Hire a Marketer for Your HR Department

If there’s one trend that is picking up speed in today’s organizations, it’s the realization that keeping departments in separate silos isn’t the most efficient way to do things. Cross-departmental collaboration is helping companies tap into the skill sets of their talent in new and exciting ways. For example, consider how well HR and marketing work together. When you think about the fact that HR handles recruitment and, as part of that, is becoming more focused on managing the employer brand—hiring a marketer to join your HR team makes sense.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 40 percent of CEOs surveyed said they are relying on employer branding to secure their long-term hiring needs. And when it comes to branding, who better than a marketer to step in and take the lead?

Explore some of the reasons why your HR team could use a marketer:

HR is rooted in marketing principles. In a way, the HR department plays an integral role in shaping the company culture, from the way the employer brand is represented during the recruiting process, to the how employees perceive the company. As EmotiveBrand.comexplains, “The authenticity of the employer brand depends on HR and marketing working together to create an employee experience that is true to the brand.”

Marketers know how to nurture relationships online. The nature of marketing is such that marketers tend to be up on the latest technology tools and platforms to help build customer relationships, says Rajveer Gangwar on LinkedIn. Just as marketers use social media to engage customers, such tactics can—and should—be applied to recruitment and retention efforts. Having a marketing-minded HR team member can help you stay on the cutting-edge.

Employer reputation management will help with talent acquisition. In addition to putting forth a corporate image, it’s important to stay tuned to the conversation. According to a 2016 Glassdoor survey, 69 percent of people said they were likely to apply to a job if the company hiring manages its employer brand actively (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment). Having a marketing person on your HR team can ensure that you are addressing employee reviews and other feedback appropriately and promptly.

A marketer can help maintain a consistent voice across all channels. Chances are, you already have a great team of marketers on staff who work hard to establish branded collateral, so shouldn’t HR benefit from that as well? Dell is just one of many organizations that realized an HR partnership with marketing was a win-win all around. Not only did the pairing allow for a more consistent employer brand identity, but having marketing step in allowed the HR pros to remain focused on the recruiting tasks that they did best.

In-house marketing can help HR improve employee morale. You don’t want to wait until your employees leave your organization before finding out what they really thought of the company. Keeping the lines of communication open and listening to the digital conversations(as marketers do) can provide valuable insight as to what drives and motivates your employees. In turn, you can determine which HR programs are working and if you should implement new ones.

Learn the data and analytics ropes from marketing. Today’s marketers have more data and insights to inform their decisions than ever before, and so does HR—if it can learn how to track and measure performance, that is. Bringing on a marketer to track relevant metrics can help HR improve employee engagement.

From recruitment to employee relations to retention, HR is more complex than ever before. If you have the opportunity to add someone to your HR team, consider someone who can think like a marketer and elevate your employer brand.

Photo Credit: teamgivingsacramento Flickr via Compfight cc

This post was first published on V3Broadsuite.

Tai Lopez on Social Media’s Role in Talent Recruitment

In a recent article published on the Entrepreneur website, Tai Lopez, who is himself an entrepreneur extraordinaire, spoke of his love affair with social media. His history with this platform goes back to the very early days when social media wasn’t even a recognized term and Facebook was still in its humble beginnings. The year was 2001 and from that moment on, Tai became involved in a love affair that would still be very much alive almost two decades later. As an entrepreneur with a huge staff working with him at his 67 Steps program, Tai Lopez understands just how easy it is to pick the right talent on social sites because of the potential for engagement. And, to Tai, engagement is key.

A New Way of Branding

Just as businesses use social media to brand themselves, so too can professionals make use of sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to highlight their skills and strengths. Tai feels that through the major engagement possible with an audience, it is possible to grow your own brand exponentially almost overnight. That’s what going viral is all about, and a professional with the right approach can grab the attention of top corporations. If an entrepreneur can climb literally to the top of his industry by engaging an audience with social media, there is no reason to think that talented professionals can’t woo CEOs of corporations they would like to interest.

Social Media Is a Two Way Street

When you are having a conversation with someone, neither person does all the talking. That is what dialogue is all about. Social media is the same. While professionals seeking a position with a large corporation might be actively using social media to pursue corporate followers, corporations are doing the very same thing from their end. It is amazing just how many job applicants got their foot in the door through social sites. It’s a place where both sides get to learn a little about the other and once a ‘connection’ is made, the next logical step is to submit a resume and from there an interview is almost a non-issue. After all, you’ve already become ‘friends’ on your social site, following each other and so the interview becomes a mere formality. A face to face conversation after hours of digital dialogue.

When YouTube Is Your Preferred Media

Then there’s YouTube. As the social media site where your audience actually gets to see you in motion, what is left to discuss? Imagine going on an interview where you’ve followed a company’s videos and have seen their HR team in video presentation after video presentation? In reverse, that HR team has seen you talk about your trade, has a preconceived idea of just how personable you are based on your presentation and by the time you do meet face to face, it’s like you’ve known each other for years. More and more company recruiters are scoping out social sites of professionals they would like to talk to about a position with their corporation.

Video Remarketing Takes the Lead

Since Tai loves social media, and above all YouTube, he has found a way to make it work well with his promotional style – that would be remarketing. As an entrepreneur, and a very successful one at that, Tai knows just how important it is to connect with your audience and he lives by the old proverb, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Since it is imperative to keep your connection with your audience, you can’t just let them bounce away from your site. There is no guarantee that they will click on your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page but you can still reconnect with remarketing! To do a little test, visit a few of Tai’s pages. Then, go to YouTube and watch a video or two.

Increase Your Odds the Lopez Way!

Chances are you will find Tai’s ad linked to the video you are about to watch. That is remarketing and it keep’s Tai’s face up-front and personal with his audience! They may not click on your pages but they will, almost certainly, view a YouTube video in the coming days, and this is your best way to use social media to your advantage. It’s much more effective than those click-ads on other social sites because – another cliché here – seeing is believing. With a YouTube ad, your audience sees you and you become more real. That’s the benefit and one that Tai has perfected. And, by the way, it can work both ways! A recruiter remembers an applicant better and an applicant remembers to follow up on applications they’ve submitted. This is remarketing in recruitment and it is ultra-effective!

SEO works the same in job searches as it does in marketing any other type of business, so all that recruiter needs to do is type in occupational terms and will soon be led to your social site. Tai Lopez advises anyone seeking a professional position to make use of social media because they will be light years ahead of other applicants. If the company has already seen and heard you, they must have a great enough interest to go to the next level, the interview. Having built a successful business or two (or 20) using social media, Tai Lopez knows just how effective it can be. You, too, can use it to your advantage now that you know just how effective social media can be in the recruitment process.

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#WorkTrends Recap: Brand Culture at the Intersection of HR and Strategy

Imagine your consumer brand and employer brand as concentric circles. In the very center you’ll find an overlap of similar traits. So why do companies struggle to understand how the two are actually critical to both your consumers and employees and impact both on the same level.

On this week’s #WorkTrends show, host Meghan M. Biro was joined by Larry Oakner and Rebecca Longman of Tenet Partners. They discussed the intricacies of company branding, human resources, and employee engagement.

Larry and Rebecca shared what it takes to make your organization a magnet for keeping employees and attracting desired talent.

Here are a few key points that Larry and Rebecca shared:

  • HR leaders should be more involved with their staff more frequently. A constant conversation should happen
  • Humanity is key, not just numbers
  • More companies need to understand the impact employees have on the bottom line

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here:

You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the podcast and chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). Next Wednesday, March 1, Meghan will be joined by Kimberly Howell and Kelsey Stephens of PAN to discuss the importance of workplace assessments.

Remember, the TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following our #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ community. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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#WorkTrends Preview: Brand Culture at the Intersection of HR and Strategy

Imagine your consumer brand and employer brand as concentric circles. In the very center you’ll find an overlap of similar traits. So why do companies struggle to understand how the two are actually critical to both your consumers and employees and impact both on the same level.

On Wednesday, February 22, #WorkTrends host Meghan M. Biro is joined by Tenet Partners experts Larry Oakner and Rebecca Longman when they discuss the intricacies of how your company brand is positioned at the intersection of Human Resources and overall company strategy.

Join them at 1pm EST to hear what it takes to make your organization a magnet for keeping employees and attracting desired talent.

Brand Culture at the Intersection of HR and Strategy

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Join Larry, Rebecca and me on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, Feb 22 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

Immediately following the podcast, the team invites the TalentCulture community over to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion. We encourage everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How can organizations deliver on the brand promise to employees? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q2: How can marketing and HR collaborate to create a unified brand message? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q3: What are the benefits of treating employees like customers? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Don’t want to wait until next Wednesday to join the conversation? You don’t have to. I invite you to check out the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and our TalentCulture G+ community. Share your questions, ideas and opinions with our awesome community any time. See you there!

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!


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#WorkTrends Recap: 2017: The Year of Selling Yourself

This week on #WorkTrends we went beyond selling products and services and looked at how 2017 can be the year of selling yourself. We are all salespeople whether you realize it or not.

Host Meghan M. Biro was joined by best-selling author and expert salesman Anthony Iannarino to discuss what people need to do to rise above the crowd at work and be a standout employee.

Anthony shared tips and ideas that you will be able to use during 2017 and beyond.

Here are a few key points he shared:

  • Selling is not a bad word. It is all about relationship and building trust
  • Selling yourself requires transparency, authenticity, and knowing what unique product only you have to offer
  • The more you care about other people, the easier it is to gain trust

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here:

You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the podcast and chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). On Jan 11 I will be joined by career coach Valerie Martinelli to discuss how women can elevate women.

Remember, the TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following our #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ community. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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#WorkTrends Preview: 2017: The Year of Selling Yourself

We’re very excited to kick off our very first TalentCulture #WorkTrends of 2017!

We have a very big show lined up that everyone will benefit from. The Year of Selling Yourself. This goes beyond selling products and services, on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, we’re going to be discussing how YOU can better sell yourself. This means focusing on what you need to do to rise above the crowd at work and be a standout employee. It also, means what each and everyone of us needs to do to find success and happiness in life.

Please join host Meghan M. Biro and her special guest sales advocate and best-selling author, Anthony Iannarino on Wednesday, January 4 at 1pm EST, as he shares tips and ideas that you will be able to use during 2017 and beyond.

2017: The Year of Selling Yourself

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Join Anthony and me on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, Jan 4 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

Immediately following the podcast, the team invites the TalentCulture community over to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion. We encourage everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why do people struggle with self-promotion?  #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q2: What can employees do or use to stand-out among their peers? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q3: How can employees showcase their skills to leadership? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Don’t want to wait until next Wednesday to join the conversation? You don’t have to. I invite you to check out the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and our TalentCulture G+ community. Share your questions, ideas and opinions with our awesome community any time. See you there!

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!


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Employer Brand vs. Consumer Brand: What’s the Difference?

Branding has been a buzzword for a while now—a hot one—but employer branding as a concept? That’s still relatively new. Many companies know they should be doing more of it to recruit talent and increase employee engagement—but they don’t have the budget or resources to follow through. Others might simply confuse it with consumer branding, which is understandable since there is some overlap.

If employer branding is part of your 2017 planning, here are reasons it’s important and also different from consumer branding. And, here are some ways to you can make employer branding work for your company.

The Case for Employer Branding

According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report, executives said that they had allocated only 8 percent of their recruiting budgets to employer branding. Yet 53 percent stated they’d invest more in employer branding if money was no object. That’s probably because they’ve come to realize that employer branding is a worthy investment. Just consider the research done by Harvard Business Review, which revealed that a poor reputation costs companies at least 10 percent more per hire.

Add to that the fact that passive job seekers are very likely to “shop around” when seeking out better employment opportunities, and you can see why it’s so important to stand out in a good way. And that’s what employer branding is all about.

Employer Brand is Just One Puzzle Piece

Whether you’re talking about your products, services, workforce, or prospective talent, reputation matters. Having consistency when it comes to the core values of your brand is important whether it involves how you treat your customers or your company culture.

In fact, many organizations are finding success through promoting their employer branding outwardly to showcase why their companies are great places to work. Think about it: A satisfied and engaged staffer is more likely to make referrals or discuss how awesome their employer is on employee review sites and social media. From a job seeker’s perspective, such well-branded testimonials can be very appealing to see when researching a company.

On the flipside, as Kirsten Davidson, head of employer branding at Glassdoor, puts it, “when customers and the external world see a disconnect between a company’s brand and the true experience of working there, it sends a clear signal that something isn’t right.”

That being said, while there should be a clear connection between the consumer and employer brand, there are also several areas in which you must approach the two differently. Take a look:

Audiences. One major difference between consumer and employee branding is considering whom you are trying to reach. Naturally, the target for your employer brand will be much more focused than your consumer brand, for which you’ll likely want to have more of a mass appeal.

Communication channels. While you may do a lot of consumer branding through content marketing, Facebook, or other advertising channels, your employer branding will be more effective on platforms like LinkedIn, company review sites, a career-specific Twitter account, and a career page on your company website. Keeping the messaging separate will help ensure you are reaching your audiences on the channels they are most likely to be using when either in product research or job-seeking mode.

Engagement goals. For consumer branding efforts, you might measure success in brand awareness, customer acquisition, and sales. For employer branding, recruitment and improved employee relations are key goals. Therefore, you’ll need to think of employer branding as more of a long-term strategy you can build upon throughout the entire employment life cycle versus some of the more instant gratification metrics you’d consider when you launch a new product campaign, for example.

Voice. Many companies can establish a voice that appeals to their consumers, but when it comes to employer branding, they tend to fall short and come off as corporate and generic. Don’t be afraid to establish a distinct but authentic voice for your employer branding efforts that represents your workforce.

For example, when Cisco realized its bland job posting social media announcements weren’t generating much interest, they decided to add a more human touch and personal voice to their employer branding efforts. In fact, they enlisted their actual employees to tell others why they loved working for the tech company.

While the execution of your employer and consumer branding efforts might look very different in terms of who you’re trying to reach, the messaging, and the outcomes you’re trying to achieve, they should ultimately complement each other. When done right, both your customers and prospective employees will appreciate the value of your brand as a whole, and feel good about building a relationship with you.

photo credit: impatto Fiat ‘Get Ready’ brand film by agency IMPATTO via photopin (license)

TalentCulture Corner Office Talks Marketing, Branding And Innovation With Brian Carter

In this Corner Office article, Cyndy Trivella, Events Manager with TalentCulture, spoke with Brian Carter, Founder and CEO of The Carter Group and Co-author of the best-selling book The Cowbell Principle. Brian is one of the most innovative people in business, and a marketing and branding genius. He went from a state of unemployment to building one of the biggest and most successful non-traditional agencies in the social marketing space.

Cyndy and Brian talked about the struggles people face with marketing, managing their brands, the challenges of business ownership, and value of innovating responsibly. In line with our series, this article will highlight the perspective and experience of someone who has made the move to the “corner office.”

Cyndy: Brian, I can understand why you easily engage with people. You always have a thoughtful way of explaining things and I know our readership will appreciate your comments. So let’s begin with you. What are the top challenges you face in your current role?

Brian: We’re currently facing growth challenges in my consultancy, the Brian Carter Group. We’re hiring and streamlining our back-office, CRM, accounting and client onboarding processes. And because we don’t want to use the typical agency model, we emphasize only having experts doing our clients’ work. So we grow personnel slowly, which means a lot of work for each of our experts. This means morale, communication and efficiency are critical to our clients’ success and to ours. I work directly on our communication systems and make sure we stick to processes that will keep us efficient.

Cyndy: I applaud you for breaking the mold on the stereotypical agency model and it sounds like a lot of high-quality work is being produced because of it.

So in full transparency, the thing that brought you to my attention, well over a year ago, was your book, The Cowbell Principle. You and your co-author, Garrison Wynn, take an interesting approach to offering career advice in the book using the cowbell to help people recognize their unique gifts, their personal brand and how to capitalize on them to find success and happiness. So tell me why is finding and sharing our personal cowbell so difficult?

Brian: A cowbell is a passion, talent or skill that you enjoy and so do others. To start, a lot of people don’t develop their skills, or don’t know what their talent is, or don’t pursue their talent. And sometimes they have emotional hang-ups about the thing they love or pursuing what they love.

Conversely, there are people who believe they should pursue what they love no matter what effect it has on others— that’s not a cowbell either. It has to be something that is valuable to others.

Honestly, a lot of people want to do “good-enough” work and go home and watch Netflix. I feel that temptation, too. Finding or developing a cowbell requires a desire for greatness and a rejection of mediocrity. If you’re not driven by something, or toward something, you won’t excel and you won’t stand out.

Cyndy: What you’ve just said is very impactful, especially about not understanding our skills, strengths and gifts. No doubt, some people struggle with brand identity and marketing their attributes. What’s odd is, I see this same problem affecting companies and in many ways they suffer with the same issues. So why do companies struggle with marketing their brand?

Brian: First off, a lot of companies don’t have a brand, or at least not an exceptional, interesting, developed one. And just because you created a logo doesn’t mean you have a brand. There are a lot of crappy logos out there.

Branding is about identity. Who are you? Who is your company? How are you unique? Just as with the cowbell question, a lot of people don’t have an answer to the uniqueness question. They aren’t doing anything unique.

It takes work to find that thing. Exploration. A commitment to a difficult search within.

And once you find it, the guts to stick to that brand. Not wanting to be all things to all people. Being willing to turn some people off in order to turn others on. That’s scary, it really is. But leaders need to have that kind of courage. And when you don’t have courage, you don’t have a great brand.

Once you have that brand, marketing it is easy — if you know what it is, you should be able to convey it in video and blog posts and other media. If you can’t, you may not really know what your brand is yet.

These days, it’s a good idea to let customer feedback influence how your brand develops. When you see what Facebook posts they like and don’t like, which ones they share or don’t share that tells you which parts of your brand resonate with customers and which ones don’t. If you want your brand to move customers to take action, you need to pay attention to how they respond to it.

Cyndy: Great advice to people and companies, alike. Without a unique value proposition, it’s impossible to distinguish one person or company from another. So I have a last question. If innovation keeps companies relevant and timely, why do some companies and employees believe business should continue as “we’ve always done it that way?”

Brian: You should never innovate just because something is new. The innovation has to be better than the old way, and the benefits of adopting the innovation have to outweigh the costs of changing.

Every time you change how things are done in your company, you create inefficiencies, even if they’re temporary. And you may find that some of your employees just can’t adjust. They might quit or you might have to let them go, which is costly. And further, there’s a cost to replacing them.

So it’s important to ask if the innovation is worth it. Is it going to last? Who is going to have trouble adapting to it? How big of a problem will that be?

It’s always hard to get people to change, and there are smart ways to get them to adapt, so you’ll never be able to avoid the grumbling and inefficiencies that come with change, but make sure the change is worth it before you implement it.

Cyndy: Change, even when for the better, can be scary for many people. Weighing the pros and cons makes a lot of sense when considering the benefits and consequences of innovating.

Brian, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you for your time and insights.

Brian: I appreciate it and enjoyed the conversation. Thank you.

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How Evolved Are Your Customer Relationships?

“Customer experience is the perception that customers have of all their interactions with an organization. Customer engagement is something different, its a behavior and attitude, an outcome of customer experience.” ~ Bruce Temkin

I came across an article in my archives about customer relations that got me considering my own business relationships. The article discussed the differences between customer experience and customer engagement. I forgot what an excellent article this is and how well it explains the difference between the two.

Often times, I find companies proclaim a devout loyalty to customers, which can be unfounded. Customer loyalty is when a strong, and often times, symbiotic relationship exists between the service / product provider and the end-user / customer. There’s an emotional connection… one which goes beyond superficial platitudes, or an acquiesce to continue interacting. What it means is that both parties are invested in each other and gaining an advantage through the relationship. This is positive engagement and that is the mark of an astute and usually successful company.

Enter Technology

The digital age has changed many things, including the way companies and customers interact. When customers are engaged, they will provide (unsolicited) testimonials, tweet appreciation, post comments about positive interactions and gladly acknowledge the company / service provider. The venues are many and the dissemination of their acknowledgements are, often times, instantaneous. For the organizations that “walk the talk” for service, this immediate recognition is a blessing. However, for the companies that provide only lip service, these customer responses can be highly detrimental especially with social media amplifying these vitriolic messages with speed.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

To truly understand the customer experience, companies need to delve into understanding customer expectations and set them appropriately. Even if a customer is new to an organization, this person will come into the relationship with a subconscious expectation of how they want to be treated, what will be considered satisfaction with the end-result, how the quality of the service or product is delivered, the simplicity or difficulty of the interaction, and how this experience compares to that of equal or similar products and services. Of course these perceptions are based on each person’s individual history, but in general, many people will agree on what is a bad service experience versus a good one.

Is Price Really the Reason?

The one thing that many customers and companies easily confuse is mistaking price for value. Though price is a factor in the purchasing decision, it’s not the main reason why people buy. This is why online sites like eBay do so well. People are bidding for items they deem as valuable with the intention to purchase based on their reality of value. This reality of value is where companies have an opportunity to get aligned with the consumer. This understanding allows companies to position themselves and their products / services to an audience in the market for their wares. In this instance, the organization’s value proposition is congruous with the consumer’s view of value, which better allows the customer to believe the price is indicative of the value for the item they desire.

Keep in mind, there are consumers who believe they can always have the best quality for the lowest price. These individuals have not evolved in their understanding of what value and price mean and how they are two separate things. They are a tougher sell and will require more education, a more in-depth series of questions to understand their motivation, and they need time to comprehend why and how your product / service is of value, regardless of the cost. Customers who lose sight of why they want to purchase something and only focus on getting the lowest cost can become a service nightmare after the sale. They haven’t listened well as their focus was strictly on price, and subsequently they may require more time and energy after the sale, which can be costly. Keep in mind, your time is part of the equation and with that has a value associated with the transaction. Selling at any cost can be a losing proposition for the service provider, as profits can be negatively affected, as well as your brand reputation. Carefully weighing the pros and cons in this instance is highly recommended and don’t be afraid to walk away from prospects who maintain a myopic focus on one thing… the price.

Everyone Needs to Understand Value

It’s important for the company and those selling to fully understand and appreciate the value of the service and product being offered. Articulating the benefits is a must for successful comprehension to occur. When companies can explain the benefits of their products and services, a door opens to a more in-depth engagement. Likewise, the buyer is reassured in knowing this understanding exists so the reality of value is easier for them to understand and to move forward with a purchase. Companies that understand their value proposition and know how to position their products and services to trigger appeal have made the commitment to evolve their customers’ experiences to a higher level of engagement in the relationship. This is where the win-win situation happens.

Engagement Create Advocates

The multitude of advertising venues available today is endless. Yet all these venues cannot compare to one singular form of marketing… promotion by word-of-mouth. Testimonials and endorsements are by-and-large the bellwether of customer satisfaction and impending engagement. According to one source, 90% of consumers will look at reviews prior to interacting with a company. Testimonials and endorsements allow engaged customers to promote and advance the value of your product / service because they deem the value to be in direct relation to the price they paid. This sweet spot is when you know the company’s value proposition and customers’ reality of value meet at the center of the interlocking circles. This is, also, where engagement flourishes and the customer relationship needs continual nurturing. This attention will encourage customer engagement to endure and grow, all the while an infusion of new customers begin interacting with your product / service

Though both have value, customer experience and customer engagement are two separate interactions. Engagement is the by-product of a well-managed relationship and one that all companies strive to attain. It’s the win-win and the most beneficial to both parties. Elevating your customer interactions should be a goal and one that is part of your company’s value statement. Engagement will always beat out experience.

photo credit:  Consumers via photopin (license)

The Benefits of Allowing Employees to Build Personal Brands

I recently attended a talk on personal branding given by Dorie Clark, bestselling author of “Stand Out,” at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

At the conclusion of the talk, I asked Dorie her opinion of employers that restrict employees attempting to brand themselves using social media. I was in agreement with Dorie’s answer that employees should be allowed to build their personal brand.

Employers are concerned that employees frequently writing and posting could embarrass or negatively impact a company’s reputation. What employers fear are employees who build their reputations outside their business, making them more attractive to recruiters and other employers.

I used to observe employers attempt to retain employees by denying them training or asking them to work long hours to make it harder to network and attend interviews. Today I see employers creating processes for approving employees social media posts that are often arbitrary, slow moving and without transparency.

Some employees have told me that their posts have lost some relevancy as weeks and months pass waiting for employer approval. Employers in the financial industry, hiding behind the excuse of compliance and regulatory approval, have told employees to stay completely off social media.

The courts and the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) have weighed in a with variety of opinions, many of which have tilted in the direction of employees having some right to free speech. I understand employers’ point of view and their concern about protecting their reputations. I also would advise employees to not use social media to rant about their work grievances, how much they dislike their boss or to speak ill of their employer. An emotional outburst on social media disparaging an employer could stay with the writer throughout one’s career.

Employees creating original content, or commenting online, is an opportunity for employees to further intellectually engage, stretch themselves and grow as leaders in their field. This growth is beneficial to the employer as new relationships are formed, employees think of new ways to analyze and solve problems, and the company enhances its reputation having an emerging industry superstar as a member of their team.

Employers that hold back their employees, and don’t let them grow, run the risk of sliding into obsolescence. Employees pushing the boundaries of their expertise will bring new knowledge that has been vetted online (and likely offline as strong online relationships can lead to strong offline relationships). This gift of constantly flowing knowledge into companies will keep employers updated on changes in their industry. Employers can use this as an effective feedback mechanism to allow themselves to pivot quickly when necessary.

Job security is a relic of the past. Anybody can be fired at any time for any reason. Every employee needs to create their own career insurance. Writing and posting on social media allows employees to expand their network of contacts. Employees can show the marketplace their insight, expertise, skills and desirability as a potential hire. As the global economy continues to progress towards a knowledge-based, gig job market the competition for employment will become furiously competitive.

Advanced degrees and specialized education are becoming so commonplace that these credentials will transition from being competitive advantages to being minimal requirements on a job listing. References have lost much of their impact on the hiring process as many employers, worried about the threat of litigation, provide nothing more than basic information about an employee when asked about an employee’s performance. A person’s ability to stand out from a crowd will be crucial to obtaining employment. Having a strong social media presence in one’s field will be a key tool necessary to differentiate oneself from the thousands that will be seeking every work opportunity of the future. TalentCulture’s CEO Meghan M. Biro wrote an excellent article, “Five Reasons Why Social Media Should Be On Your HR Radar,” that details the importance of your social media brand and recruiting..

Employers must let employees write and comment on their social media personal pages about their industry. Employees need to be thoughtful and professional about every post they write, and every comment they make as they are creating a permanent record for all potential employers. All posts should contain an employee disclosure that their posts and comments are personal and do not reflect the views of their employers.

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Rethink ‘Brand You’: Find Your Authentic Self

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” – Shakespeare

If there’s one business slogan/fad/concept that’s in danger of becoming meaningless through overuse, it’s “brand you.” These days I can spot a “brand” (as opposed to an authentic person) from the first word out of his or her mouth. “Brands” tend to be a little too perfect — packaged, programmed, and plastic. They’re pushing what they think we want to buy, not their real selves. I see this unfold every day in social media – for better or for worse. It’s like the difference between processed food and the amazing stuff you can get at farmers markets.

I want authenticity when I hire, and even when I’m not. Catching my drift? I do not want some amalgam of what the applicant thinks the employer is looking for. I want to know you for the real you. I want to celebrate your personality – every nook and cranny. Real success has always been about knowing ourselves and staying true to that core. People who know themselves enrich an organization’s culture, and add to the workplace community with their spontaneity and honesty.

Branding isn’t without value, but it can’t be the ultimate measure. That has to go deeper.

So build the “real you”. As the brilliant, nimble consultant and author Dorie Clark says in her must-read book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Reimagine Your Future:“Your reputation lasts for a long time, and needs to be treated with respect. You won’t get very far if you try to be something you’re not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.”

Here are five ways to find your authentic self:

1) Take Shakespeare’s advice and be true to yourself. Know your values and never compromise them, even if doing so might lead to short-term gain. Integrity and authenticity go hand in hand.

2) Be good to yourself. We all have to take care of ourselves. And this means doing things that enrich us, body, mind and soul. Go fly fishing, tutor ex-cons, learn a new language, discover a cool new rock band, start a new business venture, bake cupcakes, read Trollope, hike the Andes. Find things that nurture you and make you feel good about yourself. This will deepen yourself of sense of self, and your self-confidence.

3) Have fun. Life is short and often hard. Fun and a sense of humor help us all get through. They also happen to be amazing productivity and community-building tools. I can’t tell you how many tough meetings I’ve been in where the mood is turned around by some genuine humor. Exercise your funny bone.

4) Don’t hide your so-called flaws. No one is perfect and no one is expected to be perfect. You may be cranky at times, pessimistic, even antisocial or a little weird. Well, guess what? Steve Jobs was a freak. Understand yourself — talents and “flaws” — and bring it all to the table.

5) Know what you want. Career trajectories are impossible to predict. But if you know who you are and what you want, you’ll save a lot of time and energy. To the greatest extent possible, only go after opportunities that ignite your passion and stir your soul.

Authentic people are exciting, original and refreshing, the essential element of an exciting, vibrant workplace culture that leads to knockout performance. Exciting companies are hungry for authenticity. Find your true self and run with it. Please let me know how it goes.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes.

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Personal Branding: A Fine Line Between Ego and Enterprise Success

With the growth of personal blogs, social media, and other online media, there has been a rapid rise in the number of individuals both within management, and the rank and file of organizations, who are building, and seeking to build, substantial online reputations. However, many companies aren’t necessarily looking at social media as a platform for individuals to build brands, but rather as a channel to reach more customers. The question is: what stance should companies take as it pertains to their employees building successful online presences? I believe it is important that employees are empowered to become advocates, but at the same time, the efforts and outcomes must support the needs of the brand. The biggest caveat is mixing personal branding with ego, which always defeats the real purpose of brand building efforts from a business standpoint.

While it seems fairly obvious that ego must definitely not be part of a company’s social business, or an individual’s personal branding, we see it happen all the time. Guy Kawasaki once said, “I wouldn’t call myself humble.” But after a particularly humbling experience, which he shares here, the former Apple evangelist, venture capitalist, and author has emerged as a true advocate of humility.”When you have this kind of perspective that you’ve arrived, that you have established a brand,” he says, “that’s a really slippery slope toward egomania.”

I can cite multiple instances where ego has surreptitiously made its way into branding efforts, ultimately corrupting the brand. I can point you to the cases of star CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, who have achieved cult status as far as branding is concerned, without undermining the success of their respective brands. But, these shining examples are not easy to replicate. On a more practical note, you need to maintain a delicate balance between your personal branding, and the success of the company you are representing.

Individual Brand Building vs. Achieving Company Goals

Today, customers are searching for the real face behind a brand. They are seeking the human touch. They want to know the brand they are going to be associated with. Employees lend this human side to a brand, which is why companies should encourage them to build their own persona and voice through blogs, social networks, and content sharing sites.

But, for individuals dipping their toes into the pool of personal branding for the first time, it’s really important to understand what is it that they hope to achieve through it. When employees are representing their organization through digital channels, it’s more likely that they are acting as a mouthpiece to deliver the voice of the organization. In fact, strong personal brands are needed to strengthen the corporate brand. Somewhere along the way, more precisely, when a personal brand starts to capture attention and is talked about, the problem of ego surfaces.

The problem is more visible in the case of high profile business executives. Since it’s easy for anyone to become self-absorbed in the course of sharing, informing, educating, and interacting these high-profile figures are at serious risk. They don’t flinch from sharing their personal stories, be they significant, or trivial.  There’s a fine line between narcissism, and a genuine desire to help a company drive their thoughts, ideas, and messages forward. When the true purpose of personal branding is forgotten and it becomes a self-promotion campaign, the company gains little or no value. I think people who are seeking personal branding to leverage enterprise success should master the art of great storytelling, minus the brag. Only when that happens, can they be viewed as true advocates for their organizations.

A version of this post was first published on on 1/27/2015.

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Tweet Naked: Using Social Media to Build Your Brand

Social media is one of the best marketing tools available when it comes to building and a brand. However, people and companies are missing an opportunity to connect with consumers by not utilizing it effectively.

Today’s #WorkTrends guest, Scott Levy, author of “Tweet Naked”, shared tips and tricks to help you get the most from your investment of both time and resources in social media marketing. Scott also touched on the brands that have mastered social media marketing and why we need to emulate what they do. Here are a few great takeaways shared by Scott:

  • If you want to continue seeing great content on social media, reward people with likes and shares
  • The brands that we should copy are the ones focusing on customer service and social listening
  • Contribute – not for likes and followers – but because you genuinely want to help

The #WorkTrends conversation that ensued was insightful, especially Scott’s advice on personal branding and bringing value to a conversation online.

Check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Haven’t had the chance to tune into a #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). Next Wednesday, May 11, we will be joined by Rebecca Macek, Director of Recruitment of CareerBuilder, to discuss why we should rethink the candidate experience to get better hires.

The TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following the #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ community. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.


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Discovering Your Brand

There is something powerful about someone who knows who they are and what they are all about. It’s even more attractive when you can genuinely feel their presence in written word and spoken word.

Branding isn’t something you craft so let me break that down for you. It’s something you begin to discover by becoming aware of who you truly are. No sugar coating, no ideal scenarios, just you.

You might begin to ponder why anyone really likes you? Maybe you are shocked to learn that you truly aren’t who you say you are when it comes down to it. And you know what? That is okay.

Why? Because it’s part of the discovery process.

You can’t become who you are without truly acknowledging all your shortcomings, your goofy ways, your insecurities, your obsessions, and much more.

Why is this important? Well, in order to build a powerful and sustainable brand, you must know exactly who you are and what you are all about.

Let’s think of a few brands you associate yourself with:

  • What’s their mission?
  • What do they sell/do?
  • Who do they normally target/what is their demographic?
  • Why are they here?

While you may think that a brand’s mission is equivalent to why they are here, it’s not always black and white. Much is the same for someone without self-awareness. You cannot full embody your brand without knowing all the in’s and out’s of your brand aka your self-awareness.

Where does your brand come into play?

Everywhere. Every action you take and every word you say is a reflection of you. And yes, even when you are having a rough day and you do something rash — that’s you. But you know what else is you? What you say/do after that — that defines the moment.

Everyone is different and that is something I have truly found beautiful in this world. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and to have emotions. Anger, sadness, fear, happiness, excitement, disappointment, anxious — it’s all part of the journey. Each moment we live fully, we begin to understand who we are as vulnerable beings.

In moments of despair and uncertainty, we begin to understand how to compose ourselves in the moment. The only way to get there is the opposite. Time after time, we see a pattern and start to craft “I”.

This is who “I” am and i’m not afraid to show it. This is where you want to be no matter who you are and what you are all about.

Let’s write it together (Takeaways)

  1. Who are you and what are you all about? Think deep and take your time.
  2. If this was the beginning of your life purpose, what do you want to focus on? What subjects, causes, people, desires? Don’t worry, this will change over time.
  3. Who are your friends? Do they align with your purpose and brand? Variety is OK but make sure you aren’t surrounding yourself with assholes.
  4. What is your expertise or future expertise? People like to follow experts in their craft or at least humorous until they become that person.

In a world full of impostors, make a point to stand out whenever you can. Don’t feed others what they would want from you but what you want/like/desire/enjoy/believe. Your personality is what we all want — show us.

You are you and nothing will ever change that. Embrace it.

A version of this post was first published on Medium 1/15/16.

5 “Foot” Steps To Creating Brand Humanization

I’m super passionate about the importance of Brand Humanization, that mix of culture, community and corporation which can create magic for employees and shareholders, or signal trouble, not only in the ranks, but in the larger world of brand reputation. There is so much happening in this arena right now. It’s very cool really.

On the one hand we have TOMS Shoes, the oh-so-hip shoe brand with a huge social network sustained by a very human brand with a cause. TOMS hits all the high notes in Brand Humanization. It leverages the power of social networks and attracts a growing community of consumers – brand advocates – who are continually energized by the brand’s charitable mission. TOMS fans trust the brand and its purpose; they see no conflict in spending money on TOMS shoes, because each pair sold triggers the gift of a second pair to a poor child. And the brand encourages social interaction, spurring the establishment of over 1,000 ‘campus clubs’, super-communities which not only follow the brand on social channels but are dedicated to amplifying brand messages across social channels. It’s a classic case of doing well by doing good. TOMS’ founder and his employees have enormous social and economic power and a certain level of moral authority. Combining commerce and charity without compromising his values might have been founder Blake Mycoski’s original concept, but the real engine of the brand is the community the brand has attracted and nurtured.

On the other hand we have a host of companies which have failed to link their brands with people in a way that drives value to the brand and its investors. Oracle, the software giant which earned the distrust and ire of the software community with multiple, predatory acquisitions and subsequent patent suits, is an interesting example. While Oracle ORCL +% has a strong brand, and loyal users and employees, arguably it has failed to demonstrate an ability to master the nuances of Brand Humanization. Let’s look at a few of the ways in which the company has passed on making its brand more appealing – areas where TOMS Shoes has succeeded.

  1. Persona: Oracle, dominated by the powerful personality of Larry Ellison, is a savvy organization, acquiring companies and software assets but in many cases destroying the human aspect of the acquired brands. While the company has enormous technical strength and deep pockets, it has not taken advantage of the social good will of the brands it’s acquired. And Ellison, while respected as an astute businessman, has failed to engage at a human level. Hard to compare with a charismatic CEO who gives away a pair of shoes for each pair sold.
  1. Community: Perhaps the sole exception to Oracle’s lack of brand humanization is the Java community, built by Sun Microsystems and still a force. But that community has been slow to warm to Ellison and the Oracle brand. Arguably Oracle, in its move to capture the commercial value of Java, has sacrificed the brand value of the Java community and missed a chance to humanize its brand. TOMS’ campus clubs bring more awareness and thus value, to its brand.
  1. Value: Traditional measures of brand value, often referred to as brand equity, include loyalty, affiliation, advocacy, information and identity. All of these translate into the world of social media and community, but new models, including Edelman’s Trust Index and the Social Currency methodology, help brands hone in more quickly on the emotional state of their constituents – which quickly affects brand value. It’s difficult to draw a straight line from these tools to shareholder value, especially with tech companies such as Oracle; service, food and consumer goods companies such as TOMS have an easier time tying this most important measure of a brand’s worth to the bottom line.
  1. Relevance: For Brand Humanization to take place, a brand must be relevant not just for the quality its services or products, but because it engages its constituents with relevant information and interaction at each point of contact. The Java Community is relevant to some of Oracle’s constituents, but not all. Oracle OpenWorld, the brand’s annual conference, makes efforts to stay sticky with a Facebook FB +1.47% page, You Tube channel and other social assets, but is it enough?
  1. Emotional connection: Tech brands may find this difficult, although TOMS has mastered the art, but forging an emotional connection with constituents is critical, and may require some direct experience that moves the target – TOMS current ‘One Summer to Change’ efforts and You Review video sharing site are shining examples.

Brand Humanization is incredibly powerful. To ignore it is to ignore communities who care about your products and services; to forgo building bridges through social channels and networks, and to miss opportunities to create new brand interactions driven by social channels. In today’s densely-networked, highly social world, it seems a terrible waste, and a real business risk, to ignore the value and power of Brand Humanization. Rock your brand – Give it a try.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on 5/22/12.


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What is Recruitment Marketing and How Your Business Can Use It

While recruitment and marketing may traditionally have been thought of as separate entities, they can actually work hand in glove. Recruitment marketing uses elements of both traditional recruitment strategies and brand marketing. The appeal that is created by powerful marketing can be harnessed by recruiters to develop job adverts that will attract candidates and potentially improve the quality of applicants to vacancies within a company.

Here are three ways you can mesh these two areas of expertise together in order to benefit your business:

Keywords That Attract Customers, Attract Job Searchers Too

Savvy companies who are competitive online know the value of SEO for their websites and target specific keywords in order to make conversions. Like customers, job hunters are also googling keywords when they’re searching for job vacancies. They’ll also use keywords for searches on job boards and networking sites like LinkedIn. You can extend the reach of your job ad by targeting specific keywords and phrases in the same way that marketers, advertisers and SEO and PPC specialists do to attract customers.

For example, if your company is looking to hire a new accounts manager, then you will want to look at the most frequently used keyword variations for this job role. This could include “accounts specialist,” “senior accounts manager,” “business account manager,” and so on. Using Google Keyword Planner and checking these against current job board adverts in your industry will help you to select the best keywords for your job ads.

Make An Impact, Do Something Different

There are adverts absolutely everywhere these days and marketing professionals know that in order to complete in a crowded marketplace they need to pull something special out of the bag to get people interested. There’s quite a bit of science behind this. You need to consider the messages that are being conveyed through imagery, colours, and the wording of job adverts. Avoid producing job ads that just replicate those of another company as job searchers are more likely to pass these by or not notice them at all.

Don’t Underestimate Brand Recognition, Utilize It

Your toaster has just broken and you’re shopping online to replace it. You already know what model you want so you type it into Google. You see ads for Amazon, a brand that you recognise, but also for an independent business that you’ve not heard of before. Which do you choose to buy from? The answer is nearly always the brand that you recognise because you already trust them, so it feels like the safer option.

With job hunting, the same situation applies. Job seekers are much more likely to be interested in jobs with companies who they know about, rather than companies that they’ve not heard of before. That’s where good branding and strong marketing presence comes in. Ideally, potential applicants will recognise your company from their branding and then notice the same branding on a job advert. If your company is smaller and lesser known, you want a candidate to be able to google the company and find links to well branded social media pages and articles featuring your company from reliable sources.

Online recruiting strategies can utilize company marketing, including branding as well as marketing strategies, to improve their job adverts and job descriptions, communicate the message they need, and attract the best candidates for your business.

Article by Ron Stewart, recruitment specialist and CEO of Jobs4Medical, a medical job board.

Photo Credit: Bigstock

Branding On The Inside

There are many lessons that can be taken from marketing and applied to HR. From the obvious point of how best to advertise a job to ways of spreading messages and training through an organization, marketing has been a source of useful innovation for HR for years.

One of the most powerful tools, and one of the most often misapplied, is branding.

The Surface Of The Brand

On the surface, brands are all about image. Consistent visuals, voice and style are important in getting the brand across. As a result, many attempts at internal branding focus on these features. It’s about matching Post-It notes, posters with the corporate logo, team T-shirts for away days.

The problem is that these are the surface features of a brand. They’re used to convey its real message to customers. But employees, already embedded within the organization, don’t need these things. It can even feel patronizing for someone who has helped shape policy or spent hundreds of hours answering customers’ questions to be treated as if a pen with a logo should mean something to them.

Brands As Values

The power of brands comes from their ability to get people’s buy-in, to get them engaged with an organization. In an era when employee engagement is so essential this is a great thing to tap into. But that means looking more deeply at the brand.

People don’t buy Nike because of the aesthetic quality of that swoosh. For anyone but a designer that’s an obscure detail to explore. What people buy into about Nike are the values it represents. The messages of boldness, courage, and a can-do spirit. Of living life fully and physically.

The swoosh is just a symbol of that.

Deep Branding

If you want employees to engage with the brand, you have to do more to convince them. They see behind the logos and the slogans to the beating heart of your company, the space where they spend their nine to five. To create a sense of excitement around a set of values you have to make sure that the company lives those values.

So if your company claims to value clear, open and honest communication, then that’s something you have to start living by. Senior leaders have to clearly and openly share the thinking behind decisions. Policies and procedures have to be stripped of jargon and clutter so they’re easy to understand. Management practices built around evasion or deception have to be stamped down hard.

If your company lives its brand, lives the values that it espouses, then it will gain a deeper meaning for your employees, beyond merely being the space where they earn their pay checks. It will provide values that they can commit to.

In And Back Out Again

Using deep branding to improve employee engagement is a worthy goal in itself. But it also has an added bonus.

If you live the values that your brand represents then the cracks in your image will never show, because they won’t be there. Nothing undermines an institution like the image of hypocrisy. To take the example of Nike again, the discovery that the company was using sweatshop labor did great harm because it contradicted the values of health and opportunity Nike purported to represent. A government department claiming to support open democracy will come under fire the moment it keeps a secret.

If you live by your brand, it will show in every action your employees take, and there will be no hypocrisy to find. Everything will reinforce that outward image of the brand, delivered by employees who are passionate and committed.

So embrace the power of the brand. Embrace your values.

About the Author: Mark Lukens is a Founding Partner of Method3, a global management consulting firm and Tack3, a mid-market and not-for-profit focused consultancy. Most of Mark’s writing involves theoretical considerations and practical application, academics, change leadership, and other topics at the intersection of business, society, and humanity.

#TChat Recap: Brand Ingredients: Are You Fascinating?

Brand Ingredients: Are You Fascinating?

I’ll admit it. I’m a little jaded about the topic of branding. Does it still matter?

For successful branding, how you see the world used to be enough. Today, a thriving “Brand You” requires knowing how the world sees you: a fascinating new perspective.

Knowing what makes your brand fascinating helps us stand out and show others our unique value proposition. I see this topic from two unique POVS – personal and employer brand. Cowbell, anyone?

This week, our community was joined by Sally Hogshead, creator of The Fascination Advantage™, and expert on personality assessments & branding. Sally helped our community understand what makes branding a fascinating skill for winning talent management strategies.

We must shift our focus from talent skills and experience, to their unique values:

Discovering what someone does best is how you’ll find their passion. So why not take a similar approach with job ads?

Instead of writing a boring job description, why not answer one of the most important questions a candidate has to ask? After all…

If you know your brand is fascinating, you must communicate it to others. Tell people about your mission and goals. Show candidates inspiration is on the menu and it’s there if they want to have it. Don’t forget…

We’re all working to achieve personal and professional goals, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bridge the two together and create a fascinating workplace.

Maybe branding matters after all. 

See What #TChat-ters Said About Branding 


What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Next Wed., Feb. 18th!

TChatRadio_logo_020813-300x300#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. The topic: This Year We’re Gonna Recruit Like It’s 1999.

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! 

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Todd Quackenbush via Unsplash cc

#TChat Recap: How Body Language Powers Your Brand

How Body Language Powers Your Brand 

I think etiquette is old school. There, I said it.

With so many ways to communicate, is the idea of etiquette too confining in the Social Age?

Etiquette may be old school, but good manners still matter.

Soft skills are the new differentiators in personal branding. In a blink of an eye, we can fell valued or dismissed on social.

This week on #TChat: Deborah Thomas-Nininger, founder of DTN Productions International-Hallmark of Etiquette, joined our social community and shared her knowledge on body language and its electrifying brand affects.

Body language is more than just a good handshake: it’s an essential part of your personal brand.

Let people see who you are through your body language. Powerful body language is memorable: what takes years to build can dissolve in an instant.

Social technology has changed the landscape of personal branding and reputation management. Transparency and authenticity are non-negotiables in a world gone social. Your reputation is your personal branding, and vice-versa.

Body language is an often overlooked and under-estimated ingredient to successful personal branding. Give this critical soft skill the attention it deserves. 

See What #TChat-ters Said About Talent! 


What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Next Wednesday, Jan. 28th!

TChatRadio_logo_020813-300x300#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. The topic: How Authentic Storytelling Impacts Talent Strategies.

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! 

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Margot Pandone  via Unsplash cc

5 Key Recruitment Trends For 2015

Widening gaps between demand and supply of skilled workers mean that recruitment will see a more competitive hiring and spending environment in 2015. In the coming year, 69% of recruiters expect to see competition increase. In the face of more challenging recruitment, what trends do recruiters need to keep up with to ensure successful sourcing and hiring in 2015? Here are the five key trends that you need to know about.

Increased Focus on Quality of Hire

It’s no secret that hiring the best people is the way to boost organizational success, and 2015 will see the quality of candidates becoming an increasingly important factor. Global recruiting leaders have cited quality of hire as a top priority, and as the most valuable metric for measuring a recruiting team’s performance. Four years ago, referrals were the best channel for sourcing quality hires. Today, job boards and social professional networks are preferred.

Increased Emphasis On Using Social Networks

Social recruiting has been big in 2014 and it’s set to be even bigger in 2015. With this in mind, 73% of recruiters plan to invest more in social recruiting. But currently 33% of recruiters don’t spend anything at all on social recruiting, so there are still big changes that need to be made in this area. LinkedIn remains the clear champion social site for hires with 79% of recruiters having found a hire through the site. While 94% of recruiters are using LinkedIn, next in line is Facebook, used by only 66% of recruiters. Social is now one of the most ripe platforms for finding top candidates, with both quality and quantity of candidates proven to improve when a social recruiting strategy is put in place.

Closing the Gap Between Active and Passive Candidates

2015 is going to see a big shift toward closing the gap that exists between active and passive candidates. Active candidates (those currently seeking employment) have been the main focus of recruiters for some time, but passive candidates (those who are not looking but are open to speaking to a recruiter) are a key talent pool that is not to be missed. In fact, 75% of professionals would categorize themselves as “passive,” yet this potential is greatly untapped, with only 61% of companies recruiting passive candidates. A recent poll has revealed that on LinkedIn, at least 63% of members are not actively looking but would still be interested in new job leads. 2015 is certainly the time for companies to capitalize on the passive talent pool.

Embracing the Concept of Talent Branding

Talent branding is the social, public version of your company brand that seeks to promote your company as being a great place to work so as to attract new talent. Companies are increasingly noticing the impact that a good brand and company culture has on their hiring process. Research from LinkedIn has found that costs per hire can be reduced by 50% and turnover rates lowered by 28% when a company has a strong talent brand in place. On top of this, three-quarters of talent acquisition leaders have said that talent brand significantly increases their ability to hire good talent. To give themselves as edge against other employers, 73% of organizations plan to highlight company culture in the coming year. There is no doubt about it, the line between recruiting and marketing is blurring, as recruiters are finding that marketing a strong talent brand helps them to attract better candidates.

Using Mobile Recruiting

This key trend is one of the least tapped into by recruiters so far. There’s a growing disparity between the 43% of job seekers who use a mobile device for their job searches and the 59% of recruiters who don’t invest in mobile career sites at all. Not to mention the fact that the number of candidates searching and applying for jobs on mobile devices is on the rise. Companies and recruiters need to increase their mobile recruiting behaviors to match candidate demand. 2015 is the time to make recruitment websites mobile-friendly and to mobile-optimize job postings. The easier it is for candidates to search and apply, the more applicants companies will be able to screen.

2015 is going to be a competitive year for recruiters who are facing skills shortages but high demand for quality hires from companies. Tapping into these five key recruitment trends will guarantee that companies and recruiters can keep up with the competition; there’s no option for lagging behind next year.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, construction and medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

photo credit: The Daring Librarian via photopin cc

3 Ways To Future-Proof Your Career

A realization that we haven’t made the smartest of career moves might have dawned on many of us when reading the news this week. Experts have predicted that 10 million British jobs — which equates to one in three roles — could be taken over by computers and robots.

Whilst honing our skills to make sure we are indispensable in the workplace is still essential, it’s equally important to remember that we are competing against computers as well as people. If you want to make sure a robot couldn’t do your job in the future, it’s vital to future-proof your career now.

Choose a Low-Risk Career

It goes without saying that some jobs are more at risk of automation than others. The positions that are at the highest risk are those in the sectors of administration, sales, transportation, construction, mining, energy and production.

When it comes to choosing a “safe” job, careers in healthcare have consistently proved to be among the most resilient. When the recession hit in 2008, healthcare jobs ranked among the most recession-proof careers. New research also lists the healthcare sector as one of the “safest” fields, along with computing, engineering, science, law, education and financial services.

Create a Professional Online Profile

You can’t argue with the facts. Ninety percent of employers are using social recruitment tools like LinkedIn to source talent and 78% of recruiters have hired through a social network. Having a fully developed online profile and an established network of contacts is a vital way of engaging with your industry. As well as keeping you alert to changes and new opportunities in your field, it’s a great way to get noticed by employers should it come to that in the future.

Start creating a professional profile online by building up your online personal brand to strengthen your authority in your chosen career field and make sure that you look the part. Once your social media profiles have been perfected, learn how to network effectively on social media. Launching an online portfolio or blog to showcase your work, whether that’s website designs, articles on key trends in your field, or even just a presentation about you and your skills, can also be a good move.

Adapt and Diversify to Survive

You don’t need to go back to school and change your career completely. However, being willing to adapt and able to diversify is essential to future-proofing your career. A recent study from PwC, which explores the need for better alignment between talent and opportunity, cites the need for individuals to be willing to embrace change and apply their skills in new places.

Take stock of your skills. Sixty-three percent of CEOs say availability of skills is their primary concern, so find areas where skills gaps are emerging in your sector and invest time in learning how to fill those gaps. You wouldn’t put all of your funds into one investment and the same rule applies here. When the time comes to make a change, you’ll have the skills in place to transfer roles. Adapt, diversify and survive.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

photo credit: euzesio (seldom here) via photopin cc

Kudos To You: 10 Top To-Do’s To Keep Those Customers Coming

Every day we spend our precious time and hard-earned money out in the market searching for new customers.  We advertise, we network, we use social media strategies – all for the purpose of finding ever-elusive hot new prospects and turning them into profitable new customers.

With all this emphasis on attaining new customers, what we are doing to retain our current customers?  According to a study conducted by marketing guru, Dan Kennedy, here are the reasons that a customer leaves:

  • 1% die
  • 3% move away
  • 5% follow a friend or relative’s advice and switch to their recommended supplier
  • 9% switch due to a better price or better product
  • 14% switch due to product or service dissatisfaction.

While the first two reasons may be out of your control, you should be able to do something about the other three.  However, all of the reasons above still only account for a total of 32%. So, why do the other 68% of customers leave a business? Simply put, they leave because they feel unappreciated, unimportant and taken for granted.

Customer turnover is costing businesses billions of dollars each year.  Here are some startling statistics from Emmett C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy, in their report, “Leading on the Edge of Chaos:”

  • Obtaining new customers can cost as much as five times more than retaining current customers
  • Increasing customer retention by 2% has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%
  • The average company loses 10% of its customers each year
  • Reducing customer defection by 5% can increase profits by 25-125%
  • The customer profitability rate tends to increase over the life of a retained customer

Wow – is that a wake-up call or what?  Let’s take a look at how you can stop spending so much money trying to attract new clients and instead, learn to take care of the customers you already have.

Here are 10 Strategies that you can begin to implement TODAY for massive results:

1.  Keep in touch regularly and systematically.

When your customer places an order, follow up with them to see how satisfied they are with your product and/or service. Invite feedback – both positive and negative. (Chances are you’ll learn more from the negative feedback) Let your customers know that you care about them for the long term and not just for a one-shot deal.  Take the time to learn as much as you can about your customers during your follow up calls. A little extra effort can lead to your clients inquiring about other products or services that you offer and you’ll gain new business.  Since it’s always easier to sell more to someone you’re already doing business with, think of the lifetime value of each and every one of your customers.

2.  Educate your customers with valuable, FREE information.

Sharing your knowledge via a newsletter, social media updates, special reports and blogs will prove your expertise.  Providing value will also set you part from all the others that are merely promoting their products and services in every communication.  In BNI (Business Networking International), the philosophy is “Givers Gain.”  Be a giver.  Pay attention to the issues that are important to your customer and make it a point to find answers for them.  You’ll become the go-to person for both information and their business.

3. Become a Resource.

Look for other ways that you can serve your customers, even if it doesn’t mean an immediate return on your efforts.  Look for occasions when you can refer business, help out with an event or offer suggestions to improve their business.  In your clients’ mind, you’ll be the expert and will thereby be “top of mind” for the next time they are looking for your product or service.  As you get to know your customers better, you’ll be able to offer them assistance in a variety of areas. Networking events can play a critical role in meeting the “right people” to refer to other “right people.”  Be a conduit and you could become your customer’s hero.

4. Write a note of appreciation.

When you send a personalized card or note through the mail (not an e-card), you are setting yourself apart, big time. Not only is a card a pleasant diversion from the junk mail and bills that your customers are used to getting on a daily basis, it adds a personal touch to the relationship, which is priceless.  Think about it, you are giving your customer tangible evidence that you value them and support them.  Chances are that that card is going to be hanging on their bulletin board or displayed on their desk.  When someone picks up the card or asks about it, YOUR name is going to get mentioned – in a good way.  Great opportunity for referrals!

5. Respond to customers promptly when they contact your business.

Take care of issues immediately.  Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away, it just makes them bigger and harder to correct. Remember what your mother told you: If you make a mistake, say you’re sorry. Then make things right. Let your customers know that you are committed to a high level of service and that you will do whatever it takes to resolve their issues.  Chances are, it will take a lot less than you think it will to completely satisfy (and keep) your customer.  There is a study that showed that only 17% of customers would give a second chance to a company that makes a mistake.  However, you greatly improve the chances of repeat business when you go beyond their expectations to solve their problems.

6. Pay attention.

Listening to what your customer has to say will provide clues that will help you provide a more personal touch.  If your customer talks about their brand new grandchild, send a congratulatory card.  If he or she has a child heading off to college, jot a note on the calendar and make sure you ask about it next time you talk to them.  Find out birthdays and anniversary dates.  Send cards for nontraditional occasions.  Remember, you may be the only person that has taken the time to send them a card.  It may be a cliché, but people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.  Ok, one more cliché – you have two ears and one mouth – they should be used in that proper proportion.

7.  Act with integrity.

In everything you do, you want your stakeholders and customers to trust you. Developing trust takes time, yet it can be lost in an instant.  When you say you are going to do something, do it.  When a mistake is made, admit it, and then make it right.  Do whatever you can to earn your customer’s unwavering belief in you and your business.  Remember, confidence must be earned continuously. People want to do business with and work for trustworthy companies.

8.  Maintain Quality.

No matter how good your customer service is, if you’re providing an inferior product or service, your customers are going to leave.  Make sure all of your employees are aware of the importance of maintaining quality.  Put systems into place to monitor it.  If you have any products that are outsourced, rigorously insure that your quality standards are met.

9.  Reward Customers.

Institute a customer loyalty program.  Give your customers coupons they can use for their next order.  Surprise them occasionally with a free gift.  Hold a “Customer Appreciation Event.”  Look for different and unique ways that you can delight your customers.

10. Do Good.

Establish a relationship with a nonprofit or charity and invite other local businesses to participate.  Share what you’re doing in your newsletter and in your social media campaigns.  Remind people when they patronize your business that they are contributing to a greater cause.

All of these strategies work, but don’t overwhelm yourself thinking that you have to perform them perfectly right now.  It’s important to get started moving your customer relationships forward. Choose one technique that you feel that you are already doing well, then brainstorm some creative ways you can do it even better.

You may want to rank these ideas in order of importance or impact to your bottom line. Implement systems, one key point at a time, until you see progress and then move to the next one. Paying consistent attention to the way you acknowledge your clients will pay off in way that may surprise you. Go for it!

(About the Author: As Founder of Grategy, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to create stronger employee and customer engagement, retention and satisfaction.  Her proven gratitude strategies (Grategies) lead to increased productivity, passion and profits. She is the author of seven books, and co-stars in two documentaries: the award-winning: “The Keeper of the Keys,” and “The Gratitude Experiment.”   To learn more, visit

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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How To Use Instagram To Recruit: 5 Easy Steps [Infographic]

By this point, most of us have come across the term, “social recruiting.” With the rising importance of fostering a successful and sustainable company culture and hiring people who are not only the right professional fit but the right cultural fit as well, employers and human resource professionals have started to turn to the power of social media networks, like Instagram, to help with their recruitment efforts. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that recently surpassed 150 million active users and counting – 70 percent of whom log in to the site at least once a day. That’s a huge pool of potential employees!

A few articles have surfaced about how some companies have started to use Instagram from a recruitment perspective. Vocus, a cloud-based marketing and public relations software, hired a marketer with a background in social media to manage the employment brand, including their activity on Instagram. Instead of taking the traditional HR approach, Veronica Segovia created a separate Instagram careers account (@vocuscareers), specifically for the hiring side of the business. Segovia published a blog post announcing their presence on Instagram to both employees and candidates, which included guidelines on how employees could get involved. “We looked at Instagram as an opportunity to make contact with passive candidates, to show them that Vocus is a cool, fun, young company”, says Segovia.

But the question remains, can you really recruit candidates for a job through Instagram? The answer is yes, but it has to be a combined effort. Instagram is most effective as a complement to other social media channels – so it’s best if your company is already using other social media sites (as you should be!). Before launching the @vocuscareers Instagram account, the company had been actively brand building on other channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Images posted on Instagram can be repurposed for other corporate social profiles, such as the aforementioned, helping extend your reach. The real focus with Instagram should be on maintaining the image of your brand, which aids in the recruiting process by attracting people who want to be more familiar with your company.

So where do you start? We’ve put together an infographic below that outlines the ways that Instagram is most useful and how to use it properly for recruiting, employee engagement and brand building in 5 easy steps.


Do you have an example of using Instagram to aid in your recruitment or employee engagement efforts? We would love to hear about it. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Written by Rachel Scott | Infographic by Tara Burt

(About the Author: Rachel Scott has a diverse background in advertising and communications that includes everything from working as a Research Assistant for the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, working in the Public Relations department for CJSF 90.1 FM, to her most recent role as Marketing Assistant at Clevers Media, a marketing and consulting agency based in Vancouver, BC.

Currently Rachel is the Marketing and Content Manager at Boost Agents. Boost Agents brings together growing, forward thinking organizations and qualified creative, marketing and communications professionals through our timely and ethical process to make the perfect cultural fit. Whether you are a candidate (job seeker) looking to boost your career and need someone to help take you to the next level, or a client looking to grow your team, we’re excited to be part of the process with you.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: Twin design via bigstock


Persistence: It Pays To Be The Last One Standing

“No matter what you are trying to accomplish, maintain a firm belief in your ideas, bring the greatest amount of energy to them, and be willing to endure the indignities that may result. Being a mover and a shaker in (any) profession means sticking with an idea or system longer than anyone else.” – Author Unknown.

Or as I like to say, “It pays to be the last one standing.”

This mantra has helped tremendously in both my sales and speaking careers. No matter what business you’re in, persistence, kindness and gratitude pays off.


Here are the statistics: 44% of sales people give up after one “no”; 22% give up after two; 14% give up after three; 12% give up after four. However, most prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes.” It’s the fifth ask that gets the order. Persist!

A great way to stay in touch is to have some kind of newsletter or regular correspondence. When I was in the welding industry, I created a hard copy newsletter that I wrote, stapled, stamped and sent every month. While in medical sales. I switched to a monthly e-newsletter. Now I send a short, inspirational weekly message known as the “Gratitude Thought for the Week.” By providing weekly content, I am merely a “reply” away from connecting with my clients and I get to hear from them, without having to pursue them, when they read something that hits home.


Bring value to your prospects and clients. Just because you need four “NOs” before your “yes,” doesn’t mean that every call should be only about getting the order. Figure out what YOU can you do to make your prospect’s life a little easier.

To be considered “top of mind” for your clients, they must also be “top of mind” to you. In order words, look for ways you can be of service, without always having to the sale as your end game. When you see an article that you feel your client would find helpful, email it to them, even if you’re not the author. If you can’t help your customer, but you have a competitor that can, why not refer that customer to someone who can get them what they need? After all, there’s more than enough business for all of us, and when we help out a client, at the expense of our own good, they remember it.


Make sure you express your appreciation – every sales call. Every order. Every referral. What gets recognized gets repeated, so thank early and often. Be specific, be sincere and you will be a success.

Thank your clients in a variety of ways. A hand-written thank you note is particularly effective since they are so rare. The funny thing is that everyone knows the value of a handwritten note, but not many people make the effort to send one. Keep a stack of thank you notes, a pen and stamps in your car. Immediately after each sale, program or visit, write the thank you note while you are still in the parking lot and put it in the next mailbox you come to. The meeting will still be fresh in your mind and the client will be impressed when they receive your note the next day.

(About the Author: Employee Engagement Expert and Motivational Speaker, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. She achieves this through personalized employee engagement and customer retention keynotes, workshops and seminars. She is the author of six books, and is featured in two films including the award-winning, “The Keeper of the Keys” with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul. For more information, please connect with Lisa at her website: or email her at

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: ShaneGross via bigstock cc

Social Influence and Your Brand: Connecting the Dots [Webinar]

“Don’t try to invent a tribe. Show up to lead one that exists.”
Seth Godin

Today’s hyper-connected digital world has opened the door to a whole new era in brand development.

Employers, HR professionals and job hunters, alike, are rapidly embracing digital channels to elevate their market presence and amplify their share of voice.

With proactive players setting a torrid pace, no one can afford to stay on the social media sidelines. But social networking doesn’t guarantee influence — and activity without strategy can put a brand at risk.

Join the Experts

So how do you create a digital brand roadmap that makes the most sense for your goals? What’s the best way to ignite your social agenda? And how do you measure its impact?

If you’re looking for expert guidance, you won’t want to miss this very special webinar event:

“Using Social Insights to Build Your Brand”
February 27, at 2pm Eastern Time / 11am Pacific Time.

LeadTail webinar CTATalentCulture founder, Meghan M. Biro will join forces with the social marketing and insights specialists at Leadtail to talk about how top HR and recruiting influencers are driving market awareness and engagement through social channels.

You’ll learn how social media best practices can move your brand forward and how data-based insights can inform your strategy.

For example, the session will focus on questions like these:

What elements define a personal brand?
Why are social channels ideal for brand building?
Who influences the HR and recruiting community today — and how?
How can you successfully apply these social techniques?

In addition, Meghan will reveal how she has leveraged social media to become one of the most recognized experts in the HR and recruiting space.

“Social channels have created a phenomenal opportunity to reach, engage and influence all the constituents a brand must touch — business allies, customers, prospects and employees,” Meghan says. “I’m excited to team-up with Leadtail, as we empower brands to expand their connections and strengthen their business relationships.”

Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to join members of the TalentCulture community on Twitter, as we share ideas and questions using the #TChat hashtag.

Don’t miss this dynamic informative event! Register now, and join us February 27th.

Participating Organizations

Learn more about Leadtail, and connect with @Leadtail on Twitter.
Learn more about TalentCulture, and connect with @TalentCulture on Twitter.

Register now for this webinar: Using Social Insights to Build Your Brand.

Image Credit: Pixabay