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Posts Tagged ‘Todd Defren’

How Long Is Too Long?

How long is too long to stay at a company?

Once upon a time you could start somewhere and stay there your whole career, or hop maybe once or twice. That’s obviously not the case anymore.

Todd Defren is the owner of SHIFT Communications. He’s been at the same place since 1994. Recently, he writes, a millennial-era employee handed in her resignation with the words, “I’ve been here for almost three years, so, you know—that’s a REALLY long time.”

Really? Is there something wrong with staying longer than three years these days?

Defren thinks so: “If you can never fairly expect loyalty, you’ll stop aiming to achieve it…companies who “give up” on expecting even a modicum of employee loyalty will start to treat everyone as a short-term worker, like a seasonal farmhand or Christmastime retail clerk…This article is not intended to malign millennials. If crappy policies of the employer naturally led to poor loyalty by staff, we must acknowledge that this, in turn, has de-motivated employers to ever rethink their practices to engender the loyalty of staff. It’s a vicious cycle, now.”

Never did we consider that a lack of loyalty on an employee’s part would lead to a lack of loyalty on the employers’ part. It’s usually the other way around: “well, they woulda fired me at-will anyway, so I may as well take this new job.”

On the other hand, the move toward shorter stints and Millennial job-hunting seems inevitable whether companies promote these policies or not. The new worker is interested not just in making a company look good but in doing interesting work—if the work doesn’t stay interesting, s/he will move on.

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Are PR Firms Training Themselves Out Of A Job?

Given the news that social media may be powering PR out of the recession, it seems ludicrous at first that Shift Communications is answering RFPs for social media training.

“They are not asking us to handle Influencer Engagement. They are not asking us to manage their Facebook communities. They are not asking for us to develop mobile apps,” writes Todd Defren, a principal at SHIFT, on his blog PR Squared.

“They just want us to teach them about Social Media. More often than not, they want us to teach a few handfuls of internal employees to ‘do what SHIFT does’ when it comes to blog monitoring, commenting, and writing; Facebook engagement and posting; how-to set up a YouTube channel; how-to use Sysomos or Radian6, etc.

“After that mission is accomplished, we’ll be cordially asked to leave them to their tweeting, thank-you-very-much.”

Some people see this as madness. Give a man a fish, and he’ll be fed for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll never have to buy one from you, right? But Todd says, au contraire! Social media training is a good thing.

“The folks we’re talking to about Social Media Training are looking to form a cadre of in-house experts who can promulgate Best Practices across the enterprise. Not ‘just’ for PR but as a means of understanding how/when/why Social Media could/should affect their business processes…These trainees are NOT just from the Marketing/PR group: they include Customer Service reps, showroom employees, R&D engineers, etc., each of whom will be tasked with carrying their newfound knowledge forward, both online (on behalf of the Company’s broader outreach) and internally to their own fiefdoms, to help set Social Media Policy.”

The idea, we suppose, is that a customer service rep who knows how to Tweet isn’t going to take away a PR agency’s task. Sounds like Defren is gambling that companies will agree just “being on” social media is one thing, but handling an entire campaign is still best left to the pros.

Another data point, brought up by a commenter on Defren’s blog: agencies have been offering media training for years, and has that put anyone out of business?