6 benefits of using twitter for talent acquisition

I want to say most of us use twitter these days. I have connected with so many leaders in my industry and those who share my passion for social media and human resources. That being said, I realized this week, while tweeting about new jobs for my organization, that a lot of HR professionals are still not taking advantage of this tool. So here are 6 excellent benefits for using twitter as part of your talent acquisitionplan (as taught to me by the wonderful Bryan Starbuck)

1. find top talent

You can utilize twitter without even posting anything. This may be a great way to get started if you are nervous about using this type of technology. One of the easiest and most useful things you can do is just search for the best talent. You can search using hashtags. A hashtag is simply a keyword with the # symbol in front of it. For example, if you are looking to fill positions in the pharmaceutical  industry you can search for #sales or #pharmaceutical. This will give you a list of people who are talking about that topic. From there you are able to browse through find articles and names of top leaders in that field.

2. access top talent

This is different that just finding top talent. To access top talent you need to engage. By tweeting about your company or open positions people will start following you too. This gives you access to the talent. You can start engaging with them right away and build up your own database of talented people to source from. That brings me to what to tweet.

3. branding

I have talked about branding before, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your company and your talent acquisition strategy. By tweeting about interesting news and events with your company, open jobs, important industry news, people who are interested will start to follow. Branding helps to show the world who your company is. What do you stand for, what kind of things do you do. What type of jobs are available. it is a quick shot of information that people can process quickly. You can create a twitter profile with a name that is related to your company or industry. For my organization I use SokoloveCareers. You can even personalize your page with your logo. If you need help branding talk to your marketing department and PR folks for help designing and choosing interesting articles to tweet about. Branding helps not only your recruiting efforts but also your organization as a whole by giving you more exposure.

4. email notification

There are also great tools that enhance the twitter experience. For example TweetBeep is a great tool. Again, this is a tool you can use even if you do not want to post. What TweetBeep does is allows you to input criteria such as your company name, industry, city, or keywords for jobs you are looking to fill like skills and titles. After inputting the information you will receive email notifications when people are talking about these things on twitter. For example if you want to be alerted to people who are discussing #law topics in #boston you just put that criteria in and you will get those notifications. You are then able to very easily access the thought leaders in that location in that industry.

5. google search

Another non-tweet approach is google search. You can actually use good to search for people on twitter using certain key words. For example if you are looking for Sales Trainers you can simply go to google and type in “sales trainer” site:twitter.com you will get a list of twitter users who fit that search and you can again find the top talent by checking out their profiles and tweets.

6. networking events

Lastly, another great benefit of using twitter is you have access to all kinds of networking events. There are networking events everywhere for virtually every industry for practically every night of the year! Some are company sponsored events that people are tweeting about, some are organizations, some are called tweetups, which is a get to gether of people who know each other via twitter. It’s a great way to find those events where you can actually engage with talent face to face.

You should have no excuses now for not using twitter. Even for those who are tweet shy you can still use twitter as a research tool to enhance your recruiting efforts. And because twitter is free your ROI will be nothing but positive. Just don’t waste your time. You don’t need to read every tweet, nor do you have to tweet more that a couple of times a day, or a  week for that matter. So get out there and start tweeting!!

hrevolution 2010!

I am so excited about this year’s HRevolution! This will be my first time attending and after all the glowing accounts I have read I know it will be an amazing experience. I am going because it encompasses two of my passions, Human Resources (more specifically, Talent Management) and Social Media.

I strive to combine the two at my organization and being able to share my ideas and learn from experts will be very helpful in my future projects. And having a chance to meet the founders (Ben Eubanks and Trish McFarlane) of HRevolution is my idea of meeting celebrities (i don’t get out much, my work seems to be my life!)!

The information and ideas they have shared with all of us have been very useful for me. They may not know it, but they are like my mentors, I am so excited to meet them!Especially Ben Eubanks who has helped me out with some challenges in this arena.

But most importantly, I believe in my employees. They are our greatest asset. And being able to put some of these ideas into practice, they know their stuff and their focussed. We don’t pretend to know everything about everything. If we want to know all about tools we check out people who know about tools like these guys here. But if we need to be able to explain to the C-suite WHY this ’stuff’ is important will really help my organization grow into the exceptional workplace I know it can be. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

do you know the number one reason for turnover?

If I asked you what the number one reason is for employee turnover, what would you say?

Most people would say money. In fact 90% of managers believe their employees leave because of compensation. It’s not uncommon for companies to view employees as merely another cost. And therefore it would be entirely rational for one to believe that people leave their jobs in search of more money or more substantial benefits. However, you couldn’t be more wrong.

The number one reason for people to leave their jobs is actually their relationship with their manager. Managers are on the front lines for engaging and retaining employees. The Corporate Leadership Council (CLC) says that the key to enhanced employee engagement is the managers behavior and performance. Their analysis indicates that 15 of the top 20 drivers to improve engagement are manager related. 76% of employees could become actively engaged or disengaged very easily, and managers need to win over that group.

One of the ways managers can improve engagement and retention is by conducting what some professionals call a “Stay interview“. This is simply a conversation about the employees engagement. Managers who take initiative and show interest in how an employee is doing and what they are passionate about foster a meaningful and trustful relationship. These ‘Stay Interviews’ should not have anything to do with reviews. In fact they should be conducted at a time when reviews are not top of mind. Some of the questions a manager could ask are;

  • What do you enjoy most about your work?
  • What do you enjoy least?
  • Is there a different job you could be doing, what would it be?
  • How can I help you improve and achieve your career goal?

Clearly these are questions that happen between people who trust each other. Talking transparently with employees about their passions and needs will help.

These types of interviews should be conducted after the first 6 months of employment, when the employee has had adequate time to acclimate them self but early enough in tenure so that action can be taken to help them meet their goals.

Managers also need to be cognizant of their behavior and actions, as stated earlier.  Remember back to Psych 101 in college, the Pygmalion Studies! Well, yes, those apply here too. Managers communicate expectations that impact performance, and they need to be aware of that. If managers focus on weaknesses exclusively this message and emphasis gets communicated. Managers need to have high expectations and think about their employees strengths and positive contributions to the organizations.

The goal is to develop a culture in your organization that is transparent and honest. If employees and managers can learn to build these relationships then you will begin to experience the right turnover. Talent management is all about your greatest asset, your employees! Help them to develop, stay engaged, and remain with your organization.

talent aquisition priority #1

Recruitment branding should be at the top of the list in 2010 for companies. Even though the economy is showing signs of making a comeback, there are still plenty of people out there looking for jobs. And although this may seem like a good thing for recruiters, it seems to actually be a time suck.

People tend to submit their resumes for every single job they find, and often without reading the job description or considering the type of company at all. But sometimes the blame has to lie on our shoulders for not blatantly showing candidates what we’re all about.

Branding is a key element of talent acquisition. We all want ‘top talent’, no company says “hey lets find mediocre talent!”. Top talent, however, is not the same for everyone. What we really need is the RIGHT TALENT! And that can only be found by showing candidates who we truly are. Honestly portraying your organization’s strengths and culture helps candidates identify with your company, and therefore, have a better chance of being the right fit out of the gate.

By not promoting who you are as an organization new employees tenure may be short lived. According to the Employment Policy Foundation, making a bad hiring decision costs an organization approximately 25% of that employee’s annual salary. That’s an average range of $6,803 to $19,465 per employee!

In order to create an honest and successful recruitment brand for your organization you must asses and highlight your strengths. For some this is easier said than done. If you do not already have a clear vision, mission, and core values you will need to go back to the beginning and do that work (that will be a whole other blog post!) Armed with clear facts about who you are as a company you can then put together a recruiting strategy.

Develop a list of 5-10 messages you feel that candidates must know about your organization. These messages can be things like advantages and opportunities employees may gain by working for you (i.e. opportunities for advancement, helping an important cause, develop skills, advantages of working for an industry leader, chance to reap generous benefits and perks).

By being honest about what it is your organization can offer you will find candidates that share the same values. For example, do your employees work long hard hours? Well, what do they get in return? Are they compensated very generously? Does it give them the opportunity to advance quickly? Even if there are aspects of your organization that can come across negatively try to find the positive spin. Yes we expect you to work 60 hours a week, but your will advance your career significantly in a  short period of time.

The next step is to put these messages into practice. There are many ways to do this. I am a big fan of social media, using tools like FacebookTwitterBrazen CareeristLinked-In, your corporate website, etc to get the message across are the best places to start. Invest in services to help you. Talent Management Software can help you build a job portal that mimics the appearance of your corporate site and CareerBuilder can help your career portal by creating a personalized skin for you online job postings, Creating a Facebook page that talks about who you are, your values, even employee testimonials is another place to start. These are fairly easy an inexpensive places to start.

If candidates know who you are and identify with that culture you will start to see the right talent being attracted to your company, and the right talent will be more productive, have higher job satisfaction, and prove to do more quality work, and isn’t that what every organization wants to see?

why should you have talent management software?

Let’s face it, keeping all those resumes in a folder on your hard drive is not going to cut it. You need a way to be on top of your talent.  Talent Management Software applications today are highly advanced reporting machines! And if you, like me, have a C-Suite that LOVES data, an ATS will be your BFF.

I recently looked at a system by iCims and was thoroughly impressed. The user interface was stunning and easy to navigate, which in my experience can be a real problem with a lot of these systems. The other feature of iCims that I really loved was the different portals.

There is a Careers Portal for potential candidates to search open jobs and apply online, which most ATS have, but the best part is the Hiring Manager Portal and the Vendor Portal. As an HR generalist I don’t always have time to devote to recruiting and shuffling papers around. The hiring manager portal allows manager to sign in and see THEIR open jobs, review resumes and give feedback.

The flip side to this is the vendor portal that allows third-party recruiters to see the jobs you need them to fill and to submit applicants that way. Now here is the kicker, which should have all you HR folks giddy like its christmas morning! Third party vendors can log in and see the feedback from the hiring manager and they don’t need to bug you!!!!

If that doesn’t sell you then check out their reporting capabilities. Unlike a lot of ATS services out there, iCims reporting is built in and doesn’t cost extra. You can have any type of report your heart desires right on your dashboard.

Speaking of dashboards, you can customize each users dashboard to show them the information they would need to see all the time. I can go on and see how many open jobs there are, how many new applicants, time to fill, etc. My boss however can log in and immediately see more robust statistics that she may need to report back to the CFO or CEO.

Truly a wonderful program, it has so many other features I could sit here and gush forever!

Even if you have an ATS in place I highly recommend looking at this one!

human capital strategist

I recently was certified as a Human Capital Strategist byHCI. After the two-day course I was feeling a lot of different things. I didn’t realize that this course would also be an intense personal coaching session! I was feeling empowered, overwhelmed, passionate, frustrated and thirsting for more information. The course was amazing. Glen Kallas, our instructor from Camden Delta, was fantastic. I learned a lot about where Human Resources is going and why talent management is so important.

The course validated a lot of my own thoughts, ideas and feelings about human resources, my own development, and the kind of company I want to be associated with. The downside is that I started to feel a strong sense of dread about returning to work this week. That was the moment I began to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I wanted to leave and relax in my garden but if I wish I could, instead I am jealous of guys like these here. I felt that I was going back to an organization that did not have any semblance of a talent mindset and there were so many things I identified that needed to be changed in order to become the thriving organization we wanted to be (from a talent point of view).

The truth is, however, that I am just the HR Assistant and nobody is asking for my opinion…and the frustration sets in….I know I am talented, these theories for talent management resonate so strongly with me, I also know the value I can bring to a company, and just as importantly, the passion I have for my field. So I thought about this all weekend, and I came to a few realizations:

  1. I am young and I have time on my side
  2. I need to be less impatient and be in this for the long haul, change takes time and,
  3. I really truly love talent management and I have time to learn everything I can to better myself and my career.

The greatest take away for me was finding the direction I want my career to go and teaching myself to take it one day at a time!

trusting your employees will yield big rewards

I was recently reviewing an employee handbook for a professional friend, and I noticed how the ‘employee-at-will’ clause seemed to pop up on almost every other page. Now, it’s not uncommon to see that clause in a handbook a couple times, but this really was corporate legal overkill. My initial reaction was that this is not a place employees are going to want to stay at. If the company keeps telling them they can fire them at any time for no reason then the employees are not going to feel very good about job security and ultimately will lose trust in the organization. This led me to start contemplating trust in the workplace.

Trust is built when managers trust their employees to do their jobs. Cultivating an environment of teamwork, honesty and fairness is the key.

What does this mean for HR professionals? Well, we need to do  a few things in order to build this type of culture that fosters trust and respect. But most importantly we need to train out managers to communicate effectively. Good managers spend a great deal of time concentrating on good communication. Giving positive feedback, having regular performance reviews (more than once a year please!) and talking openly about day-to-day operations builds this foundation. This doesn’t mean, however, that we tell our employees only good things. We need to admit when we have problems and when we are wrong. Involving employees in problem solving will build respect. Secrecy breeds suspicion, transparency yields trust.

Trust forms the foundations for effective communication, employee retention and employee motivation. If we are able to build this type of culture within our organization we will reap the rewards. Employees who feel respected and trusted, and who are treated like adults will act like adults (see Tim Feriss’ artivle on ROWE part 1 and part 2). Employees will be more productive and enjoy coming to work, and be embassadors for you brand or organization.

why human resources recruits

I think one of the toughest parts of my job is recruiting. It’s not because I don’t like dealing with recruiters, no offense I was one too in a former life (that reminds me, check out Derek Showerman’s blog post on listening to your customers, it applies to recruiters too!). It’s tough because I spend hours upon hours screening resumes, then more time scheduling interviews, and then more time interviewing, and well frankly, there are other aspects of HR that I looooove to do, this is just not it. But, it is a necessary part of the job. The real reason that recruiting is making me crazy is because I feel like I always have hiring managers trying to circumvent me. And I thought I would take a few minutes to explain WHY HR recruits, why just any Joe Schmoe should not be doing it.

First of all, hiring is a job, a full time job, and managers don’t have the time to do it. If you are a manager and you are finding the time to post jobs internally and externally, screen hundreds of resumes (especially these days, people without jobs submit their resumes for EVERYTHING!), coordinate and schedule interviews, actually conduct the interview, and then move on the offer and negotiation process, then when on earth do you have time to do your actual job? My guess is that you don’t have time to do both, so don’t try because you will end up dropping a ball somewhere, and this is not the place to do it. Good employees are the key to success, and Human Resources is here to find that talent, and manage that talent to achieve an organizations success.

The second reason why recruiting should be left to Human Resources (or a recruiter- internal or third party) is that there are a lot of legalities that go into the recruiting process. It is the job of HR to know these laws and make sure that the organization abides by them. Equal opportunity legislation, court decisions, Uniform Guidelines provide an incentive to make sure the selection process is done, and done well. I mean let’s be real, there is a lot of information that one needs to know to recruit properly and legally, in fact there are two whole chapters dedicated to in my text book from the master’s degree courses I took on Human Resources Management. The bottom line is that if a manager discriminates against someone in the hiring process, whether they are aware of it or not, it comes down to a law suit. The Company will have to pay and HR will be responsible.

Lastly, most HR departments have a process for tracking the applicant process (if you don’t you should!). Ensuring that there is a uniform process for tracking applicants keeps thing nice and clean. When you don’t know which is end is up, where a resume came from, what stage in the process they are in, it is complete chaos, which will inevitably get your organization into hot water. Applicants need to be tracked properly; records need to be stored according to Uniform Guidelines (two years!). Voluntary EEOC information needs to be stored properly and confidentially, service agreements with third party recruiters need to be upheld, etc. I don’t think managers are aware of what goes into this process.

Now I am not saying that managers be left out of the process, in fact they should be heavily involved since it is ultimately their decision who gets hired for their department. HR professionals need to educate and train their managers on their processes, policies, interview & hiring guidelines, and the basics of EEOC guidelines. Also, managers need to communicate effectively to HR exactly what it is they are looking for. Writing a concise job description is the first step, using those interview skills, and providing good feedback on candidates helps process along. Communications between all parties is key to keeping your organization out of trouble, and trust your HR department, we only want to preserve the integrity of our organization!

why are we afraid of social media?

I find a lot of HR professionals having a hard time incorporating social media into their company’s culture. We use it for recruiting and to stay on top of new ideas and connect with other professionals, but we are the technologically savvy minority, It seems to me that there are still vast numbers of HR pros that aren’t ready to make the leap, or even if they do engage, they aren’t ready to incorporate it into everyday life. But I think there are two issues here, the first being, it’s still a fairly new concept and working out policies and liabilities is of course what we are here to do. How do we incorporate something like that when we have spent years asking employees not to use the internet too much, not to instant message, and now we have Twitter, Facebook, and a whole plethora of other social networking sites. I wont say its easy, there is a fine line that we will have to walk, but it is do able!

The second thing is that I think for a lot of seasoned HR professionals Social Media is a new and strange concept. I was thinking this afternoon while considering what I want to talk about at a round table discussion I am participating in next week on this very topic. What I thought about was companies using  social media to engage customers, why that works and how we can apply that concept in the field of Human Resources.

Now, I am not in sales or marketing, I do not have an MBA, so this may sound very simplistic, but it seems to me that social media has become so prevalent in business today because we are coming out of an era where industry seemed to be out to get us.   If someone tried to sell you something you had to figure out what the catch was. Whats in it for the sales guy? Are they trying to pull a fast one on me? We have wasted away so much time doing due diligence on the other guys to make sure we don’t get screwed over. Using social media correctly helps companies to operate transparently. Engaging your customers personally, making them feel special and a part of the process is key. Letting the public know what you are doing and why you are doing it is what builds a following. Companies that have adopted these practices have thrived. I’m sure you are nodding in agreement and thinking that this is not a novel concept, and you are right. But now lets change it up, it’s no longer some big corporation it’s just your HR department, and the customers are you employees and your candidates.

Why does the theory have to be any different here? I say it doesn’t! Don’t think about it as using social media, for some that is still a little scary(and for those of you who feel that way I refer you to Trish McFarlane’s post on Social Media 101) but let’s think of this as acting transparently. It’s not just another a buzz word it is a way of life, being honest and open with your employees can completely change how your HR department is viewed. Using social media to encourage engagement and development is a perfect way to tie into talent management. We don’t have to be the bad guys anymore. Your employees don’t need to shudder when they see you coming! Different forms of social media are just a tool to put in your arsenal to engage with your employees. Let them see you as an honest company that cares about them and more importantly their ideas, they too will follow suit.

As I said in my last post about open communication, people just want to be heard and treated with respect and honesty. Using social media as an outlet for those concepts helps your HR team win. So stop dragging your feet, get on board! Use blogs, twitter, have a company Facebook page, heck go overboard and start an internal community! And start trusting your employees to use these tools responsibly, if you show trust they will be responsible.

communication is a two way street…

So your company has rolled out a communications plan, something to the effect of: we will have a company wide meeting quarterly where executives will get up and talk about where we are going, we will have monthly reports sent to the CEO about what we are doing, we will have yearly reviews for merit increases, oh and we will recognize one person every quarter that has done outstanding work. There you go a communication plan!

Ok now lets take a step back and really think this thing through, what kind of communication plan is that? Not much of one if you ask me. I have seen this time and time again where the only communication is top down. Promoting culture, company values and mission statements, our success stories, and our failures. These are great things to share, and very important things to share. Upper management should be as transparent as possible and let employees know why they are there, what they are working for, and what the successes are as much as possible.

But I often think that sometimes we forget that communication is a two-way street. And all too often HR departments allow this top-down only communication plan go into effect. In fact, HR usually writes these terrible plans! Organizations need to understand that all people want is to be heard. We want to know that someone is listening and that our opinions are valued. A suggestions box or an email address where you can email your ideas and suggestions is not going to cut it either. You need to offer your employees several outlets for communication. Having an internal community where employees can chat, share blogs, and get to know each other on a more personal level fosters a sense of community, collaboration, fellowship! Using your email, having open door policies, even boxes for snail mail are great ways to let employees know that there is an avenue for communication for everyone.

If you have an organization that values its employees and their opinions, where co-workers value each other, then people can be collaborative, cross functional collaboration, its not just a buzz word or phrase! Isn’t that what you want? If all of your employees value one another and work together across the cubicles you will have a well oiled machine. Happy workers are productive workers, and that’show to get retentionand ROI. So go ahead, listen to your employees, let them do the talking for once, you may be surprised at just how brilliant your work force is!

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