Going Social: The Payoff for HR

I watched the first part of this ‘Going Social: The Payoff for HR’ webinar – HR platforms, market overview, with Claire Schooley, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research. She talked about how collaboration is now a strategic part of HR. It permeates all of the HR components and is essential for success.

(The remaining 45 minutes covers the SAP Jam solution – ‘join us to learn how SAP Jam enables a seamless process for hiring, onboarding, and training and generates an ROI of more than 500%’ – which people may find useful.)

Here are my notes from the webinar on what makes social collaboration so important for HR:

Recruiting and hiring

  • Social has been an important development to find those passive candidates you were never able to tap into before
  • Much more candidate engagement in the recruitment process
  • The candidate wants to know more about the company and the culture before they decide whether or not to apply – this is why brand promotion through the career website is so important
  • Google’s website really gives people a sense of what it’s like to work there and what the environment is like
  • Recruiters can’t do their job without getting involved with social media
  • Employees can help in this process by using their own social networks to talk to their friends about jobs
  • A career website is important to communicate information about the culture, what it feels like to work in the organisation, and to hear from people working there now – the teams, the roles, the locations
  • You can get a really good sense within 3-4 minutes of whether you want to apply

Performance and learning

  • Performance management has typically been an annual process at the end of the year – it looks backwards
  • Today it’s a continuous and collaborative experience
  • The manager becomes much more of a coach in this environment to help the employee reach their goals
  • Performance transparency around goals means that peers know how each is performing and can offer help/ideas/knowledge where needed
  • Social interaction increases awareness of employee accomplishments and recognition
  • Future orientated to look forwards rather than back – how you’re going to help the company meet its goals/strategy
  • Traditional/classroom learning can be enhanced through collaborative activities such as interactive forums between F2F sessions
  • Mentoring can be done online – 121 or group (video, audio, text)
  • Special interest communities allow idea sharing
  • Informal leaning with collaboration is growing strongly

To get ahead you need to recruit, retain, and mentor a great team

This Google exec’s success shows how it pays off to invest in talent – Quartz

With the news that Google is to restructure into new holding company called Alphabet, control of its core search engine business has been handed to rising star Sundar Pichai.

What has Sundar been doing which other Google execs haven’t? Good old-fashioned team building.

Pichai succeeded by avoiding some of that big think and focusing more on people management. Particularly for managers that want to rise in a company or move on to start their own business, investing in building a great team is absolutely essential. Even at a company as focused as Google is on finding great people, that takes individual commitment and skill.

The Rise of Social HR at HootSuite

I got ridiculously excited when I started reading this blog – I mean, crazy excited: How to Use Periscope for Social HR with Lars Schmidt #SMKnowHow

In the post, Lars Schmidt, employer brand strategist at HootSuite,  shares the work the company is doing in the field of social HR (bringing social into HR operations) and how this has led them to develop the concept of Open Source HR:

“The idea is that we want to start working out loud on some of the projects that we’re doing, where really the whole HR team is empowered to share some of the things that they’re working on, what they’re learning, where’s they’re finding inspiration”

We’re going to be creating a series of case studies that will really go into a lot of detail on particular HR projects or recruiting projects that we’ve developed within Hootsuite. But beyond just saying, “Hey, here’s a thing we did,” and really breaking it down to say things like, “Here’s where the idea came from. Here’s how we pitched it internally. These are what the expected outcomes are. This is how we executed it. This is what the actual outcomes were,” and then ultimately even, “Here’s what we got wrong.” Because we want to really be open about that, especially around social HR. There’s a degree of risk-taking that I think takes place, which is a good thing, but it also means you are going to fail and you are going to get some things wrong. And we think it’s important to be able to share that too. So, it’s not all unicorns and roses. You’re able to say, “Yeah, we thought this was going to be how this would turn out and some of these things were right but actually some of these things were wrong.” So, that’s going to be a key part of each case study we do.

“I think social HR is really the idea of having your entire team being open to sharing on HR, sharing best practices, and even interacting within your organisation”

Interestingly, being a leader in social HR is one of HootSuite’s talent groups’ objectives and that the HR team is looked at as an innovation-driving function within the business.

It’s a long post, but well worth a read: How to Use Periscope for Social HR with Lars Schmidt #SMKnowHow – or you can listen: How to Use Periscope for Social HR with Lars Schmidt by Social Media Know-How | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Other highlights from the post:

HootSuite’s ‘Follow the Sun’ recruitment project –

Inside Operation #FollowTheSun

We were operating in nine different offices. We wanted to make sure we could help prospects get a sense of that global footprint. And then also, the unique culture within Hootsuite. We thought live streaming would be an interest way to do that. So, the idea of Follow the Sun, actually Ambrosia had the great name for that. The idea was we wanted to start in Singapore and actually work our way East, around the globe throughout the day, showcasing a different office every hour on the hour. So we started in Singapore, we moved to Bucharest, moved to London, to Boston, to São Paulo. All the way over to the headquarters in Vancouver. And the idea of Follow the Sun was we wanted to literally Follow the Sun as it turned around the earth. Using that same approach to showcase different offices, and some of our peeps from office to office throughout the day.

HootSuite’s HR presence on Twitter –

@HootsuiteLife: HR/recruiting/employer branding handle on Twitter. Used for interaction and promoting the HR and recruiting team. It’s the anchor employer branding asset for HootSuite

#HootsuiteLife (@HootsuiteLife) | Twitter

All employees are empowered to use that (the hashtag), whether they’re periscoping, tweeting, posting stuff on Instagram, or even Facebook. The volume of that hashtag is massive. And it’s all, for the most part, employee-generated content. So, again, from a recruiting perspective, it’s really easy for us to showcase and show people what the culture at Hootsuite is all about. We can share that hashtag and we have a link to Hootsuite campaigns URL that actually aggregates all of the content on that hashtag into a branded page. It allows us to actually show prospects or applicants what it’s like to work here. And the kind of people they’ll be working with. So that becomes a really authentic and powerful recruiting tool. I think Hootsuite’s probably one of the better examples of using that successfully and also doing it in a way that really all of the employees are truly empowered to contribute.

Through the Looking Glass(door.com)

This is a post I originally wrote for our enterprise social network. However it’s very applicable to those of you who may just be getting to grips with employee advocacy and Glassdoor.

Social media platforms are enabling potential employees to look inside companies like never before, giving them access to the inner workings of a company’s culture, as well as a broader view of how the business is performing in the eyes of their peers.

Thanks to the openness of social, the old freedoms, which enabled some businesses to project a different public persona compared with their internal reality, have been stripped away. This increase in transparency means that what’s happening behind the wall is just as important as what’s happening in front of it.

A brand is no longer just about the product, but also about the wider business’ internal cultures and process. In order to influence potential hires, brands now need to be shaped from the inside out. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Glassdoor.com.

Launched in 2008, Glassdoor is a social site where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management. It’s a one stop shop for job hunters wanting to get the inside scoop on a potential employer.

So how does UBM measure up? (and just as a spoiler – why aren’t our scores better?)

Glassdoor UBM.png

Compared with some of our competitors:

Glassdoor Informa.png



Glassdoor Reed.png

And with some tech brands:

Glassdoor Google.png

Glassdoor Twitter.png

OK, so 2.5 stars isn’t the worst score in the world, but it’s a bit ‘meh’, a bit #whatever, and totally forgettable. It’s equally not brilliant that it puts us behind our direct competitors when it comes to attracting the best, brightest, and most awesome talent to join our ranks.

So what can we do about it?

I’m a big believer in employee advocacy – power to the people! – and feel that the best way to attract the best talent is through you and me. So if you’re passionate about being part of the UBM community, if you’d recommend UBM to a friend, and if you want UBM to be the best place it can be, then I’d ask you to give us a review on Glassdoor. Let’s make sure those stars are a true reflection of what it’s like to be part of the global UBM community.

Happy Reviewing!

The Hub, bikeshedding and why people elect idiots

Here in the UK we’re in full election mania with the deciding vote now just a month away. On the way into the office this morning I read a fascinating article about democracy vs. psychology which looked at why people keep electing idiots.

There were a few parts that really made me smile, (confident people are more convincing and stupid people are more confident because they don’t know their stupid, being a particular favourite), but what really stood out was the thinking around Parkinson’s law of triviality.

Parkinson’s law of triviality is the idea that people will spend far more time and effort focussing on something trivial that they do understand than something complicated that they don’t.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a British naval historian, observed and illustrated that a nuclear power plant planning committee spent the majority of its time with pointless discussions on relatively trivial and unimportant but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bike-shed, while neglecting the less-trivial proposed design of the nuclear power plant itself; a far more important but also far more difficult and complex task to criticize constructively (as a result, the law is also known as bikeshedding, bike-shed effect, or the bicycle-shed example – which I always I assumed was something only teenagers got up to).

To avoid bikeshedding here at UBM, many of our project teams regaularly work out loud on the Hub to share their objectives far and wide across the business; helping them to gain different perspectives and ideas, and learn from the knowledge of others.

  • Working out loud often has the intended and very desired effect of attracting new people to the project including who have offer up their skills and expertise.
  • Colleagues can also help you to avoid the bike-shed trap by challenging you to push outside of your current thinking and offer up different perspectives to the areas you’re working on.

Everything our teams learn from outside of their project groups is then fed back in to make it better, stronger and more applicable and relevant to our customers and markets.

Happy Easter everyone – and keep out of the shed!

Social media and the HR function: The IBM perspective

Last week I was able to join an event run by the Human Resources Director Network about social media and the HR function.

Meeting synopsis –

Social media has had a profound effect on how we work and collaborate in our personal lives. More and more, organisations are looking to take these ways of working and bring them into the enterprise to empower their employees to be more productive. This creates challenges and opportunities for HR. What happens to your culture when you empower individuals to collaborate across silos at will? What is the impact on performance management? How do leaders communicate and interact with front-line staff in an engaging and authentic way?

Hosted by Jon Mell, Social Business Leader, IBM, he offered his perspectives on social business and specifically how this way of working empowers HR.

Social business:

  1. The ability for an organisation to use its communities to improve its performance
  2. Using technology to reduce the distance between people and the knowledge/information/skills they need to be more effective/efficient/innovative

IBM believes that social must be embedded into core business processes. They also strongly support external employee social advocacy because it drives business results:


IBM employee engagement.png

IBM is also predicting that employee reward and recognition is moving from being valued for what you know to being valued for what you share, and that this underpins the ethos of social business (and the company culture at IBM).

The HR function is using their internal social platform Connections for:

Increasing visibility for corporate and strategic comms

The CEO posts a quarterly video blog to communicate strategy, vision, and developments with the global IBM community. This top level support for the platform means that other senior leaders within the business also regularly use the platform for communication in order to cascade information throughout the business to ensure all IBMers are kept up-to-date with business direction and what this means for them in their day-to-day roles.

Talent spotting – great for succession planning

HR have been able to fill gaps or identify people for secondments/new projects by using Connections to identify experts across the globe. They may be individuals who are currently working in a completely different role, in a totally different part of the business, who may not have been considered through traditional methods. By being able to track talent via their Connections contributions, IBM is able to more easily identify strong internal candidates.

Nipping rumours in the bud before they comes facts

HR have been able to spot issues they thought they’d solved by monitoring comments under leadership blogs and corporate comms. HR are actively using Connections as a diagnostic to temperature check the organisation. It’s very important for IBM to be able to monitor employee sentiment through Connections as they map their employee engagement score to their earnings per share target.

Pre-hire engagement and recruitment

The company has special part of Connections dedicated to pre-hire engagement. Once a candidate has been accepted for a position, they’re invited to join a separate area of Connections to meet their manager and team members in a virtual setting. They’re also able to access lots of information about what it’s going to be like when they start their new role – from what happens on Day 1 through to where’s good to go for lunch.  As well as kicking off the onboading process, this is also an invaluable ‘test’ for IBM as it lets them (and the candidate) find out in advance if someone’s not the right fit for the business before they officially start.

They use their recruitment site to attract talent. The website highlights IBM’s values and practices – the purpose is to get the potential candidate asking ‘do IBM’s values match my beliefs?’.

Other areas of note from the meeting:

There were a few other areas of conversation worth noting too:

Recommended by a couple of the HR Directors there was this company which offers social recruitment training:


Thought Glassdoor was bad? You’ve seen nothing yet…


Memo App Lets Workers Vent Anonymously – WSJ

In this book Vineet Nayar – HCLT’s celebrated CEO – recounts how he defied the conventional wisdom that companies must put customers first, then turned the hierarchical pyramid upside down by making management accountable to the employees, and not the other way around. (see picture above about employee engagement driving client experience driving business results)

Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down: Amazon.co.uk: Vineet Nayar: 978142213906…

Understanding the Hub: The Little Web of Text

Here at UBM we use Jive as the platform for our enterprise social network: The Hub.

The Hub is sometimes a bit of a misunderstood creature at UBM, so in this post I boil it down to its bare bones and show you what lies underneath…

The Hub is communication through text boxes.

That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. The power of the Hub is in its simplicity: the simplicity of easily sharing information across teams or geographies, the simplicity of being able to ask questions or brainstorm, the simplicity of sourcing feedback on your idea, the simplicity of finding the person with the specific skills, experience or expertise that your project needs.

Simplicity, above the technical complexity which may lie underneath, breeds innovation.

As a collective, our employees are what powers UBM, and they are what powers the Hub. It’s by sharing our collective intelligence that we add value. It’s by updating our profiles with skills and expertise that we help our colleagues find us. It’s by asking the right questions that we uncover new ways of doing things. It’s by working out loud that we don’t let opportunities slip through our grasp.

There’s a lot of value in those little text boxes. Don’t underestimate the power at your fingertips.

A picture is worth a thousand words – what’s the value of your profile?

I originally wrote this blog for our enterprise social network, the Hub, hosted on Jive. However many of the suggestions also apply to external social media platforms you may be using, LinkedIn for example.


It’s a simple concept: A picture can tell a story just as well as a large amount of descriptive text. And on your Hub profile, the inclusion of your photo – and an avatar – says a lot about you. Simply put, it says that you’re interested and engaged in the global community here at UBM.

Combined with the addition of a profile photo, having a complete profile – including a detailed biography, skills and expertise – helps raise your profile within the business by making you visible and discoverable to your colleagues.

If you’re keen to climb the career ladder and are aiming for promotion, then your Hub profile is a very valuable commodity as it’s the basis of your personal brand within UBM. It’s where hiring managers can go to find out more about you and your interests, and easily access the content you’ve created and the projects you’ve worked on.

Whenever I’ve been hiring for a position within UBM and have internal applicants, I always go and check out their Hub profile because what’s on there – and what’s not –  tells me a huge amount about an individual. A complete profile indicates to me that:

  • You’re interested and engaged in the global community at UBM
  • You enjoy being part of a team and actively seek out collaboration opportunities with colleagues
  • You buy into UBM’s culture and the importance of the Commitments
  • You understand the importance of community to UBM
  • You’re aware of the central role that digital networking plays in today’s working environment
  • You have taken responsibility for owning your personal brand and are proactively managing your internal career opportunities
  • And, if you’re applying for a job on the Hub team, you use it on a regular basis

Your Hub profile is a valuable indication of who you are and how you feel to be a UBMer. So what’s your profile worth?

Take action now, dedicate just a few minutes now checking your profile and ask yourself some key questions:

  1. Does your profile have a picture of your face on it?
  2. Have you included an avatar?
  3. Do you have a detailed biography?
  4. Have you included your skills and expertise?
  5. Are your contact details up-to-date?
  6. Is your org chart up-to-date?

Go on, make it as valuable as you can.


True Collaboration is Scary


Collaboration is a strategic imperative for UBM – you can’t have a high performing culture or a high performing business without it.

But knowing collaboration is important and doing it are two different things; after all, collaboration is hard and collaboration is scary.

Working out loud is a key behaviour of social collaboration, but it takes courage. Collaboration happens in the open, and it takes guts to share what you’re working before you’ve finished; it means working through your mistakes openly, sticking your head above the parapet, and sometimes it can feel like bearing your soul in pursuit of an idea.

So while we’ve already taken the step towards making collaboration easier with the Hub – the tool which enables us to share, discover and debate our thoughts, ideas, templates, knowledge, strategies and processes with our global colleagues – it doesn’t make it less scary.

But bravery does pay off. By getting other people’s eyes – and more importantly their brains – on your work it helps you get things done and makes the outcome of your project/campaign/pitch/strategy much better than if you’d developed it in isolation or the perceived safety of your silo.

Your colleagues want you to do well and, more importantly, they want to help you get there. Collaboration doesn’t have to be scary.

Photo credit: ‘ColLABoration’ by edlabdesigner is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Is LinkedIn about to kill Groups?

I’ve been seeing speculation for a while about whether or not LinkedIn are poised to kill off the Group functionality:

Are Groups Next on LinkedIn’s Chopping Block?

4 Reasons Why LinkedIn Groups Is Giving Online Communities a Bad Name

LinkedIn to Change Engagement in Groups?

Is This the Beginning of the End for LinkedIn Groups?

While nothing has been confirmed by LinkedIn, features previously supported in Groups – such as polls – have started to disappear, and the platform is also coming under pressure thanks to its content moderation strategy SWAM.

If your brand has a LinkedIn group, my current recommendation is to also set-up a Company Page and start migrating your community across from being group members to company page followers.

Personally, I much prefer Company Pages to Groups. They’re easier to manage and maintain, it’s not as easy for people to spam (helping you enhance your brand experience), and you can schedule updates through HootSuite.

LinkedIn recommends: “Posting daily company updates is the most effective way to start a conversation, drive word of mouth, and directly engage with your target audience. Share company news, industry articles, thought leadership pieces, or ask followers to weigh in on hot topics. Posts will appear on your Company Page and in the news feed on the homepage of each of your followers across all devices and platforms. Include rich content such as images, infographics, videos, and SlideShare presentations to keep things fresh and exciting for your community.” – the bold segment is important as this isn’t true of all groups, so the reach of your content is improved.

LinkedIn have also just announced Showcase Pages which act more like a microsite and give us better branding/sales opportunities within the platform.

Remember that the focus of your community engagement strategy should always be about how you’re driving customers back to your own site and capturing their data. While LinkedIn may or may not remove the group functionality, we must always be vigilant about how we protect the relationships and communities we’ve built up on external platforms in order to secure our data for the future.