New South Africa job portal aims to help the country’s unemployed

One of the biggest challenges facing South Africa is to reduce its staggering 25.20% unemployment rate. A problem faced by many of those looking for employment is that they don’t have access to the internet but they do have access to Facebook and Twitter through their mobile cell phones. Some of the unemployed are looking for learnerships and jobs with no experience, so by bringing to attention employment required we hope to help reduce the unemployment rate.

JobsTown.co.za is a local job portal in South Africa that aims to help business owners and recruiters to get access to the provinces unemployed skilled and unskilled workers through its website and social media platforms. By concentrating the websites efforts on social media, JobsTown.co.za aims to help its users by sharing content from its website onto the various social media platforms. Then if the interested party wishes to apply they can then find the time to get access to a computer so they can then send their application through.

The portal offers a free service to employers and recruiters who can then post their vacancies free of charge and have the applicants send their CV’s directly to their email account. Job seekers also have the opportunity to create a profile and submit a CV both electronically and as an attachment.

This increases the job seekers chances of being employed as some recruiters prefer to browse through CV’s online rather than bring to the attention of the public the name of the client who is hiring. Registered users have a great opportunity to register for job alerts.

The new website will also focus its content on education, skills and career advice. Although in its infancy any providers who wish to share content can do so by emailing the editor for guidelines or by contacting the editor through its Facebook Fan Page. JobTown.co.za will help educate the youth on advice for job seekers and collect information from recruiters on what seekers could be doing to improve their chances of being employed. Often job seekers find that they apply in vain for work and never hear anything back on the progress of their applications.

JobsTown.co.za would also like to concentrate some of there efforts on learnerships and jobs with no experience required. We feel that this is one way to reduce the unemployment rate in South Africa. Through the introduction of the portal we wish to address these issues along with any others raised by the unemployed in South Africa.

Visit www.jobstown.co.za today to create an account!

The private/public debate and social media – Puseletso Mompei

Written by: Puseletso Mompei

Before smart phones, laptops and the internet, everyone would go home at the end of the day, retreat to their private lives and only connect again the next day. But that’s no longer the case. E-mails sail in at 11pm on Friday nights, twitter conversations involving your business can happen at 2pm on Saturday and your staff can be on facebook at any time of the day or night.

What does this mean for your company?

Re-evaluate public/private divide.
Technology and Social media have created an overlap in our lives with the 24/7 connectivity we now enjoy. What is private or company time can be informed by various factors, such as the platform, mode of access and context. Depending on the business you are in, the demands of the work and the utility of tools by staff may yield varied answers. In the PR space for instance, being on twitter can be part of your job description, but for a hospital technician it is not a necessity.

Work with a social media practitioner and legal team to inform your parameters. Once your company has arrived at a definition, communicate the company’s interpretation to your team, with clear reasons as to why this position is being adopted.

Educate staff
Reputation management is no longer the domain of your Media and Communications team, every staff member is an important stakeholder in upholding the company’s brand. It is important that staff understand how search engines and aggregating tools operate.

Team members will benefit from knowing that results are not separated according to what suits them, that even if you delete a post, people can still find it, and more importantly, that pictures, videos and comments posted in their private capacity can have an impact on their employer. Also include provision for concepts like cyber bullying and identity theft which have the potential to severely disrupt the dynamics of the workplace.

Discuss and engage
Discussing the social media guidelines or policy with staff and helping them understand where company versus personal parameters lie is important. People may want to know if the rules apply if they are communicating on their personal devices or if their accounts get hacked into. As an HR practitioner, your guidance is crucial.

A simple, straight forward definition of what the company considers private or public should be provided in writing. This allows staff to refer back to something in their daily interaction, and also provide the company some recourse should an employee behave irresponsibly.

Incorporate Personal responsibility
The integrated nature of social media and its’ impact on our everyday lives, as well as the rapid development of tools and platforms, means that you cannot police staff 24 hours(nor would you want to) so you have to trust your staff to carry out their lives in a responsible manner. Educate them, provide clarity and leadership and you will be able to guide your staff through the brave new world of a socially connected workplace.

Puseletso Mompei is a Communications Consultant and Trainer. She offers Communications and Media training for corporate executives, spokespersons, managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, diplomats, academia and public relations officers. Contact her at [email protected], or visit www.kwazicommunications.co.za for more information.

Social media and Productivity, challenges and opportunities – Puseletso Mompei

It seems almost instinctive to think that employees who spend time on Social media platforms will have reduced productivity. After all, how does chatting with friends on facebook, sending tweets and browsing through Pinterest contribute to the company’s bottom line?

The truth is that depending on who is using a specific platform, how they are using it and how well they understand the medium, you get different results. The key differentiator for productivity is whether time is spent on personal entertainment like chatting with friends, or on social business activities where they are engaging with those who can spend money on the company’s products and services or boost the brand.

Outward facing functions such as PR, Marketing and Customer Service, are easily aligned to social media and staff in these functions can justify online activity. But increasingly, new platforms are popping up all the time with the potential to create utility for roles like HR, Operations or Distribution, putting a further spin on managing social media related productivity.

Opportunities
Marketing and Brand communication

Social media engagements can be used to reach new audiences, and boost existing off line communications. For instance, facebook can be used to publicize a company sponsored event and You Tube can be used to show a demo of a new product. Therefore an employee who is responding to comments and following up on leads generated from social media is in fact being productive

Reputation management and market intelligence

From a reputation management point of view, social networks can serve as a barometer of public sentiment. If you are in the luxury goods market, you can tap into what people are saying about yours and competitor brands or products, and if you are in financial services, you can gain insight on why customers are struggling to save, and feed that information into your strategy and products.
Additionally, people tend to be frank about their consumer experiences when they are talking to their ‘friends’ on these platforms, and your brand very well be the subject of discussion. You can either ignore this information or use it to manage public perception.

Diversity of ideas and intelligence

Given that 2 billion people (and growing) are online, they provide a massive resource for information. Employees can use their networks to learn best practices from other companies, to pick up on new technologies in their industry and even have the opportunity for someone thousands of kilometers away contribute to solving some work-related challenges.

Challenges
Time management

Ensuring that if time is spent on social networks, the social commerce component exceeds the socializing aspect can be difficult to determine. The line between ‘work’ and ‘social’ can get blurry very quickly, so your staff need to have good time management skills to work well in this space.

Quantifying outputs

If your company does not tie indicators to online activity, quantifying whether social media interactions result in business success, or lack of, can be quite difficult. Loss of revenue and time lost can only become clear when it is too late.

Level of understanding

Social platforms aren’t monolithic, and unless your people are clear about how each platform plugs into achieving goals or how their target audience likes to be interacted with, then they could be wasting time, or worse still, alienating their market. Education also bears on areas like leaking of sensitive or confidential company information and understanding how to avoid online threats like viruses.
Since social media isn’t going way, the onus is on companies to ensure that employees are as well equipped, educated and as enabled as possible to use these tools for the benefit of the company, rather than to its detriment.

Puseletso Mompei is a Communications Consultant and Trainer. She offers Communications and Media training for corporate executives, spokespersons, managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, diplomats, academia and public relations officers. Contact her at [email protected], or visit www.kwazicommunications.co.za for more information.

Hiring for Social Media roles – Puseletso Mompei

Finding the perfect fit for social media roles ranging from executives such as Social Media Directors, to more junior positions such as Content Creators, Customer Service Representatives or Bloggers can be challenging because quite simply, a lot of these positions only came into existence recently and finding the right talent can be tricky.

Social media hires in 2012 and going forward are set to rise, and because the pool of people who started and grew their career purely in social media are rare, recruiters will have to select candidates based on a more indirect set of skills than they would for more traditional roles. Here’s what to look out for.

Communications experience

On a basic level, you want someone who has a proven understanding of traditional media, public relations or marketing. Because social media works within the context of the ‘real’ world, a keen understanding of audience segmentation, market needs and how teams such as sales, event management and marketing’s functions feed into each other, is key.

Relevant business skills

Each role’s specific requirements will, for instance, inform whether experience in the B2B space versus B2C skills weighs in more heavily. Someone who has analytical skills is valuable across the board, because regardless of whether the position is senior and strategic, or more junior and operational, the candidate should be able to quickly spot trends, patterns and interpret what is happening in the ultra-dynamic social media space.

The candidate should be conversant on how companies and individuals who succeed on social platforms do so, supported with a clear business case for each, beyond being ‘liked’ or being popular.

Individual experience

The candidate should be up-to date on what is happening on and be active on relevant social media platforms. A ‘living’ track record illustrates his/her quality of interaction. Be sure not to merely focus on quantity, i.e., his/her number of followers or friends, as the size of a network can be falsified; look more at the quality of his/her interactions to see how they interact various people, and respond to feedback.

Personal character

Broadly speaking, you want your social media team to be composed of people who thrive in a 24/7 connected environment because being ‘on’ all the time comes with the territory. If your candidate is likely to get stressed by fielding comments at 10am on Sunday morning, or supporting junior staff members with a crisis at midnight, then they will not make a good candidate.

Look for candidates who are emotionally intelligent, have the ability to operate calmly in a crisis and will not rise to taunts. Twitter wars are on the rise and when entrusting someone with a company’s reputation, you need to be sure that they will resist the urge to tell people off or put them in their place.

There is no one-size fits all for social media hires, therefore it is essential that as a recruiter you have a very clear idea of the skills the job requires. You will often need to see how expertise derived from traditional roles, can be translated to working in the social media arena.

Puseletso Mompei is a Communications Consultant and Trainer. She offers Communications and Media training for corporate executives, spokespersons, managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, diplomats, academia and public relations officers. Contact her at [email protected], or visit www.kwazicommunications.co.za for more information.