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What's Your Personal Social Media Policy?

Googling “social media policy” returns nearly 5 million hits – obviously a topic getting lots of attention. Modifying the search to “personal social media policy” reduces the hits by 99%. That’s relatively scant attention to how individuals could or should formalize how we conduct ourselves personally across various social media channels.

My sensitivity to this grew recently when the opportunity developed to meet a couple of people in a city I was traveling to for business. Each of them had reached out and tweeted with me quite actively leading up to the trip. Our Twitter conversations had been very friendly and both appeared quite outgoing online. Out of a real interest in getting together, I suggested a tweetup along with another local person. Given how visible they appeared to be in the community (based on their online interactions), I composed a tweet inviting others interested in joining us which included their Twitter names, the location, and the start time.

Something must have told me I was pushing the boundaries since I scheduled the tweet for the next day to allow time to think about sending it. My thoughts obviously moved on to other topics, however, and the tweet published the next morning. This led to a rapid direct message from one of the participants expressing concerns about the tweet and the tweetup’s broad disclosure.

I apologized profusely (via direct message and later phone call) and deleted the tweet, but not before it had already been retweeted and shared on Facebook. Suffice it to say, this additional round of sharing led to more concerns, and a negative spillover from someone else who saw the message on Facebook.

My initial hesitation was obviously well-founded. This tweet felt like it was in the social media grey zone, but based on cues from their online activities, I determined my new friends would be comfortable with it. My conclusion was based on very incomplete information, however, and could have seriously damaged a budding online friendship.

So how do you approach personal social media guidelines? What directs what you communicate and how you interact with others through via social media?

Since it’s clear I don’t even have all the answers for me, let alone for you, here are some questions I’m revisiting:

Can I explain who I follow / like / link to?

The answer differs by social media platform. My short answer for Twitter is “people who are intriguing.” Pretty vague, but on LinkedIn, I expect to have met someone or have a traceable tie to them. Occasionally, I’ll go through my network on LinkedIn and undo connections with people whose connection history I can’t readily recall. Facebook is sketchier for me. I’ve kept my total number of friends small, and there’s no rhyme or reason to the group. My favorite Facebook guideline was from a conference speaker who said he only friended people he “loved.”  If you’re using Facebook for personal interactions predominantly, that’s a pretty clean standard.

What specifics do you share about yourself?

Some people share seemingly every detail – career, personal, location, etc.  I know some people who contend this level of sharing is a part of online transparency. Not me. What I share is a single view of my thinking and professional life. If details and specifics aren’t necessary to help someone understand the context or meaning of what I’m sharing, they’re just unnecessary characters taking up precious space.

What specifics do you share about others?

You don’t have to share much content online to traipse over into potentially disclosing information about your family, employer, friends, etc. On Twitter especially, I try not to draw others into the social media fray any more than they have already done themselves. As the opening story showed, however, this is far from a fool-proof criterion. The challenge is to avoid disclosing details unwittingly in the course of having online conversations. It requires a pretty active filter, continually asking what could be read into any mention of someone else. As I’ve learned, if there’s any hint of a question about what another person would be willing to share about themselves, avoid specifics, or better yet, ask them directly what’s in and out of their comfort zone.

How often do you participate on social media channels?

Regularity and frequency are vital factors in establishing a successful social media presence. There are clearly different frequency expectations by platform.  Tweeting 10 times a day might be fine, but Facebook or LinkedIn connections aren’t likely looking for updates anywhere near that frequently. It’s important however, to get to an ideal update frequency and become predictable with it over time. Nothing worse than making a splash online, building relationships, then letting them evaporate after you disappear for weeks or months.

What steps are necessary to deepen the level of interaction?

Generally, Twitter connections can seem much more sketchy than those on LinkedIn or Facebook. If Twitter interactions are your basis to get a sense of someone, what makes you comfortable deepening the relationship? Doing it in stages (i.e., email, then phone, then maybe in person) or jumping directly to an offline meeting? While I’ve moved from tweeting/direct messaging to an in-person meeting without even an email in the interim, that doesn’t make sense for everyone. Proceed with caution and the patience to build a connection over time.

How do you put the brakes on heat of the moment responses?

You see lots of passive-aggressive behavior played out online. You have to know the steps to keep yourself out of this pattern since social media interactions tend to cultivate more aggressive interactions than might be typical. Even if it’s not your usual interaction pattern, it’s important to know your potential trigger points, and harness the emotional intelligence, self-discipline, or other circuit breaker to keep you from responding harshly online.

Summary

That’s my starting point for formalizing what I’m doing after a number of years of heavy online activity. How about you? Does it make sense for you to formalize your personal social media guidelines? If so, what questions will you be asking yourself?

Live from #TRULondon – Recruiting: Power of Global People Connectivity

I’m at the TruLondon unconference this week, meeting with people from all over the world – from companies and people discussing the social aspects of leadership, recruiting and HR, we’re learning and sharing stories about using the power of social media to make connections with job seekers and recruiting companies.

London is a creative and vibrant city and the TruLondon unconference, hosted by my friend Bill Boorman and their sponsor JobSite is an amazing venue – no powerpoints, lots of Tweeting and more like a long coffee/wine break with friends than a sit-down-take-notes conference. My kind of conference for certain. It is here where innovation has room to breathe and develop into new ideas.

As I listen to Bill and the other conference friends and attendees one fact remains: We’ve been on a career/workplace/media innovation roller coaster these past several months. Job satisfaction started 2010 at 45 percent negative and plunged to 80+ percent negative by December.

The job market tried to pull out of its dive but failed, despite the government’s recent attempts to redefine the meaning of ‘long-term unemployed’. Companies that weren’t hanging by a thread were socking away cash, holding off on hiring and waiting for signals that the nation was on more certain economic footing. All of us here are ready to say ‘done with that’ and are hoping – and talking about -how to make these times truly count for our recruiting clients and social communities.

What has changed that we can take into the next few months with lighter hearts? I looked back at our recent TalentCulture TChat– my new tea-leaves – for cues, and have distilled my thoughts from TRULondon so far as well. Here’s what stood out to me:

  • The influence of social media on the workplace, hiring trends and corporate brands is huge and will continue to grow. Smart employer brands realized they needed to use social media as both a recruitment and retention tool, as well as a way to take the temperature of the workplace and the larger market. Cheers to social media.
  • Innovation is en vogue again. You know I love hearing affirmation of this. It’s early days yet but I predict that workplaces that invested in developing an authentic culture brand and employee experience will start to see the payoff in innovation.
  • Risk is still significant that ‘stuck’ workplaces will lose their star team players, and maybe even the B team as well. By ‘stuck’ I mean the companies lead by the out-of-touch – the people who are afraid to clue into their emotional intelligence, afraid to change and ease up a bit on employees. The change here is that emotional intelligence is on the rise, and companies that invest in building it into the workplace will come out of the gate in better shape than competitors.
  • More companies will go virtual (and we will be recruiting for these skills) as a way to lighten the load on stressed employees, worn down from years of no raises or pay cuts or layoffs. Managing these highly-mobile, virtual workplaces takes a sure hand and a light touch. Finding ways to be successful with mobile, virtual workforces will be a key leadership/recruiting/HR skill. Note: Our next #TChat topic is Managing virtual teams and dispersed global organizations while maintaining workplace culture.  Is it possible?
  • It’s a new world of recruiting indeed, thanks to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et al. Today’s recruiters work mainly in 140-character bursts, and resumes are distilled into keywords and links. I’m spending time reviewing innovation in this space and it’s really very cool and exciting. It’s safe to say that LinkedIn remains the most widely utilized sourcing tool for recruiters to date from this list.
  • The notion of leadership is re-emerging. Too many erstwhile leaders have been hunkered down behind closed doors. It’s time to re-invest in building a culture of leadership, one that is inclusive and broad.
  • Culture is the new workplace must-have. Go figure. Cultures of Talent loom large. Authenticity, brand, stickiness, innovation and inspiration must come through in your workplace culture. Connect and humanize your employees with your brand and watch culture bloom.

What say you? Are you expecting more of the same or actively engaged with companies and job seekers bubbling with innovation, workplace culture and passion for doing a great job now? Love to hear your thoughts.

Ten Ways to Kill Your Twitter Brand

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that helps you brand yourself and grow your own community of followers. Just as with any professional or social network, everything you do on Twitter can have a positive or negative impact on you, your personal brand and your reputation.

Whether you’ve been tweeting for a while or are just getting started, protect your Twitter brand by avoiding these 10 fatal Twitter personal branding mistakes:

1) Mixing Business and Pleasure

If you are on Twitter with the objective of building your personal brand for career advancement, focus more on tweets you would feel comfortable sharing with an employer.  This doesn’t mean you can’t tweet anything personal.  I simply suggest you create a separate profile for your social life so not to confuse and/or turn off either group of followers.

2) Spamming

One of the top reasons people lose followers on Twitter is that they over-promote themselves, their businesses, their blogs and/or their offerings.  Always maintain the 80/20 balance in your contributions: 80% of your tweets should be free and value-added and the remaining 20% can be more self-serving in nature.

3) Not Helping Your Network

Helping others, whether it be promoting their efforts, re-tweeting their content, sharing a valuable resource with them or answering a question they have posted, can earn you a loyal following and help build your network.  As a Twitter rule of thumb, always make sure to give more than you receive.

4) Not Tweeting Enough

It is estimated that over a quarter of all Twitter accounts are inactive.  If you are inactive or infrequent in your Twitter contributions and activity, it is going to be very apparent to any potential followers and/or network contacts. Be sure to invest some time and energy into your account and tweet on a regular basis so to engage and build a network of followers.

5) Forgetting a Personal Avatar

In today’s digital world, it is even more important to get the people out from behind the profiles.  Skip the business logo and make sure that you include your own personal photo as your avatar so potential followers can see who they are interacting with.

6) Wasting Your Real Estate

Your Twitter profile offers you a lot of real estate that you can leverage to promote yourself, your profiles, your blog and more.  First, make sure to include a personal bio or summary and site or profile link in your profile sidebar.  Also, don’t forget to create a personalized background.  This can include a personal photo, your business logo, as well as business, personal and/or contact information and links.

7) Following Everyone Under the Twitter Sun

While building your network does involve you following other Twitter users, it comes across desperate and less professional when you have thousands of followees, but much fewer followers.  Be patient in your network building and avoid letting the number of your followees overtake the number of your followers.

8 ) Plagiarizing

Don’t take credit for a tweet or idea that isn’t your own.  While it technically isn’t a crime, it isn’t right or professional, won’t build a good relationship with the originator and may hurt your brand if your current and potential followers were to find out.  Whenever you are sharing something with your followers that you are sourcing from someone else, be sure to add an “RT” at the beginning to show that you are re-tweeting it and/or include @JohnSmith at the end to give credit to the originator.

9) Only Re-Tweeting

Re-tweeting others’ tweets and links can help you build stronger relationships with your followers and with others within the Twitter universe; however, make sure that you contribute your own POV and your thoughts, opinions and resources and are not guilty of solely re-tweeting everyone else’s.  You won’t build your brand as a thought leader if you don’t have any thoughts of your own.

10) Not Creating a Dialogue

Obviously, to be active on Twitter, you have to start tweeting.  However, to be truly effective on Twitter, you must go beyond your own tweets and engage others in two-way conversation.  This can be down by asking questions of your followers and answering those they post, initiating or participating in Twitter chats and responding promptly to any direct messages or @ messages sent to you.

Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.

Social Media Meets Lightning Workplace Learning: #TChat Recap

Two camps.

One that digs social media as THE engine driving recruiting, learning and organizational development.

And the other that does not.

That was pretty clear during last night’s #TChat about social media in the workplace.  Some of you may have tired of the social conversation, but many of us have not.

Remember the resistance to e-mail and the Internet?  Good Gosh — what business value do those time-wasters and secret sharers have?

So much fantastic input last night — like workplace laser word tag.  Zap.  Zap.

Zap.

For me, “social” has always been about networking and learning outside and in the organization and taking the conversation offline to “live” to further discuss:

  • That job opportunity
  • That sweet hire opportunity
  • That business opportunity
  • That learning opportunity
  • That sharing knowledge opportunity
  • That mentoring opportunity
  • That business birth opportunity
  • That consulting opportunity
  • That collaborative R&D opportunity
  • That partnership opportunity
  • You know, these opportunities and more

Again, the key is taking these conversations offline to “live.” The anecdotal statistics are there for me and many others; I’ve generated many of those opportunities above as I’m sure many of you have as well.

But, the business metrics are still all over the place and underreported and overestimated.  Such is the life of a business metric, right?  I wrote a little about that yesterday in my post I say recruit how we do business, and do business how we recruit.

With the rise of the mobile/virtual workforce, I can’t imagine the world without organic and holistic social connectivity.

The “does not dig” camp is choking on the words organic and holistic right now.  We are here to share different views. Like a real workplace. Like a real social community.

Here were the questions we asked last night:

  • Q1: How has #SM specifically impacted the way you conduct a job search and manage your career?
  • Q2: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance HR/recruiting initiatives?
  • Q3: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance learning initiatives?
  • Q4: How have #SM platforms/tools been effective – or not – at any or all levels within your org?
  • Q5: What business metrics have you established to measure how effective your #SM efforts are?
  • Q6: What specific barriers do you see within your org that impede top to bottom acceptance of platforms/tools?
  • Q7: Be honest – how do you see yourself improving your efficacy in utilizing #SM platforms/tools within your org?

Thank you to all who participated.  It’s good folk like you who make every #TChat a lightning learning round of workplace laser word tag.

Zap.

Social is about us, not the technology.

Here were the top contributors from last night:

  1. @talentculture – 172
  2. @meghanmbiro – 129
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 105
  4. @IanMondrow – 89
  5. @JeffWaldmanHR – 79
  6. @gregoryfarley – 77
  7. @LevyRecruits – 77
  8. @CyndyTrivella – 64
  9. @dawnrasmussen – 53
  10. @Kimberly_Roden – 52

See you next week, January 25, 2011, 8-9 pm ET (5-6 pm PT).

What Social Recruiting IS and IS NOT: Welcome to TC, Jeff!

Hello all,  Jeff Waldman here.  As my first post, I am sharing the latest article from my blog. I look forward to becoming the newest contributer to Talent Culture and hope you all enjoy my writing!

I’ve been itching to write something about social recruiting… why? Because people who should be all over social recruiting and leveraging it as a strategic practice to build kick-ass organizations just don’t get it.

Hmmm… “the Jeff Waldman brainstorm session”…

I took a blank piece of paper and jotted down any idea that came to mind when I asked myself why people don’t really get it. I wrote a few things down, then put the piece of paper away and did some other work, came back to it a few hours later and wrote a few more things. Here’s a bit of a summary of what I came up with.

  1. HR, who supposedly is responsible for attracting and recruiting new talent has absofrickinglutely no clue how to utilize social recruiting. And…. they should.
  2. Forget about technology for a second, it’s been my experience that HR is not very good at being proactive with building talent pools and pipelines, and integrating workforce planning, succession planning and talent management functions into the day to day business. Note: if you’re not strategic then spending any amount of time using social recruiting is a complete waste of time!!!  In fact, it’ll more of a detriment to what you’re trying to do, building and developing a recognizable and solid employer brand.
  3. The role of HR in most organizations, regardless of what HR people say their role is, is really nothing more than reactive, administrative in nature, and frankly viewed as a cost centre. No wonder why I cringe when I see the way over-priced Masters in HR program that York University recently started offering… I still haven’t seen anything in their course curricula that has anything to do with real business.
  4. There are obvious demographic characteristics associated with using technology —- e.g. “I’m 50 years old, I don’t want to touch social media….. it’s a foreign world to me so I’ll let one of our junior 20 something year olds figure it out… let me just continue doing my thing as I’ve always done it”!!

These were the common themes, and there are many other points that came to mind but the key thought is this:

All social recruiting really is, is a highly effective tool to proactively and strategically support the business attract and hire the best talent out there…. simple as this! The principle of talent attraction is not new one bit, but HOW someone does it is new….. TECHNOLOGY.  By the way, in addition to social recruiting being highly effective it is extremely cost effective, which in this day and age, never hurts the bottom line of your organization.

What Social Recruiting is Not…

Don’t forget that the core purpose of social media is engagement… conversation, interaction, consistent and constant dialogue, finding common interests globally, sharing, collaborating, caring and relationship building. However, I see on a daily basis people/companies that I am following “pushing” content out without really caring about the conversation and dialogue.  They are missing out on a huge opportunity that is literally served up to them on a silver platter. Why would I care what a company says if they have never shown any interest in what others are saying and doing? I value reciprocity, and pushing 100% of the time does not demonstrate reciprocity whatsoever.

Here’s an example that I think you’ll recognize. You’re following company X and you see a tweet on Twitter from this company that they are hiring a Marketing Manager… they include the link to the job posting that takes you to their website. That’s it… they may tweet about this job more than once. You then take a look at the history of this organizations’ tweets and you notice they are of the same variety, and they have only tweeted 15 times during the past year. Everything is pushed content. What’s different about how this company is using Twitter versus putting a job ad in Craigslist or Workopolis? You guessed it….. NOT A FRICKING THING… This is NOT social recruiting!!

The Point…

Social recruiting is not rocket science. It’s just a really effective way to proactively and strategically build the most talented and best organization possible. However, and I hate to break this to you but hard work is required on an ongoing basis in order to reap the benefits that social recruiting has to offer. All of those descriptive words that I used earlier to describe what social media should be are things you need to employ when using social recruiting.

The principle of building relationships have never changed, and never will. The tactics you use to do this though have changed, and technology is that change. If you want to compete with companies that “get it” then you better start fully embedding social recruiting into your day to day activities.

Be proactive, be strategic, be smart and help your company achieve their business objectives. Technology is not a scary beast that can never be mastered and learned. Find someone in your organization that understands the finer points of social media who can give you a demo of each of the primary social media tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Then leverage the desired technological platform(s) to engage, converse, talk to, share with and reciprocate with other people…. you’ll be amazed how quickly and effectively you’ll meet and connect with people you would never have met otherwise. The senior executives of your organization will hail you as a hero to being “the one” who single handily increased the level of your workforce talent while reducing real costs associated with HR. They will LOOOOOOVE YOOOUUUU!!

Our Upcoming Year of Work-Life Gratitude

Written by Kirsten Taggart

Every year as the holiday season ends and the New Year becomes the present year, we all seem to be filled with renewed hope and excitement in anticipation of what the incoming year may bring: new opportunities, experiences, jobs, relationships. Whether we make resolutions or not, the calendar change represents a fresh start we are only given once a year.

I recently saw a video of a young boy receiving an Xbox for Christmas and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so grateful (seriously, watch it. I dare you not to cry). He is so appreciative of the generous gesture from his parents and it got me thinking, what if everyone was that gratuitous?

The more I thought about this video the more I became inspired to thank those close to me for their constant support and kindness. Without them I would not be who or where I am today.

But in fear of sounding like a self-help book, I’m going to skip spilling my inner-most, holiday-triggered emotions and cut to the chase.

Let’s make 2011 the year of gratitude in both the workplace and your social communities.

You may think that simple things such as saying “thank you” several times a day seem trivial. However, I’m asking you to not only participate in these acts of kindness but also to appreciate the day-to-day experiences that you, unlike so many, are fortunate enough to have. We live in a go, go, go, world, but sometimes it’s worth it to take a minute and smell the roses. This is extremely important during the job search, as the smallest gesture of kindness can set you apart from the crowd.

Doing so doesn’t take more than a few minutes out of your day either.

  • Were you recently interviewed for a job? Send a thank you note.
  • Receive great advice from a colleague? Do something for them in return.
  • Did someone do you a favor?  Give them a call.

Showing appreciation doesn’t have to come in the form of gifts. A simple gesture can make a world of difference and strengthen even the most informal of relationships. This can strengthen a work relationship, especially after one starts to appreciate and cherish these small acts.

Additionally, thank yourself once in a while. I know so many people who work themselves into the ground and barely take the time to breathe. Where’s the fun in that? Live a little! Treat yourself to a massage or a weekend camping trip. After a long week at work, it is important to rejuvenate and remind us of the beauty of life. We all deserve a break from time to time.

Whatever resolutions you may make for yourselves this year, remember to think about those who care for you most, whether it be our families or our work community. Life without kindness is no life at all. In the hustle and bustle of the New Year, remember to take some time to truly appreciate the little things in life. I wish all of you a very happy, healthy, successful, and grateful 2011.

Taking Over the World With Social, Mobile & Video Rock Stars

Yes, we want to take over the world.  Our monster end-of-year #TChat show about how social, mobile and video as rock stars impact workplace culture and predictions for 2011 was a rousing success.

Over 1,500 smarty pants tweets in the hour alone.  A hat tip and a thank you to all of you who did.

Top Contributors included:

  1. @talentculture – 315
  2. @meghanmbiro – 147
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 120
  4. @LevyRecruits – 73
  5. @dawnrasmussen – 67
  6. @jillianwalker – 64
  7. @tedcoine – 57
  8. @DrJanice – 53
  9. @IanMondrow – 50
  10. @EmilieMeck – 47

We referenced social, mobile and video as “rock stars” — even though we meant they are figurative rock stars and wanted to discuss their impact on workplace culture.

But some of the discussion morphed to literal social media rock stars in organizations today, and that’s okay.  In fact, much of the conversation was about how companies could better perform by allowing social to permeate.

And video and mobile are the two dots they’re connected to with dotted lines to us all…

Companies that don’t allow social media are killing their brand ambassadors.

Amen to that.

Here were some of everyone’s 2011 Predictions:

  • Mobile/virtual workforce on the rise. Video conferencing and coworking are where it’s at in 2011.
  • Companies will wake up and develop more inclusive SM policies at work.
  • HR will have to ROCK in 2011 if it wants to remain relevant. It will and the gap between SM and practitioner will shrink.
  • I am expecting that Role-Based Assessment will rock and roll in 2011.
  • Google to buy FB. FB to be Google. Googling your employees now unravels their whole life & danger zone commences.
  • Closer joining up of social networks. less engagment in channels. More use of 3rd party apps.
  • Lines moving between trad. old school ‘work’ continue to get erased as more people stay connected.
  • Companies are going to go to their legal dpt to define ‘privacy’ as lines between work / play get blurred.
  • Increased buy-in & participation from corp. leaders to join the conversation (social media).
  • Traditional workplaces will continue to un-teether and ppl will have to find new creative ways to connect via SM. Hello cloud!
  • More tools will become available to consolidate our SM.
  • Global concerns about privacy will slow personal SMV growth as companies trip over themselves to push out more “relevant” content.
  • Companies incorporate multimedia interviews in their hiring strategy!
  • In 2011 LinkedIn will reveal more strategies that require people to purchase premium memberships.
  • SM for the team – coming soon, because first you have to measure networking quality!

Meghan added at the end:

“My 2010 prediction held true. Workplace Brands = An intricate collection of Personal Brands :-) So much more to talk about!”

So let’s do that next time on Tuesday, January 4, 2011, from 8-9 p.m. ET.  We’re going to continue workplace culture predictions for 2011 and talk more about what they mean!

#TChat wouldn’t be what it was without all of you, so thank you again!  Happiest of Holidays to you all!

The Impact of Social, Mobile & Video on Workplace Culture: #TChat Recommended Reading

I thought it would be useful to our readers to include weekly recommended readings in preparation for #TChat.

We will give this format a whirl from now into 2011. Wow, did I just say that? 2010 has been such an interesting year for workplace culture innovation. As you may know, I’m in love with ideas. It’s no big secret after all. Technologies like Skype and trendy cool mobile applications are revolutionizing the ways we connect at the office and virtual environments. So much fun.

Our “greatest hits” reading list for tonight’s #TChat is brought to you by our collaborators at @monster_works and @MonsterWW – They will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT.

We also welcome global input and hope you can join from wherever you might be. We certainly want to hear from you. We are committed to creating educational content and social community here at the Culture of Talent. Learning is continuous here and we are nothing without people. People (AKA: human capital) are the most valuable asset to any organization or community.

Read more from MonsterThinking (originally posted by Matt Charney) on tonight’s #TChat topic. The Impact of Social, Mobile and Video on Workplace Culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will see you tonight and look forward! Thank you for engaging with us on this channel.

Happy Holidays from our Community! Cheers.

Magnetic Cultures and Twitter Chats — The Latest #TChat Recap

Talk about a magnetic culture.

At least in the context of online Twitter Chats in 140 characters or less of reciprocal conversation and idea exchange — we’ve got a winner.

My fearless culture cohort in crime, TalentCulture founder Meghan M. Biro, and I started #TChat back on November 16, 2010, and have now hosted four forums.

The latest titled The Workplace Culture Audit:  Building a Magnetic Company Culture and Recruiting the Best Talent was our biggest yet.

Check out the stats here — over 250 contributors last night alone sharing over 2,000 tweets.

Our good friend Eric Leist, an Emerging Technology Strategist with Allen & Gerristen, wrote about Twitter chat madness this week.

Let’s get back to last night’s topic, though.  Meghan’s forte is company culture and here are some of her thoughts on the subject:

Companies faced with retaining their most important asset – employees = people – should focus on creating a workplace culture that accommodates not only the organization’s need to meet business objectives, but also what resonates with an employees’ need to see themselves as a key partner in the organization’s success. Let’s ensure people feel valued and respected in this equation at all levels in the organization.

 

Workplace culture is so much more than a mission statement or having a cool ping pong table for breaks or sharing free sodas in the refrigerator (these perks matter of course). It’s a powerful metaphor for the workplace that allows employees to compellingly describe where they work, what the business does, and what its value is to customers. Companies successful in creating a unique and compelling workplace culture will have much more success attracting and retaining talented people who experience ‘culture fit’ with the company.  It’s so important and often overlooked.

Right on the money.  If you don’t have a workplace culture that attracts and retains quality talent, that gets most of them excited about the why of do and not just the what, then your days in business may be numbered.

I say “may be” because cultural wasteland firms can still produce a product and/or service the market wants and be awash in huge profits.  You know, like banking, investment and financial services firms.  (Did I just write that?  Please, no e-mails or phone calls.)  Magnetic culture and business can be mutually exclusive but are oh so much better together.

Magnetic culture is organic, and although leaders help to spark it, fanning the flames comes from inside.

You can read more from Meghan on culture at Culture Brand: Create Magical Distinction to Attract the Very Best Talent.

Here were the questions from last night’s #TChat:

  • Q1: How do you define company culture and what makes it magnetic?
  • Q2: Why aren’t happy hour Fridays, flex time and nap couches enough for a magnetic company culture?
  • Q3: Why is culture a key determinant in attracting and retaining talent?
  • Q4: What constitutes fair compensation including benefits and how does that affect culture?
  • Q5: Do your talent objectives align with the business objectives?  Vice-versa?
  • Q6: How can employers make employee training/career development a priority and give culture more meaning?
  • Q7: Does “open” communication exist in your company? What does this term mean to you?
  • Q8: Why or why not is it important to have an emotionally intelligent company?
  • Q9: How are you challenging your employees (good or bad)? How is your employer challenging you?
  • Q10: How important is it for your personal values to match those of the company?  Vice-versa?

The caliber of attendees and their answers was outstanding.  Smart and savvy folk.  You can see a sampling below or search hashtag #TChat stream to read more.

A very special thanks to Monster Thinking for their support and partnership.  @monster_works and @MonsterWW will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT.

We also welcome global input and hope you can join from wherever you might be. We certainly want to hear from you. We are committed to creating educational content and social community here at the Culture of Talent. Learning is continuous here and we are nothing without people. People (AKA: human capital) are the most valuable asset to any organization or community.

Thank you all again for joining us!  More #TChat next Tuesday, December 21, 2010 — The Very, Merry Cheddar edition.  I have no idea what that means, but be there.

Monster is Thinking + Join our #TChat Community

Could this be any cooler or what?

What I mean is having MonsterThinking as a #TChat co-host and brand ambassador. That’s very cool. The Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and our TalentCulture mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

The MonsterThinking blog explores the complex world of work and is more than just their tagline; it’s their mission. I always enjoy spending time with their talented team members at social media and career/workplace events and have personally known this company for many years and phases of their workplace culture.

I’m honored to have them on board with us. And of course, finding innovative ways to connect job seekers with the employers looking for them is what Monster’s all about. How can we not love this community of people?

@monster_works and @MonsterWW will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT. We also welcome global input and hope you can join from wherever you might be. We certainly want to hear from you. We are committed to creating educational content and social community here at the Culture of Talent. Learning is continuous here and we are nothing without people. People (AKA: human capital) are the most valuable asset to any organization or community.

Read more from MonsterThinking on tonight’s #TChat topic. The Workplace Culture Audit: Steps To Building a Magnetic Company Culture and Recruiting the Best Talent.

We will see you tonight and look forward to a new 2011 jam packed with opportunity to learn and grow! Thank you for engaging with us on this channel.

Twitter Chats: A Method to the Madness

I’ve recently gotten into the practice of managing, organizing and consulting for Twitter chats including #LBSchat, #TChat and others. Bear with me in this very straightforward methodology for creating a chat on Twitter.

A Definition: What’s a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is a scheduled group orchestrated around a hashtag. Chats usually last about an hour and can capture any size audience. Typically, Twitter users are drawn to chats because chats offer a forum to air out ideas and opinions about a specific topic.

Goals

A Twitter chat should exist to accomplish a set of goals. The goals can be specific and measurable or qualitative in nature. Some examples of Twitter chat goals are as follows:

  • To grow thought leadership for the chat founders
  • To create an open forum for discussion around a previously under-explored topic
  • To fuel content for a blog, book, ebook or wiki

TalentCulture - Twitter Chat - How-to Image - "The View" Roundtable as a Twitter ChatDetermining a Need

There are already a ton of Twitter chats today. So determining whether or not enough demand exists is crucial to the success of a chat. Chat founders need to aim to create an experience participants can’t get elsewhere. Before jumping in head first, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are the existing conversations about my topic burgeoning, but disjointed? In other words, is there a need for organization around the conversations about this topic?
  • Are there enough sub topics to fuel this chat for more than a few sessions?
  • What influencers would be interested in this chat? Can I convince them to participate?
  • How many people would be ideal for a conversation about my topic?

Organization/Moderation

Structure

Establishing an official Twitter persona for your chat has several benefits:

  • The profile bio can be used to give a description of the chat.
  • The profile URL can link to a chat blog, group, category RSS feed, etc.
  • The account can be used to ask questions during the chat.
  • The account can build thought leadership in a niche vertical.

Some chats do not have an official Twitter persona behind them. They are run by the individuals who founded them. This format can work too, especially if the individual organizing the chat wants individual credibility.

Density

One of the most difficult issues to work out during a chat is how closely you want to control it. The number of questions in your chat can steer a conversation into very niche discussions or an open-mic style chat puts the chat direction entirely in the hands of the participants.

For many chats, 5-10 questions work well. Some chats will change format from time to time by hosting an occasional open forum or bringing in a special guest to do a Q&A.

Frequency

Most Twitter chats are weekly. Others are monthly. Still others are scheduled sporadically. Finding the right frequency for your audience will be largely based on how engaged they are and by how consistently compelling the content is.

It may take a few months to figure out an appropriate frequency. You will get a sense of how often a chat needs to take place based on the volume of participation.

Touchpoints

It’s helpful to think of your Twitter chat like a community. Figure out where and how your chat community will reach its members. Some examples of touchpoint models are:

  • Email newsletters
  • Twitter reminders (public @replies or Direct Messages)
  • LinkedIn group messages
  • Facebook Group notifications

Growing an Audience

Momentum is crucial to a successful chat. In an ideal world, your chat would gather more participants each week. Unfortunately, your Twitter chat is just a Twitter chat. It will not be a high priority item for your community members. So some of your chats will be smaller than others. However, there are best practices for growing a community between chats:

  • Encourage community members to spread the word about the chat.
  • Create recap blog posts for anyone who cannot participate in the live chat.
  • Thank and highlight chat participants regularly.
  • Establish a paper.li for your chat hashtag and tweet it during each update.
  • Keep engagement on the hashtag going even when the chat is not live.

Capitalizing on a Chat

Sponsored Twitter chats are becoming increasingly common. Some options you have for monetizing a chat are:

  • Charging per tweet
  • Charging per chat
  • Selling a sponsorship package for a set number of chats
  • Charging per click on a sponsored link

Resources

Some chats you may want to look at:

Some technology you may want to test into:

Cultivating Diversity: A New Way to Network

Jon Lovitz did a routine on Saturday Night Live about how to be more successful. The answer to success was always the catch phrase, “Get to know me!”

Looking back on my first year of leaving the corporate world for entrepreneurship in the world of strategy and innovation, the success we’ve had has been linked in every instance to getting to know OTHER people over the past few years. This effort was coupled with trying to deliver a valuable experience to others through a presentation they attended, assisting them with networking, or somehow trying to help them whenever we interacted.

Another important element of my “getting to know people “strategy is embracing a concept vital to successful innovation: cultivating diversity.

Too often, I see people networking very narrowly, trying to meet people similar to them. Yet when all your networking effort goes toward people in the same company, industry, or geographic location, you wind up tremendously limiting your options.

As you look toward the coming year, here are 6 strategies to enhance the diversity of your networking efforts and ensure you get the greatest benefit from investing time to meet new people:

  1. Expertise Diversity: Network by topic, not by group – Rather than sticking to the same association networking events you always attend, review the list of educational events in your area and target your networking participation by topic, not group. For me, going to new marketing-related meetings and even to a lunch sponsored by a largely female-oriented organization led to re-establishing contacts with people I hadn’t seen for years and who now had very different careers and networks.
  2. Time Diversity: Allow yourself to network at multiple times of the day – It’s easy for your schedule to dictate networking only at certain times of the day, i.e. typical work requirements make lunches difficult so you attend happy hours. Figure out how to vary that pattern and go to events at a new time of the day. You’ll run into different types of people, creating new opportunities.
  3. Age Diversity: Attend events with someone of a different generation – If you’re going to the right types of diverse events, people from three or four generations should be present. To help in meeting people across the greatest age range, ask friends in generations preceding and following yours to join you at events. They can help attract and make introductions with a broader mix of attendees than you might ever pursue on your own.
  4. Profile Diversity: Be inefficient in meeting new people – Sometimes when you meet a new person, you feel like you’re being put through a standard set of qualifying questions to see if you warrant more time and follow-up. Efficient, yes. But I rarely want to invest time with those people. Put away the efficient qualifying-speak and ask questions which make sense for the person you’re talking with right now. Invest more time in hearing what they have to say instead of only listening for keywords important to you.
  5. Channel Diversity: Live tweet an event you’re attending and blog about it afterwardSharing a speaker’s content through tweeting at an event is a great way to meet and interact with new people both at the venue and those following it remotely. Turning your tweets into a subsequent blog post (either for your own blog or perhaps the association’s blog) provides yet another way to meet others interested in the speaker, the topic, or the sponsoring group.
  6. Audience Diversity: Speak at an event, especially if you never have before – If you’ve not been a public speaker previously, make this the year to prepare content, rehearse, and break into the ranks of people sharing their knowledge at public events. You’ll meet multiple people and be in the wonderful position of having offered something of value to them before even getting to know them.
  7. Atmosphere Diversity: Throw a party and invite too many people – Hosting a party is a great way to get to know people you already know in new ways. Since only a certain percent of people you invite will actually attend, play the percentages and invite a bunch of new people – more than you can accommodate – and discover new attendees who will become your great party guests of the future.

With these diversity-building efforts incorporated into your efforts, you’ll get to know a whole new group of people and have a much stronger network to show for it.

Culture Brand: Create Magical Distinction to Attract the Very Best Talent

I’ve been thinking a lot about brand abandonment lately. My next series of thoughts immediately go to how creating and maintaining a brand-based corporate culture can help businesses avoid brand abandonment, and help recruit and retain the very best talent.

I will refer way back yonder back to my post on building culture, which requires a company to establish several modes of interaction with employees, job seekers and customers. These modes of interaction – transactional, transformational and tacit – build trust with employees and candidates, enable competitive advantage, and may even facilitate the establishment of a social community within a larger organization.

A company that sees the benefits of building a brand-based corporate culture has a very distinct advantage in the hiring marketplace. Say you are running a small business. How do you attract talent? By creating a strong, desirable culture brand. A recent post at the Wall Street Journal speaks to the steps a small company might take to attract talent: communicate your success, share your excitement about the business’s potential, make a point of linking that potential to the applicant’s interests. Link corporate culture and brand with your people and the magic really starts.

Think you can’t compete on benefits and salary? Remember that your brand and culture are your biggest attractions. As Tim Hackett writes at MonsterThinking, most candidates want to work for a brand they admire. People love Nike because it’s cool, IBM because it’s a leader, Google because it’s an innovator. We can’t all work at those places, but we can observe their brands and cultures, and learn. Be your brand, treat people well, and don’t waiver or abandon your position.

Treating people well and running an ethical business is the secret sauce for really good brands. Bill Taylor says brand is culture, and culture is brand in a recent article at Harvard Business Review. When there’s a tight link between the two forces, customers will know, employees will know, job seekers will know. No risk of brand abandonment in this scenario: it’s baked right into the workplace culture as a foundation.

As the economy rebounds, employees may become restive. Job seekers may start flooding well-known brands with resumes in the hopes that finally someone will open the envelope, click on the email, or even a tweet. Your best defense, as an employer, is to have culture and brand in place. Be irresistible to your employees. Be desirable to candidates. Be your brand, revel in your culture, and never abandon either. The price is just too high.

Perils of Brand Abandonment: Strive for Shiny, Fresh and Authentic

Brand is something that cuts both ways in the recruiting business. Candidates have personal brands – we talk about that a lot on the TalentCulture blog – and companies have brands. A company’s brand directly relates to it’s workplace culture. An excellent (and disturbing) article by David Lee on ERE.net has me thinking about the perils of brand abandonment – those moments when people, or companies, stop paying attention to the messages they’re sending out when they are hiring and retaining talent.

Brand, the way I talk about it with candidates, is a shorthand way of presenting yourself to others. It’s more than an elevator pitch, but it relies on the same idea: a condensed and polished presentation of a few key facts about you and why you’d be a good employee. As I’ve written here, a personal brand should present your skills, interests, personality attributes and values in a coherent manner that will be compelling and authentic to recruiters and hiring managers.

For companies the process isn’t that different. An organization/workplace may start with a mission statement, then move on to values and objectives, but the point of the exercise is the same: to create a compelling, credible, and authentic collective persona – a culture brand – that is compelling to customers, investors and valuable employees. Of course, we know workplace culture is so much more than a mere mission statement. Healthy organizations strive to make their brand consistent on all angles.

But sometimes, when you’ve worked to establish your brand, you start to believe the shorthand version. You drink the Kool-Aid. You stop listening, stop monitoring how people react, and stop thinking about the value of your brand.

Lee’s article describes a survey in which candidates describe horrific, dispiriting experiences they had with prospective employers. Read the article for particulars, but the net is this: treating candidates poorly at any point in the recruiting process leaves them with a bad impression of your company. It’s brand abandonment, and it’s completely avoidable.

Brand abandonment is a real risk for career seeking candidates as well.

Here are a few points of risk:

Social Media and TMI

Social media can be the enemy of brand for a job seeker. We’ve all heard the stories of candidates being screened out for Facebook and Twitter posts. Don’t put anything on social media you wouldn’t tell your grandmother. The not-cool grandmother. I’m not saying do not be authentic and interesting. If your not-cool grandmother does not accept your unique personality well then – perhaps we can ignore her. I want you to be you! Just be thoughtful. Protect yourself here.

Poor Interview Technique

Talk about what you can do for the employer. In an interview situation you need to reinforce the links between your brand value and the company’s brand, without being narcissistic. Don’t reveal details that aren’t relevant. You may have been an Eagle Scout, but that was then and this is now. Listen, don’t just talk.

Improper (or no) Follow up

It is absolutely imperative to follow up with a thank you note. Unless part of your personal brand is being rude, there’s no excuse for not saying thank you. No scented pink paper, check your spelling, sum up the key takeaway of the interview – What you learned about the company, why you’d be the right candidate, why it’s the right company/fit.

Check Your References Before the Interviewer Does

Don’t count on the boss you had three jobs ago for a great reference – make sure you’ll get one by making a call and running through what you need in a reference and what he or she is comfortable saying. Don’t trust your brand to someone else: make sure you’re on the same page before you hand out names and phone numbers.

Brand is a responsibility. It takes care, constant monitoring and periodic refreshes. You are your personal brand. And companies need to stay present and take full responsibility for their brand behaviors by being consistent and sensitive to the messages they are sending career seekers about their workplace culture. Bottom line: Use what you’ve got to keep it shiny and fresh.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

10 Tips To Building a Social Community

The human resources, career, and recruitment communities are communities in the truest sense of the word. Social media communities are popping up everywhere these days. Why do some work, and some don’t? How do we build stronger communities? Where do you go for advice and resources for community development?
First, the success of any social media community depends upon engagement, interaction, and positive reinforcement for participation. Back in February, I started a job search community called #HireFriday. It spread to 3 Countries within the first 3 months, and went viral throughout the web. HireFriday is not just a community, it’s a movement with grass root supporters, volunteer community leaders who act as stewards, and evangelists to grow our community.

I attribute this to the pay it forward aspect of our social community. I believe it is hunan nature to want to be kind, and helpful.  In the down turned economy, people seek out ways to make a difference.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Engage-give people a reason to be part of your community. Reach out to your industry leaders and enlist their support.

2. Interact-be a conversation starter. People appreciate making contact – particularly when the banter is positive and upbeat.

3. Reinforce interaction with public recognition. Retweet on Twitter. Create a blog post noting and linking the people who are engaging with you community. This encourages other people’s participation.

4. Find people who need your help and help them. Enlist others to do the same. For instance, job seekers appreciate it when you amplify their search with a retweet, or tweet.

5. Make sure you are listening and responding to participants in your community.

6. Be prepared to address negative comments immediately. Rapid response is crucial to building a better relationship. A problem resolved quickly and attentively builds community loyalty.

7. Provide excellent content.

8. Be consistent in your content by staying on message and reinforcing your core brand values, goals, and mission.

9. Don’t spread yourself too thin-find the space where the interaction is greatest and focus your attention there.

10. Stay positive. Garner support from your community and build those relationships.

The relationships I’ve built over the past few years in social media communities have grown dear to my heart. Nothing builds community loyalty like deepening relationships with your participants. The top ten tips I’ve mentioned have helped me focus my community building efforts. I hope they help yours.   Mashable and Techcrunch are staples in my Google Reader. I like these topical articles – Enjoy:

How To: Use Social Media to Connect With Other Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur People & Lists

The Fastest Growing Social Sites

8 Things to Avoid When Building a Community