Human Resources Today

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What Happens When Marketing and HR Fall in Love

Brands are valuable. And organizations spend nearly half a trillion dollars every year to introduce, promote and manage their brands. In 2012, Procter & Gamble spent over $4.8 billion on advertising. Selling is an expensive proposition. But it doesn’t have to be. Brands are finally starting to reap the value of social media and, as the 2013 Super Bowl proved, the brand value of one tweet can exceed the $3.5 million per-commercial ad spend.

Traditional advertising isn’t dead, but brands continue to look for ways to save money and use existing assets creatively.

Enter the workforce.  Talent and HR leaders know the value of an employer brand—essentially the reputation of your brand as a place to work. But in my previous role leading the employer brand function for Marriott International, I had to do much more that that. Branding the workforce is telling a great story and getting future employees to want to be a part of the tale.

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HR and Talent News Roundup: Brand Basics Edition

When it comes to "employer brand," most people either don't know the term or completely misunderstand it. Employer brand is not social recruiting or posting jobs online. And it's not slapping the consumer brand on a careers site and calling it a day.  It's what the employment experience is known for, it's reputation.

It's actually just like the consumer brand, but instead of the product or service a company is selling, it's the employment experience. In order to really understand employer brand, you have to start with understanding the concept of brand, so this week we bring you some brand basics. Put your consumer brand hat on first!

1) Everything You Know About Branding Is Wrong from the CMO Network

 "The simple truth is that a brand isn’t a logo, an advertisement, or a poster hung on the wall in a corporate office. It’s a gut feeling about a company, and smart companies know the power of a brand done right. This happens when everything connects through design—from virtual environments like websites to built environments like office spaces—and it all starts with an understanding of why a company matters. Whether designing a company’s headquarters or field office, their website, or developing a new brand strategy, start by asking two key questions: who are you? And: Why do you matter?"

2) Branding Basics for Social Media from The Huffington Post

"In the online world, your brand is shaped by everything you do and say. With an increasing number of social media channels comes a strong need to present a consistent brand.  Your brand should be the same across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, your company blog and everywhere else you communicate online."

3)  The Most Memorable Brand Wins and Fails of 2013 from Mashable

"Oreo kicked off the year with a brilliant, impromptu online ad during the Super Bowl, the success of which inspired countless other real-time marketing campaigns, many of which fell short.  Tech companies like Samsung and Google aired clever commercials to introduce new products to consumers, while BlackBerry struggled to reintroduce itself in a make or break marketing campaign.

4) How To Build Brand Love Via Designed Serendipity from Forbes

"Companies that genuinely love their customers and build emotional connections that transcend transactional relationships are a special breed. Yet, what if we could decode the formula that ties together world-class “experience” companies like Target, Starbucks, and Disney–and characterize their common traits so others can follow their playbooks?"

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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HR and Talent News Roundup: Scaling Your Workforce Edition

As companies scale, culture and growth go hand-in-hand. This means founders and leaders have to be more and more creative about how to ensure they continue to sustain culture so it doesn't get lost in the forest of growth. This week we share multiple examples of ways you can think about scaling the talent side of your business in the right way. 1) Why Zappos CEO Hsieh Wants To Enable More Collisions In Vegas from Forbes

" "When a city doubles in size, innovation increases by 15 percent,” he says. “But when companies get bigger, productivity goes down.” To avoid that destiny as Zappos expands, he aims to organize the company “more like a city and less like a large company” with densely populated workspaces, and, when it comes to navigating them, a preference for “collisions over convenience.”

2) Small business advice: How to set your firm up for long-term, sustainable growth from The Washington Post

"Hire the right sales people for the right positions and set performance expectations early. Having a well-developed sales culture from the get-go is essential in setting the stage for incoming talent, and it will keep the existing representatives inspired for the long haul...It is much easier to maintain a good culture than fix a bad one. If your once-thriving sales culture becomes stagnant, consider adding fresh talent. Bringing in new, hungry individuals to any team can ignite productivity among existing members."

3) Supercell's CEO reveals the culture he built to produce a £2.5 billion company in 2 years from Wired

"Despite this [success], all Pannenan wants to talk about is company values, both in terms of organisational structure and "the power of small." It is a manifesto for building a better company and he is conscious the world is now listening.  "The best people make the best games," says Ilkka Paananen, founder of Finnish gaming startup Supercell. "It sounds simple and perhaps naive, but if you truly believe it then the only thing that matters is getting those people and creating the best possible environment so they stay." "

4) 4 Ways to Build On Your Company Culture from Momentum

"When you’re not a startup anymore, it can feel like company culture is something that’s already set in stone — not something you can adapt father and improve. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Culture can be developed and molded over time, especially with new leadership at the helm."

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce strategy that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: exaqueo insights edition

News Sign PosterEvery week we gather HR and Talent news for you -- the best of what we've read. This week, we're turning the tables and sharing some of the best of what we've written both for exaqueo's blog and in other channels where we share our insights. The common theme? Rethinking what we often hold true: processes should stay static, we can't learn from areas of the business completely different from ours, constant achievements are the goal...this is the norm. And sometimes, the norm has to be flipped. So this week we bring our insights on how to rethink some of the common things you do from milestones to updates to hiring. And maybe you'll shift the tide come Monday.

1) Stop Asking Me What's Next from Forbes

"The constant milestone madness is everywhere. A good friend of mine is on the partner track at a well-known consulting firm. People can’t stop asking if she’s up for partner this year. For my fellow entrepreneurs, the what-next question is constant too. Everyone wants to know your growth plan, your exit plan, your plan to go public.  Are you as exhausted as I am?  I get it. When people ask these questions (personal or business-related) they’re trying to be nice, interested in your work, or are genuinely curious (if they want to promote you or invest in your company).  But we’ve created a world where no one is happy where they are."

2) Recruiters, Why Don't We Scrum More? from Pete Radloff on the exaqueo blog

"Many of you who recruit for technical and/or engineering roles are familiar with the Scrum development methodology. Not familiar? NO PROBLEM. It’s not just for engineers! Scrum is a methodology that incorporates the idea of fast development cycles, frequent releases and quick stand-ups versus long, drawn out, “Death by Powerpoint” meetings. Hmm, maybe the developers are on to something here.  If we start to think and work like the client teams we’re supporting, there’s a greater chance of success of us getting what we need."

3) Paying Employees to Take Unlimited Vacations from Upstart Business Journal

"It's a great model if you balance it with performance measures and guidelines. Employees have to be accountable to perform and should be rewarded when they work hard to get things done quickly. If it's all about performance, they'll hold each other accountable, both on taking too much vacation and on not taking enough."

4) The 3-5 Year Gap: Finding Talent With Actual Talent from Tech Cocktail

"There’s no shortage of college graduates searching for jobs–some have internship and project experience, but they’re still new, and entry-level talent has to be trained. Programs like Nashville’s Software SchoolApp Academy, and Hackbright Academy are helping to fill the gap. But that doesn’t help when you have jobs that require experience now and you can’t find the talent. In these situations, it’s tempting to outsource the problem. After all, you’re busy running companies, bringing in new business and customers, running beta tests–you don’t have the time to devote to a recruiting strategy. Thing is–neither do most external recruiters. They’re going to focus on sourcing the position like you did and then charge you a sizable percentage when you choose one of their candidates. Not that you should avoid external recruiters completely, but what if there were a way to save that fee without exceptional effort?"

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce strategy that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

 

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Why Do You Care What's Next?

downloadIt started as early as eighth grade. Field hockey tryouts came and went, and we gathered around the team lists like crazed Madonna fans (the Bieber of my day). I was a decent athlete, and I made the A team. The season passed, and everyone wanted to know whether I was going to try to make the high school team. Ninth grade found me playing softball. At under five feet, I was the smallest girl on the team, but also the fastest. That meant a sometimes-bump to varsity as backup for second base and the designated pinch runner. Everyone asked, “Will you make varsity next year? I did. Then it was, “Will you start at varsity next year?” I was cut. I’d been good enough to play varsity my freshman and sophomore years, but too many bigger, stronger girls rose through the ranks.

It was embarrassing — not even because I didn’t make it, but because everyone kept asking what the next milestone was. I was out of milestones. We’re so achievement-oriented, we can’t handle defeat (let alone appreciate the moment we’re in). I’ve learned that it hasn’t gotten better as I’ve gotten older, either.

Everyone wants to know where you’re headed next.

Fast-forward to college. I was constantly asked about my post-graduation plans. Same with graduate school. And my personal life? That was even worse. My husband and I dated for seven years before we got married. It made people crazy that we dated for so long. I know, because many told me so.

But what made me crazy was the constant questioning about our engagement timeline. And that was just the beginning. Now that we are married, people want to know when we’re having children. (For my friends already blessed with children, it’s: “When are you having another?”)

This phenomenon isn’t limited to our personal lives. The constant milestone madness is everywhere. A good friend of mine is on the partner track at a well-known consulting firm. People can’t stop asking if she’s up for partner this year. For my fellow entrepreneurs, the what-next question is constant too. Everyone wants to know your growth plan, your exit plan, your plan to go public.

Are you as exhausted as I am?

I get it. When people ask these questions (personal or business-related) they’re trying to be nice, interested in your work, or are genuinely curious (if they want to promote you or invest in your company).

But we’ve created a world where no one is happy where they are. No one stops to ask how you’re doing in the moment or what interesting work you’re accomplishing. And the repercussions of this what-next syndrome? We’ve forgotten how to mine the moment for what it is: a chance to appreciate the good and learn from the bad.

Study after study show that Millennials want to be promoted quickly. They expect raises and conversations about what’s next on a regular basis. And they’re not to blame for that attitude. We are (their managers, leaders, GenX-ers and Baby Boomers who have come before them). Instead of focusing on the best lesson an employee learned this year in performance reviews, we have conversations primarily focused on getting to the next level. Instead of asking someone what cool thing they’re working on right now, we ask them what job they want next....

Read the rest of this post over on Forbes.com.

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce strategy that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

 

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Memo to Executives: Women Don't Want It All

There are a million voices in the debate on women in the workplace. And I was reticent to add another. But there's a perspective no one is talking about and that's the work. Until the work changes, the ratio of women in leadership positions won't change.  My latest post in Forbes addresses just that. What if women don't want it all? What if it's not about promoting us but rather whether we even want it? This is an important conversation. I'd love your take. Check out the Forbes article and then share your perspective.

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How NOT to Get a New Job

Here at exaqueo, we take on a few career coaching clients each month. And inevitably, some cringe when they realize how much hard work is required for a successful job search.  Every once in a while we have to really be clear---and sarcasm does the trick.  Check out my latest post on Forbes: How Not to Get a New Job in 2013. If this doesn't make an impression on your favorite lazy job-seeker, nothing will!

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Forget Work-Life Balance. I Mean It.

I'm pretty sick of the work-life balance argument. It's not one or the other. Or sublime balance all the time. It's flexibility how and when you want it, understanding that working less may mean earning less. But it's your choice. Read my latest Forbes post "Forget Work-Life Balance: Give Us Choices Instead."  I'd also love if you added your comments here and/or on the Forbes site--this is such an important topic for women and men.

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