Monday, August 6, 2012

Are Recruiting and Hiring Practices Modified with the Advent of Social Networks?

Selecting competent and compatible employees is a challenge for any company; first you have to find them, then you have to evaluate them. Today, companies have a new option: social recruiting. 

Trends & benefits in using social recruiting

In the article entitled 'Methods for Recruiting and Evaluating Job Candidates', David Shiplacoff presents his research on the challenges in reaching large pool of prospective candidates using traditional word-of-mouth networking, professional organizations, advertizing and search firms.  He concludes that networking with other professionals and using search firms 'can help recruit larger numbers of suitable candidates.' These are the challenges that social media recruiting addresses particularly well.

In a Forbes article entitled Recruiting, Reinvented, Chirag Nangia, CEO of Reppify, indicates that 'Social media can be a great source for discovering passive candidates – those who are employed but ‘open’ to changing jobs for the right opportunity – who represent nearly half of all currently employed talent'.

According to the Jobvite 2012 survey, recruiters responded that companies care about social recruiting because of the following reasons: 
  • 49% saw an increase in quantity of candidates
  • 43% reported an increase in candidate quality
  • 20% reported it took less time to hire
  • 31% saw increase in employee referrals

Photo: Courtesy of Courney Shelton Hunt Courtney Hunt adapted the traditional recruitment
and selection “funnel” to illustrate how social media activity is incorporated into the overall hiring process. In her blog 'Social Media and Recruiting 101', she also offers social recruiting recommendations for employers in each phase along the funnel: referrals, sourcing, recruitment, selection, screening and final selection.

Why does social recruiting work

Social recruiting works well on the three leading platforms because:
  • It's Where People Are: 901 million Facebook users, Twitter accounts numbering over 500 million, and more than 161 million users on LinkedIn
  • Has a Built-In Network for Referrals: The vast networks that are created through social media provide an excellent system of information sharing that can result in referrals and recommendations that amplify your voice and reach. 
  • It’s Targeted: Social recruiting allows you to target your job postings to not just anyone, but to specifically reach highly qualified potential candidates through specified outreach efforts.
  • Candidates Can Qualify You, Too: Social recruiting gives potential applicants the chance to quickly and easily learn more about your company, determining whether they feel the position would be a good mutual fit.
Moreover, professors Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey T. Hancock from Cornell University studied ‘The Effect of LinkedIn on Deception in Resumes’ and found that job applicants were less likely to lie about past work experience on their LinkedIn profile than they were on a traditional resume. Simply because claims are more easily verified in a public on-line setting, so liars are more likely to get caught. 

Talent Communities : a new trend in referral and sourcing quality candidates

In order to source more qualified candidates, many organizations have started using talent communities.  A talent community unites the candidates who’ve shown interest in the company, but are not attached to a specific job yet. In talent communities organizations have a chance to start building a relationship with potential candidates. The candidates are given an opportunity to disclose more about who they are and what they are interested in. When jobs do open up, they simply look at their talent community and contact their top prospects. Jobs don’t need to be posted on job boards anymore. So, today a job seeker who is sitting around waiting for openings is really missing the boat.

Talent Communities Using Facebook

With more than its 900 million users globally, Facebook has a huge potential to reach the right candidates. Late summer 2012, Facebook is expected to launch its own job board. The job board will aggregate the job postings of third party providers such as Jobvite, BranchOut and Work 4Labs within the Facebook environment. This is considered a follow-up of Facebook partnership with US Department of Labor to explore and develop systems where job postings can be delivered to prospects without cost. 

Here are some of the companies having powerful talent communities built around their Facebook Career Pages:

Recruiting Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular social media site (93%) used by recruiters to source candidates. LinkedIn focuses on corporate recruiting & talent management as a business model. In the Forbes article entitled LinkedIn is Disrupting the Corporate Recruiting Market, Josh Bersin presents the drastic revenue increase generated by LinkedIn’s recruiting services (‘Hiring Solutions’). LinkedIn is now the fastest growing public provider of corporate recruiting solutions, bypassing Taleo and approaching

Using Twitter to Create a Talent Community

In May 2012, Staples launched the @StaplesCareers Twitter handle as a platform for sharing jobs and social engagement.

Twitter can be incredibly valuable for recruiting, here are additional tips on how to recruit on twitter.
Another example of social media engagement within recruitment and employer branding is the use of Instagram by Starbucks Coffee. According to Jeremy Langhans, former Starbucks Employee Branding manager, Instagram gave the company a much more fun image and turned the uncool job into a great place to work.
As effective as a talent community can be, building it does not happen overnight! You must set up your profiles and work to build a community before you broadcast job openings, as suggests. Start early, build your network and then leverage that network for job candidates.

Once you have located those potential candidates, social media can also be helpful in screening them.

Screening candidate - Using Social Media

As social recruiting gain in popularity, more HR professional use social media to screen potential candidates.  Don Kluemper, a professor of management at Northern Illinois University’s College of Business, and a team of researchers, confirmed that 'impressions gleaned from a five- to 10-minute perusal of Facebook pages were actually a stronger predictor of a candidate’s likelihood to excel in a job than the personality surveys that many companies require job candidates to complete.’

Erik Qualman is the author of best seller Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business and the founder of the Socialnomics website. Talks about using social media and Klout for screening candidates.

Legal Aspects of Social Screening

Web searches on candidates can reveal many types of information, including information deemed ‘Protected Class’ (race, gender, religion, etc.). It can be dangerous to assess candidates’ social media properties. Employers, must be careful to not use this information to discriminate against candidates. Attorney Kevin V. Maltby Employment Lawa Specialist presents the issues.


Renee Jackson, a renowned Labor and Employment Lawyer, in an interview with Forbes in May 2012 said that ‘A particular hot topic for employers is the legal grey area surrounding the various online “tools” that are being used to assist in the hiring process. For example, employers who are “Googling” applicants, contracting with third parties to conduct social media background checks, or using so-called measures of influence (such as Klout) to make hiring decisions. These tools, if used incorrectly, are fraught with legal risk.’

Peter Cappelli, in his Harvard Business Review article entitled 'Making the Most of On-Line Recruiting' confirms that perhaps the biggest risk- and certainly the one that employers are the least prepared to address - is the possibility of running afoul of antidiscrimination laws.' The law is lagging far behind technology in most instances, and employment, discrimination, privacy, and defamation laws are no exception. At this point, the privacy line seems to be drawn at any non-public Internet or social media sites where access to information requires authorization or permission.

However, it is critically important to note that just because information in the public domain is fair game for employers to look at, it does not mean that employers can lawfully use that information in the hiring process.

Recommendations for Employers Using Social Recruiting:

  • Pick the right Social Network
  • Target the right candidates
  • Make applying simple
  • Sell yourself
  • Do not ask for password of employee/applicant for screening
  • Do not ‘shoulder surf’ with employee/applicant  for screening
  • Do not forget that non-discrimination laws apply to information, regarless of the source
  • Develop policies regarding Internet screening
  • Train your HR personnel on applicable laws

Recommendations for Individuals to Manage Personal Brand

In light of these online continuous mechanisms used by hiring corporations, how should individuals manage their personal brand on the Web? First, understand what hiring professionals are looking for while checking the online profiles?

Here is what recruiters, interviewed for the Guardian article by Cary Cooper Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University Management School, look for:

  • consistency of information between CV and online profiles
  • evidence of involvement in community activities 
  • a presence on a business network such as LinkedIn 
  • anything to demonstrate good communication skills

  • evidence of a negative or bad attitude, revealed through too much complaining or ranting
  • anything that suggests a candidate is intolerant or extreme in opinion 
  • bad mouthing other people, especially employers
  • anything that exaggerates or is too self-promotional

Surprisingly, even though vast majority of job candidates (88%) realize that recruiters will look for the on-line information, only 33% of them searched for their name to verify what information is available about them. Courtney Hunt has additional recommendations for individuals about social screening.

No On-line Presence can be as Damaging as Bad On-line Presence

Not having an online profile on LinkedIn, will prevent recruiters from contacting the candidate for potential hire. According to the article entitled Career Suicide by Social Media, if recruiters come along the resume that does not have corresponding social presence - it might raise some red flags. Some of the concerns are about candidate failing to adapt to new environment.


Social recruiting offers many advantages and is here to stay, but employers and potential employees have to use this tool wisely.

Courtney Hunt writes 'Cyberspace adds a new dimension to the recruitment and selection process, however the rules are generally the same as before. It's incumbent upon the employer to ensure that the criteria they're using to select candidates are job relevant, non-discriminatory, and legally defensible.'

Author Erik Qualman warns that gone are the days of schizophrenic behaviors in different areas of our lives. What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter forever. So your offline activity captured and integrated to your ‘digital shadow’ may affect your job! You may want to live as if your mother was watching! 

Authors: Chantal Rodier, Erdi Yuksel, Roman Rus

For more information, please refer top the following sources:

  1. "Recruiting, Reinvented: How Companies Are Using Social Media In The Hiring Process" article on by Lisa Quast, 2012
  2. Social Recruiting Survey 2012, Jobvite
  3. "Social Media and Recruiting 101: To Screen or not to Screen" by Courtney Hunt, 2011
  4. The Effect of LinkedIn on Deception in Resumes, Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey T. Hancock. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. March 2012, 15(3): 135-140. doi:10.1089/cyber.2011.0389.
  5. "Challenging the Idea of Talent Community" article by Ray Anne, 2011 
  6. "Facebook To Launch Job Board" article by Joseph Walker, 2012
  7. LinkedIn is Disrupting the Corporate Recruiting Market, article on by Josh Bersin, 2012,
  8. Staples Gets Social with New Social Recruiting Initiatives [CASE STUDY], by Autumn McReynolds, 2012
  9. Five Tips for Social Recruiting on Twitter, by Patrick Neeman , Jobvite, 2011
  10. Instagram: The Next Frontier for Social Recruiting & Employer Branding? article on, 2012
  12. Webinar: Optimize Your Network to Generate Referral Hires in Five Simple Steps, by Ryan St. Germaine, Jobvite
  13.  DONALD H. KLUEMPER1, PETER A. ROSEN, KEVIN W. MOSSHOLDER; Social Networking Websites, Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye? Journal of Applied Social Psychology Volume 42, Issue 5, pages 1143–1172, May 2012
  14. Making the Most of On-Line Recruiting by Peter Cappelli, Harvard Business Review, March 2011
  15. Social Media, Passwords, and the Hiring Process: Privacy and Other Legal Rights, by Lisa Quast, 2012
  16. "You've been Googled: what employers don't want to see in your online profile", by Cary Cooper, 2011
  17. Social screening: candidates – and employers – beware, by Courtney Hunt., 2010
  18. Career Suicide by Social Media How social media can wreak havoc on your career, by Annette Richmond

Social Media and Tourism

Before 2005 many planning a trip would rely on travel professionals/experts for advice about great places to go things to see and adventures to embark on. Most of us would go to trusted brands such as Lonely Planet and National Geographic for information and go to a travel agency to buy a vacation package. As such, the travel industry followed a traditional approach of innovation to create differentiation followed by promotion (marketing push) and sales. Travelers were herded by the industry as getting off the usual beaten path would imply a higher time investment to gather information and higher risks.

Rapidly evolving Tourist Landscape:  A world of Tourist 2.0
In 2005 when WEB 2.0 was introduced, Tourism 2.0 (T2.0) was born - revolutionizing the travel industry.  Although T2.0 is supported by technology, there are many other shifts and factors at play. This new approach to internet and commerce shifted the power from the service providers and travel experts to customers. T2.0 model is all about communities, networks, openness, peering, sharing, collaboration and ultimately customer empowerment.

The corner stone of this revolution is lead by User Generated Content, UGC.  Users can share information like never before and the industry can no longer harness it. People are engaged as they want to tell their trip stories, share pictures and experiences. According to Stacey Santos in the “2012 Social Media and Tourism Industry Statistics” regarding trip reviews:
  • 46% of travelers post hotel reviews
  • 40% post activity/attraction reviews
  • 40% post restaurant reviews
  • 76% post vacation photos to a social network
  • 55% “liked” Facebook pages specific to a vacation

These statistics help demonstrate to us just the large volume data that is available to consumers online. Travelocity, Expedia, TripAdvisor are just a few examples of Tourism 2.0 sites.  TripAdvisor, for example, connects directly with Facebook and, right of the bat, shows your Facebook friends reviews/activities and prompts you to write a review.

In this environment data becomes transparent: pricing discrepancies are easily spotted and false misinformation is unveiled. No more “Great ocean view” in between buildings. 

Online consumer’s reviews have become the second most trusted source of information for travelers only behind word-of-mouth and friends/ family advice.  Consumers are blocking push marketing and engaging more and more in social networks for travel advice.  The influence of T2.0 data on travelers is undeniably strong “Of those who used social media to research travel plans, only 48% stuck with their original travel plans” says Stacey Santos. Many consumers also feel more confident about their decisions which can now be supported by the unbiased opinion of fellow customers.

Now add collaboration on top of UGC. Customers are engaging and interacting with each other in an unparalleled manner. T2.0 implementations’ role expanded to facilitate that interaction among customers so customers can easily connect to each other and help themselves to get what they want. The collective intelligence and information volume that can be generated in this way exceeds the capabilities of any individual site.

The community concept naturally followed and spread. Gusto, iExplore and IgoUgo are just a few of community sites where users share itineraries, adventures, pictures and other travel information.

IgoUgo Sites even includes other providers (completion) links to facilitate comparison (see below). The speed with which you can consume the information has become such that providers can no longer profit of people’s lack of information or difficulties in finding it. T2.0 Sites that provide the best way for users to rapidly get what they want will profit from it.
A Provider’s perspective – HelloBC Case Study:  Social Media and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO)
Tourism BC (TBC), British Columbia (BC)’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), and its online presence, HelloBC, is the first contact point for hundreds of thousands of tourist that visit the province each year.  It represents the province’s 6 tourism RDMO consisting of over 130 communities.   TBC is a leader in leveraging Social Media and Web 2.0 to engage an evolving Tourism landscape of Tourist 2.0.  As one of the first DMOs to include Blogs and User Generated Content (UGC), it won the 2007 Canadian e-Tourism Innovation award.  In a recent Social Media and Tourism book (2012) co-authored by a number of industry experts[i], Dr.  Volo, highlights that HelloBC demonstrates some good “best practices” examples of Social Media adoption, including successfully exploiting Blogs – a medium that has helped re-invent tourism communications.  A number of studies including Hays et al., Shao et al., and Hamill et al. highlight the wide variation and associated challenges DMOs face in Social Media Adoption.

TBC has a progressive strategy to remain relevant with Tourist 2.0.  Its efforts focus on interacting with past, present, and future visitors as well as other stakeholders including residents, in relevant ways, and joining their conversations to build “long-term engagement around an appreciation of British Columbia and its many tourism assets.”  A direct review of HelloBC and its history, coupled with insight from (1) 2008 - 2011 interview and Blogs from HelloBC’s prolific strategist, William Bakker (now Chief Strategist  at Think! Social Media)), and (2) Volo’s expert observations highlight the following points:

  • TBC’s strategy included incremental steps, with experimentation and refinement. The Blog effort migrated from DMO content, to partner content, and finally to the successful 2007 UGC introduction.

  • The importance of a “Web 2.0” culture is echo by a number of other experts including Wollan et al. In addition to having a progressive, internal culture, HelloBC updated its systems to support this effort in a scalable manner. Volo advises DMOs to adopt Web 2.0 social media cultural changes, internally and externally, including Blogs which are integrated with other Social Media platforms. This adoption includes accepting customer empowerment, partnership, open communications, mutually beneficial information sharing and to openly acknowledge cases of promotion.

  • The UGC effort (1) “added a whole layer of credibility”, (2) created insightful, directed, timely and engaging responses, (3) leveraged mass collaboration/engagement of the community, and (4) created a virtuous engagement cycle which enabled HelloBC to gather more insight on consumers, their segmentation, and to identify important tourism activities and assets. The power of UGC is in its authenticity, in its storytelling, and in its ability to engender an emotional connection to people, places and things. Tourism experiences are especially well communicated in a multimedia storytelling format (Yoo et al. 2011).

  • Usability is paramount for both content creation and usage. Tips, ideas and guides are provided to simplify UGC creation. Extensive UGC blog filtering tools are provided. The extensive support for other Social Media platform (Google Maps, Flickr, YouTube, content feeds), enables greater content reach. Furthermore, TDC campaigns leverage other social media platforms with special offers, contest and events. Volo notes that DMOs should encourage repeated visitations to Blogs and the cross-usage of social media platforms. HelloBC also has extensive user privacy protection policies with opt-in/out for contact, unsubscribing and information request.
  • In addition to engaging all of its community, TBC actively sought out and leveraged key social media influencers.
  • Field Reports feature Video-Multimedia content targeted at generating Buzz - awareness, discussion and site traffic - of a particular offering or experience. Field reporters had some level of video technology proficiency (to generate a UGC style Youtube Video). They were contest winners, influencers and others who were passionate about BC. The reporter and other stakeholders would typically blog on-board and off-board to amplify the Buzz.
  • Field Reports feature Video-Multimedia content targeted at generating Buzz - awareness, discussion and site traffic - of a particular offering or experience. Field reporters had some level of video technology proficiency (to generate a UGC style Youtube Video). They were contest winners, influencers and others who were passionate about BC. The reporter and other stakeholders would typically blog on-board and off-board to amplify the Buzz.

  • 2010 Winter Olympics feature multimedia content generated around the world class event. Influencer blogging helped to raise Buzz. Pre-Olympic events included Twitter contest with Olympic ticket prizes. Twitter was a key tool to engage and to make event and general planning recommendations to followers. According to Volo, Tweetdeck was a key tool used to keep track of follower profiles. HelloBC succeed in tripling its Twitter following.
  • Podcast feature event and tourism related events from local communities
  • Tips From Travellers and Tip from Us enable visitors, residents, and stakeholders to propose and post informal traveller styled blog entries covering travel stories and experiences. The site has clear non-promotional policies and other posting policies as well as posting aids as described earlier.
Finally, Volo notes that although the amount of viral marketing generated was enormous, “the full exploitation of these efforts, through monitoring and measuring of the results are still under investigations.”  This view is consistent with the rapidly evolving state of both DMOs, specifically and with Social Media Metrics in general.

What is next?
The industry has leveraged analytics to benefit from all that information produced by customers. Analytics have helped find ways to present the data in a way that facilitates the customer’s life without influencing results as to preserve trust/credibility. For example, besides the average hotel rating, a review site could show rating inflection points over time. Let’s say that due to change in management the average rating of Hotel X drops from 4.5 starts to 4.3 in two months; looking only at the average over a long period of time will hide the fact that Hotel X presented a 2 starts ranting for the last 2 months. As business continue to place high priority on strategic performance tools such as the balanced scorecard, these ratings and consumer feedback have and will continue to prove to be useful in defining and evaluation consumer satisfaction metrics.  Consumers would like to know their comments and rating are taken seriouslyand that root causes are identified. This will keep T2.0 providers busy searching for small innovation increments.
Tourism 3.0, as the analogy suggests, will piggy back on WEB 3.0 concepts:

Web Semantics is a fundamental block of T3.0 which will make possible for web sites to identify relationships between independent pages’ contents. So if one site contains the entry Rio de Janeiro is in Brazil and another site tell Carnival happens in Rio de Janeiro the programs will be able to identify the relationship between these pages and web searches will be way more effective and efficient.  The question “I live in Ottawa and I want to plan a trip to watch a Soccer World Cup game and the Carnival” could generate way better results than it will today.

The focus on Mobile is truly expanding. Ubiquitous computing and the innovation that is accompanying it, such as the “Generically called “software-only positioning,” Skyhook’s new replacement for (or supplement to) GPS takes advantage of the prevalence of wireless internet consumer products in cities” mentioned by Christian Sandvig – MIT press- Wireless Play and Unexpected Innovation, will create many more options for people to use social media.DMOs will proactively (or ultimately be forced to) climb the maturity stages to adjust to the rapidly evolving landscape of T2.0 and future T3.0.

According to Ian Yeoman “The traveler will want more in less time or with less effort – this has implications for everything from the format of events through to booking processes and the nature of breaks.”

Authors: Glauco Barcotti, Robert Chan and Natalie Strittmatter

Bakker William (2011) TG4 Interview. Accessed on July 14, 2012.

Bakker William Personal Blogs (2012) Accessed on July 14, 2012.

Bakker William/Think!Social Media (2012) 5 levels of social media sophistication at the DMO. Accessed on July 14, 2012.

Budd Stephen (2009) Travel and Web 3.0 - What Does This Mean?. January 2 2009.

Etlinger Susan (2011) A Framework for Social Analytics. Altimeter Group

Grossman David I2007) Travel 2.0: Social networking takes a useful turn. USA Today

Hays Stephanie, Page Stephen John, Buhalis Dimitrios (2012) Social media as a destination marketing tool: its use by national tourism organizations. Rutledge

HelloBC Website (2012) Accessed on July 14, 2012.

Sigala Marianna, Christou Evangelos, TEI Alexander, Gretzel Ulrike (2012). Social Media in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality: Theory, Practice and Cases. Ashgate

Santos Stacey (2012). 2010 Social Media and Tourism Industry Statistics. Stikky Media -

Wollan Robert, Smith Nick, Zhou, Catherine (2011) The Social Media Management Handbook, John Wiley & Sons, Inc

World Travel Market (2011). The World Travel Market (WTM) Industry Report and Global Trends Report.

Yoo K H, Gretzel Ulrike (2011) Influence of personality on travel-related consumer-generated media creation. Computers in Human Behavior 609-621

[i] “Social Media in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality:  Theory, Practice and Cases” has 35 leading Tourism and related Social Media industry contributors (both practitioners and academics) and is edited by industry experts Drs Sigala, Christou, and Getzel.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gamification for enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 is a tool that can help workers in the company, customers of the company and suppliers for the companies collaborate, share, and exchange information and ideas via Web 2.0 technologies. Andrew McAfee, who is a Professor of Harvard Business School and runs a business Impact of IT blog, says Enterprise 2.0 is something like “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers” (McAfee, Andrew-“Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges” HBR, 2009).

Enterprise 2.0 has a four-sided description:

  • It is an application of Web 2.0.
  • It is a technology that can connect people together from online communities.
  • It is a quick social software platform within companies, between companies and the customers and associates.
  • It will be the next generation of Enterprise Content Management
Following is an example:

Avery Dennison had sales of $6.3 billion in 2007, and is ranked 382 on the 2007 Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations. Combined with Paxar, the Company's latest acquisition, the Company now employs more than 30,000 individuals in over 60 countries worldwide who develop, manufacture and market a wide range of products for both consumer and industrial markets. The company wants to help employees determine strategy more quickly and find different knowledge in different departments so that they can simplify their work and improve their productivity. Social media technology provided an open communication platform to complete this target—excellent example of Enterprise 2.0.

In the first 18 months’ experimenting, the use of Enterprise 2.0 made a huge impact. There were 8,000 of 12,000 full-time non-contractual employees who took part in the platform. They made more than 500 communities. The company then extended it to all of the contract employees, temporary employees and interns. Enterprise 2.0 provided a quick, accurate, inspirational platform to the company to connect all the employees together and make them contribute with maximum efficiency.

Gamification is the process of transferring game mechanics to other areas, for example learning situations, work situations or social networks. Its purpose is to increase the acceptability and interest of these applications based on the human predisposition to games.

It has recently allowed companies to encourage behaviors that could be considered irrelevant or out of the ordinary, i.e. fill out a survey, buy a product, look at advertisements or assimilate information. It improves the user experience by offering psychological and emotional rewards developing a real game.

Enterprise gamification is growing quickly: 197% growth in 2012. The market will grow from $100M in 2011 to over $2.8B in 2016.

To be successful a game has to respect the game mechanics, that is to say some key aspects that are commonly identified to games. The report “Gamification101: An Introduction to the Use of Game Dynamics to Influence Behavior” identify the following key mechanics:
  • Points
  • Levels
  • Challenges
  • Virtual goods and spaces
  • Leaderboards
  • Gifts and charity
A successful game will also provide the players a sense of achievement and competition, a space of self-expression and some rewards.

Here are a few examples of applications of the concept in business functions:

Marketing / Community Management
  • Offer a consumer-immersive experience through game
  • Build loyalty by rewarding the act of purchasing
  • Create a community of consumers closer to you
  • Animate your community by the game
  • Learn more about your customers
  • Be more viral
  • Create a whole brand universe
  • Observe the reaction of the public in a “gamified” universe
  • Positively influence a consumer behavior 
Hiring :

  • Place the candidate in real situation without the stress of the real word
  • Get a wider reach of prospective candidates
  • Have an easy first evaluation of candidates
  • Get a reliable overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates
  • Decrease recruitment costs
Example :
L’Oreal has created a recruitment campaign named “Reveal”. Participants in the game score points based on their behavior and responses they offer to different situations. Players evolve in a real, and dynamic environment. The profiles of the candidates are then selected based on their score.

Teaching / Learning:
  • Make the learning process more entertaining
  • People are more active in the learning process and thus they get more from the learning experience
  • Allow to create crisis or unusual situations
  • Play with complexity and introduce more fortuity in the experience
  • Track and improve performance based on accurate feedback 
It is especially useful to teach management best practices, risk management and everything that needs the appropriate action of a group because of its “social” features.

SAP internal sales training

Gamification for Enterprise 2.0 (Internal)

The idea of “gameplay” in the office during office hours is almost preposterous. More collaborative efforts, real time co-operation and work, faster communications and a generally more enjoyable work environment has already been realized using Enterprise 2.0 / Social media in work related activities.

In addition, businesses should try fusing gamification into enterprise 2.0. Games fused with the enterprise 2.0 would be games requiring skills, understanding, thought process, etc...,to encourage friendly rivalry, competitions and the concept of remunerations / awards for the workers that excel in said games. The focus should be on making enterprise 2.0 applications social and fun, while still focusing on business productivity.

Advantages of Gamification in Enterprise 2.0

  • Participation of employees in said games in the enterprise 2.0 platform fosters relationships in the workplace which drives productivity and business
  • Drives motivation of the employees. With games pitting departments and even workers against each other for specific prizes (monetary, gifts or just bragging rights) workers are more motivated and encouraged to put in more effort….business performance and productivity is therefore is increased
  • Makes feedback loops more rapid and decentralized
  • Easier and faster means of communication between employees
  • Collaborative efforts among employees in the same/different departments become easier, and less stressful.

Risks of Enterprise 2.0
  • The fear of 3rd party applications through api’s on the enterprise 2.0 may allow the use of less business related games and therefore, not maintaining the business focus of gamification.
  • Humans ultimately get tired of things; the novelty of gamification in enterprise 2.0 might wear off
  • Some workers might not understand or be interested in the “gameplay” idea or the mechanics of the games and therefore, not participate as much as required
  • Shift in the focus of the employees from getting the work done to the rewards of the ‘’games’’ 

Some companies that have started using the Gamification concept in enterprise 2.0 are:

The Salesforce software used by marketers and customer relationship management in companies, adopted the actionable software for applying Gamification in the enterprise 2.0 platform;

Nitro for Salesforce; 

Engage for Salesforce

Level Up designed by Bunchball for IBM Connects

IBM for example, gamified their document translation process and awarded points to employees who helped translate documents which translated to earning money for their charities. This Gamification process improved accuracy, reduced internal project time, reduced costs in the tune of millions in translation costs. See full story here.

SAP, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Volvo are also businesses using Gamification in the enterprise 2.0 platform, more info here.

Gamification for Enterprise 2.0 (external)

Burberry’s simple game

Burberry, one of the UK’s most recognized high-end fashion retailer’s, has pioneered the use of social media from back office to front sales staff. (Social Whirl, The Economist) The benefits that Enterprise 2.0 has brought to the company’s operations have allowed them to view the benefits of engaging with their customers in a very simple form of gamification and the existing Enterprise 2.0. Alluding to individual’s vanity and propensity to share pictures, Burberry hosts the Art of the Trench website where their customers can upload pictures of themselves in one of Burberry’s classic garments: The Trench Coat. There are more examples in this Forbes article

 “Leaderboards” are then presented by “Most Liked” and “Most Comments” categories; Burberry has leveraged the present need of individuals to be accepted, or “Liked” on social media to find out more about them. All of this by providing a trendy portal where their customers can interact, feel close to the brand, and rank each other; a simple game of ranking; a genius way to tap into your target segment’s thoughts and opinions.

Adidas’ miCRM

Another top international retailer that has combined the power of social media with gamification is Adidas with its micoach Soccer Iphone app.

ITunes Preview

The individual player can track his/her every move on the field with a built-in chip in his/her cleats. This entire information is uploaded to the micoach Soccer App where the player can share, compare and compete with other individuals by displaying their statistics. Adidas incorporates the users Facebook or Twitter accounts to create a profile and validate identities, as well as a place where participants can display the rewards granted in recognition by Adidas. In addition, Adidas provides credit that can be used to purchase footwear and apparel. Micoach Soccer engages the user while allowing Adidas to gather valuable customer information that it can leverage for its future product offerings, in an interactive type of CRM that is basically only bringing existing social media together with a proprietary app. Micoach has also been developed for other disciplines including Tennis, Running, and Basketball.

Businesses use Gamification to capture external audience’s attention and get them engaged; this same concept can be used for employees within a business grasping their full attention at work through the use of Enterprise 2.0 and engage them in work processes and functions through the use of games and activities.

Gamification could even be the future, where workers get paid only for services rendered. This could be achieved from home: as you complete tasks and projects, you get paid. Progress can be monitored through Enterprise 2.0/Game platform; hours/work put in is then paid on the agreed upon rate. The concept of Work Hard, Play Hard can take on a whole new meaning!

References :

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Creating value with successful WEBINARS

Traditional seminars are recognized as a very effective tool to build business relationships, build a brand and generate sales. Webinars offer the same advantages without the costs and time spend in travelling. Thus it is easier to target a great number of customers in an interactive way. Webinars are held “in live” on a topic that is of particular interest to the company’s target audience. They allow an important interaction during the event and when recorded, after it.

The best way to increase your webinar’s success is to generate value for your consumers.

An Osterman Research White Paper

 You generate value by:
  • Offering interesting information about your products, the industry trends, the technologies, the forecasts, the risks and issue etc.
  • Communicating with accuracy prior to the event the goal and the content of your webinar.
  • Allowing and encouraging questions and interactions with the public
  • Keeping it short and easy to understand. It should last less than one hour.
  • Closing with a wrap-up with contact information and a clear call-to-action
  • Offering something valuable at the end of the event, for example some valuable download or a gift. (Sales insider, 2012)
You make it successful and entertaining by:
  • Considering a different format (talk show, panel discussion, point-counterpoint, etc.)
  • Having presenters talking with enthusiasm and passion for the subject
  • Inviting a guest speaker and have more than one presenter
  • Interacting with real time polling and Q&A

  • Bolstering your presentation with real time demonstration, video and digital clip. Limit any clips to no more than 30 seconds. 

An Osterman Research White Paper

Make sure to capture value by :
  • Increasing the number of participants through efficient promotional strategy
  • Linking the webinar event with all you other marketing tools and social media channels
    •   Set up a Twitter hash tag for the event
    •   Create a Facebook and a LinkedIn Event
    •    Post the program and the background of the speakers on your blog
  • Leveraging your recorded content: Add it to your blog, and to your YouTube account, share the link on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Doing a quick follow-up : sending a thank you mail with the slides and interesting links. Send the recorded content to the no-show.
  • Making the interaction to last after the event: Follow-up on any questions not answered during live event and on the main question raised. Encourage people to keep posting questions on you social channels and provide quick and professional answers.
  • Measuring your success and ask for feedback

To conclude Webinars are a great tool that can be easily integrated into your social media and marketing strategy. They can help you to build your brand and to be considered as an expert by your clients and your peers. They foster the level of interaction you have with your prospect and clients. You will be able to communicate on your products but also to learn more about the expectations, the concerns and the issue from your consumers. You will develop your on-line presence, the trust and the satisfaction. As we say, practice makes perfect so get started.
Igor T.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dell Ideastorm: Groundbreaking crowdsourcing platform, atrophy, and 2012 renewal

In February 2007, Dell launched a groundbreaking ideation (and community engagement) crowdsourcing platform called Ideastorm.   In 2012, Dell updated Ideastorm in response to a community challenge to re-engage.  This story highlights that a company’s Social Media Strategy involves continuous engagement and renewal as well as rigor.   Robert Wollan et al. argue that rigor, part of the 5th “P” (People) of a Social Media enabled Marketing Mix, involves consistency and reliability of a company’s operations and how those operations deliver the right customer experience via Social Media.

Since Jeff Howe coined the “crowdsourcing” term in 2006, there has been a proliferation of applications and business models leveraging the “power of the crowd.”  Open Innovations and Ross Dawson provide good market mappings.    A number of corporations, ranging from Lego, Threadless, Starbucks, and Dell operate platforms targeted at engaging their customers for product, services and brand feedback.  The potential values include (1) greater customer involvement, engagement and Loyalty, (2) timely and richer, direct customer feedback, (3) higher granularity customer insight, and (4) access to new sources of ideas, potentially customer brainstormed.   

Ideastorm, essentially an online suggestion box, was unique when it launched during the early days of Social Media.  It was viewed as a bold, groundbreaking corporate initiative - enabling customers to openly engage Dell and each other (providing both negative and positive Dell feedback).  It was built on’s Ideas platform and featured an ideas voting/tagging system which was novel at the time.   Voting enabled community based ideas filtering.  An initially skeptical, Howe, would even later gush about Dell’s success.   Some of the key issues (loss of control concerns, change management, leadership involvement, competitive intelligence issues, ROI, etc.) for Social Media strategies highlighted by Wollan et al. are addressed in Dell’s Vida Killian video and written interviews.  Some success contributors included CEO drive (it was Michael Dell’s idea), Dell’s Direct to Customer Culture, and Dell’s Social Media culture change underway to address its earlier Dell Hell and related publicity fiascos that inflicted reputational and financial damage.  Negative or positive conversations were going to happen with our without Dell.  It was better to be involved.   Ideastorm was part of a Social Media strategy that ultimately would see Dell named 2011’s #1 most social brand of 100 top brands.   Over the 4 years since its inception, Ideastorm generated 15,000 idea submissions, 490 of which were implemented resulting in $100s of Millions ($10,000 average value per idea).  Members generated approximately 50% more revenue than non-members with over 50% in the top decile of LTV scores.

Six Years of Experiments and Experience
(Source:  B. Johnston, Dell)
As Dell slowly shifted focus from its on-board platforms, Ideastorm became a victim of its own success.   Dell’s participation waned, the platform atrophied, and ideas piled up.   Many diehard members stayed, engaging each other despite Dell.  Advocates turned into critics.  Dell’s Bill Johnston notes that “They thought that Dell had become disrespectful.   Dell took notice.  End-Of-Life or renewal?   An analysis of corporate benefits and customer needs resulted in the March 2012 launch of an updated Ideastorm.   The platform was modernized including better profile integration with other Social Media platforms.  New tools were introduced to improve voting, idea triaging, idea archival, and idea evolution (iteration and mashups).  Better contributor recognition was introduced including from the Dell Community Rockstar program.  Most importantly, the backend process was improved with greater Dell Idea Partners involvements - more Dell representatives as well as 28 corporate partners, that represent various stakeholder divisions. Dell even hired one of its advocate-turned-critic to help improve community engagement.

Ideastorm 2.0 Platform
(Source:  B. Johnston, Dell)

Ideastorm 2.0:  Updated Idea Management Process
(Source:  B. Johnston, Dell)
Note:  Ideastorm 2.0 incorporated some SBUX best practices.  Ironically, Michael Dell had earlier shared his experiences with Howard Schultz to help them build SBUX's mystarbucksidea platform.  Both use's Ideas platform.