Skills are Only Part of the Package: Hiring the Best Web Vendor for Your Organization

standingonheadDo you ever wonder if Scott Adams, creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip, is sitting on your shoulder? I have to admit, sometimes I do. This week, he’s lampooning the idea of hiring for cultural fit — something we at Geonetric have recently started intentionally focusing on.

It’s often amusing … and fairly easy … to joke about trends. Because frankly, any business concept, taken to its illogical extreme, has negative aspects and can be a target for ridicule.

But here’s the thing: a bad hire is expensive. We all know that. There’s all kinds of research that shows bad hires cost companies not just in terms of the time and resources to hire and train employees, but also in missed sales opportunities, lower client satisfaction and retention, strained employee relations, and potential legal issues. It’s often said that companies traditionally hire for skills and fire for behavior.

Of course, no one is hiring ONLY for cultural fit. At Geonetric, we use a combination of interviewing approaches — skills tests, personality assessments, behavioral interviewing, etc. — to get at a candidate’s ability to perform a job well within the team environment we’ve created.

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What Hospital Marketers Can Learn from the Ice Bucket Challenge

alsicebucketHave you logged into Facebook today? If so, you’ve likely seen at least a few new ice bucket challenge videos in your news feed. And it’s not slowing down! In fact, the Geonetric client advisor team was recently nominated — and accepted — the challenge. It’s simple. Pay a $100 donation toward ALS research to stay dry, or donate $10 and dump a bucket of ice water over your head. Then, nominate your friends to do it.

Here’s what we learn from this viral campaign, which has raised over $88 million in a matter of weeks:

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Sometimes It’s Hard to See Change From Up Close

geonetric-cultureFor the past month or so I’ve been working very little with the Geonetric team. We moved to our brand new building last month, and I was pretty focused on that. But I’ve also been working with startup teams on our second floor in the Iowa Startup Accelerator, and will be until November. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know about our 18-month old experiment in which our teams operate without managers. Perhaps this takes the experiment to its logical conclusion: can the teams run without a CEO for three months?Of course the answer is yes.

Today I joined the entire company in our new café for our monthly company meeting. But unbeknownst to me, they had changed it up dramatically. And the modifications they made to the meeting are indicative of the important cultural changes that have been taking place.

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Geonetric is a Blue Zone Certified Worksite


Photograph of Geonetric employees standing on stairwell.
Geonetric was recently designated a Blue Zone Certified Worksite, becoming the 20th employer in Cedar Rapids to receive certification. Our timing coincided perfectly with the construction of our new building in the New Bohemia District. Much of our building planning took into consideration the Blue Zones certification requirements. For example, our new campus will be Tobacco Free. Our new café will have 10 inch plates and tall, skinny glasses. Our new workspace will have height adjustable desks.
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New Home for Geonetric

BuildingThe time has finally come. Geonetric has moved offices.We left our home of 11 years, 4211 Glass Road. We left a building that kept our team members divided in separate suites on separate floors. We left the turkeys who occasionally followed us in the parking lot. We left an HVAC system and bathrooms that didn’t always work properly.

But we don’t have to worry about any of that anymore. We’re now at 415 12th Avenue SE. And what an amazing, inspiring place to call home!

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What Does Geonetric Value

In the second year of our Agile-beyond-software transformation, we had an “aha” moment. We realized our core values were fuzzy and didn’t necessarily reflect the company we are today. We trust employees to self-organize and make the “right” decisions – but they didn’t have clear principles to guide those decisions.

In a traditional environment, the executive team might hire a branding company to define and roll out the organization’s values. The company then typically ends up with words that are cliché, ambiguous and impossible to measure – values like “passion” and “excellence” – or a Dilbert-like phrase filled with buzzwords – such as “leveraging core competencies to achieve synergistic results”. That doesn’t cut it here.

So of course, we decided to turn the process on its head. We asked employees to tell the executive team what our core values are.

Employees were asked to write a value and short description on a card and post it on our newly-created Core Values wall. For two weeks, each employee could add as many or as few as they wanted, and in the end, employees contributed nearly 50 cards.

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From there, we grouped the cards based on similar ideas, and came up with twelve high-level themes. Those themes then were put into a survey tool, where employees were asked to rank them. The results were crystal clear. Employees believe we have five core values, with the other seven supporting those.

Our final step was to have our marketing team help wordsmith the final values, because of course, they have to sound like us.

Core_Values

And here are the values that our employees believe make us who we are and define how we work with each other and our clients every day:

  • Own it: We’re accountable to ourselves, each other and our clients. We keep our promises.
  • Bring it: We deliver exceptional service and value every day. We’re aiming for Wow!
  • Push it: We’re always moving forward or learning from our mistakes. Standing still is not an option.
  • Say it: We’ve torn down the walls so ideas and information flow freely. Candid and direct is a way of life.
  • Unite! We are strategic and creative, thoughtful and candid, fun and different. We’re one team, united by a common vision.

If you interact with any of us at Geonetric in any way – as a client, vendor partner, community neighbor, agile co-conspirator, prospective client or candidate for employment – I trust that you’ve been seeing those values in action for a long time. We’ve just finally written them down in a way that sounds just like us. Yep – nailed it.

 

Enhancing Web Content Through Storytelling

great-storytelling-in-healthcareblogDrama. Likable characters. A happy ending.

Keys to a great story, right? They can also be keys to compelling Web content – as we learned last month at Camp Reboot, Geonetric’s ninth annual eHealth Symposium.

For those of you who weren’t able to join us, here’s a recap of a presentation from a member of our content team:

Great storytelling can expand your healthcare brand, according to Michelle LeCompte, Geonetric’s director of content services. Stories capture attention, connect with the reader and continue to resonate after they’re told. Stories engage our emotions – and have been proven to convert behavior. Michelle shared:

“Brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level will see two times more impact than marketers trying to sell functional value.”

Her point? When it comes to marketing, feelings win out over facts every time.

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Geonetric Clients Really Like Us!

When I review the results of our quarterly client satisfaction survey, I feel a lot like Sally Field felt when she won the Oscar® for Best Actress in 1985.

“This time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now you like me!”

There is no denying the fact that our clients like us. And that’s a really great feeling!

To put some numbers behind those emotions (because we’re all about the data!), this quarter’s survey again surpassed our targets for both participation level AND satisfaction ranking.

  • 72% of our clients completed the survey, slightly higher than our 70% goal.
  • Clients ranked us at 5.21 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 6 (highest), well above our target of 5.0.

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6 Resources Everyone in the Search Marketing Industry Should Be Using

ace-up-your-seo-sleeve

One question Geonetric hears from clients is, “How do you keep up with all these changes in SEO, PPC, and social media?” Good question!

I shared my reading list with attendees of Geonetric’s 2014 eHealth Client Symposium: Camp Reboot, and thought others may benefit from this list as well. A word of caution: these blogs will turn you into a search marketing geek in no time flat.

So, what do I read in my free time to keep up with Google, Bing and the other cast characters in search and social media? Here’s my current reading list:

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Building a Democratic Workplace at Geonetric

worldblu certification

Today Geonetric was certified as a Democratic Workplace by WorldBlu. We’re proud to be a company that values its employees and actively works to create such a positive workplace culture.

Geonetric has always been a great place to work. About 18 months ago, we took that a step further – we said “great culture” has to mean more than just amenities like free food and a flexible work environment. So we eliminated our formal management hierarchy and instead created self-organizing, self-managing teams. That was a pretty major step toward a democratic workplace, even before we knew that was a “thing”.

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Clients Still Satisfied? Check.

Client Satisfaction Graph
We did it again! The results of this quarter’s client satisfaction survey (and yes, we do it every three months) shows that our clients continue to value Geonetric as their Web partner. Last quarter, we hit an all-time high overall score of 5.32 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 6 (highest). This quarter, we maintained that impressive score.

We have a pretty lofty goal for response rate. We need 70% participation, every survey. And you know what? We’ve consistently exceed that goal for more than two years. This time around, 73% of our clients participated in the survey and 92% of those respondents gave us a 5.0 or higher overall score!

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Show Your Community Manager Some Appreciation!


Betty White Facebook and the Twitter GifToday is the fifth annual Community Manager Appreciation Day! Almost every organization big and small has some form of community manager. Traditionally the role of community manager applies to anyone who interacts with the public representing their organization. Most commonly this role is associated with someone who manages the organization’s social media channels. Whenever you interact with a brand online, there is (hopefully) a community manager on the other end responding to you in a timely manner.

When I get asked what I do for Geonetric I typically don’t respond with “Community Manager” simply because it’s not a widely recognized title. If I do, most people hear the word “manager” and instantly assume I manage a team of marketers (which isn’t the case since we don’t have managers at Geonetric). Instead I tell people that I’m a Digital Marketing Strategist. The broader title is a better representation of what I do since very few community managers like me just do that one role (unless you work for McDonalds or other very large corporation).

Community managers often wear multiple hats at their organizations. We have a hand in public relations, customer service, content marketing, marketing strategy, research, analytics, branding, and can touch many other departments in an organization beyond marketing.

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Geonetric’s Top Five Webinars, Blog Posts, and Tweets of 2013

Happy 2014 From Geonetric

Before looking ahead sometimes it’s important to learn from the past. Taking a look at the popular topics from webinars, blog posts and tweets from the past year provides a snap shot at past trends. Content marketing, social media and search engine optimization continue to be hot topics for healthcare marketers. Geonetric will be here throughout 2014 to keep you informed through our GeoVoices blog, free monthly webinarseHealth Spotlight eNewsletter, eHealth articleswhite papers, eBooks and on Twitter.

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Maintain, Don’t Gain


Dessert Table

With the holiday season just around the corner, there’s a lot to get excited about. And, for a lot of us, that means enjoying some delicious food!

First it’s the juicy Thanksgiving turkey with all the fixings and Grandma’s yummy homemade pumpkin pie. Next, you’re whirled away into the endless barrage of sweet treats, candies and melt-in-your-mouth goodness for the entire month of December. Don’t forget about all of those holiday dinner parties where you will wine and dine to your heart’s content. After all, it’s the holidays and you deserve to celebrate! Finally, move right on into New Year’s where you’ll have one last hurrah and ring in 2014 by sampling even more delectable goodies and fine wine.

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