Tag Archives: change

Social media what’s new, what’s working and how do we evaluate it?

It’s been a while since i’ve been here in musing mode so you can guess we are reviewing something at the moment! Yes you guessed it Social Media!

We started with a blog many years ago (and then a revamped blog), then ventured into Facebook and jumped into Twitter.  They all seemed to have a purpose and be used, but fads come and go (as do students). Perhaps we need a bit of time to assess what we are doing and why?

Young people seem to be all snapchat and whatsapp, intagramming like their lives depended on it. Is facebook old hat?  Was pinterest a passing fad? What’s around the corner?

What do students use and do they want us there?

When you ask students what they use they say Facebook and increasingly Twitter.

Using, as far as a student is concerned seems to be seeing the information in their news feed, not actively participating much.  If you are lucky they may click on a link.  For us that doesn’t really help – no nice metrics to evaluate, if you don’t like our posts or talk to us how do we know that you are even looking!  We feel unwanted and might even give up using something if we can’t measure its use!

So we ask students again what do you use and the answers are the same, and yes they seem to value what we post there but it’s not cool to interact with us. (Fair enough!)  Secretly I bet they are all snapchatting but don’t want us getting involved!

So here’s where you my information colleagues come in!

  • Has anyone done a social media review – were there any findings or trends you could share?
  • What is worth evaluating?
  • Is anyone using Twitter lists successfully?
  • How are you working with recruiters who want you to post on social media about them?
  • Do you have one Twitter or Facebook account or many for different purposes?
  • What’s new? Anyone using something that really seems to encourage students to interact with each other and you?

Any intel leave a comment here or on the LinkedIn discussion or Tweet me @MallenSarah

 

 

What’s in a name and do your users really care? Careers and proud!

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_ImageWe keep being told that the word Careers is scary and people don’t like it.

I get this, no-one wants to be reminded that there is a future and that they have to engage with it,  it’s uncertain, and its going to take some hard work and possibly some knockbacks.

I also get that careers advice before University can be sketchy at best, often entirely absent or just downright inadequate. Yet EVERYONE remembers it. AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY!

So we are battling against the image of something that is scary and something that could be pretty bad. OH GREAT!

So let’s re-brand, change the name, change our image and completely fool everyone that it’s a new sexy thing that they have never encountered before and that they want  to engage with it and make it part of their life.

So how many of you out there have changed your name, only to find that when people ring up the first thing they ask is ” is that the Careers Service?” Facepalm!
Careers Service, Careers and employability, Career development centre, etc etc etc WHATEVER you want to call it our users aren’t stupid they know a Careers Service when they see one.

So I’m torn – do you re-name it or reinvent it?

If you can make this “Future planning – career – thing” something that everyone wants to be involved in a that’s obviously a good idea.   This needs some kind of engagement strategy and possibly some kind of stick to make people do it  (the carrots clearly are not working!)

If you can make everyone take responsibility for their actions and take action earlier – then perhaps you don’t need so much Career Service type intervention at University? This needs a change in education generally!

So who will teach young people how to navigate the unchartered waters of the internet and to differentiate good advice from bad.  If it’s not going to happen at school then it still becomes an issue once at University and who is going to deal with that?  Oh I guess that would be the Careers Service. #circularargument

So there we have it back to the same dilemma!

There are so many issues to contend with is what you call it really the biggest issue?

Careers & proud!
Building a good reputation with satisfied customers is generally agreed to be the best thing to build your brand in a commercial environment.

Your brand is CAREERS  don’t throw it away.  Make it visible so that students associate a good experience with your brand.  If they choose to use other providers of careers information or advice it is their choice – but we can try to make our offer visible and accessible and attractive.

The down side of this is if you succeed how will you cope with the extra demand?

*No answers & no magic bullets included in this post – just some musings!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s oh so quiet! Time to reflect and plan.

starsIt’s the last day of opening today (although not the last working day) and it’s pretty quiet!

Time to reflect on the year so far and plan ahead.

This last year has all been about physical space.

  • The rumours of a move on the horizon, and the frantic months of planning that followed.
  • Managing expectations and the realities of the process.
  • The physical transition to a new space and understanding its benefits and limitations.
  • Working with new colleagues and new staffing structures.
  • Exploring new ideas to make students aware of the new location and what it offers.
  • Change, more changes and a few suprise changes.

Next year is all about the web and online services.

  • Producing a new website
  • Looking at digital publications ebooks vs Pdfs
  • Managing our intranet presence
  • Looking at our options for appointment booking systems and events & vacancy systems
  • Talking to our users to see what they want
  • Marketing, marketing, engagement & marketing.
  • Plus i’m sure a few more suprises.

It seems information staff are going to be very busy, plotting scheming and writing! Hopefully we will get out and about on campus and talk to students too.

Whats on your agenda for the year ahead?

Have a great break info folk.

The debrief… 6 weeks on

Overall students seem to love the look of the new office and the building we are in is a focal point on campus.

The Atrium consists of two zones: An open area filled with comfy seating and a “business” area where the services, libraries, and appointments happen. Archways lead from one to the other.

We and the students are learning how to use the two spaces effectively.

Easy wins

  • It’s easy for students to find, we don’t have to have lengthy conversations giving directions.
  • There are lots of lectures in the building and a large refectory so there is passing trade.
  • We have a display area on the ground floor for employer directories and guides – they go like hot cakes!

Challenges

  • There is nothing on the outside of the building telling students we are here so we are still relying on students seeking us out.
  • Many students don’t need to use this building.
  • We are on the 1st floor so you need to be motivated to find us.

Changesdesk

We have more involved conversations – the low desk and seating make it conducive for students to sit and chat to us.

The casual icebreaker conversations have disappeared. We no longer get masses of students coming in asking about part-time jobs and national insurance numbers.   It’s odd because we were not exactly on the main thoroughfare before (or so we thought) but it seems that casual conversations are not worth going up stairs.

We have swivel screens so we can now demonstrate the website and booking systems, it makes it so much easier to explain how to do things.

The future:

  • As the other services we share the Atrium with ramp up their offer and get into their peak seasons we are curious to see how much spin-off trade we get as a result of functional adjacency.
  • Conversations about signage both inside and outside the building are happening.  It will be interesting to see what happens if the signage is successful.  If more people on campus can see where we are, will they come?
  • We are looking at having staff on the ground floor in the information zone to tie the 2 areas together and encourage the transition upstairs or answer those passing questions that are not happening now.
  • Defining the purpose of the space – this will undoubtedly evolve over time as we try out activities and see if the open space works for group work or small workshops. In time we may even be able to book adjacent classrooms to run events.

It’s still a work in progress, learning and developing new systems and procedures but I think we have made good progress.  We are even talking about christmas decorations so looks like everyone is settling in!

Who moved my goal posts?

planningIn the wonderful world of Careers Information Management things are never the same 2 years running, it’s what makes it a great place to work. When it comes to making plans it can make it a little challenging!

So when we were told less than a year ago that we would be moving to a new location I never thought it would be easy.

We had a few expectations and assumptions

  1. We would not be consulted, the architect would do whatever they wanted and we would end up with an unusable space.
  2. We would not be trying to move at the busiest time of year – because that would be a bit silly.
  3. Once we had a plan it would be a simple matter of packing up and moving over.
  4. We wouldn’t move exactly as we are there would be some adaptations to make and a certain amount of slimming down of resources to fit a smaller space.
  5. We would have some say over basic things like shelving and display units.
  6. At least our information staff team have been here a while so the transition should be easier than having to train new staff.

Reality

  1. There has been loads of consultation, meetings coming out of my ears – great!
  2. We seem to have come to compromises on some things but have lost other battles. (We shall have to see how it pans out when we open.)
  3. Yes you guessed it, we are due to move around freshers week. So not busy at all !
  4. Packing is the least of our issues, we now need to rebrand, reformat and reprint over 40 publications with 1 month to go!
  5. We have had to make tough decisions on what resources to keep and how we will display them.
  6. We will have to see when we get in what shelving there is and order more if we need it, things are not set in stone and we can adapt as we go along.
  7. Two staff have left the team and we are now in the middle of recruiting for new staff with the clock ticking!

Learning outcomes

  • Get a sense of humour fast!   It’s not going to be plain sailing so just deal with it and laugh. (try not to laugh hysterically!)
  • Keep records of all correspondence so that you know who agreed to what and when.
  • It’s not going to be perfect immediately.
  • It’s not going to be like it was.
  • You are not going to please everyone.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Take small steps – you can’t do everything at once.
  • Stay positive and take your team on the journey with you.

Why change is good.

changediagramYou know how it is, someone springs an idea on your team and everyone has different reactions.

Generally people will go through stages:

  • When we first heard we might be moving we were in denial.
  • Then we thought it was crazy.
  • Then we thought of all the things that we would be able to change for the better and things started looking up!

Of course there will be new things that will drive us nuts but we don’t know about them yet so they don’t count.

Change activates change

On the back of our move we are starting to make all sorts of other changes that have previously been difficult to make.

  • Getting rid of those bulky information files.
  • Taking a good hard look at our book stock to decide if it is current and useful and making tough decisions on whether to buy new editions or not.
  • Getting a self check-in computer to free up staff at the desk.
  • Moving to online booking for Applications Advice which will also hopefully free up staff at the desk and mean we can have 1 less phone line.
  • Clearing out our office and getting rid of years of old files and training materials that were gathering dust, it’s quite cathartic really!

Somehow it’s been much easier to slip these small changes in when people are faced with a much bigger change.

My advice when faced with a big change or unknown

  • Let people talk about it, there will be negative reactions, that’s ok.
  • Let the idea sink in.
  • Start thinking about the positives, what niggles you now that you will be able to change.
  • Actively involve those who are change averse or likely to be negative in the process.
  • Start making some small positive changes in advance of the big one
  • Don’t suggest making too many big changes all at once, if they need to happen you are going to have to trickle them through.
  • Keep a sense of humour

I’ll let you know how it goes!