Professional services firm Deloitte recently made an interesting attempt to bridge the generational and technological divide by launching an "online film festival" tailor-made for the YouTube generation.
Designed to bolster Gen Y recruiting, drive workforce engagement and fill its talent pipeline, the festival was based around the idea of using its current employee base as "video ambassadors" to help recruit their current and future potential co-workers.
Although the idea may seem pretty faddish, so is the target market -- and their importance to the future of your business will only increase with time. Consider these trends:
Generation Y is the fastest-growing population in the workforce, currently representing 22% of all workers. By 2010, approximately 10 million more "Gen Yers" are expected to join the working world, outnumbering their predecessors.
The Society for Human Resource Management's 2007 Job Satisfaction Survey reported that overall corporate culture is "very important" to 36% of respondents.
Although I realize such an effort is not as practical in every industry, I'm also not surprised that by most accounts (both internal and external) the film festival idea was pretty successful, as it combines the peer-oriented nature of Gen Y with the democratic and accessible nature of user-generated content.
Basically, it's "recruitment by reality TV."
Here's how the program was designed to work:
Digital video production kits were offered to the first 250 registrants to encourage maximum participation.
Due to high levels of interest, Deloitte had to make an additional 100 cameras available to teams.
More than 370 short films were submitted by teams of one to seven members from offices across the U.S.
Each video offered what the company said was a "candid and unfiltered view of Deloitte's culture of inclusion, leading edge talent and innovative workplace." (Exactly how unfiltered it was is always difficult to say from the outside.)
The submitted films were posted on an internal "You Tube-like" intranet site where they were viewed and rated by Deloitte employees, with the best films integrated into campus recruiting programs.
Finally, in a corporate social responsibility bonus, the company integrated the program into its "Community Involvement Initiative" -- according to the multimedia press release, "upon completion of the film festival, cameras and equipment will be donated to nonprofit organizations, including FilmAid International and IFP, that use the power of film to support displaced people around the world."
The results are also posted on Deloitte's Film Festival YouTube channel for wider consumption.
With this move, Deloitte has effectively turned hundreds of its most creative employees into an empowered, motivated recruiting force -- and made its own job of marketing itself that much easier.
This reminds me of Heinz' recent efforts to turn the entirety of the YouTube generation into a full-service, free viral advertising agency.
Like I said at the outset, such a "recruitment 2.0" tactic may not be applicable in every company, but encouraging your best and brightest employees to be your company's ambassadors is never a bad idea, whatever form it takes.