Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You There – You Don’t Know Everything

I’m not telling you this to hurt your feelings. I’m telling you because knowing that you know nothing – to paraphrase Socrates – is the only true wisdom. 

When you recognize the unknown, you ask questions. And asking questions illuminates answers. 

For example, ever heard of the Five Whys? It’s a technique originated by Toyota in which you get to the root of a problem by asking "why" five times. Watch a good Five Whys primer from Harvard Business Review below.

But asking questions isn’t just good problem-solving policy. It’s essential to all leadership, creativity and innovation.

The key is to continuously break free from the biases and assumptions that hold back fresh ideas. After all, you know what happens when you assume, right? (It’s the mother of all mistakes.)

That’s why, in B2B marketing just like anywhere else, it always pays to start by challenging your assumptions and asking questions, whether you’re:
  •  Launching a product
  • Considering a brand extension
  • Starting an ad campaign
  • Entering a new market
  • Going after new customers

What’s the main objective and why? What’s the primary audience? What do they care about? How does what you’re offering make life better for them? And how do those answers fit into a single, clear message for the marketplace?

Those are just some of the questions bouncing around our office as we challenge our inner-know-it-alls and uncover new perspectives.

And now a question for you: What questions do you find helpful in your process?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

To Hire a Millennial, Think Like a Millennial

Earlier, we demonstrated how to create a strong employer brand to attract talent in a highly competitive marketplace.  Different generations require different recruitment approaches, and with baby boomers nearing the cusp of retirement, it may be time to focus more on the dynamic, 80 million strong, Millennial generation.

Just how worried should you be about these generational changes?

Well, the Office of Employment projected that the average large company in the U.S. will lose 30-40% of its workforce due to retirement over the next 5-10 years. Yikes. Definitely time to shift your Millennial recruitment strategies into high gear.

Young Talent

Hiring young talent has many benefits:
  • Flexibility.  You have the opportunity to shape an individual to be the best fit for your company.
  • Youthful perspective.  Millennials bring fervor and excitement to client engagements, meetings and projects.
  • Innovation.  This is the most educated and technology-savvy generation.  They bring fresh ideas, creative thinking and the ability to see things differently.
The key to unlocking this talent pool is understanding the background and characteristics of this generation, as well as accommodating their work style and motivators.

To hire a Millennial, you need to think like a Millennial.

So here’s how we suggest you focus.

The Top Three Ways to Get on the Millennial Radar

1.  Foster their interest in technology

Growing up in a digital savvy world has created the expectation of innovative websites, social media engagement, and interactive recruiting efforts. Everyone wants to be excited about the company they work for.  If your website is outdated and doesn’t captivate the skilled person checking you out (believe us, they Google EVERYTHING), they won’t even bat an eye as they cross you off and move onto the next company on their list.

Do yourself a favor, update your website, get on social media, and invest in a well-designed career page that encourages applicants to get excited to work for you.

2.  Participate in the community

According to a recent USA Today article, Study: Millennial generation more educated, less employed, civic trends have always risen with age, but this generation is emerging as being much more involved at an early age.  Millennials care about community involvement. 

To get on their radar, you need to look at the bigger picture.  Figure out how to promote yourself as not only a thought leader, but also as an active member of making your community, industry, and the big picture, better.

3.  Appeal to their shared characteristics when constructing recruiting communications, HR initiatives, training programs, and more.   
  • Social - This generation is showing up as totally aware of work-life balance. They value spending time with family and friends doing things they enjoy. They want a fun work environment.
  • Team oriented – A recent survey of Millennial professionals, conducted by Robert Half International and Yahoo! Hot Jobs, found that over 60% of Millennials want to hear from their managers at least once a day.
  • Achievement oriented – Praise is something this group is accustomed to, show that you value your employees and are invested in their individual and group success.
  • Flexible – Technology has opened new doors and more opportunities – Millennials expect convenience.  Find a way to incorporate this into your program.

The foundation of a successful business is an invested, interested employee base and Millennials want to  be a part of that. Those companies that don’t change their thinking and processes to attract, hire, and retain this new generation will risk it all.

Take our advice and invest in Millennials, because by doing that you not only are investing in yourself as a company, but you’re investing in the strength of our nation.