Monday, November 29, 2010

Upcoming Series: Overview of Do's and Don'ts with Social Media and Recruiting

I just finished editing my presentation for the Campus Recruiting Forum happening in Waterloo on Tuesday November 30th, 2010 I and in Calgary on Thursday December 2nd, 2010. I can't wait!

I am speaking on the topic of social media & recruiting. I will be providing an overview on why social media is important for a company to use in their recruiting plan & will also provide do's and don'ts for each site like: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and YouTube.

I am thinking of creating my first Blog Series that recaps some of those learnings & helps provide a quick guide to using social media & recruiting. I am also considering then extending the concept into a 2nd Series recapping these similar sites but how to use in Onboarding (which I think is the hottest new use for social media).

Intriguing? Interested? What would you like to see in these 2 series?

Want to see me speak? Register for the Campus Recruiting Forum at:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Promising the World: Marrying Recruiting & Onboarding

Recruiting and Onboarding must be: Transparent, Realistic, Authentic, Set Realistic Expectations and Deliver on Promises. Seems so simple doesn’t it!? Why, then, are so many employers falling short in delivering on the promises made during the recruiting process in an employee’s first 90 days!? Read on for some tips to marry recruiting & onboarding.

My background is in marketing but my current position is in recruitment. Recently I have become intrigued with the role onboarding plays within the field of Talent Management. I look to marketing for trends in how to build a loyal customer, or in my case, an engaged employee. One of the biggest lessons in marketing is to deliver on brand promises. Let’s say you purchase a bad product, a real lemon, you are not likely to purchase the product ever again – right!? In today’s day and age of social media, you do not want to get a bad reputation in the workplace. Today employees don’t bat an eye at writing up tweets, facebook posts or using websites like Glassdoor to rate their experiences.

Companies promise the world to secure the right employees. However, recruiting & onboarding are typically run by different individuals and sometimes different departments. Companies need to be careful not to overpromise in recruiting and under deliver in the first 90 days. You have gone to a lot of hard work to source, interview & offer a great candidate. Don’t put all of your hard work to waste. If you do not meet these expectations in your orientation (first week) & onboarding process (first 90 days) you lose engagement. Ensure that your recruiting & onboarding programming is connected so you deliver on promises made in hooking those fabulous new hires. Engaged employees = productive employees!

Helpful? Questions?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Social Media Searches are Becoming Mainstream in the Interview Process: Tips & Watch outs for both Employers and Job Seekers

 Multiple personalities online: what does your Google search results, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter & LinkedIn (etc) profile say about you? As a potential candidate, what are some cautions to be aware of? As a perspective employer, how can you use these sites to check out candidates before forwarding that final offer letter? Read on to find out!

Our social media profiles each have a voice or an indication of the personality behind the profile. The implication of living our lives in online spaces is that the internet is permanent. Even if you press delete, that information has been stored on a server and is never truly GONE. What does this mean for potential employers or job seekers?

Young adults (25+), who are social media savvy, are tending to use twitter to make plans/update their networks versus sending SMS/text messages or emails. Relationships tend to be more open than ever before.  In this, there are consequences that conversations between 2 individuals are now available for the world to see. For job seekers, this has strong implications as you are no longer controlling all of the information that an employer can use to make a hiring decision. Previously, perspective candidates told the story they wanted shared by writing a cover letter, formatting a resume of their experience & engaging their potential employer in an interview. Now many companies include social media searches in their job decisions before formalizing an offer letter.  What do you need to know as a candidate to ensure you don’t lose that hire offer when you had an amazing interview but they turn up information online that makes them worry you might be a bit of a loose cannon!?

Below are my thoughts for you job seekers on what these sites tell employers about you as a potential candidate. As an employer, I have also given tips to using these sites to check out potential employees. One big lesson for employers is don’t use social media searches as a deciding factor. Good employers balance social media insights with a candidate’s CV & interview. They use social media sites to gauge liability/culture fit and see if the candidate is as button down as that interview suggested! Below I will review the mainstream sites being Google, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and LinkedIn providing a brief summary of what might be out there and some cautions to both candidates and employers in order of least to most important sites:
·     Most employers at the very least complete a Google Search on potential candidates. Have you ever Googled your own name to see what comes up? Lesson #1 - Know what’s out there! Employers - using a name to do a Google search is not a guaranteed match as unless there is a photo or other clear identifying data, you don’t know that the found information is actually attached to your particular “Jane Smith.” This is one of the least indicative ways to see your candidate in their online life. The more senior the candidate, the more relevant this space is especially if they claim to be an “expert” in a given field and thus should have speaking engagements promoted online.
·     As a candidate, Foursquare lets people know your neighborhood/places you spend time, which tells them how you live your life and the things that are important to you. This site is really about someone’s personal life versus their professional persona. If you are hiring someone who claims to be a real networker/a mover & shaker, this site can give you a great indication of where they might be spending time. Getting access to someone’s foursquare updates is tricky; however, most users allow foursquare to connect to their twitter and twitter is 99% an open network so the information can be found there.
·     As a candidate, Facebook is typically about your personal life - photos and visits with friends. This is where you probably really let loose. As a candidate, have a VERY STRONG privacy setting on this site to continue to live your life with only chosen “friends” having access to your photos of the party last weekend! Make smart decisions about your profile photo as most people can see it without being connected on Facebook – ensure that it isn’t a photo of you draped over a bottle of booze – as a candidate, is this the image you want to project? Most employers do a quick search on Facebook now-a-days; however, as a smart candidate don’t allow them much access. As an employer, understand this is a personal site about chosen “friends” and respect that your candidate has strong work-life separation!
·     I think that Twitter starts getting into a great social indicator of a potential candidate and their cultural fit. Not all candidates are on twitter so your search may create a big zero in the results department. For those active in this space, twitter is almost an entirely open network where people don’t protect their tweets so finding candidates is easy. Those who use it tend to balance the personal and professional and twitter becomes a bit of a bridge between Facebook & LinkedIn. As an employer, see what your candidate is into. As more and more companies are hiring people who claim to be “social media gurus” ensure they are! See how many followers they have & who they are (ensure they aren’t just spam accounts) and see who they are following. See if all they do is RT (retweet) or are they a content generator? See if they are in influencer – do others retweet them or are they mentioned?  Do they follow the social media rules of showing personality, creating transparency and authenticity and is their information relevant and timely? For potential candidates checking out a company, this is the best way to see the company’s culture & see if you might fit in with your potential colleagues!
·     LinkedIn = as professional as they come. This essentially is an online resume. I love doing searches on LinkedIn for potential hires because of the “recommendation” feature where previously clients, colleagues and managers can write up a reference through the site. This is a great way to see candidate’s perspective experience & how others worked for them. As a candidate, really work this website to get your profile to the 100% complete stage by listing all previous experience & asking some key contacts for recommendations highlighting specific skills or experiences that are relevant in your job search.

As a job seeking candidate, especially those in the millennial group (born 1986+) my major lessons are to “think before you post” and never “drink and post.” Nothing good ever comes of posts/updates done in the wee hours of the morning when your internal screening/filters are permanently in the “off” position!  As an employer, ensure you use social media sites as a temperature check but not the official hire decision. Balance the results with the CV and interview results. Gauge how important a social media search is based on the role you are hiring for.

Did this post help you as a potential employer on understanding how to find information on candidates? Candidates, did this tell you a few cautionary tales of where employers are seeking information & how to guard some (like Facebook) and showcase others (like LinkedIn). Do you think it’s fair that employers use social media searches in their job hunts?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finding Inspiration: 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common

Last night I attended a seminar at The Schulich School of Business. The seminar was a guest lecture by Richard St. John the author of The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common. I am addicted to for inspiration speaker sessions and was intrigued that St. John is one of the top downloaded TED talks. This fact alone had me signing up in a heartbeat. The session went through the 8 traits he defines successful people have in common: Passion, Work, Focus, Push, Ideas, Improve, Serve and Persist. I took 8 pages of notes in the session, came home and re-watched his ted talk (see link at bottom)

I went into work today and the only word I can use is INSPIRED.  I am someone who takes my career very seriously and I have goals, plans, motivation to do better, learn more and teach others but sometimes this focus is lost in the hustle and bustle of the office. I walked into work today, typed up a page of key phrases & learnings from the session, printed a copy to put above my desk and walked around visiting my entire team and telling them about the session (having already provided the link to his talk the night before) and handing out my created one-page highlight sheet for their desks. My attitude was contagious today.

I’m sharing my insights on this inspirational speaker (and great author – I’m already 5 chapters in!) because it shows that you need to drive your own success & create that excitement about what you do for yourself. I love what I do but sometimes in the busyness of the day-to-day, I forget to be excited about what I bring to the world. Today had me telling others about this inspirational talk, key takeaways and even emailing friends from around the world my key takeaway tip sheet on the 8 tips. It was inspirational that these tips, my attitude and my drive will create success for me! I was rejuvenated and refocused by the talk & wanting to not only drive my own success but help others be successful themselves. I brought my team management and coaching to a new level today.  My reminder from the session is to look up from the grind, seek to find inspiration & get out into the world to meet others that inspire you. If you do, you will in turn come back to work inspired to motivate others!

Has anyone else read his book or seen St. John speak? Have you recently attended an amazing speaker or read a fabulous book!? Please share to inspire me & others!

Watch Richard St. John's TED session by clicking: 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 Quick Tips on Onboarding New Employees

I recently spoke at a conference about using New Hires Perspectives in your Onboarding Process. For the sake of learning, I choose 10  tips from my 90 minute presentation to share here (and on twitter)for quick things you can implement ASAP to improve your onboarding process.  Remember that onboarding goes beyond initial training/orientation as it includes the first 90 days of a new hire's employment as candidates are most likely to leave a new employer during this period.  Get engaged hires faster by checking out the below 10 onboarding tips:

 Tip #1 - Recruiting promises + onboarding = engaged or disengaged new hires!? We promise the world in recruiting; ensure your onboarding program delivers! So often recruiting & onboarding are run by different departments or individuals; ensure that these owners of these aspects work together so you deliver on recruiting promises in the first 90 days of a new hires employment.

Tip #2 - Do not have a uniform onboarding program. The demographics of your new hire + their role will impact HOW you should onboard them! Would you really onboard a new executive and a millennial in their first job in the same way? NO!  Don’t make the same mistake in assuming that Gen X or boomers (with lots of work experience) don’t need onboarding as they have experience. Onboarding is about educating an employee about your company’s culture and setting them up for success in their new role

Tip #3 - Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, baby boomers, executives all have different values for onboarding. Great article here by Madeline Laurano on what you should include in each generation’s onboarding: Key takeaways: ensure that you use mediums that make sense to the age groups. Social media is key as part of your onboarding strategy for millennials & Gen Y.

Tip #4 - Poll your new hires/ search social media sites (via a listening strategy) to gain insights on where your onboarding delivered/needs improvement. Do regular check-ins with your new hires – day 5, day 30, 60 and 90.

Tip #5 - Action feedback from new hires to improve onboarding processes & let them know the actions you have taken! Though they may not have felt engaged about a part of the process, you will re-engage them by letting them know you heard them and have changed the process.

Tip #6 - Onboarding goes beyond orientation. Orientation= first 1-5 training days; onboarding = first 90 days of employment! Don't forget about a new hire after the first week - ensure you have regular check-ins and support for them ongoing.

Tip #7 - Effective onboarding programming = in-person orientations/buddies + technological solutions

Tip #8 - 40% of newly promoted managers fail within 18 months of starting new jobs. Know potential pitfalls & build plans to combat them. Great article from John G. Agno here about Executive onboarding:

Tip #9- Onboarding is about connecting your new hires to the company culture; create a community ON & OFFline

Tip #10 - Remember onboarding is all worth it as you will ALL be successful with an engaged + productive team!

Please let me know which of these tips spoke to you the most & the results of implementing it into your onboarding program!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Campus Recruiting Strategy

Creating a campus recruiting strategy is a daunting task! I’ve been recruiting on campus for over 6 years and have a few tips that might help you plan and execute a successful campus recruiting strategy:

-          Do not have a blanket approach. Choose your schools & sourcing $$ wisely.
-          Identify your target market and choose schools that have strong programs in that discipline
o   Example: Are engineers your focus? Focus on strong engineering programs. Use ranking guides like MacLean’s to help you understand school’s strengths
-          Once you have identified your schools, set up appointments to speak with, or better yet, meet your career center contacts in person. Each school operates slightly differently with processes, events, and ability to target students. Come prepared with a list of questions to help you understand how to best work with them!

Key campus events can include:
o   Participating in job fairs
§  These are good for building your employment brand; however, unless it is a targeted job fair, do not expect to directly secure a lot of hires from this avenue
o   Hosting an Information Session on campus
§  These are events where you book a room on campus, have a PowerPoint presentation and usually host a mix and mingle event afterwards that is catered
§  These can be very successful IF you have attendees. If you don’t do the right marketing ahead of time, you are wasting your money.
§  Work with the career center to see if they can send out a targeted email & see my new point about using new hires/alumni to drive attendance
o   Using interns or new hires that are alumni of that school/program to market opportunities with your company/company events
§  They can help connect you to influential groups on campus
§  Students want to hear the REAL story, not the PR version so give them what they want! Feature them on your website, have them make videos to post on YouTube, have them speak at events on campus about what working for your company is really like!
o   Case Studies or connect with Influential Professors
§  Professors are rated in the top 3 influencers on students just coming in after parents and friends
§  Business Programs are typically looking for real life case studies that can be used to support their curriculum. Speak to your career center contact about working this angle!
o   Sponsoring relevant groups on campus
§  Ensure you are both benefiting from the sponsorship: In return for sponsoring relevant groups, you may get a speaking opportunity to the club members or email opportunities with your target market
§  Perhaps offering an internship opportunity within this group can create a great new hire & WOM within the group/campus?
o   All of these campus recruiting efforts should be supported by social media efforts. Having a Twitter handle (like @companynamejobs) will allow you to tweet relevant industry information and broadcast news about campus events or job opportunities. I also recommend having a company LinkedIn Page as well as a Facebook page to promote campus events.
§  New Grads are great people to support your social media efforts!

My recommendation on campus is focus on quality versus quantity. Focus on your target market, create a strong strategy and then work your plan. Start small, build it out and use your new grads that are alumni from those campuses to help you understand how to best target the right groups & gain hires from your efforts on that campus! Ensure you measure ROI on spends versus hires as this will help justify your spending and, hopefully, expand your campus budget next year!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Same Company, Different Enviroment: Culture Shock?

Most of my career, to date I should add, has been spent as a remote employee. This is my fourth week officially working in my company’s headquarters in Toronto. Though I have worked for the same company for 10 years, it is amazing the culture shock that comes with moving from a home office to a head office. Just getting up in the morning, getting dressed, hair done, packing a lunch, commuting into the office, working with people walking by your desk, the sheer volume of meetings … and the list goes on. I am very lucky that I have friends at work who have gone through the same thing and can provide a sounding board on how to adjust.

Here’s what I have learned moving from a home office to headquarters:

Learning #1: My time is more stretched now in head office due to more in person meetings. While working remotely I was better able to multitask while on conference calls to accomplish more things on my plate. Was this good or bad? Jury’s still out on this one.

Learning #2: Due to time differences, I used to end my day with 2 full hours without emails/meetings/phone calls. This was a great way to wrap up my day making check marks on my ‘to do’ list. Now I am working on the same time zone as the majority of my colleagues. How am I adjusting?  I am working on better delegating and distributing workloads within my team. I am blocking time in my calendar for getting projects done. I am also being more critical of my attendance in meetings to ensure that I absolutely need to be there or determine if someone else could attend.

Learning #3: Building relationships is much better in person than on the phone. Those little drop by’s about a project or an update allow me to be a stronger manager in knowing the little wins & challenges my team face on a daily basis. I love this part of my changing environment! When working remotely, I tried to meet a colleague for a coffee/lunch every few weeks to stay in touch with the team, get out of the office & get some “water cooler time” – it was something I actually had to schedule in. I love that this happens now as a part of my daily routine without even trying.

Only a few weeks in, so these are just a few of my learnings… more to come about onboarding an employee moving office locations and creating engagement with remote employees. 

I would love to get your thoughts: has anyone else made this change or gone from a headquarters to a remote home office? What were your learnings, challenges, frustrating, wins & tips?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Personal Social Media Policy

You have heard me talk about how using social media to build a brand – be it a product, employment brand or personal brand - is important. I often speak at conferences that companies are absolutely behind the times if they don’t have a social media policy as they current have no control over what’s happening online and believe me, it is happening!  As an active social media user, I wanted to take the time to review my vision & what my goals are online. I Googled social media policies and used a whole bunch of template to create one that is just all me. I’m not going to give all of my secrets away but will give you a sneak peek!

VISION: My Vision is to use social media to learn online & build my professional expertise through the following values:
-          Knowledge – educational and well thought out information sharing and learning
-          Passion – sharing my personal passion for marketing, talent acquisition, onboarding and employment branding with others
-          Consistency – have a consistent message throughout social mediums
-          Transparency – be transparent and open about my message and my goals
-          Relevant – posting relevant information that others in my space will find interesting
-          Timely – time is relevant to building my following and I need to provide posts that are timely and relevant
-          Integrity – be true to myself through the use of social media & my posts

In my Social Media Policy, I then go on to outline what are my goals, target audience, boundaries & use of each forum (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc).

Do you have a personal policy? Do you make it up on the fly or do you actually have it written down? If you don’t have one, I recommend taking 30 minutes to at least review the social mediums you are using and decide what are your personal boundaries and uses on each.  Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Monday, October 11, 2010

To Mentor or Not? Developing & Participating in Mentorship Programs

Mentorship is a tricky subject as it relies on absolute buy-in from the mentee and the mentor. The best organizations out there have formalized mentorship programs as part of onboarding, talent management and employee engagement best practices. My advice is that not everyone is a natural mentor so some formalized training & a program kick off will likely set your program up for success!

Here are some of my thoughts on mentorship:

-         Planning out a program including your vision, training & assigning mentors is key. Plan your program versus just jumping in without a clear plan and vision
-         If someone doesn't want to participate in a mentorship program, forcing them is not going to inspire them to take advantage of this great opportunity. Focus on making the opportunities available, educating your employees on the benefits and then leaving it to be a personal choice if they would like to partake
-         Assigning the right mentee to mentor is very important. Ensure that mentees have a say in their mentor. Have parameters like level differences, geographical location & work focus in assigning mentors & mentees. Find out what’s important to your employees
-         Training your mentors on how to be a mentor is important. Not everyone is a natural coach!
-         Confidentiality is key. Mentorship programs are not to glean who is unhappy in an organization but is about providing confidential coaching and being a safe sounding board to have happier employees
-         Mentors need to prompt their mentees to come to the meeting with a list of topics or a situation they want to discuss. Mentors should actively listen & ask lots of probing questions. Don’t just tell your mentees what they ‘should’ have done but work through the situation together
-         Mentoring needs to be a priority for those involved in the program. It is very easy to cancel a mentor meeting in the face of a client deadline, but what kind of message is this to your mentee about the importance of their development? Time management and prioritization is key if you are involved in a mentorship relationship

I’m a big believe in being & having mentors. Providing guidance to others builds my management and coaching skills & I honestly learn from them just as, I hope, they learn from me!   I personally have a work mentor but I also have a couple of people in my life who are my informal mentors. When I meet someone who inspires me, I talk to them about potentially playing a mentorship role in my life. I like having different points of view, different sounding boards and choose people I respect, admire and have traits/skills I hope to learn from them.  In terms of your own mentorship, grab the bull by the horns as no one is going to drive your own development but YOU!

Do you have a fabulous mentor in your life? What makes them great? Please comment below to get the dialogue on this topic started!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Job Boards: Evolving in today’s Market or Quickly Becoming Extinct?

I recently attended the Recruitment Innovation Summit in Toronto where CareerBuilder, Monster & Workopolis representatives sat on a panel to discuss the relevance of job boards in today’s ever changing social media driven field of employment branding and recruiting.

The job boards argued that they are evolving based on today’s job marketplace by expanding their talent service solutions to keep up with today’s job seekers and social media technologies. Workopolis argued that passive seekers are the candidates you want and they “use 1 job board while unemployed seekers likely use multiple sites & aggregators.” CareerBuilder said that they are offering new services (though never expanded on what these were!?) and ¼ of their revenue comes from behavioral data on their job applicants that they sell to companies. Monster spoke well in the panel but failed to sell me on their new features even though they have recently rebranded themselves as: the “New Monster: Aim Higher. Reach Farther. Dream Bigger.”
The purpose of the panel was to take questions from the audience on job boards’ relevance, ROI, targeted resume mining, and costs. My frustration with the panel was the job boards were so busy trying to sell their services and outdo each other that they weren’t listening to the audience and hearing our concerns. They missed their mark on enforcing their relevance as I left without understanding the features of their evolution. Personally, I see job boards useful for certain target markets; however, for sourcing millennials (born 1997-2001), I believe they are a thing of the past. Recruiting millennials in today’s social media driven world is revolutionary and if job boards are just evolutionary, they just aren’t going to cut it!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tips & Tricks to Become a Networking Guru!

Your personal and professional networks are some of your most important assets and drivers in building, changing, and developing your career. I am a big fan of networking and thought I would put some tips together for others that have worked for me in building & working my networking:

1.   Put yourself into environments where you can make more professional connections be it through attending conferences, professional events or getting out and volunteering!
2.   Don’t be shy. Walk up to people, introduce yourself and get to know them. You never know when a random meeting could turn into a meaningful personal or professional connection.
3.   Use the 60-40 rule – don’t spend all of the time talking about you. Ask open ended questions and listen so that your new connection is speaking 60% of the time! Actively listen and comment on their work, interests etc.
4.   Use every opportunity to build a genuine and authentic relationship. I knew someone who chose volunteering organizations by checking out the backgrounds of fellow volunteers to see if they might be of help to their career. People can sniff out this insincerity! You can have reasons for joining a cause but ensure you also want to give back to the community and believe in the cause versus taking advantage of connections you might make.   
5.   Ensure that you are building on an in-person connections by virtually connecting that evening or within 24 hours via email, Linked In, twitter etc
6.   Talk to your network. I have built some absolutely fantastic relationships with people I have spoken at conferences at by continuing to build our dialogue on LinkedIn, over coffee and at lunch meetings.
7.   If you want your network to hook up great opportunities for you, make sure you are building connections for your network. After I spoke at a conference, I had mentioned to a fellow speaker that I am trying to build my speaking experience. She took note & let a conference organizer know about me at a conference she was asked to speak at a few months later. I’m trying to the same by hooking up my connections if I know their goals and have an opportunity to support them.

Networking should be mutually benefiting for both individuals; just like the best friendships. Don’t be a user but be a connection that can help others as you genuinely want others to succeed as you believe that by helping others, your personal & professional goals will be driven forward!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Are you a Split Personality Online? Branding Consistency

I just finished reading a fantastic article about personal branding on Social Media Today. It, along with Mashable, are such great avenues for quick 5 minute read articles to get you thinking and seeing the trends out there in the social media space. It got me thinking, what's important in using multiple mediums for branding?

As I work on expressing my personal brand, I sat down to figure out what is my purpose and what success looks like (sometimes I am so hardwired 'marketing' it is scary!). Is it professional speaking engagements? Followers on twitter? Blog followers? Networking opportunities & reach outs? LinkedIn connections?

YES to all of the above BUT I challenged myself to also have some qualitative measurements – the “feel goods” that are such a part of working on yourself as a professional. For me this means being consistent in building my name as an expert in my chosen fields by being transparent, relevant and timely.

Sounds like a bit of a vision statement doesn’t it? I actually sat down a few months ago, as geeky as this is, and wrote out my personal social media strategy. I preach at conferences that if companies don't have a go-to-market strategy with social media they aren't using the most of the medium and have no control over a very important space. I thought I better walk my talk; so, I created my policy. This policy needs to be a living breathing document so it evolves as I evolve. This policy can't just be a piece of paper, filed away on my computer, but should actually be top of mind when I use these spaces so I am being true to the voice I seek to have.

Great quote today from SocialMediaToday in, "In a marketing sense, your personality is your brand and the different social media you employ, regardless of the combination you use them in, should always reflect your brand." - Tia Peterson

Thus, be it a personal brand, an employment brand, or a marketing social media strategy, take the time to sit down & develop a vision listing each of the mediums out there & how you choose to use them. Remember that the biggest connection between all of them is being authentic, transparent & relevant to your audience. Don’t be a split personality online! Are you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Am I a Blogger?

I know it's ironic I am asking “Am I a Blogger?” through a blog. Here's my rationale - I am "test driving" this medium as a way to find the voice of "Chelsea Newton." I feel I have a lot to share about spaces I am interested in - be it Employment Branding, Social Media, Marketing, or HR. Currently, I use LinkedIn & Twitter as great forums to engage with other professionals but want something I can really shape to express myself. A blog is a way for me to create my personal brand. Creating a personal brand is an interesting tight rope. I want to share information and my opinion but don't want to be overly confident or cocky. To me, sharing information is about creating a 2 way conversation - a dialogue. It is my hope that this is the beginning of the adventure of defining my own voice in my professional space. It was while writing my notes for speaking on the Social Media panel at the 2010 Recruiting Innovation Summit (Toronto) that I realized so much of what I love is public speaking, networking and sharing ideas. I love preparing for conferences and then feel a high when I am up there speaking. I wanted to interject that passion into my life more than the every 3-4 months when I am preparing for a conference... so here's me, exploring, sharing my opinions, & finding my professional voice.

Though it is a blog, where I am essentially, pushing information out to followers/readers, I do want to create a dialogue so please comment on my posts or contact me via twitter @Chelsea_Newton. I expect my voice to grow and evolve as I 'figure' out this blogging thing and I hope you will stick with me throughout my journey!

Food for thought - have you found your professional "voice?" How are you choosing to "speak?" Cheers & thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Extending your Knowedge: Make the Most out of Conferences

I was one of those people who LOVED university as I enjoy learning new things. It’s been a few years since I was in school but my passion for learning hasn't slowed down at all. I'm super active on social media and use twitter, linked in, and favourite blogs to stay tuned in. Online surfing is a great way to fit learning into your day to day (during your morning coffee/during a longwinded conference call) but, is it enough!?

Another option: conferences! I love attending conferences that peak my interest to see what’s current in the industry, what other companies are facing, seeing other speakers good habits and things not to do, and, of course, the networking opportunities. Conferences don’t come with small price tags so here are some of my tips to deciding if it’s the right conference for you:
-     Look at the online agenda – are the topics relevant?
-     Look up the speakers on social media sites like Twitter & LinkedIn and see if you find them interesting.
-     Tweet or reach out to your network and see if anyone has attended the conference before and see what they had to say

Okay, you decide to go, now make the most out of it!
-      Meet people - take a stack of business cards  & mingle!
-      Sit in a different seat during each session & always introduce yourself to your neighbors
-      If a speaker is interesting, go up and meet them and exchange contact information
-      Tweet relevant information throughout & see what others are saying
-     Take notes to share with your team, write a blog article, or make a to do list with your learnings

My last tip is: build you your personal brand & become an expert in your field as you may get invited to speak at conferences = free attendance and great experience. This is my latest goal  and it's working as I love public speaking & love the learning I'm getting for free!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Who 'Owns' Employment Branding?

As a prompt from my first blog comment, my 2nd post will be on the topic of 'owning' Employment Branding. This is a role that can easily fall within the HR/Talent Acquisition teams or within Marketing. I have always described being an Employment Brand Manager as sitting on the fence within the 2 fields. It is totally the best of 2 worlds as you can use great marketing techniques for a recruiting purpose, in a very current and changing field. The reason I feel I have been successful is that my background is in marketing but I am interested in the HR field. Personally, I believe that a strong Employment Brand Manager (and I am obviously biased on this one based on my own background) should have experience in, or a real passion for, marketing. Employment Brand Managers who think "marketing" can strategize in how to use marketing tactics to market job opportunities that could similarily be used to market a specific product or brand.

For those organizations who are seeking to start an Employment Brand role, I suggest looking internally within your marketing department and see if someone would like a cross functional role that reports into HR. For those of you who are HR through and through but interested in marketing - this is not a lost role for you. I would suggest taking a marketing course or self educating through working closely with a liaison team member in the marketing department of your company. The role will only truly be successful with signoff from both teams as marketing will be concerned with the reputation of your company and have access to more resources, techniques and ideas to support HR needs (like sourcing, recruiting and referrals!)

To be successful in being an Employment Brand Manager or starting a team, I think these are a few key points:
1. Understand how marketing drives brands - be it products, experiences or employment choices. Take your cues from the hottest techniques in Experiential Marketing and social media.
2. Understand your KPI (Key Performance Indicators) related to recruiting. Are you trying to drive applicants, decrease your cost per hire, become an employeer of choice? All of these? Prioritize! This will guide your vision and 6 month, 1 year, 5 year plan. (Again a whole other post on how to design KPI).
3. Have executive buy-in (again a whole other post!). You will not be successful unless your plan is signed off from the top. Have direction/support/resources/funds from both the HR/Talent Acquisition and Marketing Executives.  I am very lucky to have also worked very closely with a Creative Director for create resources in webdesign etc.
4. Understand how your role relates to the recruiting team as a whole. Are you sourcing candidates for them? Driving marketing for the company as a whole? etc. The structure of your team and your role will drive success or failure. Employment Branding should be a senior role within the team who can drive strategy that supports the recruiting and sourcing efforts of the team.

Just my point of view & a few ideas to get you started. For those who have HR or marketing backgrounds and are in this role, what has made you successful?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Employment Branding: What is it and how do you start?

For the first post on my blog, I am going to discuss the topic of Employment Branding as a quick overview. When I first had the title of Employment Brand Manager, the question I most often received was, "What does that even mean? What do you do?" 5 years later, companies are behind the times if they aren't thinking of Employment Branding. 

Wikipedia is always a great way to start a discussion in securing a definition: The term employer brand was first used in the early 1990s to denote an organisation’s reputation as an employer. Since then, it has become widely adopted by the global management community. Minchington (2005) defines your employer brand as “the image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company's employer brand.". See the whole deal at:

Okay, we have a fancy well defined employment brand definition. That's great. Now we all know what it is. But, what do you do to build one? It's never too late to start!

Starting or expanding your current plan, is where I can start to help in providing some ideas on building your plan, getting buy-in from senior team members, extending your plan to recruiting efforts (online & offline) and then building a Talent Management strategy. I don't have all the answers but I have built some great employment strategies in Canada, the USA, and 10 other countries around the world including working with clients in China, Ukraine, Russia, South Korea & Western Europe. I won't be giving away trade secrets but can give some great places to start and then how to expand your plan to become an employeer of choice!

What are your main pain centers and wishes when it comes to Employment Branding & building a great Talent Management plan!?  Join the conversation here so I can build posts that mean something to you!