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How to host a Rockin’ campus info session

Campus recruitment is always a big deal at this time of year. Here are a few things to keep in mind for both the experienced and new campus recruiter when it comes to the on-site info session.

Information sessions are standard practice for many academic disciplines and programs. Regardless of the building popularity of social networking and electronic recruitment tactics, the on-site information session is still a key method of connecting with students and building your brand at most schools. For smaller firms or those new to campus recruitment, information sessions can be an innovative method of branching out. Contact the career centre of the school you are interested in to get hints on holding these sessions. Your intention should be to gain a captive audience with the purpose of providing details of career opportunities at your organization.

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1. Build it, and they shall come. When offering information sessions, remember to think of ways to entice students to your session. Hint: Food always brings students. You will boost your chances of a successful turnout by footing the bill for some food. Remember, for your first session or two at a site, you are building the excitement about your brand. Food and giveaways will help build that excitement.

2. Your reps are very, very important. As far as representatives are concerned, alumni and “like” individuals are very powerful at an event like this. If you can, bring positive employees that are alumni and promote and demonstrate a successful career for a recent graduate. You want the students to see themselves in a similar role and being able to connect the dots of the next steps in their career with a path in your organization. This can be very powerful. Also, your representatives should be trained to be ongoing contacts – their job shouldn’t be done at the end of the session. They are, in fact, your best recruiters.

3. Give a presentation, not a lecture. At the information session, do give a presentation, but keep it short and entertaining. Students are in lectures all day… they don’t want to hear one from someone who isn’t responsible for their grades. Educate them about your organization, your brand, your value proposition, and sample employee paths through real-life examples if possible. Tell them why they might fit with your organization. Find a hook. If you can talk about an issue that is important or familiar to the group, you can attract a larger crowd and provide an experience that students will appreciate.

4. Always be sure to have an entertaining, informed speaker. Yes, it is great to have the CEO deliver the message, but only if that person is a powerful speaker. If you have to go a level or two down from CEO to find an engaging speaker -do it. The CEO can be there, but don’t put the crowd to sleep in order to have the “top dog” deliver the presentation.

5. Interaction, interaction, interaction. The old real estate adage about location can be turned to something very useful when it comes to interaction and relationships. Make interaction opportunities a priority in an information session. Set up time both before and after a presentation for students to interact with your representatives. In campus recruiting, it always applies that personal interaction is paramount. People entering a career field love to speak with people who are experiencing the field first hand. Be sure to facilitate that experience for them.

6. The space must be enticing. Spend the time to ensure that the room you have for your information session feels right. The size and ambiance should facilitate personal interaction, food should be delivered on time, and details should be seamless. Finally, find a way to get contact names and means of thanking them for their attendance. Again giveaways with ballots are a clever way to reel in talent

I am sure that you all have some info session innovations – please share them with us!

Jamie Allison

Seize Opportunity – Your HR Elevator Speech

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How many times have you bumped into your CEO at a corporate event or in the elevator?  Or perhaps realized you’re standing face to face with your dream client? These situations are no doubt intimidating at times and often arise when we least expect them.

Even when the traditional questions come up: what you’re working on and how you contribute in your current role, do you find yourself stumbling over words? Replaying the conversation over in your head wishing for a “do-over”?  Or do you back off altogether and kick yourself later for missing a key opportunity?

How we show up can be the difference between a meaningful engagement and a full stop. Having a short planned message can open the door to a dream client or pave the way to a stronger corporate career network for you and your HR team.

Crafting Your Pitch

Your goal should be to convey the value of your work in less than two minutes – what you do and what you bring to the table that sets you apart.  As you prepare, consider carefully what you want people to know as well as what they don’t need to know.   Be selective – time is short.

Why You’re a Key Influencer:

This is your opportunity to show how human resources drives business results at the executive level. Don’t jump right to tasks – instead focus on strategy. How does your work leverage top level priorities?  What problem are you or your team solving for the organization?

Your HR Value Proposition:

This is where you clearly and concisely state what you do that sets you apart.  What is your unique value proposition? Don’t assume that your title automatically implies what you do.   Be specific – are you solving talent issues? Mitigating corporate risk? Developing leadership capability?  What problem are you solving for the organization?

Reciprocate with a Question

Asking a question will engage your client/CEO/audience into the conversation. Asking a good question will shows your curiosity and concern for their interests.  It might be asking what is keeping him or her up at night. If you want an authentic and meaningful conversation, leave the generic questions at home.

Wrapping up – be Future Focused

End with a statement about how your work and focus can addresses their objectives or concerns and explicitly open your door for future conversation.

When the time is appropriate, be sure to follow up and “land” that key client or provide an update to your CEO that highlights the value you are creating.

Why a Goals List Rocks!

Recently, I had the amazing experience of snorkelling with Whale Sharks near Isla de Mujeres. Words can’t explain how amazing it is to swim alongside these massive creatures, seeing the grace in their swim and feeling the rush of water as their tail sweeps past you. I have had this experience on my goal list for many years. This list has recently prompted me to start my own business, swim with sea turtles and stingrays, and have lunch with a significant person in my profession. A goal, or bucket, list is indispensable for me and should be something you seriously consider.

Why?

Make living a priority

It is so easy to let time pass you by. There will always be the next project, next role and next client. There is not always the next opportunity to swim with a whale shark. When you write down your goals and desired experiences you make sure you commit yourself to living life through experiences.

Create a life by design

If you don’t design your life someone will do it for you. Bucket lists can fun, but also can be a key way to be sure you are making the most out of your work and personal life and not leaving it in the hands of others who ARE living out their dreams.

Celebrate

Research continually shows that experiences increase happiness much more than the acquisition of things. Keeping a bucket list is a great way to revisit those experiences and memories. It is an awesome feeling to look back and relive that exhilaration or sense of accomplishment again and again.

Work hard to create those moments in your life and check something off your bucket list. You will find greater joy and satisfaction as you set goals and work towards checking off the items on your bucket list. Enjoy the journey and tell me about the best ones!

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Do’s and Don’t’s of Organizational Transformation

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Recently, I sat down with Caitlin Nobes from HRM TV and we talked about how organizations can improve how they approach change and transformation. Lots of fun.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

HRM TV

Jamie

Do Something: 4 Step to Powerful Execution

Recently I was visiting the offices of Shopify, one of the hottest technology start-ups in Canada. As I waited in the reception area I noticed a sign hanging on the wall that said: “Do Things. Tell People.” What an amazing way to focus your employees!

It was easy to see how a team could be swept up in the young, hip Silicon Valley-style work environment in the office, but it was obvious that this group was still very focused on the team “getting things done” and working together to build a brand and loyal following.

In order to transform HR internally and help your organization push forward its strategy, departments have to be aware of the same interconnection between branding and execution. One without the other can mean a failed change strategy, an early new employee departure or a botched learning program. Great HR programs are worthless if nobody knows about them, but without strong execution your brand promise and the project itself are doomed.

Steps to a Strong Execution Plan

Know where you are going. Clear, specific goals that link to the organizational strategy and cascade to each individual involved in the project. Everyone needs a line of sight to the big picture.

Measure and communicate progress.
At the outset, key metrics need to be outlined, communicated and continually re-visited openly. Be sure everyone knows the timelines expected, who is the lead and what the current status is.

Accountability and progress.
Ferret out any issues early and create an accountability mindset. There many ways to do this ranging from a standard project plan format to visuals like the staff flu-shot barometer you might see in a local hospital

Now, tell people.
A good communication plan enhances your results. Sharing in the success can build pride in both your team and your company, enhance your brand (of the project team, the department or the company) and can help everyone feel like they are part of something bigger. If you want a sure-fire way to increase employee engagement, deliver on this phrase.

Do Something, Tell People.

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Play Ball! Create a Major League Client Experience

Nothing says spring like Grapefruit League baseball. Recently, I took the opportunity to introduce my two daughters to this while on a trip to Florida. I was immediately struck by how much attention was given to creating a fantastic experience for the Blue Jay and Astro fans in attendance at Osceola County Stadium that day. In one afternoon my girls had baseballs signed by smiling and friendly players, were close enough to the action to see and interact with stars they usually only see on TV and were consistently treated to a fun and exciting day. Major League Baseball created “raving fans” that afternoon. How many or our HR departments can say they even approach providing that type of client experience for their staff and managers?
Now we know every day in HR isn’t like a baseball game in sunny Florida in March, but the steps used to provide a great client experience are the same.

Make Client Experience a Priority
Your entire HR team needs to know how integral an outstanding client experience is to your strategy. Your HR plan needs to specifically address both the expectations and the required outcome. Be very specific with your client experience goal. Start with the end in mind and clearly identify what you want the result of the interaction to be. What do you want the client to say about their experience with your team? What areas will cause frustration or emotion?
Create the experience for THEM not YOU.

Make it Personal
Nothing creates a stronger impression or a more positive experience than a personalized interaction. Create an emotional connection by knowing your clients and treating them like people – not employee numbers. Outline team expectations for things like personalizing emails, delivering timely responses and always looking for the opportunity to go the extra mile. Each interaction is an opportunity to WOW, demonstrate competency and ultimately give your HR team a voice and influence.

Deliver WOW!
We Deliver Wow – is forever etched into the top of my whiteboard. If you’re at the top of your game, you’ve realized that your goal every day is to win people over and deliver results.

Reward and recognize your team members for delivering that top notch experience and they will look to do it again. Make We Deliver Wow your team slogan and always look for ways to make your service WOW worthy by adding that unexpected added touch only your team can provide.

Get Feedback and Act
Ask your clients what they think about your service provision and use that feedback to get better. Use direct surveys, engagement surveys or informal discussions to be sure you are always getting better and evolving as the needs of your clients change.

Create your own raving fans and play to win.

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