June 2011 18
I’m going back to the future to start my SHRM 2011 Conference recap posts at the end of the conference, because frankly, hearing Michael J. Fox deliver the final general session yesterday was the highlight of my SHRM experience. (Now had I won an iPad, this might be an entirely different post….)
Going into the Las Vegas Conference Center to hear Fox’s speech yesterday, I already had high hopes. After all, this is Alex P. Keaton, y’all!! Marty-effing-McFly! Teen Wolf – the original!
And if I’m being completely honest, part of me really, really just wanted to hear him tell the audience, “Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes.”
But what Fox delivered far exceeded my expectations. Articulate and inspiring, Fox charmed the crowd with his humor and honesty, giving a brief history of his childhood, explaining how he got into show business, before launching into his discovery that he had Parkinson’s Disease, until finally discussing how the disease became the greatest gift he never asked for.
Initially, Fox might seem an odd pick as the person to give the closing speech at SHRM, but his determination to see opportunity where others might see limitations is clearly a lesson for leaders everywhere.
Editor’s Note: This five-week series is dedicated to examining the five most common Ps of a typical marketing mix and assessing how they relate to recruitment. Today’s post focuses on people; the remaining concepts - placement and promotion - will run in sequential order every Tuesday over the next couple weeks. For a look at assessments on product and price, view my previous posts.
Regardless of the business, the people involved with producing a product or a service inevitably shape the final outcome. While the nature of a particular business certainly renders some attributes more influential than others, the appearance, attitudes, experience, and beliefs of staff impact the sale of a product. In service-based businesses, like restaurants and retail, the appearance of staff reinforces commitments the company makes to health, safety, and brand position. Uniforms and service standards are just two ways businesses seek to deliver on their brand promise through their agents. These define the claims made by the company – whether it is to be the number one luxury retailer or safest car manufacturer.
A company’s people are often called upon to respond to crisis and serve as a testament to a brand promise. Toyota, who issued recalls of roughly 2.3 million vehicles in January 2010, created a series of videos featuring employees stating their commitment to safety. A number of technicians, engineers, plant employees, and dealers discussed the recall and how they planned to move forward. In another example, Domino’s created “The Pizza Turnaround” documentary featuring actual employees and their reactions to consumer opinions. The project featured people from all departments – from chefs and senior leaders to marketing and product management – who openly addressed criticism uncovered online and in focus groups.
So how do people impact recruitment? The individuals within your organization can be your biggest advocates, or the most compelling deterrent in your pursuit of top talent. Employers tell us that employee referrals are often the number one source of hire, even when the awareness of an employee referral incentive is low. What this tells us is that people are passionate about where they work. So much time is spent at work and whether the experience is good or bad – people talk.
In the following excerpt from CareerBuilder’s recent interview with Philip Jaurigue, President and CEO of Sabre Systems, Inc., Jaurigue discusses, among other things, the importance of innovation, recognition and not looking in the rearview mirror.
Can you describe your philosophy as it relates to the impact your employees have on your business?
Because Sabre Systems, Inc. is a services business, our employees are the face of the company. A large portion of Sabre personnel work at customer locations and, in many instances, are the customers’ sole source of information with regard to Sabre’s culture and philosophy. This means that the attitude with which employees come to work in the morning, the way they conduct themselves while at work, and even their overall character convey a message about Sabre’s values and professionalism directly to our customer.
With that in mind, I encourage the leadership team to spend a fair amount of time engaging employees to ensure they feel they are a valued and integral part of the team. I also ask that company leadership ensures that potential Sabre team members are aligned with the mission, vision and culture of the company before bringing them on board.
How do you personally engage with and relate to your employees?
Earlier this month, I discussed the ways mobile marketing efforts can enhance a company's recruitment efforts.
For instance, not only does mobile marketing provide a fast, convenient way to alert job seekers to opportunities and stay in touch with them, but it also helps you stand out among those who aren't yet using mobile means to reach job seekers...just to name a few.
Now, if you're ready to take that very special next step in your recruiting efforts, here’s your quick-and-easy guide to the various mobile recruiting techniques you can try:
Four Opportunities in Mobile Recruitment
Quick Response Codes: QR (quick response) codes are barcode-like squares that, when scanned with the camera found on most mobile devices, direct users to a specific mobile website. For recruitment purposes, they’re an easy way to direct job seekers to your careers site (just take it from Ernst & Young). Here are a few quick ways to get started:
- Create a QR code for your company job board and print it on company promo cards to distribute to attendees at career fairs and networking events.
- Embed QR codes on company brochures, business cards, presentations, hand-outs, and other promotional items to drive prospective candidate to your careers website.
And thanks to the many free QR code generators online that let you simply type in a destination URL, creating QR codes is surprisingly quick and inexpensive. (Note, however, that because not everyone has a smart phone that responds to QR codes, you should always provide multiple avenues for the dissemination of information.)
Text Alerts: Recruitment SMS alerts enable you to alert job seekers to new and open opportunities in real-time. You can also use SMS notifications to communicate other recruitment messages, including the following:
Granted, the speaker wasn't a celebrity like Stephen Colbert (no offense, whoever you were), but save for a few witty lines, I still doubt I'd remember much. I'm not proud of it, either, because I bet that advice would still apply to my professional life today.
With that in mind - and in honor of graduation season - I picked out a few takeaways from some of my favorite celebrity commencement speeches this year to see how they apply to professionals of all levels - not just new graduates.
Leadership Advice from 2011’s Celebrity Commencement Addresses
“There are few things more liberating than having your worst fear realized.” - Conan O’Brien
O’Brien discussed his own professional disappointment over having his worst fear realized – getting his dream job of hosting The Tonight Show abruptly taken away from him – and using it as a jumping off point to try “a lot of silly, unconventional, spontaneous ridiculous and seemingly irrational things.” The result, he said, was “the most satisfying and fascinating year of my professional life.” He continued by saying, “if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention,” a belief that applies to anyone in any aspect of life – both personal and professional – before closing with, “Work hard, be kind, and good things will happen.” Amen, Coco.
Editor’s Note: This five-week series is dedicated to examining the five most common Ps of a typical marketing mix and assessing how they relate to recruitment. Today’s post focuses on price; the remaining concepts – people, placement and promotion - will run in sequential order every Tuesday over the next few weeks. For a look at the assessment of product, check out my post from last week.
A number of factors contribute to the final price of a good or service, including the cost of materials or labor to produce the final product, overhead and distribution costs, and desired profitability. Other things like discounts, commission, and marketing costs to acquire a customer impact the bottom line as well. To learn from marketing, consider what it will cost a candidate to accept your job offer.
Seldom is a career opportunity a perfect match for a candidate. In most cases, there may need to be a trade off of desired benefits or a minor sacrifice of one benefit for another. Most job seekers bargain with the variables when deciding whether they will apply for a job. For example, a job may require a longer commute but offer greater advancement potential. Or, a company with a stronger brand reputation may offer a smaller starting salary than a lesser-known company.
Understand the price a candidate may have to pay to accept a particular job so you can proactively emphasize the redeeming qualities of the opportunity that offset costs. Don’t overlook how helpful it can be to share information about the realities of a job. For example, say you know your target talent has between five to eight years of experience and prefers urban living; but your job is in a suburb that requires relocation or a 50 to 60 minute commute. Address it! While it’s unrealistic to include this type of detail in a job advertisement, social media is the ideal forum to elaborate on things beyond essential qualifications and job functions. Seek out employees who have a reverse commute and get them to share their perspective on Facebook. They can give details about taking public transportation and shortcuts they’ve found that make the commute manageable. Whatever the topic, this is just one of the ways to remove obstacles that could prevent your target talent from applying to and accepting your job.
Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of such Facebook games as “Farmville” and “Mafia Wars”, Marriott International, Inc. just unveiled its “My Marriott Hotel” game on Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reported recently.
But rather than simply build buzz, “My Marriott Hotel”, which simulates the experience of managers at the fast-paced hotel restaurant, is ultimately being used as a recruitment tool.
Marriott follows in the footsteps of Siemens, whose “Plantville” is designed to give users a feel for what being manager of a bottling facility, vitamin factory or train-building plant is like, and Home Depot, which offers games on its Facebook page like "Cart Hustle" and "Paint Misbehavin" to engage potential employees.
These companies, however, are just the latest in a long line of employers who now use virtual technology as a recruitment tool.
For instance, as I reported last year, staffing firm Kelly Services uses Second Life to give job seekers an interactive experience, while MITRE Corporation enables job seekers to download a 3D video game that gives players a better understanding of the company’s campus and how the interview process works.
The trend of using video games as a recruitment tool actually goes back several years: According to the Entertainment Software Association, an estimated 70 percent of major domestic employers used these “serious games” to train employees in 2008. That figure is estimated to increase to 80 percent by 2013.
It seems as if the practice is working in these companies’ favor, though. According to a recent study from the University of Colorado Denver Business School, “organizations which use video games to train employees end up with smarter, more motivated workers who learn more and forget less.”
(For the record, though, what these companies are doing will never have anything on Oregon Trail. That game ruled.)
And while the obvious downside to using video gaming techniques to train is the time and money involved in setting it up, but it’s worth noting that with today’s technology, it’s much easier and much less expensive to execute today than it was even a few years ago.
What do you think about using video games as a recruitment tool? Worth the investment or overrated?