Employers to applicants: not being a member of Facebook means you are suspicious

Beware job applicants: not having a Facebook account could cast suspicion on you.

On a more tangible level, Forbes.com reports that human resources departments across the country are becoming more wary of young job candidates who don’t use the site.

The common concern among bosses is that a lack of Facebook could mean the applicant’s account could be so full of red flags that it had to be deleted…

It points out that Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and an unborn child and wounding 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and Breivik, who murdered  77 people with a car bomb and mass shooting, did not use Facebook and had small online footprints…

And this is what the argument boils down to: It’s the suspicion that not being on Facebook, which has become so normal among young adults, is a sign that you’re abnormal and dysfunctional, or even dangerous, ways.

Facebook is the new normal, but the idea that people not on Facebook are necessarily suspicious is a gross overgeneralization, particularly when tied to just two tragedies. I can imagine a variety of good reasons for being a nonuser that doesn’t indicate one is a psychopath.

The interest employers have in Facebook certainly is interesting. I blogged a while back about some employers wanting the password of applicants so they could look over their profiles. How does looking at a profile stack up against other ways of getting information such as reading a resume, doing a background check, and checking references?


The benefits of Best Buy’s flex schedules for employees

Two sociologists have published a study in the American Sociological Review that shows that employees at Best Buy’s headquarters benefit from flex schedules:

Sociology professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen said a flexible work schedule that focuses on results and not just activity cut turnover at Best Buy’s Richfield headquarters by 45 percent while improving productivity.

The flex schedules, they said, cut down on stress and work interruptions due to personal issues because employees were able to find a better balance between their work and home lives…

The U of M study followed 600 workers for eight months after the start of the program, 300 who worked under the flex plan and 300 who continued working the traditional 9-5 day…

The study showed that 6 percent of the employees working under the flex plan left Best Buy during the study period, while 11 percent of the control group left during that time. Also, the results were about the same regardless of gender, age, tenure, job satisfaction, and stage of life.

Turnover can be a problem for companies who then have to hire new employees and train them so cutting turnover even five percent is no small matter.

Based on the success of the program, Best Buy has changed some of their practices:

The research showed that the flex program led to Best Buy getting rid of “low-value work,” such as unnecessary meetings. The researchers said staff and supervisors started re-considering their work patterns, figuring out what activities were the most productive.

It would be interesting to see exactly how the employees in the flex program talk about these changes. And I would be interested in hearing more about this trade-off in a company stressing results rather than activity – are there downsides to this?

Brand favorites by political party

AdvertisingAge reports on the favorite brands of Republicans and Democrats. There are some differences between supporters of the two parties:

The Republican Top 10: Fox News Channel, History Channel, Craftsman, Discovery Channel, Johnson & Johnson, UPS, Fox, FedEx, Lowe’s, Cheerios.

The Democrat Top 10: Google, Sony, Discovery Channel, UPS, Craftsman, Johnson & Johnson, Cheerios, History Channel, FedEx, Amazon.

Some interesting differences, particularly the presence of Google and Fox News Channel. Do these company’s political contributions match up with their favored status among each party?

An innovative revenue stream for suburbs: exclusive advertisements on city property

Naperville, Illinois is considering a new tactic to provide for funds for the city’s coffers as there is nearly a $5 million budget shortfall projected for next year:

Naperville is considering an unusual option for long-term revenue: giving corporations exclusive rights to advertise on city property.

In a memo to the City Council this month, finance director Karen DeAngelis cited several examples of how this could work, including a program in which KFC pays for pothole repairs in cash-strapped cities in exchange for stamping the fresh asphalt with the chicken chain’s logo.

Naperville also could sell the naming rights of buildings or allow companies to advertise their products as “the official drink” or “the official burger” of the suburb for a fee, DeAngelis said.

“It’s not something we’ve done before, so we would be on the leading edge and we would need to be careful,” she said in an interview.

This might lead to some very interesting scenes – “Naperville City Hall, brought to you by Geico.” I imagine such ads might be attractive to businesses for the amount of people who might see them, particularly in a vibrant downtown Naperville.

Would a majority of suburban residents go for this? As one expert suggests in the story, this could lead to some negative repercussions and a process of “NASCAR-ization.”

If the city of Naperville couldn’t raise a significant amount of money with a program like this, would it be worth doing it on a small scale or would it just lead to more trouble than its worth?