QUIPS = QUIck Problem Solving*. Quick ways to begin to address and solve common talent challenges when resources to tackle the challenge holistically or over time aren't an option. Here is QUIPS #3: What Your Employer Brand is Desperately Missing.You know your organization. You know the politics, the business, the industry, the challenges. And you know the people. At least you think you do. Especially if you work in HR. But you don't. You may have a pulse on their happiness or engagement, but do you know who they really are? If you don't, then you can't build or execute a real employer brand. So what do you desperately need?
Research. Real, detailed, holistic research.
I'm not talking your typical engagement survey. That's just a measure of satisfaction and productivity. And according to Gallup, we're all in big trouble when it comes to engagement anyway. Stop asking employees if they have a best friend at work. Start asking who they are. Then use the results to understand the composition of your workforce: the actual people who are doing the work. That's the heart and soul of your employer brand.
And yet almost NO companies do this. They create employer brands based on assumptions or what creative agencies pitch. They focus on best practices instead of what makes their organization unique. They package it up and call it an employer brand. It isn't. No real brand can be created without consumer research. And in your case, your consumers are employees and candidates.
Consumer marketers know research is essential but expensive. However, the results can be mindblowing--and have multiple purposes. But here are four ways you can get started:
1) Create a new knowledge base
Categorize and ask for employee information in a way you never dreamed of. Go beyond the basic demographics your HRIS captures and brainstorm--what would you want to know about our employees if you could know anything? No one has 9-to-5 employees anymore. You have real people. So what about them as people would be helpful to brand development and HR decision-making? Think about the impact data on their commuting habits. hobbies, social media use, family structure and personal interests could have.
2) Hold employee focus groups
The classic marketing tactic, when done right, focus groups are powerful. Don't think about developing or evolving your brand without them. Make sure they are moderated by a trained facilitator, are representative of your workforce and are planned well. They have to have a purpose and scripted questions that allow you to probe for deeper feelings, emotions and reasoning that you can't get from a simple engagement survey. They answer the "why" to all the data you've already gathered.
3) Use orientation wisely
Wow. A group of new hires all in one place at one time? Don't ignore this opportunity for feedback. I don't mean simple feedback on the hiring process. I mean detailed feedback on who these new hires are and how they feel. What did they do when they got their job offer? (Jump for joy or stress about the low starting salary). What are they most excited about in their new role? Most fearful? This is the kind of valuable data you can use.
4) Completely rethink your surveys
Sure, there's validated research that says it's valuable to ask employees if they have a best friend at work. But what if all they're doing is commiserating together? You don't know if you don't ask. Follow those questions up with questions that get at the deep detail--why does having a best friend matter? And what do they talk about? How often do they talk during the day and where? THAT's the kind of data that you can use to develop a brand. It gives you the essence of your brand.
You wouldn't market a peanut butter without tasting it, understanding what it's made of and how it's different from other peanut butters. Don't market yourself as an employer without doing that research first.
*Speaking and consulting with HR professionals, I often hear how hard it is to take best practices and actually implement them. The grand solutions shared at conferences and in whitepapers often come from companies with big staffs, big budgets and a supportive and forward-thinking HR team. What if that’s not you? QUIPS = QUIck Problem Solving. These are quick ways to begin to address and solve common talent challenges. We give you simple, easy ways to address the problem in the absence of time, staff and money. Previous QUIPS include:
Have a problem you need to solve but don't have the resources? Let us know what problem you want us to tackle in our next QUIPS.