The London themed reception desk
This past week has been particularly exhausting as I have been out and about visiting regional Kier offices and external agencies. However, I was definitely most excited about my Friday appointment as I was invited by my Human Resources colleagues to present a Digital Marketing Workshop at LinkedIn's London office. This has only been open for about six months and is definitely designed to impress clients with it's London theme (including an underground room and desks with built in 'Boris bikes' which charge your mobile phone). Needless to say we made the most of the exciting new surroundings!

Using the facilites at lunchtime
As a department our HR team has always been a priority of mine when ensuring the business engages digitally. Job searches are consistently in the top three on our website (as with everywhere I've ever worked) so streamlining the user experience is paramount. I've also noticed a trend of companies recruiting for 'Resourcing Digital Marketing Managers' who are given the responsibility of developing and delivering a significant upgrade to a company's recruitment and digital attraction assets. This goes beyond new customer acquisition as everyone competes for the very best talent available.

Outside of our content marketing strategy for LinkedIn we work hard on delivering a consistent experience for applicants and my training session emphasised the need for both Marketing and HR to work together to give a consistent view of the company which follows through on the promises made in our advertisements. Some of my key themes and tips for the team were:
  • The importance of managing online profiles - if you are a recruiter it's essential you look the part online and maximise the opportunities available to you
  • Conversely, it's important to understand the person as well as the worker of whoever you are about to interview. I always undertake background checks on potential interviewees, as if someone has seen fit to share something then it there is no reason not to do your homework on them before you meet. It also gives a good understand of how digitally savvy they are before they start
  • Create content beyond just job advertisements - as with a customer acquisition campaign it's just as important to ensure that there is the content available to show what a good place your company can be for people to work. Once a candidate clicks the job advert you need relevant landing pages showing all of the benefits/information available to them as we did with our Apprenticeships Week campaign
  • Make your job advert pages as good as they can be - these are your product so it's important they are the jewel in the crown of your careers pages
  • Listen as well as talk to shape the employee brand - Along with the usual social media channels, websites such as Glassdoor give you a valuable insight into how you are perceived and if all of the work you are doing is paying off
  • Be proactive to find 'passive candidates' - Andy, our LinkedIn Account Director, informed us that only 15% of LinkedIn members are actively seeking work. If you want the best candidates then you have to find them as many people would be open to the right job offer coming along
  • Use tools to take away the manual process and filter the best fit candidates - Tools such as LinkedIn recruiter are an excellent way to find your next employee of the month. You can filter by location, experience or job type and it even allows you to use an exemplar employee for a search to find someone else just like them!
Anyone for pool?
To present yourselves as the best employer over your competitors you will need a mixture of all of the above as we're not all blessed with the fantastically modern offices of Tech companies (with table tennis tables and free snacks in every corner) such as LinkedIn!

Can you see the family resemblance?!
The way in which history has been recorded and certain individuals remembered (and others forgotten) is a fascinating subject on which the current trend for social media and online publishing will no doubt have a lasting effect. For this 100th post I'll be sharing how I was very excited to discover a few years ago that the Fryer family had a distant relative who was part of one of the most exciting and evocative naval stories of all time - the Mutiny on the Bounty.

Originating from Southampton many of my ancestors are sailors but none more famous than John Fryer who set sail in 1788 as Master of the Bounty. He was unique in that he was the one member of the crew who disagreed with Captain William Bligh's decision to promote Fletcher Christian (later leader of the mutineers) to Acting Lieutenant but then remained loyal to Bligh after he was cast overboard. Bligh's account of the Mutiny vilified Fryer, but Fryer gave fair evidence at Bligh's court-martial. Edward Christian, Fletcher's brother, was assisted by Fryer in publishing a counterweight to Bligh's version.

John Fryer's Narrative
These events showed that it was possible to have two contemporary and contrasting opinions of an event and that the history with which we are presented can never be 100% accurate. At the time both Fryer and Bligh were privileged in that they were men of influence and could see their accounts published. However, as social media has become popular we are now awash with every type of opinion on an individual or event. This will mean either a much more measured take on how events are remembered or a tangled web of thousands of sources to wade through in which to arrive at an accurate account.

Whereas earlier generations only have very small pieces of information about their lives recorded and perhaps only a few photographs with which to be remembered we are now awash with detailed, self published, online diaries listing what people have eaten for dinner, where they have checked in on Facebook and a mass of photos saved on the devices we all carry around in our pockets. This rising generation is the most photographed in history and one statistic estimates that in the past five years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined.

There is a lot of content out there!
However how many of these photos are just saved to a hard disk and hidden in a drawer, or uploaded to a social media site that will be gone in 5 years? Where is that longevity that a painting or book had in the past? Without making the effort to print these precious memories they will be confined to existing on an old device in a drawer as digital is cheap and cameras are everywhere. These lost memories prove expensive - not just to us but to future generations.

A big part of my current job at Kier is to increase the reach of our brand online. Essentially I am responsible for actively managing our digital footprint to build the foundations of how the brand is, and will be, perceived. The opposite side of this (the passive digital footprint) where we are mentioned by the public or in which our logo is photographed somewhere, is something we can attempt to control but eventually we are no longer the masters of our own destiny in the way the rich and powerful were in the past.

Mutineers turn Captain Bligh and
18 others (including John Fryer) adrift
In fact, I am currently taking steps to ensure that this blog is not forgotten and have begun to put together a printed version that will hopefully stand the test of time. Not for my own ego but so that the hours I have spent writing it (in total it amounts to a 60,000 word novel!) are not forgotten on an old and defunct SD Card in someone's loft.

Obviously it will never reach the exciting heights of John Fryer's life - I've worked in some colourful places but never any that have shown signs of a full scale mutiny!
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