How can employer branding talk to both the candidate and the consumer?

The all-encompassing nature of employer branding strategy is what makes it unique as well as interesting about an organization. It is often falsely believed that HR owns the employer branding in a company when in reality it is held together by all stakeholders, from its employees to its customers. You ask how? We’ll tell you how! 

It is not just employees that define a company, it is also its vendors, prospects, and clients, who own the brand. Therefore, it is important for the employer brand to be treated as a multi-dimensional functionality that needs to spread beyond its single role. 

In this article, we will talk about the cross-functional nature of employer branding and how companies have used it to build a powerful image among all its stakeholders. 

Cross-functional collaboration is at the heart of employer branding strategy

The influence of employer brand cannot be overlooked when it comes to its multi-dimensional impact on all the aspects of an organization. Cross-functional collaboration happens when different teams across an organization come together to contribute towards a common goal. If their skills are relevant and utilized in the right manner, it can help a company achieve new levels of innovation, creativity, and success. 

An all-star team made up of marketing, legal, HR, product, sales, and agency can handle the marketing efforts effectively  across all channels and execute your strategies to reach out to the right target audience. 

For example, when General Electrics (GE) released a video in 2017, aired during Oscars, the company’s message was loud and clear – they want to hire 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020. The right timing, right message, and right strategy made GE’s video an internet sensation that garnered 1 million views and louder applause. This is just a good example of a company whose marketing team works closely with the branding team to bring content that changes not only employer perception but of the brand altogether. The movie-style video that showcased a world where women scientists were treated as stars really pulls at the heart strings and makes you believe in the brand for its values. 

Cross-functional employer brand advocacy reign supreme

If cross-functional collaboration is the key to brand management, then the role of employer brand advocates is even greater. With their diverse knowledge and skillsets, these employer brand advocates are out there to advance all aspects of an organization. They are not only responsible for acquiring and retaining the top talent, but also use their strategic excellence to deliver products and services in such a way that the customers feel engaged and wowed. These brand advocates or employer brand champions bring the best of both worlds – marketing and recruitment. 

Booking.com started a One Mission Project that encouraged its thousands of employees to document their travels in a company-provided GoPro. This two-pronged strategy allowed Booking.com to create tons of free inspiring travel videos that they shared across their social media channels as a cost-effective marketing effort. At the same time, it strengthened the company’s brand image as an employer that cares and empowers its employees to experience the world. 

Building credible viral stories via employer brand champions

If you want to create a ‘credible employer’ narrative, then you need to create viral content that resonates not just within the organization but outside of it. Cross-functional employer brand teams must work together to tell a story about company’s values and vision in a powerful manner. Lending human voice and sharing real life stories across the organizational hierarchy and demographic levels can help create an authentic employer brand image that will be relatable for all the stakeholders. 

In a unique employer branding campaign, Accenture encouraged its employees to share a video regarding diversity-related struggles at workplace. This highly shareable video not only spread around the organization like wildfire but outside of it too. As a result, Diversity Inc. and Fortune covered this campaign extensively that reinforced the brand image as a great employer as well as an organization of inclusivity. 

Employer branding now far transcends just the hiring and talent acquisition benefits. It has come a long way from being a one-dimensional approach to reach a point where its doctrines are being to develop an all-inclusive strategy that not only attracts top talent from the market but also reliable vendors and loyal customers. 

How to use Employer Branding to Build a Stronger Workforce?

As employers struggle to find the right talent, employer branding helps companies position themselves as a desirable employer that attracts the right set of candidates. With articulate statement of purpose and goals, the company sets precedent for its existing employees and potential ones to create an image of a worthy employer. But how exactly does that help? How have companies used it to build a reliable workforce?

According to a report by Glassdoor, 84% jobseekers consider an employer’s reputation when choosing to apply for a job. Given the statistics, it is evident that the importance of establishing a positive image is indisputable. However, despite its growing importance, recruiters often falsely believe that employee branding is nothing but an HR fad that is a waste of resources leading to superficial results. But even though this unique strategy requires intense amount of time and effort, its significant returns make it an essential investment. 

That said, employer branding has long since evolved from being a marketing gimmick to a necessary organisational strategy. As a result, companies all over the world are developing their brand image in order to stay ahead of their competitors and acquire the best talent. Today, many business leaders agree that employer brand image plays a key role in their recruitment as well as their business success. 

For employers who aren’t exactly sure how to use that in their favour, read on to learn how leading brand names have used their employer brand to successfully hire the best from the lot and how you can do it too. 

Google

Google’s selection process is rigorous and the company is known to use a brain-teasing interview approach to identify cognitive skills. They leave no stone unturned in finding highly qualified candidates that can fit into their system organically and work as per their organizational ethos. So how do they attract their potential employees?

Google’s employer branding technique involves reaching out to the right candidates to show that they are willing to go the extra mile to find the right people who can thrive within the company’s environment, both at personal and professional level. Their career website explains what they expect from their employees and what is it like to be within the company fold. 

The tech giant receives as many as 3 million resumes each year for 7000 job openings! With only a 0.2% chance of being hired, Google sets the right precedent for its potential candidates as well as competitors to strengthen their hiring game. But despite so many applications, Google vets each of them individually and makes sure no great candidate slips through unnoticed. What’s more? They use the referral system to find good applicants from their employees’ network. What better way to promote yourself than good old word-of-mouth?

Starbucks

Want to learn how to build an influential employer brand from your social media channels? Learn from Starbucks! Starbucks’ Twitter and Instagram handles, @StarbucksJobs, are used exclusively to interact with potential candidates and to promote themselves as an employer brand. #SbuxJobChats, exclusive Twitter hashtag for employees to express their gratitude and a YouTube channel with millions of views also helps in creating an impactful employer brand. 

Starbucks has always stayed committed to being a desirable employer and has never failed to provide consistent support to its employees. They know exactly what their brand stands for and what it represents. They use this opportunity to build a strong employer brand reputation to increase the satisfaction and confidence of all their stakeholders. 

What makes Starbucks ad their employer brand strategy unique is their comprehensive focus on everyone, from their frontend employees to their corporate staff. The company continues to increase work benefits and perks to keep all its employees happy and content. A relaxed dress code, parental leave package, free education, etc. makes its employees advocate the brand strongly across their social media pages. 

Salesforce 

Named one of the best employers in the world by Fortune, Salesforce calls its employees and its team members as ‘Ohana,’ which means family in Hawaiian language. The word is followed by the phrase, ‘Family means no one gets left behind… or forgotten!’

From enviable employer reviews at Glassdoor to a healthy work culture, Salesforce has nailed every aspect of providing their employees with just the right environment to encourage their growth and by extension, their own. 

They have a very single-minded strategy to attract new talent to their company pool. They have put together effective videos about employee experience and built an attractive career site to inspire people to work for them. Salesforce also pays close attention to all the decision points that candidates have when they are deciding who to work for. As a result, their employer branding strategy became employee driven that has managed to attract the best of the best. 

These employer brands have one thing in common – they have a great reputation that all the stakeholders want to connect with. Employer branding has come a long way from being going the extra mile in hiring process to being a key strategy for acquiring the right talent. Take notes from these companies to create a successful employer brand that is so much more than recruitment. 

What millennials want from employers in India and China?

415 million millennials in China and 440 million millennials in India make up the world’s 47% millennial population. With statistics like these, it is safe to say that this generation will lead 21st century’s workplace narrative. 

Despite promising numbers, there are myths that portray millennials as self-absorbed and lazy, and at the same time there are reports that dispel these myths. In this technology-led and absorbed era, millennials are redefining everything from consumerism to employer-employee relationships. Born at a time when the employment market was highly volatile and businesses were experiencing global recession there has been more emphasis on skill and less on education. 

Over the years, the business landscape has changed dramatically as Asian countries like India and China produced an increasing number of talented workforce. The time is ripe for employers to rework their people strategies and employ new hiring practices to attract, retain, and motivate the best millennials to develop the workforce for 21st century.  

But what does the largest pool of millennial workforce want? Let us have a look. 

They see a promising future and successful career for themselves

The Indian and Chinese millennials share wide-eyed optimism as far as their job prospects are concerned. With China’s new reforms and policies in 1978 and India’s economic reforms of the 1990s, both the countries have witnessed significant economic development resulting from extraordinary change at the societal level. Both the countries continue to evolve at a rapid pace, with new policies and implications for its workforce. Owing to this change, the millennials in both the countries are upbeat about their careers as the business outlook appears buoyant despite competition. 

Together, the new brand of millennial workforce is bringing in a paradigm shift towards the ways of working. However, the volatile environment in India and China does not necessarily support this change which can result in declined innovation as well as productivity. Therefore, businesses must factor in the impact of this shift in workplace design and policies to influence their most valuable asset, their employees. 

The need for strong personal identity and empowerment

According to Zarina Bhatena, Vice Senior VP and HR head at Atos Worldline India Pvt Ltd., this generation has grown up amid technology and is used to being a part of important decision-making processes at home throughout their formative years. Indian gen Y prefers enhanced designations and personal entity due to peer pressure and ambitions. Organizations should consider defining designations and roles and clearly define the path for quick progression for a rewarding career. 

At the same time, a global study conducted by PwC too highlights that millennials in China have a strong desire to be autonomous. This generation is continuously looking for elements of individuality to cultivate confidence and develop strong personality. However, this stands at odds with homogeneous workplaces in China that the employers must address to appeal to their millennial workforce. 

Work-life balance takes precedence

Millennials all over the world, not just India and China, have a strong desire to create work-life balance. They do not want to work endlessly for a company that does not give them personal time and space. 

They do not settle for mediocre careers

This new breed of workforce does not settle for run-of-the-mill careers. The need for passion and job satisfaction remains the top most priority for millennials of these countries. The employers need to understand the generation Y is very different from the workforce before them when it comes to work culture. There is a visible shift from loyalty for their employers and fewer expectations, to one that is more empowering and autonomous. 

Gen Y in India does not put as much importance on tenure as it does on clear performance metrics. The winning combination will be defining processes that will put freshers on a fast track career path and equip them with infrastructure to move quickly. This will allow them to have multiple experiences across the organizational structure. 

Chinese millennials, on the other hand, often consider workplace to be their first opportunity to express their personal identities. However, the traditional offices lack personal spaces. Companies can shape their employees and their skillsets by giving them personal workspaces that are suited to their individual preferences. 

Attracting the millennials

The millennials march to a very different tune than their predecessors, especially when it comes to workplace setting. They demand more strategic approach to their recruitment as well as retention policies. Millennials look for a life beyond the periphery of jobs and want to steadily climb the corporate ladders. Regardless of where they come from, be it India or China, they both express strong desire to do something that feels worthwhile and take company values into account before considering the job. You need to have a lot more than just money to lure the biggest pool of talented labour!

How can you improve your candidate’s job application experience and why should you do it?

When in the year 2011 Airbnb grew from 50 employees to 500, the hyper growth began to take its toll. The company knew that something had to be done immediately about their hiring experience which they felt was suffering the most. They invested in mapping out the ideal candidate from finish to start and then took various other steps to train hiring teams, fostering a candidate-centric culture and invest in recruiter communication. And look where that has got them- consistently among one of the most sought after places to work at!

Candidate experience has become important more than ever today. This buzz word of the Human Resource department is no longer just limited to the recruitment process. It has become closely linked to Employer Branding. Employees, both current and prospective, have become well informed and better connected, making companies pay great deal of attention to a candidate’s job application experience.

Why does this deserve your attention?

Studies show us that 70 per cent of the graduates are put off by someone else’s bad experience with an organisation. In these times of social media where the bad word travels faster than light, it comes as no surprise that 59 per cent of candidates with negative experience intend to share the news publicly via social media whereas 42 per cent of the candidates who have had a negative experience intend to shift their loyalties and stop buying from the company.

On the flip side, a good candidate experience not only yields happy applicants but almost all applicants with a positive experience when interviewed for a survey said, were likely to accept the job offer. Better still, 81 per cent of them intended to take to the internet to tell their friends, acquaintances and family members about their experience and 71 per cent were likely to buy products and services from the company in question.

How can you improve candidate experience?

  1. Convey your employer brand: Your employees are your greatest advocates. Start conveying your employer brand via video testimonials, employee reviews right on the career page or website. Zappos puts sliders with information on team members on its website. This helps candidates to build a rapport with the interviewer and learn about the company culture. Netflix has a podcast on its website that tells people everything about work and life there. They are looking for people who will challenge their assumptions and push them out of their comfort zone.
  2. Put your process everywhere: A candidate will like to know the full process from start to the end and what they can expect at different stages. Make sure this information is available to them in form of tutorials and videos or infographics or even flowcharts. The transparency and ease of doing this will never go unnoticed. Take a look at what PwC does for their Middle East job postings- https://www.pwc.com/m1/en/careers/student-application-process.html
  3. Put some thought in the communication: Online interaction can sometimes sound severe and often lack human touch. Only 14 per cent job seeking candidates in a survey conducted by Career Builder consider employers responsive. However, software makes this easier to tackle- keeping the qualified ones in the loop and informing others to move on.

Image: https://www.recruiting.com/blog/the-case-for-providing-a-positive-candidate-experience/

How can your Career Page convince a Candidate that you are the BEST Employer ever?

Netflix, the American entertainment company that specialises in providing streaming services as well as fantastic movies and original Netflix series has some fantastic videos on its “Jobs” page (https://jobs.netflix.com/). But no biggies from Hollywood feature in them instead you can meet the real heroes and heroines behind team Netflix there. Besides the videos there is a section about company culture and the company’s take on the future of internet entertainment. 

The business world at the moment is galore with wonderful examples of companies working hard to woo talent. There might be many platforms from where the recruiters are sourcing candidates, but all the candidates sooner or later do end up at the company’s career/ jobs page. 

LinkedIn’s research shows that people do not apply for a job soon after hearing about the job opportunity. It says that instead first, 59 per cent will look up the company’s website, 66 per cent would want to know about the company’s culture and values, 54 per cent about perks and benefits and 50 per cent about its mission and vision.

In the light of these facts you can see that a company’s career page is more than just a place to advertise job openings. It is an opportunity to display the employer brand in which 75 per cent of your prospective employees would be interested.

Here is what you can do to assure a candidate who visits your company’s career page that you are the right choice.

Let’s start with taking a cue from Netflix itself. Give your career page a personal feel by sharing the videos and testimonials from your current and past employees. Don’t use stock photos and videos, personalise it.This is a good opportunity to give prospective candidates a sneak peek into what a day at work in your company looks like, subtly introducing them to your employer brand and to the benefits of working with you. The career page of Tinder is simple yet effective. There’s a video in which employees tell you about the company, what it is about and how they experience life at Tinder. 

Another factor that almost all of the candidates will appreciate and find impressive on your career page is a sense of clarity. Make sure that you display jobs and job filters in a hassle-free way on the page. Aim at helping candidates discover those with the minimum number of clicks. Anybody who is applying or looking to apply for a job with your company would like to know what is the recruitment process there. Hotjar’s career page acquaints job seekers with its recruitment process through a 5-step timeline, showing candidates exactly what they have to do in every phase (https://careers.hotjar.com/). 

Zappos the online shoes and clothing retail company based in Las Vegas does something so innovative yet simple that we are just floored. Zappos realises that not everyone will want or find an opportunity immediately. Zappos Insider gives them an option of staying in touch with the company thus building a talent pool from where they can recruit the future team (https://jobs.jobvite.com/zappos).

Besides taking these measures you can make sure that the career page can be optimised for mobile phone screen. Respond timely to queries on processes, acknowledge both good and bad reviews and systematically step up your content to keep the page looking fresh, updated and interesting.

Featured Image: https://jobs.netflix.com/

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 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.