Category: Human Resources
Leveraging Social Media to Cultivate Transparency Within An Organization
According to Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, “The currency of leadership is transparency.” From publishing pay information to inviting all employees to every meeting, many organizations strive to become more and more transparent to both employees and the public. But transparency does not have to be as radical as sharing how salaries are calculated. A more sustainable yet progressive demonstration is the endorsement and inclusion of social media into a company’s human capital management strategy.
Just Say No…to Policy
Mandating how employees use their personal social media accounts does not translate into sound human resources management. Just as an employer should not dictate how employees spend their time off, it should not tell someone what he may or may not share online. In fact, the National Labor Relations Board has been steadily cracking down on strict workplace social media policies. Instead, a company should make clear its formal stance and provide guidelines on how employees may best represent the company on the web. In it’s corporate (and public) blog, Adidas encourages open communication and informs employees to “tell the world about your work and share your passion.”
Encourage Best Practices
Lead by example. CEOs, directors, and managers who actively use social media influence their employees to do the same. Their affirmation also promotes transparency. Though many executives have not yet embraced social media, they should at minimum, have a professional online profile that is accurate, up-to-date, and sets the standard for others. For example, LinkedIn provides a modern day business card and resume wrapped into one convenient package and serves as an effective networking tool that can lead to new business opportunities.
Be a Coach
Teach employees how to use social media effectively. Include “Social Media 101” as a topic in new employee training programs. Gloria Burke, Chief Knowledge Officer and Global Practice Portfolio Leader of Unified Social Business at Unisys, says, “Offering such training creates a team of advocates who are equipped to represent their employer online . . . you’re empowering them to be more confident and effective in what they’re sharing.” Additionally, designate official company social media ambassadors to mentor associates on how to establish or enhance their personal online brand.
Whether or not an organization formally endorses social media, tools to facilitate communication among staff members should be implemented to encourage teamwork and increase productivity. Both Salesforce and Microsoft offer enterprise social networks as features within their products. In 2011, Nationwide launched Spot, a social intranet built on Yammer and SharePoint. Today, nearly all of its 36,000 employees are more engaged, better connected, and have access to the expertise they need to get their work done, resulting in an annual savings of $1.5 million.
As a result of the growing influence of social media, employees have become a much more valuable marketing resource. Each time a press release is circulated, a new blog post is published, or a key event is publicized, everyone should be informed, and suggested tweets should be shared. The aforementioned ambassadors may also serve as key brand promoters within the firm and with customers. If employees are too busy to keep up with Twitter, then offer support to post and retweet on their behalf. Applications like Hootsuite make it easy by allowing users to schedule activity for multiple accounts.
An obvious motivation for formalizing an organization’s social media program is to avoid public relations disasters. But, more importantly, it inspires transparency. If a company embraces employee participation in social networks, then it need not worry about what employees discuss on the web. Instead, workers will feel empowered to contribute to the organization’s success via the online community.
Freedom from What?
Today, I resurrect my life as a road warrior.
It’s Monday for many of us, so I thought I would add a bit of levity to begin the day: Louis C.K.’s rant about how we whine about everything amazing. Enjoy it during a
smoke social break. I’ll still be laughing to myself as I sit on my chair in the sky.
(Be aware that Mr. Szekley is not known for family-friendly language.)
Taking a big step can be scary.
I begin a new job tomorrow. Off on an (very) early morning flight to the big city. I cannot wait!
Leaving something you know, something you enjoy is hard. People wonder why you want to change. But these people understand. They know me. They matter.
On Being Humble…Or Not
Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast. – Jane Austen
I came upon this quote as I was thinking how I could appropriately express my anger and frustration about a matter of professionalism.
There are those I really want to give a tongue-lashing to. But, more importantly, there are those I care about and do not want to disappoint or embarrass.
So, like Mark in Love Actually, enough…enough now. Time to move on.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Grammar, Grammar Everywhere
Not long after I had posted my previous entry about grammar (and spelling) abuse, I noticed this tweet from David Pogue. Apparently the asterisk police hunted him down and called him out *!*
I was intrigued, so I dug further. The Language Log is a fascinating library of all things language, supported by the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania. Check it out.
Grammar IS Important
Okay, no catchy title for this post. This is important.
I write this as a plea to my past, current, and future fellow professionals to not give up on good grammar. Heck, let’s include spelling, too. Just because we’re more “social” is no excuse. More of us will read your work. Don’t you want it to look good?
Now, I am no expert nor was I an English major. Translation: I screw up, too. But, still, I beg for your support.
Case in point: A person takes the time to put his or her innermost feelings on paper (or, rather, the Web). Then said person 1. shares those thoughts over a very social network, 2. tags others who may not wish to be exposed, and 3. openly criticizes former employers. Logic would say “proofread your work before you hit Share.” Right? Riggghhhtttt. Or, perhaps those who love him or her would offer their input, ever so gently.
Maybe it’s not the what but the how that counts the most.
The what is easy…it’s what’s in our hearts, our heads.
The how will help people form an impression. Impressions can last a lifetime.
Here a risk, there a risk
Beyoncé did not feel comfortable taking a risk. That was her response to the silliness resulting from her reported last minute decision to sing the Star Spangled Banner to a pre-recorded track at the presidential inauguration last week. I guess you could say she had a mitigation plan, albeit only she had to agree to it.
What if she were in the real world? You know, the one that people like us live and work in? How many companies would agree to an employee deciding at the last minute to not take that risk? Would your company support you?
Like Beyoncé we all want to be perfectionists. And, she gets a second chance this Sunday at the Superbowl when, she says, she will belt it out live.
But, in this world (aka the real world), plan and plan again, and COMMUNICATE. Avoid your very own press conference.
New Form W-4 for 2013
In case you did not know, the IRS has issued a new version of the Form W-4 for 2013. Not the most exciting of headlines, I know. But nonetheless, remaining relevant and providing your employees with up-to-date forms is important. You may access the new version here: 2013 Form W-4
Additionally, I fell upon information about new guidelines regarding the updated income-tax withholding tables for 2013. Included are details about the changes implemented by Congress at the beginning of the year.
So, grab a cup of joe and get reading!
Spanish Language Support for I-9 Processing
A while back, the USCIS launched the Spanish language version of I-9 Central.
Employees and employers may access Form I-9 and Employment Eligibility Verification information and the updated Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274) en español. ¡Qué grande!
But, remember, only employers in Puerto Rico may use either the Spanish version or the English version of the Form I-9 for official purposes. The rest of us in the United States may use the Spanish version as a translation guide for Spanish-speaking employees, but must fill out and keep the English version for our records.