Wondering what the next ‘big thing’ to hit the recruiting world will be? Look no further than your mobile phone for the answer. Chances are you’re reading this post on it right now, and why not? It’s portable, convenient and it keeps you connected to just about everything and everyone. And, just like your keys and wallet, you wouldn’t dream of leaving home without it!

It is mindboggling how much mobile technology has transformed the world we live in. It affects everything we do and how we do it—from the way we communicate, acquire information, work and live, to the way we shop, navigate locations and engage socially. This cultural shift is causing businesses to rethink and readdress how they reach, attract and recruit tomorrow’s talent.

It’s really quite simple: If you want to reach candidates, you have to operate in their world and communicate on their terms. This means text job alerts, text candidate updates, mobile-optimized websites and marketing tools, mobile barcodes and a strong social media presence. Today’s worker prefers to communicate and receive information via their mobile phone. Companies who understand this and adapt a mobile mindset in their recruiting methods will gain a leading advantage in their quest for talent.

To get an idea of how relevant mobile recruiting has become, consider the following statistics:

-   5.1 billion mobile subscribers

-   3 billion active SMS users compared to 1.3 billion email users

-   2.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2010

-   95% of people respond to text messages within four minutes

-   11 billion apps have been downloaded to mobile devices to manage everything imaginable

-   Smart phone sales surpassed PC sales in the last quarter of 2010

-   Mobile Web usage grew 148% worldwide over last year

-   By 2013, mobile will takeover PCs as the most common web access device

-   39% of households no longer have landlines

These statistics are astounding. Mobile is the future of recruiting and business as we know it. And, there are huge benefits to be gained by employers who heed the exhortation to take a mobile mindset in their recruiting strategy!

 

If you’re grimacing at the idea that your employees have branding power, then you are dismissing one of the most influential branding forums of our day: social media. Couple this with the known fact that people tend to trust the referrals of friends, family and colleagues over an advertisement, and you’ll start to see why employees hold some serious branding power.

Social media has enabled personal, word-of-mouth endorsements to spread more swiftly than any other kind of media. A simple status update or tweet is capturing the attention and interest of countless consumers in real time. So I ask you, “Who better to spread your message than your very own brand ambassadors?”

Your employees can be one of your greatest advocates, given the proper encouragement and opportunity. But, if you are of the opinion that allowing employees to participate in social branding is a recipe for disaster, then you might have bigger issues to deal with in the form of employee morale. If however, it’s founded in the belief that your brand must be held with tight reigns, then you are unequivocally deciding to limit your branding potential.

Here are five ways you can harness the branding power of employees to create a strong social presence:

1. Make it known that you are a company that values social media.

From hiring new talent to strategic initiatives and company policy, let employees know that you are an organization that values, encourages and embraces social media.

2. Integrate social media into your company culture.

Allocate time for employees to incorporate social media activities into their workday; encourage offices to use social media to build local brand awareness; and, consider creating an internal social media platform to facilitate knowledge sharing across your organization.

3. Encourage employees to build their own professional networks.

Educate employees on the career-building benefits of developing a strong professional network through social media, and encourage them to make it a personal priority.

4. Provide resources and information employees can share with their network.

The key to effective social branding is staying in front of your audience with news, tips, insights and opportunities. By arming employees with newsworthy information, links or videos they can share with their network, you’ll amplify your message, and may even experience a viral effect.

5. Foster excitement and reward results.

Get employees excited about social media and its ability to drive business results. Create internal contests, incorporate it into daily activities, and link it to performance goals and career advancement. Reward employees for social media activities that support branding objectives and generate positive feedback.

By giving employees a voice at the social media table, you’ll reach a much wider audience with your message and significantly strengthen your branding power!

 

In a recent post, we examined how the ubiquitous growth of mobile internet devices, social media and video communication has revolutionized the way workers connect. Video conferencing is a product of these advancements that is proving to be a real value to companies willing to embrace it. Location is no longer an obstacle to face-to-face meetings—video conferencing has removed the traditional four walls of the office and made it as mobile as today’s workforce.

From a competitive perspective, video conferencing is helping companies conduct business more efficiently, while addressing some transformational shifts in the workforce. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of video conferencing and its relevancy to current workforce trends.

Efficient way to connect, collaborate and foster team relationships

Video conferencing allows workers to connect virtually with key individuals across an organization, regardless of location. For remote employees or regional teams, it makes regular, face-to-face meetings possible, while fostering relationships that increase productivity and drive business results.

Addresses workers’ desire for work/life balance

According to the latest Emerging Workforce® Study, 94% of employees ranked “an employer who helps employees meet their family obligations through the use of flex-time, job sharing, telecommuting, etc.” as the second most attractive job characteristic. Video conferencing helps workers achieve greater work/life balance by enabling them to work from anywhere—whether at home, driving, in an airport or at a coffee shop. The result is not only pleasing to employees, but your business will reap the benefits of attracting and retaining top talent.

Keeps companies innovative, productive and in tune with today’s workforce

Technology is constantly advancing, streamlining labor-intensive processes and expediting solutions that save time and reduce resource needs. Workers are drawn to companies that keep pace with these innovations because it gives them the tools they need to do their job better. Video conferencing is one such technology that is helping workers get their job done more efficiently by making important, face-to-face meetings a simple, efficient and productive process.

Reduces travel expenses without losing the face-to-face aspect of meeting together

With rising fuel costs and airfare, business travel has become a bigger expense than ever before. While some high-profile initiatives may merit a few in-person meetings each year, video conferencing enables companies to maintain a personal, face-to-face relationship with key clients, colleagues and teams without incurring excessive travel costs.

There’s no denying we live and work in a mobile world. Video conferencing plays to the changing needs of the workforce while delivering some worthwhile benefits to businesses that use it.

 

As technologies advance, traditional work styles are changing to address the needs of a predominantly mobile workforce. From smartphones and iPads, to tablets and notebooks, mobile Internet access is pervasive. Along with these innovations, the rise of social media and video technology has almost redefined face-to-face communication—offering workers a vibrant, online forum where they can connect and collaborate without regard for geographical location.

Employers are beginning to realize that keeping pace with these sweeping trends and technological shifts is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to remaining competitive. Not only are these technologies opening doors to greater business efficiency and significant cost savings, but they have become real determinants in an organization’s ability to attract and retain top talent. Today, we are going to hone in on one particular innovation that is helping companies and workers achieve their dual objectives: video conferencing.

The basics of video conferencing

A video conference is a virtual meeting that enables multiple participants in various locations to gather together in a collaborative, visual and audio format via an online communication tool. While there are many different video conferencing technologies available, a few of the most popular ones include: Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Facebook Video Calling, WebEx and GoToMeeting. Each one of these tools has a video conferencing component that allows users to meet with groups ranging from one to 10 other people and vary in cost from free up to $49 per month. To determine the best option for your business, it’s important to consider the following:

-   Primary use and purpose of the tool

-   Maximum number of people you desire to video conference at one time

-   Quality and user-friendliness of accessing software and navigating the tool

-   Computer system requirements such as memory, speed and webcam/microphone access

The value of virtual meetings

Video conferencing presents a number of opportunities to companies that can help them save money, work more efficiently, meet employee needs and reach a broader audience—which effectively makes them more competitive. Here are a few of the most tangible benefits video conferencing delivers:

-   Efficient way to connect, collaborate and foster team relationships

-   Addresses workers’ desire for work/life balance

-   Keeps companies innovative, productive and in tune with today’s workforce

-   Reduces travel expenses without losing the face-to-face aspect of meeting together

Join us again as we examine how each unique benefit is addressing a fundamental change in today’s workforce!

 

How to Build Brand “You”

On November 28, 2011, in Career Advice, HR & Social Media, by Lesly Cardec

Whether you are job hunting, in line for a promotion, or just looking to grow your professional profile, building your own brand can be an important way of establishing yourself. But sharing your accomplishments without being too self-promoting can be a challenge. Do you have to flood your Facebook newsfeed or run an inner-office political campaign to get your talents recognized? No way! The trick is to use the right tactics when you go about building brand “you.”

Here are a few strategies to try:

 

Network with Industry Peers: Think about where people with your expertise share ideas, have conversations, and network. Social media is a great place to start the search for others similar to you.

Do: Position yourself as a thought leader. For example, if you’re building your brand around your expertise in Public Relations, join in the conversations that are already taking place. You can start participating in Twitter chats specific to the PR industry (e.g., #pr20chat, #prstudchat, and #u30pro, to name a few). You can also look for LinkedIn groups specific to PR and make it a point to chime in weekly.

Don’t:  Make it all about you. There is a reason why people skip commercials. Take the time to read others’ content, answer their questions, and make the focus of your networking be just that: building relationships. 

 

Develop Unique Content or Point-of-View: Always remember that content is king. If you know your niche inside and out, become the go-to person on that topic. Sharing and re-tweeting others’ content is a part of building your brand, but being ahead of trends in your space and voicing unique viewpoints will go a long way.  

Do: Consider developing your own blog. Blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an expert. If you don’t have the time to maintain your own, guest post. Many websites and blogs are more than willing to feature content from outside sources. Also, post comments often on blogs, websites, and forums.

Don’t:  Steal other’s content. It’s not cool, and it will come back to bite you.  

 

Recognize Your Strengths (and your weaknesses): As much as we would all like to be pros at everything, that’s impossible. Be honest with yourself, and come to terms with the fact that certain skill-sets come easier for certain people. 

Do:  Think about the talents that you have (not the ones that you aspire to have) and determine which ones you want to define your brand. You should feel 100% comfortable and familiar with what your brand represents.

Don’t: Put something on your resume or under your area of expertise that is not accurate. For instance, saying that you are a ‘pro,’ ‘expert,’ ‘guru,’ or ‘specialist,’ means that your skills in that area are nearly effortless, to the point where you may not even realize that you have a gift. In fact, these are the skills you may only realize you have when you notice that you’re being complimented on the same thing over and over again.

Be a Team Player: You know the old saying, “there is no ‘I’ in team?” People who have perfected the art of self-promotion are those that acknowledge that they didn’t get there alone.

Do:  Acknowledge other people’s achievements and contributions to your success. The most influential people in the world did not make it to the top by themselves. They had the support of a team that contributed to their success, and handled areas they might not be so good at. Give credit where it’s due. 

Don’t: Take credit for things you didn’t do yourself. There is nothing worse than finding out that someone has stolen your idea. Nothing positive comes out of that, and people may start to question your motives in making conversation  and hesitate to interact with you.

Building your brand will not happen overnight, and there’s certainly not one single ingredient. Brand-building is a long-term investment, and something that will surely be refined over time. But the starting point is easy: define your voice, and get out there. Who do you want to be known as?

 

Over the last few posts, we have been exploring the benefits of internal social media. In our previous discussion, we examined its ability to unify your workforce and stimulate knowledge sharing. Today, we will wrap things up by looking at its ability to expedite problem solving and inspire innovation.

Expediting Problem Solving

We’ve all experienced it. A new project or process brings us face-to-face with a problem that needs to be resolved before we can proceed. Now, imagine having the brainpower and ingenuity of the entire organization behind you to help solve that particular problem. That’s precisely what internal social media is doing. Here are a few examples of how this occurs:

  • Employees can post updates about project challenges, solicit feedback and pull from resources all over the company.
  • Since internal social media reaches an entire workforce, employees are exposed to a myriad of diverse ideas that assist in problem resolution.
  • Colleagues with relevant experience can join a discussion, share insights and propose solutions.
  • Basic search functions make it easy to locate subject-matter experts and information that can remove barriers to progress and minimize downtime.

By engaging in these kinds of activities, employees are able to resolve problems faster and maximize results.

Inspiring Innovation

The beauty of social media is its intrinsic ability to foster creativity and inspire innovation. We all have a unique perspective and one idea can spur another that leads to the creation of better products and services. And, isn’t that the key to competitive advantage? Internal social media offers may avenues for employees to contribute:

  • Ideas can be exchanged on employee blogs, personal profile pages and through conversations with other employees across the organization.
  • Workers can create brainstorming events and invite other employees to participate.
  • Crowd-sourcing—hosting an online idea-sharing event—enables companies to poll employees on new ideas, innovations and strategic initiatives.

By using social media to foster and share ideas, companies are harnessing the collective creativity of their entire workforce and becoming a stronger, more competitive business.

Social media is proving to be a real game-changer. Companies that embrace internal social media and encourage employees to use it are discovering it holds the key to unprecedented collaboration and competitive advantage.

 

Social media is making a bold statement in the business world: Its benefits extend far beyond personal and external marketing use. Companies that heed its message and apply it to their internal organization are going to emerge more competitive than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at two ways internal social media is driving collaboration and competitive advantage.

Unifying Your Workforce

It’s often said a company’s greatest asset is its people. Their skills, experience and knowledge fuel your business success. Social media is effectively integrating all of that expertise and creativity into one cohesive community. Here are some examples:

  • Employee profile pages make it easy for workers to put a face to a name, learn about each other, share experiences, discover common interests and connect more dynamically.
  • Team members can communicate with one another via real-time status updates and instant messaging—saving time and providing a reliable transcript of information for other employees.
  • A simple search can quickly identify subject-matter experts all throughout an organization, making it easy to tap into reservoirs of knowledge for specific projects.

No matter how big the enterprise or where employees are located, there is a sense of real camaraderie because workers feel connected.

Stimulating Knowledge Sharing

Your employees bring a unique realm of expertise to your organization. Essentially, they are storehouses of knowledge—but often, self-contained. Social media is effectively lifting the lids of these valuable knowledge sources and allowing the entire organization to glean from their wisdom. Consider these examples:

  • Departments or individuals can create wikis that capture their knowledge in one place and provide useful insight to the entire organization.
  • Employee blogs give workers a voice and offer a vibrant forum where knowledge can be shared, tagged and rated for content usefulness.
  • Workers can post project updates and draw employees into the conversation with valuable dialogue.
  • Specific links, bookmarks and documents can be posted on employee pages and tagged for other associates to review and comment on.
  • Projects are not replicated because everyone is in the loop and existing knowledge is easily leveraged.
  • Subject-matter expertise is captured so when key individuals leave an organization, they don’t take all of their knowledge with them.

By making the transfer of knowledge a simple, everyday function, employees are able to quickly access the resources and information they need to do their job better.

 

Join us again as we finish our discussion on internal social media and its ability to expedite problem solving and inspire innovation.

 

Social media has radically changed the way people interact and share information. Never before has there been such an accessible and powerful means of mass communication. Information is exchanged in real time and feedback is almost instantaneous. Geography is no longer a barrier to relationship-building or daily interaction. In fact, it’s just as easy to communicate with someone on another continent as it is with the neighbor down the street. It’s hard to grasp how much social media has reshaped the way we communicate and connect with others—and organizations are beginning to seize the benefits.

Internal social media platforms are creating an atmosphere of continuous collaboration among employees and producing some astonishing results. By establishing an environment where social media is an integral part of everyone’s job, employers are unifying their workforce, stimulating knowledge sharing, expediting problem solving and inspiring innovation. Considering these results, internal social media may well be the key to unrivaled collaboration and competitive advantage.

Join us again for part two of our discussion as we examine how internal social media is helping employers unify their workforce and stimulate knowledge sharing across the organization.

 

Developing an Army of Brand Ambassadors

On October 24, 2011, in HR & Social Media, by Cheryl Rhody

While it is relatively easy to recognize the importance of strong, loyal consumer base, it is much more difficult to understand exactly how to establish one.

The American Marketing Association defines brand loyalty as a situation in which a consumer generally buys the same manufacturer-originated product or service repeatedly over time rather than buying from multiple suppliers within the category. Furthermore, it can also be described as the degree to which a consumer consistently purchases the same brand within a product class.

However, a brand ambassador isn’t just a satisfied user of your product or service. True brand champions can’t say enough positive things about your business. In the customer satisfaction realm, they are the definition of your net-promoters. They sing your product or service’s praises and share their feedback about your company in every aspect of their daily lives ­– including social media!

Today, consumer feedback and product/service review listings have prime real estate on the Internet. Many of your new and existing customers are being exposed to your brand as a result, whether the interaction is positive or negative. 

So now that we’ve defined true brand loyalty and profiled today’s modern, empowered brand champion, it’s time to discuss how to develop an army of these folks. Here are some basic building blocks to help your brand get started recruiting the most powerful consumer segment of all — brand ambassadors! 

1.      Be Human!
Think about the first five minutes just about every business conversation you have. It usually starts with some small talk about the weather, your family, your favorite sports team, etc. While this banter may seem frivolous, it presents an unique opportunity for brand representatives to build rapport with the heart and soul of your business­- the customer! There is nothing more frustrating than being put through an endless, automated process or enduring the efforts of a pushy salesperson. This same principle applies to social media. Leverage your social platforms to engage with your customers on a personal, less formal level. Be real, spark up a conversation and you’ll be pleasantly surprised where this leads you. 

2.      Listen.  I know, it sounds so simple. But many service providers and product producers overlook this simple aspect of the consumer relationship. By asking your consumer what problem they are trying to solve or goal they are trying to reach, you will ultimately gain their trust and respect, fulfill their request and build a lasting relationship that will fuel your sales cycle.  No one wants to feel like a number, making it ever-so important to treat each consumer as a unique person. Remember, conversation is a two-way street. By making people feel actively involved in the purchase of their product or service, you will build incredible brand loyalty.

3.      Become a Source of Added-Value
When a customer interacts with your brand, you are given the opportunity to go above and beyond the service standard. This everyday scenario provides you with the chance to exceed your customer’s expectations and convert them into a brand loyalist.  For example, let’s say you have a leak spring in your house and you call a plumber. You schedule a service call, the plumber arrives and gets to work. Upon the completion of the repair, the plumber offers you money-saving tips for how your family can conserve water and prevent future leaks. While this helpful consultation isn’t far beyond the scope of the traditional duties you would expect a plumber to perform, it will likely leave a lasting impression and make you more inclined to refer to plumber to friends and family who find themselves in similar situations. Lesson learned? By engaging your customer right away you will make a connection they will never forget and increase the likelihood that they will endorse your business online and offline.

4.      Give your Customer a Voice
Make an effort to constantly reach out to your customer base in order to solicit their feedback. Great brands know how to convert their weaknesses into key differentiators in the marketplace. While many companies struggle with the concept of being transparent about openly addressing customer criticism, we believe it can be incredibly powerful – when managed responsibly and respectfully.  Actively trying to improve  each customer’s experience is a surefire way to create brand ambassadors.

Having an Army of Brand Ambassadors will not only help drive your bottom line, but it will transform your brand into respected authority within the industry. By developing and implementing  a strategic plan that is easily actionable, you will be able to harness the brand power of your net promoters. This will not only help make your product/service stronger but it will amplify customer satisfaction in the long run.

 

Harnessing the Branding Power of Your Employees

If you’re grimacing at the idea that your employees have branding power, then you are dismissing one of the most influential branding forums of our day: social media. Couple this with the known fact that people tend to trust the referrals of friends, family and colleagues over an advertisement, and you’ll start to see why employees hold some serious branding power.

Social media has enabled personal, word-of-mouth endorsements to spread more swiftly than any other kind of media. A simple status update or tweet is capturing the attention and interest of countless consumers in real time. So I ask you, “Who better to spread your message than your very own brand ambassadors?”

Your employees can be one of your greatest advocates, given the proper encouragement and opportunity. But, if you are of the opinion that allowing employees to participate in social branding is a recipe for disaster, then you might have bigger issues to deal with in the form of employee morale. If however, it’s founded in the belief that your brand must be held with tight reigns, then you are unequivocally deciding to limit your branding potential.

Here are five ways you can harness the branding power of employees to create a strong social presence:

 

1. Make it known that you are a company that values social media.

From hiring new talent to strategic initiatives and company policy, let employees know that you are an organization that values, encourages and embraces social media.

 

2. Integrate social media into your company culture.

Allocate time for employees to incorporate social media activities into their workday; encourage offices to use social media to build local brand awareness; and, consider creating an internal social media platform to facilitate knowledge sharing across your organization.

 

3. Encourage employees to build their own professional networks.

Educate employees on the career-building benefits of developing a strong professional network through social media, and encourage them to make it a personal priority.

 

4. Provide resources and information employees can share with their network.

The key to effective social branding is staying in front of your audience with news, tips, insights and opportunities. By arming employees with newsworthy information, links or videos they can share with their network, you’ll amplify your message, and may even experience a viral effect.

 

5. Foster excitement and reward results.

Get employees excited about social media and its ability to drive business results. Create internal contests, incorporate it into daily activities, and link it to performance goals and career advancement. Reward employees for social media activities that support branding objectives and generate positive feedback.

By giving employees a voice at the social media table, you’ll reach a much wider audience with your message and significantly strengthen your branding power!