HR Futures and the Mobile Ecosystem

It is only 2 weeks until the Inspecht HR Futures Conference, so if you are planning to attend make sure you register ASAP. $400 for the full day is very reasonable considering many events are up to three times that price per day. While the speakers will be of course great, the break sessions will allow you to network with your peers in a relaxed environment.

End self promotion.

Now time to promote someone else.

Kate Carruthers from Sydney town is organising an event in early March called “Entering the Mobile Ecosystem” as part of the venture Silicon Federation. This is a half day event and looks at how to enter the mobile marketplace.

This seminar is for you if:

  • you are looking for new, inexpensive ways to reach customers
  • you want practical advice from speakers who have done it
  • you want to meet mobile app developers, including the developer whose Australian iPhone app tops the charts
  • you want a clear understanding of the next steps for your business

Speakers

  • Shane Williamson – Mobile Convergence Evangelist
  • Graham Dawson – creator of the top rating Oz Weather iPhone app
  • Keith Ahern – CEO of MoGeneration one of the leading Australian iPhone development companies with 5 high profile iPhone web apps released in 2008

If you are up in Sydney and interested in mobile applications and their impacts on business head over to Silicon Federation and register.

Social networking and recruitment

There are some major changes taking place within the recruitment software market at the moment. Changes that have the ability to remove vendors such as Taleo from being “top of the pops”.

What is it? Intelligent matching of jobs to social networks.

Both Australian job referral vendors 2Vouch and Hoojano do this but not to the level that we are seeing from players such as JobVite and Appirio. Appirio has a US$25,000 annual fee and connects with SalesForce and Facebook. Once employees opt-in the system reviews their friends list in Facebook and match potential jobs to friends. JobVite works in a similar way but uses both Facebook and LinkedIn, then the person who had the job referred to them can also opt-in to receive future job notices from the company. ERE had a review of both Appirio and JobVite’s new features.

These features validate the use of social networks for recruiting and move them from being a passive part of the process to a key component.

If you are in the market for a recruitment solution the decision making process just got a little harder.

(Disclosure: 2Vouch is a client of mine.)

Being an HR Manager in a Web 2.0 company

Many people have commented that there is still a session in the HR Futures Conference without a speaker, could they fill the slot. The issue has not been there was no speaker, more that I had too many speakers to choose from! Over the last month I have been working with several people to finalise who will speak and what they will speak about. I wanted a case study so that attendees could get an “in the trenches” view of HR , Social Media and Web 2.0.

I am very happy and excited to announce that Joris Luijke HR Manager from Atlassian will be speaking, and that the program is now full!

If you don’t know Atlassian you really should.

Atlassian is an Australian software company specialising in collaboration and development tools. An amazing success story, founded in 2002, they have 14,500+ customers, 195 employees worldwide, offices in Sydney, San Francisco and Amsterdam with FY08 revenues ~$35 million. Altlassian’s wiki product Confluence was listed 2nd in the 2008 Top 100 Australia Web 2.0 Applications, top in Gartners Magic Quadrant for Social Software report, and the founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have been listed multiple times as some of top Australia’s entrepreneurs.

Now the talk.

I have asked Joris to cover what it is like leading the HR team in a fast growing Web 2.0 organisation, where all employees are encouraged to blog, policies are stored in a wiki and generally culture is Web 2.0 in nature.

More details to come.

Have you heard of the Velociroflcoptersaurus?

There is a silly little game going on with some fo the IT folks here in Australia, basically to see who can own the word Velociroflcoptersaurus in Google by Jan 13 2009. Given I know very little about SEO I figured why not play and see what I could learn.

I was a little late into the game and some of the key sites on were taken, such as the .com, .net, .blogspot.com & .wordpress.com. But I was able to snag http://velociroflcoptersaurus.org, which is now the official Velociroflcoptersaurus Fan Club!

Now how about a little love from my readers and a link back to http://velociroflcoptersaurus.org? There is even a very badly designed badge you can place on your web site.

New career ideas for IT workers

CIO just published a great list of 24 new careers for IT professionals who are no longer in IT, covering project managers, help desk operators, software developers, BAs, and Testers. The best one Help Desk should become phone sex workers cause they are good on the phone!

Here is a summary of the article:

IT Project Managers

  • Wedding/Event Planners: Making sure a wedding comes off without a hitch will seem like a breeze after dealing with the millions of variables involved in a software project. Dealing with Bridezilla, however…well, perhaps not so much.
  • Professional Organizers: You can use your organizational skills to get other people’s lives in order, and you’ll make a bundle doing it.
  • Personal Trainers/Martial Arts Instructor: Use your self-discipline to discipline others into getting in shape.
  • Symphony Conductors: If you’re musically inclined, you can combine your ability to keep teams of people on task with your musical interests to conduct an orchestra.

Help Desk

  • Entrepreneurs: Use your winning personality and customer service orientation to buy a franchise or start your own business.
  • Sales reps: If starting your own business sounds too risky, you can use your engaging personality to sell luxury goods in a high-end boutique, pharmaceuticals to doctors or software to CIOs.
  • Recruiters: Recruiters solve companies’ staffing problems, and they’re known for their sunny dispositions.
  • Customer service reps: The best customer service workers, like the best help desk workers, remain calm in stressful situations and are able to impose that calm on others.
  • Social Workers/Psychologists: These professions leverage your desire to help others.
  • Phone Sex Workers: You’re good on the phone, right?

Software Developer

  • Technical Writers: Software developers are uniquely qualified to excel as technical writers.
  • Novelists: Writing fiction is a heady intellectual challenge and a great way to exercise your imaginative side. But note that unless you win the Oprah’s Book Club lottery you likely won’t be able to quit your day job.
  • Mathematicians: Many computer scientists majored in math in college. Moving into a career in math wouldn’t be much of a stretch.
  • Musicians: Another way to indulge your creative side is through music.
  • Architects: Architects combine the best of left-brain and right-brain thinking, much like the best software developers.

Business Analysts

  • Translators/Interpreters: Good business analysts are effective interpreters and translators of business requirements. Your mind is suited to do the same with a foreign language.
  • Reporters/Journalists: Your ability to ask specific questions and elicit information from taciturn people would serve you very well if you chose to pursue a career as a reporter. With your tech background, you could easily become an IT journalist.
  • Conflict Negotiators/Mediators: Use your diplomatic skills to resolve conflicts among students in schools, inner-city gangs or pugilistic nations.
  • Dentists: You’re good at pulling teeth, right?

QA Testers

  • Copy-editors: If you know the fundamentals of grammar and composition, you can apply your ability to find errors in code to finding mistakes on the page.
  • Product inspectors: Use your QA mindset to inspect a product other than software.
  • Wine-tasters: If your palate and nose are as discriminating as your mind, you’d make Bacchus proud as a good wine-taster.
  • Movie reviewers: Apply your discerning eye to something fun.
  • Exterminators: Why not kill real bugs?

Career websites and your brand

Wanting your employees to feel proud of working for your brand is one key part of retention, there are many others but today I am only talking about brand. You also need the best candidates to want to join your organisation, not just anyone who needs a job. The term “best candidate” does not only refer to the best skill fit it is also the best cultural fit between the candidate and your organisation. This is why employment branding is such a hot topic in attracting and retaining staff, even in tough economic times. Let’s not forget the employee value proposition and the organisation culture are important drivers of employee engagement. Which we know without organisations struggle to deliver customer value due to the strong relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. 

Best in class practice indicates that during the recruitment process organisations should target, engage, inform and respect candidates (borrowed from CareerXRoads). In addition it is very unusual for a candidate not to spend a bit of time reviewing a company before attending an interview. 

It is through the career’s website, and it’s links, that candidates answer the above questions and gain an insight into how an organisation will treat them if they were employed.

So what should be included in a best in class career website?

  • Does the site match the overall brand of the organisation? Most marketing executives would never let a print media be in non-compliance with the corporate brand so why should the career’s website be any different?
  • Can candidates determine if you have the right type of roles for them?
  • Do you explain the recruitment process so they know what to expect?
  • Do you promote the benefits of working for your organisation?
  • Do real employees provide testimonials of what it is like to work for the organisation?
  • Does it match the culture of your workforce? No point having a hip web site to appeal to Generation Y, only for them to start work and find a old school organisation focused more on command and control than free expression.
  • Is the site easy to find from the main corporate web page?

I want to pick on AMP for a minute. For my international readers AMP is a funds management company employing just over 4,000 people looking after around A$117 billion of assets under management. While the content about careers on their main web site is nicely integrated into the overall brand, the same cannot be said for the job search and application process on http://careers.amp.com.au/

By clicking the links below you will see what I mean.

Main Careers Site

Main AMP Careers Site

Jobs Site

Jobs Site

This is worse than just a bad or few missing images and a bad stylesheet. Most of the links back to the main corporate site do not work following a recent re-launch of the main site! If someone’s first entry point to AMP is via this site they are going to have a VERY poor experience. Does it show AMP is engaging, informing or respecting candidates, not at all.

So what message does this send to a candidate, maybe something like “Our marketing machine is really good, but our administrative processes are badly designed and maintained”? What about internal employees? Even more so what about the marketing team, are they aware of such a bad image?

Some potential costs to AMP of this poor integration:

  • What the abandonment rate is from the front page careers.amp.com.au site? How many people get to the site and go “Oh my what a mess” or “Am I in the right spot”? 
  • I’m not a legal eagle but are there not regulatory issues some of those broken links?
  • Some of the images on http://careers.amp.com.au/ seem to be referencing previous corporate branding approaches, does that not de-value the new approach?
  • Does the lack of integration reflect on AMP care with their investors money, I doubt it but you never know.
  • Missing out on the great candidate who abandons the application process part way through due to the branding mistake.
Any others?

New content and products

Over the last week I have released a few new items on the Inspecht site.

  1. Short introduction on how to use Google to find candidates
  2. Quick overview of some key social media and Web 2.0 terms
  3. Email marketing campaign tool

The first two probably make sense to most readers but the third might surprise a few of you.

Email marketing

While blogs and RSS are where the digital natives hang out, many people have not moved away from email as a major communication method. There are two variations of the service, first is designed for internal recruiters and the other for agency recruiters. For internal recruiters the tool can be used to create newsletters to stay engaged with their talent pool, advertise specific career fairs to a specific audience and promote specific jobs to the talent pool. For agency recruiters the focus is on specific jobs to their mail list.

Why is this tool different from regular email?

  • Preview the email as you build it
  • Custom templates to match your corporate guidelines for jobs, newsletters, graduate events, what ever; you are in control
  • Control over sender information
  • Scheduled delivery options
  • Track who forwards your email and how many times
  • Detailed reporting covering who opened your emails, who clicked on which links, and who unsubscribed
If you are interested in this brand new product drop me an email and we can talk further.

Social media in recruiting

Over the last few months I have had many discussions with people both inside and outside the recruitment industry over how to use all these new “web 2.0” tools for recruiting. Mostly in the context of tapping into the Gen Y market, which is not the right approach, more on that later. While some already get it, I felt it was probably good to lay out some ideas for you all, if this is preaching to the choir sorry come back on the next post.

The first thing to realise is “web 2.0” has been built on a number of fundamental principles, and that to succeed you need to understand them all. The principles are summarised below, however it would take a blog post (or more) on each to fully break them down when it comes to recruiting.

  1. Transparency
  2. Conversation
  3. Wisdom of Crowds
  4. Data is Key
  5. Speed
  6. Reuse
  7. Rich User Experience

With the above principles out of the way, on to social media in recruiting.

Hang on, before that don’t we need a strategy?

Yes!!

Building a social media strategy in to your organisation recruitment strategy is not something that can be done overnight, or by a select few within the organisation. The strategy needs to take into account many different factors, such as organisational history, culture, values, industry, funding, and above all commitment. Just putting a “Share on Facebook” link at the bottom of a job ad IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!! Likewise creating just a Facebook group IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!!These are not the easiest things to work through, in the meantime here some generalised areas where you could apply social media in recruiting:

  • Sponsor some blogs to help prospective candidates understand what it is like to work at your company, or what the recruitment process is like
  • Create a Facebook group for your graduate recruits
  • Having a YouTube channel for videos about your organisation, not just corporate sanctioned ones
  • Using social networks to source candidates
  • Use social networks to develop relationships with potential candidates
  • Have your employees & managers run online career fairs, talk about life in the company, court potential talent using social media
  • Setup an internal tagging site to allow anyone in the company to “tag” people who might be potential future employees
  • Teach manager how to use RSS, alerts to find out when people are discussing your company and products, as they could be potential candidates
  • Publish exit interview answer (personal details removed) on the internal intranet so everyone can see why people are leaving
  • Embrace the principles of “web 2.0” and rework your end to end recruitment process, ok this is not just social media but it would help with the candidate experience

I could go on and on, however I serious encourage you not to undertake any of these without fully understanding the broader impact of what you are doing. While yes would should start small, but social media has a funny way of getting out of control so if you are not ready for the results you might have some difficult discussions with marketing. 

If you want a social media strategy for recruiting give me a call, sorry for the shameless plug but I am getting sick of so called “experts” in social media putting their hand up to help organisations when it comes to recruitment, branding and talent acquisition or retention. Only to have the opportunities being wasted.

This week in Sydney

Arrived in Sydney late Monday evening for a very busy week, lots of meetings, attending Web Directions, Port 80, AussieTUB, presenting at a user group on Change Management and sitting on a panel for the NSW Knowledge Management forum discussing the value of social media and networking for business.

During Web Directions I might live blog the sessions just not decided at this stage if there will be value for my readers. If I don’t live blog it I will cover the event on Twitter.

For the talk on Change Management I am trying to new presentation style, even got myself one of those fancy remote presentation clicker things, and to make things more interesting the talk is to a group of HR professionals, who should be by all accounts experts!

My talk is a summary of the 1 day workshop I have put together on Change Management taking the audience through the need for change management and a structured approach for implementation. The slides will go up on SlideShare afterwards if you want to have a look at them.