Firstly – Happy New Year! Do you feel the abundant sense of optimism that seems to be everywhere (or is that just me?). Everyone I chat to feels excited about the year ahead, that things are looking positive and there is a strong sense of growth, energy and excitement. Well if you’re not feeling it then hopefully a little of mine can rub off on you!
As you know I passionately believe that a company can prosper or fail based on its employer brand. If I’m connected, engaged, excited and committed to my organisation then my output will be exceptionally high. If the majority of employees feel that way then the reflection on the business will be just as attractive to those outside the business.
One of the visuals that I think allows for clarity and simplicity when it comes to displaying whether you have clear messaging and purpose or not, is the employer branding pyramid. There are a variety of versions available but today I thought I would just share one that I think works.
If I work for your business, what is the overarching promise that you will make to me?
An examples is, in my current role I have the promise of: opportunities to be innovative, creative and deliver exceptional work to clients.
All of our employees are encouraged to think differently and try and be different in order to provide our clients with a strong competitive advantage when we’re delivering outcomes for them.
If I asked you what your organization’s employer brand promise is, what would you say?
Employer Brand personality:
What is your organisation’s personality? Is fun and hard working, is it professional and structured, is it creative and flexible? how would you describe it and more to the point how would your employees describe it?
Key Values & Beliefs:
What are your employees key values and beliefs? What do they care about and how does your business align to that? “our people believe…..” “We value X”
How employees are Valued:
Based on their values and beliefs, what do your employees value i.e: how do they want to be treated? What is rewarding for them and what is a must for them in their work environment? How does your business meet that need?
How does this all translate into a tangible reality for them? So when you hire people, train them, develop their career what is on offer? At which points in the employee life cycle do they see and experience the benefits of the employer brand promise? These may also be your EVP statements.
What brings it all to life? This is where you list everything in your business that contributes to the people or employer brand promise. So it may be benefits in your business such as the leadership programs, lifestyle programs, flexible working, referral programs and rewards, job swap or sharing, rewarding social responsibility. What is part of the business that supports the values in a tangible way?
Employer branding doesn’t have to be complicated it just needs to be clear and focused on your people.
How would you rate your company’s Employer Brand message?
Suzanne Chadwick is the Head of Employer Branding at Hudson RPO. We provide employer branding consulting in Melbourne, Australia with a global team and reach across Asia, the Americas and EMEA. For more information head to http://hudsonrpo.com/digital-and-sourcing-innovation-consulting-services.
I feel like this statement needs be made.
An employee value proposition is, like many other things, an element of your employer brand, it is not your employer brand
It also does not mean that once you have an EVP that’s it, your work here is done you can pack your bags and walk away.
An EVP has a number of key objectives that it needs to achieve in order to be effective, worthwhile and of value. It can’t be effective if all the other elements of an employer brand are ignored. On it’s own, an EVP is just a series of empty statements that are neither emotive, engaging or persuasive.
In order for your EVP to mean anything, you first have to understand what the point is.
1) What is the point….
Meaning – what is the business trying to do? What needs to shift in order for the organisation to meet it’s goals and objectives? Do you need to grow the business? reduce turnover, increase engage? What exactly is required?
I would love you to think right now, what EXACTLY do you need your employer brand to do. Be really specific. Not just, attract new people……. which people? how many? who? where, when, how?
I would encourage you to answer these questions……….
2) What to do, what to do
Once you have your value proposition or people promise, what are you going to do with it? Meaning, how are you going to bring it to life. Five statements on a website does not quite cut it if you’re trying to create an engaging and business changing message.
Who are the people and what are the stories that you’re going to tell. I’m also not just talking about two or three videos, I’m talking about building a story across multiple channels.
Do you remember those old Nescafe TV ads where there was a story. A woman had moved to New Zealand on her own and she ended up having coffee with someone and then met the love of her life….. (anyway I digress), I was so engaged with the 3 people in those ads and I followed the story with every new ad they had, thinking what would happen next.
That’s the type of story telling I’m talking about. Real. Engaging. Exciting. I can identify with that kind of story telling.
3) How am I going to communicate it?
Of course it needs to be on the career site, but what else could you do?
Create a following to your story, in images and videos. Create a trail for your target audience to follow and to engage with.
As an employee of your business, I may be on instagram one day, the career site the next and then you may find me on the company facebook page…..who know’s.
What’s the message I’m carrying? What’s the dialog that I want in return? If your business is solving a global or local problem then what are people saying about the issue? What do your employees think about the issue. How can I share more of what real people with real opinions are saying?
4) Does it hit the mark?
Are you reaching your audience? Are they engaging? How can you tell?
Measuring and engaging with your audience is what separates okay companies from great companies. There’s no point putting a message out in the market and then dusting your hands off……now what? Is it doing what we want it to? Think about how you’re going to measure things before you put them out there and it will be much easier.
We live in a world of ever changing and evolving content. You have the platforms, ability and opportunity to create context to your content, to make it different and to stand out. Tell the story, be creative. If I said to you, you have to do something completely different to what anyone else is doing in the market….what would you do?
Oh, what I would do if I could tell your story………….
Is your team doing the same old things when it comes to sourcing?
Are you frustrated that they just don’t seem to ‘Get it’?
Are you training and developing your team in the same way that you’ve always trained them but somehow expecting a different outcome?
Creating innovative teams who are testers, trialers, early adopters, creators and engagers is not an easy feat by any means. But before you give up altogether think about how you’ve changed the way you train, connect, engage and challenge them.
Have you changed the way you do things?
If not, then why would you expect them to change the way they do things? Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some recruiters and sourcers that do ‘get it’ and you don’t need to explain it again and again, but at times they are few and far between.
So how do we get our everyday recruiters to think differently and adopt the strategic sourcing strategies and activities that you need them to in order to ensure your business is moving forward and attracting and engaging with the right talent in the market?
1) Assess how they are trained
So we all go and sit in a room and you take me through a PowerPoint presentation where you show the new sourcing channels that we’ll be using and then send me on my way. I’m like a car on a cold, cold morning. I’ve been sitting there ideally doing what I’ve always done and now you want me to warm up and get into action straight away. The likelihood that I’ll stall is pretty high. Whereas if you warm me up, get my mind thinking in a different way and challenge me a little then my ability to adopt the changes you want me to make are potentially more likely to take.
If you are training your recruiters, sourcer or staff in general and you need them to think differently, then you need to train them differently. Think about how you can bring creative thinking exercises into your training session at the start so that your team understand that it’s time to get the brain working in a different way. Many times we expect others to get on board but the way we engage them is same as what they have always experienced so they expect they don’t need to change either.
2) Assess what you give them access to and what you don’t
If you ask me to do something different but I don’t have access to reporting or information that shows me how I’m tracking (only management receive those reports) then my ability to be accountable for my activity is limited. Now I know that I’m geek at the best of times but one of things I love (don’t tell anyone) is google analytics. It allows me to see what content has been shared, where my readers come from, what was received really well and what wasn’t. By understanding what is working and what isn’t, it means I have the ability to tweak my strategy, content and activity based on response and engagement.
I know that not every recruiter can be reviewing this information all the time but what is when a campaign runs you share with them how it tracked, what happened, what worked and what didn’t. Teaching your sourcers and recruiters to be curious, to test and assess and test and assess again is how you build sourcers that understand how to build strategies, execute them and then adjust accordingly.
3) Let them lead and put the expectation for change on them
Way back when, when I managed a team in London we had an issue. In order for the team to get their bonus we had to have 98% data integrity rating. Week after week we’d have the team meeting and I’ll tell the same people that there were errors in their information. After several weeks and months of this happening I decided that each team member would own the data integrity for that week for the team. That meant that before the meeting they needed to run a number of reports, they then need to communicate the errors and issues with the rest of the team and get those errors fixed before the weekly team meeting.
When the team members who were repeat offenders had to own the report and they were responsible for ensuring that everyone else did what they needed to do, it changed how they saw the issue. There was no way they could come to the meeting and have a report that had errors, and seeing how hard it could be to get someone to do what they wanted was frustrating for them (much like what I had experienced as the team manager. The result? By making the consultants who weren’t cutting it, be responsible for delivering the results required it changed their behaviour and as a team we achieved our 98% data integrity target.
4) Build innovative and creative thinking into the everyday
We get them to exercise process and do the same things every day and then all of sudden we say “Think differently, be innovative, give me your best creative thoughts” and we wonder why there is a stunned silence in the room.
When you want your team to think differently you need to provide them with a bit of a warm up. If you’re training or having a meeting where you want some fresh ideas then give them a couple of warm up exercises to start with. Maybe a quiz, maybe some creative thinking activities, brainstorming. It doesn’t have to take long and it doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to shift them out of their process and pattern thinking so that they can start to use the right side of the brain to come up with solutions that give you what you’re looking for.
image credit: http://huff.to/1EPdRL8
I recently presented at the HRO Conference in Singapore on Hudson RPO’s annual global research paper in partnership with HRO Today which focuses on what top employer brands do differently to other brands.
The primary research was gathered via one-on-one interviews with top employer brands plus a 3-week online survey of global senior HR practitioners (328 usable responses).
I found this research so practical and insightful for organisations that are still looking at how they build their employer brand and what activities they need to focus on.
Here a just a few of the findings that came out of the report. If you’d like the full report (I highly recommend it!!) then download it here.
One of the biggest questions I get from clients when it comes to developing their employer brand is – where do we start? Do we just refresh our EVP, or should we just update our career site? What if I put a few videos in there, will that be enough. As with most big projects, we need to understand the objectives – what do you want your employer brand to do exactly? Building a strategy to support the successful execution of a project is critical.
The research shows that twice as many top employer brands have a defined and documented employer brand strategy compared to other brands.
So I would ask you – does your business have an employer brand strategy or is it more of an activities focus. If we just do these one or two things then we’ll be fine? Is the strategy lead by the wider HR and Business strategy so that it’s tied into delivering what the business needs? These are the types of questions that need to be asked.
Not only do we need a strategy but we need someone who can champion that strategy. The leader, the passionate crusader that understands what it’s all about, who understands the benefits and opportunities and is able to articulate that and position it in the right way to get the job done.
Once again, top brands were more likely to have CEO or President level sponsorship. I think a lot of organisations are unsure how to have the commercial conversation around what quantifiable impact EB will have on the business therefore it’s not something that is discussed at C-suite or exec level.
Top brands also generally had stronger visibility of their employer brand across their senior leadership team. By having the entire leadership team on board and behind what you are doing means that your ability to rally internal support and engagement will be higher.
I was having this conversation with the HRD of a large consulting firm the other day, and she commented that they need to see a return on investment before they will invest anything worthwhile. And whilst there are things that can be done inexpensively, there needs to be some investment if any impact is to be made. That might be cash investment or it could be resources investment – but something has to be given in order to get something in return. We found that top employer brands invested 52% more than other brands.
Top brands use more social channels to promote their employer brands, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. By using multiple channels you’re engaging current and potential employees in different ways. You’re provide multi content collateral for their consumption which is always going to more engaging that just one type of content in one place.
Partnering for Success
As an employer brand strategy can be a project in itself with many different components, the research found that whilst 57% of organisations manage their employer brand internally and 61.3% of Top Brands partnered with an external business/consultant compared with 42.9% of other brands. Bringing in specialised expertise to help you build a strategy as well as execute key activities will ensure you have targeted outcomes.
Overall, top tier employer brand companies involved more departments and other groups in promoting their employer brand as seen below. By ensuring that you’re using experts in your business to deliver input, advice and output for the employer brand project will not only share the work load but it will ensure that the employer brand is in line with the corporate and consumer brand as well. 44.6% of Top Employer Brands have defined roles compared with 17.6% of other brands.
Measuring Return on Investment
As always this one is a surprise to a degree. We’re so focused on metrics and measuring everything but the Employer Brand is still the last thing to be measured. 61.4% of respondents said that they don’t measure return on investment when it comes to their Employer Brand whilst 22.4% weren’t sure.
These are just some of the findings from the research undertaken. The report provides break out “how to” boxes to make it not only informative but very practical.
If you’d like to discuss how your employer branding strategy can meet your business needs this year then drop me a message and we can discuss how we could potentially work together – firstname.lastname@example.org