Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do you hear what I hear?

I love Brian Solis. He is a rock star of social media and public relations. He is intelligent, insightful, relevant, and his posts inspire me to think outside of the box. Follow his blog and tweets, if you don't already; you won't be sorry.

In a blog Brian posted earlier today, he writes about the culture, behaviors, and demographics accompanying social network usage. What intrigued me most is this graph:

The graph shows age demographics on popular social network sites. This is an amazing tool because it gives us insight into where we need to be listening. Yes, listening. Several of my previous blog postings have focused on engaging our followers. That is extremely important, but let's not forget the crucialness of listening.

Listening allows us to hear, first hand, what people are saying about our organizations, services, products, staff, and customer service. Other organizations pay big money for agencies to do research and find out what people are saying about them, but we have the opportunity to access this information for free. (I love free!)

Use what you hear to make yourself and your organization shine. Market what they love, tweak or do away with what they hate, reward staff that provide excellent customer service, promote products or services they don't know about - our possibilities are endless!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How Could a Recommendation Hurt?

Who doesn't love a good recommendation? When I get a new one on LinkedIn, I am giddy and read it over and over again, just flattered that someone would say such kind things about me. So, how could this possibly hurt?
 
As an employer, a recommendation of a current employee could come back to haunt us. According to writer Patrick Smith, The National Law Journal warns about the dangers of using LinkedIn to provide recommendations to current employees. The concern is that a terminated employee may use favorable recommendations on LinkedIn as evidence that the employer's stated reason for termination (such as poor performance) is merely a pretext for discrimination, retaliation, or harassment. Any communications concerning employee performance, regardless of the media, are potential evidence in a lawsuit.

So, make it your company policy (and include it in your social media policy) that executive management, managers, and supervisors are not authorized to provide recommendations to current employees.

It is, however, okay (and encouraged) to give and receive recommendations to/from clients, co-workers, fellow professionals, vendors, consultants, and service providers. In my opinion, good quality customer service is a dying art, so I like to shout it from the rooftops when I find a true artist. Recommendations help us help each other weed out the good from the bad.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

LinkedIn for Employers

According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey*:
  • 38% of those surveyed indicated they had embellished their job responsibilities
  • 18% admitted to lying about their skill set
  • 12% indicated they had been dishonest about start / end dates of employment
  • 10% confessed to lying about an academic degree
  • 7% said they had lied about the companies they had worked
  • 5% disclosed they had been untruthful about their job title
With these statistics, don’t you think you should be one of the 80% of employers** using, or planning to use, LinkedIn as a hiring tool this year? 

Saratoga Institute estimates that employers invest 8-10% of an annual salary to hire a non-exempt employee and 18-20% to hire an exempt employee. In this economy, it is increasingly crucial for employers to hire the right fit the first time as to avoid these costs repeatedly. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for evaluating job candidates.

Although employment/labor laws are still catching up with social media technology, there is currently no law prohibiting employers from searching social networking sites while conducting background checks of current employees or job applicants. The legal concerns surrounding social media background checks is that an employer may uncover protected information like religion, political affiliation, disability, etc. If an employer were to reject a candidate solely because of these findings, it opens up the organization to serious liability.

LinkedIn is an exception because it is a form of social media that focuses on business rather than personal. Job candidates invite potential employers to view their profiles. If an organization wants to go beyond LinkedIn a social media background check, the best form of protection is to obtain a consent form from the candidate and only do the check once there is a conditional job offer made.

My LinkedIn for Employers presentation is available to view on SlideShare at http://www.slideshare.net/LaurieBoettcher. A great way to stay informed about human resources surrounding LinkedIn is to join the group LinkedHR. Highly professional members offer a wealth of information as well as free webinars.

We'll talk more about this topic in future posts.


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*Survey results complements of 'Decoding Background Checks' professional development series webinar presented by LinkedHR.
**According to a November 2009 Jobvite survey.