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Employer Branding

Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Your Brand + Culture

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Your Brand + Culture

Company culture and employer brand are inextricably linked. A company culture is the foundation. It's what's accepted and what is not. An employer brand is the whole experience and the strengths you leverage to position your company among competitors. This week, we're sharing some pieces on both hot topics. Enjoy!

1) How Company Culture Drives Digital Transformation And Business Adaptability from Forbes

"I don’t think companies put enough stock in their cultures. Company culture is like an employee’s attitude; it will make or break you. Your company’s culture is a strong determining factor in its adaptability. We’ve established that the only constants in the future of business are change, agility, and the ability to pivot in response to market shifts—and that technology is essential to the success of a company. Your organizational attitude is marked by your business’s aptitude to change. Are you prepared for the future?"

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The Impact of Remote Work on Your Employer Brand

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The Impact of Remote Work on Your Employer Brand

This past June, FlexJobs hosted the TRaD* Works (*Telecommuting, Remote, and Distributed) forum on remote work. Major brands gathered to discuss how to maximize remote work programs, covering topics such as recruitment, management, communication tools, branding, culture, challenges/benefits and ROI. Not surprisingly, we learned that more professionals and companies utilize remote work than ever before. The newest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data just reported that in 2015, 38% of workers in management, business, and finance did some or all of their work from home. And, many companies are realizing that in order to attract, engage and retain talent, most notably millennials, flexible work arrangements have to be a priority. Plus, it’s known that the more flexibility we give workers, the happier, the less stressed and more productive they will be - which will ultimately benefit the worker and company. That being said, there is a lot of pressure for companies to change their policies and keep up as fast as the rate technology is changing.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Employer Branding + Talent Attraction

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Employer Branding + Talent Attraction

Employer branding is such an important focus area; it has the power to affect the overall market perception of your company. So what is it about your company that would attract talent? Why would people want to work for you? What makes your company stand out? At exaqueo, we understand that every company is unique, which is why we take a bespoke approach to  building honest, authentic employer brands and powerful talent attraction programs for our clients. In this week's Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup, we're featuring recent insight into just that.

1) These Are Job Seekers' Top 3 Priorities Right Now, According To LinkedIn from Fast Company

"Last year, job openings in the U.S. hit a five-year high, clocking in at over 5 million, where they remain today. That's a lot of positions that need filling, but the good news for employers is that a staggering 90% of professionals, according to new research here at LinkedIn, are open to considering them.

One reason so many people say they'd like to hear more about job opportunities is because they simply don't know enough about them already. For all the job-search resources out there, it seems people still need more—or different—information about prospective employers than they're currently getting.

That points to a pretty big disconnect in the employer brand department, but to mend it, companies need to know what job seekers actually want to learn when they’re skimming job descriptions and career sites, and weighing whether or not to apply."

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Being Named a #1 Best Place to Work: What Happens Next

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Being Named a #1 Best Place to Work: What Happens Next

Every year, the top 100 companies are honored on FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. The accolade is meant to be a measure of pride, trust and camaraderie among employees. Most of the 400+ companies applying just want to land on the list. Some HR leaders I’ve met use the assessment solely as a means to measure and improve their employee engagement. Some use the assessment to offer enough third-party data to C-level executives to incite an overall culture shiftBut it’s the top 100 we’re talking about online and in the news. These are the companies with 92-98% of employees saying “My company is a great place to work.”  In 2010 and 2011 my company, SAS, achieved the greatest feat of all: we ranked #1.  So what happens when you get there?

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How to Think Like a Marketer

It all comes down to marketing. When a political candidate is lobbying for votes, he’s campaigning. I would argue he’s marketing. When a lawyer makes it to partner, she’s no longer practicing law, she’s marketing the firm’s services to bring in new business. When a recruiter is seeking out candidates, he’s recruiting. I call that marketing. We could all use a lesson or two in marketing because it applies to a heck of a lot. Most professionals in the HR space are not trained marketers. But so much of what we do involves the core of marketing. Instead, we think marketing is all consumer facing, but it’s just as important to market a company to both candidates and employees (and even alumni!) as it is to consumers.

We’ve talked about the importance of the link between HR and marketing. To help speak the language a little better, here are some tips to help you think like a marketer when marketing your employer brand.

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Using Vacation Policy to Promote Your Culture & Brand

Your company culture and your employer brand can be pulled through to any part of your organization that touches your employees, including a vacation policy. A company’s vacation policy, and how you promote it, can say a lot about your culture and brand.  The spectrum is broad – from no vacation for the first year of employment to unlimited vacation. Some industries – such as the financial industry – require two weeks (to be taken all at once) for legal reasons. Some companies opt to make their vacation policies unique to their company. Here are a few examples of different vacation policies that connect with the culture: Netflix: Netflix’s culture of “freedom and responsibility” is pulled through to so many different parts of the employment experience. Its vacation policy is no different, allowing unlimited vacation as long as employees get their work done.

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"And the Winner Is"…One Way to Create Employer Brand Awareness

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"And the Winner Is"…One Way to Create Employer Brand Awareness

Last night millions of Americans tuned into the Oscars to find out who the most talented people are in show business. Why do these awards matter to us so much that we even broke Twitter from excessive retweeting? Awards mean credibility. It’s a way for industries to call out excellence and inform the public of the best of the best. The actors, writers, and directors who were nominated and won last night worked hard to get to that point. The exclusive club of Oscar winners practically guarantees a spot in any movie of the actor's choice. The personal brand recognition of an Oscar winner sky rockets, and the public is now more willing to spend $12 to see his/her movie. The same applies to your employer brand. As a startup or growing company, you are competing with bigger, well-known brands for talent. You are always looking for ways to show credibility early on, and one way (certainly not the only way) could be to stand out through employment-related awards.

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The Value of Culture and Employer Brand in High Turnover Industries

Over the weekend, I was explaining what I do to a few friends. In describing what we do, I emphasized the need for strong company culture, employer brand, and talent strategy because these elements of a business affect the bottom line in the long run. By not caring about these things, companies risk high turnover, among other consequences. Costing between 25% and 250% of a single employee’s annual salary, high turnover has a profound effect on the bottom line.  While explaining this to my friend, he asked, “is there ever a time when turnover is good?” I had to think about this one for a bit. According to Software Advice, new employees who replace those who left can bring new ideas; however, high turnover is traditionally thought of as a negative indicator. That said, there are some industries where turnover inevitably is, and likely always will be, high. For example, retail, food service, or customer service are all industries with high turnover. These jobs consist of a workforce that is typically compensated on an hourly basis. 

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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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Connecting Employees to a Purpose and Employer Brand Loyalty

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Connecting Employees to a Purpose and Employer Brand Loyalty

We now live in a world where consumers are more connected than ever before, and a small customer complaint can go viral. As a result, companies need to be just as connected to not only their customers, but also to their own employees to stay ahead. This is the basis of a book I recently read, “The Connected Company.” A part of the book that really struck me comes from this exerpt:

“Since 1960, services have dominated US employment. Today’s services sector makes up about 80% of the US economy. Services are integrated into everything we buy and use…companies like GE and IBM, which started in manufacturing , have made the transition, and now make the majority of their money in services.”

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The Physical Candidate Experience and Your Employer Brand

Just a few of the candles I bought from Anthropologie While I do adore online shopping and its convenience, I don’t think I could give up an afternoon of walking into physical retail shops – feeling the clothes, smelling the perfumes, or testing out make-up – it’s part of the experience that stimulates the senses.

Part of what makes me enter into some stores and not others is the physical experience. Some stores have thought of everything, and I get a warm feeling when I go into them. That’s just what they want. You make judgments and form opinions on the experiences you have when you eat at restaurants, stay at hotels, or go to a football game. Candidates are making those same judgments and forming those same opinions when they enter your offices for a day of interviewing.

The candidate experience has many different components – I’m just going to focus this post on the physical candidate experience - the experience a candidate has when he/she visits an office for interviews. It’s the first face-to-face, physical contact they likely have with your employer brand, and it’s an important one.

Back to my shopping analogy – a great example of experiential shopping is Anthropologie. The very first thing you see are the window displays –unique and elaborate. You’re instantly intrigued. The moment you walk through the doors, you’re hit with the powerful smell of their scented candles, a sweet- but not too sweet- floral, feminine scent (I even bought one so my apartment could smell like the store). You feel like you’re in someone’s living room with the way the products are displayed. They don’t appear to be set out to be purchased, rather they are casually draped on tables like a cozy blanket thrown over the back of a couch.

This store isn’t for everyone. Some people hate the smell and would not dream of owning quirky measuring spoons or $200 satin shorts, but it’s appealing to a certain demographic--just like great recruiting should. The shopping experience reflects the brand. It’s selling a lifestyle, not just products.

It’s proven that brand experience increases customer loyalty. That same notion can be applied to the candidate experience. A candidate walks into your building, nervous, unsure what the day will bring. Every step he takes inside your building… every person he interacts with…every gesture that is given to him…he is making a judgment on whether he would fit in at your company. If that’s true, does it reflect your employer brand and the culture you live everyday?

I once heard of a college admissions office baking chocolate chip cookies right in the office to give to applicants who were interviewing. Genius idea! A nervous 17 -year old kid who is about to experience one of the most important interviews of his life walks into the admissions office…and smells chocolate chip cookies - the quintessential food and smell that oozes comfort. That’s just the emotion you want to evoke in that situation – you want them to feel at home.

Think about treating your candidates like customers and stimulating their senses when they enter into the doors of your company to reflect your brand.

Editor's note: for more information on how to strengthen your candidate experience, consider learning from applying for the Candidate Experience Awards.

Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for 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 Weekly Roundup: Brand Building Edition

With the end of the year approaching, you're thinking about wrapping things up or budgets for next year. What if instead, you started thinking innovation? If you've struggled this year making a name for your company in the talent market, it's time to determine what you can do differently next year to build your employer brand.

This week we've rounded-up some posts to get you thinking--can't 2014 be the year of the creative? First things first: you've got to define your employer brand. But once you've done that, here are some ways to jumpstart your brand:

1) 17 Employer Branding Strategies for 2014 from SocialTrex

"Start with the loudest part of your brand, the career landing page and create a visually appealing and near textless career portal [and] ensure your talent community is worth joining.  Does it provide something your job notifications, social channels and ATS don’t?  If the answer is yes, then you are doing it correctly."

2)  HR Evolving To Become The Marketers Of The Employer Brand from SAP

"How is the role of HR changing? HR is moving from the department that finds talent, vets candidates, hires and administers benefits to a group that is responsible for Marketing the brand to the best of the best potential candidates.  They are now in charge of customer experience for the first customer of any organization which is its employees."

3)  Employer Branding – What Matters To Your Organization?  from Arlington Transportation Partners

"The perception and image of a company to outsiders is often based around the organization’s culture, how well they treat their employees, and how these factors are made public through a company's website, social media, and external resources. While there are many issues that can have an impact on an employer brand, addressing topics such as employee health, commuting concerns, and environmental impacts can play a major role in recruiting and retaining today’s top talent."

4) Four Ways to Build Your Brand in 2014 from Branders.com

"The winter holiday season is a time for looking back and looking forward. As you review the past year and make your resolutions for 2014, consider these four ways to become a better marketer and boost your brand.: 1. Audit your brand, 2. Broaden your scope, 3. Spark your creativity,  [and] 4. Shake things up."

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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Employer Brand Measurement: Introducing Source of Brand

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Employer Brand Measurement: Introducing Source of Brand

If there's one thing that corporate America drills into your head again and again, it's ROI. Especially during budget season. And while I don't miss those complicated Excel models, I'm constantly reminded of the importance of measures. You need an argument for making one investment choice over another. As a former boss always reminded me, "data drives decisions." The problem in our line of work? The data is often flawed. For example, human resources has been relying on "source of hire" for years  and it's one of the most imperfect measures in human resources. I have long argued there is no such thing as a single source of hire and thus no accurate way to measure one. Even pre-Internet, job seekers may see an ad in a newspaper but were informed about the job from friends, family, college professors or career offices.

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Startup Employer Branding: Why You Need It

Startup Employer Branding: Why You Need ItA few weeks ago, I was chatting with the uber-smart co-founder and CMO of Piston Cloud, Gretchen Curtis. Gretchen was fresh off a panel I hosted for HR-types to help them understand why they should care about marketing. It reminded me to turn the tables and ask "why should startups care about HR and talent?" The answer: You're dead if you don't.

In the Fortune 500 world, companies pay big bucks for employer branding. An employer brand is just like a consumer brand, except it's the perception of what it's like to work for your company. And Gretchen classified Silicon Valley's employer brands like this: "it's all about the degree of hotness. (1) You're hot because no one has heard of you -- stealth secret mode. (2) You're hot because you're an up and comer -- you're just starting to get buzz and funding and everyone wants a piece. (3) You're hot because you're known -- well-known."

Startup Employer Branding Takes More than Humor and Buzz

Regardless of your hotness factor, just like you are doing with your product or service, you need to be able to clearly differentiate your company in the talent market. Just like startup company culture isn't about free beer or cool office space, employer brands aren't about funny job descriptions or even hotness.

"One thing for sure, when a startup is on the hot wagon, everyone wants a piece. People will come out of the woodwork to advise, fund, and want to work there," says Gretchen.

But you don't want people to come work for you just because you're hot.

Turnover is expensive. The wrong hires can cost you plenty. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is famous for sharing that his company has wasted $100 million on hiring mistakes.

You want people to work for you because you're hot AND because they've seen the good, bad and ugly about working for you and STILL can't imagine being anywhere else. You don't want someone who's dating you for your looks.

4 Steps for Smart Startup Employer Branding

1) Figure out what makes you different.

What do you offer a candidate or future employee that no other startup or other employer does? What makes you different? That's what candidates need to hear, especially when it comes to startups. They're already taking a risk by bypassing more corporate, stable opportunities. So you have to be clear about why your startup is the place they should come work.

Poll your team -- ask everyone what they think makes your company different. Then look for consistent themes, especially from high-performers.

2) Promote the good.

Take those themes and strengths and sell them. Candidates want to know the good: What are you most proud of?

Be sure to be share examples. If you tout transparency as a core value, show examples of that value living and breathing in your company so candidates can believe it.

3) Be honest about the bad.

We've all made bad choices in late at night in a bar with poor lighting.

Working for a startup shouldn't be like that. Take off the makeup and stop the terrible pick-up lines. Instead, be upfront about the challenges of working in your startup. What's difficult? What's important they candidate understand?

If they still want to work with you after knowing these things that's a great sign.

4) Be clear about who succeeds.

Last but not least, don't just showcase employees and testimonials. Show examples of work they've done and how its impacted the company. What's made them succeed and what have they done to make the company successful.

If you want to promote investors and well-known names who are advising and working with the organization, do so, but make sure you have them define why. And promote that.

Having an actual employer branding strategy to attract the right people will ensure you're not hiring short-term stars who just like you for your hotness. Or you can continue look for "rockstars" and "ninjas" and promote the cool ping pong table in your office.

Yeah, good luck with that.

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us 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 grow in the right way.

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