An employer brand is the way your organization’s prospective applicants, candidates and employees perceive you as an employer. In simpler words, it’s the process of building an image of being “a great place to work at” in the minds of prospective candidates and employees. It is a long-term strategy that establishes an organization’s identity as an employer, and reveals how one organization is different from another. But what about “employee branding?” Having employees become your brand ambassadors is a fast way of building a grass roots recruiting effort and harnessing the power of word-of-mouth.
Loosen Up Control
Take a tip from Zappos, the online retailer legendary for turning employees into brand advocates. Loosen up a little control and let team members use Social Media to talk about the company and its culture to prospective candidates.
Create a 30-minute “employer brand certification program”
Create a 30-minute “employer brand certification program” so employees learn more about appropriate social recruiting behavior. Arm them with the information they need to create a singular brand experience. Share updates about events, news, new projects and developments, and make sure they’re aware of your hard-to-fill job opportunities and what makes them so special.
In return for their efforts, considers suggestions given by your employees and takes time to recognize them for the positive efforts they are putting forth on behalf of your employer brand.
The average person has 1 to 12 intimate contacts, 150 social contacts and 500 – 1,500 weak ties so an employee population of 100 people could yield more than 10,000 new candidates in your pipeline.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
A recent Gallup poll showed that less than 32% of employees were engaged in their jobs, and more than 17% were actively disengaged. At the same time, LinkedIn’s recent survey of hiring trends found that 30% of workers were actively looking for new opportunities, and 45% were involved in preparatory activities like professional networking and researching companies. So not only does employee engagement help companies’ bottom line, but a lack of engagement will actually hurt companies, as talent feels unappreciated and looks for other opportunities.
We know that employee engagement is important to worker retention, staff productivity, and company profits. But employee engagement tools have often lagged behind sexier apps for marketing or social networking. As employee engagement moves from important to crucial, it should be at the top of every organization’s priorities list for 2016. Recently, several tools have appeared that make it easy to measure employee engagement — and fun for employees to participate.
Niko Niko lets workers indicate their mood throughout the day by turning a dial on a smartphone app. This data allows managers to determine what week, day, and time their employees are at their happiest, and to schedule meetings, events, or otherwise alter their work calendars accordingly. Managers can also target specific sentiments, like how employees feel about the cleanliness of their office or the progress of a project. Since the app is mobile, workers can choose to capture “mood moments” when they’re exercising at the company gym, volunteering, or on vacation, to give their company a more complete picture of employee well-being.
The company says the tool has value beyond the world of work — it could be used by sports teams, therapy groups, even just individuals trying to correlate mood to performance. Small teams can try Niko Niko for just $29 a month, a worthy investment in crucial data that can impact both morale and productivity.
Think happiness isn’t quantifiable? RoundPegg delineates a company’s culture into 36 measurable values and then determines whether candidates are a good fit based on their answers to a survey. The values cover every aspect of work, from creativity to risk aversion to how employees interact with their colleagues and their superiors. The company claims that employees that pass the RoundPegg test are 27% less likely to leave and 35% more profitable. RoundPegg offers platforms not just for new hires but also for current employees, as well as workers who come to the company by a merger or acquisition, which presents unique challenges in culture integration.
RoundPegg has actually been around since 2009 and has worked with major companies like Twitter and Cisco. It also offers a great blog on engagement, management, and culture. There is no pricing on the site, but you can request a demo here.
Culture Amp does just about everything: Surveys, polls, new-hire evaluations, onboarding, exit interviews. I love that the company focuses on culture, tracking its development with “engagement, identity, and growth & sustainability surveys.” The surveys can be done on mobile as well as the web, and lets managers see the results in real time. Culture Amp also wants to keep data coming in between major surveys, allowing single-question polls that take the “pulse” of employees at random times unrelated to significant work milestone. This is a great concept and could provide a company with immensely useful information about employee engagement year-round.
The suite of tools includes email reminders for employees to take their surveys. Culture Amp even offers “survey coaching” to help companies make sense of their new data. Culture Amp’s pricing is based on the number of employees in an organization. You can see the options here.
Jostle brings a new level of employee engagement to the company intranet. The platform is based in the cloud, making it accessible from any location or device. It allows employees to interact with each other in ways similar to Facebook or LinkedIn. By combining two functions, the company claims its five times more effective at increasing employee engagement than are intranets or employee social networks alone. The software lets employees search for each other by expertise, department, or other information they provide on their profiles. It also makes documents searchable and shareable.
Jostle also prides itself on “getting employee notices and announcements out of email,” making news and success stories easy to share, thus reinforcing culture. In a similar vein, the company allows for targeted internal communications, so workers see only what’s relevant to them. Jostle offers polls and surveys and a fun peer recognition system called “shout-outs” that further engages employees. Request a demo of this robust suite of employee tools here.
All these apps show a growing realization of the importance of employee engagement.
Along with the tools listed above, Brandemix has years of experience in talent management surveys and 360s, employee surveys and focus groups, creating employer brands and employee events that boost morale, retention, and productivity. Learn how we can help you.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
Brandemix has been creating company intranets since 2008. I thought it would be interested to see how best practices and innovations from that year compare with the latest design trends of 2015. Looking back at how far intranets have come can give insights on to where they’re going next.
I’ve dug through the Brandemix archives and conducted a web search limited to 2008 to determine what was trending then, and contrasted the results with this year’s innovations.
Intranets used to be accessible only to employees sitting at their desks. That meant a large screen, often a Windows operating system, and standard dimensions and colors. Thus, the intranet had to look good on only what type of machine. After all, why would an employee check work information at home, in their free time? And they certainly wouldn’t use a mobile device to browse a company’s intranet, since the first iPhone had been released only a few months before.
Of course, the iPhone changed all that. Now employees want to be able to check their benefits, schedules, sick pay, and other information anytime. And they do it on a number of different devices with at least three different operating systems. As the Nielsen Norman Group notes about this year’s Intranet Design Award-winners, “bevels, shadows, and elaborate framing effects” have mostly given way to simple flat circles and rectangles, the easier to be tapped by a thumb. Responsive design is a must, since the intranet must look good on devices of every size.
Then: Photo of the day
Now: Image carousel
In 2008, intranets were transitioning from utilitarian (and boring) text-only formats and starting to embrace multimedia, starting with photos. Many organizations posted a “Photo of the Day” that greeted employees when they accessed the intranet. Some of these pictures were from the company’s files or employee events, others were simply stock images, which weren’t very engaging.
In 2015, many organizations are using image carousels to provide multiple photos to employees each time they log in. Here, the content drives the images — if it’s open enrollment for health benefits, the image might reflect health and wellness. It the winter holidays are nearing, the image may show employees exchanging gifts or spending time with their families. This makes the intranet homepage much more relevant and engaging for workers, and makes the entire site easier to navigate.
Then: One-way video
Now: Interactive video
Seven years ago, video was just making its way onto intranets. Back then, you could expect two kinds of content: Training videos and speeches from executives. Useful, but limiting. There was no chance for a employees to respond or to post their own videos. The intranet was considered a one-way portal of information, with no thought of employees contributing to the conversation.
Today, the idea of social media has changed that philosophy. Rather than posting “official” videos of corporate events, some companies allow employees to post their own, since virtually every worker has a camera in their pocket at every event. Health company Klick uses video in a unique way: After an employee submits a question, an expert on the topic records an answer with an iPhone and uploads the video to intranet. This makes knowledge-sharing much more fun and interactive than a typical training video. Organizations have finally caught on and stopped making videos play automatically — a pet peeve of mine.
Then: Intranet as document dump
Now: Intranet as vault of knowledge
In the early days of intranets, companies would basically dump all their documents into their internal server. Press releases, legal documents, health insurance information, employee handbooks, old blog posts. Often it wasn’t indexed or categorized or searchable. Without a direct link, employees had to sift through a lot of blurry scans and weirdly formatted pages to find useful information.
Today, companies see an intranet as a respository of knowledge that can inform and engage employees. They take the time to scan and index documents, and tag them with descriptive keywords, so that employees can easily access them. Some organizations have taken the next step and implemented federated search, allowing one search to run through multiple databases. Others, like IBM, have made employees part of their knowledge base by connecting experts in different fields. Rather than searching a “normal” database, workers search for a colleague who can provide the answers they need.
Then: Brandemix could help you
Now: Brandemix can help you
Brandemix has been creating and enhancing company intranets since 2007. We know the latest trends and can customize your intranet’s capabilities to your exact needs. We also believe that extending your brand through internal communications is the best way to build employee engagement and commitment. Through our four-phase process, we build intranets that promote your business objectives, tell employees the forces driving it, and keep them up to date.
Ready for an intranet that will still be effective and engaging in 2023? Contact Brandemix.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
I’ve been conducting original research into employer branding and employee engagement. It seems that many organizations want the latter but don’t care about the former. But the two go hand in hand, and it’s important to see how and why.
Here’s a chart I created based on Google searches for “employer branding” and “employee engagement.” The result couldn’t be clearer — and more surprising.
Just as people seemed to lose interest in employer branding, they began searching for solutions to improve their employee engagement. The recession, starting in early 2009, seems to be a catalyst, as if employers figured the poor job market made employer branding less important — but suddenly found that their employees, unable to find better opportunities, were becoming disengaged.
On a hunch, I added “employee retention” to the model. Sure enough, as the economy improved and interest in employee engagement shot up, employers suddenly needed to address the issue of keeping their disengaged workers.
It’s not just Google searches. It’s coming from employers and thought leaders across the internet.
Here’s the usage of two Twitter hashtags — #employerbranding and #employeeengagement — over the past 60 days, via Hashtagify.me:
Again, we find that professionals on Twitter are discussing employee engagement much more than employer branding. It seems that, without strong employer branding, companies are hiring the wrong people — wrong skills or wrong culture fit — and then struggling to keep these workers interested in a workplace that’s not suited for them.
Another metric: Google News stories. What are the business journals and the mainstream press reporting about these two subjects?
The same problem. “Employer branding” is the headline in only 28,500 articles, compared to more than 50,000 for “employee engagement.”
What is the result of this disparity? A pretty dismal rate of employee engagement over the last four years, as found by the latest Gallup poll:
Less than a third of American workers are engaged in their jobs! Among workers with college degrees and postgraduate degrees, the rate of engagement isn’t even 30%. This comes from a lack of strong employer branding among companies, which itself comes from the a lack of interest in employer branding.
Even Gallup realizes the connection. In its press release about the 2015 engagement findings, the organization added, “Gallup has consistently found links between employees who are engaged in their jobs and the achievement of business outcomes such as quality, safety, profitability, and productivity.
As I’ve said many times, employer branding is crucial to a business’ bottom line. It increases applications and retention, and decreases turnover and time to hire. It doesn’t cost much money to launch an employer branding initiative and the effort will recoup is costs many times over in both measurable metrics and cultural intangibles. And it’s even more important now that unemployment is down to 5.4% and the job landscape has become a buyer’s market.
Take the next step beyond hashtags and Google searches by contacting Brandemix for help with an employer branding initiative. Our new Rapid Cycle Talent Branding is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to help organizations create or refresh an employer brand, connecting them to top talent. And helping to keep them engaged.
Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.