BRANDE : blog archives for November 2015

November 30, 2015

The Most Buzzed-About Social Recruiting Posts of the Week

Each month, I look at the most liked recruiting content over a seven-day span on Facebook, the most retweeted recruiting tweets on Twitter, and the most viewed recruiting videos on YouTube. Here’s how three top brands are effectively engaging job-seekers on social platforms — and how you can emulate their success.

UnitedHealth Group spotlights an employee on Facebook

UnitedHealth Group Careers posted a link to a brief article about “Stacy D.,” the company’s Senior Director of Software Engineering. But the article isn’t the point; it’s well known that many people read only the headline of a story posted on Facebook — even if they end up commenting on it. So what matters here is the headline, the text, and the image.

The post’s copy reads: Learn what [Stacy] loves most about working with our Fortune 14 enterprise, and how her experience here has helped her career growth. A lot of good words there that sound attractive to top talent. UHG was smart to feature an employee, as personal stories often resonate better with job-seekers than approved and often banal statements from the C-suite.

But what makes this post a winner is the accompanying photo of Stacy — not sitting at her desk or shaking hands with someone at a hospital. She’s in full equestrian gear and handling a horse! An unexpected image that shows the UHG values work-life balance (and gives a subtle clue to salary — horsemanship is not a cheap hobby). The sub-headline goes one step further, equating the “fine-tuned relationship” between rider and horse with that of a software engineer and her team. The result is 27 likes and a comment…which drew a kind response from UnitedHealth’s Talent Community Manager.

Brandemix - UHG Facebook post

How you can be like UnitedHealth Group: Featuring employees in social media posts is always a good strategy, as it helps job-seekers relate to the company on a more personal level. The post plays up a software engineer’s responsibilities and career advancement opportunities while at the same time showing what they can accomplish in their spare time. The photo seems to capture a candid moment between Stacy and her horse and looks much different than the standard business-suit-and-gray-background employee photo. What hobbies or interests or accomplishments do your employees have? Who are they beyond their job description? What do they mean to your organization — and what does the organization mean to them? Also worth noting is the response to the Facebook comment by a member of the recruiting team. Is your recruiter monitoring Facebook for questions, concerns, or complaints from job-seekers? If not, what does that say about your attitude towards them?

SpaceX creates 50 ambassadors on Twitter

SpaceX’s recruiting Twitter account, @SpaceXJobs, recently tweeted a photo of its interns. The copy reads: These fall interns are key @SpaceX team members. Check out all our internship opportunities, followed by a link. The image shows several dozen young people in front of SpaceX’s headquarters, making an “X” with their arms. A nice nod to interns, who are often overlooked (and underrepresented in recruitment materials). But not very compelling copy, and the photo doesn’t show interns designing spacecraft or attending launches.

And yet the engagement for the tweet was sky-high: 158 retweets and 453 likes. Why? Because of the First Rule of Social Media: People love to share content about themselves! SpaceX gave 50 Millennials a reason to retweet the photo, simply because they’re pictured. If you think SpaceX must always get Twitter love because it’s a cool company that launches people into space, look closer. Many tweets generate engagement only in the single digits. This post is an outlier, and it’s because so many people are featured. The photo also provoked 17 replies, ranging from interns thanking the company to job-seekers asking questions. A successful post by both hard and soft metrics.

Brandemix - SpaceX post on Twitter

How you can be like SpaceX: I see two lessons here. First, feature your employees. No more stock photos. Job-seekers want to connect with the people at your organization and hear their stories. After all, it’s actual people, not slogans and bullet points, that make up a company’s culture. The other lesson is to remember the interns and entry-level workers at your organization. They will love the recognition, and it will show that you care about every employee at every level. And since those workers tend to be Generation Y — and soon Generation Z — they’re more likely to be on social media and to spread the love around, as Twitter users did for SpaceX.

Brent Redmond Transportation keeps it real on YouTube

I tell clients all the time that they don’t have to spend a lot of money or produce a Hollywood-worthy film to create a strong recruiting video. Brent Redmond proves my point perfectly. Its series of employee testimonials look like they cost nothing — and I mean that as a compliment. As a transportation company, its front-line employees are truck drivers, whom many wouldn’t consider the most articulate or camera-ready subjects. But these brief, single-take videos express an honesty and transparency that is impossible to duplicate. 

The Joe Legarretta video is a great example. It runs just 49 seconds. Joe stands in front of his truck, in cold-weather gear (the company didn’t even wait for a nice day to shoot), and talks about his six months at the company. He says things that recruiters don’t often include in their materials, like “I was looking for a job that paid good” and “It’s a difficult job.” But Joe goes on to say that the company “makes a sincere effort to take care of you as a driver.” No viewer would say he was coached; he seems to be speaking off the top of his head. I imagine truck drivers don’t care much for artifice, so they probably connect with Joe’s bluntness.

How you can be like Brent Redmond: If these raw videos, shot in one take — possibly with a cell phone — with no special lighting and no graphics, don’t convince you to produce recruiting videos, nothing will. Brent Redmond didn’t try to spin its driver jobs as something romantic and didn’t add shots of a desert highway at sunset. It simply let its drivers talk honestly about the job and the company. Isn’t it time to turn the camera on your own employees, at all different levels and all different positions? What gems will you discover when they speak about your organization from the heart?

The Takeaways

The most popular social recruiting posts this week all exemplify one best practice: Showcasing your employees. SpaceX did it with a photo. UnitedHealth Group did it with a brief article. Brent Redmond Transportation did it with a short video. Your employees are a great resource for testimonials that go beyond standard talent acquisition clichés. And when you create social content about them, they’re very likely to share it with their own social networks, becoming employer brand ambassadors for your organization.

Brandemix specializes in this effective social media recruiting strategy. Contact us and we’ll talk.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

November 16, 2015

Is It Time To Refresh Your Employer Brand?

Our latest survey found that, on average, organizations are updating their employer brand every 11 months. That’s more frequent than the 14-month average we found a year ago. Employer brands are like consumer brands in that they must respond to changing conditions and adapt to new goals. Is it time to refresh your employer brand? The answer is yes, if any of these apply to you:

1. Your organization has gone through a real change

If your company has undergone a real change, then both its mission and its culture may have changed, too. If your company merged with another, or was acquired, or launched a new division that modifies your core purpose, you’ll need a new employer brand to reflect the change — and to attract workers with a skill set you didn’t need until now. Maybe your Boston company just opened a branch in Chicago, so you’re no longer trying to engage and recruit MIT graduates. Or perhaps you’ve grown and your culture is no longer that of a casual start-up. Or maybe you’ve won awards that need to be communicated to job-seekers. Any of these events can change the mission of the company, the personality of its culture, and the personality of its employees. That means an updated employer brand.

2. Your competition has changed

I mean that in two ways. One scenario is that your competitors have updated their own employer  brands and are now poaching your top candidates. The other is that your organization has evolved or transformed, putting you in competition with different companies that have different strengths. In order to keep up, you’ll have to change your employer brand to outflank the rest of the industry. The same holds true for opening a new office or retail location, immediately putting you in conflict with existing companies.

Refresh image

3. Your consumer brand has changed

I always advocate that consumer brands and employer brands should work together and reflect each other. If your organization has changed how it engages the public, your employer brand will most likely have to change as well. You might have to alter colors, logos, images, and other branding to better align with your organization’s new messaging. This can be difficult if your current employer brand is working, but a consistent brand is worth the effort.

4. It’s been a while

Remember, most organizations are updating or changing their employer brands every 11 months. What seemed forward-thinking and trendy a year or two ago may not resonate with your talent pool anymore. You might have an employer brand that’s  built for a LinkedIn world, but which doesn’t work in a world of Instagram and Snapchat — and I mean that both figuratively and literally. Sometimes branding just becomes stale. Some fonts and logos become dated. Some messaging gets copied by so many companies that it becomes cliché. A refreshed employer brand solves all these problems and can help delay new ones.

5. You have trouble explaining your employer brand

This is a very important problem. What is your employer  brand? If you can’t describe your mission or vision or values in a few sentences, your employer brand is too broad, or too common, or simply inaccurate. This can affect your morale and productivity, as employees don’t know goal they’re working towards or what kind of culture they’re in. It also hurts recruiting, since job-seekers don’t understand what they’re getting into — or understand that the company itself is somewhat adrift. A simple, clear employer brand is essential for success. If you’re employer brand is vague or outdated, you need to refresh it as soon as possible.

My agency has spent a decade creating and enhancing employer brands in a range of industries, in organizations of all sizes, and in all locations around the country. We can examine your current employer brand as seen through the lens of employees, executive leadership, and prospective talent. We also assess your competitive position in the marketplace. Finally, we create an authentic employer brand architecture, employer value proposition, and positioning platform that will be engaging, differentiated, and — most importantly — aligned with your business goals.

Want to learn more? Contact me and start to feel refreshed.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

November 9, 2015

Becoming an Employer of Choice

Being an employer of choice means top applicants are eager to work for you, competitors envy your employees, and your most talented workers stay with the company for their entire careers. So how do you become an employer of choice?

First, make sure you know whose “choice” you’re talking about. Who is your top talent? Are they technical? Entrepreneurial? Collaborative? Idealistic? Don’t worry about the workforce you currently have — create a vision for the future and direct your employer branding and recruiting efforts towards that goal.

Next, determine what those ideal candidates want. Jobvite’s 2015 Job-Seeker Nation survey found that, after compensation, the most important categories to American workers were location, work-life balance, health benefits, and growth opportunities. But different demographics prioritized different perks, and your field may dictate different considerations.

Survey your employees, your leadership, and your candidates (even those who turned you down). Ask them what drew them to your organization. What set you apart? What’s still lacking? Accept the answers without judgment. You can’t improve unless you acknowledge you’re not perfect.

Most important, you may have to change your culture, your structure, or your operations to meet the needs of your ideal candidates. I outline the basic strategy for becoming an employer of choice in this  brief video.

As you can see in the video, your organization may have to increase perks, change policies, or even enhance your workplace — decisions which need the approval of senior leadership and a financial commitment. But the result will be more engaged employees will lead to higher retention, lower hiring costs, higher  productivity, and eventually greater profits.

If you’re ready to become an employer of choice, my agency would love to help. Contact us to learn about our success with employer branding, internal communications, change management, and other initiatives that can make your organization an employer of choice, no matter how small or new you are.

Jason Ginsburg is Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix.

November 2, 2015

How to Create a FOMO Culture

Indeed just released a survey with a fascinating finding: about 45% of workers miss their co-workers or aspects of their job when they’re out of the office. That means they have a FOMO of their jobs and their colleagues — a Fear Of Missing Out.

“As colleagues become friends, the lines between work and personal time begin to blur,” says Mary Ellen Duga, VP of Global Marketing at Indeed. “Employees see the workplace as a more engaging atmosphere than ever before,” and some of them enjoy their company culture so much that they can’t stand to be away from it.

Let’s take that a step further. How can your organization create a culture that’s so compelling that top talent feels a need to work there? No matter their skills or experience — or their odds of getting accepted — they just have to apply? I’m thinking of Google. It has a simple motto (“Don’t be evil,”) aims for a diverse workforce (14% of employees don’t have college degrees), and likes well-rounded people (“T-shaped,” with one major strength but also interest in other fields). The office’s private bowling alley doesn’t hurt, either. All of this results in about 2.5 million applications a year.

A number of factors are involved in creating a FOMO culture; some you can control, some you can change yourself, and some require the expertise of a third party like Brandemix. Let’s make your culture great:

Have a Clear Mission, Vision, and Values

These three elements drive your entire culture. Your mission is your organization’s overall purpose. Your vision is an inspirational, aspirational statement about where you want to be in, say, ten years. And values are the attributes and ethics your employees follow in pursuit of your mission and vision.

You can’t have a FOMO culture until you have a culture to start with. If your mission and vision are unclear or out-of-date, or if your values are vague or inadequate, your entire workforce will suffer. It’s essential to articulate your organization’s goals so that top talent fins a reason to be there.

Give Your Employees Freedom

That is, freedom to make decisions. To try new things. To have an impact on the business. Many workers, especially Millennials, don’t want to be just a cog in a machine. They want to innovate and experiment. Large organizations usually limit that freedom, adding layers of management and approvals before employees can take a risk or launch a new project. Google allows its workers to spend 20% of their time on side projects, which the company claims was how Gmail, Google Maps, and Adsense were invented.

You may not be able to go that far, but you can probably empower your employees more than they are. You can inform managers to be open to good ideas that could come from anywhere. You can ask job candidates about their attitudes — are they happy simply taking orders or do they want to make a difference? Crafting empowerment and freedom into your culture will attract the most talented workers who are ready to give 100% to your company.

FOMO workers

Keep Employees Engaged

Every survey shows that engaged employees are more productive. This is simply because they’re happier. Thus, their happiness should be part of your culture.

How to keep employees engaged? I’ve outlined many ways before. The most effective include:

  • Internal communications that keep employees informed about your organization’s successes, challenges, and plans, and which highlight employees’ achievements
  • A formal employee rewards process that allows workers to compliment and thank each other
  • An employee referral program that increases culture fit and camaraderie, as employees  get to work with their friends
  • Intranets like Jostle or Yammer that allow employees to communicate and collaborate like a social network
  • Gamification that lets employees or teams compete for rewards, such as a sales contest
  • Apps like CultureAmp or Niko Niko that measure employees’ moods so that actions can be taken before negativity affects productivity

Any FOMO culture should include at least three of these concepts. They make employees feel valued and important — exactly the sort of qualities named by reviewers in Glassdoor’s annual Best Places to Work list (on which Google is #1).

Foster Career Advancement

If you want employees to stay with you for a long time, you have to let them grow — otherwise, they’ll take their careers elsewhere. Jobvite’s latest survey found that 16% of employees leave a company due to a lack of growth opportunities.

A truly attractive culture promotes all types of advancement. That includes not just the easy wins like better titles, nicer offices, and higher pay. Workers wants to acquire new skills and improve their knowledge. They also want personal growth, in the form of work-life balance, wellness programs, travel opportunities, the ability to learn from thought leaders, and a sense of team spirit from their colleagues and superiors.

A FOMO culture is one that makes it easy to learn new skills, switch departments, and move up the ranks. That may require a big change in how the organization advances and rewards high-value workers. But without it, high-value workers won’t stay around for long.

Don’t Miss Out on a FOMO Culture!

Notice what all these FOMO culture pillars have in common? They’re not about your organization; they’re about the employees. Giving them freedom, opportunity, power, rewards, meaning — these are the qualities that attract top talent, and what bring out the best in all workers in any field. Your ideal candidates will want to work for you because of how much you value them — and they have a fear of missing out on the chance.

Brandemix has a decade of experience in employee engagement, employer branding, internal communications, and culture building. We’d love to help you create a culture that attracts the best candidates and drives your organization to success. You don’t have to be as big or as “sexy” as Google; our team can find and accentuate your strengths and ensure you’re doing all you can to create a culture of both productivity and happiness.

Contact us or view our portfolio for more information.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.