What makes some employers stand apart and almost often attract the right talent?
The answer: Employer branding
Just as the scrutiny involved in building a sales cycle, prospective candidates are doing enough research on organizations before considering them just as employers. They are scanning social media, job review sites and company websites to help them make a decision. It is an open market and a level playing field.
Along with an organizational vision and brand strategy - the recruitment philosophy is tied into it. My personal experience suggests that employer brand building works only when the leadership is actively involved and engaged in the process.
An organization’s culture, values, ethos, learning and development opportunities all constitute the ‘Employer Value Proposition’ or EVP. Most organizations do not plan long-term on EVP not realizing the value it brings along. According to change and communications global ROI research study, employees are five times more engaged when there is a strong EVP.
With the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, robots, bots, AI and 3D printing are being explored in HR and this includes recruitment as well. Digital platforms have taken over some HR processes such as recruitment, talent branding, learning management, diversity etc.
The delight in talent branding arises from the need to attract and retain the best and of course, create maximum value from the recruitment. Take the communication pyramid consisting of three levers- strategic, news oriented and employee connect, based on the information that is being created. It is important to do a gap analysis and then plan.
- Strategic channels includes conveying brand values top-down, from leaders to the organization. Open houses, skip level meetings are tools used for this.
- News-oriented channels includes announcements regarding annual performance, quarterly performance, big wins, solution or product breakthroughs, award ceremonies.
- Employee connect channels include interactive sessions on life beyond work, theme-based panel discussions, interviews, debates, talent showcase, radio and TV programs, streaming videos, webcasts and showcase of location wise events. The latest being creation of internal mobile apps to stay connected 24-7.
In an internal communications context, what works best are tools like employee stories and video testimonials from leaders, open house discussion forums, a dynamic and active intranet. Personalized stories conveyed through employees help create a sense of belonging, trust, and camaraderie.
Another critical tool towards employer branding facing the external world is content marketing and the role it plays in having an active careers page, or maybe even a specific microsite.
There is a need for HR and Marketing to work very closely along with IT.
Better processes, tools indicate that metrics can be captured and insights drawn for better understanding. If for e.g., social channels such as Buffer and Google Analytics capture the number of viewers of blogs on the intranet page, and also capture the number of likes of photographs posted – this could very well help understand the mindset of employees and what kind of content they are looking for, at a given point in time. New roles such as Chief People Officer, Chief Learning Officer, and maybe even a Chief People Analytics Officer are on the rise.
A good recruitment marketing plan consists of enlighten- excite- embrace program.
- Enlighten - Create collaterals specific to an open role through the use of microsite, brochures, fliers and job cards. Run targeted campaigns on LinkedIn and other job portals. Use employee messages to create buzz around the openings through Social media.
- Excite- Involve employees through contests, dispatch ‘Did You Know’ series mailers to candidates, and launch video case studies on the employer brand. Representation in events and trade shows the company as an employment opportunity provider, Google hangout chats.
- Embrace –Comprehensive conversion kits, customized merchandise with a customized message from the leader.
In my experience, the sum of an employment brand is the sum of the experiences provided to candidates through the recruitment process. Hence the entire journey from start to finish is essential in building an aspirational brand and keeping it alive.
Thanks to automation, executives increasingly need to invest in retraining and upskilling existing workers as an urgent business priority that companies must lead on. According to McKinsey Global Institute report, by 2030 about 14% of the workforce will need to shift occupational categories due to disruption in the world of work just as large as the shift from agriculture to manufacturing that occurred in the early 20th century. The millennial population is nearly 35% of the US labor force, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau. This cohort believes in experiences over possessions and believe in causes larger than revenues and profit. This should be one of the ways organizations can think about how to structure their EVPs.