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Changing Ideas of Performance Assessment in the Workplace

This week I was reading an article by Tammy Erickson, an author of books such as Retire Retirement, Plugged In, and What’s Next, Gen X? She is the author or co-author of five Harvard Business Review articles and the book Workforce Crisis.

The article explained the changing environment of organizational performance assessment.  Currently in many organizations, performance assessment has been based on an individual’s performance on their individual tasks, leading to a silo effect that left people scurrying to their desks and keeping their heads down, avoiding conflict at all costs.  This form of assessment takes place one to two times per year.

This led to an understanding that it was the individual’s responsibility to do a “good job”.

Is a “good job” all that we want to ask of ourselves and the people we work with?  Is not collaboration, and sometimes conflict,

Working in teams increases ownership and collaboration

more rewarding than individual “good” work?  It is in those frustrated group discussions that true genius arises.  We are far more successful with the pooled talents of all, than with the “good” work of the individual.

In terms of assessment, peer feedback can help employees receive the feedback they need to help themselves grow, and understand how important their role is in the overall success of the organization.  Ownership and responsibility are excellent motivators!  An on-going or day-to-day assessment by team-members can lead to increased accountability and ownership.

Erickson explained that “the optimum approach for performance management in an environment that depends on extended collaboration requires that team members have significant input into the determination of contribution. There are two primary options:

1) Team-based, but with the ability of the team to choose members or throw non-performing members “off the bus,” (employed by Whole Foods) or

2) Individual-based, but with the ability of peers to assess the individual’s contribution to the success of the mission (employed by IDEO).”

No longer can employees simply work in their own little silos, keeping their heads down and dodge conflict. It’s about collaboration!

It is also understood that sometimes an individual’s work, or lack thereof can be overlooked during team collaboration. Therefore, it is important to have group feedback on individual performance.

Perhaps the most successful strategy is the adoption of a performance management approach based on peer feedback and the most likely to create significant cultural change.

Does your organization employ a specific assessment program?  How has it worked for you?


How to Effectively Crowdsource & Increase Consumer Engagement

The phrase “crowdsourcing” has been thrown around for the past couple of years.  You might have even heard it called out in your marketing or even customer service meetings, but do you actually know what it means, and most importantly, are you able to employ crowdsourcing strategies in your company?

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a portmanteau (combination of two words) of crowd and outsourcing.  Crowdsourcing decentralizes (goodbye bureaucratic, organizational pyramid) by sourcing tasks performed by specific individuals, group of people, or a community through an open call for contributions.

Unlike the blow horn effect, crowdsourcing goes after people that have a specific interest and skill-set for involvement.  Wikipedia is a good example of crowdsourcing.  Through an open-call, Wikipedia attracts and engages a specific type of person and group of people who contribute to Wikipedia knowledge.


Crowdsourcing with MavenSocial

MavenSocial has run campaigns that engage crowdsourcing techniques for our clients.   This past year, MavenSocial powered by

Carhartt, user-generated, or crowdsourcing campaign with MavenSocial

WhiteCloud Marketing, created a crowdsourcing Facebook campaign for Carhartt Inc.

Who is Carhartt?

Carhartt Inc., is a U.S.-based clothing company founded in 1889. It is still a family-owned company, owned by the descendants of company founder Hamilton Carhartt, with its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Problem:

Carhartt approached us because they wanted to increase engagement on Facebook by increasing Likes and opt-ins.

Carharrt wanted to approach their loyal followers and have them tell their Carhartt story.  Brand testimonials draw high

Carhartt Crowdsourcing campaign - Sign-up page

engagement and conversion rates for current customers (reminding them of the great benefits of the product, encouraging up-selling opportunities), while also bringing in new customers.

Carhartt understands that customer re-engagement and new customer acquisition is possible on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Our Solution:

MavenSocial recommended a WhiteFire Social User Generated Campaign.  Users could upload images or videos on how they have creatively used their clothing. Campaign users could then share their images with friends on Facebook, Twitter and via eMail. Every share provided an additional ballot to the user. Users were offered spot prizes for adding an entry and the top creative photos or videos were granted grand prizes.

The Results:

+Facebook Likes increased by over 100,000 during the campaign

+Almost 6K new email registrations

+50,000 plus consumer voter interactions

+Top 20 influencers brought in 8% of all the new email registrations. One influencer brought in 88 potential customers.

+219% Lift on Sharing, Total Social Lift including Facebook referrals was 1,627% on Paid Media drivers

We understood that the best way to engage with fans to increase Facebook Likes and opt-ins was through interaction with

Carhartt crowdsouring campaign - Vote Page

people.  The power of social media influencers, or Mavens is apparent, with a 219% WhiteFire Social Lift on sharing.  Social lift is the amount of people that actively participate in the campaign, without the company paying for the direct marketing costs; in other words, these Likes and opt-ins were obtained free of charge for Carhartt.

Carhartt’s social media Mavens are the people who shared Carhartt’s information amongst their friends; who in turn interacted with the campaign.  One of Carhartt’s Mavens is one Influencer who brought in 88 potential customers.

For proper brand engagement and consumer growth, it is important to respect and interact with your current consumer base, while finding new clients.  Crowdsourcing benefits both the brand and the targeted group.  The brand receives positive praise and re-engagement of past customers, which draws in news customers, and the target group receives products and services that desire.


Interested in Pinterest? It’s more than Just Pretty Pictures

Lately there has been a lot of noise about the power of Pinterest.  Pinterest has been identified as a great place for businesses to visually promote their brand online.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard.  The Pinterest website explains that “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Marketing Strategy: Example of a Pinterest Account - Various Boards, and Pinned Pictures, shows individual's interests

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

Pinterest in other words is pictures, and lots of them.  The more pictures you repin, and the more boards you create, the more addicted you become to Pinterest; I know from personal experience (see photo beside).  It’s a great way to visually organize your life, your wants, and more importantly, your dreams.

It Takes a Special Person…

As a company, there is a certain finesse that comes with connecting with people on Pinterest.  Social media is about connecting with people, forming relationships, and spurring engagement.  Your company’s Pinterest account should be managed by someone who is naturally inclined to engage in social media, as well as have an understanding of the spirit of the brand and how it should be expressed through images.  There should not be any overt advertising or marketing on your brand’s Pinterest boards.  It is about expressing a lifestyle through the pins that can be created through your brand’s products or services.

Death of the Focus Group

On Pinterest, people repin what they are interested in.  This is a huge advancement for business marketing and market niche identification.  People are publically offering their likes and dislikes through their pinning and repining choices.  You can tell a lot about a person from the pins that interest them.  Companies are able to use these insights to hone their marketing strategy.

Paired with WhiteFire Social, technology powered by MavenSocial, companies are able to see who shows interest in their brand, but also who influences brand dissemination across multiple social media platforms.  Pinterest is the platform through which WhiteFire Social can identify and track brand data and analytics.

Sorry, Invitation Only!

Is Pinterest The Next Social Commerce Game Changer?

One of the great strategies that Pinterest employs is their invitation only registration.  In order to join Pinterst, you must either be invited by a friend via email or Facebook, or request to join and be put on a waiting list.  This creates a club-members-only aura around Pinterest.

Even though it might be hard to admit it, all of us have had moments where we wished we were part of the popular “in-crowd”, and this is the type of feeling that Pinterest evokes; the fervent desire to “fit-in” and be part of the “magic”.

Some Pinterest Facts:

I found a great infographic on the impact of Pinterest.  The infographic shared some interesting facts:

1. Estimated unique visitors to increased by 329% from September to December 2011.

Take-way: There is a large, growing audience on Pinterest.  People are sharing what they are interested in for free.         Interest is growing, there is no plateau or decline in sight.  It is the ideal time for brands to engage their customers on Pinterest.

2. Total same-store referral traffic from Pinterest to five specialty apparel retailers rose 289% from July to December 2011.

Take-away: Pinterest is driving real conversions for businesses from online into retail outlets.  Guess how much it costs to create a Pinterest account – $0, that is great business.

3. Pinterest is driving more traffic than Google+

Take-away: People are looking for new forms of social media engagement.  Pinterest is visually stimulating and inspiring.  People are able to connect through their interests.

It will be interesting to see how Pinterest evolves over time, and whether or not it’s popularity falters.  Will Pinterest continue to adapt and engage both individuals and brands like Facebook, become a passing fad, or create a new form of brand to consumer engagement?

In the meantime, Happy Pinning!

Follow MavenSocial on Pinterest