Innovative HR

For those of you who attend one of my presentations about Innovative HR and Social Media, I have created this page with links to many of the tools and examples I mention in my talk. I will continue to update this list as I add more recent examples each time I present. After all, social media continuously evolves, and so must I!

To receive updates, please use the Contact Me form and ask to be added to the Innovative HR update list. There’s also a great discussion going on at the Impact99 Facebook page – join Christine McLeod and I there, to talk about our 2013 Impact99 HR Summit which is all about Re-Inventing the Workplace at the intersection of HR, Innovation, and Social Media!

If you would like to schedule a DIGITAL IQ training session for your organization or if you have feedback about my presentation, please contact me.

Social Media Platforms:

LinkedIn: Most popular professional social network site, although Facebook is starting to edge into the recruitment and business territory… Use LinkedIn to connect to professionals, join groups to discuss subjects of interest, see what your connections are talking about, and become known as a subject matter expert.

Twitter: My social network of choice. Twitter has become the 2nd most popular search engine after google. The great thing about Twitter is that it sorts your search by recency, so you always see the most recent information. If you need help getting started on twitter, check out my blog series on it. Twitter has allowed me to build my professional network exponentially over the past 18 months.

Facebook: The big kahuna of social media. Approximately 1 billion users. Businesses are doing some creative and engaging things on Facebook to create magical connections with their fans.

Youtube: I use youtube to find out how to do everything, from technology questions to how to fix my washing machine (really!). It has become the third most popular search engine, after Google and Twitter. 8 years worth of content is uploaded to Youtube daily.

Social Media Mistakes by Business: Brief overviews of examples used in my presentation with links to more info

Domino’s Disgusting Pizza: Domino’s Pizza found out very quickly that “Anyone with a camera and an internet link” can “cause a lot of damage” when two of their employees videotaped themselves doing disgusting things to pizza and posted it to youtube. 100,000 views later, Domino’s finally responded. The good news – they learned a lot and turned this into a “successful failure”.

Boner’s BBQ: After a customer posted a negative (but well-written)review on Yelp, Boner’s BBQ posted her picture and berated her on their Facebook page. After warring with anyone who defended her, the case attracted media attention. At which point, they apologized… but then when someone posted a comment after their apology saying more derogatory remarks about her, they “liked” that comment. I don’t recommend you check out their Facebook page because I’d rather not give them further publicity, so I’ve provided a link to Scott Stratten’s (@unmarketing) blog about the incident.

Anthony Weiner: ‘Nuff said. Morale of the story is nothing you post on social networks should be considered private.

RaguSauce: Ragu launched a campaign engaging mommy-bloggers in “tongue-in-cheek” videos talking about what happens when dad makes dinner. What could have been a fun marketing campaign when wrong when they misguidedly used twitter to spam influential dads with this video, and didn’t do their homework. CC Chapman, an influential speaker, author, and blogger, lashed back at them and their campaign became known as “Raguhatesdads” on Twitter.

Kenneth Cole: During the uprising in Cairo, Kenneth Cole tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at…” Misguided or publicity stunt? I’m not sure, but in any case, within about an hour, Kenneth posted a sincere apology.

UPDATED SPRING 2013! HMV’s Mass Firing: When HMV terminated the employment of a group of employees, they neglected to change their twitter account prior to the firing. Their social media manager tweeted the mass firing to the world, and it went viral while their leaders stood by wondering what to do.

UPDATED SPRING 2013! Applebee’s: When a guest at Applebee’s wrote an unpleasant remark on her bill, a waitress posted it on Reddit where it spread like crazy. The Applebee’s franchisee fired the waitress, and the public was outraged. Over a month after the incident, Applebee’s facebook page is continuing to be barraged by people unhappy with the firing.

Examples of Social Media Magic in Business

Twelpforce: This is Best Buy’s twitter customer service resolution workforce. I tweeted them a question about android vs iPhone and got an answer from 4 people within minutes. They have engaged and empowered 2,000 workers across their company to reply and answer customer’s questions, saving the company money and time in customer complaints – they estimate 20%!

My Starbucks Idea: Starbucks reached out to the public for ideas and have had thousands come forward, many that they have implemented. Imagine the innovation when you’re involving the world and not just your product development team…

Disney: Their Facebook page is inspirational, engaging, and magical.

Domino’s Pizza: Check out Domino’s Pizza Turnaround on Youtube. This is a great example of taking a social media disaster, learning from it, and turning it into a success.

ING Direct: Social media is not just for retailers and hospitality. Peter Aceto, CEO of INGDirect Canada, tweets for himself, engages with customers, and has empowered employees across the company to answer local’s questions from their “Orange cafe” twitter accounts. If a bank can do it, so can you.

Old Spice: My favourite social media campaign. Not just because Isaiah is shirtless! Old Spice reached out to the public and offered to respond to questions on Facebook and twitter using the Old Spice Guy videos. 185 videos later, they have the most popular youtube channel, the most popular body spray for men, and sales increased during the campaign by 55%.

VIA Rail: Via’s social media reps continuously scan social media for mentions and reply quickly. Their social media savviness was critical during the February 2012 derailment, in providing the correct information to people and pointing them where to find out facts.

How HR can help protect the company – Guidelines and Communication

Best Buy’s social media guidelines are clear, simple, and speak to their employee base.

Edmund’s branded Social Media Guidelines are fun, simple and to the point.

IBM’s guidelines are empowering and common sense.They were created using a wiki, engaging employees around the world in their development

Victoria, Australia’s Department of Justice Social Media Policy video is one of the best ways I’ve seen to communicate the power of social media and common sense guidelines. It’s a must see.

Beyond Protection – HR Technology and Social Media Magic for the Workplace

Facebook is a great platform to connect with potential candidates (after all, there are over 800 million people on it. Intuit, Ernst and Young, and Pepsico have all created engaging pages to connect with the demographic they’re after.

There are also some great apps on Facebook for jobseekers and recruiters.

BeKnown is Monster’s Facebook app. It allows users to apply for jobs directly from FB, Companies to post jobs to first and second level connections for free, and it awards badges as a form of quick recognition. is like LinkedIn for Facebook. In fact, you can import your linked in profile, get recommendations and add talents. Companies can then search for candidates by talent and proficiency.

Branchout allows employees to search companies and see if they are friends with anyone who works or has worked there. With their new RecruiterConnect tool, Recruiters can search for skills and find people in their network who have those skills, matching positions with candidates.

OnGig uses hiring manager videos, social media sharing and chat capabilities to create a streamlined and innovative hiring process.

UPDATED SEPT 2013! Kira Talent is a simple way to screen candidates using video interviews. With video, you can read a lot more of the candidate’s behaviour compared to a phone screen, and you’re able to convey much more about your culture and build some degree of trust quickly. Kira’s tool also creates greater flexibility for recruiters, allowing them to record and send interview questions to candidates, then analyze and rate them when they want to, rather than having to schedule and conduct phone interviews with limited flexibility. You can also share the candidates’ video answers with Hiring managers or others to gain agreement on who to bring in for a real interview.

Small Improvements is a simple platform aimed at small to mid-size businesses. It offers 4 main components: 360 reviews, performance reviews, goals and objectives, and recognition and feedback. It seems simple and easy to navigate, with the opportunity for HR to “nudge” managers who seem to be slacking in performance development.

Rypple is a platform that allows managers to share responsibility for one on ones and objective tracking with employees. both sides are reminded to meet and provide feedback. It allows peer recognition, objective setting, one on one tracking, and the possibility to share privately or publicly through the company. * Now called workdotcom.

ThoughtFarmer develops social intranets for companies. One example is MEC’s Mondo social site, where employees have created 40,000 pages of content that they collaborate on and discuss. It’s a great way to share information and news and engage employees, and Thoughtfarmer can customize to your needs and culture.

UPDATED SEPT 2013! PeopleInsight helps HR make information-driven decisions with workforce analytics. Three things I love about PeopleInsight: the way it displays your data visually; the ability to slice and dice, looking at cross-sections as you need to, with out having to analyze spreadsheets; and most of all, their commitment to partnering with their clients to help them become more strategic about the information they are collecting and to analyze it in the best possible way.

IBM’s Connectionssoftware is like the cadillac of social intranets. Everyone has a personal profile that outlines their career history, talents and projects they’ve worked on. They crowd source, share files, and collaborate through wikis.

Yammer ‘s social software. You can start a free account, invite people to an internal (e.g. within your company) or external network. You can collaborate and share files, tag conversations so that you can find them later by topic, post questions, polls and events, and recognize team members with badges and personal messages. This is a great option.

If you’re really adventurous, you can create your own iPhone App. Tools are getting easier and easier, and you no longer have to be a web designer to do it. Sample tools: App Design Vault, IntroWizard.

There are some interesting training opportunities using virtual worlds. For this, you’d likely need to hire a designer to create your world, but imagine the possibilities as new employees could travel through the world, interact with experts virtually, and learn about products by clicking on them. Second Life is worth checking out just to explore the possibilities.



  1. January 23, 2012 at 8:40 am

    [...] promised to add updates to my Innovative HR page as I play with new tools or come across examples. One of the questions I’ve been asked by [...]

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