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
First off – Happy New Year! We’re already a week in, can you believe it?!
Well I have it on good authority (I can feel it in my bones) that it’s going to be good year! I predict 2014 will be the year of the ‘Yousli’…. what do I mean by that? It’s all about bespoke services, products and consumer expectations or in our case, candidate expectations.
As we move at rapid speed toward a world of tailored approaches, products and services, candidate attraction and the way we assess and engage with potential employees is not too far behind.
I personally love anything I can customise and I’ll usually gravitate towards something that has been designed specifically for me.
So have you noticed how many new businesses are springing up based on bespoke?
Two that that I personally like are Yousli and Shoes of Prey. Yousli allows you to choose your base muesli and then whichever ingredients you like and then name it yourself. I like to call mine ‘Suzli’. They then package it and send it to you. Shoes of Prey allow you to design your own shoes. From the style, hight, fabric etc and then you can name it…what’s not to love!
The question is, what do candidates expect from us?
What do they want to be able to consume, pick and choose when it comes to considering your organisation as a place to work? Do you provide them with a number of different options when it comes to applying for a role or finding out more about your organisation’s culture, people, activities etc? As we know people digest information in different ways:
- Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding – Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, photos on your career site
- Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music – YouTube, video on your career site
- Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing – providing written information candidates can consume or video they can hear more about the business.
When engaging with candidates, do we think of these different styles or do we treat everyone exactly the same?
So recently I asked a number of highly skilled professionals; if they could design the recruitment process they had to go through in order to get a new job, what would it look like, and this is what they said:
Tom – PhD scientist, global experience, has worked for leading pharmaceutical in research & development in the past.
“I’d like to have a lot of information to read (surprise being in research and all). Job descriptions are terrible and very rarely accurate when it comes to the tasks that I’d be responsible for undertaking. I’d like to read examples of the types of reports I’d be responsible for writing. Companies put fairly general info on their websites when it comes to careers pages. Nothing that makes me think they’d be great to work for. You also rarely get information that covers warts and all when it comes to the job and then wonder why people don’t work out when the job and environment aren’t right. Having more team based final interviews or meetings would help provide the opportunity for potential employees to have honest conversations about the organisation therefore ensuring that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that it’s the right fit for everyone.”
Jim – Senior Business Analyst working across a number of large corporates on a contract basis. One of the main things that he stated was:
“I’d like to meet the people who I’d be working with. Not just the manager but the team, maybe the stakeholders, etc. I also just want to know that I can leave the office at 5pm and get home to see my family. I make sure I get what I need to get done, but then see so many other people just staying back in the office when they don’t have anything to do because that’s the ‘culture’. I’m not interested in that. I get in, get the job done right and then get home. I wish people would just be honest about the real culture of the office so I can make the right decision.”
Tanya – Senior Manager in HR projects –
“I’d love it if someone said that they had read my blog or engaged with me on a social platform, because I never look at job boards. They want to discuss where their business was going and how I could support that. Language is a big thing. We live in a world that is solutions focused (well my world is anyway), so if you’re looking for someone like that, then you need to think about the way you approach them. What is going to be more appealing – ‘we want to talk to you about a job’ or ‘we want to talk to you about a solution that we need for our business’. In the first instance I might think…well I’m happy where I am, changing jobs can be stressful. But if you say – our business needs to find a solution to X (which is what I specialise in) then you’ve got me chomping at the bit from the start. Now when it comes to assessing me to find out if I’m right, I’m happy to have a conversation/interview but why not put me to the test. Let’s get in a room with a number of people and let’s solve a problem, work through a project. You’ll see me in action, see the way I think, work out if I’m the right fit by the way I conduct myself and the ideas I come up with. That would be a really engaging way for me to get a job.”
So your challenge should you choose to accept it, is to look at some of the roles in your organisation – you choose which ones this may work for.
Think about your hard to fill roles and look at how you or your recruiters are engaging with those candidates. Is there a better way to attract that particular type of person? What language is key to them?
What would tempt them nine times out of ten to be drawn to your role? Have you asked? What could the recruitment process look like for them that could be a bit different?
I love this ad below and recently used it in a conference presentation. It speaks to its audience and is tailored just for them. It’s interesting, different and the process of assessment is based on work that they submit when they apply. It’s challenging, fun and creative!
We do the same thing over and over again for every person – yet every person is different. Now if you’re thinking, well we don’t have time to tailor our approach then think about whether you have time to sort through 100 ad response of people who don’t really match the criteria you’re looking for. Think about the solution that you’re providing to your hiring managers and if you’re really adding value in an ever-changing market.
If the way you are recruiting today, is the same as you were recruiting 4 years ago, then are you really tailoring your approach to meet the needs of highly skilled and ever expectant candidates in the market in 2014?
Be different, challenge the status quo and you may be surprised by the calibre of great candidates you attract!
Wasting time sourcing?
Have you gone mad Suzanne?
Well no, I haven’t gone mad but I think many recruiters may have.
What would you say if I told that you I went strawberry picking. I went to the strawberry farm and I hunted for the biggest and the best strawberries. Every time I found one I picked it, thought ‘WOW that’s impressive’ then I went and put it in my basket. Every day, I would go back out into the strawberry farm and I’ll continue to pick my strawberries and I’d keep putting them in my basket.
I didn’t put my basket in the fridge, I didn’t cover it with anything, I didn’t wash them, I really didn’t do anything to look after the strawberries that I had already picked; I just kept going back out into the field and picking more. Eventually the strawberries in my basket went bad but I didn’t notice because I just kept putting more and more in.
Does that sound like a great use of my time and resources?
Was I making the most of the strawberries that I already had in my basket?
Did I care for them so that they lasted longer so that when I was ready to use them on my amazing Christmas Pavlova they were primed and ready to go?
p.s. the link is there for my wonderful international or non-Australian readers! Make a Pav these holidays….it’ll change your life! See…..you get sourcing advice and amazing recipes! What other recruitment blog gives you that!!!??
Well I feel like this is happening in the majority of organisations that are recruiting. We work to build the database, to attract great candidates and then a new job requirement comes up and what do we do? We go back out to market, put the job ad on the job board or LinkedIn and we spend 2, 3, 5 weeks looking for new candidates.
Well the reason may be that we don’t have very good database search or talent pooling practices. I really can’t think of another reason.
So what should we be doing?
Having a good understanding of which roles you may have coming up and which roles you recruit regularly should help you to manage the number of times you need to go to market a fresh.
Having engaged, well managed talent pools will not only mean you don’t have to go to market again and again but when you reconnect with candidates who have already shown an interest in your business that you’ve identified as being “a big strawberry” (or an amazing candidate) then everyone is already on board and ready to go.
The client owned recruitment database is one of the most neglected and underutilised tools today. Everyone is so focused on getting the new job out there, assessing new candidates, that we lose the good ones we already have.
That candidate who was great and applied last time, sees the ad and thinks, well I’ve already applied and they obviously aren’t interested so I won’t apply again. Not only have you wasted time going to market and going through the whole sourcing process again when you didn’t need to, but you lost a great candidate in the process and you spent more money than you needed to.
So here are 5 steps to decrease the spend on time, money and resources and use your database better:
1. Ensure your database has a good search function
This may mean that you either have to skills code or tag candidates so that they can be found later or you many need to test out if enhancements needs to be made to get the most out of the search functionality. You probably only need to make 2 hires from the database to cover the cost of a technical update. If you don’t know if your search function is good or not then find out. Either contact your ATS company and they should be able to give you and your team training as well as help you determine if what you have will work for your needs. Another option is add on database search technology such as SeeMore.
2. Train your recruiters to be database hound dogs
If you don’t train your recruiters to use the system in a way that will increase database searching then they’ll just keep doing what they have always done, which most of the time to is the advertise, wait 2 weeks then sift through 80 response! Once you know the power of your ATS or database search capability then ensuring recruiters know how to use it is critical. Also changing their mind set is something that may take some time but if they get into the habit of searching the database before they advertise then it will change over time.
3. Actively influence source of hire
By looking at your source mix and knowing where your candidates are coming from can help you actively influence the mix by driving certain behaviours (training), targeting and rewarding your recruiter’s ability to move the source mix dial towards database or talent pooled hires.
By doing this you should also see a decrease in ‘days to hire’ as they are not waiting 2-4 weeks for ad response.
4. Identify and develop active talent pools
Note the word active. I say active because you don’t want a ‘basket of rotten strawberries’. By ensuring that the quality of the candidates in your talent pools are good, it means that your recruiters will know that if they go and search in those talent pools they will get great candidates. By implementing a manageable CRM (Candidate relationship management) strategy will also mean that you’re not only building your employer brand in the mind of candidates that you know are already interested in the company; because they’ve applied before, but it also keeps them connected and informed for when you want to tap them on the shoulder again.
5. Candidate managers will pay for themselves
If you are a company with over 500,000 candidates sitting on its database (and that’s not many by today’s standards), then it may be worth investing in a candidate manager who can connect, engage, talent pool and farm out great candidates across the board. I remember back in 1998 when I was working in recruitment, our candidate managers were worth their weight in gold. For some reason we don’t seem to value this role anymore, but I think managed in the right way a dedicated resource will add enormous value to a team. They can also manage talent communities, talent pools and develop social and sourcing strategies.
So that’s my thoughts on why I think many recruiters are wasting their time sourcing. Do the work, build your CRM strategies and searchable databases and then enjoy the benefits of that by tapping back into your strawberry basket when you need to!
Have a restful and safe break over the holiday season and I look forward to share many more branding, sourcing and social hints, tips and tricks with you in 2014!