The Virtual Office

I am wondering if more companies are looking into employees working from home at all, even part of the time to reduce overhead cost (electricity, gasoline consumption, car expenses, mileage reimbursement, phone bills, and any other miscellaneous costs that are a part of an office manager’s life).  Some companies have changed their style to a 4-day, 10 hours/day work week and close the office on Friday to save on expenses.  Some have elected to let employees to determine a flexible office schedule.  Some have done nothing.  All have benefits depending on the company and the role you play in particular.

From productivity and cost perspectives, there are two sides to consider and below are highlights (certainly just skimming the surface here):

  • Management will want you to be in the office to make sure that you are doing your job and being a responsible employee.  Offices have costs; most are fixed costs so it is best to utilize the space for ROI.
  • Employees want to be home to save on their personal costs.  They are also able to be online more and, in so many cases, work a longer day outside of office hours.  Commuting will be zero so saving gas and environmental omissions will be zero as well.

With the economy trying to rebound, is there anything you or your company may do to shave costs here and there?  Are you or is anyone at your company thinking green?  Is there middle ground for everyone to be happy and productive?

Just think about it!

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Referrals

One of the easiest ways to attract new employees is through current employees and yet this is an area where so many companies struggle in talent identification.  Companies still struggle with employee referral numbers and, while some groups may do it better, it always appears to be an overall company struggle.

What is the psychology behind an employee referral…

Fear of referring poor hire, thinking their name will be tagged on the person they referred?  Hesitancy to refer a friend or family member?  Don’t want to refer someone who may jump me for the next promotion?  These are all valid concerns, and there are many more that I missed.

From an HR perspective, we need to begin (or continue) to think about new approaches to the question “who do you know” for employee referrals.  So many recruiters just don’t ask the questions to lead a person to a potential referral.  This should be the goal on every call, to get connected to someone else.

Should companies look at incentivizing employee referrals (cash bonus, PTO time, gift cards, and sporting event tickets)?  While these are all good options for non-HR employees, recruiters should always be looking at ways to add top talent.

When speaking with an external candidate, I have found, they are willing to talk and either provide a name or pass along information.  If the later happens, a recruiter needs to follow up on this action otherwise it was not a productive call.  As with anything, the follow through is critical, an in a profession that is already scrutinized, it is probably the most important thing a recruiter can do.

The key is to follow through to drive better referral results.  Make it a goal of your day or week, work to get connected and use LinkedIn to build your network this way; it is amazing at what you might achieve.  Social media is opening the door even wider for this activity but it will not be given to you.  Engage, interact and then something good just might happen.

The Company Social Media Plan

Many others have already written about corporate social media policy for employees; which is 100% critical with zero “ifs”, “ands” or “buts”.  I want to talk about the company voice.

Companies are jumping onboard everyday into social media (in one form or another) and legal departments everywhere are either starting to either drink the Kool-Aid or they are realizing this change initiative is not a fad but is truly the future.  Either way, this is a win for business.

Companies must have a social media presence – if for nothing else than to contribute to the conversation.  A company will be talked about; good, bad or indifferent… it will happen.  Social networking now allows business to contribute, direct and maybe even change any previous perception.

Companies need a voice and it shouldn’t be strictly a voice from PR or Marketing or Legal.  Get employees involved and work to drive communication.  Start conversations, solicit feedback.  Put a plan in place and move on it.

Now is a great time to put the plan in action.

Social Media Value – Guru’s and Experts are Being Questioned

So everyone’s an expert.

Go onto any social networking site and check out the profiles of your followers and see how many are either “guru’s” or “experts” in a particular field: marketing, social media, SEO (search engine optimization), financial information, human resources / recruiting, sales, branding and more.

If someone or many people have labeled you either of these, three examples are Dan Schwabel (www.twitter.com/danschwabel) as the Generation-Y personal branding expert or Scott Stratten (www.twitter.com/unmarketing) as the social media expert or Guy Kawasaki (www.twitter.com/GuyKawasaki) as the technology company start-up expert, then you are absolutely justified to put this as part of your profile.  These three examples are key note speakers which command this level of consideration.  However, if you are simply trying to market your skills to others to increase revenue then you are completely misrepresenting yourself and misleading others.

If you are either an “expert” or “guru”, then you should be able to provide countless instances of where you have helped others achieve success in a particular area.  If you are saying that you are either an “expert” or “guru” because of your own personal success, then you need to reconsider how you label yourself.

I like to follow a wide variety of people to better understand how individuals in many different fields utilize social media for their success.  Sometimes these people send out great information and are valuable resources and on other instances they are simply taking others content and pushing it out to increase their network.

As a follower in social media, YOU need to take responsibility to determine who adds value to your needs and who is trying to be self serving.  Sure, there is a lot of self gratification in social media but you also need to be aware of your value that you add to others networks as well.

Personally, I enjoy those who are understated in their profile about their background and then get completely WOW’d by their communication.  These people tend to be the most influential to me and get my attention prior to the self promoting “experts”.

Be yourself and good things will happen.  Try and force things and you may not be so lucky.