Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Onboarding Existing Employees

The topic of interest this week is the importance of onboarding existing employees – those employees that are joining your team from another division. We recently welcomed an employee to my team at work who had worked in another team for the past year. Though her old & new teams worked closely together, she moved desks, has a new manager, and new responsibilities. We are just so excited to have her.

As her manager and I discussed her training, we also thought about how we could show this excitement and make her first day just as special as we would for a “new” employee. As a best practice for new employees, we always make a welcome sign, bring in a beautiful plant to dress up the new desk or leave a few little favourite treats of the new employee in addition to a first day team lunch.

It got me thinking:  Why don’t we make it a best practice to do this for transitioning employees? The reasons is that most teams & companies don’t take the time to make that first day in the new team just as special as it isn’t viewed as a “first day.”  Well, it should be! The extra effort it takes to welcome someone new to your team is going to pay off big time in how they feel about their transition.

Next time you welcome either a net new employee or an existing employee onto your team, I hope you really make them feel that personalized special welcome!

10 tips to do this:
1.   Create a welcome sign in their favourite colour & have the entire team write a welcome message
2.   Ask them their favourite candy & have a dish of it on their desk
3.   Ensure their favourite colour pens or highlighters are in a cool new pen holder on their desk
4.   Decorate their desk area with streamers, balloons or other fun finds
5.   Have lunch plans for their first day with their new manager & new team members
6.   Have the team make lunch plans (even just to sit in the lunch room) each day of the first week so the new employee can get to know their colleagues
7.   Ensure the employee has some time with the department manager on their first day and day 5 to see how the first week is going
8.   Bring in a coffee for them on their first day in a special mug you bought just for them that they can keep at the office
9.   Welcome them via social media sites if you/they are active in that space
10.  Buy them a cool new notebook for all of those new notes to be captured in  

Remember it doesn’t have to be fancy; the goal is to leave someone with the feeling that you recognize their uniqueness and are so excited to have them on your team. This is especially true with millennial onboarding as they want to feel recognized for the unique individual they are and what they will bring to your team.

I leave you with a photo of my team welcoming our newest team member & a quote from Maya Angelou:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said,
 people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday News Day: Online Interactions

During the current controversy surrounding sharing of information via Twitter and other social media sites (versus super injunctions being adhered to by traditional media outlets), this week’s theme is consumers interacting with online content.  Social media is creating clashes between old-media law and social media sharing realities. More details to come as this debate plays out during the current revolution of information sharing.


 “Group seeks ideas to improve quality of web comments”
-          Featured in: CBC News
-          Writer:  Dan Misener
-          Publishing date: May 25, 2011
-          Link: http://bit.ly/ilZ6fO

This opinion piece by Dan Misener discusses how comment sections of websites and blogs are typically off topic & unconstructive. An initiative, by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation (makers of the Firefox web browser) and the Knight Foundation, called Beyond Comment Threads is aiming to “re-imagine online news comments.” The author discusses if the root of the problem is“a technical problem? Or a human behaviour problem?”

I like this article as it challenges the way consumers interact with your web content.  I look forward to seeing the outcome of this online challenge & may make changes in the way you can comment on my blog as a result!

“No internet in 1/5 Canadian homes: Among households with internet, 54 per cent connect with multiple devices”
-          Featured in: CBC News
-          Writer:  not identified
-          Publishing date: May 25, 2011
-          Link: http://bit.ly/jXLjOW
Strong article outlining the demographics of Canadians using the internet, mobile devices, and tablets.  Love the Canadian breakdown as articles typically showcase American statistics. The article breaks down demographics such as urban and rural as well as provincial breakdowns. Knowing where your target market is and how they access the internet can absolutely affect how they interact with your brand.

“Why do women avoid check-in services?”
-          Featured in: The Globe & Mail
-          Writer:  Amber MacArthur
-          Publishing date: May 20, 2011
-           Link: http://bit.ly/lwP6JU
I often speak about LBS (location based services) and how at first glance they seem very ‘stalker-ish.’ I think many women feel the same way about letting the world know where they are at any given time.  The article quotes that “17.6 per cent of smart phone owners in the U.S. use location-based services;” however, of LBS users from Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US, “77% of women are freaked out about using tools such as Foursquare.”

I like this article, written by a woman, on her views on LBS – review if you are trying to use LBS and have a target market of females.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Editing Your Twitter "Follow" List

I recently wrote a blog post on accepting LinkedIn Connections. The article stemmed a lot of debate with friends, tweeps, and blog readers on my stance that I must know, have met, or personally communicated with someone to accept a LinkedIn connection. This morning, I sat down to think about who I follow on twitter.

Though I have been registered on twitter for almost 2 years, I have only been an active user since July 2010. I had to consciously teach myself to “tweet” and share things in 140 characters. I have now trained my brain to think in these short snippets as it is rare that I have to edit a tweet due to length.  When I first started with twitter, I looked to see who those I admire (ie: had interesting content, similar interests or I had met in person) were following to shape my twitter feed.  Who I follow on twitter shapes my views on the hot news topics of the day and relevant insights in my field of recruiting, hr, and marketing.

I was totally ‘follow happy’ when I was first started using twitter. I followed so many individuals in all different spheres and interests. Many people additionally make the mistake of following lots of people to build their own following as they hope for follow-backs. I do not believe in this philosophy because twitter is about true engagements. I followed a wide depth of individuals as I was testing my twitter wings & exploring different ways of educating myself on different perspectives.

A year later, I’m a little smarter. I now use lists, a feature on twitter to organize relevant individuals under list topics I create like “branding” or “hr professionals” or “people I work with,” that allow me to quickly sort my huge newsfeed and filter on a specific topic. I really think twice before following someone as they must be in a specific field of interest. Now when I go to follow a new person on twitter, I look first to see their last few tweets, understand how often they tweet, read over their bio, see who they are following, and also see who is following them.

In order to sort out my following list and take out people who are inactive and not relevant to my new view of twitter & my more narrow choice of hot topics, I use a great application called ManageFlitter. It hooks into your twitter and sorts those you are following by a multitude of topics that easily allow you to “unfollow” people who are not adding value to your newsfeed. I use it approximately once a month to unfollow those who are inactive or see who isn’t following me back – only editing them if they aren’t tweeting on topics relevant I’m interested in. It’s a great way to streamline my feed and ensure I’m following quality individuals.

-    Use applications to help you manage this process with quick filters (http://manageflitter.com/) is fantastic
-    Visit your “following” list often
-    Don’t follow people to build your own followings – follow those you are interested in. Ensure that the next month they have proven to be interesting! Create relevant material to build your own following lists & engage with your network
-    Use lists on a regular basis to create easy filters to streamline your newsfeed on relevant topics

I hope this helps you clean up your twitter lists & edit those you are following to make the most out of this social medium!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday News Day: Social Media

Some great articles to share with you this week around a theme of social media.


 “The Twitter Trap”

-          Featured in: The New York TImes
-          Writer:  Bill Keller
-          Publishing date: May 18, 2011
-          Link: http://nyti.ms/lQTt1d

Bill Keller likens allowing his daughter to join Facebook like passing his child a pipe of crystal meth. He debates the progress of the web and the price tied to this innovative medium. Bill questions if the “price is actually a piece of ourselves.” Great read on how we are “outsourcing our “brains to the cloud.” Bill additionally questions are social mediums displacing “real rapport and real conversation?”  Do you agree or disagree?

Make sure you also read the below article written by Nick Bilton, a writer on Bill’s team, who wrote a rebuttal followed by a further response by Bill. Fantastic series!

Response to the above article:
“This is Your Brain on Twitter”
-          Featured in: The New York TImes
-          Writer:  Nick Bilton
-          Publishing date: May 18, 2011
-          Link: http://nyti.ms/kDtXnI

Fantastic article about how social platforms slice and dice news and that who you follow shapes the social flow of information on the web. Great response as well by the author’s boss (Bill Keller) about how there is a price for progress.   Best article I have read all week!

“For Buyers of Web Start-Ups, Quest to Corral Young Talent.”
-          Featured in: The New York Times
-          Writer: Miguel Helft
-          Publishing date: May 17, 2011
-          Link: http://nyti.ms/mMv1ie

Talent acquisition in the web start-up/Silicon Valley are changing. Companies like Facebook are paying millions for start-ups to only shut them down. Why? They are paying for the talent of the start-up founders. How can you compete this in this world for talent? Facebook is paying between $500,000 to $1 million to “acqhire” engineers. The war for talent is “hotter” than ever, especially for young entrepreneurs and computer whiz kids.  Additional interesting article that expands on the topic: http://nyti.ms/j7ZZle

“The IMF chief, the Canadian-born student – and the tweet that rocked the world.”
-          Featured in: Globe & Mail
-          Writer: Tu Thanh Ha & Ingrid Peritz
-          Publishing Date: May 17, 2011
-          Link: http://bit.ly/j1JyE7

The way information is shared is well demonstrated by this article about how the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (and a potential contender for the French Presidency) Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest was shared via a transatlantic tweet hours before any official mainstream news channels broke the news. 

“LinkedIn IPO: An expensive and unproven venture”
-          Featured in: Globe & Mail
-          Writer: David Milstead
-          Publishing date: May 16, 2011
-          Link: http://bit.ly/ieTrhT

With LinkedIn’s IPO (initial public offering) happening this week investors are placing bets on the long term growth and gains of the social media platform. Interesting insights into how social media platforms make money.

Happy Reading! Thanks to a special friend for forwarding some fantastic articles to contribute to this week’s Thursday News Day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Facebook Personal Social Media Audit

The Month of May seems to be a month about social media auditing – who to accept on LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. I recommend revising your social media presence approximately once a month or at least once a quarter to make sure you are making connections that make sense. For those regular blog readers, as you know, I have actually written out my personal social media policy & have different views on how I want to use LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook. They all have different uses for me from a very professional space to a more personal space. Today’s blog post is about Facebook.

For brands, I’m a big believer in having a Facebook page and encouraging “likes” as this will help create WOM within the networks of those who “liked” you. As an indidual, I use Facebook for a very close group of friends to keep up on very personal details such as photos and travel news. Though I have hundreds of friends on Facebook, I lock down most contacts to limited profiles and typically indicate only close friends and family to see my photos.

Here are my thoughts on Facebook: I will have a personal & professional profile – I’m still sorting through if this is the right move for me

Personal Profile:
-          My personal profile will be very limited for search functionally
-          It will be separated from my professional uses of social media sites through the use of a separate name (my married name)
-          I will accept only those that I are actively a part of my personal life
-          I choose to share very limited information (like photos) as I feel that the world wide web is a very public forum for my personal life
-          I understand that even if deleted, the information does not cease to exist
Professional Profile:
-          Through my newly created professional profile, I will build my professional network and be very viewable on public searches
-          This profile will be connected with my twitter, foursquare, and LinkedIn profiles
-          This profile will adhere to my professional vision through my consistent professional head shot, profile information & status updates
-          No personal photos will be shared through this forum that does not adhere to my above social media policy
-          I understand that Facebook is more of a personal forum

How do you use Facebook for personal branding versus brand/cause marketing?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday News Day: University & College Trends

I’m starting a new weekly Thursday post to share relevant news articles or blogs on the topics of talent management, recruiting, social media, & branding.  My goal is to provide you with interesting news articles and blogs resources. I hope you enjoy addition #1.


“When a University Degree Just Isn’t Enough”
Featured in: Globe & Mail
Writer & Publishing date:  James Bradshaw; May 9, 2011

This article relates to my April 23, 2011 blog post on Balance Game for New Grads: Degree vs Experience vs Interest.  BA graduates are a shrinking portion of enrollment classes as students feel obligated to get graduate, professional or college credentials to prove their worth. – Do you think a BA still holds value? Are you hiring BA candidates?

“Job-Seeking University Graduates give it the Old College Try”
Featured in: Globe & Mail
Writer & Publishing date:  Tralee Pearce; May 10, 2011

This article speaks how colleges are seeing an increase in enrollment of students with university bachelors who are seeking specific job related training to be “job ready.” Colleges are essentially being used as finishing schools. - Colleges - are you using this trend in your marketing material?

Happy Reading! Any articles/resources you would like to share?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Career Services & Student Corporate Tours

University Career Services are trying to create new engagement with students and help prepare them for careers after school. One new offering I am seeing offered by career services is organizing corporate tours where they build relationships with relevant companies. Within this offering, a short office tour and information session is organized where students can talk to management and new hires to understand what a career at their company would look like.   I recently participated in one of these from a corporate standpoint & have some tips for students as well as for Career Services.

The students arrived looking dashing and all professionally attired to make a good impression. We started the introduction asking who had heard of our company before. I was shocked to see only 1 out of 15 students put up their hand. Would you really come into an interview without even visiting the company website & understanding their offerings, jobs and company vision or culture? Well these students did. Our first impression of the students was not good though they went on to have great questions throughout the tour.

Career Services: don’t assume that your students will do their due diligence in doing research on the companies you are visiting. Ensuring your students are prepared will make a great impression as this reflects on your campus & your services. This will help the company want to further engage your services to hire your students.

Students: Any time you are engaging with a potential employer, have your ducks in a row. Do your research.  Visit the company website, seek them out on Facebook & LinkedIn. Understand the basic values of the company and know why you might want to work for them. Remember, just because an interaction isn’t a job interview doesn’t mean it can’t get you a job! First impressions count more than ever now that the job market is picking up and companies have choices in the students they hire.

I applaud career services for connecting student’s to corporate life and building higher engagement between students and their campus services. Hopefully my above tips help make these offerings even stronger for all parties involved.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Brands: Finding Your Online Voice

Choosing the right voice for your brand is a very important step in your brand identity and building your social media efforts.

I recently spoke at a conference to an audience of University employees who are responsible for recruitment, enrollment, and student engagement in student services. I was speaking about how universities can use social media sites to boost their recruitment and engagement efforts. I started the presentation asking how many universities, by show of hands, had a social media policy. I was honestly shocked to see that only approximately 10% of 58 major colleges and universities had a policy as 100% of them were on social media sites!  Without a policy that creates a plan on your use of social media websites and helps define your values, purpose & voice, these universities are showcasing multiple personalities online as many different functions/teams within the campus are using these sites with no overall alignment.

Universities (or companies) wanting to use social media sites, must first go through an exercise of defining your brand voice.  Think of a playwright, building a character, you must think through things like Persona, Tone, Language & Purpose.

Here is a great article on Social Media Explorer by Stephanie Schwab that walks you through building your voice through the above 4 characteristics:  http://bit.ly/gTsbTS 

I hope my thoughts & the above resource help. I always love sharing a great article/resource. Don’t forget that your online voice must be a work in progress & you should visit it often to make sure you are adhering to your plan and having a consistent voice across multiple online mediums (i.e.: Facebook, twitter, blogs etc)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Accepting Connections on LinkedIn

I run a group on Linked In with almost 500 global members united to discuss Campus Recruiting, social media & attracting/retaining millennials. As a very active LinkedIn member and discussion lead in my group, I often have people from my group & other groups I belong to ask to connect on LinkedIn.  These are people that know my voice through the group but I don’t know theirs. It creates a conundrum. Do I accept? How many LinkedIn Connections are too many? How valuable is connecting with everyone? How guarded should you be of your connections?

I have spoken before about how important it is to sit down and write a personal social media policy to determine your voice & use of social media sites. I wrote mine approximately 8 months ago and visit it approximately once a quarter as the sites change so often that my usage must also adapt.

Looking back, this is how I had set out to use LinkedIn:

My Profile:
-     This is my 100% professional network
-     I will maintain my 100% completed profile
-     I will seek recommendations based on new opportunities like speaking engagements etc that will further my reputation/work in the field
-     I will not automatically recommend those that recommend me. I will limit my recommendations to only those that I truly want to highlight their skills and abilities to maintain my credibility
-     I will update my profile often with updated information and experiences
-     I will always write a personal connection note when connecting with someone new
-     I will only create introductions between connections I feel will benefit both parties. I will respect and guard my connection’s privacy.
-     I will accept only those connections I have emailed with personally, met at conferences or spoken with. I value these connections as people I can truly do business with.

My Group: Campus Recruiting & Social Media: Finding the Best Millennials:
-     I will create a new discussion topic once a week if one is not created
-     I will send each person requesting to be part of my Group a personal note based on their profile to outline the purpose of the group and how they can gain insights/participate
-     I will encourage my colleagues and new business connections to participate
-     I will promote my group via other sites & encourage new networks to participate but only through relevant engagements versus spamming
-     I will seek out relevant information to create cutting edge discussion topics and facilitate experts speaking in this forum

Note the last bolded bullet under my profile. I currently have over 25 connection requests sitting in my inbox that I haven’t responded to – am I being rude or indecisive in responding? Should I ask for more information on why we should connect or do I immediately decline without responding? I’m torn as some are members of a group I run. Most of these requests don’t send me a personalized message and they don’t try to build a relationship. I sat down today & decided to deal with these invites by sending the below message:

“Thank you for the invitation. Unfortunately I have to decline at this time as I have a personal LinkedIn Social Media policy that I only connect with individuals I know in order to protect my connections and build my network. I look forward to building up a relationship through contributions in our shared LinkedIn Group."

Geeky? Worthwhile? Does it help separate the valuable connections from the duds? If I’m not worth a response or a personalized invite (which none really had), then I have an answer right there. Only a few people have responded and started building a relationship creating value for me to connect. I don’t want to have 1,000 connections as then my connections lose value & I’m not respecting those people who have trusted me to connect.

How do you manage your LinkedIn requests & connections?