Each year, thousands of U.S. veterans return from the battlefield with exceptional leadership, technical and other skills they have acquired overseas. Even so, many experience difficulty finding a job, and return feeling overwhelmed by the high unemployment rate they are up against. Today, in a program to assist veterans in transferring their military experience into successful careers, the Michigan Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Cisco are teaming up to pilot IT training and certification programs aimed at connecting veterans with in-demand job opportunities.
“We’ve got all these young people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, have made incredible sacrifices, have taken on incredible responsibilities — you know, you see some 23-year-old who’s leading a platoon in hugely dangerous circumstances, making decisions, operating complex technologies. These are folks who can perform, but unfortunately, what we’re seeing is that a lot of these young veterans have a higher unemployment rate than people who didn’t serve. And that makes no sense.”
It’s hard to believe another calendar year is coming to an end less than 2 months. I’m amazed at the pace of which digital and social media continue to evolve and get excited when I think of what 2014 might bring in the way of further surprises.
On the quest of becoming a truly social-minded culture, about a year and a half ago, we rolled up our sleeves and created a multi-level, multi-track social media training program that used game principles and integrated with our Education Management System to encourage and reward participation. We augmented our on-demand courses with a vibrant community filled with self-service resources, online discussions (we call them “social chats”), team challenges, and recognitions and testimonials.
What I’m most proud of is that we did this in house and on a shoestring budget (imagine toddler-sized shoes and shoestrings). The original team was very small, namely the wonderful Elizabeth Houston (please give it up for @elhoust) and yours truly (@petra1400). Having seen great success with our internal program and inspired by the possibilities of growing and even bringing it to our customers, partners and general public, we have added some resources and upgraded to kid-sized shoestrings. Soon, the external-facing training program pilot, a scaled down version of our internal program was born. (For the record, the current team is still really small and also includes @kmgibbs and some of @nrrivas07 and our fun intern, @efannie’s time).
We knew it was just a matter of time before we wanted to expand the customer-facing program and mirror it after our internal program as much as possible.
Driving in the Fast (and Furious) Lane
Over the past few months, we have been working furiously on making this dream become a reality. While we have a little longer to go before you can test drive our new social media training center, we want to share some screen shots of this new environment. Read More »
Aristotle was spot on when he said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This holds true when we look at the benefits of employee engagement in the socialsphere. Why not leverage your organization’s built-in social media army to evangelize the brand? Encouraging employee engagement across social channels on behalf of the brand seems to be a hot topic in social media these days.
Now the question is what are the steps for successfully encouraging employees to participate on behalf of a brand? In a recent Let’s Chat #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat we heard from Cisco’s Petra Neiger (@Petra1400) and Salesforce.com’s Jennifer Burnham (@JennyDBurnham), on ways to engage employees. In addition to their insightful tips, here’s my take on 5 steps to successfully encouraging employees to participate in the socialsphere:
Step 1: Training
It all starts here. Educate your employees with social media best practices, checklists, playbooks, toolkits, etc. Help your employees feel comfortable using social media on behalf of your brand. Interested in social media training? Check out our complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program and follow the #ciscosmt hashtag. To request customized one-on-one team training sessions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cisco Social Media Training Program Opportunity:
Step 2: Stretch Assignments
Once your employees have participated in training and are comfortable using social media best practices, create opportunities for their participation across multiple social channels. Leverage the masses to assist with social media campaigns, launches, events, etc. Even if social media is not their main role within your organization, develop these assignments as a great way to increase your program’s reach in addition to allowing employees to test out their new skill sets.
Step 3: Recognitions
What motivates your employees? Is it a milestone badge, management recognition, or perhaps a prize of some sort? Knowing this will help you to motivate additional employee participation. Along the way, create incentive programs to entice your employees to participate. Adding an element of gamification and rewarding beneficial behaviors can go a long way.
Can there ever be enough discussion around “social media measurement”? While I joke as part of the opening of this post, it is a topic that we’ll continue to explore in upcoming #Ciscosmt activities. And as a follow up to my recent “Decoding Social Media Measurement” post, last Thursday Charlie Treadwell, Manager, Digital and Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared his insights through the monthly #Ciscosmt Series Twitter chat. Below is a transcript of the interesting conversation as well as a few key takeaways.
Social Media Measurement #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat
I think this is a great start to the ongoing conversation we’ll explore further as we move forward. As it evolves, it provides more and more critical data points for business impact. I’m interested to hear how you are using social media measurement to benefit your business and also what types of metrics are most important to you.
Social media measurement is a key element in showing business value…social media benefits are no longer taken at face value. Businesses must align metrics to overall goals and benchmark along the way.
Metrics will vary from company to company based on individual goals. However, some basic types of data to measure includes: cost and/or support savings, revenue, influencers, share of voice, engagement, and crowdsourcing.
Social media measurement can be implemented even on limited budgets. Use tools like Google Analytics, individual social channels, or other resources to gather data and make informed decisions.
Pilot and test social media strategies on an ongoing basis and create measurement benchmarks throughout the initiatives to ensure efforts are maximized.
Quantity is an important part of the social media measurement equation. However, “quality” is an even more crucial element to consider. Take time to look deeper into the metrics to understand the types of engagement, influencers, or other data points that can be retrieved.
Measurement can and should be implemented across the organization when it comes to social media. HR, sales, support, marketing, and other areas can benefit from strong measurement best practices.
October Twitter Chat
And mark your calendars for next month’s Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Twitter chat, taking place on Thursday, October 24th from 9-10 a.m. PT. More details will follow shortly on this blog and through the @CiscoSocial handle on Twitter. Stay tuned for more details by following the Cisco Digital and Social Blog and the #Ciscosmt hashtag!
Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series: Engaging Employees in Social Media Twitter Chat Transcript