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4 HR Trends to Watch in 2011

As we wade into 2011, HR is bracing for the inevitable undercurrent of change. If there’s one thing in the Human Resource industry that’s constant, it’s constant evolution. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top trends to watch in the months ahead, and how they can change how you hire and how you manage your employees.

1. “Humanizing” companies with perks such as daycare, flex time, work-at-home opportunities, and a looser attendance policy.

2. Cutting the fat—as budgets continue to tighten, HR personnel are called upon to be the gatekeepers of effective programs, and to help eliminate what doesn’t work.

3. Succession planning: more than cross-training, there’s a growing demand for battle-preparedness in the likelihood of staff turnover.

4. Greenifying: HR staff are being called to take an active role in reducing the company carbon footprint—that means finding new ways to eliminate paper in favor of electronic storage, initiating recycling drives, and sponsoring employee riding-sharing programs.

Signing off for now,

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Taking Down Trolls

It’s amazing how quickly simple concepts can transform into large headaches. Take social media, for example. You can sit down and create a plan of action that includes periodic updates and fan-gathering tactics, but once you become established, you’ll notice a bump in the road: trolls. Defined as those who attempt to disrupt communities with attention-grabbing antics, trolls pollute your social media space with distracting, vulgar, or otherwise unwanted messages. Here’s how to identify two types of trolls that are appearing on your company blog or Facebook page, and react appropriately.

The Spammer: You’ll find this troll both on blogs and Facebook alike, advertising (usually) completely unrelated product or services, often in broken English. They’re particularly rampant on blogs, where a single spammer can generate up to a 100 spam “comments” a day, clogging up your message approval process or turning customer correspondence into a nightmare. One solution: ban by IP. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you can block all messages from an IP, effectively silencing that troll forever.

The Malcontent: Whether it be through cursing or a personal attack against regulars to your site, there are trolls who are just out to ruin another person’s day. Instead of negotiating or refuting their claims, try this hair-saving technique: just delete their comments. Once malcontents realize you’re not a soft target and their comments are going missing, they’ll move on to more fertile grounds.

No matter your troll troubles, stay alert and realize that content management is an inextricable part of social media. But the results of a solid strategy are worth it: SEO, qualifiers of professionalism, and a tool to engage prospective clients. Don’t give up!

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MAINTAINING MORALE AFTER LAYOFFS

In once-in-a-lifetime economic downturns like this one, lay-offs are an unpleasant reality many businesses must face. As budgets dwindle, saying goodbye to valuable employees is often a double blow: on the one hand, you’re losing a valuable source of labor, and on the other, your remaining workforce will react negatively to seeing their co-workers let go—translating into a loss of morale and work. If you’re faced with the necessity of lay-offs, here are few tips to mitigate damage and keep employee morale up.

Go in with a strategy. Plan out communications in advance—before you effect layoffs—that reaches your employee base. Your messaging should explain not only why these layoffs were necessary, but also illustrates a plan of action that your company will take to grow and prosper. Present these changes as an important part of growth, not a sign that your business is failing.

Conduct one-on-one listening. Even in the wake of personalized meetings, ensure that middle managers are available and prepared to answer the inevitable questions your employees will have.

Give it time. If yours is a smaller organization, avoid increasing workload or taking on large projects right away. One fear employees may have is that their daily responsibilities will compound multi-fold—address these concerns right away and start building a stronger, more successful company.

Signing off for now,

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Troubleshooting Your Hiring Strategy

In tough economic times, becoming complacent doesn’t pay. With a larger applicant pools, it’s possible for HR departments to tap into greater wells of talent: a double-edged sword. On the one hand, finding the best of the best becomes more of a reality. On the other, the sheer mass of applications to wade through to get into that position takes time—and as you know, that means money.

Of course, the strategy that maximizes your time is recruitment advertising. The tactics you use should aim not for the quantity of applicants, but the quality. Tailor your media—articles and web postings—with language that challenges an applicant as much as invite their resume. If you’re looking for extremely qualified applicants, don’t be afraid to ask for that up front.

Agencies like us exist to maximize the dollars you spend in recruitment initiatives with results that improve the functioning of your organization. We welcome all questions!

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Building a Community

With recent changes to the way search engines like Google return results, and as a necessary step in the evolution of hiring strategies, social media is unmatched. Every day, we see companies like Progressive and Staples use their Facebook collective buying power of thousands to increase sales revenue—not to mention to exist as a powerful well of talent to draw upon. You recognize Facebook’s role in your own ability to stay competitive. But how do you get started? For those beginning from scratch, here are a few tips to steer you down the right path.

Don’t Market. Social media is a whole different species from traditional channels. When you’re deciding what to write in the omni-present “update” box, steer clear of anything that promotes your business. “Friends” are not customers, and they can smell a pitch a mile away. Stick to content that benefits them, not yourself.

Start Right. First rule of social media: empty fan lists tend to empty unless acted upon by an outside force. Ask friends and employees help “seed” your fan list to get you started. If your new fans like what they read, they just may invite friends of their own.

Lighten Up. All work and no play makes Jack… well, you know the saying. Facebook and its ilk are mediums of leisure—therefore, part of your posting strategy should be to entertain your fanbase. Try a few techniques and see what works best.

Happy hunting,

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