Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Why Blog?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

By Cindy Miller, Guest Blogger
Cindy Miller Communications

Let’s face it: Most of us are not going to see a whole lot of zeroes behind the number of hits on our blog.  So why bother?

Yes, it’s time consuming, but here’s why blogging makes sense:

  1. Blogging can be incorporated into professional development. There is no shortage of information flowing through the Internet, and the discipline of blogging forces you to take the time to actually read some of it, form opinions and adapt new thinking into your work. This is a good challenge for your executive team, and for others throughout the company.
  2. You can establish members of your staff as thought leaders. When it comes to blog readership, it’s quality, not quantity that really matters.  If you use an effective social media strategy to promote your blog, you’ll expose your expertise to the right people.  And that leads to business.
  3. It’s part of your business development. A collection of blog entries tells a prospective client a lot about you, your work and your approach to business.
  4. You can make any size company more personal. A blog can share information about your company that helps fuel the type of culture you want. Share exceptional stories — and some ordinary ones, too — to help link your employees together. This can be especially helpful for companies that have multiple locations.

Blogging can get you noticed in just the way you want to be perceived.  That’s smart promotion.

*****

Cindy Miller is the president of Cindy Miller Communications, an Atlanta-based company that specializes in strategy, crisis and social media. Learn more at www.CindyMillerCommunications.com or contact Cindy at Cindy@CindyMillerCommunications.com.

Playing with Legos®: It’s not just fun and games

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

 

Last week I participated in the Florida Creativity Weekend (as both a facilitator and participant).  On Friday I co-facilitated a Strategic Play® with Legos® workshop with my colleague (and brother) David Lunken, Cedar Croft Advisors .  The workshop focused on Building Connections – Literally & Metaphorically w/Strategic Play® and Lego® in the workplace — by building a variety of Lego® structures and telling stories about them.  The real learning comes not in creating the structures but in telling the stories about what you created and listening to stories from the group.  Storytelling is the key to this process and it’s used in a style that combines auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning.

In last week’s group, most participants did not know each other. The group was divided into two teams, and we included icebreakers and energizers throughout the day to help them connect and learn more about each other. As the day progressed and the builds became more complex, individuals developed into team members and created the foundation for deeper relationships.  This was evident when members presented each other with gifts and shared stories to explain the gift, as well as in the final build that required individual strengths to form a cohesive team structure.

It was an amazing experience to watch the team development and to hear what participants learned.  It was a day of fun, play and lots of WOW!

Interested in bringing some WOW! into your team… let us know how we can help!

Hiring Managers … Helping or Hurting the Process?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

 

“In the last few years, corporate recruiters have mastered new tools and disciplines – social sourcing, building online talent communities, talent branding, etc. It’s time for hiring managers to up their game too, contribute more actively to the hiring process and build a true strategic partnership.”
- Francois Dufour, 5 Ways Hiring Managers Fall Short on (Working With) Recruiting

We could not agree more.  Hiring managers have an obligation to ‘step up their game’ and take an active role in the hiring process – hence the name “Hiring Manager.”  From our perspective, some of the same problems that are identified in the article above apply to Recruiters.

Consider these ideas:

  1. Use the Company Persona to help recruiting have a clear picture of the type of person you want to hire.  You can modify existing Personas to meet the unique needs of your department or team.
  2. Enlist your Ambassadors. Social media, job boards and typical recruiting venues are good but not always the place to find the right employees.  Great employees usually have great friends.  Enlist your best employees to help you find potential new hires.  If they love what they do, they are out there raving about the company. That can work for you.
  3. Be part of the process. This means not only being involved in the pre-boarding process of recruiting and selection but once the offer has been made, the Hiring Manager must lead the onboarding process.  The faster a new employee is connected and engaged the more productive and satisfied she will be.

Hiring Managers play a critical role in identifying, connecting and engaging the right talent. Don’t take the job for granted. It takes time, effort and thinking outside the box to find the right people,for the right job, with the right company.

 

What’s Your Company Persona?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

 

Persona:  A fictional person who represents a potential employee for your organization.

A persona helps identify major characteristics and traits that are important to your organization. It helps identify people who will be most effective in your organization.  When considering what traits or characteristics to focus on, go beyond skills to include areas such as personality, demographics and years experience.

Why Create a Persona?

A better question is to ask, why not? Wouldn’t it be nice to share a visual representation of your ideal employee? It’s not like you are tearing a picture from a magazine and sending it around the office.  Creating a personal takes thought, work and insight.  It requires you to accurately describe company culture and values and articulate why someone would be successful in your organization.  It takes time, energy and teamwork to create a useful persona.

Getting Started

Gather magazines, markers, scissors, glue and flip charts to use to develop your visual representation.

  1. Create a name for the person if you like.
  2. Add detailed background information, such as education, experience, and location.
  3. List values, and how this person will support the company values.
  4. Identify personality traits and actions that will be important to succeed at your company.
  5. Describe your company culture, including the informal environment and how this person will fit into your company
  6. Gather other important details about your company

If you are intrigued by this process and want more information on Creating Your Company Persona, contact Nettie Nitzberg of WOW! transformations.

Talent: The Hot Topic for 2014

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

 

2014 is the year for Talent. Companies need to keep their eye on their talent, as well as re-invest in their people.  Studies show that 2014 is the year people will finally consider or make a job move. Add to this the fact that organizations looking to retain talent are expected to spend money on learning and development.

What are you doing to find this talent hitting the job market?

What are you doing to develop your talent?

How are you keeping employees satisfied and productive?

#1: Recruiting and Selection: One in Five Workers Plan to Change Jobs in 2014. Twenty-one percent of full-time employees plan to change jobs in 2014, the largest amount in the post-recession era and up from 17 percent in 2013, according to a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive from Nov. 6 to Dec. 2. The survey participants included 3,008 full-time, private sector employees across industries and company sizes.

#2:  Job Satisfaction: A drop in job satisfaction may account for the expected rise in turnover. Fifty-nine percent of workers are satisfied with their jobs, down from 66 percent in 2013; 18 percent are dissatisfied, up from 15 percent last year. Those who are dissatisfied cite concerns over salary (66 percent) and not feeling valued (65 percent) most often as reasons for their dissatisfaction, according to the Harris Interactive survey.

#3: Talent Development:  In November and December of 2013, Corporate Learning Network surveyed dozens of learning and development leaders. Here are key findings:

  • Learning and training is hot again. After years of reduced budgets, more than half of learning and training leaders surveyed projected increased budgets in 2014. YEAH!
  • Classroom training still accounts for the majority of spending, but L&D leaders continue to allocate more funds to blended learning. GREAT IDEA!
  • Aligning learning with the company’s growth objectives tops the list of how learning and training executives plan their future budgets allocations.  A MUST!
  • Two in five learning and training leaders are not aware of their competitors’ learning and training methods. This is a major blind spot. YIKES!

Talent on the move can be an opportunity or liability for your company. Which will it be?

Survey Says…

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

“One in Five Workers Plan to Change Jobs in 2014 …” read more

“Many Employed Workers Haven’t Sought A
New Job In Years …”  read more  

 

What both surveys indicate is that 2014 looks like the year the job market turns around.  “Twenty-one percent of full-time employees plan to change jobs in 2014, the largest amount in the post-recession era and up from 17 percent in 2013,” according to the survey conducted online by Harris Interactive.  However, respondents expect the effort to challenging.

What does this mean for employers?

Retention and Engagement is critical. Ramp up initiatives that keep employees happy and involved.

  • Review current development programs and make sure they are better than your competitors.
  • Give thanks to employees as a lasting reminder of your appreciation. Make formal rewards and recognition a part of your company culture.
  • Ask employees what they need through surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews.

Experienced talent will be hitting the marketplace. Now is the time to review your hiring practices, make sure your recruiting message is effective, and you are prepared.

  • Clear communication should reflect the personality of your organization to attract and connect with the right talent, as well as retain existing employees.
  • Ensure the acquisition and hiring team is in alignment from sourcing talent to interviewing for skills, competencies and culture fit.
  • Use existing employees to act as talent ambassadors.

Take a look inside your organization. This is a good time to complete an Employee Audit. The Audit is an evaluation that identifies how people move through the employee lifecycle from acquisition > onboarding > development > departure.

  • Assess the entire relationship to uncover what is working and what can be strengthened.
  • Take a hard look at systems, processes and development initiatives to clarify strategic priorities, solutions that will address people pains, and talent hurdles that your organization may face in 2014.
  • Create a plan to address challenges to avoid losing key employees.
  • Evaluate your acquisition process to take advantage of key talent hitting the market.

Be prepared for change. Losing employees, hiring new employees or retaining existing talent all require change. With the talent outlook in 2014 changing, it is time for organizations to make smart decisions about investment in the people they seek, hire and retain.

Renewed optimism about the job market can be an asset or a liability for your company. Which will it be?  

Company Culture is a Competitive Advantage

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

 

At WOW! transformations, we’re scanning the news for the latest ideas on employee engagement. Here’s a summary to a recent Boston Globe article. Want to read the entire piece? Click here.

In competitive markets for talent, a company’s culture can help recruiting, but the most glamorous perks may not be the most effective.  Flexibility of scheduling is high on the list of cultural assets, as are transparency, teamwork and all the goodies like free beer, food and swag.

More important, however, are benefits that advance careers.  These include sabbatical programs, the chance to work with smart people on winning teams, and the likelihood of enhanced career opportunities.

Here’s one of the happy irony when local companies compete for talent: Everyone wins.  Why?  Work will flow to where the jobs are, so as new companies enter a region, the availability of jobs increases and the talent pool expands.

Learn more about how WOW! transformations can help create the culture you want at www.wowtransformations.com.

Helping You Transform Your Talent…Part 3: Connecting Talent

Monday, December 16th, 2013

CONNECT PEOPLE PROBLEMS

  • Are you stumped when asked to describe your company culture?
  • Do you fill seats instead of sourcing talent for organizational fit?
  • Is your messaging confusing prospects and employees?

SOLUTION

Your company culture doesn’t have to change as your organization evolves. Clear communication should reflect the personality of your organization and attract the right talent, as well as retain existing employees. We look for disconnects between the company’s culture and the people it is seeking. We also measure the effectiveness of the recruiting message. Once the company personality is identified and the messaging is developed, you’ll put this information to use to find the right talent. We call this stage Connecting.

DELIVERABLE

Here is an example of how we helped Mobiquity refine and communicate its company culture.

“We put what we learned from WOW! transformations to work immediately,” said Susan Miele, Mobiquity’s Chief People Officer. “The Culture Audit gave us a great snapshot of where we were, and the steps that followed gave us concrete ideas to use to find the right solutions to our people problems. We now have a great foundation that we will continue to build on as we grow.”  

Assignment: WOW! transformations, partnering with the Human Resources department of Mobiquity, led a three-month culture and communications initiative to help them through a huge transformation.  Propelled by rapid growth, company executives expected to hire more than 90 people in six months to staff its offices around the United States. To ensure they were sourcing and selecting the right talent, it was critical that the executive team, key stakeholders, HR and hiring managers reached consensus on the type of people they wanted to hire.  WOW! helped leadership clearly define the ideal candidates to work in this rapidly changing and growing organization, and convey a clear, concise and consistent message about the organization.

Strategy & Tactics Used: WOW! transformations took a phased approach to meet the organization’s needs.

1: The Culture Audit
The Culture Audit identified how people move through the employee lifecycle and what matters to them. It consisted of one-on-one interviews, focus groups, review of existing information, as well as a review of systems, processes and development initiatives to address what’s not working throughout the organization.
Deliverable: Along with the data collected, The Culture Audit Report, presented in a narrative format, identified strategic priorities, recommendations, and solutions to address the organization’s people and process issues.

2: Culture Workshop and Communications Brainstorm Session
WOW! facilitated a one-day culture workshop with the executive team and key stakeholders to work on strategic priorities identified in The Culture Audit Report and ensure buy-in and follow-through on the top three initiatives to move the organization forward regarding programs, people, and practices. Priorities included creating company personas to use in recruiting, hiring and performance management; identifying core values; and identifying internal communications methods to get the word out.

Following the culture workshop, a half-day communications work session was held with the Marketing and HR teams to identify target audiences and to begin development of messaging to be used in the internal Communications Plan.
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3: Communications Plan and Documentation
As a result of the communications work session and information gathered during the Culture Workshop, a detailed Communications Plan was created to provide consistent messaging to articulate the organization’s personality and core behaviors; to ensure internal and external communication is consistent; and to support the sourcing, selection and retention of people who best fit the culture.

RESULTS

Mobiquity has been very busy implementing initiatives that resulted from The Culture Audit.  Here is what the company has done to date:

  • Identified its core values, developing five statements into a summary it calls “What Matters to Us”
  • Produced an internal video to explain The Culture Audit and top initiatives resulting from The Audit; as well as roll-out of “What Matters to Us”
  • Created personas for both employees and managers to use in recruiting, competency development and performance management
  • Developed a plan for an Intranet site to share information and support new hires in the onboarding process.

Helping You Transform Your Talent Part 2: The Audit

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Identify the “People Pain” at your organization:  

  • Talent and culture don’t match up.
  • Hit or miss communications create lost opportunities and leaves employees confused.
  • Ineffective new hire ramp-up means employees never get off the launch pad or, worse yet, never get anywhere once they do.
  • Your best employees running for the exit.

Now, how do you identify what is working, what needs to change and how to achieve results?  It all begins with the Employee Lifecycle Audit.

What is the Employee Lifecycle Audit?

This diagnostic evaluation helps us assess the relationship between employer and employee to uncover where that relationship is weak. That means taking a hard look at systems, processes and development initiatives, and devising a plan to address what’s wrong through our *beyondboarding™ solutions – CONNECTING-ENGAGING-GROWING talent.

The Audit includes:

  • Culture messaging
  • Handoff from acquisition to internal HR
  • Orientation practices
  • Job-specific needs
  • Culture knowledge
  • Employee growth and development initiatives

Once we have completed The Audit, we compile and deliver The Audit Report.  This narrative lays out strategic priorities, recommendations, and solutions to address people pain issues. It also includes the actual audit results and is our springboard for creating custom solutions to overcome your people pains.


*BEYONDBOARDING™ is a strategic focus on employee and organizational growth and development. It begins before an employee joins a company and continues throughout his lifetime of service with that organization. We refer to this as the employee lifecycle.


Helping You Transform Your Talent

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

 

After two years of our transformation into the New England market, we are fully settled in Boston and are excited to share with you the details of our new services. We are thankful to everyone we met and helped and supported us in this journey!

 

This five-part series will breakdown what we do, how we do it and the successful results we have achieved. It has been quite a period of transition and we are really excited where we have landed, the great people we are meeting and cool new clients we are working with. We have re-branded (slightly) and have re-launched our website. Check out the new WOW! and see how we can help your company or your colleagues business.

Our services begin with understanding your PEOPLE PAINS.

 

Is your business suffering?

When we thought about what we do best, we realized it all stemmed out of the people challenges many businesses face. When you think about your organization, do any of these “People Pains” resonate:

  • Talent and culture don’t match up?
  • Hit or miss communications that create lost opportunities and leaves employees confused?
  • Ineffective new hire ramp-up — employees never get off the launch pad or, worse yet, never get anywhere once they do?
  • Your best employees running for the exit?

Many of the companies we talk with can relate to these challenges. You spend a lot of money hiring and retaining your employees. What is really challenging are making smart talent decisions!

Not just hiring someone to put a warm butt in the chair but ensuring you are hiring the right person for your company culture.

Ensuring that your communications to prospective employees are consistent – what they read on the website, hear from the recruiter, talk about with the hiring manager are all the same message.

Creating a process to ensure assimilation to organization, and new job happen in a consistent way but can be customized for the new role someone has been hired to do.

And, growing your talent. Wouldn’t it be exciting to talk about career development and professional growth as part of your company’s culture? What a great way to help your organization stand out from the crowd and be a place to develop, grow and retain top talent.

All of this is possible if you find the right business partner who can help you make smart decisions about the people you bring into your organization. Our goal is to help you orchestrate the ways in which you CONNECT – ENGAGE – GROW your talent.

To learn more about how we assess what an organization is doing well and gaps they have stay tuned to Part 2: The Audit.