What’s next with social recruiting

If you have been following this blog for a while you would know that I am always looking for the next thing. I have been doing the same thing with using social media in business.
I Want You
Social Recruiting has a lot of  buzz at the moment. How do I know there is a buzz, well 200+ people attended the Social Recruiting Summit in New York City last week, we have almost a full house at the ATC Social Media event, RecruitTech 2009 had social media as a primary theme.

But let us take a step back, for most social recruiting is just about using social media as another marketing channel. A terrible waste in my eyes.

My definition of social recruiting is:

  • Using social media tools as part of the recruiting process
  • Building a community of potential candidates
  • Engaging with candidates as people not numbers

From an employer’s perspective recruitment is about fueling organisational growth, renewal, building the most efficient and sustainable business. This can only be done through personal relationships and cultural fit. (Yes there is a bit of sales and marketing in the mix but that is just attraction, the rest of the process is all personal.)

This brings me to Doc Searls’s recent blog post “Beyond Social Media“. If you do not know Doc Searls you should, also you should read the book he co-authors 10 years ago, Cluetrain. In the post Doc raises several very good points.

  • Twitter is now as necessary to tweeting as Google is to search. It’s a public activity under private control.
  • Most other popular activities online are not owned by anyone, they are public.
  • Personal and social go hand-in-hand, but the latter builds on the former.
  • Today in the digital world we still have very few personal tools that work only for us, are under personal control
  • Individually-empowered customers are the ultimate greenfield for business and culture.
  • What we’re not doing because “social” everything is such a bubble of buzz right now

Are we really finally about to enter the age of Brand You or is it another 10 years away? If the individual is now the key to business and culture what does that mean for:

  • The recruitment process?
  • The HR Management practices in your average corporation?

I hear recruiters complaining they do not have time to develop relationships with candidates or use Twitter etc.  But what happens when the candidates are developing that relationship with a potential hiring manager or potential peer? Where do recruiters add value in this transaction?

For HR the issue is just as difficult. When employees view themselves as individuals who own the ideas, conversation and intentions to create the “business”. How do structured learning and development programs remain valid in an era of so much open information? How do you keep employees engaged? How does that traditional compensation plan survive?

I could go on, but I hope you get the picture. So if what Doc Searls is saying, “individually-empowered customers are the ultimate greenfield for business and culture”, is true then the companies who first leverage these concepts will be the ones we are talking about in 5 years time. Just as recruiters now marvel at Microsoft and the like who all started on their paths in around 2005.

ATC Social Media Conference

We are coming to the end of the early bird discount period for the joint event between Inspecht and ATC Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution. while the early bird discount is good, register 2 or more delegates and you get an even better deal.

So why attend?

  1. Listen to Australian case studies from Ernst & Young and Atlassian
  2. Hear from Futurist Mark Pesce
  3. Participate in workshops on social recruiting strategies, digital branding and the use of social networking for sourcing
  4. Watch the debate between Stephen Collins and Jake Andrews, from SEEK, on “Do you need a job board when you have social networking?”
  5. Put forward your own ideas and thought in the World Cafe session
  6. Listen and interact with your peers in the special unconference session where you get to control the agenda

This event was inspired by the ERE Social Recruiting Summit so I caught up with Paul Jacobs from Tribe HQ a New Zealander who attended the event with me to find out why he trekked all the way from Wellington New Zealand to San Francisco. (These are definitely NOT Oscar winning performances but we had fun.)

Finally if you are a member of Recruitment 2.0 APAC you could win a free ticket to attend

Are your offer letters keepsakes?

Something I get asked a lot is “How does social media impact the HR department?”

There are lots of ways, including areas that crosses into the recruiting; attraction, branding, onboarding and closing the deal.

Do your offer letters engage future employees like this?

All kidding aside, any company that can give this much attention to detail just in their HR paperwork should be fun to work for.  I am looking forward to this new adventure.

How about something someone would never throw out?

I don’t think I’ll ever throw this out. It’s a keepsake that reminds me of the major move I made from Toronto to San Francisco and all the sacrifices made and opportunities gained.

Or make your experienced hire feel “like a kid on Christmas morning”?

Enter the Apple Job Offer.
ioffer

(Via Glyph)

These are the feeling expressed by Glyph about his current Apple job offer and Justin Reid’s historical offer.

Just imagine how engaged your new employees will be if they feel proud enough to photograph your paperwork and describe the “tension on the hinge of the folder is perfect: not too tense, not too loose”! Let’s not over look the complete alignment of the above offer packages to the corporate culture of Apple.

Unfortunately onboarding processes are a frequently overlooked part of both recruitment and HR processes.

ATC: Russell Kronenburg from Pacific Brands

Next up was Russell Kronenburg, Group People and Performance Manager, Pacific Brands. Wow want a fantastic session. Russell provided us with some amazing insights into what Pacific Brands are doing to attract key talent. Pacific Brands had an issue with finding designers, who could take up to 180 days to hire! Russell introduced us to the Barrett Model for Organisation Values and how this relates to talent management.

His point of view is that if you focus on the community and then administrative things will work themselves out. Looking at this from a talent management point of view Pacific Brands are focused on developing the talent pipeline for their revenue impacting jobs, ie designers. To this end they have been working heavily with universities and designer industry organisations. Some examples:

  • Pacific Brands established a LinkedIn Group for designers to connect and communicate, while not designed for recruitment Pacific Brands have made a hires from the community. Of interest Russell is the community manager.
  • One of Pacific Brands designers’ has been invited to be an adjunct professor at University in Canada
  • Partnering with RMIT to develop the world’s first surfwear design school to attract students from around the globe and maybe stay in Australia, resulting in more designers in Australia which down the road may result in employees for Pacific Brand.
  • Pacific Brands are working to help educational organisations develop content in their design programs so that the graduates have the required skills.
  • They will be holding an international student design competition; the winners would then come spend a couple of weeks working with the top Pacific Brand designers. If Pacafic Brands wants the ideas from the competition they will pay the students for the idea including an ongoing profit share model.

    More social media and workplace firings

    It seems that social media is creating an environment where “firings will continue until moralw picks up”, or it just could be that Asher Moses knows he on to a good thing so his editors keep him writing about it…

    So far in April Asher has written five different articles around social media sites and losing your job, that is one every four days! This comes after the flood Conroygate in March. Having said that this all makes great content for this blog so I hope Asher and his editor keep it up.

    April 2: Facebook comments by prison guards had them being threatened with disciplinary actions according to one of the guards:

    the comments on the Facebook group were largely suggestions of ways Corrective Services could save money without having to privatise prisons. Some disparaging comments were made against senior officials but these were largely “tongue-in-cheek”.

    “I personally have no idea who I’ve supposed to have bullied and what comments I’ve made that are defamatory,” the officer said.

    “It’s a big waste of taxpayers money to investigate us for having an opinion, the irony of it being that some of the cost saving suggestions we’ve made have actually been implemented.”

    April 3: Facebook discipline may be illegal has workplace lawyer Steven Penning saying:

    He said employment contracts are unlikely to cover staff use of social networking sites.

    “What employers are doing is they’re scrambling and trying to make out that present policies can be stretched to cover these new areas, and in many respects they can’t,” Penning said.

    April 8: Facebook snitches cost jobs we have more and more examples of people losing their jobs, although in this article Asher starts to reuse comments by Steven Penning to keep the story moving. Here we have a 20 year old losing her jobs for saying “saying no to working for shitty Government departments” on her Facebook status and then Jane Morgan who said her job sucked so she was sacked.

    April 16: Has our dirty Domino crew from the US who were fouling up customers’ food. They were caughtby their YouTube vidoes and have been arrested.

    April 17: Finishes the list with accusations that companies are now hiring firms like SR7 to track down dirt on employees so employers can discipline them.

    I think things have got a bit out of control, on both sides of the fence. Let’s break this down a bit. 

    • Not wanting to work for shitty Government departments, fair call and most people I talk too tend to say that all Government departments are shitty. I know a heap of people working in the Government who have spoken negatively about their workplaces both online and offline, shall we sack them all? Eventually we might just run out of workers.
    • The prison guards, again my personal view is they seem to want to help, maybe the Department of Corrective Services should sit down with them and listen to their ideas. Usually people only lash out after they have backed into a corner. I have also found most workers actually have great ideas about how to improve the workplace.
    • A workplace with snitches “telling on you” over your Facebook status is a bit like primary school, and I tend to like a place where people get along. Unless of course you are blatantly causing harm to the reputation of your employer. But even then will one small remark from a low level employee really damage the reputation of a large company? The potential PR storm you could have as took place in the UK is a bigger issue I would think. Take this further I know a public officer of a multinational who was alleged involved in a road rage incident, all covered by the press. That guy kept his job, so a Facebook status is not that harmful, really is it?
    • SR7, there are always people out there trying to profit on things that might be considered border line ethically.
    • The Domino’s example, yep sack them but this is not a social media issue.

    This is really just setting the scene more later, 

    A final note, I will be speaking about these issues in early May in Sydney and Melbourne for FCB Workplace Lawyers, details soon.

    (This post has been updated following editorial feedback.)

    Internet usage at work makes you productive

    Flickr Photo by : dietpoison
    (Source: Flickr dietpoison)
    An Australian report released yesterday found that employees who “surf the Internet work” are 9% more productivity than those that don’t! The study was conducted by Dr Brent Coker from the Department of Management and Marketing.

    The study covered 300 workers and found that 70% engage in what has has termed “workplace Internet leisure browsing” and helps with their concentration.

    “It’s the same in the work place. Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days work, and as a result, increased productivity.”

    The Deacons Social Networking Survey found that a majority of Internet users (91%) felt they use the internet appropriately while at work. It could be said that not only are people who have access to these sites more productive a majority use the tools appropriately. To all those organisations that are blocking sites such as YouTube, Facebook etc due to productivity issues, well you might in fact have it the wrong way around!

    Let me push this thinking further.

    Trusting and respecting your employees provides a foundation for engagement. With somewhere in the order of 20% of Australian employees actively disengaged and 62% general not engaged. Organisations need to work on engagement, part of this is how to motivate employees and improve employee morale, ok this is not news to most.

    What if you trusted your employees that they would ‘behave’ on the internet and allowing them “workplace Internet leisure browsing”?

    You might find that not only are they more productive, more engaged, motivated and have a higher morale.  Also don’t forget that companies with highly engaged employees tend to out perform (financial returns) their competitors by 2:1.

    Of course there is always a flip side, the study also found some of us are addicted to the internet and as such “workplace Internet leisure browsing” just feeds the addicition. Oh well maybe it is time for some IAA meetings.

    Is Facebook good or bad?

    It seems to me that if I was to believe the pundits social media is going to either cause the next apocalypse or be the saviour for us all! 

    But I want to look at two specific cases here and their relationship with HR.

    First the negative.

    Kimberley SwannKimberley Swann, at 16 year old in the UK, who was sacked from Ivell Marketing & Logistics for posting on her Facebook profile that her office administration job was boring. Some more background:

    • It was her first real office job, yes she was employed at a call centre before but this was her first office job. 
    • The company only found out after she allowed another employee to become a “friend” on Facebook.
    • She never mentioned the company name, so no initial damage.
    • There is no information on if the company provided her an acceptable usage policy, even while she posted from home it should have highlighted that she should have a due diligence when interacting online.

    While it might not have been the smartest of things to do, I personally don’t think it should result in immediate dismissal. The company would have done better to take on board the fact that she was bored and look at ways to use her skills, also explaining that posting on Facebook was not the smartest of moves. If she did it again then look at discipline actions.

    Another thought if they had done nothing Ivell Marketing & Logistics or Steve Ivell would not be all over the Internet and they would not have had to remove the contact us page on their web site due Facebook users crashing their email server. 

    Now the positive, Deloitte’s is paying employees for using Facebook to find new employees! Deloitte’s a large user of social media as part of regular business operations and recruitment, this only entrenches them as a leader around innovation.

    Now this brings me to Brett from Job Adder’s post from last week, he’s right don’t put the cart before the horse otherwise you and your social media campaign will end up on the cart even if you don’t want to go on the cart.

    Four quick thoughts

    I have been meaning to write an earth shattering post here for a while, but I guess that will have to wait a bit longer. In the meantime here are four quick thoughts to keep you going:

    1. Honesty in a resume is important even when your brackground is not the most attractive, Drug Smugglers Resume.
    2. Want to quickly monitor your personal brand? Here are three tools to help you get started.
    3. Work in a large company? Then follow David and Gareth on their quest for the perfect ERP.
    4. Finally when a mainstream consulting firm like McKinsey starts using hashtags to discuss Web 2.0 you know you need to get involved.

    Managing the employer brand

    Over the last two to three months I have spent a lot of time working with people on either their employer or personal brand. These discussions have lead me to believe that most organisations are not thinking about how social media can impact their employer brand. 

    Organisations are spending vasts amounts of time and money ensuring that their employer value proposition (EVP) clearly articulates to the workforce benefits that are both emotive (feeling good about working here) and tangible (remuneration, benefits and career development) for current and prospective employees.

    Traditionally an EVP reflects the external image that the organisation portrays to the workforce and is reflected in the actions and behaviours of public officers and by company policies, procedures and practices.  In today’s world through social media, blog posts, tweets, and video are controlled by the public and remain in search engine caches for a very long time, if not forever!

    I call this new world one of a “socially generated EVP”. And your socially generated EVP is not one you can control or predict in a traditional manner.

    Today I read about a survey conducted by Weber Shandwick and the Economist Intelligence Unit which found that while 67% of executives felt their companies reputation was vulnerable online. However less than 40% analysed their own reputation and 70% were either unaware or did not want to admit employees have badmouthed the companies online. The full replort is available (PDF).

    This calls for social media governance within the organisation. With social media being a grass roots activity you might question the need for governance. However without a good governance model, your employees and the organisation as a whole, is left open to abuse and potential legal issues. At a minimum, put down some “rules of engagement”, depending on your corporate culture, they can be simple or complex, preferably simple!  Don’t forget that by engaging with your employees as part of the creation process of the governance model can create self-regulation.

     

    Are you adapting your services to stay relevant?

    An old saying by Heraclitus a Greek philosopher that “Nothing endures but change”. If this was true in 500 BC, then today if you are not preparing for change you are dead in the water. Period!

    Today I was reading a Gartner research report by Thomas Otter, aka Vendorprisey, The Effects of Social Software on Your Employer Brand (Hat Tip: Amit Avasthi) which got me thinking about change.

    Then I came across a post by Don Tapscott on Grown Up Digital about how libraries in the US are having to adapt to encourage Generation Y to visit. Resulting by the way in a 25% increase in attendance!

    What would you do if you weren't afraid
    So what do these two things have in common?

    Customers are changing and so you must evolve to survive. Even more so in tough economic times. 

    Now how are you changing to stay relevant? Depending on your view what do employers, candidates, employees or the board really want from you in 2009? How can you deliver it?

    What should you be upgrading? Your employer branding? Your careers web site? Your referral program? Your Resume? Your Compensation programs? Your Performance Review programs? Your strategic plan?

    Think about getting a 25% improvement by changing to suit your audience.

    If you want to learn more about how to deal with change read Who Moved My Cheese?.

    Photo credit: nguyenanhquan from Flickr.