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BRANDE : Human Resources

February 19, 2013

Boasting from Brandeland!

What a week for Brandemix! Our Director of Interactive Branding and I have shared our thoughts on employer branding, social media, and recruiting in four fantastic publications. On top of that, we presented our popular webinar, Socialize Your Talent Strategy, to more than 70 participants around the country and across the Atlantic. We were even asked to moderate an HR panel at Pace University.


Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check out these sites.

I was interviewed about employer branding for The Human Factor, the website of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management. I gave shared my stories, gave advice, and outlined the three characteristics of a successful employer brand: Alignment, Authenticity, and Differentiation.

I was also quoted an article for Rescue a CEO, part of CEO BlogNation, offering entrepreneurs tips on how to rebrand a small business. I broke down every rebranding initiative into four simple steps.

Always a big fan of social media, I was featured in a piece for Managing Your HR called Social Media Can Help Companies Better Compete for Qualified Candidates. I quoted some important statistics for recruiters, like how 73% of employers claimed they had made a successful hire through social media, and that 43% of employers said social media increased their quality of hire.

Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, wrote Meet the Rock-Star Brands of Social Recruiting for the SmartBlog on Social Media. He showed how Taco Bell, Sodexo, and UPS are cleverly using social channels to engage job-seekers and make hires.

Jason was also at Pace University, moderating the panel “Careers in Focus: Human Resources,” which featured representatives from NBC Universal, Penguin Publishing, Ipreo, and Harlequin speaking to students from Pace’s Lubin School of Business about the evolving field of HR.

Finally, I also had the honor of moderating a panel, “Selecting and Optimizing Your Applicant Tracking System,” hosted by HR/NY. I spoke with professionals from TechnoMedia, S&P, and Oracle Taleo about matching an ATS to the needs of a company, its recruiting partners, and its ideal candidates. We all shared best-practice tips for maximizing your system’s potential.

Would you like us to write for your site or speak at your event? Jason and I would be happy to hear from you.
May 14, 2012

The Week’s Most Important HR Tweets

I follow some great HR accounts on Twitter which are always sharing the latest news and innovations in talent acquisition, retention, benefits, and related topics. I retweet as many of these insights as I can, but sometimes the gems get buried in the constant stream of news. So here, in the relaxed atmosphere of BRANDEblog, I thought I’d share some of the week’s most important HR tweets.



A number of major HR thought leaders, including host of the HR Happy Hour Show Steve Boese, were tweeting their answers to the question Who Does Your LinkedIn Profile Belong To? This post, by Jessica Lee on the terrific Fistful of Talent blog, brought up the issue that, since HR professionals are the face of their companies, their LinkedIn profiles should use the same branding, language, and voice that their companies do. But some HR personnel resist, believing that their LinkedIn profiles are personal and that their companies have no say in the matter. It’s an interesting debate that’s still happening on Twitter. Where do you stand?

Both HR Bartender author Sharlyn Lauby and Leute Management Systems CEO Tom Bolt tweeted about Steve Boese’s article, Disconnect: When What You Offer Is Not What They Want. Steve points out that a company’s benefits don’t always match employee needs. He gives the example that the main obstacle employees give for relocation is their spouse’s work situation. Yet the most frequently offered relocation benefit offered by companies is moving expenses assistance, which doesn’t address that obstacle at all. His solution? “Actually ASK the constituencies that they are trying to serve and support what is important to them.” I agree. Why conduct surveys like the one Steve cites if you’re going to ignore the results? As an HR professional, you owe it to your employees to ensure that management interprets the surveys in the right way.


HR professional Melissa Fairman (known as HrRemix on Twitter) tweeted about a fascinating article she wrote called Down With Work-Life Balance. In it, she prefers the term “work-life integration,” with the goal of harmonizing employees’ careers with their personal lives. Many workdays aren’t “balanced” at all, as employees either stay late at the office or do personal tasks on company time. Melissa argues that companies should give their employees more control over their time, and customize schedules and workloads for each individual. “Integration helps an employee understand themselves and their optimal working environment, and in the best scenario, employees can make informed decisions and work directly with their managers/teams,” she says. Do some of your employees blend personal and work tasks? Then they’re “classic integrators” and should have their work-life balance re-evaluated.
For more thought-provoking HR tweets, be sure to follow Steve, Jessica, Sharlyn, Tom, and Melissa – along with Brandemix and my personal Twitter, of course. And if you know of more HR Twitters worth following, drop me a line.
August 22, 2011

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: Round 2

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to my prediction that Facebook will destroy LinkedIn. The debate has continued on the article’s comments page, on Twitter, and on the Recruiting Animal radio show.

Image courtesy of Gino21410
I’d like to address some of the many good points made on both sides of the issue.
In the comments at ERE.net, Martin Snyder wrote “For my part, I don’t think social is in the DNA of LinkedIn (or they could have BEEN Facebook)” and concludes that “Products and services that enable that evolution will thrive, and recruiting, or the act of hooking up people and opportunity, will be more and more central to everything.”
I agree. Facebook combines social interactions, openness to third-party apps, and brand engagement to create a very compelling environment for recruiters. LinkedIn has many of the same capabilities, but little apparent willingness to innovate.
Which leads me to my next point. Andy Headworth of Sirona Consulting, who calls my post “utter rubbish,” pointed out that “BeKnown didn’t choose to bypass LinkedIn; it had its API access revoked by LinkedIn because they were trying to use the valuable LinkedIn data to populate the BeKnown personal profiles via Facebook.”
So LinkedIn wasn’t just bypassed by Monster, it actively chased Monster away? That’s a  perfect example of LinkedIn’s lack of vision. That decision to cede an innovation to not just one but two rivals may go down in corporate history alongside Borders’ decision in 2001 to let Amazon handle the store’s online book business. Ten years later, who came out on top?
Even recruiters who don’t agree with my prediction that LinkedIn will be irrelevant by the end of 2013 still see that the professional site is in trouble.
In an article titled “Why Facebook Will Not Destroy LinkedIn,” LatinOcean founder Jorge Albinagorta wrote, “I am not saying it will never happen; rather I am arguing that the social links – which can nurture professional links (e.g. I want to work at Adidas ‘cause I love the brand, and my cousin tells me training for salespeople is great) – are at this stage a huge haystack to look for needles.” He goes on to add, “I am looking forward to seeing a network, environment, app, etc. giving LinkedIn a run for its money.”
On the lively and entertaining Recruiting Animal show, I was challenged about numbers. “Animal” suggested that many of Facebook’s 750 million users weren’t of working age or lived outside the US. Let’s take a closer look.
According to CheckFacebook.com, a daily tracker for the social network, 153 million users are in the United States. LinkedIn states that 60 million of its members are US residents. So Facebook provides an American audience more than two and half times as large as LinkedIn.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 24 million American Facebook users are between the ages of 18-22, the demographic either thinking about internships or summer jobs, or about to enter the workforce. The same study says 3.6 million American LinkedIn users are between the ages of 18-22. Facebook wins by a margin of more than six to one.
Factor in the National Association of Colleges and Employers survey of  20,000 graduating seniors. Ninety-one percent had Facebook pages; only 32% had LinkedIn pages. How will LinkedIn capture that other 59% as they enter the job market? What is LinkedIn doing to appeal to them? If they do nothing, won’t those grads just stay on Facebook and conduct their job searches from there?

Image courtesy of Kazukiokumura
As bleak a picture as I’ve painted, however, many think LinkedIn still has a chance. Fellow ERE.net blogger Ernest Feiteira wrote that “[Facebook] is not LinkedIn’s real competitor. BranchOut or BeKnown are. If LinkedIn realizes this too and they launch an app on FB, LinkedIn will wipe out BranchOut, BeKnown and other LinkedIn clones.”
Is LinkedIn up to the challenge? Will Facebook let its opportunity slip away? Can Google+ change the game? The conversation continues.
March 13, 2011

Four Ways to Keep Your Employees Committed to Staying Healthy

How Well Are You Doing Wellness?

Absenteeism costs American businesses around $200 billion a year. Promoting wellness at your company not only reduces these losses but lowers your health insurance costs. You may already have bike racks in your parking lot and healthier snacks in your vending machines, but that’s not enough to increase your workers’ health and productivity. Below are four ways, from low-tech to cutting-edge, to keep your employees committed to staying healthy.

1. Copy Costco

The future of corporate wellness programs is to make them social. Wellness-only Facebook pages allow employees to check contest deadlines, share advice, and give each other encouragement. Costco’s Facebook page is particularly effective in getting information to its employees, answering questions, and posting photos of activities.

Similarly, Facebook Events lets companies invite employees to marathons, health screenings, and other activities. Make you let the world’s most popular social network work for you.

2. Scratch That Itch

Contests can be social, too. For example, though giveaways are fun, they don’t provide a lot of participation.; once you’ve entered, you’re done. The solution? Scratch-to-win cards. The more an employee participates in the wellness program, or the more benchmarks she passes, the more cards she’ll receive. Scratching off cards is much more engaging than a prize drawing, and colleagues can gather around to cheer each other as the employee discovers what she won. If you have workers who play the lottery, they’ll love scratch cards.

3. Game the System

Virtual gaming is the next step, and software tools like Bunchball’s Nitro can apply game mechanics to any campaign, including corporate wellness. Participants can earn points and rewards each time they take a health quiz, practice for a marathon, or for each day they don’t smoke. Games appeal to people’s innate love of status and competition. New challenges and an ever-changing online leaderboard can ensure that everyone participates, anyone can win, and no one ever gets bored.

4. Life Support

Another social aspect to a wellness program is the support group. Biking and running groups get to exercise together, but the workers trying to quit smoking, or eat healthier, or manage stress are often left to fend for themselves. Creating a group lets them support each other and reward each other’s success. A support group could be a half-hour weekly meeting (with or without management), a special site or message board on your intranet, or a public social support site like 43Things.

Consider all these social aspects when you create or redesign your company’s wellness program. From Facebook to games to old-fashioned face-to-face “social networking,” making your corporate wellness program social can keep your employees engaged, productive, and healthy.
March 6, 2011

Helping You Help Them

Don’t ask me why but it seems that no matter how industrious you are as an HR professional, your success often hinges on the participation of your employees, who, unfortunately, have little motivation to make your job easier.

They’ll drag their feet when it comes to filling out HR materials or completing training – even safety training that could save their lives.

So, direct from the best agency in brand-aligned workforce communications, comes a few professional trade secrets.

Create a clear line-of-sight to “why and when”

First, make sure you communicate both the importance of the materials and the deadline for completing them. The date should be prominent and attached to the materials so the two can’t be separated. If you’re sending materials by email, make sure the deadline is in both the body of the letter and on the materials themselves, whether it’s a PDF, an intranet site, or a spreadsheet. Follow-up with reminders, either in person, by email, or through a public forum like the company newsletter. If there are rewards for finishing early (see below), announce who was won so far, giving motivation to the procrastinators.

You’ll Win with Contests

Nothing persuades like competition. Divide your staff by department or into special teams, or make the contest an individual endeavor. Whoever finishes first, or gets the most answers correct, or has the most participation, wins a prize. Contests with multiple prizes, such as weekly winners or both a “best” and a “most” award, work best; if people know the prize has already been won, they have no reason to participate.

Exhibitionism?

Sometimes exhibitions can be as fun as competitions. If you’re implementing a safety program, ask your staff to designate “the most dangerous place in the office,” along with “the safest place in the office” – based on the safety materials, which they have to read to fully participate. Hold a humorous meeting to decide what to call the new floor safety warden (my favorite was “Captain Safeguard”). Give everyone stickers and let them tag potential hazards around the workplace. You can even add a “contest” element by holding an election to pick the safety warden. Any activity that involves the entire company provides extra motivation for reluctant executives to participate.

Your Staff’s Favorite Radio Station? WI.FM

“What’s in it for me?” employees ask all too often. There are lots of responses that are well within your budget – or even cost nothing at all. The winning employee(s) can leave early, work from home one day, or host an “all-jeans day” for themselves and their favorite colleagues.

Use your company’s “wall of fame” or Employee of the Month program. (If you don’t have one, start one.) Of course, simple public recognition costs nothing: giving the winner a standing ovation at your next staff meeting or posting their achievement on the bulletin board can mean a lot to your workers. Keep the prizes simple- even a pizza, movie pass or Starbucks card can add sizzle to your shtick.

Making success fun makes your workplace more productive and your job a lot easier.