Thursday, April 24, 2008

vBusiness Keynote: David Fenech, Kelly Services

David Fenech of Kelly Services had the honour of opening the first vBusiness Expo with a keynote, detailing why Kelly Services is in Second Life, what they learned, what the goals are. He shared some very useful tips along the way. The highligts:

Virtual worlds are still young. There are growing pains. Get in the pool now, now that there's still a shallow end! You can learn and make mistakes while it's still acceptable!

Each company has two brands: the Big B-brand, which is your name or product, like Coca Cola. The second brand is the small b-brand, which is your employment brand. Do people want to work for you? Do they know you as a company? For instance, Rolex makes great watches, but what kind of employer are they? The upcoming work force, that will replace the baby boomers, is 'technology native', so being in Second Life is a great way to reach that demographic. As an aside: Kelly is a respected company, with a proud heritage of over 60 years. Young people are often pleasantly surprised to meet this company in world.

Being a staffing company, Kelly obviously uses SL for recruiting purposes. Second Life is large, international and diverse enough to be of interest to Kelly. But, says David, if you're looking for large amounts of resumes to meet a target, go to the 2D internet, that's not what SL is good for. In SL, it's about quality, not quantity. Kelly uses SL as a full part of their company; job postings get posted in SL, and resumes from SL go straight to real world employers.

Another benefit for Kelly Services of being active in world: they are able to provide value added services to their clients in this regard.

Finally, Kelly Services has a distributed workforce, with many people scattered all over offices and locations. Employees can feel isolated and alone under those circumstances. Virtual worlds can play a role in mitigating those negative effects, by having meetings, using it for collaboration, communications etcetera.

But, getting in a virtual world isn't easy. For an established corporation, stepping in a virtual world is a difficult step. Organisational issues as well as technological onces can arise. Talk to HR, legal but also to accounting. They need to know, for instance, what to do with bills for Islands being bought! "No, that's not an island in the Pacific.."

This is only a short overview of the many useful things David had to say. Very good keynote!

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