People communities evolve from job boards #SHRM12 #DICELOUNGE

I’m in the #DiceLiveLounge at #SHRM12. My friend John Sumser is holding court, with Tom Silver, from our hosts @employersondice. John is asking about the changing role of job boards, and the job market in general. It’s inspiring to hear Tom speaking about what their technical candidates and employers want from Dice. it is a bit of a cross-breed. between the traditional job board,where there are jobs and they are easy to navigate, and the need for genuine community where technical people can connect and share. He talks of the need to provide development opportunity, and that a big part of the community aspect is helping people to identify where they need to reskill, and providing both the community infrastructure and access to development resources.
Tech is the growing part of the economy, and it is where the talent shortage.is, and that there is opportunity in retraining that the community wants. Asking the question on what the job seekers are actually doing when they arrive at the dice site. It is easy to add funky features that look cool, the acid teat is if anyone really uses them. It was interesting to hear from Tom that the community features, which are largely self-managed are the fastest growing sections of the site. It seems that there is a real appetite for more than just jobs, and for recognisable social features. The user behavior shows why job boards need to be thinking community, and community by members rather than by management. What I would call the community DJ approach.

When you go to the Dice.Com site, the first thing you notice is the social feel. It looks more like a blog than a job board. the first link is to sign up for the talent communities. The navigation is also deadly simple with very limited clicks. I think this is key to keeping users on the site, allowing them to go where they want to go with limited effort. There’s 12 separate talent communities from android developers to on-line games developers. People in the tech space want to connect by peer group. The user features within the communities are more Mashable than job board,, with follows, shares, connect and more. It’ is an exciting change from the job listing format.

Talent expert John Sumser says: “Dice was the original talent community. It began life as an online bulletin board for tech contractors in the pre-web days. Over the years, the universe of technical talent has always come to dice to figure out tech issues and find the next gig. Today, they are reawakening their roots.”

The Dice Tech Talk forum has over 35,000 active users, it is a hive of discussion and activity. The communities are an extension  of this, and are the fastest growing feature on the site by users. As Sumser points out, the principles aren’t new, but in my opinion, the appetite among users is at its highest, driven by social traffic. traffic coming from a social source, want to feel they are landing in a social place, with all the features they recognise from the more traditional social channels. This is perhaps the template of what job boards need to become, where jobs and CV uploads take second place to community, and a reason for belonging.


Disclaimer: The posts for #SHRM12 are sponsored by Dice.Com. the content and views are my own. It’s a post I wasn’t asked to write, and one that I feel needs sharing.

#SHRM12 Opening Keynote: Condoleezza Rice: tapping human potential #SHRM12 #DICE

I’m at #SHRM12 Atlanta along with 15000 other people crammed in to a huge auditorium,. I’m blooging live from the #DICELOUNGE with a gang of bloggers.. It looks more like a rock concert the logistics have been fantastic, with over 700 volunteers making sure all the guests are looked after. Rice opens by talking about how 9/11 changed Americas perception of security, and how the global recession has had the same effect in destroying a sense of long term security.Rice says that at the moment she feels a sense of people being tired. Worn down by wars, unemployment and debt. She is an inspiring speaker as you would expect.

Rice talks passionately about the need to solve the problem of education, She feels that it hasn’t mattered in the past where you came from, but where your going, and that the education postcode lottery is damaging this principle. The United States has been the best at creating opportunity for all, but that the standard of education in some areas is threatening this. Only 70% of young people can now pass the test to join the army.

Rice tells her own story, of how she started out in the state of Alabama,  as a child where the places she could eat were restricted due to race. She was brought up with a belief that she would have to be twice as good to get ahead, and that was presented as a point of fact rather than an opinion. What she recognised was that she was given the opportunity to learn by a good quality of education. She feels this is what needs fixing in society, to close the gap between academic standards and what is needed to create opportunity. Depriving people of this is what will create a generation without hope, and with that, civil unrest. It’s a big point, and one that applies across the world. The future lies in tapping in to all human potential, and this will only come by giving everyone access to high quality education to get them started.

I feel inspired by Rices opening, and look forward to what is coming, Thanks to @employersondice for the opportunity.


This a sponsored post brought to you by by Dice.Com. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Engaging Employees (With Infogphic from @madisonpgroup) #SHRM12

It’s going to be a busy week here in Atlanta. I’ve just got in and my body is confused because it thinks it is 8.00am and I should be getting up, whilst the time is 3.00am and I should be sleeping! I left Amsterdam this morning after a great #truAmsterdam. The events seem to be getting better and better. During the event I took part in a broadcast hangout with Steven Duque from Bullhorn. I love this format, which lends itself to informality. Google+ air enables you to embed a view widget anywhere, and coming soon you are going to be able to broadcast live on to your YouTube channel. I think this is brilliant. I’m going to be scheduling weekly hang outs with different friends that I meet around the globe to talk social recruiting. Keep your eyes out for the dates. I also think that Google+ hangouts are great places for team meets and air presents a good opportunity for teams to share a message when they might be divided by geography.
To kill time whilst waiting to sleep, I’ve been catching up on my e-mails. This infographic from the Madison Performance Group caught my eye, and I think is worth sharing. Whilst it’s not rocket science to figure out that engaged employees or brand advocates with a passion for their company are more productive and committed, some of the numbers from the displayed research are quite interesting.
On the topic of employee engagement and the social systems that support them, it was interesting to note that Yammer changed hands this week in a deal worth over $1.2bn as reported by Forbes. The buyer was none other than Microsoft. I know Yammer quite well, and I have mixed feelings about the platform. the technology is brilliant and simple, and it’s users love it. My feeling is that there is a missed opportunity for great employer brand content when conversations take place between employees in walled gardens. Public chatter about work on places like Facebook pages are the best way to get the attention of the outside audience who want to look in and see what work is like, to see if they might like to work there. At the same time, I recognise the need in organisations for some private conversations on topics that you want to keep confidential, and there is a need for both public and private communication platforms. With a few guidelines, I think this is the perfect solution for building communities at work. Social technology like Yammer, or my own favourite, Rypple, which is now owned by Salesforce present real opportunities to engage, and an engaged workforce bring real returns.

At Louisianna SHRM I was lucky enough to attend the CEO’s session when employee engagement came up in questions. Hugh Webber, the CEO of the New Orleans Hornets basketball team shared how the executive team hold a weekly huddle for all employees, be they players or burger sellers. Hugh pointed out that with so much public speculation over the team and 3 changes of owners, it was critical that all employees felt they could ask the executive team anything about the business. At the weekly huddle the executives don’t talk or set agendas, they answer questions any employee wants to ask. In the same session, the brilliant CEO of the Louisiana State Lottery Rose Hudson spoke of the importance of her road trips to reach all employees, and of creating the opportunity for accidental engagement. Her view is that the critical lower waged employees are unlikely to knock on the door of the CEO, but they are comfortable chatting or asking questions leaning against a car in the car park. this means rose makes a point of being around, accesible and available without the need to make an appointment. There is an important lesson in that.
Probably the most engaged company I have been fortunate enough to visit to see engagement in action was Rackspace in SanAntonio. Michael Long, who heads up culture branding for Rackspace tells the story of how the company recognised that most engagement between employees took place at food times. This is an extension of the cigarette break principle. I’ve worked at companies where people often commented that if you want to know anything ask the smokers. The reason for this is quite simple, smokers gather outside buildings in all weathers to feed their habit, and when they gather they talk, make friends and communicate. They have a reason to be together and a sense of togetherness. I’m not purporting that smoking should become compulsory in companies to create conversation, but creating reasons to be social and communicate should not be ignored. most of the time, desks become islands and there is little opportunity for sharing and chit-chat. Rackspace recognised this and created communal eating and hang out areas to make this happen. They have also organised the lunch carts to arrive in a central place. People meet and engage at food times, and Rackspace have created these spaces with free refreshments to facilitate this, along with having a policy that no one has an office. There are private places with doors when needed, but everyone, even the CEO sits in the open-work space and is accessible to everyone. I think accessibility is the key for accidental engagement.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a senior HR Director a few years ago. I asked why the HR team felt the need to eat at their desk during break times when everyone else went in the canteen. Her answer was that when they ate in the canteen with the staff, they kept getting interrupted by staff with payroll problems and the like! I couldn’t help chuckling, and suggesting that they might want to take food breaks at different times, and position themselves in the canteen to be available at meal times. judging by the reaction, I’m not sure if it ever happened, but you might recognise the thinking.

At #SHRM12 I’m going to be looking out for this, and speaking with people about how they actually engage with their colleagues and co-workers. I’m interested in the simple solutions that I can share, I will also be meeting with a few people who market social tools for employee engagement to see what they have to say. As the infographic shows, there are real benefits to engaging at all levels, and as the old saying goes, it’s good to talk!


Bloggers, Vendors And Other Stuff For #SHRM12

At the end of next week I’m off to #SHRM12 in Atlanta and I’m excited. I’m a bit giddy because this is a huge conference/ with over 10,000 people attending. I’ve never been to a conference of this size (unless you count #SXSW and I really only party hopped there),    and there’s lots of great sessions to get along to. Being a huge event, there’s also plenty of party invites to sort out and get to.  That is a full-time job in itself. Aside from all the hullaballoo, there is an important reason for being there as both a blogger and participant. I’m fortunate to have the assistance of Dice.Com in getting to Atlanta. Once again, Dice come up trumps when it comes to working with the blogging community and other social connectors. For Atlanta, as well as supporting a team of bloggers in attending they are providing a social hive to connect us with HR practitioners interested in exploring social. I’m going to be putting in 4 shifts in the hive and I’m really looking forward to it. @employersonDice, working with Sarah White, @ImSoSarah, are doing a fantastic job supporting events whilst promoting their own brand as community partners. Hats off to them, and thanks. Theres also a great social site for connecting called the Buzz. I’ve posted the link at the end of this post. You should check it out.

Over the course of the event between June 24′th and 27′th I’m going to be live blogging from a number of sessions each day, as well as posting links to all the other content that others are publishing. Look out for the daily round-up. In the build up to the event I’ve been getting plenty of e-mails inviting me to have one-to-one meetings with vendors. I have received 41 so far, from all kinds of businesses. It is clear from some that these are mass e-mails sent to everyone on the blog squad, whilst others have taken a more tailored approach to reaching out and link what I write about to what they do. They have obviously taken the time to look at what I do and have given me a good reason to connect and get together. It is the latter who have got my full attention and are most likely to get featured.

I’m not a big fan of the way conferences divide the community of contributors between vendors, practitioners, bloggers etc, dividing people in to silos. I think this is quite an old-fashioned approach to what people actually are. At #tru events I don’t use the term vendor for this reason. I believe that we ALL work inclusively in the people space. We have different perspectives, expertise and opinions based on what we do, but collectively we are stronger. If I was at #SHRM12 to sell a service or a product I would be approaching it to have as many conversations as possible and to create opportunities for accidental engagement. Every networking event I go to I meet a new set of “go to” guys. If you work in the mobile sector, you probably know more about the mobile sector than anyone else in the conversation, if you consult on incentives, payroll systems or anything similar, you’re going to know more about this aspect of the market. If you work as a practitioner in HR, perhaps as a generalist, you’re going to have your own unique experience, problems and war stories to share that have a very practical benefit in the conversation. Your voice and needs must be heard to make better products, services and practices for everyone, not least the real users, jobseekers and employees.

As an event disorganiser, speaker and commentator I want storys to tell and share from everyone. I don’t care if it came what the source is, or the perspective, it is the story and the conversation that really interests me. I think that marketeers are only just beginning to understanding influence and reach. The vendor/practitioner divide suggests an old model of business where you are either a buyer or a seller, defined by the badge you wear. I intend meeting a lot of people who do all kinds of things at #SHRM12. It is why I will be getting on a plane and flying half way around the world. In the future I’m going to be writing or speaking about some of them and some of them will hopefully be doing the same about me. I’m going to be connecting some of these people with the people I know now and the people I get to know in the future. I hope some of them will be doing the same for me. It is unlikely that many of them will ever sell me anything, but through me they might reach or meet people who will buy from them. We can also help each other with guidance, advice or feedback when it’s needed. We do this because our meeting is the beginning of our connection and not a one-off transaction or sale. When I advise people what to buy, I advise them to buy from people I know. Social media channels provide the opportunity to stay connected. The old model of meetings at conferences and events being the one and only opportunity to pitch is long gone, it should be seen as the chance to connect and begin a conversation that leads to a deeper relationship.

When I was at #truBudapest i got to meet Boris Golden who is part of the team behind the excellent LinkedIn sourcing app Pealk. I reviewed their product a few months ago after a friend had forwarded it to me to take a look at. Boris advised me that they can trace over 250 sign ups direct to the post, and they were sure there were many more from the noise it created. This conversation really opened my eyes to the benefit of being able to offer reach to a target audience combined with a degree of influence and trust. I understand why people with potential customers in my target audience might want to plug-in to this, and i’m no different to many of the other bloggers taking part in #SHRM12. Geography is also no issue in this. Reach and influence is no longer a local issue. Good content is universal, and it is collaboration that creates great content.

What I think Dice have done very well is create the connection with all of the bloggers by investing in supporting us without asking for anything in return. Goodwill goes a long way, and where there is an opportunity to return the favor we will. I’m very excited about what is going to be happening in the hive. Interestingly I’ve never thought of Dice as a vendor, and they have never referred to themselves in this way.

My take away from this so far is a reminder that we need to stop dividing the vendors from the attendees and think of everyone as contributors. My advice to those e-mailing me from the exhibitor hall is that I’m more than happy to meet with as many of you as possible. I’m not really interested in your product or your service, I’m interested in your take on the market we are ALL share, the people market. You are going to have a lot more knowledge and insight in your piece of the people space, and if we connect I will always look at your product or service to do that. This could be by webinar, call or just by signing up and poking around. I want to use our valuable meeting time to talk the market, and where we might be able to help each other in the future. Lets stop thinking vendor, and really think contributor in the space. I don;t need anymore stress balls, pens or postits. I don;t have enough room in my bag for all the brochures i could take away, besides, i’d rather connect and check you out on-line after the event, if everybody did that we could maybe save a rain forest. If you want to connect with me in Atlanta, whatever you are there for, if your contributing lets connect.

Thanks again to Dice. I can’t wait for the talking and connecting to start. Bring on the hive!


#SHRM12 Buzz Social Site