now You Know Why Your Boss Is Such An Ape.” It reminds us of how strong and predictable the force of nature can be — especially in a business context. It can be easy to forget that we’re animals — yet we share 99.9% of our genes with apes. In fact, if we compare their behavioral patterns with ours, the similarities are striking.

For example, in both cases, leaders often act cold, or even show disrespect to subordinates in an effort to claim dominance as the “alpha male.” On the other hand, those same leaders are likely to display an incredible amount of respect when interacting with their superiors.

8 Key Behavioral Concepts For Leaders

Psychology offers many more striking insights. Here are 8 that should serve every leader well. It’s not important to remember the terms — but if you remember the concepts, you’ll have a clear advantage in the world of work:

1) Observational Learning

Human learning begins with observation. This is vital for leaders to remember, because employees tend do what you do, not what you say. Those who look up to you will want to model themselves after you. And if your words and actions don’t align, the consequences can harm your organizational culture.

This kind of behavior starts early in humans, as was illustrated in the famous Bobo doll experiment — where children were asked to spend time in a room with an adult. After witnessing the adult display aggressively and verbally abusive behavior toward the doll, children acted in a similar way.

2) Social Contagion

This is the theory of how ideas and emotions spread and go viral. It’s important to recognize this tendancy, especially within a company culture. If a few employees become disengaged, the negativity can spread across the entire company quicker than you might expect.

This concept was illustrated in a University of Michigan study that monitored the spread of eating disorders throughout college campuses. It’s important to look for early signals and work proactively to reverse the impact.

3) Groupthink

Groupthink can be particularly dangerous, so it’s important to remain alert. It’s tricky, because team building activities are beneficial, but too much cohesion can be detrimental.

Groupthink tends to surface when teams take on a mind of their own — usually because members want to avoid conflict within the group. This leads to poor decision making, because groups don’t fully evaluate circumstances, and members are influenced by the rest of the group to comply.

Sometimes groupthink can be an unintended consequence of brainstorming. Rather than creating an atmosphere where multiple participants are inspired to generate a broader spectrum of creative ideas, the brainstorming process itself dampens the creativity of each member.

4) Minimal Group Paradigm

We’ve all seen “cliques” develop in schools and other social environments — that’s essentially minimal group paradigm in action. It’s about arbitrary distinctions between groups (for example, differences in the color of clothing) that lead people to favor one group over another.

Of course, harmful cliques can develop among adults in corporate cultures. However, leaders can avoid this by encouraging team building that reaches across arbitrary boundaries, and supports everyone as part of the same larger group.

5) Social Loafing

Initially I assumed this was about people who lie on the couch while browsing on Facebook — but it’s really much more interesting than that. Over 100 years ago, a study found that people put in 50% less effort when playing tug of war in a team of 8 compared to playing it alone. In other words, we tend to slack off when our efforts can’t be distinguished from the efforts of our teammates.

As important as team building is, autonomy and individuality is an important way to keep people motivated. This sounds counter-intuitive to need for humans to feel they belong to groups. However, there’s a delicate balance between motivating humans as individuals and as team members.

6) Stanford Prison Experiment

This is one my favorite lessons from the realm of psychology. In a Stanford University experiment, participants were assigned roles as prisoners and prison guards in a pseudo prison environment. Guard adapted to their new roles much quicker than expected, and guards became very authoritative and abusive toward prisoners.

This is obviously important for leaders to understand, because job roles clearly have an effect on our perception of ourselves and others. Be careful how you assign titles and responsibilities, and how you manage those expectations within your ranks, over time.

7) Prisoner’s Dilemma

This is another famous psychological experiment that underscores the importance of accountability within teams.

The prisoner’s dilemma is a game where the “rewards” are prison terms. There are 2 prisoners, A and B. If both prisoners betray each other, they each serve a 2 year jail sentence. If prisoner A betrays prisoner B, prisoner A goes free and prisoner B gets 3 years (and vice versa). If they both remain silent, they each serve only 1 year. Of course, it’s in both players’ best interest to stay silent. However, typically, the fear of betrayal leads both to betray each other.

This reminds us that trust and communication is essential for individual and team success — and that the definition of “success” is influenced by self interest.

8) Halo Effect

The halo effect is a popular concept among brand marketers, but it also can apply to perceptions of an employee. In marketing, humans develop positive perceptions of a product when respected sources describe it in positive terms, or when the brand develops strong associations with other attractive brands.

In the workplace, the halo effect involve bias that is either positive or negative. For example, when a leader likes an employee, they may attribute other positive traits to them (e.g. they’re smarter or more committed than others) even if it’s not accurate. This can obviously become a problem, if it affects the leader’s decisions. The best way to avoid this trap is to focus on objective measures of performance.

Obviously, this is just a taste of the behavioral research that can inform workplace leadership. But anyone can learn more — there are tons of great learning resources available online.

How do you see psychology at work in your organization? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

JacobShriarAbout the Author: Jacob Shriar is the Growth Manager at Officevibe, an employee engagement platform. He’s passionate about company culture, and he blogs regularly on productivity, employee engagement, and career tips. When he’s not reinventing the world over a glass of scotch, he likes to find new skills to learn. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more.

 

Job Auditions: Secret to Successful Hires?

By Matt Mullenweg, Founder, Automattic.

Hiring potential employees on a trial basis can help you quickly discover things about them that you can’t learn from resumes, interviews or reference checks. Here’s how it works in our organization.

Automattic (the fuel behind WordPress.com) employs more than 225 people who live all over the world, in 190 different cities. Our headquarters office is in San Francisco, and it operates similar to a coworking space. Employees who live in the Bay Area can choose to work from that location if they wish. However, most of our employees choose to work from other sites.

For us, this arrangement makes sense — our business is based on open source software, which is a decentralized product. However, outsiders have been skeptical as we’ve moved forward with our distributed work model.

At the outset they said, “That works great when you have 10 or 15 employees, but when you reach a team of 30, it falls apart.” Eventually we passed 30 employees, and we started hearing that the magic number is 100. Then people said Dunbar’s number — 150 — would be the point at which it didn’t work. Yet we keep blowing past these thresholds. We hired more than 100 people in 2013.

What’s special about us? We don’t hire the way most companies do — both in our mindset and our actions.

Mindset: We Think Differently About Work

In many businesses, if someone shows up in the morning and he isn’t drunk, he doesn’t sleep at his desk and he’s dressed nicely, it’s assumed that he’s working. But none of that takes into account what he’s actually creating during the day — and that’s really what matters.

Many people create great things without having to follow established workplace norms. Our organization measures work based on outputs. I don’t care what hours you work. I don’t care if you sleep late, or if you pick a child up from school in the afternoon. It’s all about what you produce.

This arrangement isn’t for everyone. But a lot of people like the autonomy we offer, and that’s important. So we’ve arrived at an unorthodox hiring system that serves our needs perfectly.

Behavior: We Hire by Audition

Before we hire anyone, they go through a trial process first, on contract. They can do the work at night or over the weekend, so they don’t have to leave their current job in the meantime. We pay a standard rate of $25 an hour, regardless of whether a job candidate wants to be an engineer or the chief financial officer.

During the trials, applicants perform actual work. If you’re applying to work in customer support, you’ll answer trouble tickets. If you’re an engineer, you’ll address engineering problems. If you’re a designer, you’ll design.

Seeing Is Believing

There’s nothing like being in the trenches with someone — working with them day by day. It tells you something you can’t learn from resumes, interviews or reference checks.

At the end of the trial, everyone involved has a great sense of whether they want to work together going forward. And, yes, that means everyone — it’s a mutual tryout. Some candidates decide we’re not the right fit for them. For others, the experience solidifies their commitment.

The Payoffs of Careful Hiring

Overall, we end up hiring about 40% of the people who try out with us. It’s a huge time commitment — coordinating the short-term work our applicants perform — but it leads to extremely low turnover. In the past eight years, only about 10 people have left the company, and we’ve let go of another 25 or 30. Those are great numbers in today’s work environment, so it’s a system we plan to keep utilizing.

Today, I spend at least a third of my time on hiring. And even though it’s a small part of our process, I still look at every resume the company receives, and I conduct the final interview with everyone who joins us.

It’s worth the effort. Nothing has the impact of putting the right people around the table. The aphorism is true: You can’t manage your way out of a bad team. We’ve done experiments to find the best way to hire based on our unique organizational structure. I encourage your business to do the same.

252691_10150856254811651_681132284_n(About the Author: Matt Mullenweg is the founder of Automattic, the company behind the open-source blogging platform, WordPress.com, as well as Akismet, Gravatar, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, Polldaddy and more. Additionally, Matt is a principal and founder of Audrey Capital, an investment and research company. Connect with him on Facebook or on Twitter.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from a post at Brazen Life, with permission. It is based on a talk by the author at the December 2013 Lean Startup Conference. It originally appeared on Harvard Business Review. For more information, visit the Insight Center on Talent and the New World of Hiring. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credits: Wikipedia (feature) and Kevin Abosch (author)

Tech Recruiting: Skilling Up to Fill the Middle #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: Looking for details of this week’s #TChat Events? See the Storify slideshow and resource links at the end of this post. And to learn how you can win this week’s Pebble Smartwatch giveaway, visit Dice.)

I remember when I was choosing the cover art for my book, Tech Job Hunt Handbook. I couldn’t help thinking, “How am I going to fill-in the middle?”

That’s the toughest part. Filling the middle. Developing coherent career guidance for technical professionals – from the job search, to the interview, to the hire.

But I did it. And in the process, I learned so much about how technology touches every facet of our lives, how rapidly the world of work is changing, and how important it is to stay relevant while competing for specialized jobs in areas like cloud computing, big data and mobile application development.

Retooling your skills and re-branding yourself is essential, whether you’re trying to be more effective in your current tech job — or seeking a new professional challenge — or recruiting to fill those specialized technical roles. And of course, retooling can’t be a one-shot deal. It has to be an ongoing process.

Continuous Commitment Counts

As the economy inches back, millions of people are quitting their jobs, confident they can find an attractive career next-step. These professionals are open to competent help. But even with today’s fluid, open-for-business talent pool, “filling the middle” is no easy task.

In a recent hiring survey of recruiters and hiring managers, Dice found that 5 of the 12 most challenging cities for tech recruiting are in the Midwest. Why? They’re “tough recruiting locations based on a combination of supply and demand issues.”

Frontline recruiting reports like that are a call-to-action for anyone located in “the middle,” as well as those on both coasts. Whatever your location, a winning hiring strategy takes marketing savvy, selling skills and “in the know” awareness of the technical positions you’re trying to close.

This week’s #TChat Events with Shravan Goli, President of Dice, and Sara Fleischman, Senior Technical Recruiter at Concur reinforced my conviction that “filling the middle” requires ongoing commitment, at two levels:

1) Keep Skilling Up. In today’s workplace, tech industry recruiters may feel more secure than others. But the pace of innovation is relentless — it challenging us all to stay ahead of the curve. It’s not just about matching job candidates step-for-step. It’s about proving your strength in your  role, and out-pacing other recruiters who are determined to stay “in the know.”

2) Keep Filling Up. As a tech-savvy recruiter, you may have an edge. But tech lingo isn’t the whole package. You add value by staying aware of salary trends and specifics about how your company, city and regional amenities compare. You’ll also build stronger relationships if you’re always up-to-date with practical guidance, tools and recommendations that help candidates assess new opportunities, get noticed by the right people, ace interviews and negotiate successfully.

Over time, recruiters with that kind of commitment build a reputation as resourceful “go to” career advisors. A talent pipeline eventually follows. And that’s what I call filling the middle with the right stuff.

Dice smartwatch giveaway for #TChat participantsShare Your Ideas — Win a Smartwatch!

Thanks to everyone who joined this week’s #TChat Events. We value your ideas. In fact, Dice is so interested in your input that they’re giving away a cool Pebble Smartwatch to a lucky participant!

Entering is easy. Just share your tech recruiting ideas or questions with Dice by Friday, February 7th. Then find out who wins at #TChat on Wednesday February 12th! (See details and enter now.)

#TChat Week-In-Review: How to Find Top Tech Talent

Shravan Goli Sara Fleischman (2)

See the Preview Post now

SAT 1/25:
#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring two “sneak peek” hangouts with guests, Shravan Goli and Sara Fleischman. See the #TChat Preview now: “Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

SUN 1/26:
Forbes.com Post:
In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered guidance based on her personal experience as a tech industry talent strategist. Read “How Leaders Hire Top Tech Talent.

RELATED POSTS:

What Makes Tech Talent Tick?” — by Dr. Nancy Rubin
Tech Pros’ Salaries, Confidence Rise” — January Trend Report by Dice

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio replay

WED 1/29:
#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro talked with Shravan Goli, and Sara Fleischman about what it takes to recruit tech talent in today’s competitive environment. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Shravan, and Sara joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions.

See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/finding-tech-talent-to-fuel-the-future.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Shravan Goli, and Sara Fleischman for sharing your perspectives on tech recruiting tools, techniques and trends. We value your time and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about tech recruiting issues? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how each of us can be more effective at managing our careers, with one of the nation’s best known career coaches, Maggie Mistal, and one of her clients, Laura Rolands. So save the date, Wednesday, February 5, and prepare to raise your professional game!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our NEW Google+ community, and elsewhere on social media.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Top Student Challenges

How to Build Your Network Without Burning Out

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. The following is the last post she contributed to our blog, only 10 days earlier. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all.)

The unthinkable happened during the first week in January.

TalentCulture CEO Meghan M. Biro had gone missing. She hadn’t returned a tweet from me for more than three days. Unheard of, I tell you.

Naturally, I was concerned about her well-being. I actually considered contacting Boston area hospitals. But instead, I did what any good friend would do. Resorting to an antiquated strategy, I picked up the phone and called her.

“Seriously Judy, I’m taking a break. I don’t want to burn out,” Meghan told me.

“What? A break from your BFF?” I almost blurted. Then, a calm washed over me, and instead I said, “Good for you.”

This sparked a conversation about how busy professionals like us can continue growing and navigating our social networks without compromising our stress levels. Connection and communication have taken on new importance in today’s 24/7 world of work. Those who manage the energy and minimize the stress are able to stay ahead of the competition, and sustain high performance. But it’s not easy.

Everyone manages a social network differently. It’s an intimate and personal process. We all have close connections with whom we can exchange ideas and openly vent. That’s typically not a burden on our time and attention. But in this era of digital exuberance, our social circles are growing rapidly. We need to find the signal in our niche, while filtering out the noise of a much broader network. Keeping pace requires a strategy:

8 Tips to Reduce Stress In The Face of Digital Exuberance

1) Schedule Social Sessions: Timing is everything. And quality time counts. When does your network naturally buzz with activity? If you’re a rock star, you might be inclined to check Twitter in the late evening, but if you’re into talent management and business news like me, you’re probably trolling Twitter from 7-8 a.m. Instead of trying to pay attention 24/7, pick one or two intervals each a day to dip into the stream. Don’t just “fly by” with retweets — really dive in and engage in conversations that build relationships. But when your scheduled time is up, move on. Eventually, you’ll adjust to an established rhythm, and so will those in your inner circles.

2) Take Breathing Breaks: Twitter and Facebook interactions can become surprisingly intense. Periodically, take 5 minutes to literally sit back and just follow your breath. Close your eyes, or look away from the screen. Simply being aware of how you are breathing helps regulate cortisol, the “stress-producing” hormone. Count as you inhale – one, two, three. Then hold your breath for several seconds, and exhale to the count of three. Better managing stress “in the moment” gives you more energy later, when you may need to tap into your reserves.

3) Stand Up and Stretch: Once in a while just walk away. Yes, leave the computer behind. This is important to get blood circulating in your body, which delivers more oxygen to your brain. If you prefer not to stand, push your chair away from the desk. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, clasping your hands in a “steeple” position. Look up and gaze at your hands for several moments. Then exhale slowly while your hands float gradually back down to your sides. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to shift back into business gear.

4) Hum with Purpose: That’s right — make noise. Humming actually calms the mind and body. It’s an ancient yogic technique that helps focus attention prior to meditation. The sound reverberates in your skull, and helps your brain rewire your attention. Here’s how: Plug your ears with your fingers and inhale deeply. Pause. Then as you exhale, hum for the reminder of the “out breath.” Repeat two more times. If you feel dizzy, stop. But ideally, it will help release tension and help you focus.

5) Let Filtering Tools Work for You: Sometimes we need to look beyond human behavior for help. If we opened every link that came our way we’d never sleep. Aggregation tools help consolidate and organize the chaos — news sources, blog posts, and other information sources of interest. I’ve set up Google alerts to deliver breaking news on keywords that matter most to me. For less critical topics, I receive news feeds once a week. You can use Hootsuite, Buffer Tweetdeck and Aggregation tools and dashboards to identify relevant content and create a delivery schedule that works for you.

6) Harness Hashtags: Hashtags are the fastest way to share and find relevant information on Twitter. For example, professionals who participate in the TalentCulture community share HR and business leadership knowledge by adding the #TChat hashtag to their tweets. At any moment, anyone can search for #TChat, to see the community’s latest tweets. It’s like round-the-clock access to the most popular human resources conversation on the planet. If you follow a hashtag like #TChat in your Twitter dashboard, you’ll quickly and easily find helpful peers, ideas and advice. Also, when you schedule Twitter posts, be sure to add hashtags that reflect your area of expertise. Your posts will reach people in your niche, even when you’re offline.

7) Leverage Human Relationships: Sometimes, all of us need to unplug for several days or more. When you do, plan ahead. Just because you’ll be off the grid doesn’t mean your networking must come to a standstill. Reach out to several people in your immediate network. Let them know that you’re taking a break, and ask for a little extra support in sharing your work on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — wherever you’re most active. You can even form ongoing support alliances and develop common “social back-up” guidelines. Just remember, you’re not alone.

8) Create a FOMO Free Zone: Perhaps the most important advice I can offer is to honor your social self. Competitive pressure shouldn’t drive your social brand development. Don’t let yourself become obsessed with how other people behave on social channels, or about whether volume or frequency of their activity trumps your own efforts. Whatever your message is, you’ll succeed when you deliver it through your own lens, with your own voice, to an audience that is naturally interested in you. Forget #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

Of course, even with healthy habits, it often feels like we’re networking at the speed of light. But hopefully these tips help you slow the pace a bit, focus on what matters, and generate more energy to fuel your social success.

Do you have tips for reducing stress and improving productivity in the age of social networking? What techniques and tools work for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Community: A Brand's Most Powerful Friend

Perhaps nothing drives a brand forward more than its community.

An estimated 55% of consumers are willing to recommend companies that deliver great experiences, and 85% are willing to pay a premium for great services. But who are the “people” making those recommendations and purchasing decisions?

They’re members of your community, right?

I’m certain that if I asked every CMO and marketing leader I know to describe their brand community, I would get a different answer from each. “Community” is a subjective concept, with wide varying definitions.

Community-Influencing-Buyer-BehaviorThere are also wide variations in how brands are seen, heard and felt by their respective communities. How deeply does a community feel connected to a brand?

For instance, think about Apple and its community. Apple gets attention because its brand recognition is extraordinary. But have you considered the powerful impact that Apple’s community has had on the success of the brand?

To demonstrate my point, think of the last conversation you’ve had with an “Apple fan” about the company, its products or its competitors. What did that conversation sound like?

If your experience is anything like mine, the conversation was probably wonderful, as long as you agreed about how wonderful Apple and its products are. However, if you dared to question the quality of Apple’s products, ideas or ability to innovate, you no doubt soon realized that you had crossed into enemy territory.

Those kind of conversations are a lot like telling your child that Santa isn’t real — only worse. But it speaks highly of the Apple community.

What is the catalyst for Apple’s insanely powerful connection with its community?

By-in-large, Apple doesn’t behave like a “nouveau” social company, so they’re not building their brand army through Facebook and Twitter. But it has brought together a passionate, global community by creating a sense of “belonging” that customers feel deeply when they use Apple products.

The iconic Apple slogan, “Think Different” epitomizes its cult-like following. On any given day at Starbucks around the world, people who want to be seen as broad-minded, creative thinkers are often found hovering over a Macbook — almost as if the presence of an Apple product is synonymous with their identity.

For Apple, this works. Through a customer experience focused on the idea that being different and innovative is “cool,” Apple has built one of the tightest brand communities on and off the web. But of course, Apple is a huge, established company, with a massive budget for community development. It leads me to wonder — how can other brands, smaller brands, newer brands tap into the power of community?

Not Just Community — A Close Community

Think about the neighborhood where you grew up. What was it like? Was it urban or rural? Were there many houses or just a few? Did you know your neighbors, or were they merely passing strangers?

Regardless of their shape, size and geography, most neighborhoods provide some sense of community. However, all neighborhoods aren’t the same. In my hometown, there was a “Community Center” — a place where folks from the neighborhood would congregate, connect and discuss issues affecting the area.

In that kind of environment, as citizens drew closer, the more they worked together to get things done — for example installing a stop sign where kids played in the street, and passing a referendum to build a new school. Over the years, as traditional urban settings gave way to modern models, subdivisions often created a community “on purpose,” with a Neighborhood Watch, a Board of Directors, and sometimes even a pool and recreation center.

This intentional approach to community brings stakeholders closer, by making neighborhood issues and events more visible, and helping community participants see the impact of their involvement.

Building a Brand Community Like a Neighborhood

When you boil it down to its simplest form, a community is the sum total of your brand stakeholders. I say stakeholder (rather than customer) because many people can participate in a brand community, beyond those who purchase a company’s products and services.

First, there are obvious extensions, such as employees and friends. Also, there are less obvious community players, such as those who are interested in learning more about your products and services, but may not have an immediate need to buy.

Let’s use automobiles as an example.

In 1995, when I was 14, my favorite car in the whole world was the new Pontiac Grand Prix. It had just been redesigned as a “wide track” model, and as a 14 year old, I thought it was one bad machine. However, at 14, I wasn’t legally or financially able to buy a car.

Four years later, I had scraped together all the loose change from under the sofa cushions, and I was ready to buy a car. Guess what I bought? The Grand Prix! That’s because I had emotionally tied myself to the brand, the car, and the community. When I was ready to purchase, it wasn’t even a question who would earn my business.

While my story is just one example, this type of brand loyalty exists with everything from the food we eat to the blue jeans we wear, and beyond. When people become a part of something, their purchasing sentiment changes. And guess what? So does the way they evangelize for your product. You think someone that likes your product is a good ambassador. Just think of someone who recently bought your product and likes it! That is another great frontier for brand building.

Which takes us back to building a close-knit community. It requires a setting for cultivation and nurturing. Much like a neighborhood — only different — to suit the needs of the brand and its community.

Community in the Connected World

If you think about the neighborhood example, you’ll likely think that a good community is small, tight knit, and somewhat directionally aligned.

But in the new world — the connected world where we manage communities on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and what seems like a million other places — the idea of community can become overwhelming. That’s because the “massiveness” of the online sphere is hard for many marketers to imagine in meaningful terms.

This can lead marketers to make some key community-building mistakes:

1) They aim too large: Mere numbers (pageviews, visits, likes, followers) aren’t relationships;
2) They don’t engage: Communicating with a “faceless” digital community can seem like a daunting task;
3) They miss out: Online communities are a powerful way to build influential brand advocates, but sometimes inaction takes over when brands don’t know where to start.When-Communities-Fail-

While these mistakes are typical, they can be avoided with a few common-sense tactics:

1) Aim for relevance: Rather than shooting for a large community, start by aiming for those that are most likely to buy your product/service now or in the near future. Also, with online networks (especially social networks), research where your target audience invests its time, and go there first!

2) Engage more than you promote: Share your stories, ideas and information, but make sure you allow the community to become part of the conversation. Ask more questions. Build more testimonials and case studies. Invite participation.

3) Start: Even if your “start” is small, don’t miss the opportunity to build a community by putting your head in the sand.Making-Communities-Succeed

Remember: Building A Community Can Take Time

Apple has an amazing community of insanely loyal brand advocates. It also nearly crashed and burned on multiple occasions, and was saved by innovation that focused on consumption of music on a tiny MP3 player. For other companies, community takes time and work to build.

This starts at the core — building products and services that your customers can love. It also may include places for customers to congregate and talk about how they put your products to use.

On the flip side, community building also requires brands to acknowledge shortcomings and respond transparently when things go poorly. Think about what Target and Snap Chat will need to invest in rebuilding brand confidence after recent security breaches. Neither of these incidents was intentional, but trust was lost, and recovery will take time and monumental effort.

However, there is a certain beauty in community. When you build it, nurture it and engage with it, your community will tend to stand by your brand in good times and in bad. While never perfect — like your family, your neighborhood or your city — your brand community is one of the most powerful tools in the connected world.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore or underestimate the power of your community!

(Editor’s Note: Republished from Millennial CEO, with permission, this is an excerpt from “The New Rules of Customer Engagement,” a new ebook by Dan Newman, available Spring 2014. )

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Texas A&M

Community: A Brand’s Most Powerful Friend

Perhaps nothing drives a brand forward more than its community.

An estimated 55% of consumers are willing to recommend companies that deliver great experiences, and 85% are willing to pay a premium for great services. But who are the “people” making those recommendations and purchasing decisions?

They’re members of your community, right?

I’m certain that if I asked every CMO and marketing leader I know to describe their brand community, I would get a different answer from each. “Community” is a subjective concept, with wide varying definitions.

Community-Influencing-Buyer-BehaviorThere are also wide variations in how brands are seen, heard and felt by their respective communities. How deeply does a community feel connected to a brand?

For instance, think about Apple and its community. Apple gets attention because its brand recognition is extraordinary. But have you considered the powerful impact that Apple’s community has had on the success of the brand?

To demonstrate my point, think of the last conversation you’ve had with an “Apple fan” about the company, its products or its competitors. What did that conversation sound like?

If your experience is anything like mine, the conversation was probably wonderful, as long as you agreed about how wonderful Apple and its products are. However, if you dared to question the quality of Apple’s products, ideas or ability to innovate, you no doubt soon realized that you had crossed into enemy territory.

Those kind of conversations are a lot like telling your child that Santa isn’t real — only worse. But it speaks highly of the Apple community.

What is the catalyst for Apple’s insanely powerful connection with its community?

By-in-large, Apple doesn’t behave like a “nouveau” social company, so they’re not building their brand army through Facebook and Twitter. But it has brought together a passionate, global community by creating a sense of “belonging” that customers feel deeply when they use Apple products.

The iconic Apple slogan, “Think Different” epitomizes its cult-like following. On any given day at Starbucks around the world, people who want to be seen as broad-minded, creative thinkers are often found hovering over a Macbook — almost as if the presence of an Apple product is synonymous with their identity.

For Apple, this works. Through a customer experience focused on the idea that being different and innovative is “cool,” Apple has built one of the tightest brand communities on and off the web. But of course, Apple is a huge, established company, with a massive budget for community development. It leads me to wonder — how can other brands, smaller brands, newer brands tap into the power of community?

Not Just Community — A Close Community

Think about the neighborhood where you grew up. What was it like? Was it urban or rural? Were there many houses or just a few? Did you know your neighbors, or were they merely passing strangers?

Regardless of their shape, size and geography, most neighborhoods provide some sense of community. However, all neighborhoods aren’t the same. In my hometown, there was a “Community Center” — a place where folks from the neighborhood would congregate, connect and discuss issues affecting the area.

In that kind of environment, as citizens drew closer, the more they worked together to get things done — for example installing a stop sign where kids played in the street, and passing a referendum to build a new school. Over the years, as traditional urban settings gave way to modern models, subdivisions often created a community “on purpose,” with a Neighborhood Watch, a Board of Directors, and sometimes even a pool and recreation center.

This intentional approach to community brings stakeholders closer, by making neighborhood issues and events more visible, and helping community participants see the impact of their involvement.

Building a Brand Community Like a Neighborhood

When you boil it down to its simplest form, a community is the sum total of your brand stakeholders. I say stakeholder (rather than customer) because many people can participate in a brand community, beyond those who purchase a company’s products and services.

First, there are obvious extensions, such as employees and friends. Also, there are less obvious community players, such as those who are interested in learning more about your products and services, but may not have an immediate need to buy.

Let’s use automobiles as an example.

In 1995, when I was 14, my favorite car in the whole world was the new Pontiac Grand Prix. It had just been redesigned as a “wide track” model, and as a 14 year old, I thought it was one bad machine. However, at 14, I wasn’t legally or financially able to buy a car.

Four years later, I had scraped together all the loose change from under the sofa cushions, and I was ready to buy a car. Guess what I bought? The Grand Prix! That’s because I had emotionally tied myself to the brand, the car, and the community. When I was ready to purchase, it wasn’t even a question who would earn my business.

While my story is just one example, this type of brand loyalty exists with everything from the food we eat to the blue jeans we wear, and beyond. When people become a part of something, their purchasing sentiment changes. And guess what? So does the way they evangelize for your product. You think someone that likes your product is a good ambassador. Just think of someone who recently bought your product and likes it! That is another great frontier for brand building.

Which takes us back to building a close-knit community. It requires a setting for cultivation and nurturing. Much like a neighborhood — only different — to suit the needs of the brand and its community.

Community in the Connected World

If you think about the neighborhood example, you’ll likely think that a good community is small, tight knit, and somewhat directionally aligned.

But in the new world — the connected world where we manage communities on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and what seems like a million other places — the idea of community can become overwhelming. That’s because the “massiveness” of the online sphere is hard for many marketers to imagine in meaningful terms.

This can lead marketers to make some key community-building mistakes:

1) They aim too large: Mere numbers (pageviews, visits, likes, followers) aren’t relationships;
2) They don’t engage: Communicating with a “faceless” digital community can seem like a daunting task;
3) They miss out: Online communities are a powerful way to build influential brand advocates, but sometimes inaction takes over when brands don’t know where to start.When-Communities-Fail-

While these mistakes are typical, they can be avoided with a few common-sense tactics:

1) Aim for relevance: Rather than shooting for a large community, start by aiming for those that are most likely to buy your product/service now or in the near future. Also, with online networks (especially social networks), research where your target audience invests its time, and go there first!

2) Engage more than you promote: Share your stories, ideas and information, but make sure you allow the community to become part of the conversation. Ask more questions. Build more testimonials and case studies. Invite participation.

3) Start: Even if your “start” is small, don’t miss the opportunity to build a community by putting your head in the sand.Making-Communities-Succeed

Remember: Building A Community Can Take Time

Apple has an amazing community of insanely loyal brand advocates. It also nearly crashed and burned on multiple occasions, and was saved by innovation that focused on consumption of music on a tiny MP3 player. For other companies, community takes time and work to build.

This starts at the core — building products and services that your customers can love. It also may include places for customers to congregate and talk about how they put your products to use.

On the flip side, community building also requires brands to acknowledge shortcomings and respond transparently when things go poorly. Think about what Target and Snap Chat will need to invest in rebuilding brand confidence after recent security breaches. Neither of these incidents was intentional, but trust was lost, and recovery will take time and monumental effort.

However, there is a certain beauty in community. When you build it, nurture it and engage with it, your community will tend to stand by your brand in good times and in bad. While never perfect — like your family, your neighborhood or your city — your brand community is one of the most powerful tools in the connected world.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore or underestimate the power of your community!

(Editor’s Note: Republished from Millennial CEO, with permission, this is an excerpt from “The New Rules of Customer Engagement,” a new ebook by Dan Newman, available Spring 2014. )

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Texas A&M

Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit

Last year, when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting for her employees, the decision stirred a vigorous debate about whether it’s valid for any business to let employees work from home.

As I see it, any organization can boost the personal and professional productivity of its workforce through telecommuting. And the more widely it is embraced, the better for the company.

Therefore, it’s a smart move to integrate technologies that make the work-from-home process smoother and more seamless.

Telecommuting Success: It’s More Than Technology

However, simply putting new technology into place and allowing your workforce to telecommute won’t make your business productive. Successful virtual work initiatives still require effective management. Leaders need to engage team members (as if they were physically at the office) and make sure they are kept in the loop, so they remain psychologically and socially connected, even when they don’t share a physical office space.

5 Key Business Benefits

But that said, when virtual work options are implemented appropriately, the advantages are abundant. For example, here are five major ways companies can benefit:

1) Morale: Happier employees get more done. In many cities, employees deal with a grinding commute, only to sit in an office where they interact very little with their coworkers. Whether the telecommuting arrangement is permanent or just a weekly flex day, the reduced travel and stress can provide a tremendous boost in employee morale.

2) Talent Acquisition: This can be a significant advantage in both large and small markets, because the best talent isn’t always within driving distance. This is certainly affected by the scope of the position, but businesses that don’t require day-to-day physical access to a shared office can benefit by finding the best candidates, regardless of physical location. Telecommuting lets companies choose from a much larger talent pool when it’s time to recruit for open positions.

3) Productivity: If you have ever worked remotely you probably know that you can accomplish much more when the conditions are right. At many offices, constant distractions mean less work gets done than the company desires. While face-to-face camaraderie may help employees build relationships, beyond small talk, there isn’t much that can be accomplished sitting in a meeting room that can’t be accomplished from a distance, using collaboration tools.

4) Flexibility: Trying to bring teams together in the same space and time isn’t necessarily easier because everyone travels to a central office. The technology that companies adopt to enable telecommuting allows teams to collaborate in real time from anywhere members are located. Participants can access teleconferencing, web conferencing and telepresence from almost anywhere. So when people can’t be in the same physical place, the meeting will still go on.

5) Adoption: I have said this for as long as I can remember: ”Eat your own dog food!” Any business that considers itself a high-tech organization should adopt tools, structures and processes required for successful telecommuting. What’s more, these capabilities should be  promoted as a way the workforce can achieve maximum productivity and work-life balance. Using this technology day in and day out can truly bring the organization closer. And the value of that connection can be priceless, as it translates to better selling, delivery and support of the solutions your customers need.

What other ways can organizations benefit from telecommuting? Does your company allow telecommuting? If not, why? Share your opinions and ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted with permission from an article written for and published in Commercial Integrator Magazine and republished by Millennial CEO.)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

TalentCulture's Greatest Hits: 2013 Edition

Lists! Lists! Lists! As we close the chapter on 2013, there’s no denying — the “best of” list season is in full swing.

And who can blame blogs for sharing top picks from the past year? After all, lists are incredibly easy to create, and there’s a certain seductive power in a headline that promises to deliver all the goods in just one single round-up post.

But for me, picking “best” blog posts is like picking “best” children — an impossible task. I’ve spent hours helping to envision, edit, implement and promote every one of the 200 posts we produced last year. And to me, each is uniquely relevant and valuable in its own right.

So please consider our showcase of 2013’s most popular content more than a “best of” list. It’s also our way of recognizing ALL of the many “world of work” experts who have contributed to our blog, our weekly radio shows, and our #TChat Twitter chats. For example:

Business leaders like Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse; Richie Etwaru, Group VP, Cegedim CRM; Todd Owens, President, TalentWise; Dr. Janice Presser, Founder, The Gabriel Institute, and Jason Averbook, Chief Innovation Officer, Appirio.

World of work observers and educators like Josh Bersin, Angela Maiers, Dr. Marla Gottschalk, and Dr. Nancy Rubin

Best-selling authors like Bob Burg, Stan Phelps, Marcia Conner, Jamie Notter and Ekaterina Walter.

To these contributors, and to the many others who participate in our community of purpose, thank you. We’re all better because you share professional insights that are relevant today, and will clearly stand the test of time. Need convincing? Check out the items below, and let us know what you think…

Top 10 TalentCulture Posts (Most Popular)

1) Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

2) Want Engaged Employees? Tell Them Why — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

3) Are You a Good Fit? 3 Interview Questions — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

4) 5 Social Skills Business Leaders Must Master — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

5) Considering a Career Change? Take a 360 Snapshot — by Dorie Clark, marketing strategy consultant, branding expert and author, Reinventing You

6) Brainstorming is Broken: Rethinking Group Dynamics — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

7) Gen Y at Work: Feedback Changes Everything — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

8) The Steep Cost of Poor Management — by Tatiana Beale, Achievers

9) Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First — by Hans Balmaekers, Founder and Director, sa.am

10) Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem — by David Smooke, Director of Social Media, SmartRecruiters

Top 3 #TChat Radio Shows  (Most Popular)

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to #TChat Radio replays

1) How Collaboration Unifies Polarization — featuring Jesse Lyn Stoner

2) The Big Deal With HR Data — featuring Andrew Courtois and Christene Pantalone

3) How Open Leaders Win Employee Hearts and Minds — featuring Dan Pontefract

Top 3 #TChat Event Preview Posts (Most Popular)

Featuring G+ hangouts hosted by Tim McDonald, Community Manager, TalentCulture + Director of Community, Huffington Post.

1) Leadership + Influence, From The Inside Out — featuring Steve Gutzler

2) You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand — featuring Dorie Clark

3) Should Work Be Fun? Really? — featuring Dan Benoni

Top 3 #TChat Recaps (Most Popular)

1) HR Data: What Really Counts? — by Kathleen Kruse

2) Mindfully Managing Your Personal Brand — by Kevin W. Grossman

3) Face-to-Face With Brand Humanization — by Megan Burkett

Of course, this is only a slice from the TalentCulture archives. There’s much more inside — over 500 posts with helpful ideas and guidance on workplace culture, innovation, leadership, learning, career strategy, HR and talent management. So feel free to stop by anytime.

And no matter what your professional interests may be, we hope you’ll continue to bring your ideas and opinions to the TalentCulture table throughout 2014. Because, no matter how “popular” our blog or events may be on any given day, it’s our community’s collective energy that will truly shape the future of work. So, together, let’s discover how we can be even better.

Your Turn

What topics were your favorites in 2013? And what issues would you like to explore in the year ahead? Share your ideas in the comments area — we’re listening!

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like these with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

TalentCulture’s Greatest Hits: 2013 Edition

Lists! Lists! Lists! As we close the chapter on 2013, there’s no denying — the “best of” list season is in full swing.

And who can blame blogs for sharing top picks from the past year? After all, lists are incredibly easy to create, and there’s a certain seductive power in a headline that promises to deliver all the goods in just one single round-up post.

But for me, picking “best” blog posts is like picking “best” children — an impossible task. I’ve spent hours helping to envision, edit, implement and promote every one of the 200 posts we produced last year. And to me, each is uniquely relevant and valuable in its own right.

So please consider our showcase of 2013’s most popular content more than a “best of” list. It’s also our way of recognizing ALL of the many “world of work” experts who have contributed to our blog, our weekly radio shows, and our #TChat Twitter chats. For example:

Business leaders like Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse; Richie Etwaru, Group VP, Cegedim CRM; Todd Owens, President, TalentWise; Dr. Janice Presser, Founder, The Gabriel Institute, and Jason Averbook, Chief Innovation Officer, Appirio.

World of work observers and educators like Josh Bersin, Angela Maiers, Dr. Marla Gottschalk, and Dr. Nancy Rubin

Best-selling authors like Bob Burg, Stan Phelps, Marcia Conner, Jamie Notter and Ekaterina Walter.

To these contributors, and to the many others who participate in our community of purpose, thank you. We’re all better because you share professional insights that are relevant today, and will clearly stand the test of time. Need convincing? Check out the items below, and let us know what you think…

Top 10 TalentCulture Posts (Most Popular)

1) Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

2) Want Engaged Employees? Tell Them Why — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

3) Are You a Good Fit? 3 Interview Questions — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

4) 5 Social Skills Business Leaders Must Master — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

5) Considering a Career Change? Take a 360 Snapshot — by Dorie Clark, marketing strategy consultant, branding expert and author, Reinventing You

6) Brainstorming is Broken: Rethinking Group Dynamics — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

7) Gen Y at Work: Feedback Changes Everything — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

8) The Steep Cost of Poor Management — by Tatiana Beale, Achievers

9) Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First — by Hans Balmaekers, Founder and Director, sa.am

10) Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem — by David Smooke, Director of Social Media, SmartRecruiters

Top 3 #TChat Radio Shows  (Most Popular)

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to #TChat Radio replays

1) How Collaboration Unifies Polarization — featuring Jesse Lyn Stoner

2) The Big Deal With HR Data — featuring Andrew Courtois and Christene Pantalone

3) How Open Leaders Win Employee Hearts and Minds — featuring Dan Pontefract

Top 3 #TChat Event Preview Posts (Most Popular)

Featuring G+ hangouts hosted by Tim McDonald, Community Manager, TalentCulture + Director of Community, Huffington Post.

1) Leadership + Influence, From The Inside Out — featuring Steve Gutzler

2) You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand — featuring Dorie Clark

3) Should Work Be Fun? Really? — featuring Dan Benoni

Top 3 #TChat Recaps (Most Popular)

1) HR Data: What Really Counts? — by Kathleen Kruse

2) Mindfully Managing Your Personal Brand — by Kevin W. Grossman

3) Face-to-Face With Brand Humanization — by Megan Burkett

Of course, this is only a slice from the TalentCulture archives. There’s much more inside — over 500 posts with helpful ideas and guidance on workplace culture, innovation, leadership, learning, career strategy, HR and talent management. So feel free to stop by anytime.

And no matter what your professional interests may be, we hope you’ll continue to bring your ideas and opinions to the TalentCulture table throughout 2014. Because, no matter how “popular” our blog or events may be on any given day, it’s our community’s collective energy that will truly shape the future of work. So, together, let’s discover how we can be even better.

Your Turn

What topics were your favorites in 2013? And what issues would you like to explore in the year ahead? Share your ideas in the comments area — we’re listening!

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like these with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

More Minds: How Diverse Ideas Drive Innovation

Is it me, or has 2013 been an extraordinary year for stories from the forefront of social business, leadership and organizational culture? For every new book I finish, it seems that 3-4 more find their way to my “must read” list. There never seems to be enough time to take it all in.

Among the books I’ve had time to complete, several have made a lasting impression. One of them is Ekaterina Walter’s Think Like Zuck: Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO. Of course, we all know another book that speaks to Mark Zuckerberg’s success. What more is there to say, right? Wrong.

Diversity of Thought: Rocket Fuel For Business?

Ekaterina looks beneath the surface of Facebook’s founder in an engaging assessment of why his company is so successful. Along the way, she uncovers something that many other leadership books seem to miss — the power of diversity in innovation.

I’m not just talking about demographic diversity. Don’t get me wrong — demographic diversity is absolutely vital to innovation, and organizations still have a long way to go in that regard. But since we know that diversity is strength, it makes sense to expand the classic business understanding of workforce “diversity.” This isn’t a counterpoint to the demographic meaning, but an extension of it. A flourish. An embellishment. In the same way that jazz performers rely upon flourishes to add unique depth and character to their music, diversity has the potential to elevate the business innovation process in unique and valuable ways.

How can leaders put this insight into practice? Here are three factors to consider:

1) Yin Needs Yang

In Think Like Zuck, Walter defines five “musts” for business success: passion, purpose, people, product, partnership. It was her thought-provoking chapters on people and partnerships that made me really sit up and start thinking about diversity, and why it’s vital.

Because of Zuckerberg’s passion and smarts, Facebook did well nearly from the start. But it didn’t go into orbit until Zuckerberg picked Sheryl Sandberg as his COO. Walter writes:

She had a completely different style from his. I think their differences are what make the Zuckerberg-Sandberg duo such an extraordinary team. They complement each other very well. What Mark lacks in experience, Sheryl brings to the table in abundance. When he doesn’t feel like stepping into the limelight, she steps in for him masterfully. The difference in age, as well as gender, contributes various perspectives and capabilities.

“Yeah,” I thought, “that makes a lot of sense. So why don’t more companies get this? Isn’t it obvious?” Nailing the point, Walter quotes Leslie Bradshaw of JESS3 (a social media firm that serves world-class companies like Nike, MTV, Samsung, NASA, Twitter, ESPN and Google):

In our partnership, Jesse Thomas is the yang, and…I have enough yin to balance it out. If you look beyond our personalities, the fact that our genders are different also adds diversity. The perspective I bring as a woman is very different from what he brings as a man, and that helps balance out the way we hire, the way we treat our employees, and the way we approach strategies when we execute for clients.

“Of course!” I shouted. (Luckily, I was alone. HA). Of course diversity allows you to do more — to think more, think differently, think better! It seems self-evident, really. Yet it can be incredibly hard to convince CEOs and managers to hire or involve people who are different from them. People who do things differently, who think differently. It’s a perceived risk. And it’s wrong. “Everyone needs to be talking about this” I insisted. I was pretty fired up — but with good cause, don’t you think?

2) It’s Proven: Two Brains (and Personalities) Are Better Than One

Inspired by Walter’s book, I dove into Hutch Carpenter’s article “Diversity and Innovation: Improve the Person, Improve the Idea.” Pacing back and forth, I searched for past threads that would push my current thought process forward:

A key aspect of the next generation of innovation is the ability to tap a much larger set of minds in pursuit of valuable ideas. The historic method of innovation relied exclusively on a designated few. (“So true!”) Diversity is the key element here. That is, engaging a broad set of different perspectives to generate something better than one could do individually. Cognitive and heuristics diversity — that’s what benefits innovation. People who see things in a different way, and bring a different practice to solving problems.

“Good, good, yes,” I thought, still talking to myself. “Of course — put people together, you get more ideas. Like one plus one, right?”

Not quite. Instead, we need to think one of this kind, plus one of another kind. Carpenter cites a study by Ron Burt of The University of Chicago, finding that “people with more diverse sources of information generated consistently better ideas.”

So. It’s not just about more sources. It’s about more more diverse sources.

3) E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One?)

Then I found out something totally cool. Are you ready for this? Group diversity leads to better innovation than a genius inventor working alone (or a group working in isolation) — even when that solo entity gets input from others. Although the “lone inventor” may come up with great innovations (okay, we’re all thinking Alexander Graham Bell) it’s less likely that will happen than with communities of diverse thinkers who freely explore ideas together.

It’s true: Zuckerberg didn’t work alone. And neither did Alexander Graham Bell. Facebook and the telephone may have been visions of “lone inventors,” but those visions became world-changing products only because Zuckerberg and Bell worked well with others who thought differently from them.

As Ekaterina Walter makes abundantly clear, Mark Zuckerberg, along with many others, has created a platform more powerful for letting our voices be heard than anything since the invention of the printing press. It’s the basis for social community on a grand scale.

Social Networks and Innovation: The Bigger Business Picture

Okay, then. So the tools are there to connect our diverse dots. Why not use social networks to create a new world of work? All of us, together, representing a spectrum of talents, personalities, styles, backgrounds, brains, ideas, experience. All of us focused on contributing to a common purpose. A diverse community — an orchestra, of sorts.

We could be riffing together like jazz musicians to create organizational cultures that are more responsive, resilient, energized, engaging and innovative. Diversity playing in unison isn’t only music. It can, in fact, inform the future of work.

What are your thoughts about the power of diverse thinking in the workplace? What’s the best business book you’ve read this year? And what did it teach you?

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

(Also Note: This post is adapted from Forbes.com, with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

2014: Year of the Social Employer Brand Ambassador

We already know that social media is extremely powerful for business communication. Essentially, anyone with an internet connection has the potential to cultivate and grow a brand. Corporate brand, product brand, personal brand, employer brand — the possibilities are limitless.

It’s as easy as flipping on a light switch! Well maybe not that easy, but social channels have blown traditional media out of the water, and there’s no going back.

Of course, with its potential to drive brand development, social proliferation can also have a huge impact on talent acquisition and retention. How does that work? The idea in leveraging social media to grow a brand is through a fan base that we call “brand ambassadors.” Collectively, your ambassador group functions like a marketing and promotional team that amplifies the message for whatever it is that you’re trying to sell — products, services, yourself or your organization.

Employer Brand Ambassadors: What’s the Challenge?

If you’re an employer, which audience should be your biggest, most important source of brand ambassadors? Customers? Industry thought leaders? Local media outlets? Nope — it’s your employees. But do organizations currently view employees this way? Based on my experience in working with HR executives, I struggle to say yes.

We know that social media instantly connects you with the online world, and the most effective way to grow an employer brand is through social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, blogs, Instagram, Pinterest — the list goes on. So ideally, if employees are your prime brand ambassadors, and social media is the best way to grow your brand, you should be able to say that, when your employees interact with others on social channels, they’re effectively promoting your organization as a great place to work.

Are you confident making that claim? Unfortunately for most employers, the answer seems to be NO!

Enter My Bold Prediction for 2014

With the holiday season upon us, we’re seeing our share of blog posts about HR Technology predictions for 2014. One of many good reads is from Craig Bryant at the TLNT blog, “5 Predictions for Where HR Technology is Going in 2014.

My key prediction is a tad bold, but here goes: I think that organizations are ready to give their employees the right tools, so they can easily represent the company as brand ambassadors on social media. In other words, employers will actively explore and implement cloud-based solutions that make it simple for employees to curate and share high-quality, on-brand content with their connections.

Why Does This Shift Matter?

The biggest barrier organizations face when integrating social media across business functions is the inability to ensure a consistent, coherent brand message and voice. It’s about mitigating risk and ensuring that employee social media activity creates a net positive impact, and doesn’t result in PR fiascos. (Case in point: HMV employees react to firing on Twitter.)

Organizations that figure out how to remove these barriers so employees can comfortably operate as employer brand ambassadors will see huge gains in all facets of their business. Think about it — if your company has 500 employees, and each employee has an average social media network of 300 people, that’s a direct network of 150,000. All of these 150,000 connections have a network of their own, so before you know it, you’re reaching millions — all because you enabled your inner circle.

Mark my words: 2014 will be a watershed year of “employee enablement.” Organizations will gain momentum by creating and supporting brand ambassadors who come from within their ranks.

There are very few players in this space, but watch for momentum in the year ahead. You’ll want to look at platforms like PostBeyond, Jostle and EveryoneSocial to see how they help organizations support employees as brand ambassadors. Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, 2014 is going to be a milestone year for social HR business tools!

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

#TChatHoliday: Sharing Warm Wishes, Community-Style!

The holidays are a perfect time to reflect upon the past year’s experiences, and look ahead to new opportunities — something the TalentCulture community does continuously.

But earlier this week, Kevin W. Grossman joined me for a brief hangout to compare notes about what it has meant to connect with all of you this year, what our holiday plans are, and best of all, why we’re so excited for 2014!

Of course, we’re not the only ones with ideas, plans and goodwill to share with the community. We’d love to hear from you, too!

Just leave a comment below — or post a tweet, photo or video from Vine or Instagram, and include the hashtag #TChatHoliday. As we roll into the New Year, we’ll curate and share your greetings, memories and aspirations for all to see.

THANK YOU for being part of our growing, thriving, continuous world of work conversation! We appreciate everyone who is helping us explore this new form of community building.

We hope that you enjoyed Hanukkah and Thanksgiving holidays. And we wish you a Merry Christmas, Heri za Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Looking forward to our next #TChat on January 8 — but until then, make the most of this time to catch-up with those who matter most to you. Stay safe, and be merry!

Image credit: Kirkland’s

HR Generalists: Tricks of the Trade #TChat Recap

Recruiting and hiring.
Compensation and benefits.
Organizational design and development.
Compliance and employee relations.
Training and performance management.
Change management and internal communications.
The list goes on…

In today’s world of work, the areas of expertise that define HR are varied and complex. Yet, most companies are too small to employ a dedicated staff of specialists. It forces the question:

In an era of increasing specialization, how can one person successfully run an entire human resource department?

Of course, this isn’t just an academic exercise. For many HR professionals, nonstop multitasking now seems to be a way of life. Recent research by The Society For Human Resource Management suggests that there’s a widespread need to support small HR shops. According to SHRM, a majority of its 275,000 members represent HR departments of 1-5 people. They know what it means to juggle many demands on a daily basis. But how can they perform effectively?

That’s the issue our talent-minded community tackled this week at #TChat Events, where two  “in-the-trenches” HR veterans led the discussion:

Dave Ryan, SPHR, Director of Human Resources at Mel-O-Cream Donuts, and
Donna Rogers,
SPHR, owner of Rogers HR Consulting, and management instructor at University of Illinois Springfield.

(Note: For details, see the highlights slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Context: How Essential Is HR, Itself?

Recently, a debate has been brewing about the value of HR departments, overall. Bernard Marr questioned the need for an HR function, while Josh Bersin championed its role. Bersin emphasizes the fact that, despite a tremendous need to reskill and transform the HR function, human resources professionals help solve some of today’s most fundamental business problems. Top executives recognize the strategic role that talent plays in organizational success, and HR professionals are best equipped to define, shape and implement those strategies.

But how does that apply to solo HR managers, who may be living in a perpetually reactive zone? Ben Eubanks describes the best one-person HR departments as leaders with entrepreneurial traits:

We don’t pick up the phone and call our corporate HR team. We ARE the corporate HR team.
We are comfortable with research and making judgment calls.
We constantly seek out opportunities for professional development — if you’re not growing you’re dying.

Comments From the TalentCulture Crowd

Because many #TChat-ters understand the challenges that multi-tasking HR generalists face each day, the vast majority of Twitter chat participants sang the praises of one-person shops. In addition, many offered thoughtful advice. For example:

As the #TChat discussion demonstrates, solo managers don’t need to wait for industry events to connect with smart advice. Social tools make it easy to create a network of virtual resources to assist when you need it. Do you have a question about an unfamiliar subject? Tweet it with a relevant hashtag. (Try #TChat!) Post it to a LinkedIn HR discussion group. I guarantee you’ll get responses, faster than you expect.

Social tools also are useful for communication within your organization. Intranets are a great way to enable collaboration and communication at a relatively low cost. Cloud-based tools are available for internal discussions, project management, and reporting. Hiring systems and performance management solutions also offer social integration without steep IT costs. The possibilities are limited only by the time and interest HR managers invest in professional networking and research.

Above All: Aim for Agility

It seems that, of all skills needed for one-person HR superheroes, the most important is agility. Put aside the notion that you can execute perfectly, across-the-board. Prioritize carefully. Then, with the time and budget available to you, apply tools and resources as efficiently as your able, while making it all seem effortless.

Scared? Don’t be. If you’re reading this, you know that a worldwide community of like-minded people is right here to support you. We’ve got your back!

#TChat Week-In-Review: HR Departments of One

Donna Rogers and Dave Ryan

Watch the hangouts in the #TChat Preview

SAT 11/30:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed this week’s topic in a  post featuring #TChat hangout videos with guests Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers. Read: “HR: How to Succeed at Flying Solo.”

SUN 12/1:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “Top 5 Reasons HR Is On The Move.”

MON 12/2:

Related Post: Guest Donna Rogers shared wisdom from her experiences. Read “Survival Tips for HR Departments of One.

WED 12/4:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio recording

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers, about the challenges and rewards of operating as a one-person HR department. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Dave and Donna joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: HR Departments of One

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/the-hr-department-of-one.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers for sharing your perspectives on HR management. We value your time and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how HR professionals can operate “lean”? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat looks at the latest Candidate Experience trends and best practices with guest experts, Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin! Look for more details this weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Networking: 5 Ways To Work It Into Your Life

Written by Lynn Dixon, co-founder & COO, Hourly

Networking. Some people consider it a guaranteed way to connect with industry luminaries. Others believe it’s the ideal way market your professional capabilities and build brand awareness. Still, others dread the concept, and try to avoid it at all costs.

Truth is, networking remains one of the most effective techniques for selling yourself, as well as uncovering new business opportunities, projects and jobs.

But there’s a key to networking success that isn’t often discussed — knowing how to conduct yourself in various social situations is essential.

While handing out business cards may work wonders for you at a designated networking event, the same strategy might not work in a different atmosphere. Is there a way to predict what techniques will be effective in a specific setting?

Let’s look at several common social scenarios, and consider an appropriate networking plan of action for each:

1) Work Events

Work events come in all shapes and sizes, from professional development courses to off-site meetings with colleagues. These events tend to be more formal and task-oriented. Typically these settings are not ideal for aggressive networking, primarily because your participation is tied to other business goals.

How to play it: Although you may know most people at a work event, you can subtly network by introducing yourself to other attendees. When it fits into the flow of conversation, you might also mention recent accomplishments or challenges you’ve overcome. This helps people in your internal network see where you shine, and helps them envision how you could contribute to future projects with them or others they know.

2) Office Parties

Events like the annual holiday party or your boss’s birthday don’t usually scream “networking.” Conversations are often focused on personal life, and you may not want to think about business. Although no one wants to “talk shop” throughout an entire office party, it can be an awesome opportunity diplomatically reinforce your strengths.

How to play it: Put the alcohol down and get to know colleagues you don’t know well, especially those in other departments. You don’t have to brag about your accomplishments, but you can weave in your expertise. Chances are, one day they may need your skills on a project. Be memorable and focus on how you add value.

3) Family Events

You probably believe family events are the last place to whip out your resume and market yourself, but these events can be a networking goldmine. Think about it. Your family wants you to do well in your career. It’s like preaching to the choir. You just have to know what songs to sing.

How to play it: Although members of your family probably don’t work in your industry, they’re likely to know someone who does. That’s why it’s advisable to touch base about business with as many people as possible while you “work the aisles” at reunions, weddings and other family gatherings. Bring a stash of business cards, in case someone expresses interest. In the future, if someone they know needs someone with your skills, you’ll be the first person on their radar.

4) Industry Conferences

Conferences are a great way to establish excellent connections who can help you expand your network. Sometimes the premise of a conference centers on networking. Other conferences are developed for you to learn more about your industry by listening to speakers, attending workshops and sharing ideas with professional colleagues.

How to play it: This is one of those obvious networking situations where you’ll need lots of business cards, a stack of resumes, and a variety of portfolio samples. Since conferences attract a plethora of industry colleagues, you never know who you’ll run into — so you need to be prepared. It’s also smart to refresh your LinkedIn profile before the event, so anyone who checks your profile afterward will see your most current information.

5) Running Errands

Picture this: You’re at the grocery store when you see an influential member of your industry. You don’t want to throw business cards at this important person, but you do want to make a connection. How do you approach a power player in public without appearing to be desperate?

How to play it: Look for an appropriate opening. Briefly introduce yourself and explain why you admire this person. Try to mention a recent article they wrote or compliment them on a recent accomplishment. Then, close quickly by asking if you could connect via email or on a social network. This opens the door to future conversations while downplaying what could otherwise be an awkward situation.

The ability to market yourself in any situation is a skill that should be practiced and polished. You never know who you’ll bump into and how they could help you out in the future. Look at every situation as a chance to boost your network and provide a possible stepping stone for your career.

What do you think about the power of networking in social settings? How have you marketed yourself at various events? What has been effective for you?

Lynn-Dixon(About the Author: Lynn Dixon is the co-founder and COO of Hourly.com, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Twitter and LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Going Social: Learning In Action #TChat Recap

“Learning is more effective when it is active rather than a passive process.”
– Euripides

One of the most active learning environments I know is #TChat.

In fact, sometimes it’s truly hyper-active, as the TalentCulture community meets on the Twitter stream to exchange ideas about the world of work. That’s certainly how it felt this week, as we gathered to celebrate three years of #TChat events and continuous online knowledge sharing.

It was fitting that our conversation focused on social learning. And it was equally fitting to welcome an HR executive who’s responsible for (among many other things) leveraging social tools and techniques to foster learning across her fast-paced, global organization.

Our guest this week was Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite. And the insights she shared on #TChat Radio are instructive for any organization striving to elevate its learning culture.

(Editor’s Note: See full event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Social Workplace: Learning Everywhere

As social media weaves itself deeper into daily life, organizations are searching for effective ways to blend social behaviors with learning methodology. There are good reasons for all the interest.

Social channels remove the hierarchy found in most organizations. With traditional roles de-emphasized, everyone has more freedom to contribute, interact, experiment and develop personally and professionally. It’s collaboration at its best. When organizations channel this collective energy, there’s great potential to boost innovation and business performance.

However, many companies are still only testing the waters in their cultural commitment to social learning. Twitter chats such as #TChat provide a low-risk model outside organizational walls; bringing together experts and talent-minded professionals to discuss today’s workplace — what works, what doesn’t, and how to address key issues.

#TChat: Social Learning Slice Of Life

As #TChat proves, social tools and techniques are an attractive way to develop and sustain learning communities. The immediacy, flexibility and availability of social media make it possible for people with common interests to connect and contribute easily in real-time, from all corners of the globe.

Imagine the possibilities when this approach is applied within organizations! Employees feel more appreciated and valued for their input. Engagement increases. And employers signal a commitment to employee development and growth. It’s a win-win. Companies gain a more engaged, productive workforce, and in turn, employees are challenged and become more competent.

This is why I look forward to many more wonderful years for #TChat and TalentCulture — an open, ongoing learning environment that is helping us all shape the world of work for the better!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Online Communities and Professional Growth

Kevin Grossman Tim McDonald TChat (2)

Watch the #TChat hangout now

SAT 11/16:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Editorial Director, Kathleen Kruse framed this week’s topic in a post that features a special 3rd Anniversary #TChat hangout video with co-founder, Kevin W. Grossman. Read the Preview: “We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community.”

SUN 11/17:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “7 Characteristics of a Social Leader.”

MON 11/18 — THU 11/21

Related Posts:
Read: “What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles” by Carter Hostelley
Read: “#TChat Road Trip: Going to the Next Level Together” by Meghan M. Biro
Read: “Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites” by Kevin W. Grossman

WED 11/20:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guest Ambrosia Humphrey , VP HR at HootSuite, about why and how organizations benefit by committing to social learning initiatives. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and team Hootsuite joined the entire TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: The Growth of Online Learning

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/from-the-virtual-wilds-the-growth-of-online-learni.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Ambrosia Humphrey for sharing your perspectives on social learning and organizational culture. We value your time, enthusiasm and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about social learning in the workplace? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat Events go quiet, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving week in the U.S. However, we’ll be back on December 4th, with a special double-header, featuring two of our community’s most beloved HR experts, Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers! Look for more details next weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites

When loss blots out all other light, that’s when the stars around you shine the brightest.

It’s counterintuitive, I know. The times when life is bleakest, what you’ve sown is reaped in the form of torches guiding you through the blackest labyrinth.

This time last year was tough for me, having lost my father in July and then my mother in December. Both were very ill, and it took quite a toll on me, my family, and my world of work. This included my usually dedicated participation in the TalentCulture community and #TChat Events.

There’s a kindhearted warming that can occur in times of desperation and need — like coming in from a freezing rain to thaw in front of a fire, surrounded by supportive family and friends. This reciprocal positive power moves us into lighted places, into rebirth, into healing, into growth, into bettering ourselves so we can better others, in turn. The economics are simple and powerful. Yet, they require transparency, authenticity, trust and love — essential elements that cynics squash like bugs underfoot.

Healing Power: Community To The Rescue

Thank goodness for the light (as we watch the bugs scurry into hiding – or their metamorphosis into believers). This uplifting energy is the heart of community — and the heart of community is you.

We see community spirit at work time and again, when help mobilizes after global disasters, disease, war, and injustice — or simply when we grant a child one magical wish. (Here’s to all Batkids in the world!) It’s okay to get good news once and a while, you know?

TChat_logo_colorAfter this rally from my greater Northern California community last weekend, I was uplifted. And coming on the eve of #TChat’s 3rd anniversary, it reminded me of the mutual support that comes from within our TalentCulture community — through bad times and good.

That’s one of the most powerful aspects of online communities like ours. They spring from the wild, virtual earth, in many different forms. They’re often vibrant and complex, even in their simplicity. Their roots are nurtured by the diverse individuals who come to learn, network, share and support one another around relevant topics, both personal and professional.

That’s what #TChat has become since its founding. The proof is evident after 150 Twitter chats, and 50 radio shows in the past year alone.

The first #TChat occurred on November 16, 2010, and the topic was emotional intelligence, which seems appropriate, since most of the time we try to be self-aware and manage our emotions — whether we agree with one another or not. Trust and mutual positive regard are just as important in our community interactions as they are in the larger world of work.

Best of #TChat

Since then, my favorite #TChat events include all of them. Although it’s tough to choose, I’ll list just 15 here that stand out:

  1. Moving, Schooling, and Finding Your Voice
  2. Community Beginning the Social Revolution
  3. Performance Reviews: Like Bad High School Movies
  4. IRL Networking Is Face-to-Face, not F2F
  5. Freelancers Make Better Business Biscuits
  6. Hobbits, Jedis, Fealty and the World of Work
  7. Getting Workplace Recognition Right
  8. Real Brands Humanize
  9. The Business of Talent: Magic?
  10. Office Space: Work in Progress
  11. Open Leadership: Going Deep
  12. HR Data: What Really Counts?
  13. 101 Ways To Save The Day With A Paperclip
  14. Engagement As Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf
  15. Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane

I’m so excited that #TChat continues to break new ground as one of the largest and longest-running online learning and networking communities in the “world of work.” A very special thanks to the thousands of loyal participants who have participated during the past three years.

And a very special thank you to those who keep the weekly wheels of #TChat turning each week:

New To #TChat? We’re Just Getting Started

If you’ve only just discovered #TChat, welcome!

The TalentCulture (#TChat) Community is an open online network of business leaders and innovators, human resource and recruiting executives, organizational development and learning professionals, HR technology vendors, industry consultants, job seekers and more who collectively create, curate, crowd source and share timely “world of work” news and information critical for all professionals to grow and succeed in business today.

And that means you and you and you and you…

What’s your role in the TalentCulture Community? Just as it’s always been since the beginning:

Sharing your real world expertise and candid perspectives.
Actively participating with others in expanding the depth and breadth of your reach.
Contributing as much as you benefit.

The conversation starts…wait for it…here!

This is an exciting milestone for #TChat — and we have all of YOU across our wonderful community to thank. So thank you again. We look forward to moving forward with you all!

Image Credit: Pixabay

What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles

Written by Carter J. Hostelley, CEO, Leadtail

Marketers change jobs a lot. So every few months I hear from someone who’s job hunting again. Typically, we get together to grab coffee and chat about their situation. And at some point, they ask, “Hey, are there any recruiters you’d recommend I talk to?”

Now, imagine you’re an executive recruiter sitting nearby and listening in. Wouldn’t you like to pull up a chair and join our conversation? Sure you would. And maybe you’d also wonder how to influence me, so that I recommended you.

Social Listening Isn’t Enough

These days, you don’t need to hang out at coffee shops to listen in. You can just tap into your favorite social media news feed to discover what’s being discussed and shared at any moment. But pretty quickly you’ll get overwhelmed. Why? Because you don’t know which conversations to join, whom to engage, and how to influence them.

Without context, social listening isn’t helpful. To make social media more relevant and actionable, you need to tune-out ambient noise. In other words, you need to move from social listening to social insights.

Case In Point: How Do Recruiters Engage on Twitter?

Let’s say you’re an executive recruiter who wants to know what other recruiters are up to on social media. Or maybe you work for a company that sells to recruiters. In either case, you’re looking for social insights about recruiting professionals.

That’s exactly what ERE.net asked my company to do recently. So we developed a report: How Recruiters Engage on Twitter. It summarizes how 557 North American recruiters participated, engaged, and were influenced on Twitter, from June-August 2013. During that time, our sample of  recruiters generated 173,903 tweets, 106,343 shared links, and had a total of 1,533,429 followers.

Why look at Twitter activity? Because it’s a good proxy for social media behavior overall, and offers an advantage over other data sources (such as surveys, polls and focus groups), because it reveals what people actually do, versus what they say they do.

Leadtail Chart Social Influence (2)For example, here’s a visual representation of the people who are most retweeted by recruiters we analyzed:

This report also provides other useful social insights, including: most popular hashtags, most shared content sources, and the top 25 industry publications shared by these recruiters.

Best Practices of Top Influencers

Exclusively for this post, we dove even deeper into Twitter activity among the five people who influence recruiters most. They are:

@MeghanMBiro — Meghan Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
@blogging4jobs — Jessica Merrell, Editor of Blogging4Jobs
@jimstroud — Jim Stroud, Director of Sourcing and Social Strategy, Bernard Hodes Group
@YouTernMark — Mark Babbitt, Founder & CEO, YouTern
@GlenCathey — Glen Cathey, SVP Talent Strategy and Innovation, Kforce

What did we discover by examining the behavior of this elite group?

•  Influencers tweet a LOT. 4 out of 5 of these top influencers tweet 15+ times a day. (Meghan blows them all away, with an average 107 tweets/day!)

•  Influencers develop a “brand” of their own. Each top influencer has a style and focus that’s unique. For instance, @JimStroud focuses on social recruiting and job search strategy, while @GlenCathey’s approach is decidedly more tech-and-data driven.

•  Influencers don’t lean on retweets. All 5 of the top influencers go light on the RT, keeping them to less than 15% of overall tweet volume. Instead, they share lots of links and often mention other folks.

•  Influencers embrace the community. 3 out of 5 of these influencers will most likely follow you back (they follow 70%+ of those who follow them), and 4 out of 5 include an “@” mention in most of their tweets.

•  Influencers tweet with a goal in mind. Whether it’s to get the word out about their next event, to sell their services, or to grow their audience, these folks tweet links that drive traffic to their other online channels (websites, other social media sites, etc.) 10%-50% of the time.

While these “best practices” come from observing the Twitter activity of only 5 key influencers, they also provide insights into how you may want to consider approaching Twitter and social media to boost your influence.

Tips To Increase Your Social Influence

How can you move from social listening to social insights (and perhaps have an impact on the right people)? Here are 5 tips:

•  Listen to your target audience. Who cares what anyone and everyone is saying? Instead, listen to what’s on the minds of customers, prospects, and key influencers.
•  Be where the right conversations are happening. So many social networks, so little time! Invest your efforts in the social platforms where your target audience is active.
•  Talk about relevant topics. What issues, news, and events have captured the attention of the folks you’re looking to engage? Shouldn’t you be talking about that, too?
•  Discover who’s doing the influencing. Which publications and people do your buyers read, share and interact with? Pay attention to who is popular and influential, and how they engage.
•  Work the aisles. Just being present in social media is not enough. You must cultivate relationships with a community that you develop over time. Eventually, you’ll be in a position to influence those who matter most to you.

Now, imagine we’re back in that coffee shop, where you’re listening to my conversation with my marketing colleague. Let’s say you decide to introduce yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if I said, “Thanks for coming over, I actually follow you on Twitter! I love your comments and the content you share.”? That means you’ve done a great job of influencing me, before our conversation even begins!

Now It’s Your Turn

How are you generating social insights today? What strategies have you found successful in becoming more influential on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Carter Hostelley (2)(About the Author: Carter Hostelley is the Founder and CEO of Leadtail, a B2B social media and insights agency. He and his team have developed and implemented social media programs for leading business brands and technology startups including WageWorks, Alcatel-Lucent, Symantec, Adaptive Planning, NetBase, and PunchTab. They also publish periodic social insights reports on senior marketers, HR professionals, and recruiters. These reports have been covered by publications such as: Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, ERE, MarketingProfs, AllTwitter, and Social Times. Carter also has over 15 years experience working with venture-backed technology startups in numerous executive roles, and is a contributing author at CMSWire. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for complete highlights and reference links for the week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: Going Social: Learning In Action.)

What does #TChat mean to you?

To me, it’s so much more than metrics. But the numbers do tell a story of their own…

#TChat By The Numbers

3 years
100+ radio shows and hangout video interviews
150+ high-intensity Twitter chats
550+ blog posts
1 simple goal

Those of us who plan and produce #TChat social learning forums hope that TalentCulture community events educate, energize and enrich everyone who participates. We’re grateful for your involvement — which educates, energizes and enriches us all, in return.

This metaphor for the social workplace isn’t just a random fluke of Twitter nature. It’s an intentional human exchange that continuously flows and shifts in ways that are now bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, each of us is an essential element — with a unique voice that adds depth and texture to the fabric of our talent-minded “tribe.”

#TChat Turns Three: Learning Through Community

So, during this 3rd Anniversary #TChat week, let your voice be heard. Let’s gather on social channels to celebrate the individual, mutual and collective growth that every community of purpose strives to achieve.

Ambrosia Humphrey Hootsuite

This week’s #TChat guest, Ambrosia Humphrey

Who better to help us celebrate the value of digital learning communities and collaboration than a valued friend of #TChat, who is also an expert at social media strategies in the world of work?

Our guest this week is Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite! Team Hootsuite will be celebrating along with us as well. Social engagement in action.

As a special treat for this week’s “sneak peek” video, we asked our own Community Manager, Tim McDonald, to compare notes with Kevin W. Grossman about the meaning and value of #TChat. The resulting video is a delightful journey into the minds and hearts of two men who are walking examples of community spirit! Watch the hangout now:

Share Your #TChat Story! The Conversation Starts Here

Tim and Kevin aren’t the only ones who are talking about TalentCulture’s role in their professional and personal lives. We’re gathering a collection of quotes and videos from all over the community landscape, and sharing that feedback on #TChat Twitter and other social channels this week.

We’re also launching a special “Buzz!” page right here at TalentCulture.com, to highlight community comments now and in the future. We invite you to share your thoughts — in whatever form you wish.

So, please join this week’s conversation about the power of social learning communities, and tell us what this particular community means to you. The #TChat channel is always “on” and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way is most beneficial for you. Don’t be shy!

#TChat Events: Online Communities And Professional Growth

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 20 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Ambrosia Humphrey about the evolution of social communities in the world of work — and the road ahead. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 20 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What are the key ingredients for online learning communities? Why?
Q2: Why do you participate in Twitter chats like #TChat?
Q3: How can organizations capture learning community magic internally?
Q4: What’s the future of Twitter chats in building communities?
Q5: What topics would you like #TChat to explore in 2014?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

We're Turning Three! Let's Celebrate Community #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for complete highlights and reference links for the week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: Going Social: Learning In Action.)

What does #TChat mean to you?

To me, it’s so much more than metrics. But the numbers do tell a story of their own…

#TChat By The Numbers

3 years
100+ radio shows and hangout video interviews
150+ high-intensity Twitter chats
550+ blog posts
1 simple goal

Those of us who plan and produce #TChat social learning forums hope that TalentCulture community events educate, energize and enrich everyone who participates. We’re grateful for your involvement — which educates, energizes and enriches us all, in return.

This metaphor for the social workplace isn’t just a random fluke of Twitter nature. It’s an intentional human exchange that continuously flows and shifts in ways that are now bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, each of us is an essential element — with a unique voice that adds depth and texture to the fabric of our talent-minded “tribe.”

#TChat Turns Three: Learning Through Community

So, during this 3rd Anniversary #TChat week, let your voice be heard. Let’s gather on social channels to celebrate the individual, mutual and collective growth that every community of purpose strives to achieve.

Ambrosia Humphrey Hootsuite

This week’s #TChat guest, Ambrosia Humphrey

Who better to help us celebrate the value of digital learning communities and collaboration than a valued friend of #TChat, who is also an expert at social media strategies in the world of work?

Our guest this week is Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite! Team Hootsuite will be celebrating along with us as well. Social engagement in action.

As a special treat for this week’s “sneak peek” video, we asked our own Community Manager, Tim McDonald, to compare notes with Kevin W. Grossman about the meaning and value of #TChat. The resulting video is a delightful journey into the minds and hearts of two men who are walking examples of community spirit! Watch the hangout now:

Share Your #TChat Story! The Conversation Starts Here

Tim and Kevin aren’t the only ones who are talking about TalentCulture’s role in their professional and personal lives. We’re gathering a collection of quotes and videos from all over the community landscape, and sharing that feedback on #TChat Twitter and other social channels this week.

We’re also launching a special “Buzz!” page right here at TalentCulture.com, to highlight community comments now and in the future. We invite you to share your thoughts — in whatever form you wish.

So, please join this week’s conversation about the power of social learning communities, and tell us what this particular community means to you. The #TChat channel is always “on” and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way is most beneficial for you. Don’t be shy!

#TChat Events: Online Communities And Professional Growth

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 20 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Ambrosia Humphrey about the evolution of social communities in the world of work — and the road ahead. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 20 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What are the key ingredients for online learning communities? Why?
Q2: Why do you participate in Twitter chats like #TChat?
Q3: How can organizations capture learning community magic internally?
Q4: What’s the future of Twitter chats in building communities?
Q5: What topics would you like #TChat to explore in 2014?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Mobile Hiring: A Smarter Way to Seal the Deal

Written by Todd Owens, President and COO, TalentWise

(Editor’s Note: Learn more about issues and opportunities in mobile hiring from Todd and Brandon Hall talent acquisition analyst, Kyle Lagunas. Listen to the #TChat Radio show now.)

During the past few years, innovative technologies have revolutionized HR business processes. The first wave focused on talent acquisition — with the advent of applicant tracking systems, and the recent surge in mobile recruiting. Now, mobile hiring is emerging as the next wave in this era of HR transformation. Why is mobile hiring important? Let’s take a closer look.

The Mobile Workplace Imperative

No one doubts that mobile connectivity is changing the world. 91% of Americans currently own a cell phone, and globally more than 6.8 billion mobile phones are in use. Now, tablets are making tremendous inroads, with sales that outpace mobile phones by a wide margin.

As these next-generation digital devices become central to our personal and professional lives, organizations are recognizing the value of integrating mobile capabilities into every facet of business operations. In fact, mobile technology is just one dimension of the SoMoClo (Social, Mobile, Cloud) revolution that is reinventing the workplace. HR has leveraged the power of SoMoClo for recruiting. The next logical step is hiring.

Mobile Hiring: Building Stronger Candidate Connections

First let’s look at mobile recruiting trends. Each month, one billion job searches are conducted via mobile devices. When properly executed, mobile-friendly recruitment leads to conversion rates that are 5-10 times higher than traditional PC-based recruitment, but at lower cost. A key benefit of going mobile is immediacy. While 70% of mobile searchers act within the hour, only 30% of PC searchers do. It’s no wonder why recruiters are scrambling to source talent through mobile channels.

However, even the best recruiting efforts can be undone when the candidate experience is disrupted by a cumbersome, outdated hiring process. What does it say to the candidate you’ve spent valuable resources recruiting — the one you’ve sourced and attracted through mobile channels — when you send a paper offer letter via snail mail and ask for a reply via fax?

Too often, there is a disconnect between the satisfying high-tech, high-touch experience of mobile recruiting, and old-school hiring methods. Unfortunately, it occurs at the most critical moment — in that stage between the job offer and onboarding. Why take that risk? It’s time for hiring to step up.

The Business Case For Mobile Hiring Now

Early adopters are seeing dramatic results, as the demand for mobile hiring support soars. For example, consider metrics from the TalentWise platform. Our customers send job candidates directly to our mobile-optimized portal to expedite the hiring process. In less than a year, we’ve seen a stunning 5-fold increase in mobile traffic — from only 8% of candidates last year to 43% today. Employers can’t afford to ignore that kind of exponential growth.

Mobile isn’t about devices. It’s about immediacy and “always on” access — and hiring should be, too. A weak hiring process is bound to affect your retention rate. In fact, studies estimate that, without solid on-boarding, 22% of new hires leave within the first 45 days.

Your organization only gets one chance to make a lasting first impression with today’s on-the-go talent pool. A mobile-friendly hiring process can give you a clear competitive edge. Is your offer letter truly digital? Can candidates sign it through a smartphone or tablet? Or must they print an email attachment, sign it, scan it and send it back? That model is just an email twist on a paper-based process, and it comes with all the old compliance risks and security issues of hardcopy workflows.

How To Catch The Mobile Hiring Wave

So what’s the first step to making your hiring process mobile friendly? Take a hard look at your hiring process. Audit every step. Go through it yourself as if you’re a new hire. Decide what is critical, think holistically, and optimize according to your priorities. For example, offer letters and screening authorizations are essential, but 401k enrollment forms may not be as important. HR managers should be able to monitor the status of multiple candidates from their tablets, but payroll may be better managed from a desktop.

Once you have a clear view of your current process, from both a candidate and administrative perspective, you can identify a technology solution that effectively “mobilizes” these functions. The path to a streamlined solution may be easier than you think.

What opportunities and issues do you see on the horizon for mobile hiring? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

WPFl8ZJCTbSWd3aW36zfeEA69ZEo44fOfHHdTeu8j9Q(About the Author: Todd Owens is President and COO at TalentWise and has been with the company since 2006. Previously he held senior Product Management and Business Development roles at Wind River Systems and Siebel Systems. A former United States Navy submarine officer, Todd has twice been recognized as a “Superstar for outsourcing innovation in support of HR organizations” by HRO Today magazine. Todd holds a BS degree from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.)

Image Credit: Carnegie Library

Can You Hear Me Now? Influence Goes Social #TChat Recap

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.”
–John Hancock

Wherever you find people, you’ll find influence. The concept is as basic as civilization, itself.

John Hancock understood its importance in business contexts. But as business moves to the digital space, the way we gain, use and respond to influence is shifting into overdrive. How does this digitally-enhanced version of influence affect the way we engage and motivate others across organizations and in the world at-large? And why should it matter to everyone in today’s workplace? These questions were top-of-mind this week at #TChat Events, as the TalentCulture community welcomed two influence experts:

Mark Fidelman, author of the book, Socialized!, and CEO of RaynForest, an influencer marketplace;
Mark Willaman, Founder and President of Fisher Vista LLC, owners of HRmarketer software and Fisher Vista marketing services

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat Twitter slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Defining Social Influence

What is a “social influencer” anyway? If a static persona accumulates social media followers, is that enough? Or is it about behavior that attract the attention and interest of professional peers? Is it when your presence (or absence) affects the nature and flow of conversations on social channels? Or is it when you write blog posts that draw an extraordinary number of readers and comments?

Of course, it can involve all of these elements and more. Effective influencers use social tools as a means to an end. It’s not just about building an audience. It’s about engaging and interacting with people in ways that leave them enthused, passionate, and eager to tell others about that experience. As word spreads about influencers, word also spreads about their company, product or service.

Social Influence In Action

Take a look at some of today’s most prominent business influencers — people like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. They really put the “social” in social media. Unlike “image-first” personalities like the Gagas and Biebers of the world — social influencers invest in real community connections and conversations.

It’s smart to focus first on quality rather than quantity. (What would you prefer — 100 engaged industry peers, or 100,000 random followers, who may not even care about you or what you represent? Where can you add value, and get value in return? I would pick 100 targeted connections with whom I can have purposeful interactions. If those interactions create a gravitational pull that expands my sphere of influence, then I’ve done something right. As someone mentioned last night at #TChat — don’t be mislead into thinking that it’s a quick process.

Why Should We Care?

I think of social influencers as “go-to” resources. When I want advice or inspiration, I turn to my network. These are trusted professionals, and use their influence for broader purposes than self-promotion. They build relationships based on integrity, transparency, vulnerability and humor — all the best traits we look for in humans. No doubt that’s why TalentCulture CEO, Meghan Biro, encourages everyone to “live your brand.” It’s the most unique, powerful asset any of us can offer.

Social media is an extraordinary tool that helps us establish immediate connections with business leaders, employees, customers, stakeholders and others. It can provide companies with valuable insight about market perceptions. It can be a powerful force that shapes business brands, cultures and communities — if organization are willing to show up, listen and participate. This is where leaders can make a difference. Committing to an active social presence is the first step toward empowering employees and customers as brand ambassadors. There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Social Influence as a Competitive Advantage

Publication1

See the videos in the Preview Post now…

SAT 11/2:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” hangout videos with our guests. Read the Preview: “The Rise of Influence in Social Business.

SUN 11/3:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested why and how modern leaders should invest in a social media presence. Read: “7 Traits of Highly Influential Leaders.

TUE 11/5:

Related Post: Guest blogger Paul Bailey helped us look at influence from the outside-in, with advice for job seekers on using social media intelligence to get hired. Read: “How Social Sleuthing Can Land You A Dream Job.

WED 11/6:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman how social media is transforming the concept of influence in today’s world of work. Fascinating stuff! Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests joined the entire TalentCulture ommunity on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Competitive Advantage of Social Influence

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-the-competitive-advantage-of-socia-1.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman for sharing your insights on the evolving meaning and importance of influence in the social era. Your knowledge and experience are invaluable to our community.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about influence-related issues or opportunities? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we take a closer look at how the social/mobile/cloud revolution is redefining the entire hiring process. So save the date (November 13) for another powerful #TChat double-header!

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Another Kind Of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud

“You say you want a revolution? Well you know, we all want to change the world.” –John Lennon

It’s deja vu on a grand scale — like the Beatles are arriving in America all over again. A huge culture shift is upon us, and the winds of change are blowing in ways that are simultaneously unsettling and exhilarating.

“Boomers” are transitioning out of their careers, and the leadership reigns are slowly-but-surely being handed to Millennials at start-ups, small businesses and enterprises everywhere. Much like when John, Paul, George and Ringo touched down in New York in 1964, at first there was some resistance, but eventually the new guard convinced skeptics and changed minds. In the 60’s, revolution was expressed through music and social change — while today, next-generation leaders are driving disruptive change in technology and business.

New Agents of Change

Cloud computing, mobile devices, “big data” and social media are now prominent fixtures across the business landscape. From solopreneurs to the global enterprise, companies are more connected than ever with their customers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

Enabled by connectivity and powered by the cloud, this is more than just “Marketecture,” this is the engine of our business future. Millennial leaders are strongly committed to embracing these technologies and putting them to use in a way that drives their organizations forward, leaning on cloud applications to keep employees connected with anyone, anywhere, anytime. This allows business to continue 24×7×365 if needed, yet provides employees ultimate flexibility to untether from their desks and remain productive.

I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?

And then there is social media. This phenomenon isn’t just about tweeting #hashtags on Twitter and posting  “likes” on Facebook. Social media offers a whole new way for humans to engage and extend our communities through the most powerful business-building infrastructure in the world — the Internet.

Thanks to social powers, the timeline for building a global business has compressed from decades to days, because word can spread and new markets can be created at a such a dramatically accelerated pace. New ventures everywhere can instantly reach out to potential partners and target markets to ask questions and find solutions for the most simple and complex business problems.

Building the Future, Differently

When the Beatles came to America, they permanently redefined rock and roll. Adding their collective influence to the voices of their time, they made music better for all of us who followed. And today, through social synergy, Millennial leaders seek to do the same for business.

Leaning on the best ideas and innovations that have previously defined success across industries, the CEOs of the future are not content to settle for the status quo. The goals of next-generation leaders may be similar to those before us in some ways, but they are different enough, so our mark will be felt.

We will leverage breakthrough cloud and big data resources to develop businesses that are inherently social, and we’ll create cultures that thrive on collaboration. Like leaders throughout history, our goal is to solve business problems effectively, but we’ll approach those problems very differently. Building a smarter planet through technology is exactly what the Millennial CEO of the future is destined to do.

What role do you think technology plays in next-generation business success? What must Millennial leaders do to succeed in a hyper-connected marketplace? Share your ideas in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from the Building a Smarter Planet Blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain image archives