Readers: The BRANDEblog came across this excellent article by Brett Minchington, and found it so insightful and rich in content, we have reprinted it in it’s entirety, including the tree. Of course we had to change the s in organization. ; )
I’ve compiled a list below I wanted to share with you. The list includes 11 areas for leaders to focus their employer branding efforts on in 2011 based on some of the workforce changes we have encountered this year by the introduction of new technologies, global economic instability and the requirements of a modern workforce – one that is agile, adaptable and responsive to a constantly changing and highly competitive landscape.
It’s great to see many more companies appointing employer brand leaders in 2010 to drive their organisation’s employer brand strategy. I expect this trend to continue in 2011.
It is only with this focus will we see the continued evolution of the employer brand concept and employment offerings which on the whole, works towards achieving a much better match of the needs of employees with those of business.
Here is my top 11
1) Establish a real-time career development for employees
Today real-time career development can be facilitated with some imagination, technology devices, innovation and focus.
Each morning when I wake up, I grab an expresso, my Ipad and find a quiet spot whether it be on the couch (winter) or on an outside table (summer!) and spend an hour on my own personal and career development. This usually involves:
and once a month I visit the world’s leading consulting firm’s websites to download and read their latest research and statistics.
So, in early 2011 take an hour to speak with your employees and assist them to develop a real-time career development plan. This may include coaching them to develop a plan that tracks their career development interests, current job function responsibilities and personal development interests (if it’s just work related people will switch off, many employees want a blended life so if you mix it up a little you will keep it interesting). Don’t complain too much about the $600 it will cost you for their iPad, you’ll get a ROI many times over.
2) Have that meeting with HR, Marketing, Communications and IT!
It’s no longer efficient or effective to develop and implement an employer brand strategy solely with HR resources and budget. Your employer brand is interconnected with your corporate and consumer brand and the total portfolio needs to be considered if you really want to build an adaptable and agile employer brand. Think about how your organisation would react if faced with the situation BP found itself in when one of its wells starting leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. Is the level of communication and connectedness between those managing your corporate, consumer and employer brand high enough to react quickly and effectively to structural changes (e.g. announcement of company layoffs), market changes (e.g. the GFC) or in times of crisis (e.g. social media sabbotage)?
In 2011 schedule a two hour meeting with leaders from HR, Marketing, Communications and IT and have a discussion around these agenda items – it will start the conversation and provide for some good discussion on where to go next. Some of the questions that may be useful include:
3) Assess your employer branding performance against best practice
Take this quick assessment to see how your employer branding initiatives measure up against best practice companies. Answer yes of no to each question and then total your score out of 20.
How did you rate?
0-5 We are in the very early stages
6-12 We have made a start
13-17 We just need some fine tuning
18-20 We are up there with the best
4) Review and update your employer value proposition (EVP) communication assets
When was the last time you review your EVP communication assets, how long ago were they developed? Make it a project to review all your internal and external EVP communication tools and ask the following questions:
Based on the outcomes of your review schedule a project in 2011 to update your communication assets across key offline and online touchpoints.
5) Learn from best practice employer brand companies
Study and learn from companies who are leading the way in employer branding including Google, IBM, Starbucks, Sodexo, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Deloitte, McKinsey, etc there are many but these are some good companies to observe and learn from – for starters!. Don’t just study companies in your own industry – you’ll find companies outside your industry a great source of innovation for employer branding best practice. Companies in the oil and gas industry companies such as Chevron, Schlumberger and Shell are good companies to follow as are the major players in the banking and finance industry such as Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. They all invest in employer branding!
Companies to watch in 2011 include Research in Motion (RIM), UnitedHealth Group and Adidas. Each company’s employer branding programs are headed up by world leading employer brand practitioners Kat Drum (RIM), Health Polivka (United Health Group) and Steve Fogarty (Adidas). I can assure you if you have the right type of leader in charge of your employer brand strategy you will go far!
6) Assess the employee lifecycle
click on image below to enlarge employee lifecycle map
Have your business unit leaders assess the employee lifecycle in their function to assess how well it adds value to an inspiring employment experience and one that adds, not distracts from engagement and retention efforts?
Employees at your company will transition through different stages of the employee’s lifecycle depending on factors such as age, education, experience, living arrangements, marital status, etc. It is important to understand how important these ‘moments of truths’ are to employees and to realise which ones if not handled well, can be deal breakers and result in employees seeking another place to work whilst being unconsciously unproductive in their current role. It is important to make adjustments based on observation and feedback from employees.
7) Develop social media capabilities and appoint some social media Rockstars to engage with your community real-time
If you haven’t already started, 2011 is the year to train employees in how to use and leverage social media to support branding efforts. Global food service group, Sodexo have experienced a significant rise global brand awareness over the past two years through their ability to develop a social media sharing culture within their organisation. It won’t happen just because your company has a facebook page or twitter profile, employees need to be trained across the company to ensure your initiatives are aligned with your brand strategy. To identify your social media Rockstars you may need to conduct some influencer studies to determine where your most connected, active and influential social media participants in your organisation are. I like to follow Kerry Noone from Sodexo.
8) Write a book!
Write a book about your employment practices and use it as an EVP communications tool for all stakeholders. In 2008 I was inspired by a book I read about the mentoring practices at Essar, a multinational conglomerate corporation in the sectors of steel, energy, power, communications, shipping ports and logistics as well as construction headquartered at Mumbai, India. Over a 12 month period the HR Manager had compiled a book on the company’s mentoring practices and included insights from leaders and employees across the organisation. Whilst the publication took a while to write, it will provide a lifetime of value for Essar. It has also been an excellent tool to build internal engagement as employees were involved in the development of the product and distribution of it on its release. So find a topic, write about it and share it with stakeholders!
9) Connect your employees on the inside!
How often do we see the ‘wheel being re-invented inside organisations because there is no way to track what has been developed previously and if it has, it’s usually outdated or too hard to find. IBM have had some great success in this area by establishing an internal social networking tool, ‘Beehive’ which has allowed employees across the world to make new connections, share knowledge and capabilities and to advance their career. Connected employees will lead to higher levels of communication and trust between employees across the enterprise and is becoming more important in today’s increasingly dispersed workforces.
10) Leaders – slow down! and coach, mentor and share your knowledge and experiences with middle managers to enrich your talent pipelines, increase trust and developed capabilities
Too many of today’s leaders are too busy to spend quality time coaching and mentoring or even just communicating with team members due to shorter deadlines, increasing workloads and longer working hours.
Before they know it, they’re burnt out, fail to take holidays and disconnect from the very people who can assist them, their staff. This leads to higher levels of disengagement which is an all too common output in organizations around the world today. For the first time in a decade, research from the Hewitt Global Engagement database shows the percentage of organizations with decreasing engagement now exceeds the percentage with increasing engagement. This is a disturbing statistic!
11) Build employer brand awareness, knowledge, skills and capabilities
Most of time employees don’t buy into your vision to develop and implement an employer brand strategy because they lack the skills and capabilities to do so. Employer branding is an emerging field in many economies so take the time to build awareness, knowledge, skill and capabilities within your organization.