Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Employee Advocacy starts with Passion

August 23, 2016

You have your EA program completely wrong!

Let’s start clarifying with a definition: “Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands using their own online assets. While social media is often the main medium for employee advocacy, these “online assets” include email, chat, forums, discussion boards and more.” (Source: Linkhumans).

ea

Going through a  large number of post on how to start an Employee Advocacy Program, I found the following recurring elements.  Most include some kind of a mission; creating trust and freedom quickly followed by social media policy (of course);  a set of advocacy tools;  some kind of an incentive plan; company generated and focused content;  and finally possibly some training.

The focus of the program is on Reach and KPIs as measurement criteria.  Though this might make sense from a company’s point of view, it does not from the advocate’s point of view.

passion

What is really needed to get to advocacy going is “Passion”.  Few (or no) programs are addressing this.  Let me dig a little deeper on what I mean by passion.

Passion for the company

Passionate employee are those that pay attention to the company’s strategies and tactics.  They follow every step the company is taking to be successful. Sometimes they might question these steps. They see their role in that success.  They defend their company every time without being asked and not because someone in the company ordered them.  Most importantly, they are not motivated by money.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for the culture

Companies must have a passionate work culture that translates into devotion, recognition and long-term employment.  Open communications, honesty are key components that must exist within the company.  A lot of the times, you team culture springs to mind.  And as the expression goes: there is no I in Team!  And yes, EA is about creating trust and freedom!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for products and services

The next level is that your employees need to be passionate about their products and services.  They see how these products make a difference and what their contribution to that success is.  It makes them proud!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for helping

Yet another key element for advocacy is that you give freely without expecting any immediate return or otherwise stated the giver does not specify what should be given in return but rather accepts that the recipient is free might decide to give something  at some point.  As a giver you are trying to add value to your network and community.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for social

Employees also have to have a passion for social media.  And I do not mean obsessed with constant updates but more about that internal fire to share and contribute without asking the ‘return’ questions.  So if they have no or limited social media accounts they will not suddenly create them and start sharing information because you ask them (via a amplification platform using gamification techniques).

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for personal branding

Finally, there must be a need/want of the employee to do personal branding and that using content that is either handed to them or they curated/created themselves.  The WIIIFM factor is and must be high and add value to the network of the individual.

i in team

And yes, there is an “I” in team when it comes to employee advocacy. Here is the magic formula:

                Employee Advocacy = Team + I

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Remember that Passion and authenticity are hard to fake and people see through it easily.  Of course, this comes at a cost: the cost of failing and changing direction at some point. That’s okay because it lets you know it is time to move on and follow new passions.

passion 2

So when you set up an Employee Advocacy program release the passion first!

With that passion there is employee advocacy.

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When the whale washes up on the beach…

November 5, 2015

The last few weeks it has been raining negative messages around Twitter.  But what if the Twitter whale really washed up on the beach what would the consequences?

twitter whale

Loss of employment

The first group of people impacted are those companies that make tools to slice and dice Twitter.  There will be a lot of blood flowing on the floor.  From monitoring platforms to posting platform and tools of all other kinds.  I see you thinking: “It is only startups and who cares? But it is not only a large number of startups that would go out of business overnight but also some of the big players would get hurt and have to let go of people.  Not to mention companies using these tools.

klout

OMG! The Klout score could really disappear for real.

Companies and Organizations

Twitter has been the tool that many companies have used to provide customer service and/or get close to the r customers.  All of a sudden they would lose their eyes and ears on their community,  Back to phone canvassing or trying to move the communities to one of the remaining platforms.  Let’s be honest, you don’t want the twitter type conversations on LinkedIn or even Facebook as a company.

Twitter users

people tweetingAnd how about the users of Twitter.  They would have so much time on their hands.  No more checking their influencers (an retweeting or pressing like), no more content curation, no more personal branding tweets to be sent, no more customer service complaints, etc. just to name a few.  What would they do with all this regained time?

Let’s be real, Twitter washing up on the beach would mean that we are left with only 2 real networks.  Google+ has been catching rays on the beach for a while now.  Would Tweeps really move to LinkedIn and/or Facebook with their content and messages?

What a nightmare that would be for both the platforms, companies and users.  I can’t image what messages on LinkedIn will look like or how the amount of spam in LinkedIn groups will spiral as the (professional) influencers from Twitter flock to LinkedIn.  What if more people started to complain about company services  and products on Facebook (or LinkedIn for that matter)…  Could customer service really move to Facebook? I guess Not!

Conclusion

twoogleThe long and short is that Twitter is likely not to disappear, so stop whining and spreading negative news.  I kind of want to  come back to my predictions for 2015 in the sense that if Google with Google+ (They have the users) and Twitter (they have the content) should team up (Twoogle?) they can be a counterweight to the two protagonists.  I wonder…

Employer Branding on your LinkedIn Company Page – A myriad of missed opportunities

July 1, 2013

Social media is a great means to do Employer Branding.  There are not only content platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs  and others, but also engagement platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

When it comes to B-2-B platforms, LinkedIn stands out with the company profile as a the flagship.  However, many companies do not take advantage, to say the least, of its functionality.  A myriad of missed opportunities!  Let me try and show you the way.

Of course, you need to start by creating a company profile which not only has a your logo as a company profile picture (100 x 60 – Max 2MB) but also the basic data about the company (description, website, size, industry, etc.).  Most companies have got this correct and needs no further explanation.

When it comes to Employer Branding, the Cover picture, LinkedIn calls this the “Image” is widely forgotten.  This image (646 x 220 pixels – Max. 2MB) can help you send out a clear message about who you are. A missed opportunity to make a strong statement.

Image LI comp prof

Giving future candidates a view of your product portfolio is a key element in your Employer Branding.  And can be done the “Products and Services” tab. It is still strange to see that few companies have completed this.  Here you can not only add the description of different products and services your company is offering but also include a video or promotion.

Image LI comp prof products

We all know that employees  are your best ambassadors.  However, most do not recommend the products/services of their company on the LinkedIn company profile even though these employees do link their personal profile to the company profile.  Probably it is not because they do not want to but they do not know about this.  Yet another missed opportunity.

I am amazed to see how few companies use the company profile status update to start conversations with both employees and followers.  This is the perfect way to engage future candidates or request referrals to fill job vacancies.  Nothing to post?  How about the employee testimonials, job openings, best place to work, picture of the last event, company information, etc.

Image LI Comp prof status

Coming back to your employees being your best ambassadors, it is a good practice to enlist their support to LikeShare or Comment on your company profile status updates.  It will broaden the reach of your company messages.  It can create a must wanted ripple effect.

Finally, if you want to spend some money, you can of course create a Career page on your company profile.  There is a silver subscription coming with a price tag of around €8.000 and a gold subscription over €15.000 giving you as an employer some great Employer Branding functionality including banners, video, information and employee testimonials.

All companies are looking to pick the low hanging fruit and don’t see it most of the time.  The LinkedIn Company profile is one of those low hanging fruit ripe to be picked.  Why wait?  Get started today!

The Twitter “Black Hole”

May 1, 2013

I was recently putting together a presentation on Employer Branding when I ran across what I would like to call the Twitter “Black Hole”.  Many companies are using Twitter for posting jobs as part of their employer branding strategy which makes perfect sense.  However, Employer Branding is about how you look to the outside world.

Twitter black hole

On Twitter, there are 3 visual ways that will help you with this Employer Branding.  There is of course, the profile picture.  Getting rid of the “egg” as a profile picture is a basic step that everyone has conquered.  Having a personalized good background is another visual that a lot of companies have mastered, but when it comes to the Twitter “cover” picture (Header), that has been lost in translation. A missed opportunity to make a statement.  Or are you sending your candidates into a black hole?

This phenomenon is not only showing in recruitment and employer branding accounts but also on many corporate accounts.  Why?  I think it is more about ignorance that inability.  Some organizations are doing it right as shown below.

Twitter EB

Having a great cover picture (Header)  on your profile is a great asset as we all know since a picture says more than a thousand words. The picture should say something about you or the type of company that you are.  Like on Facebook there are creative ways to make use of this picture as shown below.

Twitter clever

Next step?

Time to update your 3 Twitter visuals and brand your account.  Knowing the dimension of these picture is key, so here are the dimensions for your reference:

Twitter profile picture: 81 x 81 pixels (Max 2MB)

Header picture: 520 x 260 pixels (Max. 5MB)

Background picture: 1600 x 1200 pixels (Max. 2MB)

Have you seen any creative use of pictures on Twitter profiles?  Let me know!

Social Media Policies in Belgium (Part 1) – Only 1 in 5 company has one!

December 8, 2012

Social Media Policies have found their entrance into large corporation but the small and especially the medium sized companies have not created and implemented  such social media policies.

Earlier this year PayScale released some results about the adoption of Social Media Policies in the USA (http://mashable.com/2012/06/10/employer-social-media/).  The conclusion was that over 50% of the companies had a formal social media policy.  But how do Belgian businesses match up to these numbers?

A recent survey (October 2012) done via Vanguard Leadership has revealed that only 1 company in 5 has a social media policy in Belgium.  And since Belgium is a country of Small and Medium sized business, we can conclude that the 20% of companies that have a social media policy are mainly  the larger companies.

SoMe IN BE

The same survey uncovered that  65% of the employees accessed Facebook, 52% LinkedIn and 53% Twitter daily during work hours.  You would think that social media policies would be more common since employers are worried about their employees wasting time or damaging the reputation of their company on social media.

SoME in BE 2

A first conclusion is that companies are not always aware that their employees are very active on social media.  Though these companies are aware that such a policy is a must they do not create or implement a policy or guidelines until they have an “accident” which leads to reputation loss.  Over the course of the year we have witnessed several of these examples (e.g. Ikea in Belgium – http://www.nieuwsblad.be/article/detail.aspx?articleid=GVB3M9AGE) where a social media policy is created after the reputation damage was detected.

More information to come about the results of this survey in next blog posts.

Notes about the survey:  Over 200 companies were surveyed.  About 50% have less than 50 employees, 30% have less than 250 employees and  and 20% were larger than 500 employees.

Who controls the social media policy creation?

May 29, 2012

We all know that control and social media are contradictory, but that is what people and companies think you achieve through a social media policy.

Where in the past social media was the exclusive playing field of marketing, today HR, sales and other departments are finding great benefits in social media.  These departments are discovering new platforms or uses for existing platforms to benefit their departments.  So with this expanding usage of social media, comes the awareness that a social media policy is needed.

Today I am seeing a new battle arise, namely who will create the social media policy.  A number of departments are trying to pull that creation of such a much needed policy to them.  However, there are 3 clear main drivers: HR, marketing and IT. They do this for different reasons.

But first, the creation of a social media policy is project that is done in a number of different ways today.   Some resort to an automated tool to create a policy.  It goes without saying that this can’t be the full answer.  Others will surf the internet for a policy and do a copy/paste, this is a better approach but the reality is that your social media policy is not the same as the one from any other company and thus requires a personal approach.

In order to reflect all requirements and wishes within the company, a number of departments must be included in the creation of such a policy.  Each department will bring their unique experience, skills and motivation for the policy to the table.  No department alone should be dominating this effort.  Here is some experience from real life why.

Marketing wants to control all messaging by being in charge while having free reign.  They will try to create either a minimalistic policy (“use your common sense” as only rule) or control the usage by a detailed “how to use social media handbook”.

HR wants to limit the risk, liability and time usage.  Though they do bring the skill of creating successful policies to the table, their angle will be focused on “do not …” rather than “do…” or “become…”.

IT will be concerned about bandwidth and IT security and their driver will be shut down as much as possible in terms of access to social media.

Legal will for liability reasons be trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s in terms. Most of the time this achieved through complex wording that no one understands (cfr. Terms of services of most social media platforms).

Employee will either want as much as possible access to social media with nearly no rules or guidelines while others will want nothing to do with it.  The contributors will be giving the social media policy makers the real insight to the use of social media in the company and they should be considered valued contributors.

Unions are a much dreaded group of contributors.  Companies are afraid to involve them in the process.  However, since policies must also be reviewed, approved or endorsed by these unions, who by the way also use social media, they are critical to implementing social media policies successfully.

In my personal experience, creating a 2 page or 20 page social media policy (guideline or handbook), you need to have all these people and departments involved in the project to create a personalized and integrated social media policy for your company.  To make the roll-out process a success you need to accompany this project with social media awareness sessions and/or training.

Do you have different views? I love to hear from you!

Is LinkedIn running out steam for recruiters?

February 6, 2012

Over the last couple of weeks I have had many recruiters in my social media classes and every time they focus all their attention on LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.  When I come to Facebook, they seem to be shutting down. It seems they do not take Facebook seriously as a recruitment environment.  Maybe, they should think again.

One reason is that there are over 880 million people on Facebook vs the 147 million on LinkedIn.  Secondly, more and more companies are active through a fan pages on Facebook and using it for employer branding.  Fan pages allow much more flexibility and functionality to companies and recruiters than the LinkedIn Company pages.

And then there are several applications that have started to give LinkedIn a run for its money.  They listen to names such as Glassdoor, Beknown, Talent.me and BranchOut.  These apps bring LinkedIn functionality to Facebook making it the next best environment for recruitment.

Glassdoor is a free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies. Using the Inside Connection product lets you find companies and what connections inside you might have.  Additionally, you can find interview questions, salary ranges, company reviews, and job openings.  In true social media style the content is generated by the job seekers.

Beknown is a Facebook application by Monster.  There is a lot similarity between Beknown and LinkedIn: create a profile, you connect with people, get recommendations, find jobs, and follow companies. Beknown will let you see the 1st and 2nd line connections like LinkedIn. As you accept people in your network, you earn badges like in Foursquare.

Talent.me is a professional networking app on Facebook which answers the questions where your friends worked and who your inside connections are at companies.  The goal of Talent.me is to help you leverage your friend network and make it work for your career advancement.  You can also endorse your connections and build communities around specific talents.  This social media network seems to be very US focused.

And finally, there is BranchOut.  On BranchOut, users leverage their Facebook friends to find jobs, find sales leads, recruit talent, and setup relationships with your professional contacts. BranchOut also operates the largest job board on Facebook with over 3 millions jobs in 60 countries.  Recruiters from all over the world are joining BranchOut and taking advantage of lower priced recruitment packages to find and attract new talent.

Of course, LinkedIn is still the standard when it comes to recruitment, but I am convinced that Facebook will take over very soon.  Today, it seems that BranchOut is the forerunner but it is still early days.

Do you know any other tools?  Feel free to share through the comment field.

Are you ruining your business reputation?

April 5, 2011

When it comes to business networking, LinkedIn has been the trusted platform of choice. A large number of members are conscious of the fact that they need to have a professional profile. A further reduced number is making the most of the “Status update” to bring value to their network and drive traffic to good content. Over the last weeks and months, the level of professionalism of the “Status Updates” has dropped considerably. When you were looking for people that said that “hated their job” or “were bored”, you needed to do this on platforms such as Facebook. We all remember the “OMG, I hate my job post on Facebook”.

Well, today you can find similar posts on LinkedIn with compliments of Twitter.  Thanks to LinkedIn Signal search option, these messages now become very apparent and public.  I am even convinced the people who have these types of posts are no longer aware of the fact they linked their Twitter account to their LinkedIn account.  So messages such as below are now regulars on LinkedIn reducing the level of professionalism of certain people.

On another note, we all know the name calling of Facebook, but say welcome to similar expressions on LinkedIn!  Here are some examples.

Do you really want your professional reputation tarnished by these types of comments?  Your co-workers are listening to you on business networks… not to mention your current and future employers.

Though it is simple to connect your social media accounts, you really need to think this through.  Do you really want people to see where you are eating (Foursquare to Twitter to LinkedIn)? What you are doing in the garden or what store you are at?  If you are a frequent Twitterer, the constant status updates will annoy the hell out of your contacts and you will soon be stopped being followed in professional networks achieving the opposite of what you were aiming for.

If you want update your status on multiple networks, consider using tools such as tweetdeck or hootsuite where at least you know where you are posting the messages.  And remember to disconnect all post-through actions.

Not getting recruited via social networking? Do not worry, you are not alone.

January 8, 2011

The results from a recent survey (September-October 2010) from Executives Online Ltd (www.executivesonline.com) puts a bit of shade on the so much hyped social networking as a means to efficient recruitment. This is the second year the survey was conducted.

Over 1200 senior executives were surveyed and asked about their opinion and effectiveness of social networking in their personal and professional life.  In concurrence with many surveys in this area, including the study done by Mic Adam from Vanguard Leadership of July 2010, LinkedIn was deemed by most professionals as the most interesting social networking site with Facebook coming in as a good second and Twitter as a third.   All these platforms grew in importance over the last 12 months.

As can be expected, LinkedIn is viewed as the most useful platform for recruitment (90%) while the other platforms are struggling to get to 50%.  This is understandable since the audience surveyed is executive level.  Facebook is still viewed as purely private networking while Twitter is a big unknown to many.

With the hype around social media in general, more and more people are resorting to these platforms to find a new job but few have actually succeeded at securing such a position.  I think this really reflects the practice in the recruitment market. The numbers do show a 50% increase over last year’s results which holds a good promise for the future.  Let’s be honest, social networking still has to find its ‘balanced’ place in the mix of tools used by managers and recruiters both professionals and corporate.

When it comes to hiring via social networking sites, the numbers are even lower.  Fewer than 5% of the respondents have actually tried to hire through social networks and even fewer have hired people recruited through social networks.  So the conclusion is that the supply of job seekers far exceeds the demand (job offerings).  However, here too the numbers are on the rise.

Even though there is certainly an uptake of social networking for recruitment, there are some serious showstoppers which hold true for all trades when it comes to social media.  They can be summarized as follows: lack of authenticity, the myth that social networking is for younger and less senior people, and most importantly, the time factor since keeping a social media presence takes time to maintain and follow up.  This is where a lot of falls apart.  Managers and recruiters, just like marketeers, are finding that using social media & networking is a time consuming activity but keep in mind that going to network meetings is too!

Even though these numbers do not seem to live up to the hype, I feel they really reflect the reality of today.  There are,  of course, today recruitment agencies as well as private companies that are getting more than 15% of their new hires through social networking, it is realistic to say that social networking recruitments will be responsible for 10% of the new hires in the future.  The traditional method will continue to exist and possibly regain their strength.

The full survey can be found at:

http://www.executivesonline.co.uk/about_us/reports/social_networking

Do you have a success story and want to share your secret on how to get recruited via social networking,  I would love to hear about it.

Does your social media policy fall short?

November 13, 2010

If like me, you keep an eye on the trending topics of your business, interesting stories show up. In the world of social media, there were 2 trending topics over the last week. One was the fact that the American Medical Association just created a social media policy for physicians and the other about a medical technician being laid off on the basis of her comments about her supervisor on Facebook (NY Times article).

First to the policy, it is simple, straight forward and still comprehensive. It can be summarized in 5 short statements:

  • Separate private and professional presence online
  • Respect Doctor-Patient privacy and confidentiality
  • Maintain Doctor-Patient relationship online
  • Use security settings to the maximize protection for your social media profiles
  • Know that your online presence will influence your offline reputation especially true with negative content


This is a great start but it is by no means a complete policy. I would consider it more some guidelines on usage rather than calling a policy. Some hospitals are taking this one step further and making more extensive policies that include aspects such as authenticity, honesty, disclaimers, etc. Good examples are the policies of the Mayo Clinic, Ohio StateUniversity Medical Center, etc.

However, as companies are hurrying towards making and implementing such a policy, the latter trending topic is generating a ground breaking legal case, which is stopping companies in their tracks. What is going on? A medical technician was fired over violating the rule for depicting the company in a negative way on social media (specifically Facebook). National Labor Relations Board has jumped in and said this firing was illegal since employees have the right to talk about the working conditions whether that is at the water cooler, in a bar or even facebook. It is unrealistic to think that barring employees to talk about their company anywhere is an option and even a very restrictive social media policy will not help.

There are five conclusions I would like to draw up:

  • The best way to address such a situation is to have an open door policy where unhappy people can go and vent their frustrations to a real human being with no repercussions so they do not have to do this on social media.
  • Include a paragraph addressing respect for and defamatory statements about company, co-workers, clients, suppliers, etc.
  • Additionally, social media policies should include actions and consequences when the policy is not adhered to.
  • Often forgotten, is the fact that you need to make sure employees have read and understood the social media policy to the same extend as the employment policies.
  • Finally, employees have to keep in mind that they are also tarnishing their own reputation making these types of remarks and burdening their future employability.