Guest Post: Keys for Preventing Multi-Platform Duplicate Content Problems

Duplicate content has long been a concern for marketers looking to improve their Google rankings, but now Twitter has announced new restrictions on how users may automate tweets as well. Users can no longer tweet the same content from multiple accounts, but can only tweet from one account and have other accounts retweet it, and must avoid bulk tweeting or tweeting that is aggressive or high volume. The new policy applies both to duplicate tweets sent at once or scheduled in advance. Apps are still allowed to post content from other platforms to Twitter, but can only do so to one account.

These changes underscore how duplicate content has become an issue for companies that use multiple platforms to distribute marketing material. Here are some keys to avoid running into duplicate content issues when doing cross-platform marketing.

Understand What Duplicate Content Is and Isn’t

Google defines duplicate content as significant content chunks distributed across one or multiple websites that either totally copy other content or significantly resemble it. Twitter’s new rules similarly define duplicate tweets as being either identical or essentially similar.

Google draws a distinction between duplicate content that is malicious versus non-malicious. Google sees malicious duplicate content as designed to game search engine results or generate higher traffic by copying the same content on more than one page or site. Tactics Google considers malicious include scraping content, auto-generating content, duplicating content that has already been published on another page or site, link schemes, use of irrelevant keywords, hiding text, and sneaky redirects.

Google sees this type of malicious duplicate content as distinct from non-malicious duplicate content that has a legitimate purpose. For example, some sites have different versions for mobile and desktop readers. Some news sites and blogs provide a printer-only version of their site that includes an entire article on one page without ads. E-commerce sites may post multiple URLs that lead to the same product page.

Know How Search Engines and Social Media Handle Duplicate Content

Google and other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing handle malicious duplicate content differently than non-malicious content. When Google reviews a report about malicious duplicate content, Google’s reviewers may demote the content, remove it, or take other actions. Upon taking action, Google sends a notice to the site’s webmaster, who is then given an opportunity to fix the problem and submit a reconsideration request. Twitter appears to be following a similar procedure.

Google takes a different approach to duplicate content deemed non-malicious. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of content is actually duplicate, which is normal and does not draw a penalty from Google. But if Google’s robots detect multiple versions of the same content on a site or on different sites, they must still determine which one to prioritize when listing search results. They do this by following an algorithm that compares different versions of the content, indexes the first version crawled, and removes other versions from results listings. Other search engines use a similar practice to filter results. Presumably Twitter will take a similar approach.

Follow Best Practices to Avoid Duplicate Content

You can avoid most duplicate content issues by following best practices. Most fundamentally, avoid any SEO tactics that Google, Twitter, or other platforms define as malicious, as elaborated above. If your receive a duplicate content notice, instruct your webmaster to take appropriate measures to fix it so you can submit a request for reconsideration.

For non-malicious content, focus on developing original content. If you use content from other sites, include something extra that adds unique value, such as your own commentary or a top 10 listing. If you have product descriptions, instead of borrowing the manufacturer’s description as most sites do, modify descriptions to make them unique to you. If you syndicate some of your content to other platforms, publish it on your own platform first so that you get indexed first.

For content that is featured on multiple places on your site, you can tell search engines not to index secondary versions by using your robots.txt file. For blogs, select your settings to avoid indexing archives for dates and categories. For pages that have been moved from their original URL, use 301 redirects to let search engines know which version to index.

If you host product pages on multiple platforms, you should use ecommerce product page best practices to avoid duplicate content issues. Create unique versions of your landing pages and product pages instead of using the same version everywhere. To save time logging into each of your online profiles, use a content management platform that allows you to manage all your online properties from a single interface. A content management interface also makes it easier to track your content’s performance across multiple platforms so you can track and correct duplicate content issues.

Knowing how search engines and social sites handle duplicate content can help you avoid running into issues. Following these guidelines for avoiding malicious content and managing non-malicious content will help you keep your online properties from getting flagged and keep you competitive in search engine results.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.
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A New Flying Car By Google’s Co-Founder Larry Page, Cora

Remember the flying cars in the TV series the Jetsons? Flying cars are not just for cartoons anymore! Google’s co-founder, Larry Page, has launched an autonomous flying taxi firm called Kitty Hawk. Could this mean competition for commuters and business travelers that use apps like Lyft? To reinvent personal aircraft transportation, Page invested in two flying start-ups, Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk in 2010. The flying car projects were kept secret until a report by a bombshell investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek found that Page had invested $100 million into the project. Going back to 2014, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk have filed dozens of different aircraft registrations with the FAA. These include electric gliders, rotorcraft, and fixed-wing designs that function more like traditional, commercial planes.

via GIPHY

The current prototype, Cora, is an electric, autonomous air taxi/commercial plane. It was reported to travel at 93 mph, with a range of 100 kilometers. Because it can take off and land vertically, it doesn’t require long runways. Cora is being piloted by the government of New Zealand as a part of a commercial air taxi service. Part of the goal in using Cora in New Zeland is for the country to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The unveiling was showcased on YouTube:

Source: Kitty Hawk

What’s the Competition Look Like?

At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the PAL-V Liberty Sport and the PAL-V Liberty Pioneer were introduced. These are made by the PAL-V Dutch company, claiming the world’s first production-ready flying cars. The PAL-V vehicles are gyroplanes, which, according to the company makes them “much safer and easier to fly” than helicopters or small fixed-wing planes. But you need more than a driver’s license to take this one for a spin. In fact, you’ll also need to get a pilot’s license. And when the Liberty is in flying mode, it must comply with FAA regulations. Which probably means that you can’t just take off if you are stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway.

And it’s not inexpensive. In addition to the $25,000 non-refundable deposit, the Dual Mode Sports Vehicle is expected to retail for $399,000–$599,999. When will the production-ready flying cars be ready? Estimates are by the end of 2018. Here’s the video on PAL-V flying car:

Source: PAL- V

Other competitors…

  • Airbus launched their first successful flight of its self-piloted flying car
  • Velocopter is working on flying taxis in Dubai
  • Uber is working with NASA on its flying taxis and
  • German startup Lilium is creating aircraft smaller and quieter than helicopters to travel in urban areas
  • Lyft is creating partners and alliances with groups like nuTonomy, Magna and General Motors
  • Ford is investing $1 billion in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence start-up focused on developing autonomous vehicle technology
  • GM acquired Cruise for an estimated $1 billion in cash, stock and incentive packages
  • BMW has joined forces with Lego Technic to create a flying motorcycle concept, the Hover Ride, based on a Lego modeling kit
  • Toyota goal is to create a flying car piloted – potentially an athlete – that will deliver the Olympic torch to launch 2020 Tokyo Olympic games
  • Terrafugia’s flying car, TF-X, will have vertical take-off and will hit 320km/hr and offer an 800km range
  • AirQuadOne was created by Neva Aerospace, a UK-based syndicate comprised of five European aviation and robotics companies.

The future is flying high!

 

@DrNatalie, Success Cloud, VP, Salesforce.com

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What’s One of the Best Ways To Reach Your Audience to Avoid “Content Shock”?

Content Shock” coined by Mark Schaefer, refers to the rising amount of content posted on the internet on the various channels vs. the finite ability of people to consume all that content. In talking with Mike Barrett, he shared with me a infographic on video content. What’s important to note is that if you want to reach an audience, then video can be the most effective method. And YouTube has a large number of viewers. But it isn’t just about the numbers. YouTube also creates unique relationships with viewers that few other sites can claim.
Here’s more of Mike’s thoughts on the topic and important reasons why YouTube can’t be ignored by anyone who is creating content. With the expansion of channels to reach an audience and the volume of content, whether you are a Marketer, an entrepreneur, a content creator, or simply an entertainer, it is difficult to succeed in a competitive online landscape without video in 2018.
Where Blogs Once Ruled
Video is now the expectation among people online who are seeking interesting content or valuable information.  There is a lot of evidence to suggest that not only is video more popular, but it is also more effective in delivering your message. For example, people remember as much as 80% of what they watch as opposed to merely 20% of what they read.
Top Video Platform
With improved bandwidth more video/ vlog content created every day, YouTube has maintained its position as the top video platform, even as other massive sites like Facebook have started leaning into video heavily.  YouTube has cleared an astonishing 1.5 Billion users and has over 5 million independent channels regularly contributing new content. There is more content than any one person could hope to consume – as many as 400 of hours of new video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!
Here’s some stats to get your wheels turning:
And this where the whole infographic from Mike Barrett – with many more statistic from Vlogging Guides – can be found.
YouTube is Trusted
 Since it was formed in 2006, YouTube has come a long way since funny cat videos.  It is now a credible source of information for many in both their personal and professional lives. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world behind only Google which means that a startling number of people are actually turning to YouTube first when they have a question that they need help answering.
That is significant – if you can produce videos that answer those questions and solve those problems, then you can build an engaged audience who will trust your brand and your voice.
Video as a medium has proven that it is effective. Forty-four percent of people report that they have taken action specifically due to an online video, and videos have shown that they improve conversion rates on sales pages, or within emails.
High Engagement
 YouTube is not a site that people use to skim headlines. In fact, an average YouTube user watches 1 hour of video per day on the site. Much of this is due to the many high-quality content producers, but the engineers at YouTube deserve some credit as well.
The site is intelligently designed to maximize use viewing time by promoting videos that perform well in user satisfaction metrics. It uses a sophisticated search algorithm that helps surface the videos that fit exactly what a user is looking for. This is supported by personalized recommendations that give users a number of suggested videos that are related to content that they have engaged with in the past.
The Platform Is Growing
 YouTube’s total view time increase 10x between 2012 and 2017, and it is showing no signs of slowing.  One of the main reasons this upward trend is likely to continue is that younger people have shown that they use the platform that most. 95% of 13-17-year-olds in the US are regular YouTube users, the most of any age bracket.
As more young viewers enter prime YouTubing age, and the platform grows in international markets, YouTube likely still has a long way to go before it reaches its ceiling. This is one of many reasons why it is not too late to establish yourself on this platform now, and why it is critical to do so in 2018.
Thanks Mike for gathering the stats on YouTube! Appreciate you sharing them with me and giving me the opportunity to share them with everyone!
@DrNatalie, VP, Success Cloud, Business Transformation
Salesforce
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Guest Post: Get to Know Your Customers Better with This All-In-One Tool

Whether you’re a business owner or marketing expert, you understand the importance of knowing your audience inside and out is key to attracting prospects and retaining existing customers. Fortunately, there are a number of tools on the market that can help you do just that.

Through cloud call center software available from companies like Aspect, you’re able to get a more complete picture and understanding of your customers, from their search behavior and purchase patterns to their history of interactions with your company.

Here are several ways this tool can help you achieve that highly-desired, 360-degree view of your customers.

Personalization

Aspect’s cloud call center allows for businesses to get a more personalized look at each and every customer. In particular, the software can provide insights into customers’ purchase and spending history, as well as the frequency with which they do business with your company. Indeed, gaining these insights will allow you to retarget specific customers — based on their specific desires — with similar products or must-have accessories, which will keep them coming back time and time again.

Furthermore, call center software in the cloud gives you the ability to recall every customer’s recent interaction history with your company. For example, when a specific customer calls your support line more than once, your live agents will already have a number of tools at their fingertips — this may include who the customer initially spoke with and the details of their previous conversations — to more seamlessly resolve any outstanding issues.

Based on this information, your live agents will be able to determine the customer’s needs and anticipate any problems or questions they may have.

Convenience

Another great customer-focused aspect of cloud call center software is its omnichannel capabilities. Of course, not all customers prefer the same methods of communication. But by providing omnichannel options, customers can reach your live agents through a number of different mediums, including voice, email, text messaging, live chat and social media.

For example, if a customer prefers to be contacted via text and requests a status update on their most recent purchase, your live agents can text them in real time with the requested information, allowing the customer to respond when it’s most convenient for them.

But perhaps one reason why employing omnichannel options can be valuable to your company is the ability for customers to reach support agents 24/7. No matter the time of day, employing a cloud contact center gives you the ability to offer live chat support via your website, where customers can ask questions at any time from virtually anywhere.

Ultimately, this allows your company to fit the individual needs of a variety of different customers around the clock, even outside of normal business hours.

Satisfaction

Last but not least, cloud call center software allows your company to track customer satisfaction scores by deploying surveys to gather important feedback. Simply tailor your questions to your liking and specific needs in order to gain crucial customer insights and gauge which areas of your business need some fine-tuning.

Cloud call center software can help you achieve this through both stand-alone and post-call surveys that can be deployed after a voice call or via text message. For example, you can deploy a post-call survey to use for training purposes or to simply gain additional feedback from your customers.

You can also deploy an in-app survey to gauge user experience, mobile-friendliness and overall satisfaction with your company. Gaining these types of insights are valuable, as the feedback comes directly from the customer, which can then help you make the best business decisions with their interests in mind.

Capturing a More Complete Picture

By using cloud call center software to aggregate customer data, your company will be able to gather a more complete picture of each and every customer. In the end, better understanding your customers’ desires will help your company in future retargeting strategies and, in turn, help retain this clientele.

 

About the Author

Andrea Rodriguez is a freelance writer and digital marketing expert

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Amazon Will Compete With FedEx and UPS and Provide Better Customer Experiences

Shipping with Amazon (SWA) is the name of Amazon’s new delivery service. It is thought to rival UPS and FedEx, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Why is it attractive to customers? It seems Amazon wants to offer lower prices than competitors (FedEx and UPS) by adding extra package to the empty spaces in their trucks.

The service is said to start in Los Angeles and work with third-party merchants that sell on Amazon’s marketplace. Will Los Angeles be the only city? No. In fact, there may be plans to expand to other cities.

What’s changed? In the past, Amazon offered third-party sellers warehouse management software and fulfillment support to help merchants. While it doesn’t seem like SWA will be required for Amazon’s vendors, vendors that participate will help Amazon to coordinate more of the fulfillment operations. Amazon will also have more control of the delivery process from the time the package leaves a merchant’s warehouse to its arrival on a customer’s front door. For merchants that can only be a good thing.

It is possible SWA may enable Amazon to offer Prime shipping for any products from a business using SWA. This may be an advantage to Amazon because offering more Prime-eligible products could make a Prime subscription more valuable, giving subscribers more options and lead to additional purchases. And the end result? It may provide better customer experiences. Which Amazon has already done a good job of – but this could increase customer’s choice and Amazon’s revenue. Looks like it’s a win-win.

@DrNatalie

VP, Salesforce

Image Source: Wall Street Journal

 

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Guest Post: How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware Threats

Security experts say ransomware looms as one of the top cybersecurity threats in 2018 — and for good reason. Last year, these incidents accelerated exponentially, with mobile ransomware attacks rising 250 percent during the first quarter of 2017 compared to quarter four of 2016.

This trend will continue to gain steam in 2018, with MIT forecasting that hackers will target cloud providers such as Amazon. But while large companies like Amazon have greater resources to defend themselves, smaller businesses without such deep pockets will face the greatest risks. In particular, cybercriminals are broadening their attacks from Windows computers to other devices so that no platform is safe from ransomware threats.

While anyone can be targeted by a ransomware attack, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Here’s a look at how ransomware attacks work, how you can protect your business and what you can do to recover in the event you are attacked.

Explaining How Ransomware Attacks Work

So how do ransomware attacks occur? Experts say it’s similar to the way malware can infiltrate systems, but with a twist that hijacks your computer and holds it hostage. Like other malware, ransomware gets on your computer by tricking you into accepting an infected file and then runs in the background without your knowledge. But unlike other malware that steals information, ransomware executes a code that locks your machine so that you can’t use it and then posts a message demanding payment to unlock your system.

Ransomware can get on your system through three main attack methods. The most common is sending you an email with an infected attachment and tricking you into opening the email and attachment. Another method is tricking you into clicking on a link to an infected website or popup ad. A third, less common method involves unscrupulous people leaving an infected USB stick near a business center parking lot in the hopes an employee will pick it up and start using it.

The worst forms of ransomware encrypt your data so that you can’t use your computer unless you pay the ransom to get an unlock code. Typically, if you don’t pay for the unlock code within a set period of time, the ransom fee doubles; then, if you still haven’t paid before the deadline expires, your data gets deleted. Other forms of ransomware, known as scareware, don’t actually encrypt your data, but rather attempt to scare you into thinking they do so that you pay the attacker anyway.

Ransomware attackers usually demand payment in untraceable electronic forms of currency, such as Bitcoin. Paying these fees is no guarantee you’ll regain access to your data. In fact, once you pay, criminals may regard you as an easy victim and target you again in the future.

Preventing Ransomware Hacks

To protect your business against ransomware hacks, there are some essential steps you should take immediately. Your first line of defense is installing an up-to-date antivirus program that runs in real-time on your computer in order to immediately detect and neutralize known ransomware threats. It’s also important to educate yourself and your employees to avoid opening suspicious emails, visiting unsecure websites, or using discarded USB sticks that may contain ransomware.

In the event ransomware does get on your system, another important step to follow is to keep your operating systems and apps updated. Most successful ransomware attacks target vulnerabilities in outdated software, so keeping your software current can thwart many attacks.

Finally, as insurance against a successful ransomware attack, it’s vital to keep your data backed up so that you can recover it without having to pay the ransom. The best way to do this is to schedule automated cloud backups with a secure provider like Mozy, which uses military-grade encryption to protect your backups from hackers.

Recovering from Ransomware Incidents

If, despite your precautions, your business does fall victim to a ransomware attack, don’t pay the ransom; after all, you may not get your data restored — and you’ll only invite future repeat attacks.

Instead, restore your data from your backups, which is the fastest way to recover from a ransomware attack. In most cases, you should be able to restore your data and get up and running again within 33 hours, according to Vanson Bourne. This isn’t nearly as much of a hassle as being down for weeks or not being able to recover your data at all because you didn’t back it up.

Now, if you got hit before you had a chance to back up your data, all is not necessarily lost. In some cases, companies have been able to successfully recover their data due to flaws in the hacker’s attack method. But your best bet is to have backups available in the event you can’t recover your data.

Bear in mind that just because you take preventive measures against a ransomware attack now, it doesn’t guarantee you’re immune to potential attacks in the future. Staying secure against ransomware threats requires ongoing attention to detail and running continuous backups.

Conclusion

Ransomware attacks can easily worm their way into your system by tricking you into opening a suspicious email, clicking on an infected link, or using an infected USB stick. Fortunately, you can prevent ransomware attacks by avoiding these sources of infection, running an up-to-date real-time antivirus program, keeping your operating systems and apps updated, and backing up your data. Scheduling automated data backups is the best way to recover your data if you do fall victim to an attack.

 

About the Author:

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

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Why You MUST Pay Attention to the World Economic Forum – Exponential Pace Of Change May Catch Many Businesses Off-guard

The World Economic Forum is best known for its Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. What is it about? The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world.

It is Jan 23-26th, 2018.

In the words of Klaus Schwab, who is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, it is about how each revolution in time has built on the previous revolution:

  • The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production.
  • The Second used electric power to create mass production
  • The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production and
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century.

Source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cz5LPgYWIAASUug.jpg

The Fourth Revolution is Changing Every Aspect of Business

The real difference in the previous revolutions and this one is that the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. It is disrupting almost every industry in every country. The shift from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation based on combinations of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is forcing companies to reexamine the way they do business. As a result, business leaders and senior executives need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly and continuously innovate.

Source: http://talwork.net/images/moore%27s%20law.png

Getting Caught Off-Guard

If we have been operating in linear world, then we might be caught off-guard by the level of exponential changes. In a linear world, for instance, walking 30 meters, you end up 30 meters away. But in an exponential world, if you take 30 exponential paces, you end up 1,073,741,824 meters away. Businesses need to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s rapid pace of change and broad impacts to preserve the interest of the consumers and the public at large while continuing to support innovation and technological development. It’s easy to get caught off-guard. In our grandpa’s world, it was linear. Things changed on one side of the world and no one knew about it. Today, things change instantaneously.

It’s All of Our Responsibility To Take the Shift Seriously

To do this, we must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. Never has there been a time of greater promise, or one of greater potential peril. But today’s decision-makers are often trapped in traditional, linear thinking, or too absorbed by the multiple crises demanding their attention, to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.

Source: WEF

The Potential Benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution

The people who have gained the most from it are consumers who are able to afford and access digital technology which has made possible new products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of our personal lives. These could be things like ordering a cab, booking a flight, buying a product, making a payment, listening to music, watching a film, or playing a game. It is possible that the technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. The result of this is that transportation and communication costs could drop, logistics and global supply chains may become more effective, and the cost of trade may diminish. All of these things can open new markets and drive economic growth.

The Potential Downfalls of the 4th Industrial Revolution

At the same time, as economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have pointed out, the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets. If automation substitutes for labor across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labor. Although, it is also possible that the displacement of workers by technology will, in as a whole, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs.

Create a People First World- For Everyone

We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them. In the worse case scenario, from a pessimistic, dehumanized point of view, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and deprive us of our heart and soul. But on the other hand, it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.

The Best of Humanity: Creativity, Empathy and Stewardship

Using the best parts of human nature—creativity, empathy, stewardship— this is possible. But it is incumbent on us all to make sure the latter is what happens. I highly urge to you pay attention to the content that comes out of the World Economic Forum and apply it not only to your business, but also to your life. Schwab calls for leaders and citizens to “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”

At the heart of Schwab’s analysis is the conviction that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is within the control of all of us as long as we are able to collaborate across geographies, sectors and disciplines to grasp the opportunities it presents.

The time is now. Are you in?

The introduction of the book is available in PDF form here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP, Innovation and Transformation Expeditions

Note: Parts of this article were first published in Foreign Affairs.

You can follow the WEF:

Join the community: Community page

Facebook: 4IR Facebook page.  http://wef.ch/facebook 

Twitter: #wef18 and @wef

Instagram: http://wef.ch/instagram and

http://wef.ch/instagram_es

Youtube: YouTube channel; hit the “Subscribe” button. They will also publish in-depth interviews with Davos participants.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn

Google+: Google+.

Live blog: http://wef.ch/am18

Reports and other publications: http://wef.ch/reports

You can republish content on this feed: http://wef.ch/feed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License (“CCPL”).

 

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Creating An ROI For Human Capital And Organizational Change Projects: Part 2

I was working at a company and asked to do several things. First was to recruit 100 engineers. That may not seem like a lot, but for every 100 people, we interviewed we had 1 person accept. So it took interviewing 1000 people to obtain 100 engineers. Part of that was because we were looking for a specific type of engineer – digital signal processing engineers. The company I worked for had gone through a series of hiring and layoff cycles, so they weren’t completely trusted by the local community as being a stable place to work. Many of those types of engineers had left southern California to go to northern California to pursue work – and for larger salaries and more stable positions.

Examining What Was Important to The Employees Was the Key

We had lost a large number of engineers and some accounts were in trouble. So the need to recruit quickly was key. Normally it could take us 3- 6 months to recruit these type of engineers. I had been given a month. So I stepped up to the challenge. I thought, what would I want to experience to determine if I wanted to work for this company? I would want to hear from the leadership that they were dedicated to doing things differently. I would want to know that there were exciting career options in various categories and I would want to feel, touch and see the advanced technologies I would be getting a chance to work with and enhance my skill set so I would be more marketable in the future, both inside the company as well as if I decided to leave. I would want to get to talk to potential colleagues and potential bosses. I would want to get a sense of the culture and the environment I would be working in. And I’d like to meet people who were seeking the same or similar positions to what I was seeking – who would be these new people on-boarding with me?

The Answer? A Career Day With a Special Invite to Top Candidates

What I proposed was a career day. We took out an ad in the LA Times, inviting the best of the best to apply to our company and upon invitation, they would be invited to come to the career day, hear from our leadership about our company and their future there, be interviewed by direct hiring managers for our 5 major divisions as well as tour booths staffed by some of our top engineers and business folks. In the booths, we demonstrated our “cool” technology – at least that which was not classified as top secret.

To pull this day off, I worked with our graphics department to create amazing ads, colorful booth content, onsite brochures and the personal invites sent to those that had sent in resumes and qualified to participate in the career day.

The Launch of the Career Fair

The day started with a group of engineers who began their career day journey with us by hearing from our top leadership. Then they got to tour 5 divisions, each with several booths where the top technology was being demonstrated. We tried our best to come up with really interesting, real-life demos that potential employees could get to touch and feel the technology = actually experience it. Then they were invited to interview with a hiring manager there on site. The hiring managers were given the ability to hire people on the spot (something we’d never done before.)

The Reaction of the Interviewees Was Fantastic

What was interesting was the feedback we collected on video as the employees left the career day. Most of them, after interviewing wanted to go back and hang-out in the tech booths or listen to more talks from our leadership. They commented that it was the best interviewing process they had ever experienced. What was even more gratifying was that the day not only had a positive effect on the interviews but also on the employees who helped put the day together. I had not seen the employees shine so brightly in a long time. It was clear they had a new found sense of pride in the work they were doing as well as for the company. We even captured their feedback on the video and put a compilation video together. Why the video? To help demonstrate the ROI.

Examining the ROI for the Career Day

The cost to develop the day and put it on was about $1,00,000, including the a portion of the salary of all people who participated in the project for various amounts of time, the graphics, the ads in the LA Times, the billboards off the 405 freeway, the booths, tanks we had onsite as part of the booths, etc… When we looked at the cost of recruiting one engineer in our typical process. HR had calculated that to be about $150,000. To obtain 100 engineers we would have had to interview 1,000 people at a cost of $150,000 and that would be equal to $15M. Most people would have considered those soft costs. But they still cost the company time and money. In this new process of interviewing, it cost about $2M. We were able to interview and hire over 100 engineers. The ROI?

$15M – $2M / $2M x 100 = 650%.

(Benefit of saving the regular cost of interviewing – Cost of the new interviewing process / Cost of the new interviewing process x 100 = ROI %.

What I Found Surprising

It wasn’t just that we were able to recruit so many great people quickly. Another aspect of this process was that we actually interviewed our own employees who staffed the event and created all the content to make it amazing. What they said on camera was they were truly proud of the place they worked. They felt a sense of pride they had not in years. I what I learned was that by engaging our own employees, making them part of the recruiting process in this event, it changed their attitude towards the company and their work. So not only were we able to hire all the engineers we needed, but we had boosted the internal company morale! It was a very exciting day for everyone. Something I will proud of for years to come!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP, Innovation and Transformation Expeditions, Salesforce

 

 

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Guest Post and Infographic: How AI Changed Customer Service

You can make or break your business’s future by how well, or how poorly, you treat your clients. But you have a lot on your plate, too—even more as you manage the endless technology needs that seem to be developing overnight.


    That’s why artificial intelligence (AI) aspects of customer service are so crucial to how well (or how badly) we do business in the future. You may not even realize how many of these AI elements are already in place in your interaction with companies—and that number is only going to increase.


    Right now, about 2 out of 5 enterprises in the United States are already using AI in some form; that number is going to grow to about 3 out of 5 just this year alone. The human touch still matters, but the bots are already here. What does that mean for you and your business? This graphic explains it.

Infographic source: https://www.salesforce.com/hub/service/how-ai-changed-customer-service/

AUTHOR:

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword research to recovering from Google Algorithm updates and changes. She writes for the nationally recognized SEO Company HigherVisibility that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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