What’s Your Status? Facebook Branding in the 21st Century

“People spend money when and where they feel good.” – Walt Disney

As a master of invoking emotion in the hearts and minds of children everywhere, Disney was able to sell a brand worldwide that still brings in millions of dollars every year, decades later. When a product speaks to a person, that person feels something – and is able to justify spending money on something that is important to him or her. In this same token, products on Facebook are using emotional responses to create a recognizable brand. Using videos, catchy lines, and triggering feelings in individuals viewing their Facebook page, companies such as BMW, McDonald’s, 3M, and Budweiser have all seen success this year with their social media branding. How can companies that are not as well-known as these use similar strategies to make an impact?

At the top of the list for successful strategies in Facebook branding for the companies mentioned above were the following:

  • Visually stunning (science based or otherwise) videos which stylishly
  • Partnerships with socially successful brands such as MTV
  • Building on the momentum of popular events such as concert festivals
  • Piggybacking on popular holidays, sharing photos of holiday treats
  • Announcement of the brand’s presence on another social media site such
  • Gratitude towards fans
  • Videos that pull at the heart strings
  • Short videos that feature humor to grab the viewer’s attention

Why is social media branding a topic that HR Consultants would be concerned with and want to share with our clients and readers? Put simply, branding is about people and organizations, and so is Peoplescape. We want to offer a full range of people-oriented services to our clients, and because we know the business of people, we know how important it is for you to reach your target audience through social media branding.

[tweetthis]Creating a loyal fan base on Facebook means generating views, likes, and shares.[/tweetthis]

Creating a loyal fan base is equivalent on Facebook to the number of views, likes, and shares that a company receives. How many views are you currently getting on your Facebook business page? Do you have a Facebook page? Peoplescape is looking to expand their audience on all forms of social media, and we would love to help you do the same for your company. Targeting a generation of social media addicts is the way to go if you’re looking to attract new brand followers, and these are a few easy ways that we can all do it!

understand personality in the workplace

Who are You? How To Understand Personality in the Workplace

[tweetthis]“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin #Personality[/tweetthis]

Truer words have never been spoken, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve heard this exact same thing many times (just in different words). From the glass half-empty versus the glass half-full debate to the awkward photos of the blue/black vs. white/gold dress circling social media in the spring of 2015, the manner in which we see the world is shaped by who we are. The same can be said for any professional organization – the employees working in a department will shape the atmosphere of that particular work dynamic because of their individual personality, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. That being said, we need a tool that allows us to determine the suitability of candidates for essential job duties we are looking to fulfill. We do not necessarily need to know if someone is an analyzer or a driver, but we do need to know if they are suitable for the job. Every person is a complex being made up of numerous pieces, and we cannot just box someone in to one personality type if we wish to see true success and fit for the job in our assessment and selection process.

Because our specific personality will affect our work attitude, behavior and performance in important ways, it’s critical for employers to understand the importance of personality traits and their potential causes for concerns in the candidate’s ability to team with others, his or her approach to problem- solving, and the candidate’s ability to take initiative and act as a team leader. Therefore, a state-of-the-art job suitability assessment being used prior to placing an employee within your organization is a remarkable tool to help you understand how suitable this person really might be for this role in your company and on your team.

The most commonly used selection tool worldwide is the interview; yet, 95% of interviewers are untrained, using only their experience to interview the candidates instead of specific interview training and guidelines. Interestingly enough, the validity rate for the most commonly used selection tool is the lowest. That is the beauty of job suitability assessments – they identify essential traits needed to perform well in a specific job role. Instead of characterizing an individual as one personality type, a job suitability assessment will identify a myriad of traits that the candidate holds, and analyze how those traits will affect their job performance. If we as HR professionals conduct interviews based on our experience alone, there will undoubtedly be bias as we question what the impact of this candidate will be on me personally as a co-worker as well as the impact on the company as a whole. Often, interviewers identify with one or more characteristic, a shared baseball team, or bonding over a neighborhood hangout when analyzing a candidate. This bias comes into the decision-making process as the subjective factors carry weight that should be decided by objective measures and job suitability.

Unlike a basic personality test that asks a handful of questions to identify a person as one type, a comprehensive job suitability assessment tool will actually measure 175 factors that can help predict employee engagement, motivation, interpersonal skills, and retention factors. The combination of factors for each specific job is weighted and targets qualifications and engagement with the particular role. Can you imagine the increase in productivity, enhanced teamwork, decrease in employee turnover, and the cost savings that the use of these assessments could create in your workplace?

According to Today magazine in late 2014, working in any type of setting calls for people to get along in order to meet deadlines and be productive. This is a valid argument, as conflicts among people in an office environment can slow down projects, threaten deadlines, create unnecessary criticism, and make for at times, a toxic atmosphere. In order to have a successful working relationship with your peers and supervisors alike, it is important to utilize the knowledge that we have about personalities. For instance, type A personalities are task-driven, crave order, and like to stay on task. On the flip side, free thinkers and the technologically-savvy millennials thrive on creativity and flexibility. Having individuals of these questionably oppositional personality types work as an efficient unit can be quite the challenge.

Equipping your employees (and especially training your managers!) on how to deal with personality types of all kinds can greatly increase your productivity and company culture. Here’s how!

1. Use assessment tools to determine the complex personality makeup of each employee, and what works for each one.

2. Choose your battles – this tip is useful in life in general. Not everything is worth the fight.

3. Don’t take it personally. Many times, workplace conflicts are a result of different personality types, working styles, or morals and values. Remember this, and do not take every workplace discussion or disagreement too seriously.

4. View your co-workers as a team. Everyone is there for the same purpose, and each person brings a different perspective to the table. Use that to your advantage; do not allow it to become a stumbling block to success.

5. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Sing it with me! Everyone deserves it, everyone craves it. And it really doesn’t take that much effort to give a little bit of it.

Granted, some personality traits are a tad more difficult than others to work with day in and day out. Egos get in the way, grumpiness affects the entire team, and gossip can destroy a department. So before any of those things gets out of control, identify the source of the problem and tackle it head on.

Leverage the strengths within your organization to create positive change. Influence the productivity of each department, and encourage healthy competition amongst your employees. The changes you’ll see may not be automatic, but considering the personality strengths and weaknesses amongst the team will lead to a more dynamic and thriving company culture. Our perspectives change our environment – each employee brings value. But, these job suitability assessment tools bring you an added scientific and tested method for success. The wisdom of math algorithms and psychology to produce an objective assessment is a valuable tool to add to your toolkit of knowledge that each individual brings to the role (your own perspective). Objective measures add to the richness of our own perspective and intuition as managers and leaders, which also should not be underestimated. It is in this combination of factors that true success can be found for your company. Peoplescape can offer these job suitability assessment services to your company, so that you can effectively combine the hiring manager’s intuition, experience and knowledge with objective measures of job suitability, and interview training for your managers to create the gold standard in selection strategy for your organization.

“Under new management” – A tragedy or a seamless transition?

It’s happened to all of us, you go to your favorite restaurant or neighborhood hangout and there’s a banner outside “under new management” or “under new ownership.” Depending on your personal experiences and what you’ve heard from friends, neighbors and relatives, this could be a blessing or terrifying change. Imagine how a business transition like this felt or looked for the employees of the establishment?

[tweetthis]How business transitions are handled can make all the difference to employees.[/tweetthis]

As an HR professional, I’ve assisted with changes both in ownership and management. I must say that the way business transitions like this are handled can make all the difference to the employees and the image projected on the local community. Here are a few wins and losses of my experiences with management change:

1. Speak to the employees first before sharing the news with the public or affiliates of the company – WIN!
By speaking to the employees first, the current and future management companies show their commitment to the staff that has carried the business this far and can avoid rumors from destroying the positive outlook of this strategic move. Note: Check your compliance with the WARN Act! You may have certain legal obligations of giving notice to your employees!

2. Waiting to tell the employees whether they will be re-hired or not – LOSS!
Inevitably, the new management company will want to be selective about individuals they keep and who they opt not to hire. This is a tough position for both the current and future management. My recommendation is to move swiftly with communication. This may mean having difficult conversations with employees who have been with the company for a long time, but the sooner you communicate to those who are not being rehired, the sooner you can tell the remaining employees that they are being retained. In one of my experiences, the in-coming management waited until just a few days before the transition to communicate who was being retained and this was a serious blow to morale. In this situation, the job abandonment rate was high and some of the employees they hoped to retain went out and found a new job out of fear of the unknown.

3. Have the transition team meet weekly (or twice a week) to discuss critical items and answer questions that have come up – WIN!
There are a lot of pieces to the transition puzzle and it helps to have continuous communication as well as clearly defined tasks assigned to one individual for follow up. This doesn’t mean there won’t be teamwork, but when push comes to shove, one person needs to champion each task to avoid duplication of work. Throughout the process employees will have a lot of questions and it’s crazy to think any individual will have all the answers. By meeting weekly, or more frequently, and discussing the questions, you guarantee that the answers are uniform across the board and if further information is needed, it should be added to the task list with a champion to get the answer.

4. Be prepared and organized for the transition day with individualized packets for each employee – WIN.
Whether it’s on-boarding or off-boarding, we all know there is a lot of paperwork involved and having incomplete or missing pages could have serious ramifications. I recommend having packets with each employee’s name on it. Go through the packet with employee and explain each form and what they need to do with each item. I have tried the “buffet line” of paperwork and it always seems that paperwork is missed or goes missing. So while making packets is time consuming and uses extra supplies, you will not regret the small extra expense for the peace of mind that paperwork is complete, secure, and organized.

5. For the out-going management, celebrate and commemorate the years of success – WIN
This is the lasting impression left with the employees that you have worked with for past years. Consider doing a reception for the employees with a catered meal and have key management members or the CEO/Owner say a few words. Saying “thank you” goes a long way. You never know when your professional paths may cross again and you want the lasting impression to be something along the lines of “they cared about us” “they appreciated my contributions to the workplace” “They saw the job through to the end” While it may seem like a completely obvious answer, the most critical element to the change is communication. The more answers you can provide, the fewer rumors will successfully circulate. Getting the buy in from the employees can definitely assist in the shaping of the public optics of the change because if the employees are comfortable and excited about the change, they will communicate this to patrons, friends, relatives, and the like. Very few people like change, especially in their workplace, but with the right finesse and on-going communication, you can minimize disruption and successfully guide your team through the transition.

employee resignation

I Quit! Did You See It Coming?

Almost every HR professional has at least one story of a “creative” employee resignation.

From an employee saying they’re going to lunch and never returning, to an employee bringing a Marching Band into the office to play him out, some of the stories sound like a scene out of the movies. If the employee was obviously disgruntled, it may not come as a surprise that they make their exit in a grandiose (and possibly disruptive) way.

What if the resignation is coming from one of your top performers? When the resignation letter hits your desk, were you prepared for it? About a month ago, CNN Money came out with an article about job-hopping to gain salary increases, and these are increases that are much larger than your average company would offer as an annual increase. While the examples they used were extreme, with the number of available jobs on the rise, employees may be more willing to test their luck in the job market.

[tweetthis]Available jobs are on the rise, and your talent may be on the move.[/tweetthis]

Have you checked in with your top talent lately? If not, it may be a good time to do so. Let’s talk about some of the warning signs that your talent may be gearing up for a change.

1. The Wardrobe Upgrade: An employee who usually has a more casual style that starts wearing a tie a few times a week may be interviewing. It could also just be a wardrobe change.

2. Wacky Scheduling: Your most consistent employee, in at 8 and out at 5 suddenly starts shifting their schedule around. Coming in an hour or two late, leaving a little early, or even taking an extended lunch could be another warning sign of meeting with a potential new employer. On the flip side, it may be that the employee is dealing with non-work related issues, like tending to a sick loved one. Either way, a sudden change in schedule on a continued basis when they previously were very consistent may warrant a check in conversation – especially if the wardrobe upgrades seem to coincide with these days!

3. Salary Stagnancy: When was the employee’s last increase? Was it a standard 2-3% increase or merit based? It’s unrealistic to try and give everyone a raise to keep them, but if an employee hasn’t seen a raise in en extended period of time, they may listen to articles like CNN Money and Forbes that tell them they could command more by leaving. (It may also be time to do a salary survey to see if your salaries are still on par with the market!)

4. Decline in Product: Whether it’s efficiency or quality, if an employee is becoming disengaged their work product may decline. That’s not to say you should panic if an employee has one bad project, but if their work may decline over multiple projects, they may no longer be fully invested in the work.

5. Life Events: Getting married, a new child, or the declining health of a loved one can be a game changer. This one usually has less to do with the employer, but having a conversation with the employee as soon as you learn about the life event could help you plan for the future. You may also be able to discuss flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and the various types of leaves available to the employee. If the employee knows they have options, they may be more inclined to stay.

You can never guarantee that an employee is going to stay with the company forever, but taking the time to check in and test engagement levels may help you to build action plans around key employees or start planning and resourcing for the future.

What are some warning signs you have seen in your workplace?

The Case for Paid Maternity Leave

Did you know?  [tweetthis]Among global rankings of maternity leave programs, the US sits very near the bottom.[/tweetthis]Nestled among the ranks of countries like Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea, we are one of the few countries in the world that do not have paid maternity leave. From a new mother’s standpoint, it seems incongruent to the costs of having a new baby, the critical bonding time, and the need for stable finances during this hectic time.

From a business standpoint, there are some major advantages to joining the ranks of the 16% of US companies that do offer paid maternity leave. Some of these include employee retention, higher morale, and improved productivity. Don’t believe us? When Google increased maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks, the rate of women leaving the company after leave fell by 50%! Think about the money you could save in recruiting!! Think about the new father who opted to work through his paternity leave and now has the stress of providing for mother and child, with only one income. The stress of this situation could have serious effects on work productivity.

Perhaps the greatest case for paid leave is the three states that currently have paid leave programs – California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. California’s program has been operational for more than 10 years and a 2011 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 91% of employers said paid leave either boosted or had no effect on their profits.

Paid leave has also aided in reducing the Gender wage gap. A 2012 study by Rutgers found that “Women who report leaves of 30 or more days are 54% more likely to report wage increases in the year following the child’s birth than are women who take no leave at all.” So while key industries are actively working to recruit women who have left to workforce to raise their family, wouldn’t your business be ahead of the curve, if you could retain these women after pregnancy?

On a much smaller business scale, many businesses and corporations fought hard to keep paid sick leave laws from being passed out of fear that it would be too costly. Today, there are 3 states and 18 cities with Paid Sick Leave laws and the effects of legally mandated time have had little to no effect on profit margins.

Yet, from the business standpoint the idea of mandatory paid sick leave is definitely scary, but we also know that all changes hold a certain amount of risk. Wouldn’t it be great to be one of the businesses that has a reputation for supporting women by being among the first to offer the benefit of paid maternity leave? Offering employees security and benefits can often lead to employee loyalty, referrals, and other morale building effects on the company culture as a whole. While this may be a topic that not all businesses support, it is something to consider as we move into the second half of 2015 and look at the new mandates for benefits in terms of sick leave and health care. Maybe maternity and paternity leave will not be too far off. Time will tell!

Recruiting Trends for 2015

#Career  #HRBlogs  #business

Job seekers are using these words and hash tags and sharing and liking updates and posts all over social media to land their next gig. How many employers are utilizing this same thing to attract their talent? What is branding all about? How can employers use social media to their advantage, and who is paying attention to this new trend in recruiting? Hash tags are quite possibly the ticket in to your ideal talent group. So let’s jump right in to the top recruiting trends for 2015!

According to a LinkedIn survey conducted in 2014, 4 years is the average length of time an employee stays at one job. Baby boomers cringe at this knowledge, because their worldview was much more about job security and company loyalty – keeping them at the same organization for 20+ years in many cases. The younger generations are in search of the next big thing; they are continuous job seekers, and their main loyalty is to improving their paycheck, career, status, etc. [tweetthis]With hiring budgets decreasing, social media is now a major factor in recruiting candidates.[/tweetthis]With hiring budgets decreasing, but the need for quality talent increasing as the skills gap continues to widen, social media is now a major factor in recruiting passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking but are open to discussing new opportunities). Here are a few of the top trends to look out for, and how to make them work for your company – big or small!

1. TARGET your social media job posting – who are you looking for? You should be where they are! For example, LinkedIn groups focused on your target group, Facebook for the Generation X’ers, and Twitter and Instagram for the younger generations of millennials.

2. Make your recruitment functions entirely MOBILE – mobile job applications, mobile job postings, mobile apps for applying/searching.

3. Use the DATA at your fingertips – many recruitment software programs allow for data analytics. Use this information to find out what works for your company and what doesn’t, depending on the number of resumes submitted from various sources. I.E. are your Technical Web Developers seeing your job posts on Instagram or Twitter? What is the best source for posting for this group in the future? Where is the ideal talent pool hanging out?

4. BRANDING – what is your company brand? Is your brand recognizable? 60% of US leaders say that employer brand is a top priority in their company. What about yours?

5. Based on a report conducted by LinkedIn for Recruiting Trends in 2015, social professional networks are the top source of quality hires in the US. ASSIGN one employee in your HR department the task of keeping your company profile up-to-date on LinkedIn, as well as posting job opportunities, engaging in discussions within groups, and networking on LinkedIn.

6. Create a proactive TALENT BRAND STRATEGY. An astonishing 77% of US talent acquisition leaders say that talent brand has a huge impact on the quality of new hires. Engaging in social media to promote your brand is key!

Bullying – Is it happening in your workplace?

In the news lately there have been an overwhelming number of stories about children and adolescents being a victim to a bullying. Did you know that reports of workplace bullying are on the rise? It’s been a hot topic in the HR realm – adding anti-bullying policy to your handbook, but is it still happening in your workplace right under your nose? Are you missing some of the signs?

Teasing and banter is common in workplaces, but when does teasing cross the line? I’ve done some digging and found 3 helpful guidelines about when bullying may be happening right under your nose.

David A Davis, the National Director of Client Training at Ogletree Deakins, provides us the following guidance:

  1.  The teasing and banter is not returned. The person on the receiving end does not reciprocate the behavior.
  2. It is directed at one person only. The focus of the jokes is a single individual, not many.
  3. The banter is personal and generally focuses on weakness, deficiency, or inferiority.

These three signals may help us to better identify sensitive situations that could result in complaints of bullying. No one wants to work somewhere that is so uptight that banter is outlawed, but I think this lays the framework for when banter and jokes cross the line.

So now what?

It’s great to have an anti-bullying policy at work, but if that is where the effort stops, then the policy is falling short. Here are a few things you can do to minimize these sensitive situations:

  •  Train managers on the warning signs and encourage them to report sensitive situations or step in. By interrupting the sensitive situation, it puts a stop to situation. Once the situation has been stopped, work with the manager and employees involved to resolve and change behavior.
  • Do not wait and hope the situation will resolve itself, especially if the issue has been reported. Get involved and be armed with what is and is not acceptable behavior in the office.
  • Bring in a trainer and host a training session on workplace bullying. In the training, be sure to examine management styles to ensure managers are aware of behaviors of their own that may be construed as bullying.

Like all sensitive situations, it’s better to address them instead of sweeping them under the rug. Avoiding dealing with the issue could result in bigger issues down the road.

If you haven’t reviewed your anti-bullying policy in a while, it may be time! If you think your policy may need some revamping, Peoplescape can help!

 

Social Media and Recruitment

Love it or Hate it, social media is not going anywhere. Along with it comes the debate over whether or not to use it in recruitment and then, how and when to use it .

I’ve heard arguments on so many sides of it.

“Don’t Use It”
Social media profiles can give potential employers more information than they need to make employment decisions. For example, the photos may tell you information about age, gender, and national origin. The profiles may tell you about religious beliefs or sexual orientation. The content on their page may suggest political affiliation or show details about out-of-work activities that don’t pertain to employment decisions. The fear seems to be primarily around discrimination.

“Use It”
There are numerous benefits to using Social Media in your recruitment strategy. Employees can reach out into their networks and post about open positions and that leads increased engagement. Not to mention, you can reach passive job seekers more easily than using a standard job board.

Then there’s the question of how and when and which sites to use?

This question may be easier answered depending on the Social Media platform. For job postings, consider encouraging individual employees to post the link to your ATS on their social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn about open position in the company, especially if a number of your successful hires have come from referrals. This should also be embraced on a company level – embrace Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as marketing and recruiting tools. From a recruiting standpoint (directly contacting potential candidates), I tend to prefer LinkedIn as it is the most popular Social Media site for posting about professional details.

I’ve heard discussion about researching a candidate’s social media profiles after you have selected your final candidates. This again could still put you in hot water with learning information about the person that is protected. There seems to be a lot of chatter about an employer’s ability to limit or monitor an employee’s off-work activities. The EEOC held a meeting last year to hear information about topics surrounding Social Media and one recommendation that came from an attorney in that meeting was to use a 3rd party company to review social media profiles to avoid the potential of seeing sensitive information.

All in all, I’m a supporter of leveraging social media to reach more potential candidates and increase engagement. The more people that see and share your job posting, the larger and better pool of candidates an employer gets to pick from! Where I draw the line? Beware of reviewing social media content on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to make employment related decisions – there’s just too much sensitive information you may be able to pull from these sites to sway decision based on appearance, politic views, non-work activities, protected classes, etc. rather than on the merits of their skills and experience.

The Top 5 Healthcare Reform Facts You Need to KNow

Ask any recruiter or candidate looking for a job in HR, and 90% will tell you that the biggest change for 2015 and 2016 is health care reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA or ObamaCare, has set out with lofty goals and mandated personal health care coverage, as well as encroaching on an employer’s decision to provide health benefits to its employees. It is no longer the employer’s choice, but is instead mandated that for certain provisions to be followed. So, you may ask, what are the top five things that you need to know regarding healthcare reform, specifically as it pertains to the workplace? Here’s your cheat sheet, so get ready to take notes!

#1 – Most individuals are now required to have medical coverage – which means in many cases, employers will have to evaluate their options and offerings to employees.
#2 – Employers with 50 or more employees will face penalties as of 2016 if coverage is not offered to full-time employees, however, coverage does NOT need to extend to spouses. Also, employers with 2-99 employees are considered “small group” in the insurance industry world and are given certain considerations to follow.
#3 – Small businesses may qualify for tax credits! This is great news for our small business clients. Of course, the details vary and are specific to each client, which is why we are here to answer your questions and offer the best solutions for your company’s needs.
#4 – Employers are required to inform their employees IN WRITING of their insurance options by means of Summary Plan Descriptions. Are your handbook and SPD’s in compliance with the health care reform act?
#5 – More good news! Your company could be eligible for a medical-loss rebate. What does this mean in language that we can all understand (rather than the convoluted text of ACA and other acts like it)? Basically, insurance companies are obligated to use 80-85% of their premium dollars directly for insurance claims or healthcare improvements. If they fail to meet that target, the employer is entitled to a rebate that is then distributed amongst the employees. The potential of getting money back is always a good thing!
Healthcare reform is a hot button topic right now, and Peoplescape wants to inform our clients of the loopholes and intricate details of this act as it pertains specifically to your organization. These top five facts are helpful to all employers alike, but we’d love to give you a more personalized analysis of how ObamaCare is affecting your workplace. Remember, knowledge is power and we’re here to share ours with all of our clients.

References: washingtonnational.com, obamacarefacts.com, optimahealth.com, hhs.gov

Seeking a “Digital Native”

The phrase “digital native” is a fairly new term that is being employed by a number of companies, particularly in the media, digital, start-up and tech worlds. Doing a quick google search for “digital+native+jobs”, I found the following:

An ideal candidate is a digital native, who has a passion for learning and always uncovering new opportunities in the digital space, and who has a solid grounding in the world of digital media and technology.” – for Sr. Digital Strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi LA

The Social Media Manager is a digital native, skilled in onsite attendee engagement in a face paced environment.” – for Social Media Manager at Oracle

“Requirements: Digital native and experience with Google Docs or Microsoft Office” – for Administrative Assistant at Revzilla.com

These are just a few of the many came up. So what is a “digital native”? According to the Oxford Dictionary a digital native is “a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age.” On the surface it seems like a harmless phrase to throw on to a job description, in fact, it seems likely that an employer might want someone like this for a Social Media position; however, if being a digital native is a requirement as seen in some of the posts above, are you unintentionally sending a message of age discrimination?

Would you consider someone who was born 40+ years ago (1975 or before) to be a digital native? To put this in perspective, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft on April 4, 1975. So would you classify those born in this year as having been familiar with the internet and computers from an early age? Not to say that skills and competencies can’t be learned, but by definition, the term digital native seems to point more to a specific generational group.

The EEOC has not yet had a claim of age discrimination based on this qualification, but with claims of this type on the rise, I would venture to bet it is on the horizon. Furthermore, as we’ve seen in several cases, especially in California, statements such as the ones mentioned above can have an adverse impact on one (or more) protected classes by disproportionately hiring candidates under the age of forty.

At this point in time, I would use this phrase at your own risk, but seriously consider how and in what context you are using it.