Sunday, May 29, 2011

Project Social: Do You Facebook?

Dave, Lyn and I decided to carry on with the ‘social’ themes we’ve been tackling lately and discuss the different social mediums we are active in and how we use them.  Dave already has his post up at HR Official and Lyn’s aiming for Monday over at the Bacon Hut.

When it comes to social media, I pretty much stick to the basics: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog.  I don’t use Foursquare, although I totally would if I were a stalker.  I don’t even have a logon for HootSuite or Empire Avenue.

I know, I sound soooo 2007…

As I explained in an earlier post, I’m a late adopter.  I wait to try things until I have a reason to use them, rather than inventing a reason in order to try them.  So, I didn’t join LinkedIn until my company was about to be acquired, I didn’t join Facebook until I decided to write a blog post about it and I didn’t join Twitter until my job went 'social.'

If you’re an even later adopter than I am, the hardest part is getting started, especially when it seems like everyone else already knows the ropes and has a million contacts.  I still remember signing up for Twitter long after everyone I knew was already using it and having a whopping 0 followers.   Fortunately, several of my Compensation Café colleagues took pity on me and soon I had 5 followers!  I felt so proud when I got up to 32 followers...

If you’re looking for advice about getting followers it’s actually pretty easy.  Just put yourself out there by reading, commenting and re-tweeting and the followers will come.  Getting people to RT you is more of a challenge and I’m afraid I haven’t yet figured out how to get all my followers to sycophantically re-tweet everything I write.  But I keep reading, writing, tweeting and commenting because I enjoy being part of the discussion.

Dave made a great point in his post about not mixing mediums and I think that bears repeating.  Different channels have different purposes and audiences.  But regardless of channel, if you use any social medium you have a public persona.  You want to watch what you share because friends, family, colleagues, customers and perfect strangers are watching wherever you put yourself out there. 

There’s a fine line between refreshing honesty and too much information.

The other thing to keep in mind is that social media can sometimes be confused with real life.  The people you connect with are (usually) real people and you may have genuine personal interactions with them.  Information is presented in easy sound-bytes.  Best of all, you can finally be the 'you' you always wanted to be

It's addictive.

So here are a few ways to tell if it's time to unplug:
  • Do you spend more than an hour a day Tweeting one-liners to people you've never met?  
  • Do you neglect friends and family so you can count your followers? 
  • Do you sleep with your Smartphone?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Things Not Going Your Way? Hang In There...

My post 'Persistence' has been included in the 20/20 Hindsight series at Women of HR. The focus of the series is how what seems like a setback - or a LOT of setbacks - can turn out for the best.

You can read my post here and while you're over there don't miss the other posts in the series. This is a great series because we've all been there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Got Your Little Black?

I feel lucky to have so many professional friends with mad skills who are helping to re-define the way we work.  Some of them are working moms but by no means all of them.  They work from home, they work part-time, they take their kids to work, they start their own companies... they do it their way and I'm proud to know them and their stories.

Companies are beginning to recognize untapped talent potential with increasingly flexible work arrangements.  Being good at flexibility is a competitive advantage in the war for talent. 

In many ways, flexibility is the new little black of benefits, which is the topic of my most recent Compensation Cafe post.  If you'd like to learn more, check it out here!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lead 'Em or Lose 'Em: How social recruiting raises the game for leaders

Guest post by Pam Fox Rollin

You plan to keep your best employees, right? You know it's going to be tough as more companies return to hiring. But, hey, you do a decent job of creating a good place to work, and your people aren't looking for jobs.

Check that.

Even if by some chance your employees aren't looking, other companies are looking for them. And, they are very likely to find your high-demand talent more easily than ever.

This week at the ERE Recruiting Innovation Summit at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View I saw many shiny new tools for poaching your people, and recruiters eager to use them. For example, recruiters may sign up to be pinged whenever an engineer at your company connects with more people than usual on LinkedIn.

As ace-recruiter Craig Fisher @Fishdogs quipped, "recruiters really aren't looking for the perfect candidate." Recruiters are just looking for that one person they can easily find who has "close enough" experience to get hired. And, with social media tools, it's easier than ever to find your people and build relationships. Craig sets up his FourSquare account to connect with people who frequent the coffee shop across the street from targeted groups.

How can you "protect" your team members from being contacted by recruiters?

You can't.

In the past, companies have blocked known recruiter numbers from their voicemail system. Of course, recruiters can just call from their cell phone. Or connect on Facebook. Or message them on LinkedIn. Or find them at Starbucks at just the time they know they'll be there. Their friends can text them from their mobile phones with job recommendations from apps that scour their friends' Facebook pages to suggest jobs for friends who aren't even looking, yet. Company-as-walled-city is over.

What you can do is make your side of the equation more compelling. And that takes leadership. We used to think that retention is primarily a function of the quality of the employee's immediate supervisor, as well as pay.

With globalization and ever shorter product life cycles, many employees know that their supervisor today may be heading up a new initiative next quarter. Supervisors are ephemeral. Corporate leadership isn't. Corporate culture isn't.

Nilofer Merchant @Nilofer, in her inspiring and challenging conference keynote, described corporate culture as "dark matter" - we can't see it, but it shapes our universe more profoundly than anything we can see.

Recruiters know this. Employer branding experts circulated through the ERE Recruiting Innovation Summit, promising to "tell the story" of companies through frequently-refreshed videos on Facebook Careers pages.

Will recruiters tell a better story about your competitors than your employees can tell about you?

Leaders, telling the story of your company is your job. Contributing to a culture that engages your team members over the long haul is your job. Making meaning as well as numbers is your job. Hiring supervisors who can lead their teams, and the next, and the next - that's your job, too.

Your leadership becomes ever more crucial as recruiters use social media to engage and entice your people.

Now is the time to raise your game. Help your managers become better leaders. Create better experiences and opportunities for your team. That's the best protection you'll ever have.

Pam Fox Rollin helps Silicon Valley executives make their strongest start. Her company, IdeaShape, helps leadership teams function well together and make the most of new talent. Clients hire Pam for individual coaching, leadership offsites, teambuilding with Myers-Briggs, and keynotes. Visit, "like", and learn at Pam's facebook page for 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role: . Or connect on Twitter @PamFR.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sustainably Yours

Anyone who reads this blog knows I care about corporate sustainability. If this is a topic that also interests you, or you've been asked to look into sustainability reporting at your own company, here are a few resources:

Leave a comment if you 're interested in other examples of corporate sustainability reports or have general questions about sustainability reporting. I'm happy to help!

Siemens Opts Out of the Nuclear Energy Business

As recently as yesterday, Siemens' energy business strategy played no favorites. They have a stake in everything from coal to nuclear power plants as well as a thriving renewable energy business.

Over the last few years, however, they've been stepping up their investment in renewable energy on a global basis and today they announced they plan to get out of the nuclear energy business.

We'll see how that plays out but think about it: Siemens is one of the world's largest and most successful companies. They have departments the size of a small company dedicated to rigorous data analysis.

They aren't getting out of nuclear energy and stepping up investment in renewable energy out of the goodness of their hearts, although I'm sure they're all perfectly lovely people. They're doing it because they believe it's a good business decision.

What do you believe?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Project Social: Pleased to Tweet You

To tweet or not to tweet?  That is the question.  My project social partner Dave and I were discussing social media the other day and got on the topic of why we re-tweet (or don’t). 

You can read about how to get re-tweeted by Dave over at HR Official and chew the fat with Lyn about the synergies of Twitter and bacon over at The Bacon Hut (Get it? Chew the fat?)

Why do I tweet thee?
  1. You re-tweeted something of mine – If you’re nice enough to RT something of mine I’ll try to RT something of yours.  
  2. You wrote or tweeted something really good – Re-tweeting is the next best thing to having written it myself.  
  3. I think I can use the information – I re-tweet it it so I can find it again later under my profile.
  4. You support one of my pet theories or causes – That’s pretty self-explanatory, right?
  5. You make an argument I hadn’t considered – This one’s my favorite.
  6. You’re funny – I love funny.
  7. I like you – You read my blog, RT my tweets and/or write amazing stuff of your own so I check in with you regularly.  
  8. I want to encourage you – I just feel like giving you a pat on the back.  In a good way.
  9. You came up with the perfect title – Good titles should be encouraged.
  10. You asked me to – I’ll usually RT or comment at least once when people ask me to.
Why do you re-tweet?  Dave, Lyn and I want to know!

Six Ways to Improve Work Life Balance

If work life balance is a topic that preoccupies you, check out this new Focus brief 6 Ways to Improve Work Life Balance.  You ca also join the discussion here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is Your Desire to Help Others Holding You Back?

I wrote a post at the Compensation Café about a year ago called What Can We Learn From Marketing about the similarities between HR and marketing.  This topic was recently picked up by HR Magazine in the UK as well with some interesting insights.

In an article entitled Marketing Versus HR, the characteristics of successful HR and marketing leaders are explored in some detail.  Generally speaking, the qualities that make you successful as a marketing executive aren’t all that different from those that make you shine as an HR executive:

•    Strategic
•    Self-assured
•    Eloquent
•    Good with numbers
•    Balanced
•    Collaborative
•    Optimistic
•    Decisive
•    Innovative

There are, however, a couple of interesting exceptions (besides the fact that the marketing avatar is holding a cocktail and smirking):
  1. Marketers are better with numbers and data visualization –HR professionals tend to have a better vocabulary and command of the language but marketers are better at crunching numbers.  Although surprising at first glance, it actually makes sense: an HR professional must be politically correct at all times while marketing involves LOTS of business trend analysis.
  2. Marketers are more interested in the business than in people – Many HR professionals ended up in HR out of a desire to help others, whereas marketing professionals get their kicks from business dynamics.  This doesn’t mean HR folks have no interest in business or that marketers hate people.  It just means they view the business through different lenses.
As a result of these two seemingly minor differences, marketing tends to be better than HR at demonstrating value to the business and top HR jobs are starting to go to marketing executives. 

There’s some good in this trend, for example marketing professionals know how to formulate strategy to drive business results and generate beautiful graphics that show how they saved the company and cured cancer to boot. 

But there are also risks, such as the risk that compliance will take a backseat to creativity as soon as the expansive marketing personality gets bored with day to day HR.

What can we learn from all this?  For one thing, I should be an HR executive.  I mean, I’ve got it all: HR, marketing, cocktails...  I can’t believe how much I rule.

The other key message is that HR needs to stop thinking of the business in terms of people and start thinking of people in terms of the business. 

Because if they don’t, there’s someone in marketing who will. . .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are HR Stars Like Famous Professors?

My project social partner Dave Ryan and I were chatting last week about HRevolution, which sounds like it was a great event. I was jealous but my newborn has very self-centered ideas about my travel availability.

Anyway, there seem to be a LOT of HR conferences to choose from these days and some folks seem to attend quite a few of them. So Dave was wondering why and how they do it, which he’s written about over at HR Official, and I was wondering who benefits and where you draw the line.

Lyn H, our new project social team member, also has some sizzling thoughts on this that you can read about over at the HR Bacon Hut. (Get it? Sizzling bacon?)

Obviously if you’re an analyst or someone who’s paid to be seen it makes sense to attend as many conferences as you can but does the same logic apply to HR practitioners? Do their companies benefit from all the conferences they attend?

Maybe it’s like the famous professor who does the lecture circuit while his graduate students teach his courses. The university benefits because the professor’s fame attracts students even in absentia and contributes to name recognition of the school. Similarly, perhaps attending and/or speaking at lots of conferences helps promote your brand and attract top talent.

Or maybe the company benefits from all the knowledge that is brought back. It stands to reason that the more conferences you attend the more knowledge you acquire. And with that fountain of knowledge you can overhaul your current processes, improve leadership quality and finally get that seat at the table.

Or maybe you already have a seat at the table and that’s why you’re able to persuade your boss that you + conference = major ROI. Way to go, you! In fact, you’re wasted in HR, you should be in marketing.

But seriously, I’m curious: How many conferences are enough? And which ones? And most importantly, how do you apply what you learn at your own company?

Dave, Lyn and I want to know!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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