Earlier this week we celebrated Labor Day in the U.S. and today, we celebrate another group of hard-working people, our Talent Acquisition professionals. As former Talent Acquisition and HR professionals ourselves, #Teamexaqueo feels especially proud to celebrate this profession.
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The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has been the governing body of soccer in the United States for more than 100 years. It’s also an employer.
As an organization, it has done amazing things to promote the sport and build interest in a country of spectators more often focused on football and baseball. Yet, as an employer, it’s been faced with an existential crisis over fair pay for its senior men’s and women’s national teams. As I tuned in for the summer tournament season, I couldn’t help but notice the difference between what I was seeing and what I was hearing.
Several years ago, I plugged in a simple search for “employer brand” on LinkedIn. At that time, I recall there were approximately 300 people listed in the search results. Today, that same search produced 144,216 people! It’s exciting to watch the surge in interest, the growth of a profession, and the focus on such important work. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a number of calls with individuals new to or interested in employer branding.
To prepare for an employer brand launch, often there is a big, initial push to create content -- and lots of it. Photographs, social images, career site pages, and videos requiring many resources, reviews, and approvals. This library of content supports big splashy announcements, both internally and externally. Content powers the flipping of the switch on existing channels to the new employer brand creative and messaging.
For organizations, achieving strategy is all about vision. Where do you want to go and how do you want to get there? And a big component of that is talent. To get where you want to go, you need to have the right people along for the ride.
Therein lies the conundrum: how do you attract and retain talent based on your organization’s vision when current state doesn’t match desired future state?
Going it alone can be valuable when you’re short on resources, and long for talent. But for many organizations, working with an external partner can provide in-depth, rigorous experience when you don’t have it in-house. Depending upon an organization’s goals, there is a whole list of reasons why you might take this step
Developing an employer brand isn’t easy. It takes buy-in, time, effort, and financial resources to build, and then activate, a sustainable employer brand strategy. A successful employer brand architecture is most often composed by several essential components and developed by a core team of HR, Marketing, and/or Internal Communications leaders.
Is Apple more than just the last iPhone you purchased? Is P&G more than the tube of Crest? Is Starbucks more than a cup of coffee? Is there a difference between product marketing and consumer brand?
Is there a difference between recruitment marketing and employer brand?
When it comes to your reputation as an employer, it can be hard to keep up with all of the online review sites. Candidates and employees are talking about you on sites like Quora and Reddit. They are leaving reviews on Google, Facebook, Comparably, Indeed, Kununu, InHerSight, FairyGodBoss, CareerBliss, Vault, and of course, Glassdoor.
Sometimes the ratings are to be celebrated. Some reviews may raise an executive’s eyebrow. And, some ratings and reviews can negatively impact your company’s reputation, your employer brand, and your ability to hire new employees and even retain customers.
Recruiting has fundamentally changed with the rise of the social web and technology. Candidates expect to easily access information about your company through a variety of resources, as well as more personalized communication, interaction and transparency. Candidates scrutinize your company in new ways and make more informed decisions than ever before.
This means you must work smarter to meet your candidates’ needs without knowing when they’re ready to make a decision or influence someone else’s. Today, it’s more important than ever to build a strong employer brand and provide a positive experience for candidates to compete for top talent. And that means you have to be just as detail-oriented and scrutinize every element of the employment experience. Just like a candidate.
Knowing that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, team exaqueo set out to uncover: Why do employer brand professionals LOVE what they do? Is it the creativity, the people, the impact or something else? So, we asked our teammates and industry pros to tell us—in 140 characters or less—“Why do you love employer brand?”
For football fans, the Super Bowl is the much anticipated game of the year, pitting the final two teams standing against each other to determine the season's NFL champion. For non-football fans, the Super Bowl is also a must-watch experience to find out which commercials everyone will talk about on Monday.
So what does the Super Bowl have to do with employer branding?
Find out now.
When was the last time you looked at the new year and said: "I guess I'll just do more of the same?" Never. With every new year, we have resolutions, promises and plans to do more, be better and try harder. Why should your employer brand be any different?
Since social recruiting and recruitment technology picked up steam in the mid-2000s, we've buried our employer brand heads in the sands of execution. Sure, technology has given us many new opportunities: from automated social content to mass brand promotion.
But what are you planning to do differently in 2017?
For many employer brand leaders and practitioners, the answer is more of the same. You're wading through tech demo after tech demo. You're burrowing through social statistics in the hopes of getting a handle on your metrics. And you're planning for more content. Lots and lots of content.
Wait, I'm confused. Are you an employer brand professional? Or an employer marketing professional? There's a difference. Marketing is execution. Brand is strategy. And it's essential to know the difference.
Consumer marketers know brands require consistency to be successful.
It’s how customers get to know their organizations’ products, services and purposes. It’s how brands build trust, reinforce their market position, communicate their value, and get their audience thinking and talking about them.
Marketers also know brands—and connecting brand messages to people—require up-front and ongoing research. As your company builds and refines its employer brand strategy, here are three consumer marketing lessons to help you succeed.
When it comes to amplifying your organization's employer brand, your messengers are often times just as important as the message itself. Below are five recent articles to help you think through your approach to employee advocacy and brand ambassador programs. Enjoy!
1) Big Brands Are Enlisting Employees to Create an Army of Social Media Mavens from AdWeek
If you are a marketing chief, one of the best return-on-investment channels may actually include your colleagues. Increasingly, marketers are turning their employees into social media mavens, encouraging them to promote positive, intriguing or helpful stories that are on-brand.
This past summer, MasterCard quietly launched an ambassador program that had employees share brand-minded news and other content across their personal social channels. The endeavor already has attracted 400 of its staffers, who use a company intranet that lets them post text, images and videos to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Employer branding is near and dear to the hearts and minds of #teamexaqueo. Collectively, we have more than 40 years of talent acquisition and employer brand experience. And, as a team, we have had many unique opportunities to build employer brands ... as both in-house practitioners and for our clients. In that spirit, here are five articles about one of our favorite topics. Enjoy!
1) How These 5 Companies Built Brands People Want to Work For from Inc.
Employer brand has become one of the most pressing issues for recruitment teams around the world. Here are some inspiring examples to kick-start you into action. Recruitment marketing is quickly becoming one of the hottest topics in business. And for good reason, too.
Believe it or not, 94 percent of candidates are more likely to apply for a job if that company actively manages their employer brand.
Are your recruiters struggling to make real connections with candidates? As former recruiters, we know that requisitions run together and the hiring process can become rote. And that’s how we lose the personal connections with target candidates we so desperately need.
Here at exaqueo, we take a lot of lessons from consumer marketing; one of which is using personas to inform marketing strategies. Consumer marketers use personas to get behind the buyer: who are they, how do they feel and what spurs their actions? By using a similar approach in talent acquisition, we create candidate personas to help our clients better reach and connect with best-fit talent.
Read more about personas and how to create them.
When it comes to the employer branding debate, it’s not so much about the brand itself. Perceptions and feelings people have toward a workplace exist with or without actively managing them. The debate is more around how an organization is structured to support it.
From your employer brand to employee recognition, here’s the latest talent and HR news. Enjoy!
1) 5 Ways in Which You Should Let Employees Influence Your Brand from Entrepreneur
“For employers, relinquishing control of the brand can be hard. But think of the upsides -- and they do exist. Relinquishing control of the company brand is intimidating for employers. But allowing their employees to have a say in it can be positive. Example: Recently, Starbucks changed its dress code policies, allowing employees to wear different types of hats (literally, not figuratively) and dye their hair unnatural colors. In this case, the company listened to employees and allowed them to drive the brand forward. Starbucks considered the benefits of connecting with different types of customers through employees’ colorful styles and saw the policy change as a chance to bring employees in on branding efforts…”
Have you seen it, Heineken’s Go Places ad and website? If you haven’t watched this latest, buzz-worthy employer branding ad, click on the embedded video below. It’s definitely worth a minute of your time. Once you’ve watched, explore the Go Places website and enter “The Interview” door. You will quickly realize why AdWeek stated this is an “HR campaign that’s as cool as any consumer ads it’s done.”
Here’s our take on this slick, sexy campaign.
Disclosure: Heineken is not our client.
The video is smart, lyrical poetry. The website is engagingly informative. You can’t help but want to spend time on the site, continue through The Interview door and discover the result of your interview. This is a prime example of just how impactful great creative can be. It creates buzz, strengthens brand awareness, and provides insight and differentiation into the employment experience. And it’s obvious a lot of time, energy, brainpower and money brought this idea to life.
But what happens when an engaged candidate clicks the green Apply To Jobs Via Career Site button? “It is a shockingly different user experience,” shares Kathleen O’Brien, lead consultant and project manager at exaqueo. “One that will likely create a high drop off rate at the part that matters most—the ATS conversion.”
Pull through a consistent experience.
According to AdWeek, there were three agencies that had a hand in the work (and clearly a budget most HR teams dream of). And while they put a great deal of thought into the user experience, they didn’t quite think about the candidate experience: what happens after their target audience clicks for jobs. It’s a great example of front-end excitement followed by unaligned copy and imagery, a typical back-end ATS experience and honestly, some candidate frustration.
We all want to wow users and attract talent, but it can’t just be the window dressing. It has to follow through. And that’s where you come in.
“While this campaign is really well done, there’s an incredible lesson to be learned,” explains Shannon Smedstad, lead consultant and newest member of the exaqueo team. “Great creative is nothing without HR strategy behind it. Nothing without thinking about how it affects your ATS, your tools, your systems, and your candidate and employee experiences.”
Campaigns must connect to strategy.
As HR and employer brand leaders, you know your workforce better than anyone else—it’s your expertise. Your people are at the heart of what you do, day in and day out. So while it’s exciting to wow the user and think big, don’t forget your roots, your people. They’re not customers. They’re candidates, they’re employees. And choosing a job is just a more impactful life experience.
Honestly, this is why exaqueo exists—to connect the wow with the people. To help illuminate your expertise. To help consumer marketers understand HR. And vice versa. As you’re planning for 2017, think about the impact you can make—and let us know how we can help you ensure the power of the creative connects purposefully to your HR strategy.
Employer branding cannot be done by an agency or marketing or communications alone.
They need you.
Watch the Heineken Go Places ad below, experience the full site and then tell us what you think in the comments.
Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps companies build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn how to better compete for talent by building honest, authentic employer brands and powerful talent attraction and retention programs.