Category: Digital Toolbox – What’s Trending?

3 Ways Millennials Are Influencing Healthcare

[Breaking News] – The healthcare landscape is changing, and while those in DC continue to have polite, bipartisan discussions on how to “solve” this nagging problem, HR departments everywhere are trying to keep up.

A new study released last week by Allidura Consumer, GSW Worldwide, and the Harris Poll offers some creative options when it comes to running a competitive workplace. The study shifts the discussion from topics like the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Private Exchanges, preventative care, and Medicaid Part D, to healthcare marketing for the Millennial Mindset.

And why not focus on the consumers of healthcare? Insurers, employers, and providers… grab some popcorn and watch us, Millennials, find our way through the healthcare maze. We are going to make up over half of the workforce in a few years, which means benefits packages will need to play nice with our interpretation of healthcare, whatever that may be.

We are a little bit dramatic… okay, really dramatic:

Millennials worry about getting a serious illness or affording healthcare almost as much as Boomers…. And we are 20 something! The viral nature of the web, the access we have to technology and information, and the trust we put in these types of media is overwhelmingly a GenY downfall.

  • 44% of Millennials say that viewing health information online causes them to worry
  • Millennials are more likely to describe themselves as anxious
  • 1 in 10 have been diagnosed with a social phobia

One word. Paranoid. One hashtag. #Ebola.

Tell your Millennial employees they are healthy. Show them with facts. A little biometric screening never hurt anyone.

We Love Trends:

Have you heard Millennials say (or post rather) some iteration of… #selfie Check out my progress with my #crossfit family! Oh my gosh, I’m on this cleanse and it’s amazing! #juice #eatclean Heck No! G-M-O. I drank wine last night @WholeFoods while I shopped. It was the coolest thing of all time. #wineo I made gluten free pizza from a post on Pinterest I found last week. #organic #farmtotable

Whole Foods

  • 49% of Millennials have used a training program such as P90X, Insanity, or CrossFit in the past 2 years
  • 33% have used a cleanse in the past 2 years
  • 27% are willing to pay more for foods that are free of GMOs
  • 23% are willing to pay more for foods that are made by a well-known brand
  • 15% feel it is absolutely essential or very important to eat gluten- free foods

Don’t offer us a gym membership, then we have to find friends to go with us because we can’t do anything alone. Offer yoga classes, so we can meet friends. For a company fitness challenge… I don’t want your designated pedometer, let me use my Nike+ Fuel Band. And when I win… I absolutely will REFUSE that Subway gift card. Find the brands we like with the nutritional value we think we need.

We trust people we know and our fellow consumer:

It’s no longer a little voice in our heads encouraging us… it’s now an app, our friend, or Kevin Durant giving us the authority to diagnose ourselves or choose the right nutrition plan. Oh, except they don’t have the $500,000 in debt and letters after their names like real doctors. Small detail.

KIND: Kevin Durant

  • 84% of Millennials trust information from people they know personally
  • 37% have self-diagnosed themselves with health problems that they don’t have
  • 22% trust celebrities when endorsing a food product

Groupthink is a powerful thing in this generation. Get people on board and get creative with who delivers the message and how the message is coming across (it doesn’t have to be a celebrity, but if my company felt the need to bring Sam Smith in to make sure I didn’t eat Cane’s every day of the week, I wouldn’t be mad).

The healthcare topic is here to stay. If you wait until it’s solved, you may be waiting longer than the City of Cleveland on a World Championship… aka a really long time. If organizations take a few Millennial approaches to healthcare and make them their own, rather than just keeping up they’ll find themselves setting the standard.

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It’s 2014: 3 Ways Technology Can Drive Your People Strategy

Last Saturday night I sat on the patio of a local pub trying to hold back from devouring the plate of funnel cake fries sitting in the middle of the table but, more importantly, to celebrate one of my closest friend’s 25th birthday. We all went to high school together, and during those wonder years, the patio I was sitting on was home to a Borders.

My inner geek started creeping in and I thought to myself how incredible and powerful technology is, putting entire industries either out of business or forcing those who survive to radically change their business models (e.g. Barnes & Noble).

Poof. The need for another “me too” storefront retailer of CD’s and books is gone. Thank you iTunes and tablets. But, iTunes is so 2006, and online music streaming is now putting even the almighty iTunes at risk of extinction.

Every two days we create as much information as we did from the beginning of time until 2003. Today, it’s no secret data can aid in making better, more efficient decisions. Why not start applying it to how we attract, develop, and retain people?

In a few years (or today if you’re a Decoded Company):

(1) Internal referrals will never be the same!

Your LinkedIn profile is a data source being tapped by people you’ve never met, terrifying right? Not really.

With LinkedIn data and network notifications, you can be reminded of that ex-coworker who meets all of the requirements for the Accounting Department’s open analyst role. A quick e-mail asks if you would work with him again. A survey is sent evaluating culture fit. A few clicks later… #boominternalreferral. No outbound recruiting needed.

(2) The best Sourcer is no longer determined by who has the best Boolean string.

Wouldn’t it be cool if while I was sitting at a stoplight on my way to lunch, Wendy’s pinged my cell phone with a Buy One, Get One Free Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger coupon? By the way, it’s right across the street.

Location-based advertising can not only get you a discount on your next burger but maybe even find you your next job. Unassuming passive job seekers would be alerted of an opening on their smart phones when they walk by your office that could be a good fit for their background. Click here to apply. Companies in metro areas should be all over this with the high-level of foot traffic populating their sidewalks.

(3) Training is proactive rather than reactive.

What if you had an internal system tracking your projects? Any mistakes or errors made would be flagged. If an individual is consistently being flagged for the same mistake or error, their manager could be notified in order to provide training rather than wait for a quarterly or annual review to discuss solutions.

How we do things is being optimized by technology, and HR (or whatever snappy title you’ve given this department) is no exception.

We live in a world of information and if companies choose to ignore this or are slow to adapt, they may very well end up like Borders. However, if an organization can adjust their business model, use technology as an asset, and still hold onto their where I came from swag, they may find themselves in the Barnes & Noble safe zone… for now at least.

Anyone reading this blog on a Nook Tablet?

Be an Employment Brand Junkie: My 2014 HCI Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference Take-Away

I love Southwest Airlines; therefore I have a Southwest Visa and avidly watch my points tally up. I have convinced myself my internal energy tank is low without Starbucks in the morning and I have to use my mobile application to pay or else it doesn’t feel right. I own more t-shirts than a sorority sister in her 6th year of undergrad because I elect to represent my teams in Homage gear. And when I receive a Nordstrom Note in the mail it’s as if I was just accepted to my dream college… Every time.

Your employment brand is directly connected to your consumer brand. However, instead of using this vision to sell more plane tickets, you’re using this vision to ensure you have talented folks flying the planes, serving the drinks, checking the bags, and changing travel plans for those who bought that plane ticket.

Employment Brand Quote

Recruiters have been “selling” companies to potential candidates for decades. Employment branding at its core is not new. Showing candidates why they should work at your company is not a new concept. But how you show candidates is changing. Estela Vasquez Perez mentioned three steps to having a successful employment brand:

(1)  Emotional – Connect with your people and potential people.

(2)  Rational – Connect corporate vision with your people and potential people.

(3)  Experiential – Deliver on the employment brand promise you made (nobody likes liars).

Who does this really well? Or at least is on the right track to do this very well? I saw multiple videos at the conference, showing off speaker companies and what it’s like to work there. One stood out and that was Hewlett-Packard. Yes, HP,  the company that has been knocked by many not only for the jet-lagged innovation to Apple in recent years but their revenue numbers have not shown promise either. However, with new CEO Meg Whitman they’ve reassessed their employment brand. HP pulls you in with understanding its history then rationalizes it by showing their inventions of then, now, and the future. And as for the experience part… Guess you’ll have to work there and see if it lives up to expectation.

The job search landscape is competitive. Technology is either crippling your company if you can’t catch-up or lifting your company if you embrace and deliver on it. There is going to be a shortage of talent. High-potentials are going to leave your company. Millennials are knocking on your door. If employment branding wasn’t important before, it certainly is now. It’s no secret these kids are showing up in droves. And guess what?… WE LOVE BRANDS.

We are brand junkies. Don Draper said these famous words on AMC’s Mad Men, “Advertising is happiness.” When you read, listen, or watch an ad, its purpose is to generate happiness leading to a transaction. When you think of a brand, what you remember is how that brand made you feel. I’m only going to say, “Yes,” over and over again to a brand that gets it.

You want the people who come to work for your company to be brand junkies. Make them happy. Get them hooked. Show people what it’s like to work at ___________. Next thing you know they’ll be waving your flag through the streets.

4 Ways Talent Management Programs Can Learn From Millennials

If you take a holistic view of the workforce and use a little math, it can be determined that millennials are the closest in age to their childhood. Your 20-somethings within your organization are fresh off the “becoming an adult” train and who knows, maybe some of your 30-somethings are too. 

For as much as we millennials love the future and being on the cutting edge of technology, pop culture, and style (for those fashionistas out there) we also love looking back at ourselves, seeing how we grew up and remembering “that one night when…” As technology continues to shape how millennials operate in the workforce it’s also enabling a generation to say, “Remember when…” and track moments in time that would otherwise be overlooked.

Talent Management Programs continue to grow in popularity. When an organization is ready to develop their talent as well as focus on engagement and retention, a TM Program is usually looming overhead. Charts, graphs, feedback outside of the “annual review” from the supervisor, virtual high fives, those are… “Okay,” as Juan Pablo from The Bachelor would say. But if you look at how millennials are tracking their own lives… maybe there’s something to be learned.

1. TimehopThis is an app you connect to all of your social media outlets. Timehop aggregates posts, pictures, Tweets, places you’ve “Checked-In” and tells you what was going on in your life one year ago, two years ago, and three years ago today. Similar to SportsCenter saying “Today in sports history…” We can now say, “Today in my history…” Pretty cool, huh?

Timehop Example

2. SpotifyI now have every ‘NSYNC and Backstreet Boys album at my fingertips. Music gets old fast these days. If I have to hear “Blurred Lines” or “Cups” one more time I might give up on the radio. But, the #throwbacks – those stay forever. You want to listen to J. Lo or 2Pac? Maybe even LFO, Third Eye Blind, or Blink 182? Go right on ahead. 

Spotify Example

3. ‘Look Back’ Videos: For Facebook’s 10th anniversary Facebook users could create a ‘Look Back’ video. A ‘Look Back’ video selected unrelated posts and pictures from people’s profiles, put it to music, and told their 10-year (or less) story in a one-minute snip it. It is a potpourri of your life and brings back sentimental feelings connecting you to your family, friends, milestones in your life, but also the days you were just hanging out watching football with your dog.

Look Back Example

4. BuzzFeed Junkies: Who needs news? I could scroll through BuzzFeed all day to remind me of what I loved as a kid and a teen.

I know I’ve taken a risk posting these links as those with short attention spans have already clicked and are on to another window but for those who haven’t I will close the blog.

BuzzFeed Example

Why is this important in today’s workplace? Think about if you were able to track employees careers like they track their personal life. Wouldn’t it be cool to Timehop that one day you won your biggest account? When you hired your CEO as an intern and now he’s calling the shots? Why not add ways to ‘Look Back’ and show your history, where you came from and where you’re headed?

Incorporating a similar type of platform could remind valuable, top talent why they joined, stayed, and want to continue growing within your organization. 

“Call Me Maybe”, “Harlem Shake”, and A Business Take Away

Self-made dancers and videographers are swarming the Internet. What’s the next big movement? Well, we won’t know what the next “big thing” in YouTube dance sensations will be until another artist unleashes their genius on the world again. But, whether it’s a teen looking to break into the market diluted with young stars already or a DJ spinning a beat – the world has gone crazy for dance.

Exhibit 1: “Call Me Maybe

callme

Because I have a personal bias toward “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, I turned to social media to gather some data regarding how people currently feel about the song when it comes on the radio, do you leave it on or change the station?

  • 41% said change the station
  • 59% said leave it on

While it wasn’t an overwhelming majority, the majority agreed with me – leave it on. And if you’re me, you turn it up and create your own music video while driving home from the office. It’s catchy and had the whole world hooked on Carly Rae for the summer of 2012.

Abercrombie & Fitch featured the song to promote their global stores and WOW their target audience. Even the London Olympics caught Carly Rae Fever with the US swim team and many others putting their own dance remix to the track.

What is the business impact you ask? “Call Me Maybe” opened the door and offered an inside look, even if just for 3 minutes, into the personalities and “off the clock” antics of some of the most focused, decorated athletes and mega corporations in the world. Their “Call Me Maybe” videos made them real people. People you could identify with.

Social Media allows you and your corporation to be real. Someone and something you can touch. Or at least believe that you can.

Exhibit 2: “Harlem Shake

Miami-Heat-Harlem-Shake-635

 

As I have previously written blogs about my distaste for LeBron James, the Miami Heat had me thinking after I viewed their Harlem Shake video. These athletes are put on a pedestal of greatness and fame. Through this short video clip, they let the world see they are regular guys who like to have fun just like you and can get caught up in a social craze just the same.

In my opinion, this was the first time LeBron was “real” to me. It made him human and is a pure example of how social media has increased the visibility of those once thought of as unreachable.

Business Take Away:

First things first, you don’t have to go create a YouTube video and please don’t think that is the point of this blog. We are not all equipped with the time and budget to create impressive, creative music videos. However, I do think it is common practice to be present on social media outlets for companies and executives.

Being present on social media is one thing but being real and relatable is another. You want to identify with your peers, customers, colleagues, and overall network. Be yourself and be personal.

Products and services are a dime a dozen.

Social Media is a tool to help build your identity and make your company accessible.  People want to surround themselves with not only intelligent business associates but, business associates they like. Keep that in mind.

Why Gen-Y is Stressed and Why it Doesn’t Matter

Last Friday I went to bed at 10:30pm then woke up at 9am on Saturday morning. The best part about going to dinner and calling it an early night on Friday is I know when I wake up there will be several Instagram pictures for me to look at in the morning from celebrities and average Joe’s alike.

Before my feet even hit the floor, I get up to date on what Kevin Durant did on Friday night (socially and on the court), check my work e-mail to make sure there’s nothing urgent, open my Facebook app if I have a notification, answer any mentions on Twitter I may have, and look up Twitter conversations from my out of town friends to see what they were up to.

Some may think this “extra activity” before actually getting up is stressful; Millennials can barely take care of themselves let alone care about what everyone else is doing, right? However, I think most Millennials would be more stressed if we couldn’t check our social networks. Knowledge is power regardless if you decide to populate your brain with why it took Sean so long to eliminate Tierra, the fiscal cliff and depleting Social Security, or why the Lakers have built the worst “Dream Team” in the history of the NBA (finally now at .500).

photo

My iPhone home screen with a few of my social network applications.

Millennials report higher stress levels than Gen Xer’s and Baby Boomers according to a new study by the American Psychological Association and is it because we’re concerned about The Bachelor? I’m unsure, but the NBC article discussing the study points to the unemployment rate and college debt as notable reasons for these unusual spikes in stress for those ages 18-34.

To some extent this is true, however, I think I would be much more stressed if I was a mother of two, Vice President sitting on the leadership team, who just got laid-off by a Fortune 500 company I’ve been loyal to for 15 years but, due to the economy, my employer I was so committed to? Sends me packing. When given that scenario, being a 24 year-old unsure of my entire future seems pretty acceptable.

College grads have been struggling with college debt much earlier than 2013. It’s not specific to this generation. I realize college is more expensive than it has ever been but there’s a thing called inflation that somehow always balances it out. Entry-level salaries are no longer $17,000 and college might not cost $8000 / year either.

The difference in this generation is the amount of information we have access to and the amount of information we want to retain. The more the better; because information is so accessible Millennials have this false hope that there’s no reason we shouldn’t have all of the answers.

Knowing how my company goes to the market, staying up to date on the latest sneaker releases, crossing my fingers Danni isn’t eliminated from Biggest Loser so that Jillian Michaels can stay on the show, making it to my sister’s softball games, finishing my project deadlines on time, failing at baking the latest Pinterest recipe, getting Retweeted by someone on the Glee cast, downloading the newest music, and perfecting the latest and greatest marketing software programs is a typical day and that might only be about 25% of it.

The stress being documented is a direct result from how Millennials go about daily activities in a stream of consciousness manner. I may be filling out a spreadsheet at work and after I’m finished, Instagram a picture that says Excel Master with the X-Pro II filter. Why? Solely because I’m happy it’s finished and want to document it – prior to social media the only people who would know about my “stressful” project would be whomever I meet for dinner that night, not the universe.

Gen Y differentiates itself from the “others” because of their easy adoption of technology. There’s never the next BIG thing for Gen Y, we’re always prepared for the next popular digital tool. Information makes us stressed but without it we’d be bored. We’re not afraid to tell you we’re stressed, because it’s normal. Nothing a Starbucks coffee and new One Direction song can’t cure.

Correlation does not mean causation. Studies reflect Gen Y’s self-diagnosed stress levels. And I’m sure we are stressed. But it doesn’t really matter; it means we’re just going about our daily lives.

What do you think?

Why would I buy a $4 coffee? Customer Engagement. That’s why.

It’s difficult to sit here and cite specific examples of “what I learned in college” and how it relates to the real world. To be quite frank, I was one of those kids that smashed all of the information in my brain for that test and that semester then off it went into the stratosphere. If there was anything that stuck, it was purely by choice and a slight Christmas miracle. In my consumer behavior class, an elective I took primarily due to my liking for the professor and the distaste for anything requiring addition or subtraction, I learned something I still remember today. We read a book called Predictably Irrational and if anything can top Freakonomics, which is difficult, it’s this book written by Dan Ariely.

In chapter 2, The Fallacy of Supply and Demand, Ariely addresses Starbucks v. Dunkin’ Donuts and all other “wannabes.” The brilliance behind the Starbucks brand is they have found a way to divert their customer’s brains to everything other than price. As noted by Ariely it’s the ambiance – the way you order, the food offerings, the décor. It’s unique and up scale. Why wouldn’t you pay $4 for the coffee? Buying a coffee at Starbucks is an experience not a daily chore. When in all reality, I have an entry level job and if I bought a $4 coffee each weekday for an entire year (which I do not, I try to be reasonable now and then) it would cost me just over $1000. I’m predictably irrational, I could use that $1000 on something other than coffee clearly… yet, I choose to buy over-priced, you guessed it… coffee.

photo

Now let’s get down to the real reason I wanted to discuss my coffee buying habits or obsession rather, the coming of the Starbucks Reward card. Enter big data. Take any gift card you bought for yourself at Giant Eagle to earn fuel perks or that you received from your gracious friends who know it will go to use immediately, and register it online.

I naturally have done so, electing to offer my personal information to the twenty-fifth website and creating another username and password… for what? Starbucks Rewards, that’s what. Some perks include free refills on brewed coffee, a free coffee on your birthday, free music downloads, and “other promotions.” Let’s just say the other promotions don’t come around too often.

However, with your Starbucks Rewards card you can now download the Starbucks Application on your smart phone, manage your account online, pay with your phone and ditch the plastic card. In summary, I get a free coffee on my birthday (yes, once per year), free refills on brewed coffee (I don’t order their brewed coffee), download music (if it’s popular music they probably aren’t handing it out for free) and a free promotion now and then (that usually requires you to buy something first then get money back – spending money you otherwise wouldn’t).

And yet, here I am at 7:10am lining up and getting my coffee. I am fully aware that Starbucks is conning me into thinking I am so great for belonging to their club and sitting on the edge of my seat until I reach the Gold Card status and the best part is? It really doesn’t bother me at all. I’m going to have my Gold Card, pay with it on my iPhone, smile, and walk away content. Buying my $4 coffee is interactive and flat out cool.

I’m a predictably irrational millennial, armed with caffeine and an iPhone ready to take on the day.

What irrational purchases have you made?