Senin, 03 Desember 2012

Use Social Media to Build Emotional Capital

Many organizations have started using social media tools internally to interact with their employees. However, in our survey of 1,060 global executives, only 30% of executives work for companies that benefited from the internal use of social media.

To understand why the rate is so low it's instructive to compare the social media experiences of two companies we studied.

The first (whose name is disguised to spare blushes) is TEKCO, a technology company. TEKCO followed a traditional approach to an IT implementation. Executives mobilized experts to develop internal applications that mirrored the functionality of Facebook and Twitter, and built a platform that allowed for the creation of internal wiki pages. The company hired many open source technology developers to build new collaboration tools.

For all this effort, the company had very little to show. When interviewed, TEKCO executives had difficulty identifying examples of tangible benefits their company obtained from social media. Contrary to initial expectations, social media adoption improved neither the ease of internal information sharing nor employee morale. Even operational efficiency was unaffected.

The second company (which we will name) is the Northern European subsidiary of Tupperware, the famous food container company. Tupperware took a very different approach, investing less than $50,000 in social media initiatives, but it obtained much more impressive results. Between 2008 and 2011, the turnover rate of Tupperware's predominately part-time sales people (consultants, as the company calls them) fell by 15%. Both the ease at which best practices diffused throughout the company and the company's revenues increased.

What made the difference between these two experiences was that the project's leader, Stein Ove Fenne, managing director at Tupperware Nordic A/S, focused on building emotional capital in driving the initiative. He realized that the prime goal of the social media initiative should be to reinforce employees' positive feelings about the company, their colleagues, and their jobs. Tupperware's SM initiative — like those of other successful SM implementers — did this by focusing on four components of emotional capital:
  • Authenticity. What you communicate through social media has to be aligned with how you interact with people in the real world. Employees at TEKCO greeted with cynicism the senior executives' blog posts and podcasts about the importance of community spirit, because the same executives had previously engaged in a massive restructuring that involved layoffs. By contrast, Fenne's messages to sales consultants delivered through social media are consistent with his other actions. He has established personal relationships with many of them by visiting all major centers of activity. He invites key consultants to Tupperware's headquarters on a regular basis and literally rolls out a long red carpet in front of them as a symbol of appreciation. These behaviors are very consistent with his messaging in podcasts, e-mails and blogs about how much the company values its sales consultants' contributions. 
  • Pride. Pride is a better motivator than money and relying on financial or promotion incentives to elicit employee engagement in social media initiatives can backfire. When TEKCO executives made employees' contributions to internal wikis for knowledge sharing a part of their performance appraisal, many employees interpreted this as a coercive measure and posted entries of questionable quality only to satisfy the directive perfunctorily. By contrast, Fenne recognized that social media could provide Tupperware with an inexpensive platform for producing "moments of pride" for sales consultants. One of these is the "Tupperware radio show" in which Fenne plays the role of talk show host. Consultants' teams from all over Northern Europe connect through WebTV and post their live comments on a Facebook-type "wall" seen by all participants. Fenne calls on every sales team, asks them to report their results and thanks them for their achievements. 
  • Community. Social media users often do not consider time spent on non-work related discussions within social communities as wasted from a professional standpoint. When employees identify common non-work related interests among each other and forge informal bonds, they will eventually start discussing work-related matters even outside of formal work hours. TEKCO stayed away from Facebook in order to avoid unauthorized information leakage; unfortunately, by doing so it eschewed the Facebook-type community platform that would have allowed employees to share information about their personal values and interests that were not always work-related. As a result, the platform never took off. By contrast, Tupperware is happy to encourage communication that is not work-related. Fenne even records short podcasts containing advice on how to lead effective sales force or how to achieve success in their private life. These podcasts are sent as "thank you" gifts to top performers and convey that senior leadership cares about consultants' personal development. 
  • Fun. Enjoyment is well known to be a strong motivator of innovation. Yet not one TEKCO executive we interviewed told us that they wanted employees to use internal social networking platforms to have fun. At Tupperware, in contrast, consultants produce best-practice videos that are amusingly self-mocking. One group of Danish consultants portrayed a bunch of Danish men having a cooking competition (using Tupperware products) that was eventually shared through social networking sites and was widely viewed by colleagues and friends. The company for its part releases amateur movies under the umbrella "Tupper Films," some of which contain highlights of Tupperware parties, while the others contain useful tips for product demonstration. This increases the speed with which innovations spread across various countries and regions.
For social media to be widely adopted inside organizations and ultimately produce business benefits, executives first need to change their mindset about using these technologies. They have to realize that internal social media success isn't really about the software but about the emotional connection it creates.

But that doesn't mean you can let your social media platform grow by itself. Although self-organization is a touted attraction of social media, our study shows that the most successful employee communities tend to be actively managed by executives such as Fenne.

Companies that lack active community builders tend to create cold communities without heart and spirit, underutilizing technological infrastructure, generating employee cynicism and destroying what little emotional capital was present.

Finally, remember that context and culture play a role; executives should use locally appropriate means to develop the four pillars of emotional capital. But however the actions to build emotional capital have to be adapted locally, they still need to be done.

Quy N. Huy and Andrew V. Shipilov are both professors of Strategic Management at INSEAD, an international business school with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.


Minggu, 18 November 2012

When Your Manager Is Afraid of You

Kate, a 33-year-old marketing associate, sounded exhausted and confused. "It's the weirdest thing," she said. "I started my job ten months ago and got off to a great start. I launched our company's first HTML newsletter. I started a client service training program that got great reviews. My six-month performance review was stellar. Then two months ago, the whole thing started to go sour."

"How so?" I wanted to know.

"My boss has started picking at me over tiny, stupid things," she said. "He told me at my review that he was going to send me to our France office to help them build a messaging strategy, but when I asked him about it recently he said, 'That's something we have to look at down the road,' and walked away. It's like I've gone from being his favorite employee to dog meat."

"What happened between your review meeting and this week?" I asked.

"Nothing in particular," said Kate. "I'm chugging away. I got invited to speak at our annual sales meeting—"

"Hold it right there!" I said. "Who asked you to speak?"

"It was our VP of Sales," said Kate. "I work with him a lot, and he had seen me speak to some client service reps. I tagged along with two of our area sales managers on a big sales call and we won the business, so he likes me for that reason, too. It's cool — my colleagues told me they don't usually let marketing people like me come to those sales meetings, much less ask them to speak."

"So, what other balls have you knocked out of the park lately?"

"There's nothing else," she said. "I created an internal discussion community for the sales team — I guess that's something. Okay, and I pulled our CEO's and our VPs' speeches out of the archives and organized them in a catalog that we can refer to going forward and use in customer communications."

"Sister, please!" I exclaimed. " You've been in the job ten months. You're doing amazing things and changing the energy in your shop. No wonder your boss is terrified. He worries that you'll outshine him."

"Oh, that's ridiculous," Kate scoffed. "My boss has been at the company for twenty-eight years."

"Big deal!" I said. "The VP of Sales asked you to speak at his annual sales meeting. You pulled the executive speeches archive together on your own. You launched a newsletter, you built a training program. You haven't even had your one-year anniversary. What has your boss done in that time?"

"I guess—" started Kate. "I didn't think about that. But why would he worry? He's an executive, for Pete's sake."

"So he has a lot at stake," I said. "He has a lot of status to lose, and doesn't know the outside world you just popped in from. You launched an HTML newsletter and your boss doesn't have a clue how to run the engine if you disappear one day. You're speaking a foreign language that he thinks he should know, and you don't think he's a bit unnerved by you?"

"But he couldn't rationally think I'd want his job," said Kate. "My job is way more fun."

"First of all, your boss doesn't necessarily know what you want," I began, "and anyway if he's fearful, he wouldn't believe you if you said you don't want his job — fear is emotional, he's not thinking rationally. He might even be thinking that you'll do all this great stuff you do, and then leave the company and make him look bad for losing you. The guy has been in his job since you were five years old — he's content in his small box, and you think outside of it. Let's face it, your kind of person scares his kind of person to death."

"My gosh, you hit it on the head," said Kate. "How do I make him un-scared?"

"Very hard to do," I said. "When your flame is big, people pick up on it. Boundary-spanning, frameless people like you can very easily create a disturbance in the Force when they enter a team of boxed-up people. Sometimes that person has to go. Sometimes something shifts in the energy and they figure out how to work together. Sometimes the fearful boss has an 'A-ha!' moment and finally sees the high-mojo person as an ally."

"So your advice is to be ready for anything," said Kate.

"Not in the slightest," I said. "That's way too passive for someone like you. My advice is to do what you're already doing — letting people across the company know what you're capable of. Then, when you're confident enough, level with your boss. Start out by saying something like, 'Sometimes I think that my style or my approach makes you uncomfortable.' Make it easy for him to say anything he needs to get off his chest, if he can rise to the occasion. Be human with him. Amazing, heartfelt disclosures come about when you start human conversations about topics like fear.

"And it shouldn't be this hard just to do your job, of course. In business, being powerful should not a matter of being smarter or more accomplished than people under you. That's all crazy fear-based management baloney. The whole idea of leadership is that when you get awesome people, you just say to them, 'Go be awesome!' Then, with that encouragement, you stand by and let them do great things."

"But that's a real problem," said Kate. "Now that I think about it, my boss was definitely copied on the email when the VP of Sales invited me to speak at his offsite, and he never mentioned getting it."

"Oh shocker, Miss Kate!" I laughed.

At the end of the call, Kate told me she now feels a soft spot for her fearful boss. She never meant to intimidate him. And the wonderful thing about the story is that at no point did Kate think "I'll tamp down my flame so as not to agitate my boss." That's the great thing about growing your mojo — you realize that if one job goes away, another one will appear.

Liz Ryan

Liz Ryan is a former HR executive, and writes regularly for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Kiplinger’s Finance, and other broadcast outlets and publications. Liz teaches career strategy and branding to MBA candidates at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and to citizens via her webinar series hosted by Northwestern University. She also leads the Ask Liz Ryan community.

Minggu, 11 November 2012

5 ways to find extraordinary employees

Having a hard time getting top talent? Become a good spy and send mash notes to your rivals' top employees.

1. Build your bench
View scouting for talent the same way you do customer acquisition so you always have top people in the pipeline. Keep an ongoing list of potential hires and stay in touch regularly by, for instance, e-mailing articles that will educate them about your company. That's the advice of Brad Smart, author of Topgrading and president of the consultancy Smart & Associates. Also: Ask your key executives to suggest candidates every month.

2. Play in the right sandboxes
"Hang out where the people you're looking for hang out," says Mark Lancaster, CEO of recruiter EmploymentGroup in Battle Creek, Mich. For instance, to find an executive who can handle a merger, attend meetings of the Association for Corporate Growth. Or advertise in publications your targets like to read. One CEO friend hired a great CFO for his organic market after attracting 40 great applicants in one week through an ad on

3. Try guerilla tactics
Of course, the best talent is working for someone else. Steve Hall, founder of online auto marketplace Driversselect in Dallas, finds out who's winning industry awards by reading trade publications -- then phones the winners to ask for their professional advice. That's how he found a great services manager. For entry-level gigs, he leaves notes on cars parked in restaurants' employee-of-the-month spots suggesting that the workers contact him about a new opportunity.

4. Tweak the job description
Struggling to find the right systems engineer, Jennifer Walzer, CEO of tech firm BUMI, rewrote the job description she was circulating to draw those with the right cultural fit for her New York City tech firm. She added "highly developed sense of irony and a touch of snark," and got 125 applications with five great candidates, one of whom she hired. That's up from the 120 applications -- with zero strong candidates -- she received with a standard, HR-style job summary.

5. Become a celebrity
Not every executive can be a Richard Branson, but if you want top people to approach your company for jobs, it helps to become your industry's version of a rock-star CEO. How big? Write a book or speak at key events. Shortcut: Hire a ghostwriter through a site like or use Advantage Media's "Talk Your Book" program, where you can actually dictate a book in a single day. View it as an investment in shrinking your recruiting budget!

Verne Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm.
This story is from the October 29, 2012 issue of Fortune.


Kamis, 08 November 2012

Digital Staffing: The Future of Recruitment-by-Algorithm

Americans are now spending more time on social networking sites than on all other sites combined. Facebook alone has more than 1 billion users — that's 15% of the world's population and almost 50% of internet users, and they spend an average 15 minutes a day on the site. And that's just one site; imagine if you added in Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Weibo, Renren, Orkut, and on down the list.

As a consequence of spending so much time online, we now leave traces of our personality everywhere. Indeed, unless you have never used Amazon, Gmail, Spotify, Tripadvisor,Netflix, or any multitude of other sites, you will have not one, but multiple online profiles. In the beginning, the profiles were of interest only to those websites, which customized our consumer experience by offering us products congruent with our preferences and values ("if you bought this movie, you may want to buy..."). However, our online behaviors are now also of interest to recruiters and employers, who are desperately trying to translate them into "digital reputations" and use them to find talent online. I see three reasons that employers are likely to find their future leaders in cyberspace.

First, the web makes recruiting easier for employers and would-be employees. For instance, a company with 100 employees will probably have close to 100 employees on Facebook or LinkedIn, and each of them will have at least 100 connections on these networking sites — this means targeting 10,000 people who are first-degree connections, and since they will have at least 100 connections each, the job ad could reach over 1,000,000 if we include second-degree connections. For employees, killing time on Facebook or Twitter while at work may not be that pointless after all — it can help you find a more desirable job (or be found). Indeed, 1 in 6 job seekers credits social media with helping them find a better job.

Second, the web makes recruiting less biased and less clubby. Most recruiters are already using social media to identify talented employees outside their usual networks. According to a 2012 survey by Jobsite, 54% of recruiters use Twitter, 66% Facebook, and a whopping 97% LinkedIn, as recruitment tools. While this widens the pool of recruitees, recruiters are still subject to the same biases that operate in the physical world (notably prejudiced inferences about someone's character or values based on their appearance). However, it is easier to create and implement reliable methods online than offline, where chemistry and subjectivity will never be eliminated. Conversely, digital reputations capture many hours of online behaviors, and unlike with stocks, with human beings past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Third, web analytics can help recruiters become more efficient. Big data can provide the best answer to the big questions in talent identification, if we ask the right questions of the data. Not only is there an abundance of data, it is also getting easier, quicker, and cheaper to generate more (relevant) data. Data aggregation algorithms are growing exponentially — Klout may not be the best measure of "social influence," but it is still useful and fairly reliable, and future alternatives will no doubt be improvements. Data integration — combining people's multiple profiles into one — is the next step, and it's already happening. Soon, it will be easy to know that the person who buys Colin Dexter books on Amazon is the same person who streams Inspector Lewis on Netflix, checks out the Randolph Hotel TripAdvisor, and searches for flights to Heathrow on Kayak. If you've ever shopped for a pair of shoes on Zappos and then seen those same shoes advertised to you the next time you visit Facebook, this has already happened to you. The question becomes: how can recruiters put all these pieces together to quantify potential hires?

If you think this is scary, you may want to consider the alternatives: missing out on a better job, spending ages updating your CV, completing dozens of individual job applications, or living your life entirely offline (which would be a very lonely life indeed). Furthermore, being a luddite will probably damage your career. Recruiters will deem candidates unemployable if they fail to find information about them online — unless you are hiding an undesirable history or do not exist, you are now expected to have an online profile.

The big implication is that you need to invest a considerable amount of time managing your digital reputation. The only thing worse than not having a profile is having an undesirable profile. Indeed, your chances of being headhunted online are inversely related to the amount of inappropriate self-disclosure found in your Facebook or Twitter profile. Egosurfing — self-googling — is now more important than updating your CV.

We will soon witness the proliferation of machine learning systems that automatically match candidates to specific jobs and organizations. Imagine that instead of receiving movie recommendations from Netflix or holiday recommendations from Expedia, you receive daily job offers from Monster or LinkedIn — and that those jobs are actually right for you.
Now if only we could send our avatars to work while we stay in bed.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is an international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing. He is a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London (UCL), Visiting Professor at New York University, and has previously taught at the London School of Economics. He is co-founder of

Minggu, 14 Oktober 2012

No Joke: 70% of Your Employees Are Job Hunting

No Joke: 70% of Your Employees Are Job Hunting:
A new survey offers tough medicine for bosses. How can you thrive in a grass-is-always-greener world?
The Internet has made it easier to find nearly anything, whether it's that perfect picture for your new apartment, the coolest new restaurant in town, a rare collectible or--apparently--a new job.
And, according to a new CareerBuilder survey, that means companies need to face some stark realities about the behavior of today's employees and job seekers--namely, that the two groups are one and the same.
The job search site polled more than 1,000 Americans to ask about their job-hunting habits. What the company learned is that the idea of contented employees toiling away without a thought to their next gig versus "active" jobseekers poised over the classifieds red pen in hand is as dead as in-store movie rentals and celluloid camera film.
Everyone, it seems, is basically always looking for a job. And that includes your employees. The survey found:
  • 74% of people are either actively searching for a new job or are open to new opportunities.
  • Nearly 35% of people begin preparing for their next job within weeks of starting a new one.
  • 24% say job searching is a regular part of their weekly activities.
  • 69% of workers say searching for new opportunities is part of their "regular routine," with 24% searching as frequently as once a week.
Obviously, these results have much to offer recruiters who traditionally have distinguished between 'active' and 'passive' candidates. "Kill the idea of the passive candidate--passive candidates don't exist," comments CareerBuilder's managing director of social and mobile strategy Eric Owski. But what lessons does the survey offer for small business owners?
In short, don't get complacent, not about retaining your doubtlessly restless talent, or about cultivating your image as an employer for the many already employed folks who are nevertheless on the lookout for their next opportunity.
"Candidates are likely researching companies in some form or another before they even apply. Employers need to make sure they have a presence on the various platforms candidates are using as information resources - such as their career sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn - in order to connect with candidates and control their message," says CareerBuilder's vice president of corporate marketing and branding, Jamie Womack, for example.
Are you overestimating the loyalty of your employees?

Senin, 08 Oktober 2012

Are You at Risk of Employee Fraud?

Are You at Risk of Employee Fraud?:
No matter what business you're in, it can happen. Don't get blindsided by fraud: Know when employees are likeliest to steal.
Do you wonder whether you could ever be the victim of employee fraud? Stop wondering--you could. "Something like three out of every 10 businesses will have employees who steal," reports Janine Driver, author of You Can't Lie to Me, who spent years training FBI, CIA, and ATF agents in how to spot dishonesty.
No matter what business you're in it can happen, she says. "One dentist worked with the same assistant for 30 years," she says. "Then her house was being foreclosed, so she forged his signature cosigning a loan." The woman paid her loan and the fraud would have gone undetected--except that the bank sent the dentist a congratulatory note when it was paid off. "It's not the homeless person out on the street stealing from us, but the person we trust," Driver says.
In spite of her expertise, it's even happened to her. With a busy speaking schedule, Driver had a management company handle her bookings, as well as invoicing and processing payments. One day, out of curiosity, she followed up a text from her bank acknowledging a deposit--and discovered that the payment had come from a booking several months earlier. Come to find out, the company had been withholding money, often depositing it long after the payment was received. "At the time, they owed me about $8,000, but they'd been borrowing and paying back for years," she says. When she consulted an attorney about it, he told her she was the sixth fraud victim to contact him that month.
The fraud 'triangle'
If fraud is widespread and even the smartest pros don't always see it coming, how can you hope to protect yourself? Begin by being aware of what Driver calls the fraud triangle. In the fraud triangle:
1. The employee has access to money, valuable goods, or other assets;
2. The employee is facing some financial pressure, such as a child in college or a looming home foreclosure;
3. The employee can somehow justify his or her actions, perhaps feeling that he or she deserves higher pay or should be compensated for extra time on the job.
If all three elements are present, Driver says, the likelihood of an employee committing fraud are very high. Protect yourself by making sure you're aware if any employees are facing financial difficulties. You want to know so you can be understanding and helpful, but you should also keep in mind that an employee in this situation is likelier to turn to crime. Obviously, you need to be especially vigilant of anyone who has access to your company's bank accounts.
How much of this résumé is true?
Though you can never completely screen for fraud, Driver says careful hiring can help reduce the risk. For one thing, she recommends getting a credit report before signing someone on, a step that more and more employers, including the federal government, are taking. If someone's facing the sort of financial trouble that might lead him or her to steal, chances are it'll turn up.
She also recommends asking job-seekers to certify that all their answers will be true at the top of an application--before they fill out the rest--rather than at the bottom where it's traditionally found. "If people have already lied, they'll mentally justify it and sign," she says.
You can take that method a step further by having a two-part interview process, she adds. Begin by having a preliminary interview with an associate. At the end of the interview, the associate tells the applicant that while he or she seems like a good candidate for the job, you're meticulous and will check every single item--so any inaccuracies should be corrected before the person's résumé gets passed along to you. And then the associate should ask: "On a scale of 1 to 100, how accurate is it?"
The answer will be illuminating, Driver promises. "Almost no one will say 100%. They'll say 90%, so you ask about the other 10%." The answer might be that the applicant can't remember whether a job started in May or June. Or it could be that he or she was fired from a previous position.
This tactic can be surprisingly effective. "We see it in law enforcement," Driver says. In one interview, an agent asked a suspect how much of his statement had been true. "99%" came the answer. So the agent asked which 1% was inaccurate. Answer: "My involvement in the crime."

Senin, 01 Oktober 2012

Recruiting Star Talent? Do This First

Recruiting Star Talent? Do This First:
When it comes to top hires, the questions people ask tell you far more than the answers they give.
When I interview, I don't ask many questions. Instead, I simply open with, "What can I tell you about the company?" It forces candidates to think of questions to ask me, rather than inviting them to recite canned, rehearsed responses about their background and goals.
When the interviewee finishes answering my first question, I continue, "What else can I tell you?" I do this over and over again for most of the interview.
Probably for this reason, a current employee told me he felt intimidated during his interview with me. But I was surprised. I'm not trying to be tricky. It's a legitimate question. I learn a lot more about someone--and his thought processes--from the questions he asks.
I have found that the smartest, most agile and innovative people are those who ask a lot of questions. I pay careful attention to the quality of the questions job candidates ask, the way they ask them and listen to the answers, and then construct follow-up questions. This process tells me if candidates are good learners, and gives me an idea of how they navigate the unknown.
It also tells me a lot about what's important to my interviewees. For example, if someone asks me about technology, she's likely a person who thinks most about the product and innovation. If the first questions she asks are about vacation policies, that's also very telling.
I usually wrap up my interviews with two simple questions. The first is: "What are you not good at?" This often throws people off. They're used to giving a "pitch" about their strengths. But I explain that I need to know what they're not good at because, as a manager, I need to help them develop. And I need to make sure I can either help them develop in that area of need or surround them with other people who can.
My final question is: "Do you want this job and would you be successful doing it?" I explain that I hate firing people, so I need them to be honest with themselves and with me about whether or not they truly feel they could be superb in the role.
To summarize, here are my questions:

  • What can I tell you about the company? What else can I tell you? What else can I tell you?

  • What are you not good at?

  • Do you want this job and would you be successful doing it?

  • Remember, you learn a lot more from the questions people ask than the answers they give.