#NEXTCHAT: The Internship Imperative

Hiring interns is an essential part of building a diverse and talented work force.  By allowing you to try young talent before you buy, internships are a uniquely powerful tool for companies to discover new grad hires who fit their unique office culture and skill needs.  Currently, converting interns into full-time hires has become the number one way in which new grads are hired, with close to 70 percent of interns being offered full-time roles!

However, the world of attracting and hiring the right interns is changing rapidly and becoming far more competitive.  Students are starting to intern younger,...


#NEXTCHAT RECAP: HR Leadership in the 21st Century: He Said-She Said

On October 3, We Know Next chatted with Robin Schooling and Bill Boorman about HR Leadership in the 21st Century.  Is HR Old School or New Cool? 

In case you missed it, here are all the great tweets from the chat: 






Executive Book Club: October 2012

The Leadership Deficit: Recruiting and Retaining the Multi-Generation Workforce

Businesses everywhere are grappling with an unfolding skills dilemma that is challenging the way we manage and plan the workforce of the future. People are remaining in the workforce longer than they used to, yet there is a growing shortage of skilled talent. The aging and declining workforce is a global phenomenon taking place in all industries and across traditional boundaries. Generational differences, which emerged over the last decade are beginning to solidify and have lasting implications for the management of human capital. In addition, the rise of a new breed of self-employed “free agents” is injecting a volatile element into the mix which is forcing employers to reassess the way they select, deploy and interact with staff. How do companies prepare for and manage these trends? What are the keys to success as the workforce continues to evolve?

For more information on The Leadership Deficit: Recruiting and Retaining the Multi-Generation Workforce, or to visit the SHRMStore, click here


How To Hack Your Culture - Networks

The fourth post in a series.

Your organizational chart matters. A little.
In a lot of ways it does not. Ideas, information, trust, influence, opportunity and other resources move through networks of relationships without necessarily adhering to what the org chart says. Social network analysis tools now allow us to make the invisible visible so that we can be more deliberate in our approach to networks. There are a couple of big opportunities here:

  1. Good ideas often have social origins. Innovation is fueled by the exchange of ideas and perspectives and identities, and the
  2. ...

Social Media and productivity in the Workplace

Some companies are still of the mindset that social media is a big waste of time, a fad that is only going to pass us by. But is it?

Think about how much time it takes to sort through emails, or prepare and send a fax or interoffice memo that may or may not reach the person in the time needed to receive an answer?

A new report finds that we are spending 28 percent of our work weeks writing, sorting, responding and deleting emails. That’s HUGE.

What if you could alleviate email, interoffice mail and...


For most CEO's it's too hard to be soft

Some CEO’s get it — most CEO’s don’t. Treating employees with respect and dignity while working to gain their trust; this is the secret sauce to begin an organization’s path to a great workplace.

It is not complicated. The CEO must live by these basic principles.

The One’s Who Get It

Executives who adopt and model trust and respect as a way of living and working are the ones who want to improve upon their already great environment, afraid they will slip somewhere and want to make sure their leaders are communicating – both ways –...


#NEXTCHAT: HR Leadership in the 21st Century: He Said -- She Said

Quite often, we get stuck in quicksand in the human resources profession while we endlessly gaze at our navels and debate whether we are in the Strategic vs. Tactical, or the Traditional or Cutting-Edge camps. We read, we discuss, we talk…but at the end of the day it becomes the ACTION we take, as individual practitioners and leaders, that can define HR for now and the future.

There are a number of authors, academicians and pundits who write about the human capital space. In June of this year, the group of Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank and Mike Ulrich released...


"The Attractive Classmate Phenomenon" - 3 quick considerations before jumping to mobile...

Nothing is hotter in the tech blogosphere these days than mobile.

After all, there are currently more mobile devices on planet earth than humans. People are even buying fakes, as status symbols.

And increasingly, these mobile devices are replacing existing platforms. In fact, 60 percent of smartphone owners would even like to handle their Election Day ballot on their phone. [1]

Companies are pouncing on this trend and the opportunity it brings. And for good reason.

Sharlyn Lauby, in her We Know Next article on a similar topic, notes that “according to mobiThinking, cellular subscriptions worldwide are at 6 billion. Companies are making significant revenue from mobile devices: Google $2.5 billion last year. eBay expects customers to buy/sell $8 billion this year and PayPal expects to see $7 billion in mobile payments.” 

Data shows that a mobile site can reach five times the number of people per dollar invested as compared to any other platform. Five times!

As mobile technology booms, the consumer app market has been growing exponentially, causing (and in some cases forcing) many companies to integrate mobile plans into their near-term strategies as well as their long-term technology roadmaps, even if technology is not their core competency.

But what is the ROI of your Mobile Strategy?

The reality is that building a mobile app could be a huge win, but – in the current market – that is anything but guaranteed. A vast majority of apps downloaded from the Apple App Store are in use by less than 5 percent of their users after one month has passed since the download. [2]

So when is the right time to go mobile, if at all, for your organization?

Here are four tips I’ve found to be commonly discussed (in some form or another), but not commonly taken to heart:

1.  ROI - "The Attractive Classmate” phenomenon

In a past life, I was deeply involved in the Seattle start-up scene and would attend meet-ups, happy hours and networking events. I feel like I always heard "Oh, we have an app," "Oh, do you have an app yet?", or "Oh, we need to hire someone who can build apps!"  I very rarely heard folks clearly articulate "user intent" and what it is specifically about their product that would make transactions on an app valuable, convenient or efficient.

According to an article on marketing mobile apps from the Bureau of Consumer Protection, telling the truth about what your app can do is hugely important. To me, that includes telling yourself the truth about what your app can and will do. The age-old adage around not “doing something just for the sake of doing it” applies here.

In speaking with Mark Horosowski, co-founder of MovingWorlds and its “Global Experteering Network,” he creatively and enthusiastically describes this as the "The Attractive Classmate” phenomenon:

Back in their school days people are often drawn to something (or someone in this case) based on exoteric qualities: the person they see every day in class, and are attracted to, yet never fully think about why. What if you could have a great conversation with your attractive classmate, but only if you had to marry them immediately after? The answer is probably that you’d avoid engagement at all costs until you did your homework, so to speak. Unfortunately many mobile strategies aren’t set up that way.

I’ll spare readers of further analogies, but the point here is that companies really, really need to think about why they want to be in the mobile space, and more importantly, how their customers will benefit from it if they have any hope of seeing an ROI.

To do this, you need to get into the brain of your audience, first, and get to know them.

Think back to the basics:

What is the point of mobile technology? It is quick, small, portable, efficient, always there. Play out all your user scenarios with that in mind.

Are your users looking to perform transactions or interact with a system in ways where you can benefit from a platform that is quick, small and always there?

OR are the transactions you’re driving the type that happens when someone is sitting at home, needing to think through things, perhaps with other ancillary information (books, notes, etc.)?

What’s your end game? Are you trying to make a quick buck and get out, or maintain a growing presence on the mobile platform?

Ask yourself these questions before falling too quickly in love with mobile.

2.  Give your app magical powers

Does your mobile app provide something new? Something that you don’t provide in your standard suite? Something that will awe and inspire your users and customers?

There are certainly cases where an app should simply be a way to do things on the go that you can also do on other platforms, but as is noted by Jeffrey Powers of Occipatal, this isn’t always true.

He suggests that “before you start building an app, make sure you’re not just summarizing your webpage. Rather, give your customers some kind of magical power to interact with your business with only a few taps. For inspiration, check out how Starbucks lets you interact with Starbucks loyalty cards, and Chipotle lets you almost instantly place an order for pickup.”

3.  Enhance Your Brand, Don’t Just Sustain It

As with anything you put in front of your customers, building and retaining your brand is paramount. Make sure that as you develop your mobile app strategy (including feature set, pricing model, etc.) you think about ways to enhance your brand.

Do you want to build a brand that provides things via a platform that is quick, small and always there? Some companies may say “no” to this question, some may say “yes” and others may say “not now!”

In summary, while mobile can be that attractive classmate you had in college, make sure to have a few sober conversations before falling in love – at least if your goal is a long, healthy relationship.



One Important Question for Leaders

Can you do for others that which you have not done for yourself?

This is a critical question when we think about the health of our organizations and cultures.

As a leader or manager:

  •  if you aren’t living up to your own potential and working in a job that is deeply satisfying to you, can you credibly help others to do it?
  •  if you aren’t invested in your own development, can you convince others that they should be?
  •  if you aren’t living your values, can you expect others to align to any values?
  • ...