Got a Social Media Policy?

Unless you have had your head in the sand or have lived without a computer for the last 3 years, you are very aware of how social media has infiltrated every aspect of the internet and the media. Just watch the news, each station has twitter feeds or Facebook pages. For those who see it as a fad, there is an opposing view:  Facebook’s COO claims email is dead since only 11% of teens (the future of the work world) use email daily. So like it or not, social media is a game changer to how we interact with people and how we conduct business will change along with it.

Many have discussed the merits of Social Media, but the debate over whether it is good or bad will be left for a different letter. For now, we need to accept that it is here to stay, then as members of the business community, we need to manage our operations under this new paradigm. The biggest misperception of social media is that it includes only Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook. Although these 3 sites have the largest numbers of users, there are around 200 social media sites. Sites like,, and are all new forces in the space. Furthermore, there are many employees who are using social media to help grow their business. Sales people are finding LinkedIn a great tool for marketing and business development.

With so many sites and so few resources to monitor, what is a company to do?  The answer is to establish a solid, comprehensive social media policy. The proper policy is one that manages the behaviour of your staff while not attempting to control them. If your organization already has a policy, pat yourself on the back, but you need to review your policy on an annual basis to ensure there are no loop-holes or that the rapidly changing space hasn’t outpaced your policy.Read more

7 Key Trends in IT Jobs

As we slowly come out of the ‘Great Recession’, business is beginning to return to a more “normal” state. Canada is in a unique position in the world as it appears our country is recovering more rapidly than everywhere else. In June of 2010, Canada posted a job growth of 93,000 new positions. This growth, over 5 times what was predicted, has even caught the eyes of our southern neighbours. The Huffington Post noted “Stubbornly high unemployment rates got you down? Not sold on the economic recovery? Look no further than America’s polite neighbour to the north, where jobs numbers are surging and home prices have been rising steadily for nearly a year”.

With the rapid return of job openings, our labour market will once again change. We have assembled a list of 7 key trends we are seeing develop:

1. Staff Turn-over Increasing

As contract positions return, people who were contractors before and took full time positions as a duck and cover tactic will once again become contractors. Those full-time permanent positions will become open as contractors take on short-term roles. Also, employees unhappy with their current position will start to look again. The USA today quoted:

“More people quit their jobs in the past three months than were laid off — a sharp reversal after 15 straight months in which layoffs exceeded voluntary departures, suggesting the job market is finally thawing.  Some of the quitters are leaving for new jobs. Others have no firm offers. But their newfound confidence about landing work is itself evidence of more hiring and a strengthening economy.”

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Are your metrics and KPI’s telling the truth?

In technology, we are bombarded with stats, percentages, KPI’s and scorecards.  Things like customer satisfaction rates, cost per transaction, RIO, response time, time to close, and system uptime are all part of our vernacular. Interestingly enough, we have blind faith in the accuracy of these numbers. Often our department’s success is determined by a few numbers that are trusted without proper scrutiny. We set goals and pay bonuses on these metrics. Have you ever stopped to review these numbers to determine if they are providing us with the truth?

The deluge of data and statistics is used to validate statements, sell products and sway the thoughts of the Executive. This can be a dangerous strategy without the data being put through some validation. Placing any information in such high regard without a proper review leaves an organization with the risk of potentially creating improper behaviours or generating unknown mistakes.

A key example of such a situation lies in the analysis of satisfaction surveys.  These are commonly used by organizations to measure their IT operations. Assume conducting a satisfaction survey and achieving a score of 90%. It appears the organization is pleased with its IT service. You may be happy with this result, as you hit your KPI target and everyone gets their bonus. However, is it a true measurement of customer satisfaction? It all depends on the question and how it is asked.  If the question was, “Are you very unhappy with the IT department?”, then the results may be suspect as it does not provide a strong representation of satisfaction, only of displeasure.

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