Many internal/employee communications are delivered in siloed streams and on any given day, an employee may receive one communication from Finance about the new expense reimbursement system. Another from Payroll about W-2s being available online. Another one from the Benefits Department on a change to the 401(k) plan. Another one from Facilities about the cafeteria menu. Another from Learning & Development about a new leadership training for new people managers. You get the idea.
All these various departments, with possibly different branding across multiple communications and channels, are competing for attention and sending out messages and wanting to make it clear “who” sent it.
But consider the employee experience as they field multiple requests from colleagues, clients, vendors, recruiters etc. It is just stuff from the Company (or worse yet, just stuff from HR). They can’t differentiate who is sending what or why. They just want to know WIFI (what’s in it for me.)
Consider building your HR Brand and working together across functions to think about how HR should “look, sound and feel.”
Time is precious, information overload is rampant and email fatigue is flourishing. Are you brave enough to jump into the sandbox together and look at your communications in a new way? Consider starting a communications audit. Or perhaps you need help activating your talent brand internally in a consistent way?
According to Manpower Group’s latest employment outlook survey, employers in all U.S. regions and industry sectors expect rapid headcount growth. As the competition for talent continues to escalate, now is the time to prioritize your recruiting efforts and differentiate your talent brand. A digital experience may ultimately be the deciding factor that urges your ideal candidate to click that “apply” button with confidence. And while all that shimmers isn’t gold, your most important recruiting asset could be your career site, so here are some simple steps to make sure it’s effective, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.
Creating a career site that is beyond a job listing means that you must adapt and learn how to speak to today’s top talent. Modern-day candidates are eager to make their mark on the world, create a profound difference, and contribute to a greater vision. They are motivated by more than money — they want depth, meaning and purpose, and are placing an increasing emphasis on joining mission-driven organizations. They want to be emotionally connected to their position and the company that they choose to work for. Without a doubt, your career site should have the ability to answer questions like “what inspires me to come to work every day,” and “why did I choose to join this organization in particular?”
Does your career site convey your brand mission? Do you display how your employees feel about their work? Most importantly, does it share what it means to be a part of your organization? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” boy do we have to talk.
In order to construct a winning career page, you must develop a structure that is creative, interactive, usable, and authentic. If you have read any of our content that stresses the importance of creating an employer value proposition, you know that it a key element of your internal and external communications, attracting your ideal talent, and retaining your top performers. Employer branding messages that aims to portray your organization’s dynamic work culture shows exactly what you stand for and empowers prospective candidates to join your workforce.
Content is king, and visuals are an increasingly influential aspect of employer branding. A combination of fresh copy and compelling visuals will tell your brand story through the perspective of your team and showcase the daily life of the office. Showing a passionate and enthusiastic company culture creates a strong connection with potential candidates.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Put your employees at the forefront, after all, they are the heart and foundation of the organization. If an asset of working for your organization is that it is highly team-oriented, prove it. Using eye-catching visual communications that showcase your environment, culture, and team interaction will increase the impact and credibility of your career site. This will compel potential candidates in a way that even the most extensive text can not. Those who are eager to build lasting relationships with a team that is committed to a common goal are motivated by seeing real employees, real environments, and real opportunities.
You’ve done it. You have a stellar consumer brand. Your career website tells the story you need to—about your culture, the talent you are seeking and the opportunities you have for those that are more than a culture fit, and are a “culture add.” You’re getting resumes from the right candidates for the right jobs. Things couldn’t be better. But aren’t you forgetting something?
Once your exciting new candidates are new employees, is your talent brand holding up internally? And just as importantly, do your existing employees feel like they are a part of the story?
Now’s the time to take the principles of your talent brand and make sure it applies internally across all your communications touch points from your intranet to your training programs. Here are some tips on where to begin.
Create Internal Awareness of Your Talent Brand
As you developed the brand architecture for your talent brand, you likely shared it with and sought input from your senior leaders, key HR stakeholders, your communications teams, and hopefully some influential hiring managers. Now it is time to go further. Consider creating an eye-catching, one-page overview of your talent brand and what it is trying to achieve related to your culture and working at the company. Share it with all your people managers and give them key points to share with their employees—an appropriate time to launch might be in conjunction with a milestone of your performance management cycle, merit increases or bonus payouts, or when the company releases its yearly goals or strategy.
Once you have communicated your talent to employees, get them involved. And I don’t mean just in your employee referral program. Consider tactics such as employees creating personal statements (with photos) like “I’m proud to work for my company because…” or “I enjoy coming to work every day because…” and having them share on your intranet or internal social media channels, such as Yammer. Consider partnering with your external communications teams to share the best ones on your corporate social media channels to furthering our your corporate reputation and employment brand.
Take Stock of Internal Touch Points
Are various touch points across the employee life cycle telling the same story as your talent brand? Is your talent brand coming through in your internal communications?
Take the time to look at some of your internal processes to ensure that they are reinforcing your talent brand and that your new hires and existing employees hear the story that is being told externally living up on the inside.
Some key areas to look at that may need updating or refreshing to match your talent brand include:
• New hiring onboarding and orientation
• Learning and development programs/training (especially training for new people managers, inclusion and diversity seminars, rollouts of the code of conduct, etc.)
• Performance management process (Did you promise ongoing feedback during the hiring process and are you living up to it? Are your people managers equipped to do it?)
• Talent management and succession planning (Are you honoring the tenants of your talent brand as you evaluate the future talent plans of the organization?)
Review all your internal materials from top to bottom—from new hire paperwork to benefits brochures, to your intranet platform, to signage around the office. Does everything support the talent you want to keep today and the talent you want to inspire tomorrow? Each piece of your internal communications should support the story you want to tell about who you are as an employer—from attracting new talent to keep your best talent. Now may be the time to embark on that communications audit you’ve been avoiding.
Need help reinforcing your talent brand internally? Let us help.
A positive employment brand can help attract top candidates, making recruiting for your top positions easier. But, candidates don’t come to us in a vacuum. Before they even apply for a position or speak to a recruiter, they’ve been exposed to advertising, the experience of family members or friends, and the power of social media to shape what they know, or think they know, about our business. In fact, according to a recent Roper survey, over 60% of the respondents listed word-of-mouth as their best source of information.
And that’s what has brought about a great attention to Employer Branding. Companies are looking to have more control on the impression of their company in the mind of an applicant. And according to a variety of Employer Branding surveys, including early data from one we have in progress (you can share your employer branding experiences here,) those who have succeeded have been guided by the same methods and techniques used by consumer branding agencies. Moving beyond simple brainstorming sessions between Talent Acquisition teams and/or Internal Communications, the research methods used to glean employee information and create employer brands have now expanded to commonly include employee surveys, focus groups and executive in-depth interviews. But, in today’s highly social world, with unemployment at 10 year lows, and the competition for talent a top concern for CEOs everywhere, that still might not be enough.
Talent branding considers that employer branding has become a two-way street, as the employee and candidate experience is sharable (almost viral) and transparency and authenticity are the table stakes.
Talent Branding can be considered the evolution of Employer Branding. At its best, it is the art of making a strong emotional connection from your organization and its culture, to the talent it needs to attract and engage to drive the business forward. And while the visible output of the efforts may be the same- a redesigned or enhanced website, recruiting booths, brochures or website banners, the research and development process has been refined to be collaborative and as inclusive as possible of all audiences and all available information.
We are seeing a greater emphasis placed both on the employee experience, the candidate experience and the development of personalized messages that can speak to the wants and needs of each of our audiences at every phase of the hiring process including candidate rejection and employee termination.
What salaries are you paying? What interview questions are you asking and how do people rate the talents and abilities of your CEO? The answers to these questions are so easily obtained that we take it for granted, yet it might not be that we have given enough thought to the implications and responsibility it places on recruiters, hiring managers and even our employees themselves.
If you are about to embark on an Employer Branding initiative, here’s how you can build a bullet-proof talent brand and take things to the next level.
There is so much out there about cultural fit. And it does have its place. We all want that perfect candidate. The one that can live up to all the clichéd buzz words — “hit the ground running,” “add value,” “contribute right away,” and of course “fit in.”
And yet, at the same time, we are looking to build a culture of diversity in backgrounds, thinking and experience. We are looking for people who can bring something to the table versus just bring themselves to work. That’s why I think it is now time we move past culture fit and embrace a new term — “Culture Add.”
Why culture add?
When you are only thinking of culture fit, I think there is a good chance you are hiring people who think and act alike. In today’s world of speed, innovation, and adaptability, you might just need different talents around the table to progress as much as you need to. When you consider if a candidate is a “culture add” then you are looking for candidates to bring in new ideas, a different point-of-view, and bring out different traits in others in a collaborative, positive way. Ideally, this person will fill in what you might be missing to give you that competitive edge for your products or services.
The 3 Es of culture add
Employees: If you embrace this concept of culture add, I urge you to be clear with your existing employees that the next new team member will be great — but may not be just like them. Emphasize the benefits of collaboration among diverse teams, and when those benefits happen celebrate them.
Employer brand: If you want to go even further to embrace the concept of culture add, take the time to look at your employer brand — from your website to your internal materials. What would you need to do to refresh or enhance it to speak more broadly to the qualities of your culture and how prospective employees can add to it? Decide if it’s an option or an imperative and make your choice known.
Expectations: Provide change management training so hiring managers know how to talk with candidates and to help managers understand there are expectations they’ll need to meet. Offer them training so they don’t fall into a bias trap.
And above all, remember that when you hire for culture add you’re not just adding to the culture but adding to the bottom line as well.
Need help with defining your culture? Try Brandemix Rapid-Cycle Talent Branding.