Category Archives: Social Media/Technology

Twitter in the classroom to assist not distract?

Happy Monday everybody!

I’m actually preparing to fly to Melbourne this afternoon for a group HR planning day tomorrow. I’m pretty excited because I have managed to snag 30 mins on the agenda to talk about opportunities for HR in Social Media.

It is a rapidly growing area- and one that can’t be ignored.

Once I’ve finalised the presentation I’m happy to share it so stay tuned.

In the meantime though, I came across this video this morning and thought it may be worth sharing.

I studied my Masters by distance and whilst I really enjoyed it- I just wonder how much better it could have been had they embraced some social media tools. Have a look and see what you think.


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Learning from epic fails and making things better next time

Last year at my work we had a handful of students join us for a summer vacation scholarship program here in Sydney and also in Melbourne. Although the students seemed to have a good time, I’ll be the first to admit that there were a number of…. let’s call them key learnings.

To start with, despite advertising 6 projects on various university websites in Sydney and Melbourne we actually only managed to fill 5 of them. 1205 people looked at the positions, but only 40 people applied.

Many of the applications were unsuitable, and one of the candidates was appointed and terminated less than two weeks later for unsatisfactory conduct. The responsibility of the recruitment and supervision of this position was handed from the supervisor to a young person who had only just arrived in Australia a few weeks before.

So what did we learn? In a nutshell:

• Our advertising strategy wasn’t very effective. The project descriptions were full of jargon and possibly intimidated applicants. As a result we didn’t receive a good amount of quality applications
• Supervisors didn’t conduct proper interviews with the students and poor selection choices were made
• We didn’t promote the program while it was happening or engage students that we hope to recruit in the future
• We didn’t have any information on the experience of the students to use as advertising material for the next year i.e. no photos, videos or accounts of what happened or why others should participate
• We didn’t promote the company as a great place to work for young Australian uni students

Sounds pretty hideous and like a bit of an epic fail. So this year, I put together a plan and my management team actually gave me a workable budget to get it going.


So here’s a bit of my plan:

PHASE ONE: Awareness

The purpose of this initial phase is raise general awareness around the Program. We would achieve this by utilising low cost channels such as contacting lecturers and university staff (we would create a flyer for them to circulate), and updating the web site to announce the upcoming program.

In addition we can set-up a Facebook fan page to enable students to post enquiries and ask questions in real time to gain insights into what they can expect during the Student Scholarship Program.

Getting last year’s participants to upload photos and their experiences from the previous year and join the group would be a great way to ensure engaging content is available to entice students into applying.

Setting up an email account and ask people to register their interest would allow us to create a database of people interested in the program who we could email with information as it becomes available.

PHASE TWO: Advertising

Phase two will focus on driving registrations for the Program. There will of course be advertising posted on the Careers site, but in addition we will utilise University Career hubs and specialised graduate recruitment sites such as GradConnection to advertise our projects.

PHASE THREE: Sharing the experience

Phase three will focus on promoting the student experience while also allowing us to engage other students interested in working in the industry. This additionally creates a supply of content that can readily be utilised in next year’s efforts to promote the Program.

Students taking part in the program will be invited to contribute to a blog about their experiences and upload video/photos through this system. These can then be viewed and commented upon (comments will be moderated) by families, friends and other students.

The introduction of a blog allows the opportunity to create additional content such as Podcasts from scientists explaining what it is like to work here and why they are passionate about their jobs. All content can be promoted through the communication channels established in phase one.

PHASE FOUR: Promoting Big Day In (presentations of projects by students).

Phase four will focus on promoting awareness of the Big Day In. A Media release will announce the event publically while the Blog can push information to the existing user base. It would be great to have a live online stream from the day’s event allowing outsiders which may not be able to make it to take advantage of the presentations. In addition users could vote for their favourite presentations online. All presentations can be filmed and posted to the blog after the event (or kept as content to advertise next year’s event). Not sure how much of this is possible, but you have to dream big sometimes 🙂

Whilst this approach hasn’t been completely smooth sailing because I’m not as tech savvy as I’d like to be and there are some restrictions and processes that need to be followed when working in government, I am very excited about what’s to come.

After just one week we have already had 502 views and 17 great applications. I hope they keep coming in because it’s a fantastic opportunity to gain real work experience. I’ll keep you posted with how we go. Fingers crossed!


Filed under Recruitment, Social Media/Technology

Smarter Workforce; Government Leadership Forum

This week I was fortunate enough to be asked to attend the Smarter Workforce Government Leadership Forum hosted by IBM in Canberra. I was invited by my Executive Director for HR because he needed to take along a Gen Y’er, and seeing as I was familiar with the technology being discussed it was a good opportunity for me to talk about this stuff and its application specifically to the public sector.

The idea of the forum was to talk about how social networking technologies and Web 2.0 can help the public sector work in more efficient ways.

Public sector and efficiency? I can hear some sniggers already but I’ll persist. Although there are those jokes floating around like:

Q. Why don’t public servants look out the window first thing in the morning?
A. Because they’d have nothing to do in the afternoon

I would like to say that there are loads of public sector employees that are really passionate about what they do and work really hard.

IBM Forum

Time to get off the soap box now and tell you about the forum. Stephen Collins of Acidlabs (@trib) was opening speaker and you can catch his speech here.

One of the best things about this opening speech is the definition of Government 2.0.

Government 2.0 is not specifically about social networking or technology based approaches to anything. It represents a fundamental shift in the implementation of government — toward an open, collaborative, cooperative arrangement where there is (wherever possible) open consultation, open data, shared knowledge, mutual acknowledgment of expertise, mutual respect for shared values and an understanding of how to agree to disagree. Technology and social tools are an important part of this change but are essentially an enabler in this process.

It’s not just talking about using things like twitter or facebook, but it’s about being more collaborative and knocking downs the barriers to creativity and efficiency that often plagues government workplaces.

This kinda set the scene for the day with some attendees at the forum arguing that the government needs to be more transparent with the public (but that first they would need to be transparent internally with employees) and that fear is actually stopping governments from embracing these changes which could improve efficiency.

Others were maintaining that communication needed to be properly checked before it was released and this takes time. Consequences include being answerable to the minister etc. It isn’t a risk many are willing to take.

Essentially, in using some of these technologies we are asking the government agencies to let go of the control of their brand which is not something Comms staff are ready to do at this point. What if someone says something offensive? What if staff say bad things about our agency? Can we trust our staff with this technology?

For starters, if people are saying bad things about your workplace they are already saying it. To their friends, in meetings, in the corridors, via email etc. These new technologies just gives the agency an opportunity to respond to the comments. Acknowledge mistakes where necessary or offer to take the issue offline to be discussed in greater detail if required.

Secondly, there are still laws in place. People can’t just go around and say whatever they want online and not suffer the consequences.

For instance in Western Australia, an academic was charged for defamatory statements which were published in an online science bulletin board (Rindos v Hardwick). Harwick made a statement which imputed that Rindos had engaged in sexual activity with a minor and that his entire career has been built not on field research at all, but on his ability to berate and bully. Whilst gossiping is rife within most workplaces, these statements were published online where approximately 23,000 academics and students have access internationally and subsequently Hardwick was ordered to pay $40,000 in damages to Rindos as he couldn’t justify the comments. People will need to be accountable for the things they say online, and having the right guidelines and policies in place will help you with this.

Finally, I actually reminded the group that people first thought the internet was scary and that we couldn’t trust people with having an email account. Sounds silly now, but at the time people were concerned. These days almost everyone has a work email address and often personal accounts as well.

I wonder if we will look back on web 2.0 technologies and think the same thing?

*More posts and information to come about this forum

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What are you ALLOWED to view at work? The grey area of social media in the workplace

Last week when I was chairing the Australian Employment and Workplace Relations Summit, the very last panel featured Pete Williams from Deloitte Digital and so the conversation skewed towards social media and what companies allow employees to access.

I mentioned that in my workplace, I have access to everything. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube- the lot- and I know it may sound silly, but I honestly don’t think I could work somewhere that didn’t allow me access to these sites. One of my friends can’t even look at this blog. Why am I so passionate about it? Because it helps me do my job.

Twitter- is awesome. It has allowed me to meet so many fantastic people (in HR and other industries) located in Sydney, greater Australia and across the world. Some of these people I’ve met in person, others just online- and others have become really good friends.

If I have a question about something, it’s a great pool of resources to draw upon. Invaluable to my work and mental sanity as the rest of my team is located in Melbourne. I also get access to so many fantastic articles and blog entries this way.


Facebook– I don’t use facebook as much for work, but in saying that I don’t spend very long on there each day. I have it as an app on my iPhone so I do the check-ins on facebook when I’m bored.

LinkedIn– another fantastic way to meet people that share the same interests as you, and share articles, information and personal experiences.

Youtube– an excellent resource for training, learning and creating entertaining presentations. We all know its important mix up the media you use (in order to escape death by PowerPoint), and it gets people engaged and sometimes excited about what they are seeing. Video has the power to invoke an emotional response- which is great for HR.

And as Laurel Papworth (Australia’s foremost social media expert) said recently in HR Monthly, “Anyone who would waste a huge amount of time on Facebook at work would only switch to email, internet surfing or playing solitaire online. Timewasters waste time. Don’t blame the tool!”

So what is your stance on this, or what does your organisation allow you to access at work? I know I’m Gen Y, and that is my perspective because it how I work- but I’m keen to hear a range of other perspectives.

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Thanks to Desired Hair, and Michael Specht for sponsoring HR Club Sydney

In the whirlwind that was last week, I didn’t get a chance to thank my sponsors for the first HR Club Sydney Event and I wanted to give them the recognition they deserved and get the details right.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Alex and Laura of Desired Hair (the hair extension specialists) for generously sponsoring the three lucky door prizes for the night.

Desired Hair provides high quality 100% human hair extensions at wholesale prices direct to the public. They also sell accessories (such as the hair straightener we gave the lovely Peta on the night) and you can even book a Hair Extension Party. Please visit for all the details.

Desired Hair

Secondly I would like to thank Michael Specht for his donation of the “Australian Corporate Careers Website Report” and the “21st Century Guide to Recruiting” as an exclusive free offer to HR Club Sydney members.

Michael is currently running his own consulting business, Inspecht, specialising in HR technology and the application of Web 2.0 tools and techniques for companies of all sizes, called “Enterprise 2.0“. Michael has a unique views on how social media can be used by organisations to enhance the employer brand and attract the best people to work for your organisation.

He is a regular speaker on HR technology for the Australian Human Resource Institute and has been involved in their HRIS Special Interest Group. In addition to writing this blog he actively participates in the conversation around Web 2.0, social software and the impact on organisations and management practices.

If you are interested in hearing Michael speak, you can catch him at the ATC (Australasian Talent Conference) Conference on Social Media in Melbourne, December 3rd this year.

ATC Social Media

Here is a blurb about the conference:

In 2009, you are invited to join some of Australia’s most forward-thinking leaders and experts in the social media and recruitment at the ATC’s new sister event to be held in Melbourne.
The day will include first-hand insights from internationally recognised speakers, as well as hearing from real company case studies and participating in interactive workshops designed to encourage participation. The series of interactive sessions are designed to leverage the combined wisdom of the Australian recruitment industry, allowing you to learn from the experiences of industry peers.
The speakers will address issues such as, how to measure the ROI of social media; how to integrate social media into your recruitment strategy, digital branding, talent pooling and the impact of social media on graduate recruitment.
But this is no ordinary conference. What’s different about this event is that it is a hybrid between a traditional conference and an ‘Unconference’, meaning part of the agenda will be developed by the attendees. The Unconference sessions will allow you, the attendees, to influence the event program, ensuring the issues you want to hear about are discussed and the event can provide solutions for a range of workplace challenges.

Find out more about ATC on Social Media or email me for your free copy of the “Australian Corporate Careers Website Report” and the “21st Century Guide to Recruiting” by Michael Specht.

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Filed under Events, Recruitment, Social Media/Technology

Social Media and HR

Social Media is being talked about a lot lately. We’ve seen news break first on twitter, employees are fired for things on facebook and politicians like Obama and Kevin Rudd use it as part of campaign strategies or as a means to connect with the public.

It’s also becoming a way for organisations to build relationships with people, join the conversation, build brand awareness and recruit/attract staff.

So what is Social Media?

“Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).” (Wikipedia)

So we’re talking about blogs, twitter, facebook, and social bookmarking sites like Digg or Delicious.

Social networking websites are online communities of people who share interests and activities, and who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. They typically provide a variety of ways for users to interact through chat, messaging, email, video, file-sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and images.
I’ll be presenting at my organization soon on where we can go with social media from a HR perspective, so I’ll share that with you when I can. However, I think that social media has huge potential for your personal development. I’ve learned so much off other people, some of whom I’ve met in person and others that I’ve just communication with online.

Social Media

In the meantime, if you are interested I recommend you have a read of Michael Specht’s blog and his list of 52 Social Media ideas for HR and Recruitment.

If you are interested in connecting, HR Club Sydney has a facebook fan page and we’re also on twitter and LinkedIn.

Do you use Social Media and if ‘yes’, what do you use it for? If ‘no’, what has stopped you?

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The Secret Business of Social Networking. Lee Hopkins at the AHRI National Convention

Lee Hopkins- Director of Buzz
Check out his blog

Lee Hopkins

“Lee Hopkins is a management psychologist with over 20 years experience of helping businesses communicate better for better business results. An internationally sought-after speaker, Lee combines his passion for employee and online business communication with his dynamic presentation skills to create ‘once seen, never forgotten’ live experiences.”

Scepticism still surrounds the use of social networking sites at work for many organisations. Can this new technology be tapped to achieve business outcomes and what are the potential positive and negative implications for organisations?

I’m fairly engrossed in the Social media scene already (I’m a member of the Social Media Club Sydney) so Lee’s presentation was introductory for me, but judging from the amount of questions and engagement he had from the HR professionals in the room- this is an area that needs to be explored much further.

Lee argues that social networking is now much bigger than email- its one of the largest ways that we get information. However it’s important to follow the Social media ethos; which is about trust, transparency and accountability. Gone are the days when companies could not admit mistakes- social media has actually encouraged companies to come forward and concede errors in the interest of being transparent and accountable.

See an example here

He then illustrated the power of social media by playing us a clip of an AOL customer trying to cancel his account. The customer had to wait on hold for more than 15 minutes, and then asks to cancel the account. It’s a frustrating call to listen to as the customer repeatedly says “cancel the account” and “I don’t know to make this any clearer”. The AOL rep refuses to budge and even asks to speak with the customer’s father even though the customer is 30 years old.

The customer then put the call on his blog, and it went viral. Due to its popularity, the customer was interviewed by many television and radio stations including CNBC. To date, it has had more than 250, 000 views on YouTube.

Lee also spoke a bit about Second Life- which to be honest I’m not a huge fan of.

According to their website: “Second Life is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its Residents. From the moment you enter Second Life, you’ll discover a fast-growing digital world filled with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity.”

Many organisations have already jumped onto Second Life including Xerox and IBM. They use it hold ‘virtual’ meetings, conferences, training sessions and they even simulate business situations and build product prototypes.

You might want to read more on this by checking out the IBM case study.

Overall the key message was that Social Media isn’t something companies should rush into. It’s important to conduct a risk analysis, develop clear policies, and ensure that your employees are trained.

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