Going for Gold: Achieving Business Goals and Leveraging Social Media

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and having the cultural mindset to embrace the needed diversity of the workplace.

Today’s guests are Mary Claire Burick, President of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and Patrick Rooney, Founder and Chief Customer Officer for QUESocial. To hear the entire show, click here.

On the show today, we had two experts giving insight into their respective areas of work, i.e., running a business improvement district and social recruiting.

Mary Claire Burick gold

Mary Claire Burick started off her career as a production assistant in broadcasting and moved her way up to being the Vice President, Washington Operations at Allbritton Communications where she managed WJLA Channel 7, Politico, Channel 8 and others. Knowing well that the broadcast industry was undergoing a major change, Burick realized that she needed to understand how to manage change. She enrolled in a change leadership program that influenced her career in a big way. She decided to quit broadcast and start her own management consultancy that helped organizations become more effective through strategic planning, change management, strategic communication and engagement, employee development and so on.

She ran her consulting firm for about six years before being convinced by a recruiter to change paths and take up her current role as President at the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. The mission of her current organization is to make the neighborhood of Rosslyn, just outside of Washington D.C., a fun place to live, work, play and invest. Burick’s role is to create ways to engage and help organize different stakeholders and to transform the neighborhood into an attractive proposition for everyone involved. Her organization focuses on various things such as cleaning, maintenance and hospitality, beautification, public environ enhancement, marketing and promotions of activities and events – all to make the neighborhood fun and lively.

Burick says that the common thread between her diverse career choices is that she is a people person. Her area of passion and skillset is all about getting the best out of people. She believes that in order to do anything effectively in today’s organizations, one has to work with and through people.

Achieving Organization Goals

According to Burick, the balancing act between the goal of serving the neighborhood and the organization’s internal goals is a challenging task. “I think the way to achieve these goals is by engaging people,” she says. “You can change the org charts, you can change the processes and the policies, you can make any changes you want, but at the end of the day it really is the people who have to take collective action towards a goal if you’re ever going to achieve it,” Burick explains. To drive people to be successful in achieving the organizational goals, Burick highlights three important factors.

First, building trust is key to getting work done and every leader should focus on it. When Burick joined the Business Improvement District (BID), she started out by developing relationships and building trust among the staff and board of directors. “As a leader, it can be tempting to start laying out your vision and goals right at the get go because you want to get things done. But from a smart communications standpoint, you should always start with your audience,” she advices. It is important to find out what are their motivators, what they need from you, what they see as working or not working, what are their ideas of improvements, and so. Burick says that by listening to them you start building trust, which is central to achieving organizational goals.

Second, Burick emphasizes on WIIFM – What’s in It for Me. She believes that every communication and engagement strategy should begin with figuring out the ‘why.’ “By showing each employee and each stakeholder a clear line of sight between their day to day work and the outcomes you’re looking for, you stand a better chance of keeping people motivated and engaged in reaching those goals because they understand why they’re doing that work,” she explains.

Third, in order to achieve organizational goals, thorough planning is important. Once the trust is built and people also have a strong understanding of how the organization is operating and what their role is, leaders can begin to layout the vision for the future. The plan mapping out the vision also focuses on how to engage the right people at the right time in reaching the identified goals.

Change Management

Change management is not an easy task. Burick says that 80 percent of change management initiatives fail. The reason for this, according to her, is that leaders tend to overlook the fact that it’s the people-side of change that’s difficult. A lot of leaders are very good project managers and can manage very complex initiatives and projects but they often don’t look at the people-side of change. Companies can effectively integrate change and minimize impact by creating a positive disruption. Sometimes it’s easy to be a consultant and dish out advice while looking at things from the outside, says Burick who has been a consultant and is now a leader who has to work from the inside. It can be pretty challenging for leaders to put up with all the daily stuff and at the same time execute an initiative of change. “The reality is that every organization has limited time and resources to deliver increased results. It’s about finding the area where you can get the most bang for your buck with the least disruption and focusing all the efforts there,” explains Burick. I’ve found, it is important to communicate the change tactfully, reiterate repeatedly and reward the adoption of change to make an impact quickly.

How Can People Connect with You?

Connect with Burick via her website www.rosslynva.org or by following her on Twitter at @MaryClaireBuric.

Patrick Rooneygold

Patrick Rooney is a newcomer in the talent acquisition industry, his background is in marketing and communication. His area of interest lies in influence – what makes people like the things they do, what shapes perceptions and what makes people make the decisions they make. A decade ago he founded a word-of-mouth marketing agency in Chicago that worked with large Fortune companies such as ConAgra, UniLever and Subway. The agency helped clients use and harness social media for marketing. As the world started getting savvier about the use of social media, it started permeating every aspect of our lives from customer service to talent acquisition. While marketing had a host of tools and technologies at our disposal that enabled us to manage, moderate and measure what we were doing for the brands’ social channels, there weren’t enough tools and technologies that enabled those customer service agents or recruiters handling social media every day. This led to the birth of QUESocial in 2012 to help companies and recruiters harness social media as a talent acquisition channel.

QUESocial’s Social Media Platform

Leveraging social media as a business channel is the crux of QUESocial’s platform. They made it very easy to use so that it doesn’t feel like it’s an additional task that managers have to add to their already busy day because that wouldn’t be a sustainable proposition. Another challenge while coming up with the platform was to make it measurable. Explaining the business impact of all the likes and fan following through social media was Rooney’s biggest challenge. “Back then, it was a profoundly uncomfortable conversation to have because there was no good answer to that which was rooted in business metrics,” recalls Rooney. Thus, ease of use and measurable outcomes were the two principles on which QUESocial developed its platform.

Social Media for Talent Acquisition

Companies often spend a lot of time and energy to figure out ways to harness social media for talent acquisition. But the problem is that they apply the same marketing tactics to a medium that at its core is about relationships. Digital advertising, banner ads, consumer marketing, etc. are extremely effective to a certain extent in recruitment marketing but from a core social perspective they don’t really translate, says Rooney. Social media enables communication flow between companies and audiences where audiences don’t want nicely, pre-packaged messages and sound bites to be served up to them. “They want the authentic thing. They want transparency and raw interaction which goes beyond the brand’s social handle,” he explains. Recruiters have started using social media and it gives the employers the kind of reach they would have never got otherwise. “But beyond that it is really about enabling the organization to reach people who are similar to your employees and have similar experiences and profiles.” They need to engage in conversations instead of just throwing out sales jargon.

Coaching Companies on Social Recruiting

The problem with a lot of companies, according to Rooney, is that they think of social for the sake of social. They don’t look at it as a vehicle to reach the right people. A lot of people don’t really know how to use social media as an effective business channel. They know how to post photos and update statuses but they don’t know how to approach it from a business perspective. Thus, QUESocial helps in enabling recruiters to use social media effectively. They teach them best practices via training modules that educate them about social recruiting via different social media platforms. QUESocial also feeds them content since content is the engine that drives social media. For recruiters, finding and sharing good content is time consuming. The content not only has to be useful but also aligned with the employer brand. It should tell the story the company wants to tell. Another component of QUESocial’s training is games and challenges where recruiters get to put the best practices they’ve learned into use via activities and tie them to actual business results. Finally, they’re also taught how to measure their programs since that is one of the biggest challenges talent acquisition leaders have had with social media. They need to have a way to find out if all the time and money spent on social media is actually yielding results. Thus, Rooney’s firm makes it easy for organizations to prompt and drive activities for recruiters to use social media to effectively find the right people.

Social Media and HR

Training and compliance is a big component of social media use. People put out a lot of things on social media that companies don’t have a lot of control over. It is used more as a tool of dishing out grievances and anger. Thus, it is important to give employees a list of best practices and good conduct on social media. HR policies around the use of social media could also be an option. Also, in the broader HR context, Rooney says companies should be mindful of the tone used around the company’s message. Employer branding is a rapidly evolving area in social media and Rooney believes that HR will have to evolve along with it.

What Are You Reading?

Patrick Rooney is currently reading “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown. The bestseller is the story of nine working class American boys who win gold at the Olympics in Nazi Germany.  

How Can People Connect with You?

Connect with Patrick via his company website www.quesocial.com or you can follow him on Twitter at @Patrick1Rooney.