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BRANDE : HR

October 1, 2016

The Buzz About Employer Branding

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-12-23-45-pmThis month Brandemix took a look at Facebook’s recruiting on (of course) Facebook to learn from its efforts. More traditional than one might expect, its career site, which also links to a more traditional Facebook recruiting page, checks all the boxes for a great example of how employer branding can shape a candidate’s experience of your company.

Mission-Driven

According to most reports I’ve read on millennials, they want to work for purpose-driven organizations. While no one would accuse Facebook of being a not-for-profit organization, it has done a great job of creating emotional buy-in for its career opportunities by connecting to a higher and human purpose. It leads off with a few sentences that show it values people and humanity.

“Do the most meaningful work of your career

People are at the heart of every connection we build. We design products and deliver services that create a more human world — one connection at a time.”

A Sneak Peek into the Culture

Through short, engaging videos (and rollovers that further help segment the content) visitors can quickly learn about different paths, internships, accolades, and awards. Moreover, though the storytellers are different, the videos all share the same theme of doing meaningful work and connecting through people.

Happy

Judging from the photos, Facebook employees are a diverse bunch of happy people working all around the world. In fact, every page offers the opportunity to connect to a team, a location, or a specific population (university, interns, managers etc.). The pictures themselves are stylized, diverse, and very engaging without being overdone.

HR Is Working Hard

What I really enjoyed was the excellent copywriting throughout the site, as evidenced by something so innocuous as presenting the employee benefits in a people-focused way. Rather than an informative bulleted list, readers get the sense that HR tirelessly eliminating distractions and thinking of ways it can truly be of help to employees and their families.

By focusing on seven key areas below, we’re able to connect you and your loved ones with the support you need.

Each area is supported by a statement about how everything it offers is with the employee in mind:

  • We’re committed to building a healthy community — one person at a time.
  • We strive to be a great place to work for people with families. 
  • As we build a more connected world, it’s important that we stay connected to each other. 
  • Never stop learning! 
  • We offer saving and investment programs to help define and build on your financial goals and give you peace of mind as you plan for your future.
  • We want to make your workspace as convenient as possible so you can focus on connecting the world. 
  • Sometimes you’ll need time away from work to be with family, attend to a medical condition, take a dream vacation, or just recharge. We’ve got you covered.

All in all, it has done a fantastic job of interweaving the rational (compensation, development, challenge) and emotional (taken care of, purposeful, happiness) drivers of employment to eliminate the uncertainty of career change.

And that’s at the heart of making a good impression through great employer branding. Want to know more?

April 8, 2013

How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Employer Branding Pitfalls

I travel around the country giving presentations on employer branding and building and promoting an employer value proposition. I usually highlight employer brand success stories. But as major brands like Goldman Sachs and Zynga stumble into PR crises, I thought it might be useful to help your company avoid the most common employer branding mistakes.


Don’t be inauthentic
Your employer brand embodies your employees, your culture, your vision, and your values; these are impossible to fake. So if you’re a fast-paced company with an entrepreneurial culture, don’t market yourself as a laid-back environment with unlimited vacation days.
I remember looking at the careers site for BP several months after the 2010 oil spill and being shocked to see that it looked the same as before the spill. Surely the eco-minded Generation Y or Gulf Coast residents affected by the disaster might hesitate joining the company afterwards? But there was only one acknowledgement of the situation – a tiny text link on the sidebar that asked “Why is it a good time to join BP?” Why indeed?

BP Careers, November 2010

Don’t get lost in the crowd
The are dozens of salty snacks on the market, so how does Doritos stand out? By having an attitude: Coming in crazy flavors with cool names and bright packaging. In the same way, your employer brand has to be distinctive. Avoid bland themes like “Grow your career with us” or “We offer work-life balance.” Almost any job can become a career and almost every job lets its employees go home at night.

Don’t get stuck in the facts
So many careers websites begin with, “Company X was founded in 1950 and now operates out of 75 offices in 12 countries.” Does that year mean the company is old-fashioned? Do those 12 countries mean employees get to see the world? Do the 75 offices mean employees can be transferred against their will?
Stand-alone facts like those can be both boring and confusing, a deadly combination for anyone looking to top motivate talent. Remember, you’re trying to create an emotional connection, so facts and numbers can only get you so far. Instead, talk about how your company helps people’s lives. Let employees share their stories. Show your workplace. Highlight employee events, rewards, volunteer work. Never be boring.
Be authentic and differentiated, and add an interesting and emotional component to your recruitment messaging.  If you can’t always leave them laughing, at least leave them hungry to learn more.
Let me know If you’d like to learn more  on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or right here in the comments.
January 14, 2013

The Week’s Most Important HR Tweets

I follow lots of influential HR, recruiting, and employer branding professionals on Twitter. They’re a great daily resource of developments in talent acquisition and retention. I retweet as many of these insights as I can, but it’s impossible to keep up with the constant stream of news. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of this week’s most important HR tweets.


Tom Bolt
, the popular and prolific CEO of Leute Management Services, joined a number of other HR professionals in tweeting about the article, “Five Ways to Get The Most From LinkedIn in 2013.” The article, written by Certified Professional Resume Writer Kelly Donovan, reminds job-seekers to use LinkedIn’s newest features, such as endorsements, projects, and videos and slide shows. Most intriguing was the idea of sending a follow-up letter after an interview via LinkedIn mail instead of email; it’s an idea being touted as “the new cover letter.” With this piece, Kelly highlights another way that LinkedIn is changing the entire job search experience.


I noticed lots of tweets about another “top five” article – this one by Meghan Casserly in Forbes, titled “The Top Five Reasons Employees Will Quit in 2013.” Meghan cites a survey from executive advisory firm CEB that named “stability” as the most important thing workers are looking for in a new employer: “It’s about going to a place that has its act together and can offer both long-term potential and stability. The next four things employees look for are compensation, respect, health benefits, and work-life balance.

Lastly, professionals from many different business fields were tweeting Fast Company’s piece, “Secrets of America’s Happiest Companies.” In this fascinating article, Lydia Dishman points out something we at Brandemix know all too well: that disengaged employees cost their companies money – in fact, a total of $350 billion a year. The article is based on CareerBliss’ 50 Happiest Companies List, which offers some surprises. “Fun” companies like Disney and Google didn’t even make the top ten. #1 was Pfizer, followed by NASA, the Department of Defense, KBR, and Cisco.

Why? Lydia lists the “5 rules of employee happiness,” which include role mobility and having a meaningful impact on the world. The third rule focuses on employee recognition, which I always tell brands is important to workplace happiness. The fourth and fifth rules involve work-life balance and common-sense policies that make workers’ lives easier, not harder. If your company isn’t following at least a few of these rules, you may be hurting your bottom line more than you think.
 

For more thought-provoking HR tweets, be sure to follow Tom, Kelly, Meghan, and Lydia – along with Brandemix and my personal Twitter, of course. And if you know of more HR Twitters worth following, drop me a line.

May 14, 2012

The Week’s Most Important HR Tweets

I follow some great HR accounts on Twitter which are always sharing the latest news and innovations in talent acquisition, retention, benefits, and related topics. I retweet as many of these insights as I can, but sometimes the gems get buried in the constant stream of news. So here, in the relaxed atmosphere of BRANDEblog, I thought I’d share some of the week’s most important HR tweets.



A number of major HR thought leaders, including host of the HR Happy Hour Show Steve Boese, were tweeting their answers to the question Who Does Your LinkedIn Profile Belong To? This post, by Jessica Lee on the terrific Fistful of Talent blog, brought up the issue that, since HR professionals are the face of their companies, their LinkedIn profiles should use the same branding, language, and voice that their companies do. But some HR personnel resist, believing that their LinkedIn profiles are personal and that their companies have no say in the matter. It’s an interesting debate that’s still happening on Twitter. Where do you stand?

Both HR Bartender author Sharlyn Lauby and Leute Management Systems CEO Tom Bolt tweeted about Steve Boese’s article, Disconnect: When What You Offer Is Not What They Want. Steve points out that a company’s benefits don’t always match employee needs. He gives the example that the main obstacle employees give for relocation is their spouse’s work situation. Yet the most frequently offered relocation benefit offered by companies is moving expenses assistance, which doesn’t address that obstacle at all. His solution? “Actually ASK the constituencies that they are trying to serve and support what is important to them.” I agree. Why conduct surveys like the one Steve cites if you’re going to ignore the results? As an HR professional, you owe it to your employees to ensure that management interprets the surveys in the right way.


HR professional Melissa Fairman (known as HrRemix on Twitter) tweeted about a fascinating article she wrote called Down With Work-Life Balance. In it, she prefers the term “work-life integration,” with the goal of harmonizing employees’ careers with their personal lives. Many workdays aren’t “balanced” at all, as employees either stay late at the office or do personal tasks on company time. Melissa argues that companies should give their employees more control over their time, and customize schedules and workloads for each individual. “Integration helps an employee understand themselves and their optimal working environment, and in the best scenario, employees can make informed decisions and work directly with their managers/teams,” she says. Do some of your employees blend personal and work tasks? Then they’re “classic integrators” and should have their work-life balance re-evaluated.
For more thought-provoking HR tweets, be sure to follow Steve, Jessica, Sharlyn, Tom, and Melissa – along with Brandemix and my personal Twitter, of course. And if you know of more HR Twitters worth following, drop me a line.
January 16, 2012

Why State Farm is a Social Media Superstar

As many of you know from my speaking engagements around the country, I like to discover brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” Recent winners include PepsiCo and Moleskine.
Today I’d like to recognize a company that’s using social media for recruiting: State Farm. I like how the insurance company recently rebranded with its clever “Magic Jingle” commercials, alongside funny ads featuring everything from falcons to giant robots. But the company has continued its transformation with a big push in social media and interactivity as well. Here are the three superstar ways that State Farm engages job applicants:
First, State Farm has a dedicated careers Facebook Page with more than 16,000 Likes, featuring lots of interesting content from both the corporate communications department and individual agents. Responses to questions and grievances usually come within 24 hours. The page’s admins go beyond typical stories of disaster recovery to include posts that are useful to job-seekers, such as asking “What’s the strangest thing you ever sent a recruiter?” and giving “Tips for networking at holiday parties.” This makes the Page a destination for anyone looking for employment, even outside the insurance field.
 

Second, the State Farm careers site includes eight videos under the title “See For Yourself.” These feature testimonials from agents and employees and great photography of the State Farm headquarters. The company offers a section called “Meet Our Interns,” with videos, written interviews, and “Advice and Guidance from Real Interns.” This is a powerful way to reach out to young people by providing content that’s educational but also fun. It also shows an awareness that Millenials would rather watch a video than read a long corporate mission statement.


   

Third, State Farm offers a unique interactive website, exploresfagency.com, which the company calls a “virtual job tryout with real-world scenarios.” Job-seekers are put in situations faced by real insurance agents, from marketing a new office and handling staff to dealing with customer complaints. There are no wrong answers; users simply pick the action they’d most likely take, and the one they’d least likely take, from four options. State Farm then evaluates what sort of agent they’d be. It’s a job preview unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Finally, these career sites add to the overall State Farm online presence, which includes branded accounts on YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr – and an interesting Facebook Page called State Farm Nation, “where fans can get helpful tips, be inspired, and have fun connecting with others.” That Page has more than 1.3 million Likes.

What can you learn from State Farm? First, set up a dedicated careers site, preferably accompanied by a careers Facebook Page and Twitter profile. Then post content that’s useful to anyone looking for employment, not just posts about how great your organization is. Offer photos and videos, showing job-seekers what your office looks like and what your employees love about working there. And, if you really want to stand out, invest in something unique like State Farm Nation on Facebook or the revolutionary “Day in the Life” interactive site.
For communicating with talent in smart, fun, and interactive ways, I name State Farm Insurance a SoMe Superstar!
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