How can Performance & Purpose help you create a huge “cultural advantage”?

PwC conducted a survey in which it found that 79 per cent of business leaders surveyed agreed that an organisation’s purpose is central to its success. Another survey done by Harvard Business Review revealed that currently 71 per cent of millennials feel disengaged at work. These two facts might sound like opposite ends of a spectrum but hear this, the study by Harvard Business Review also found that employees that found meaning from their work report almost twice as much job satisfaction and are likely to stay on with the company three times more.

Being purpose driven and being profit driven are uttered in the same breath in business now. The myth that either a company could be purpose or profit driven has been busted as business leaders recognise that purpose fuels profit. How so? Companies who are invested in a higher purpose have happier employees, but not just that. Such companies also boast of delighted, loyal and satisfied customers. Such companies have also been found to outperform their rivals in stock prices by a factor of 12. 

Companies working to change the world for better are companies that can be categorised as purpose-led organisations. Apple features as one of the companies in the Fortune 2018 Change the World List. It has been recognised for iPhone’s contribution to bettering communication and for its commitment to lowering its carbon footprint among other things. Another American grocery giant Kroger was recognised for its commitment to solve hunger issues among communities in which it operates.

These are the companies that have shown by example that economic value and social value aren’t mutually exclusive. Purpose can be found at any position in any organisation because it has to do with how you approach your job. Here are a few ways in which you can create a purpose-driven culture that your employees will love and that will show in their performance.

  1. Define your why: A sense of purpose comes truly from within. The attempt to reach within can start by asking yourself the question “Why are we doing this?” Defining the organisation’s purpose and stating as well as reinforcing it at intervals is very important to let your people within and outside know where you are headed and why should they associate with you.
  2. Invest in people: Did you know that 76 per cent of employees list learning and development opportunities as a top driver for engagement? Investing in your people, giving them opportunity to grow and learn as well as recognising them for something as simple as their efforts to learn maybe a new skill is the most powerful way to motivate them. By helping people understand the relation between higher purpose and learning process, leaders can strengthen it, suggests the Harvard Business Review report titled Creating a Purpose-Driven Organisation. 
  3. Be at it constantly: The need to convey the purpose is of an ongoing nature. There never will be a point in time when you can say that enough has been done in this regard. You will need to ensure that the purpose sinks into the collective conscience of the company. 

As a company, you can use empathy to understand what the end user and your employees need and then drive meaningful innovations to build and communicate your brand in the correct light. To meet your organisation’s needs in this sector Performance n Purpose Consulting (https://pnpconsulting.org/) can be an invaluable partner bringing to the table its frameworks, methodologies, processes, tools and courses that can help build and build upon your employer brand.

How to use your Brand to shape positive experiences with all stakeholders?

The dictionary defines branding as the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding allows your customers and clients to know what they can expect from you. It gives your employees the motivation and direction to work in. Similarly, it helps to win over new clients as well. In view of all this it becomes very important to communicate your brand and its strengths in such a way that it creates a lasting and positive impression on the minds of the audience.

Amazon’s physical books stores arrange the books in the same way as they are shown on the site- book cover facing out. Building cohesive experiences, offline and online, for your consumers is a great way to enhance the brand experience. Amazon shows us that consistency is the key word in an attempt to keep the customer tuned-in with your brand. The user experience for the brand everywhere- be it in the office space, or in a store should all be aligned in terms of colours, logos and the feel of the company.

To project your brand in a positive light what would work better than showing them the work culture of your company. You can use pictures and videos of events to bring into focus values and beliefs that your organisation holds dear. Oreo, the biscuit brand, engages in playful tweets with its customers that are in sync with brand’s strategy of projecting itself as a fun brand. The two-way conversations surely delight the consumers thus increasing brand loyalty as well.

According to American Marketing Association, in the years to come, 78 per cent of search traffic will be driven by video content. Videos are already booming and consumers are hungry for more. The video content that you make should focus in delivering your message keeping in mind who your audience is and what kind of content they are looking for. You can use client stories as well as employee stories to increase engagement and drive traffic.

While we are talking about knowing your customer well before creating content for them, how can we not mention Walt Disney World. A look at their Facebook page and you will understand how well they grasp the fact that the major users are women in the age group of 34-54 which for them means Mothers who plan family’s vacations. Creating buyer’s persona or even fictionalised characters will help you know your ideal customer and which will then help you create more compelling content to which they will respond favourably.

As a company, you can use empathy to understand what the end user needs and wants and then drive meaningful innovations to build and communicate your brand positively. To meet your organisation’s needs in this sector Performance n Purpose Consulting (https://pnpconsulting.org/) can be an invaluable partner bringing to the table its frameworks, methodologies, processes, tools and courses that can help build and build upon your employer brand.

Cover Image: https://www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyWorld/photos/p.10157685986258274/10157685986258274/?type=1&theater

How do culture led initiatives enhance organisational resiliency?

If we were to use one word to describe Apple, it would be resilient. The company’s story is the stuff of fables. In the times when the music player and phone industries were commoditising, the company rose from ashes on the strength of simply and beautifully designed products.

Resilient organisations are the ones that are prepared to change with changing times. Resiliency is becoming a buzzword in business yet it is one of the most elusive traits to build upon. Organisations that want to bring in lasting change and those that want to make an enduring name for themselves have realised that building a company culture based on trust, agility and accountability is the key to being a resilient organisation that can time and again rise like the mythical phoenix (not necessarily from ashes though!).

With technological advancements and broadening of the competitive landscape of any industry, companies cannot afford to shy away from the demands of evolution. Developing a resilient, agile and innovative company culture, seems to be the only way out.

Naturally now you would want to understand what sets a resilient company apart from its competition. Here are a few key traits of a resilient organisation:

  1. Engaged employees: The greatest strength of any organisation is its workforce. Nobody recognises this more than companies that vow to take care of their employees beyond giving them the pay cheque and by promoting their physical, mental and social well-being. It is no secret that engaged employees are committed employees.
  2. Clear organisational objectives: These help employees see where the company is headed. Having clear organisational goals act as a reference point in times when employees need to make tough decisions.
  3. Investing in a relationship with various stakeholders: Resilient organisations clearly are able to see the importance of having a nurturing relationship with their stakeholders at various levels.
  4. Strategy: A resilient organisation is very well able to differentiate and invest between valuable and meaningful changes and trivial industry fads. 

If you are wondering where to go from here, we have got you covered. As a company willing to enhance organisational agility and resilience through culture-led initiatives, you can start by improving on current cultural strategies. A recent study from Accenture Strategy sheds light on the fact that in high performing organisations leaders were successfully able to engage employees in the change initiatives. 

The same research also pointed out that if employees were involved in shaping those changes, they were more likely to accept these cultural transformations like what Zappos’ CEO was able to achieve when he asked all the employees for one thing that could be changed in company’s processes and policies.  

Peer coaching and building safe and secure work communities, that encourage and stimulate learning also go a long way in enhancing agility and resilience in an organisation. 

To meet your organisation’s needs in this sector Performance n Purpose Consulting (https://pnpconsulting.org/) can be an invaluable partner bringing to the table its frameworks, methodologies, processes, tools and courses that can help build and build upon your employer brand.

Image: Google Images

What does it take to create a great Organization Culture?

In these times of short supply of skilled employees, culture, engagement and retention are the most important issues being faced by countries world over with 89 per cent of them citing them as their biggest challenges and 50 per cent calling these issues ‘very important’.

The organisations realising the importance of culture- something that says what, how and why things work here- have been able to create deep, meaningful engagement for their employees. We have many such examples, organisations like Facebook or Google or Apple who give due weightage to culture and have outperformed their peers. It is a well-recognised fact that they will continue to do so while attracting top talent.

We know that Generation Y (millennials) is becoming the largest contributor to the workforce. Companies and organisations looking to boost their businesses have to tailor their strategies to engage these employees. Engaged employees have been found to be 21 percent happier and 37 per cent more satisfied in their current jobs as compared to their disengaged counterparts. 

Research also goes on to shows us that among the factors that makes them tick are open communication, involvement with greater causes, flexibility and achieving a sense of purpose and fulfilment that goes beyond their salary- all workings of great work culture. 

So, what does it take to create a great company culture? Here are three starting points to build a strong workplace culture that will help you hire, engage and retain best talent during the war of talent.

  1. Define your purpose: As a company ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing. Whom does it serve and who benefits from it? The honest answer- a sense of purpose- will probably help you understand why do companies like Ikea or Apple feel different than their competitors. 
  2. Define values and standards: Everyone in the company must have a clear understanding of the set of values and the standards that the company emphasises upon. The aim should be to develop a cohesive culture that though is malleable enough to adjust to the needs of changing times. The ‘Chevron way’ has come to be a classic example in this case. Though oil companies hardly ever get good press yet employees at Chevron know and vouch it for being a company that is dedicated to safety, supporting employees (through health and fitness memberships) and team members looking out for one another.
  3. Identify your brand ambassadors and be one too: Richard Branson hardly needs any introduction as does the Virgin Group that controls about 400 companies. He is a shining example of how being your own brand ambassador directly affects people in perceiving the value of your business. Leading by example is a fantastic way to ensure that your employees see you withholding the values associated with your company and its culture. Similarly identifying your cultural ambassadors- employees who embody and value your company’s mission- and rewarding them to keep doing the good work can go a long way.

Image: https://bit.ly/2TXmtmg

Social Referrals and Talent Acquisition- Magic!

Within a month of joining Pure, an insurance group, employees are asked by the recruiters if they know someone who would be a good fit for the company. This is how this organisation meets 40-60 per cent of its talent needs.

To attract the best talent, companies have come to depend on employee referrals as a popular channel. Companies realise that as much as they might want to promote what they or their brand stand for, their resources are finite. This is where social referrals are more and more coming into play. Social referral programs turn your highly enabled and loyal customers as well as employees into your brand advocates, unashamedly.

To understand better how social referrals help you rope in more and more like-minded people take the example of Zynga games. We have all played one or the other game form this developer whether on our desktops or on mobile devices. Inherently, all these games incorporate your friends in the interface and encourage you to get more and more friends onboard in lieu of incentives such as in-game rewards. Or look at Dropbox, whose 30 per cent of users come from referrals via social sharing features. 

Getting back to social referring your employer brand and what it can do for you take a moment to digest this- in a job market survey, it was found that 76 per cent employees give employee referrals a great deal of importance while searching for a new job. 

You might now be thinking how social referrals help you meet your talent needs better. Well, social referrals from your employees will bring in people that they think will identify with company’s core values and ethics. These employees are the ones who tend to believe firmly in the company’s brand- its value, people and their own jobs. Hence, people who come via them will be better informed about job expectations and will automatically be more convinced about the organization’s values. 

Not just that, because they are better informed about the company it can be safely said that tend to be better fit and better satisfied with their jobs and employers. This will definitely impact voluntary attrition.

Social referrals also help you save and cost per hire. It has been found that referrals are 5X more likely to be hired and begin work 29 days quicker than candidates hired through other channels.

Here is what you need to do to leverage social referrals for your brand:

  1. Make referring easy and rewarding: Provide generous referral bonuses or offer public recognition to employees who refer qualified employees. Also make sure that they can participate in any such programme with a click of the button. You can even add an edge by bringing in the element of gamification by letting employees earn points for their referrals.
  2. Encourage participation: To ensure that employees actively participate in the referral program you can send them openings matched to their background and network.
  3. Build a culture: Create a dedicated space where employees can talk about their experience with the company. These testimonials should be easily shareable and will likely encourage employees to refer other candidates.

Image: https://bit.ly/2uc5bTb

How do RPOs help communicate your Employer Brand?

According to the market research company, Aberdeen Research, 43 per cent of Best-in-Class companies are likely to partner with a recruitment process outsourcing today.

There was a time when recruitment process outsourcing or RPO was considered to be a valid option only for high-volume hiring by large organisations. Today, an RPO can be found at work in the smaller and medium market domain carving a place of their own in talent acquisition marketplace.

So, what is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)? 

The Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a type of Business Process Outsourcing or BPO where an external agency helps an employer’s talent acquisition process by donning all the responsibilities for all kinds of hiring related needs. RPOs can work under a partial contract where they cover sourcing and screening the candidate or they may be hired to cover the full cycle of the recruitment from getting a hiring request till the presenting and negotiating a job offer to the candidate.

Among the many benefits that you stand to reap from hiring an RPO – if your organisation is looking for speed, agility and flexibility in the recruitment process, or if it is their aim to improve the quality of candidates applying for jobs there, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is being praised for the wonders that it does for your employer brand. An employer brand is how your company is perceived by your current employees, future candidates and passive jobseekers. RPOs not only help develop and build your employer brand but also ensure that it is effectively communicated via the recruitment process. Here is a look at how working with an RPO can help make your employer brand stronger:

  1. Improving the candidate experience: Armed with the data and experience at its disposal an RPO can help you find the lacunae in your organisation’s candidate experience. This candidate experience is often a lasting impression that a future potential candidate carries of your brand. Getting it right with the help of RPO can help you not only attract the best from the talent pool but also help you find someone who is the right fit for your team.
  2. Conveying the brand through job description: RPO providers offer support in writing carefully worded job descriptions that helps convey the accurate skill set required for a job vacancy thus ensuring that it attracts relevant candidates.
  3. Work with a specialist from appropriate area: While choosing an RPO to work, you can choose a recruiter who has a proven track record in the area or sector most relevant to your vacancies. S/he who understands the role would be able to get a perfect fit for it as well. 

The RPO that you choose to partner with automatically becomes an extension of your company. They spend time knowing you better so they can represent you in the best possible manner.

Image: https://bit.ly/2Fcofpu

How can Learning & Development be a definite advantage to your Employer Brand?

What could be common between the aerospace giant Airbus and the 200-year-old Citi group? Nothing, it might seem on the surface but a look at the L&D culture would show that both these giants have hugely committed themselves to developing the competencies of their employees to meet any current and future needs. This in turn also gained them a reputation as an employer brand which makes the best want to work for them.

Turning their attention to the internal brand aka the employee brand has become a must for organisations the world over. Gone are the days of treating only the customer as the king. Companies and organisations, big and small, understand the importance of focusing on improving their employer brand- how they are perceived by current employees, future and passive candidates. The employer brand, they recognise, is how people will see them as a great place where they want to work at.

Given that 55 per cent of job seekers are looking for opportunities in growth and development, among the many things that you can do to build and improve your employer brand is an emphasis on learning and development as a core value and part of the company culture is sure to win brownie points with the right audience. Let’s take a closer look at the different ways in which L&D contributes to your employer brand:

  1. Statistically employees that receive regular training are more likely to have a positive outlook. So, when they go to a site like Glassdoor they will be able to post their recommendation in that light. Thus, these employee testimonials praising your commitment to L&D will look very attractive to any prospective employee on the lookout for a job with you.  
  2. Ongoing education is crucial for retaining employees because it helps improve employee engagement which is a fairly used measuring tool for employee happiness. You would be surprised that in America alone this figure stands at a meagre 33 per cent, meaning that roughly 66 per cent of the workforce feels disengaged. By providing opportunities to learn and develop their skill set you are doing your brand a favour and gaining happy, engaged and skilled employees who are invested in your company’s vision.
  3. Research from Universum and DHI group found that 68 per cent of the world’s most attractive employees already have an employer branding strategy in place and their EVP is linked to their talent development strategy. Glassdoor reports that 60 per cent candidates consider any job offer holistically i.e. beyond just compensation and job title. Therefore, providing L&D opportunities can be a key competitive advantage over your competition in these times of war for talent.

How can developing a pipeline of leaders influence your Employer Brand?

An Indian company established in 1857, that today has a turnover to the tune of US $42 billion and boasts of 120, 000 employees across 35 countries, the Aditya Birla Group, seems like just the right mix of modern and traditional. If you dig deeper into its success you will find that the EVP of the company “A World of Opportunities” kind of sums it up all. The group’s commitment to people development has been well institutionalised at all levels and has been sustained in the group’s agenda for the past two decades. Go a bit further and you will realise that this mammoth growth has been possible because the leadership at senior and top levels has been agile taking effective actions in complex and changing conditions. 

Its programmes like “REFERISM’ where young and entry level employees compete or the mid-career program called the ‘Global Manufacturing Leadership Program’ as well as the internal ‘Manufacturing Talent Council’ have been set up to prepare a pipeline of exceptional leaders who can take up challenging roles.

In today’s world, leadership development has come to be seen as a synonym with employer branding- marketing and positioning a company to a specific group of people for attracting and retaining talent. It is clear as a day that the secret of attracting the right talent lies in recognising the fact that happy and engaged employees become your vocal advocates and nothing travels faster than word of mouth, isn’t it?

Netflix is obsessed with developing a nourishing culture for the employees where they choose to work for the company. The leadership recognises the fact that to get the most out of its workforce, they need to lead through influence and not command.  

According to Randstad’s Workplace Trends Guide, 75 per cent of the companies they surveyed said it takes them more time than ever before to find the right talent to fill positions. So, what can you do about it? Job title and compensation are all on offer everywhere. Companies that do not struggle with this fact offer employees a sense of alignment with what their brand stands for. 

Survey after survey has shown us that people pick jobs based on the company culture that they perceive. If this company culture, the senior team and leadership were to ensure them with personal examples that they have the power to take their decisions, their failures will be tolerated and risk-taking ability appreciated, the success of the likes of the Aditya Birla Group will be easy to duplicate.

How to get the Employer Employee Deal right?

Google has consistently ranked somewhere at the top amongst the brands which are considered to be a great place to work. It continues to stand apart from the competition because at Google they have always focussed on attracting and retaining the best talent and putting it out for everyone to know what they expect from a ‘Googler’.

Companies such as these have always recognised that they do not only deliver to the customer. The smartest companies are those who know and understand that consumer and employer brand are two sides of the same coin. Many brands which are looked at by the consumer as good brands might not be great employer brands.

What is interesting is that some old and established brands like M&S or Boots in UK, though not known for being as modern as Google, enjoy consumer loyalty and attract the best from the talent pool too! This makes one ask what is it about the employer- employee deal that an employer brand manager should be focussing on to make it a win-win situation for all the stakeholders- within and outside- involved. 

A recent study undertaken by KRC Research shows that across the world only 53 percent employees believe that their employer has delivered on the deal that they talk about publicly. This means that there is a considerable number of employees who think that there is a gap between the spoken and the delivered. This gives rise to a lack of trust between the two parties involved. So, it is very important for the brand manager to ensure that the organisation delivers what it promises at the onset.

An employer brand manager has to begin his/ her work from knowing what the brand stands for aligning the development of an employer brand with those sets of values. 

Going back to Google, its recruitment process is a sort of a signature experience. Or look at Starbucks, where they have, coffee tasting as part of their ‘internal ritual’, which helps anchors to the core of the brand and allows employees to come together and helps convey their passion to the customers. 

Effective brand management is all about translating these rituals into competitive advantages. It is important to recognise what are the moments when the employer-employee deal is sealed and what to do within that time. The employees when shown that the company is serious about them and their welfare will bring in a lot to table apart from just loyalty and that is what getting the DEAL right about is.

How does Employer Branding impact Talent Acquisition?

The people that you hire make or break your brand. But there is this war for talent. It’s a reality. 73% CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills. Also the surety with which you can objectively define what those key skills are is quite rare. Given the rapid advancements in technology, those skills evolve daily. You are expected to know how to work the latest upgrade of the software, you are supposed to be self teaching/ learning from YouTube or HBR or Udemy or other MooCs. 

The point is- all of that can be learnt. Those skills that get updated every day, can be learnt and taught. But the intangibles can’t be taught, they are the ones that ensure that you hire the right folks who stay engaged in the process of learning what it takes to be a part of your organization. Hire smart people, let them figure out how they want to learn, empower them to participate in the future of your organisation and then watch it unfold. 

Ok. Now let’s start the real talk. How do you hire people that fit that description? Talent acquisition plays a critical role in this process. No longer is it enough to have recruiters that have a thorough knowledge of the skill set for the role and know the organisation’s website by rote. The recruiter is the first point of contact with the prospective employee, that’s from where the employee life cycle starts.

Recruiters need to be able to understand the ethos of the various teams that operate out of an organisation. While the overarching culture is the same, there are subsets to the organisation culture too. There needs to be deep understanding of the desired behaviour in such teams and what kind of behaviour or thought process isn’t considered suitable. Before the role is opened up to the market, the idea is to get the hiring manager to have a “wishlist” conversation (what all would you desire in the new employee) with the recruiter and a “hygiene” conversation (what’s the minimum that you need this person to know). The recruiter needs to be skilled at probing both the hiring manager and the prospect. Asking the right questions is often the greatest skill that a recruiter can possess. 

Recruiters need to have a thorough understanding of the culture of the company. That means they need to have experienced what they are trying to communicate to the prospect. For instance, one of your company values is future mindedness, but the recruiter works on day to day indents with no visibility of her own career path or how she’s contributing to the bottomline. She’s not experienced future mindedness, how do you expect her to sell it as a hallmark of working with your organisation? 

Moving on, the recruiter needs to be able to listen. And not only to the answers to the questions that are being asked. The idea is to be skilled in the art of making conversation, of listening through small talk. It’s all very well, when you tell them to walk you through their CV or talk to you about the latest challenge that they solved; but not as enlightening when they tell you what they are really crazy about. Do your recruiters pick out what makes the prospects unique and what makes that uniqueness relevant to your organisation? 

Leaders from far and wide have corroborated that employer branding these days is strategically more important because it deals with securing long term recruitment needs. Talent acquisition today deals with people who are a jumble of past experiences, future hopes, messy emotions and in search of a purpose. People were the same 20 years ago, but they were motivated by the need to earn and to maintain families, these days they are motivated by the need to be doing something meaningful with their time. That’s a sea change in what drives the talent pool. And that change needs to be reflected in the people that hire them too. No longer is it enough to hire for skills.