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8 Ideas for Talent Acquisition Success in 2023

Every employer’s definition of talent acquisition success is different. But many employers have learned valuable lessons over the years. Recently, we decided to capture some of those lessons so other hiring organizations could benefit. That’s why we asked business and recruiting leaders to share tips for talent acquisition success in the year ahead.

Tips for Talent Acquisition Success

From using predictive analytics to cultivating a sense of community among team members, we received a collection of answers that reads like a practical “how to” playbook. Below, we share the top answers to our question, “What’s your best strategy to gain a competitive advantage in talent acquisition this year?”

  •   Re-Engineer Your Brand as a Recruiting Tool
  •   Share Engaging Video Content
  •   Be Flexible
  •   Use Predictive Analytics
  •   Deepen Your Diversity Initiatives
  •   Assess the Market and Develop Appropriate Goals
  •   Audit Your EVP and Culture from a Prospect’s Perspective
  •   Create a Sense of Community

To learn more about how you can make these ideas work for your organization, read the full responses below…

8 Ways to Achieve Talent Acquisition Success in 2023

1. Re-Engineer Your Brand as a Recruiting Tool

We all know how important employer branding has become in the age of social media. But we sometimes overlook it as a true recruiting channel in the overall talent acquisition strategy.

Often it’s used as a marketing tool for selling a company brand. But my best tip is to re-engineer your employer brand so it acts as a recruiting tool. For example:

  • Develop lead magnets that link to employee stories.
  • Conduct career-building webinars for industry newbies and collect emails or resumes from interested registrants.
  • Create quizzes or surveys targeting people who are open to job opportunities, and use these teasers outside your career page to gather more leads.

If you’re an HR or recruiting professional, employer branding challenges you to put on your marketing hat. This year, add a sales hat to that mix so you can attract more qualified candidate leads and close more job offers.

Kelly Loudermilk, Talent Innovator, BuildHR, Inc.

2. Share Engaging Video Content

How many of us would decide to buy a house or a car without knowing vital details? Yet most employers still expect candidates to settle for this kind of hiring experience.

The problem is that smart people don’t have the time or desire to jump through all the traditional job application hoops to find out what’s on the other side. That’s why savvy employers are including more detailed information about jobs on the front end of the recruiting process, so they can attract better talent.

But what about nuanced questions where the answers won’t fit into a tidy bullet point on a job description? Questions like, “What types of challenges does your team solve regularly?” or “What is it like to work with the manager?” This is where video can help.

By recording video answers to these critical questions, recruiters have an indispensable new set of assets that can make candidate outreach more effective. Video also helps employers seem more transparent, which helps them stand out in competitive hiring situations.

Justin Vajko, Principal & Chief Strategy Guy, Dialog

3. Be Flexible

If your company expects to attract and retain talent, you must offer employee experiences that support real flexibility and build your culture around this way of working.

Our new “Work Now” research report found that leaders view the workplace as flexible because of the freedom associated with their role and stature. However, employees don’t experience the same level of flexibility.

Leaders who expect to attract and retain great employees need to listen carefully, move past assumptions based on their personal experience with the organization, and design more connected, flexible experiences for other members of the workforce.

Also, if you’re tempted to rely on pulse surveys for feedback, here’s another tip. While these tools may be helpful, remember you may be viewing results through a biased lens that doesn’t tell a true story.

Instead, move beyond pulse surveys. Engage with employees, listen to their stories, invite them to the table, and co-create the future together. That’s how you can fundamentally improve the way you work.

Douglas Ferguson, President, Voltage Control

4. Use Predictive Analytics

I believe predictive analytics is key to talent acquisition success this year. Predictive analytics is the practice of using data to make predictions about future events. With these tools, you can identify potential candidates for open positions, before jobs are even posted. That means you can get a jump on the competition and hire the most qualified candidates before other organizations can snap them up.

In addition, you can use predictive analytics to assess an individual’s probability of success in a particular role. This means your recruiters can focus on candidates who are most likely to succeed. Ultimately, advanced analytics can help you hire the right people for the right roles, and that can lead to a significant advantage in the war for talent.

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

5. Deepen Your Diversity Initiatives

The emphasis on workplace diversity has continued to gain momentum. It’s now essential to consider candidates you might otherwise overlook because of their race, gender, or other factors. This isn’t about fulfilling quotas. It’s about expanding recruiting reach by tapping into a more diverse talent pool. Ultimately, this adds depth and dimension to your culture.

Try reaching out proactively to attract candidates from diverse communities. Get out of the office and connect with groups that are underrepresented in the workforce. For example, you can host recruitment events in locations that are convenient for people in these groups.

Partnering with schools in these areas is another way to introduce students to your industry and educate them about related career paths. Internships can also help you connect with young people from diverse backgrounds and help them prepare for future roles in your organization.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely

6. Assess the Market and Develop Appropriate Goals

Establishing a competitive advantage for talent acquisition success requires a laser focus on both short-term and long-term hiring needs.

Be prepared to investigate the current labor market and integrate leading-edge technologies into your recruitment processes. By investing in data-driven insights, you can develop innovative strategies that differentiate your company from the competition. For example, you can:

  • Evaluate the job market in real-time,
  • Leverage AI and machine learning to source talent more efficiently and proactively,
  • Create proactive employer branding campaigns to showcase your company culture
  • Engage with passive candidates through targeted outreach strategies.

In addition, focus on developing a comprehensive remote hiring strategy, because more companies are moving or expanding their operations away from traditional office locations.

Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer, Checkr

7. Audit Your EVP and Culture from a Prospects Perspective

In a highly competitive job market, standing out and showcasing your culture is the biggest competitive advantage you have in attracting new talent.

Now is a great time to be sure your EVP shows prospective employees why they should work for you, what you offer, and how they can contribute. An EVP is simply your shop window for people you want to attract, retain, and help you grow your business.

I recommend auditing your EVP to put fresh eyes on all your candidate touch points. Review your culture, identify your strengths, and analyze your exit survey data. What can you improve? Does your “careers” website accurately reflect your desired EVP?

Get your whole team involved in this assessment process – HR, Talent Acquisition, and Marketing should work together to showcase your organization in the right light across multiple channels.

Charlie Southwell, Marketing Director, Let’s Talk Talent

8. Create a Sense of Community for Talent Acquisition Success

If your company offers remote work, you have a substantial competitive advantage.

Research indicates that remote work opportunities influence candidates’ salary requirements. But remote work structure isn’t the whole package. Candidates are also interested in knowing how employers create an environment that fosters connection among team members who may not work onsite. For instance, it’s critical to create a sense of community in a remote-based organization with practices like these:

  • Quarterly strategic team meetings
  • In-person team training
  • Regular video lunch and learns
  • Video town halls
  • Hackathons
  • Employee resource groups (ERGs)

Research indicates that people with at least 7 work friends are 35% more likely to stay with their employer. In recent interviews with employees who’ve been at our company for more than 2 years, most told us that interacting with their team is a key reason they enjoy coming to work.

Remote is a terrific way to attract new employees, but creating a sense of community is what keeps employees engaged.

Pat Mulvey, Director of Talent Acquisition, Saatva

 


EDITOR’S NOTE:  These talent acquisition success ideas were submitted via Terkel, a knowledge platform that shares community-driven content based on expert insights. To see questions and get published, sign up at terkel.io.

IT Recruiting is Still a Struggle. These Strategies Can Help

Recent headlines are shining a bright light on high-profile layoffs in the technology industry. But for many employers, IT recruiting is still an uphill battle — largely because the IT talent shortage continues to dampen hiring plans.

For years, organizations have posted more job openings than qualified candidates could fill. The opportunity cost is staggering. To put this into perspective, consider that by 2030, at least 85 million jobs could go unfilled. In financial terms, this shortfall could translate into $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues.

Fortunately, the pandemic-era shift to remote work helped expand the global pool of candidates. But it also increased competition for the strongest candidates.

What can you do if your competitors are offering higher salaries or better benefits? It doesn’t mean your organization is out of the running. How can you gain an advantage? In this fierce IT recruiting marketplace, you can attract and retain the best global talent by focusing on three key priorities:

Strategies for Global IT Recruiting Success

1. Define Audiences and Create Candidate Personas

It’s essential to know your target audiences. This includes thinking carefully about the personas of candidates you want to attract now and in the future.

First, your talent acquisition team and hiring managers should take time to explore the different cultures related to your target markets. This insight will help you develop messages and incentives that resonate with the various types of people you want to draw into your organization.

For instance, messaging that a software developer in India considers important and engaging won’t necessarily interest a software developer in Bulgaria or any other country. The same principle applies to nearly every other position and region, across the board. 

Also, a large pool of talent isn’t yet ready to enter the workforce but will become a priority in the future. Don’t wait. Start considering now what it will take to reach those young candidates and appeal to their interests.

For example, an internship program is one way to build a pipeline of candidates who will soon be prepared to enter the workforce. When college students perform effectively and have a positive work experience as interns, you can build a bench of people who are ready to be hired when they graduate.

2. Develop Your Employer Brand and Showcase Your Culture

To attract and retain top global IT talent, it’s especially important to publicly showcase your employer brand and company culture in an authentic way. 

Social media is one of the easiest, most effective tools to accomplish this. Ideally, your social media presence provides visibility into your organization’s culture, mission and values, professional development opportunities, diversity initiatives, corporate social responsibility, and team bonding activities. This helps potential candidates envision what it could actually be like to work there. 

Your social media presence is especially important when attracting younger talent. In fact, The Harris Poll says 58% of Gen Z and Millennial job seekers with work experience rely on social media to research potential employers. And 48% have applied for job opportunities they found on social media.

And other research reveals that most candidates who are seriously considering a job offer will carefully review a potential employer’s social media profiles for red flags before they decide to accept.

BREATHE LIFE INTO YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND

Clearly, Gen Z and Millennials are turning to social media when looking for jobs. They’re also willing to get involved as employees if employers simply ask.

For example, an employee brand ambassador program could significantly amplify your organization’s social presence. By crowdsourcing social media activity internally, you can generate higher-quality content, increase audience reach, and drive much deeper engagement.

Employee brand ambassador programs can also capture behind-the-scenes “magic” that makes your organization a unique place to work. This could include everything from feel-good stories about managers who recognize team members in fun ways and internal team traditions like weekly trivia contests, to candid videos of silly work moments and community volunteering events. Your employees are uniquely positioned to showcase your brand in ways that no one could communicate alone.

From Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to LinkedIn and Glassdoor, the content posted by and about your organization reflects your overall employer brand. So it’s important to work closely with your marketing and social media teams to ensure your efforts support the organization’s brand identity across all platforms and channels.

3. Prioritize and Personalize Candidate Experience 

The last (and perhaps most important) piece of the global IT recruiting puzzle is to provide the best possible candidate experience. This is vital because it helps distinguish your organization from other companies that are vying for the same talent.

Your candidate experience is essentially your brand experience. In fact, 78% of job hunters agree that the candidate experience they receive directly indicates how much an employer values its people.

Not surprisingly, a weak candidate experience has caused some job hunters to withdraw from the hiring process. Their top 3 issues:

  • Disrespect during interviews
  • Poor rapport with recruiters
  • The process simply took too long.

Ultimately, a negative candidate experience can harm your brand. For example, 72% of candidates that encounter a negative candidate experience will tell others about it directly or online. That’s not the kind of word-of-mouth any employer wants to spread.

ELEVATE YOUR CANDIDATE JOURNEY

How can you ensure a strong candidate experience? Focus on each stage of the process:

  • First, carefully review and evaluate the entire journey. Start with the moment someone learns about a role at your organization. Then, move through each step until a new employee arrives for the first day on the job.
  • When candidates initially apply, is the process as easy, accessible, and straightforward as possible? Can people apply quickly online, or do you require them to go through multiple steps and submit excessive amounts of information?
  • During the interview cycle, your hiring team has a chance to shine. How do you assure candidates that you’re interested in them and you value their time? Is everyone in the hiring process able to prepare for interviews? Do they develop relevant questions, so candidates can provide useful answers? Does your process give candidates ample opportunity to ask about job expectations, organizational culture, and other key decision criteria?
  • Throughout each stage of the journey, clear, consistent communication is key. Are you keeping candidates in the loop with regular updates and next-step information? And if you choose not to move forward at any point, do you explain why in a timely, thoughtful way?

These steps may seem obvious, but if you want better results, you won’t leave them to chance. Why? According to a U.S. survey, interviews trigger anxiety in as many as 93% of job seekers. A great candidate experience can help relieve stress. This means candidates will be able to focus on discussing their strengths, demonstrating their skills, and determining if the position is a good fit.

Final Notes on Global IT Recruiting

In today’s candidate-driven global IT market, applicants have the power to choose which employer they prefer. That’s why it’s crucial for hiring managers and talent acquisition teams to know their audience, develop their employer brand, and perfect the candidate experience. When these three components work well together, your organization has the best chance of attracting and hiring the right kind of talent for every job.

A Perfect Job Offer is Much More Than Just a Number

TalentCulture Content Impact Award Winner - 2023

How would you define the perfect job offer? Some people think it’s about finding a magic number that will seal the deal with the right candidate. But smart recruiters know it involves much more than that.

Compensation negotiations have always been complex. But now they’re changing in some fundamental ways. This is largely thanks to new pay transparency laws, which mandate that employers include salary ranges in job postings. As a result, here’s what I see ahead…

How Pay Transparency Changes The Hiring Game

Pay transparency is a boon for job seekers, who will have access to much more useful information about open positions. But this doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game. No doubt, many employers will adjust their tools and processes. And that means recruiters can prosper under these new pay transparency rules. How?

For recruiters, the goal is the same as always — bring the perfect offer to the table. But now, the way to get there is likely to be different than it was in the past.

Making a perfect job offer has always required a balance of three key objectives — fairness, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness. But these elements are dynamic. The balance is always shifting. So the more you understand how these relationships are changing, the better.

Imagine this: A knowledgeable recruiter leans more heavily on one of these three objectives when making an offer. That strategy might work in today’s hiring climate.

But what about next year? Without the right tools, the same recruiter may not have enough information to make reliable decisions. Instead, compensation will be based on guesswork. And this could jeopardize the balance that holds these offers together.

To build more solid job offers in 2023, take a closer look at the 3 factors I’ve mentioned:

The 3 Pillars of a Perfect Job Offer

1. Fairness

Candidates should be paid fairly. It may sound obvious, but with new pay transparency laws, recruiters have a more important role in making sure this is the case.

Fairness can be tricky to prove because it’s relative. Start by comparing candidates with their own abilities, with employees who do similar work, and with others in your organization.

But keep in mind that it’s not enough for you to think an offer is fair. A candidate must also believe it’s fair. That’s because candidates are much more likely to accept an offer they think is fair than those who think it’s based on guesswork or gamesmanship.

How can you convince candidates that an offer is fair? Don’t assume they’ll take a recruiter’s word for it — they want to see the data. That means your organization will gain a significant advantage if recruiters are able to show their work. This is possible to do with modern data analytics tools, even at scale.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Your recruiters should be able to attract the best candidates to your organization at the right price. This sounds like a reasonable expectation. But what, exactly, does it mean?

Too often, organizations treat recruiting simply as a cost center. They set a budget and expect recruiters to work within those parameters. That’s important, but there’s so much more your talent acquisition team can accomplish.

Even now, as the economy experiences a downturn, recruiters aren’t just sourcing scouts who fill open positions. They’re also talent strategists who can think holistically about your business needs and goals while also providing the best candidates at the right price.

A compensation strategy involves so many complex elements: workforce planning, budgets, guaranteed vs. at-risk pay, and financial performance. The effects of compensation decisions reach far beyond any individual job applicant. In fact, deciding how many people to hire and determining what to pay them are among the most costly and important decisions any business leader must make. So, as the economy continues to sputter, cost-effective job offers are increasingly important to every organization.

3. Competitiveness

A job offer should balance the chance of a candidate saying yes with the compensation cost to the organization. Understanding what’s at stake is essential in today’s environment. This is why many employers are upgrading their compensation analysis tools. Because in a volatile labor market, good data makes the difference between successfully navigating choppy waters and crashing against the rocks.

In a way, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness are two sides of the same coin. Recruiters want to make offers that help their organization manage costs, even as they attract and retain top talent. But without the right data, finding that balance can be difficult.

This is where recruiters are most likely to make mistakes. In a white-hot talent market, landing qualified candidates can be a struggle. In a down market, it’s a challenge to stay within prescribed budgets. That’s why the perfect offer deserves as much market intelligence as possible, no matter what the hiring climate may be.

Getting Ahead of the Curve

Fair, cost-effective, and competitive. A perfect job offer must balance all three. Recruiters can get ahead of the curve now by taking tangible steps to implement this three-pronged strategy. Specifically, they can focus on using the right information, ensuring that processes are accountable, and communicating about pay throughout each step of the recruiting journey.

At its core, a perfect job offer is based on the best available compensation insights. For successful employers, that means real-time data that indicates what job seekers expect to be paid, what candidates are offered and are willing to accept, as well as what internal data says about existing compensation standards.

The era of pay transparency is here. It may be new, different, and perhaps even a bit intimidating. But it’s also an exciting time to be a recruiting professional. Because, if you’re willing to adapt, a perfect job offer is always within your reach.

 

Transforming Talent Acquisition: One Employer’s Story

If your organization is like most, you’re constantly looking for ways to strengthen your workforce through smarter talent acquisition tactics. Although recruiting has shifted dramatically during the past few years, some innovative practices from the pre-pandemic era are worth another look.

A Pre-Covid Lesson in Recruiting Innovation

One example is the talent acquisition process at financial services provider, TIAA. Several years ago when the company completed a full-scale recruiting revamp, we spoke with Angie Wesley, then SVP and Head of Talent Acquisition.

TIAA has since promoted Wesley to Head of Workforce Strategies and People Operations. She has also been named one of the top 100 Women in Business by the National Women’s Conference. And looking back now at how she advanced talent acquisition at TIAA, we can see why she is recognized as a visionary. She clearly is ahead of the curve. 

Because TIAA is a well-established organization, Wesley knew she needed to initiate change in ways that would inspire buy-in, particularly from the recruiting team. Her approach is a powerful lesson in how to beef up business processes with technology and avoid friction while getting everyone onboard.

Rethinking Recruiting for Modern Business Needs

There’s no question that next-level recruiting depends on modern technology. But business aspirations are extraordinarily high. And modern recruiting tools, alone, are not enough to drive a cultural sea-change. For example, many employers want to:

All of these depend on a strong tech stack. But as we’ve seen time and again, simply acquiring new tools and bolting them onto existing processes and ecosystems is not sufficient. Integration and adoption are key — and that takes serious organizational insight, training, and adjustment.

Building a Better Tech Stack For Everyone

That’s where Wesley’s role came in. She led the transformation of TIAA’s recruiting functions so team members could better navigate the modern candidate marketplace.

(Brief reminder: Before the pandemic struck, recruitment was already facing serious pressure. From a very tight talent market to shifting candidate expectations about the hiring experience, employers were fielding plenty of recruiting challenges. But none of us could imagine the Covid curve ball coming our way.)

As Wesley told TalentCulture at the time, next-level recruitment was “either going to come to us, or we were going to have to join it.”

The tools she selected and implemented helped TIAA’s recruiting team in numerous ways. In particular, they significantly improved the candidate experience and paved the way for a more streamlined, compliant hiring process.

What’s more, Wesley’s advancements didn’t get mired in resistance. All too often, organizations meet change with pushback at numerous levels, from employees who don’t want to adjust their workflows to senior leaders who aren’t sold on the ROI of a new recruiting tech rollout.

In TIAA’s case, what made the difference? Two clear objectives…

Keys to Recruiting Transformation Success


1. Provide Training to Build Familiarity and Confidence

Wesley noted that recruiters voiced more concerns than anyone else. “A lot of these recruiters are seasoned, so they have their own way of moving candidates through the process,” she explained. “We had to show them how technology actually helps them, instead of inhibiting them.”

To encourage adoption, TIAA instituted both in-person and remote (web-based) training. The content included plenty of context and real-world examples from other organizations. This approach helped staff members agree that the new tools could help improve their productivity and performance.

In addition, TIAA started tracking who uses the tools, so they can find and fix individual issues. “If we have folks that aren’t using a certain technology or tool in our recruiting process, we’re able to identify them and work with them to understand and resolve the difficulty,” Wesley explained.

2. Focus on Candidate Experience

Many recruiting technology upgrades are intended to improve the candidate experience, but sometimes they miss the mark. Wesley made sure candidates remained a top priority throughout the planning and implementation process.

These days, some of TIAA’s changes may seem like table stakes. But several years ago, these recruitment essentials weren’t a given. (Technology evolves fast!) For example:

  • Online Applications
    TIAA made sure its employment website and career pages were mobile-friendly and candidates could complete the application process on any device.
  • Digital Assessments
    The company began offering assessments that candidates could complete online at their convenience — another forward-thinking capability that is now considered a best practice.
  • Text-Based Communication
    Recruiters began relying more heavily on text messaging to conduct conversations in real-time. This led to more frequent candidate communication that helped the recruitment process feel more immediate, personalized, and meaningful. Ultimately, this
    kind of responsiveness made a big difference that translated into better hiring outcomes.
  • Video Interviewing
    The hiring team also instituted video interviews. Again, this was once a leading-edge strategy that positioned the TIAA employer brand ahead of others. But the organization needed a better way to reach the passive talent market. At that time, the most attractive potential candidates were employed elsewhere. Video interviews offered more convenience and less disruption. Of course, during Covid, video interviewing became the new norm. Now, many organizations still rely on video tools to extend recruiting reach and streamline the hiring process.

Reinforcing the Human Side of Recruiting

Does TIAA’s recruiting game plan suggest that technology should replace human interactions? Not at all. Actually, this is another lesson to remember for the future of talent acquisition. The human element counts, always.

According to Wesley, “What we are finding is candidates still want that human touch in the process somewhere. They don’t want technology to take care of everything.”

Employers must strike a balance in the recruiting journey. Candidates want to experience the human side of your organization, especially when it comes to your company’s history, culture and values. Potential employees appreciate personal conversations with people who can speak on behalf of your brand.

On the other hand, candidates also value employers who quickly process their applications and provide a hiring process that is reasonably simple and painless.

So by all means, deploy the best and most innovative recruiting technology to make the whole journey easier and improve the overall candidate experience. But don’t forget the human touch. After all, those personal moments along the way may just give you an advantage in hiring the best talent.

Are Job Candidates Ghosting You? Try This Recruiter’s Advice

Spooky season is upon us! People are carving pumpkins, dressing in crazy costumes, and swapping scary stories. So, in the spirit of Halloween, we’re taking on a truly horrifying subject. This is so frightening it can make a hiring manager’s hair stand on end at the very mention. That’s right. We’re talking about candidate ghosting. Beware!

Is Ghosting For Real?

Oxford Languages defines ghosting as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”

When somebody ghosts you, they stop replying to your messages, they don’t answer calls, they stop all forms of communication. There’s never any explanation—they simply disappear without a trace.

Originally a dating term, ghosting is becoming increasingly common in business, especially in the context of recruiting. For example, a 2021 survey by Indeed found that 28% of job applicants had an employer—10% more than in 2019. And today’s reality seems much worse. In fact, a U.K. poll earlier this year found that more than 75% of job hunters admit to ghosting in the past year. Scary statistics, to be sure!

Why Do People Act So Creepy?

There’s no single reason why candidates ghost potential employers. But ghosting clearly seems more common when job vacancies are prevalent in a particular sector. 

When more opportunities are available, applicants have less incentive to keep in touch. They will often receive viable offers more quickly, so when they do, they’ll accept the most attractive option and move on.

However, ghosting also happens when vacancies are few and far between. We’ve seen it up close at our own recruiting agency, even in niche roles where very few opportunities exist. 

In a discussion with our team, one brave team member confessed to ghosting a prospective employer in the past. She explained, “I was pretty far into the interview process when a few issues raised concerns for me. These were mainly about time off, travel expenses—things that probably should have been resolved up front.”

The truth is, we can make some educated guesses about a candidate’s motivations, they can ghost us for any reason. Without an explanation from the candidate, you’ll never know for sure what happened—and that’s what makes it so frustrating.

The Business Impact of Ghosting

Probably the worst impact of ghosting is that it wastes time. You could spend months sourcing credible talent and conducting interviews. You may even get to the stage where you’re negotiating a package. And then without warning—poof!—that top candidate goes silent. 

Ghosting is not only time-consuming—it is expensive as well. Consider this:

The average U.S. cost per hire is $4,700 for a non-executive role and $14,936 for an executive, according to Zippia. Most roles are filled within roughly 42 days, but it can take much longer when ghosting comes into play.

And it’s not just about the extra cost of a delayed hiring process. It’s also important to take into account the business cost of an unfilled role, which can cost employers dearly in terms of lower business productivity, quality, and responsiveness.

How Can You Combat Ghosting?

Although it’s impossible to shut down ghosting altogether, we’ve learned some techniques to help employers prevent candidates from vanishing into thin air.

1) Invest in the Relationship

Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes. As one recruitment specialist told the BBC earlier this year, “Candidates are being approached all the time with an abundance of jobs to choose from […] if they have multiple applications on the go, it can be easier to simply ignore one of them.”

If a candidate is in contact with multiple recruiters or hiring managers, it’s easy for several to fall off of the radar. But if you develop a working relationship with candidates, you’ll remain top-of-mind. Just as you would with a friend or colleague, make sure you stay in regular contact with candidates. Show that you care by touching base when you say you will and by keeping them updated throughout the hiring process.

2) Be Transparent From the Start

Before you move forward, strive to clarify what a candidate is seeking in a role, and reflect on whether your offer will meet those expectations.

People may feel uncomfortable telling you they’re unhappy or unsure about an aspect of a role. Instead, they may find it easier to simply move on. So be sure you understand their job requirements from the start of your working relationship.

In particular, don’t keep the details of an offer secret. For example, if a candidate is interested only in working remotely, an in-office location will likely be a dealbreaker. It’s best to be upfront about every aspect of the role before you make an offer. This saves time for both you and the candidate.

3) Establish a Long-Term Connection

Smart hiring managers and recruitment specialists help candidates recognize the value of maintaining a relationship throughout their careers. Rather than just completing an immediate transaction, recruiters can introduce candidates to influential people within their industry and help build their professional network over time.

Ghosting can cause unintended reputational damage. So, if you help candidates see the long game, they’ll be less likely to abruptly end your communication. 

4) Respond Kindly to a Rejection

We’ve seen employers lash out at candidates who decline an offer. This is a surefire way to encourage more ghosting! If a candidate rejects a job application, remember they’re doing you a favor by responding at all.

Keep responses polite and professional. Thank the candidate for their transparency, wish them well, and keep the door open for the future. It’s a surprisingly small and very well-connected world. So think about how much goodwill a gracious response can help your organization, in the long run.

5) Ask People Not to Ghost

Sometimes the best way to encourage candidates not to ghost you is just to…ask! Tell people upfront that if they change their mind about the opportunity at any point, you would really appreciate a heads-up.

This approach has often worked for our team. It lets us be more proactive in filling roles for our clients. Because we have spent time nurturing trust with our candidates, they tend to be candid in sharing their thoughts.

Of course, this may not work every time, but it can’t hurt to try.

6) Recognise When You’re Being Ghosted

…and move on. Don’t assume that a candidate will eventually get back in touch with you to seal the deal. If a candidate is wasting your time, then your energy is better spent on finding a more suitable applicant elsewhere.

Similarly, you should never put all your recruiting eggs in one candidate basket. With ghosting on the rise, it’s crucial to have at least one active candidate at any given time. But ideally, you should keep two or three more high-quality candidates in the running for an open position, as well.

7) Don’t Ghost

You may have been ghosted, but there’s never a reason for an employer to be a ghost. Employers who blow off applicants can quickly develop a bad reputation for ghosting and wasting candidates’ time, too. 

If we expect candidates not to ghost, we must treat them the way we would like to be treated. Recognizing the time and effort unsuccessful candidates have put into their applications is a must.

Employers should keep all candidates informed of the outcome of their application, whether it is positive or negative. Otherwise, that negative candidate experience may come back to haunt your organization in the future.

All this Ghosting Talk Is Kind of Scary!

But don’t worry, you made it to the end. And now you’re much better equipped to avoid those wicked ghosts. Poof!

Why Benefits for Employee Caregivers Are Good Business

We’ve all seen alarming headlines about “The Great Resignation.” Some observers say it shows no signs of letting up. McKinsey recently called it the “quitting trend that just won’t quit.” And data confirms that the “big quit” is real.

In May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. voluntary quit rate was 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels. It’s hard to ignore numbers like that. And chances are you’ve experienced this recently in your own organization, as more top performers leave for various reasons.

What’s behind this surge in turnover? The pandemic forced us all to reevaluate what’s most important in life. Now, many are choosing to be more present for family while also juggling a demanding career. But the choice is especially challenging for those with family members who need special care.

This segment of the workforce is larger than you may think. In fact, according to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, 1 in 5 American workers also double as an unpaid family caregiver for an aging, ill or disabled loved one. The amount of time they spend on caregiving, in addition to their full-time careers, isn’t trivial. The AARP estimates that these caregivers devote an average of 23.7 hours a week to these tasks.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that employee caregivers are struggling mentally, physically, and financially. Nearly 60% are dealing with clinical depression and anxiety. Experts say they are stretched so thin that the snowball effect of caregiving will cause 1 in 3 to leave the workforce entirely.

New Insights About Employees as Caregivers

A new study entitled Following The Journey of Family Caregivers” commissioned by Homethrive, Home Instead, and Certification in Long-Term Care (CLTC) sheds more light on how employee caregivers are responding to the pressure.

Nearly 70% of survey respondents who identify as employed said it has been important to rely on paid in-home care because it helps them avoid leaving their job, or because it helps them concentrate better at work.

“I wasn’t surprised to hear (working caregivers) turning more to paid care,” says Eileen J. Tell, a Boston-area researcher who administered the survey. “They cited the importance of doing well at their job and the desire to maintain their job.”

It’s no wonder why working caregivers said they need paid assistance. For example:

  • 35% often provide companionship
  • 33% often provide transportation help
  • 26% often help with daily living activities
  • 23% often help arrange care
  • 26% often help make care decisions
  • 31% always help make home safety changes

Respondents also said if they received help coordinating care, it would take a major load off their already piled-high plates. Specifically:

  • 42% want coordination with doctors or care teams
  • 38% want assistance in finding service providers
  • 34% want help finding benefits eligibility
  • 34% want meal delivery coordination
  • 32% want recommendations for devices and equipment
  • 31% want help assessing home safety

Interestingly, the study found that only 6% of working caregivers receive support from an employer-provided benefit program to help find reliable paid in-home care for loved ones.

What about the other 94% without access to employee caregiving benefits? There is good news. An increasing number of forward-thinking employers are offering these unsung heroes benefits packages that include family caregiving options.

Why is this a wise choice? Employers gain in multiple ways. For example…

Business Benefits of Supporting Employee Caregivers

1. Restore Retention

When employees have an option to access the right kind of assistance, when they need it, they’re less likely to leave. They’re also more focused and productive at work. Offering this benefit can position you as an employer who cares about worker wellbeing on all levels—which in turn fosters a sense of company loyalty.

2. Rev-Up Recruitment

You want to attract the best employees possible. Offering a family caregiving benefit is one way to excel at recruiting because your company will appeal to candidates who value an employer with compassion, a concern for families, and a sense of community.

3. Improve Employee Wellbeing

According to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends study, employee wellbeing programs are among the top five reasons why people remain at a company. Caregiving can be a time-consuming and emotionally draining responsibility. A family caregiving benefit helps take some of this burden off your employees and improves their wellbeing.

4. Increase Productivity

Time is money. And caregiving can take up a lot of time.

One employee might spend hours on the phone setting up doctor appointments for an aging parent, while another might leave work frequently to take a special needs child to therapy.

It all takes time away from the workday, decreases productivity, and increases employee stress. But with a family caregiving benefit, employees and their loved ones will receive higher quality support when it matters most, so your business productivity will flourish.

5. Revolutionize Work-Life Balance

A family caregiving benefit can drastically improve work-life balance. When employees continually put others’ care ahead of self-care, it can translate into mental and physical health issues such as exhaustion, depression, and anxiety. Those issues inflate your company’s healthcare costs.

When a caregiver’s mindset has shifted to a “life-work tilt,” career advancement, salary increases, and professional praise are important. But quality time with loved ones, the opportunity to explore passions outside of work, and overall mental wellbeing are also critical.

Leaning into this “life-work tilt” can have multiple advantages. By proactively acknowledging the needs and responsibilities of family caregivers and offering tangible support, you can set your organization apart. And when your employees find a better balance between work and life, they can focus better, be more productive, and stay loyal to your company.

6. Protect Your Bottom Line

High turnover is expensive. The cost often extends beyond investing in recruitment to replace lost workers. For example, institutional knowledge and team morale also suffer. In addition, productivity can take a hit, which in turn, can reduce innovation and growth. Ultimately, this negative spiral can prevent your company from reaching its full potential. 

A Solution That Helps Employees and Employers

Family caregiving benefits are a win-win.

They’re a win for employers because they help improve workforce wellbeing, retention, and productivityall while protecting your bottom line.

They’re also a win for employees because they help support work-life balance, mental health, and job satisfaction. 

As Eileen Tell explains, “I think it’s key that employers understand how important it is to family caregivers to feel like they don’t have to choose between their jobs and their role as a family caregiver. Employees may look like they’re not paying attention to work, but they really don’t want to compromise their job and they don’t want to skimp on their family responsibilities.”

Employer Branding: Illustrate Your Story With Authenticity

Life lessons roll in at an interesting pace. Sometimes they are slow and steady. Other times, they fly at us with momentum and fervor. Let’s just say that COVID has made a difference in how we’ve been learning and adapting these last few years. Some decision-making was simply made for survival; some decisions gave us an opportunity to shake up the status quo. In the world of HR, I just want you to know: WE SEE YOU. And now, more than ever, there is pressure to retain employees and appeal to future team members in a challenging market. Here’s a tip: Employer Branding Matters! Build an authentic brand by taking visible, measurable action. 

What IS Employer Branding?

According to SHRM: 

“An employer brand is an important part of the employee value proposition and is essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture and personality. A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work. Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.”

Employer branding isn’t new, but the way we look at it has evolved. People have always wanted to work for companies that treat people well, compensate fairly, and provide something positive to the community or society. And younger generations are quick to point out the importance of the latter. They deeply desire an alignment with an organization that walks the talk. The time is ripe to look critically at employer brands – how they essentially sell themselves to current and potential employees – and ensure there is alignment with the truth. 

Why does Employer Branding Matter?

The company Blu Ivy defines themselves as, “employer branding, talent recruitment and culture architects.” Their website hosts a robust section on employer branding – with broad and specific whys and how.  An article that resonates with me is, “Why Strong Employer Brands Are Ahead of The Competition.” It points out that an employer brand may take some time to construct, so start now. And the top three reasons include:

  1. You can stand out from the crowd. (KEY for today’s recruiting challenges!)
  2. You can walk the walk. (Note: let’s not wait to be “called out” on discrepancies.)
  3. You can share real results and stories. (This is where branding, storytelling and marketing play a role in telling the story of YOUR employee experience.)

The article states, “Winning employer brands…know that the best way to attract candidates to their organization is to show, not tell. For example, rather than having the same-old stock photography showing happy people in cubicles, they’re creating day-in-the-life videos that illustrate what working at their company is actually like.” 

Think Creatively About Employer Branding

Illustrating your employer branding requires creativity and fresh approaches. It isn’t as difficult as it used to be to provide a glimpse into daily life. Consider videos, interviews, true snapshots of your workplace culture… Anyone on social media has grown to expect visuals that give insight into what it’s like to live, vacation, play and even work somewhere. Use visual and storytelling tools across a variety of platforms to offer real insight. 

So what are you doing to illustrate a “day in the life?” Stock photography and some group pictures from the holiday party aren’t enough (or even accurate). While industry may dictate what is more or less appealing on camera (climbing a wind turbine vs. coding), take the time to think about how to depict the positive aspects of your employment. How can it be captured? What is our culture and how do people feel as they accomplish their work?

Employer Branding Should Be Authentic

But the most important point here is to be authentic. If you aren’t all happy hours and foosball and golfing, don’t sell that. Frankly, those arcade-like workplaces have already had their heyday. I would argue that you SHOULD have some enjoyable activities, team bonding, family friendly, pet-loving, character-building activities that you can showcase. But don’t promise anything but the truth. False advertising creates a long and expensive path to unsatisfied employees and turnover. Do employees volunteer? Exercise together? Have reading clubs? What is special about how your leaders and employees interact, grow, learn and succeed?

In a fantastic article on BenefitsPro, “2022: Human resources and recruiting predictions”, “Employer branding will make or break companies in 2022.”

It continues:

“Employer branding has risen to a top, dire priority for companies to attract and retain talent – and it will continue to be top of mind next year. Companies need to effectively communicate their company benefits, perks, values, vision, and most importantly culture, leaning into their unique value proposition and conveying what makes them different. We saw that candidate preferences have changed dramatically this year and companies will need to ensure they adjust their value proposition and policies accordingly to stay competitive.

“HR teams will implement more employer brand-focused initiatives, such as hosting and attending industry and recruiting events, updating their career pages and Glassdoor, applying for company awards, and even hiring a Head of Employer Brand to ensure all communications are aligned and consistent across various channels.”

Go Straight to The Source

In an article on Stories Inc., they underscore this point: you need good content from the right sources. It states:

“The past two years have seen unprecedented challenges, and a heavy burden of proof on your employer brand to show how it supports its people. Candidates are keenly interested in how you’ve cared for your team members in the pandemic and in the demands for increased inclusion, diversity and belonging.

They’re interested in how your culture has held up or changed.

They’re interested in what it looks like to work at your company right now.

And, they’re only going to believe it when they hear it from your employees.”

Ask the Right Questions

So what do you do? Start talking to employees and asking the right questions. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling. 

  • Why do you work here? 
  • What makes our team or organization unique?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were learning about us? 
  • How do you describe your workplace environment to your friends and family?
  • What would make your daily job better? 
  • How can we better align our ideals with our actions?

This is a content goldmine, as well as an opportunity to make some changes. Think about how you’re going to ask and capture answers (survey, videos, conversations and notes?) Then, ask yourself: What is worth sharing with the world? What improvements can make us more competitive for future talent? Where are we misaligned with how we present ourselves with the daily experience we provide to employees? 

Employer Branding is Worth the Effort

Employer branding is not a simple undertaking, but almost inevitable. And doing it right requires some hard conversations and auditing about the truth of the brand. Bottom line: In the battle for recruitment and retention, it is critical to KNOW your employer brand, ILLUSTRATE it well, and be AUTHENTIC in how to showcase the business. 

How does your organization ensure that the employer brand matches reality? Email me at ctrivella@talentculture.com to share your tips and successes!

Image by Fizkes

Recruiting Today: How to Humanize a Digital Hiring Experience [Podcast]

A recent analysis by McKinsey found that the pandemic has transformed how we work for good. Yes, some of us will return to the workplace. Many others, though, will become part of a hybrid team or remain remote contributors. Some of us may never return to a traditional office setting. This rapid change has hit many HR functions just as hard. Recruiting today, after all, is not what it was a year ago. And it isn’t going back to the old normal ever again.

Recruiting — I know from experience — can be slow to change, though. It’s not that hiring wants to be old-fashioned. But the roots of the entire hiring ecosystem have grown strong due to existing personal connections and through the growth of human relationships. So for many recruiters, the questions have become: 

  • How do we extend those connections and relationships into the digital realm?
  • How do we create a great candidate experience without — at least until an employer is ready to extend a job offer — ever meeting in person? 

Let’s discuss… on #WorkTrends Conversations.

Our Guests: PeopleLift’s Tim Visconti (CEO) and Tim David (COO)

On this episode of #WorkTrends, I welcomed two Tims — Tim Visconti, CEO at PeopleLift, and Tim David, PeopleLift’s COO. The goal for our time together: Discussing how the recruiting landscape has changed, forever. Both Tims are uniquely positioned to talk about this timely topic. After all, PeopleLift is a rapidly growing Employee Experience (EX) consulting firm with operations in three countries. They truly have a global perspective on the challenges recruiters face in today’s marketplace.

Of course, I had to start our conversation by asking what about recruiting has changed most since the pandemic began. Tim Visconti’s answer was at first brief but spot-on:

“What hasn’t changed?”

Recruiting Today: Humanizing a Mostly Digital Process

After taking on topics like PeopleLift’s approach to recruiting today, the best recruiting tools available, and diversity and inclusion, I asked the questions on everyone’s mind: How do we humanize a mostly digital process while creating an excellent candidate experience. Tim Visconti helped with an insightful answer:

“It’s about being intentional. During our interview process, our recruiters are very intentional about keeping in touch with candidates. They are really present in those conversations; they’re engaging personally with candidates every step of the way.”

Tim Davis agreed the human aspect of recruiting is more important than ever now, even when the process is mostly digital:

“Bringing the human aspect back to the recruiting process is key. Tools that started coming out prior to COVID were meant to remove the human interaction. So I’m excited to see the human aspect come back to that recruiting profession now. That is the cornerstone of our company; it is how we operate. We operate because we care. And it’s exciting to see how other companies are employing that methodology as well.”

I love that we’re getting back to human — and back to concepts like caring. After all that we’ve been through in the last fifteen months, could the timing be any better?

I encourage you to check out the fine work PeopleLift is doing in recruiting today, as well as their caring approach to employee experience. And I thank them for sponsoring this episode of #WorkTrends Conversations! And please consider connecting with Tim Visconti on LinkedIn here, and with Tim David here.

Now… go be human.

 

 

Image by Olena Yakobchuk

4 Tips for Conducting Better Online Job Interviews

In 2020, 82 percent of business leaders surveyed by Gartner pledged to continue remote work arrangements permanently. This translates to millions of people working from their homes and the need to improve how we hire people virtually. So how do we conduct better online job interviews?

Virtual hiring has risen as an enormous concern for organizations going partially and fully remote. Most human resources professionals and recruiters have extensive training in interviewing. However, their experience tends to be limited to an interview process that includes at least one in-person component. And evaluating applicants without the advantage of face-to-face interactions brings unique challenges.

Odds are, your business will grapple with this issue sooner or later, particularly with today’s penchant for remote working. To ensure better outcomes, try adopting the following tactics for your online job interviews.

Leverage Position-specific Tech Platforms

Every job requires specific skill sets. Case in point: An entry-level customer service representative needs different talents than a marketing manager. In your role, you must design interviewing journeys that allow you to clearly evaluate candidates based on the position available. Fortunately, plenty of SaaS providers have created portals to help you meet your placement goals.

For instance, your organization routinely might need more IT professionals. How will you confidently evaluate each candidate? The answer lies in the right tech stack additions. Daniel Borowski, a founder of Coderbyte, says to look at code assessment platforms that contain libraries of pre-programmed coding challenges, as well as virtual interviewing rooms with video and whiteboards. Take the time to investigate cloud-based software for your most common online recruitment needs. You’ll feel more comfortable with your selections.

Expand Your Interviewing Steps

If your company has been around for a while, you probably have a standard in-person interviewing process. For example, maybe you post job descriptions on Indeed, use HR tools to identify top candidates, arrange interviews, and then decide. Yet what works in more traditional recruitment may not provide you with enough information about virtual applicants.

So dust off that old process and map out possible new steps.

Look for specific gaps in your current process:

  • Could you add more online group interviews?
  • Perhaps change the flow of your interviewing process?
  • Conduct phone and Zoom interviews before making offers?

Adding extra steps can fill in the blanks and make you feel better about your choices. Just resist the temptation to lengthen the process timeframe too much – or you could lose talented job seekers to competition ready to move quicker through the hiring process.

Develop and Deploy Pre-hiring Tests

Around eight out of 10 companies already use automated pre-assessment testing software in the earliest stages of their virtual interviewing, according to research from SHRM. Predictive assessments streamline top-of-funnel recruitment strategies, allowing you to concentrate your efforts on high-quality candidates. Yet you should feel free to initiate pre-assessment testing in later-stage segments of the online job interviews, too.

The right testing method allows you to gauge everything from an applicant’s commitment to core ability. Just make sure you test consistently for each role to avoid hiring bias. As an example, you might ask your top sales team candidates to generate online proposals. You would give them parameters, need-to-know information, and a due date. Once you receive all the proposals, you can evaluate them based on fit. As a bonus, you’ll know which applicants can hit the ground running and which would need extensive training.

Revisit Your Employer Brand

Even to a candidate who may never set foot in your headquarters, workplace culture matters.

Every organization maintains cultural norms and expectations—even 100 percent remote businesses. Consequently, spend time refining and defining your cultural standards. If you have trouble putting them into words, ask current remote, in-person, and hybrid employees for feedback. The information you gather can help inform your job descriptions and interviews.

Once you’ve refined your employer brand, ask yourself how you can tell if someone will mesh with that brand and their work team. More specifically, determine how you’ll know if they’re a fit if you only see them on a screen?

Experience shows that asking thoughtful questions about their working preferences is a great place to start when gauging fit within a brand, culture, and team. Next, ask what they want from their job experience. Then, sit back, listen, and take notes.

Remember to factor in the importance of cultural adaptability, too. An analysis evaluated by Harvard Business Review asserts that adaptability plays a huge part in an employee’s overall success. Therefore, even if a top candidate has limited immediate “fit factors,” the candidate may adapt to your culture rapidly.

Even after a year of experimentation, conducting online job interviews may not feel yet intuitive. Give yourself more time to adjust. Simultaneously, put strategies in place to make your online job interviewing process better and your choices easier. You’ll end up putting more of the right people into your open positions.

 

Photo: Constantinos Panagopoulos

#WorkTrends HR + Marketing: Employer Brand Superteam

Meghan M. Biro brought not one but two guests to the #WorkTrends podcast this week: Diane Adams, Sprinklr’s Chief Culture and Talent Officer, and Grad Conn, Sprinklr’s Chief Experience and Marketing Officer. The topic: what happens when HR and marketing really work together on talent strategies. In this case, the result is nothing short of alchemy. The two will be appearing at the upcoming HR Transform conference, later this year. “Creating a Winning Culture Where People Thrive Personally & Professionally.” The #WorkTrends audience got a taste of things to come.

Diane and Grad Conn talked about the approaches they’re using at Sprinklr to attract engage and retain top talent — which openly draws on the best of marketing and HR in order to build a workplace culture that people can be proud of — and are. They shared marketing strategies that cross over from customer engagement to candidate and employee engagement. Brand messaging takes on a whole new meaning when it has to do with the employer — but when your employees are on board, the benefits extend directly to your customers as well.

Diane talked about how they built a dynamic partnership between HR and marketing, establishing values for Sprinklr that drove stellar employee as well as customer experiences. She said, “We referred to it as The Sprinklr Way —  our foundation for how we live, how we work, and how the values of our employees and our company are then transcended externally to our customers. Happy employees, happy customers.” 

“People sometimes think of marketing as just an external function. But you have to sell to your own employees just as much as you need to sell to customers,” Grad pointed out.  

This was a conversation that hit home: employer brand isn’t just an idea, it needs to be a reality in every organization. In this era when your employer brand is only as good as the outside world’s perception, crafting an authentic and appealing culture is a smart business strategy. As Meghan noted, given today’s focus on crafting great workplace cultures, “it all makes sense.” 

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions 

Q1: Why are some employers losing ground at attracting and engaging talent?  #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations create a great workplace culture? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders help their organizations better bring in and keep top talent? #WorkTrends

Find Diane Adams on Linkedin and Twitter
Find Grad Conn on Linkedin and Twitter

This post is sponsored by HR Transform.

Photo: NeOn Brand

#WorkTrends: Great Expectations: Living Your Employer Brand

This month TalentCulture has been focusing on how people and companies can learn to do better. Nowhere is that more crucial than in the sphere of employer brands. We’re in an era now where companies don’t have full control over their brand: no matter how they present or package it, the outside world may have a wholly different take that outweighs the best intentions. But an employer brand isn’t just an academic exercise, as Meghan M. Biro noted on the latest #WorkTrends — even if that’s how many companies are approaching it now. 

To better clarify the link between employer brands and profitability, Meghan brought in Debra Ruh, a visionary in the field of employer branding. Ruh founded Ruh Global IMPACT, a firm that focuses on branding as well as digital marketing and global disability inclusion strategies (and more). She’s also the mother of an amazing daughter who inspired Debra to focus on the true essence of diversity, and why we need to embrace human potential right now.

We’re talking about intelligence when we haven’t even decided as a human species what that means,” Debra said.  “The human potential is there. We really need to rethink what we mean by that — and stop deciding that certain people don’t belong in the workforce.”  By doing so, she added, companies are shortchanging the power of true diversity — a proven driver of higher levels of innovation and performance. Witness companies like Amazon, Barclays and Atos, who are bringing people with disabilities into their workforce, and programmatically expanding their commitment to inclusion, with strong business results. By so doing, they’re also shifting the perception of what their brand truly stands for. They’re not just talking the talk, they’re walking it.

What’s key, Meghan noted, is understanding all the touchpoints involved in a brand, and who really controls it. The days of grumbling in public and getting a cease and desist are over — in a sense, the brand is now owned by those who perceive it. And its fate has more to do with that, and with the perception of market influencers, than the company itself. But our expectations are higher than ever, both agreed. “We want our brands — especially the brands that we work for — to stand for more,” Debra said. Tune into this great conversation to find out how to shift a brand into a desirable, authentic, diverse culture. And have faith: it’s never too late to course-correct.

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why are some employers failing at becoming an employer of choice?  #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations become an employer of choice? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders help their organizations live their employer brand? #WorkTrends

Find Debra Ruh on Linkedin and Twitter

Photo: Razvan Chisu

#WorkTrends: The Journey to a Great Employer Brand

#WorkTrends host Meghan M. Biro sat down with employer brand expert Susan LaMotte to talk about the power of great employer brands — and why every organization needs to assess whether their own employer brand conveys the essence or the eh of the company. Susan, the Founder and CEO of exaqueo, has worked with an incredible range of organizations, from chicken dinners (Boston Market) to communications (T-Mobile) to education (Princeton University) to the empire-sized CVS Health. With all, though, she guides companies to get to their heart and soul. Anything less isn’t going to attract talent or engage employees, she noted.

Companies spend incredible energy and people power on marketing, but CMOs and their teams are focused on customers, Susan said. And forging a great employer brand takes focusing on employees — but using some of the same strategies: research and more research. Learning everything about employee’s values, needs, behaviors, life in and outside of the workforce is all a part of it, and so is enlisting everyone, every stakeholder, to be part of the effort. And the most important part of the employer brand? “Consistency,” Susan said. “On the marketing side, we look at the attributes of a product and then we settle on the strongest ones that are most important to our customers to build our brand on. We should do the same thing on the employer brand side as well.”

“You hear that, everybody?” Meghan said. “That is absolutely the word of the day.” 

The two discussed the importance of listening — how it’s too easy for executives to overlook complaints or concerns from employees. They talked about candidate experience as well — and agreed that the candidate experience, in fact, is part of the employer brand. “We’ve got this continuous sense that everybody is connected to the lifecycle, the brand, the outcome, the rest of the world,” Meghan said, underscoring that brand meaning isn’t static, but dynamic. It’s every interaction, Susan concurred, even from the first time a candidate hears your brand name: That initial contact “gives them a perspective,” she said. “You’re branding from the first moment.” And as leaders, she added, “that’s what we have to pay attention to.”

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why aren’t some brands better at discovering their employer brand?  #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations better create their employer brand? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders shape a powerful, authentic employer brand? #WorkTrends

Find Susan LaMotte on Linkedin and Twitter

#WorkTrends: Why You Need a Talent Brand, Not an Employer Brand

This week on #WorkTrends, agency founder and author Lee Caraher has a wake-up call for all of us. Her message? We need to stop focusing on our “employer brand” and start building a talent brand.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Find a Better Way to Retain Millennials

Back in 2008, Lee had a problem — a big one. Her agency, Double Forte, couldn’t retain millennial employees. At first she figured it must be the millennials’ problem, but when they kept quitting she realized it was the organization’s problem.

She was reading negative headlines everywhere about millennials when she decided to stop looking for answers elsewhere and build her own solution. “I rejected everything bad that I heard,” she says. She knew finding a solution mattered: “A business without millennials is a business without a future,” she says.

She recommends one big change to anyone leading a team: Build a culture of appreciation. “The research shows that teams that feel appreciated outperform those that don’t by 30 percent. I grew up in a household where ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ were implied,” she says. “I thought people knew I appreciated them, but they didn’t. So I started saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and by the end of the month everyone else was saying it too. Our nonbillable time went down. People worked better, faster and more efficiently.

“This is a human trait, not a millennial trait. We all work better when we’re appreciated. People come to our office now and say ‘You guys are so nice to each other.’ But that didn’t just happen. You have to practice.”

Through trial and error and a lot of hard work, the company tripled the tenure for people under 30 — to 4 1/2 years.

Create a Talent Magnet

Building an employer brand is about building a great place to work. That’s really become “an arms race of perks,” Lee says — the best paternity leave, free lunch, laundry on-site. “But the best talent is not inspired by perks. The people who are going to drive your business aren’t inspired by free lunch. They are inspired by being around other great people.”

Instead of trying to build an employer brand, Lee’s team focused on building a talent brand — a company known for attracting great talent. That distinction will only become more important as organizations compete for top talent, she says. “If you’re known as a talent brand where great people come to work, you’re going to have a strategic advantage over just being a great place to work.”

Build a Place for Boomerangs

“If you’re born today, you have a 50 percent chance of living to 104,” she says. “We’re going to be working for 60, 70 years, people. There’s no way that one company can hold someone for 70 years.” Because of that change, companies have to think differently about their alumni — former employees. “If we’re going to be sustainable, we have to break the old paradigm of ‘If you leave, you’re dead to me,’ ” she says. “When someone leaves that may not reflect on us at all. It’s all about the person crafting their career.”

So, it’s normal and expected for someone to leave, but if you have a strong talent brand, you might be able to get them back to your organization down the line. “Inspire loyalty for that person’s entire career,” she says.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

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.

How to Effectively Tell Your Employer Brand Story

As competition for top talent continues to heat up, here’s a recruitment strategy worth embracing—tapping into your company’s biggest assets, your employees. By now you’ve come to realize that for better (or for worse!), the people who work for your company double as corporate ambassadors. They’re “the living, breathing embodiment of what you stand for as an employer,” writes Adam Glassman, a recruitment strategies manager. What they say about your corporate brand on social media and online job sites matters.

The concept of the “employer brand”—how you communicate your organization’s values, culture, and personality—has come a long way in recent years. Research from Betterteammakes a case for investing in your employer brand, citing that companies with strong, positive brands receive twice as many applications as those with negative brands. They also pay less for talent (companies with bad reputations pay a 10 percent premium per hire).

These days, the majority of job candidates look beyond a company’s website when researching job opportunities; 62 percent research companies on social media, such as looking up current employee profiles on LinkedIn or reading reviews on Glassdoor. In fact, 70 percent of candidates say they trust what employees say about a company more than brand ads.

To attract the right talent, your company needs to effectively tell your employer brand story. And for employer branding to be most effective, it needs to be viewed as a retention strategyand not simply a talent acquisition strategy. Here are some tips to help you take control of your brand narrative:

Embrace storytelling. Use storytelling techniques to optimize your company’s job descriptions, career site, and company page in an effort to attract qualified candidates for which your brand’s values will resonate. “Highlighting company differentiators like culture, benefits, and events on your career site and other inbound channels will attract great potential people who are passionate about finding the right fit,” explains Bryan Chaney, a talent and employer branding specialist. Make sure your employer brand is on display throughout the candidate hiring experience—from start to finish.

Think social and visual. Venture beyond the typical job board listings and consider advertising on podcasts and social media channels like Snapchat. Showcase the culture of your company using vivid visuals and images that accentuate the positive but are also realistic. Posts that are brief, bright, and most importantly— authentic—will gain you brand exposure that leads to talent. Let your employees contribute on your social channels, too. Learn from brands like Oracle that are sharing employee-generated content that tells a true but compelling story of what it’s like to work there.

Boost employee happiness. Employee happiness and employer branding work hand in hand. “The factors that comprise employee happiness (culture, benefits, work/life balance, career opportunities, etc.) all contribute to the health of your employer brand,” according to The 2016 State of Employer Branding, a survey conducted by Jibe, which provides candidate experience and recruitment software. Reflect internally to ensure that your company culture makes it a place where employees want to work.

Prove ROI using analytics. Among the 35 percent of companies in the Jibe survey that could demonstrate an ROI on their employer branding activities, 91 percent invested in analytics. Develop KPIs and set up analytics tracking to measure your employer brand activities—enabling you to boost your budget where it counts most.

Taking these steps to tell your employer brand story effectively is critical as you work to attract top talent and increase employee engagement. Treat your employees as the brand ambassadors they already are, and you’ll begin to see dividends in terms of how your company is perceived.

#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: http://bit.ly/2kKfYS6

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!

Passive-Recruiting

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Corporate Perks: A Thinly Veiled Disguise

It’s no secret that there is a war going on… a tug of war to be exact. Companies are scrambling to find the best and brightest talent and many are failing miserably. One of the tactics used by many companies is to seduce candidates with profound and presumably attractive perks as a lure for employment. Further, these same tactics can be used as a retention tool with existing employees. In the short-term, perks are novel and with that may be considered interesting, but in the long-run, they are not the enduring enticement employers believe them to be.

Perks come in many shapes and forms and offer varying benefits. Some companies believe that free food, paid travel, and other offerings of the like are exactly what it takes to attract new talent and to keep the talent they have. Simply, this is not a solid long-term solution. What’s worse is when one company attempts to mimic a competitor’s perks in the hopes that they, too, can enjoy the same presumed successes and much to their chagrin it goes sideways and for good reason.

Company perks should be a reflection of the company’s culture and match the values of that specific organization. Since no two companies are alike, it’s an erroneous assumption to believe that what works for one company should work for another.

Give the people what they want

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, a sample population of job seekers were asked what matters most to them about a potential employer. The results of the survey revealed that the respondents were interested in a company’s mission, culture, growth, advancement opportunities, compensation and compelling statements as to why they should consider employment with one organization over another. Not a mention of free food, ping-pong tables or free haircuts was cited by anyone in this survey.

An article on Careertopia, supports the findings revealed by the Gallup survey. The articles goes on to state that the five things job seekers want from an employer are: career growth; work-life balance; fair compensation; great leadership; and alignment with a company’s mission, vision and values. Once again, perks were not mentioned as being an attraction factor.

The Millennials speak

In a different survey conducted by Gallup, they queried 1,700 U.S. workers to determine the attraction factors that appeal to the three employed generations. What the results of this survey revealed is that Millennials, who are presumed to be job hopping know-it-alls, are in actuality seeking out employers that cater to a generation thirsty for opportunities to learn and grow, to be managed by great leadership, to be engrossed in work that is interesting and which offers challenges, along with opportunities to advance their careers. Additionally, the survey results disclosed that a workplace with an informal and “fun” environment was not a high-attraction factor highly coveted by this generation.

Independent of the Gallup survey, Deloitte conducted a Millennial survey which revealed that compensation along with interesting work and work-life balance rose to the top of the results and what is most in demand by Millennials.

The Sandwich generation

For people born between 1965 and 1978, also known as Generation X, they too have stated what is important for them in the workplace. For this group, work-life balance rises to the top of the results. For this generation, the realities of managing parenthood along with taking care of a parent is becoming more commonplace with each passing year. To that end, having a flexible schedule that allows for care-giving is a big attraction factor. Further, Gen X has developed a reputation for being results oriented, problem solvers who seek out work opportunities where their feedback and opinions are welcomed. Free food, indoor putting greens and other perks of this nature were not mentioned.

The thing that really matters

As leadership scrambles around seeking out the next best shiny object to use in their recruitment and retention arsenal, they need to stop and revisit that which is already in front of them: their company culture. This one item is the biggest and best perk any organization can offer to potential and existing employees. This is what attracts and keeps needed talent. People seek out a culture that aligns with their personal beliefs. Servant leadership, 360 feedback, companies that take an interest in their employees’ well-being, opportunities to learn, good communication, respectful interactions, work-life balance, fair pay, and for job seekers, a shortened hiring processes and timely follow-through with communications all matter. All of these are indicative of an organization’s culture and what is being researched by job seekers and responded to by employees.

The irony is that the bells and whistles that many companies buy into are actually not what they need. People place more value on a relationship and a good work opportunity than they do a ping-pong table or free haircut. I guess the old expression is correct… sometimes people can’t see the forest through the trees.

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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)

Keeping It Real: 3 Fundamentals Of An Authentic Employer Brand

Pondering the recent data breach of 21.5 million Federal Employees, I’m in one of those bottom line moods, so let’s talk bottom line. For many brands, that means a genuine relationship between employer and employee, and that has everything to do with a strong, firmly rooted employer brand.

One common misconception: that a good employer brand starts with pricey image consultants. Yes: marketing that awesome employer brand is a great idea. But let’s take care of the inside first. Top talent often comes equipped with a healthy dose of self-preservation, and that’s a good thing — it breeds savvy, competitiveness and self-reliance. Without an authentically trustworthy employer brand, that same instinct for self-preservation will turn against you: it says you’re more interested in façade than fact, and that leadership really has other priorities. And all the fancy logos in the world won’t save your ROI.

When employees don’t trust an organization, they naturally hold back from wholehearted engagement, with far-reaching, corrosive consequences — churn and retention among them, some far more subtle. And really, we can’t get around this one: a truly authentic, engaging employer brand starts with an authentic, engaged concern for your workforce.

Here are three ways, glamorous or not, to keep it real.

Prioritize Security

Not glamorous, but critical: the latest glaring security breach is a perfect storm of a fallible personnel system and the unwieldy, apparently very permeable frontier of Big Data (not the adjectives we want to use about the future of work). Just ask those 21.5 million government workers whose sensitive (and very personal) data was hacked right out of personnel.

That they willingly provided extremely private information as part of an HR screening process to gain security clearance: the essence of HR irony. Now that we dwell in the Cloud, do your workforce a solid and invest in the strongest security systems you can, and then maintain it, improve it, and invest some more. The worst kind of disengagement is one based on fears that turn out to be justified.

Take A Holistic Approach

My friend and colleague Susan LaMotte defines a solid employer brand as founded on an understanding that employees aren’t driven by their jobs, they’re driven by their lives. The friction between real-life needs and work lives is another tremendous disengager — but a workplace that supports and develops all sides (what LaMotte calls the whole self) of an employee is one of the clearest signs that you care about your talent.

A strong, engaging, and clearly defined employer brand provides an arena where employees can engage themselves and be productive. This can and should happen across all levels, from recruitment to onboarding to training to business as usual.

Always Check In

Not just for engagement, but for success, you need the opinions and input of your workforce. Never assume things are fine. Never stop looking for better ways to check in: the workforce’s pulse has to be taken in myriad hard and soft ways, from pop-up surveys to interviews, on screen, video conference, face to face.

Don’t underestimate the value of regular debriefing meetings: our ability and need to practice hindsight after major efforts is as primal as our instinct for self-preservation. All those tales around the campfire after the hunting party have stayed in our mindsets. Providing multiple channels for feedback conveys a respect for your employees’ positions, personal preferences, and the nature of what they have to say. Then innovate ways to dovetail that input into every facet of the workplace.

Authenticity dwells in action, not image, and one common misconception posits that a good employer brand starts with pricey image consultants. Actually, it doesn’t start there, but it does need to be there. Take care of the core first: the very folk who make it happen. Then, yes, the active promotion of that well-rooted, beautifully clothed employer brand can and should happen: a strategic, multi-platform branding campaign that reinforces the reputation you know you have a right to promote. 

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

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Employer Brand: You’ve Got One, Now’s the Time to Use It

In 2013, 50% of HR managers were saying that hiring was a problem.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, that percentage has now increased to 68. As you may already know, we’re in one of the toughest hiring markets of all time, with various indicators, like time to hire, at all-time highs.

So, is this the time to start thinking about polishing up your employer brand, or is it best to focus on getting those positions filled, and saving branding for the day (hopefully someday) when hiring gets a little easier?

Here are some numbers to think about. Companies with positive brand reputations get 2x as many applicants as companies with poor brand reputations. On top of that, companies with bad reputations spend 10% more per hire – which adds up with each hire. And, 50% of applicants in one survey said they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation, even if offered better pay.

The other thing to think about with employer branding is that it’s not necessarily a choice anymore. Social media gave employees a big megaphone to influence, or in a total vacuum, create your employer brand. If you’re not actively working to influence it, it’s not like you don’t have a brand, it’s just that you’re letting everyone else control the conversation.

Interested in learning more about employer branding, and what you can do to get it under control?Check out this employer branding infographic from Betterteam, with more stats and advice from 10 HR/branding experts, including TalentCulture’s Cyndy Trivella

Employer Brand

Ok, we hope that helped you get a better idea for the state of employer branding, and some of the things you can do to make it work for your company. Learn more about what great employer branding can do to help you attract the right talent pool.

 

photo credit: Fiat’s lead brand agency, IMPATTO creates new advertising campaign ‘Simply More’ via photopin (license)

Employee Engagement 101: Does Your Culture Value Humans?

What’s the distance between your company culture and your brand? Answer: There shouldn’t be any. A company culture that’s authentic and deep will translate through the employer brand, conveying the same tone, the same mission, the same values to job seekers and new hires that it does to fully entrenched (and hopefully engaged) employees.

But if we’re out of the dark ages in terms of the new World of Work, we’re still in the dim outskirts. Consider employee engagement, a key indicator for one thing, more quantitative data (such as career satisfaction) can be gleaned by employees already at a workplace than those still considering it. If employees are not as engaged as they should be; not buoyed by the spirit of the organization they spend most of their time in; that’s a sign of a visible gulf.

Last month a friend and colleague Susan LaMotte made the smart connection, and it’s been an ongoing talking point for me as well. Susan compared how much we’ve been spending on employee engagement with how successful that output has been. Answer: Depressing: Not very. We’ve spent more than $720 million according to a Bersin study. Compare that to a survey by Gallup that revealed that only 13% of employees consider themselves truly engaged in their work.

If your employees aren’t engaged, that’s a serious detriment to your employer brand, and that’s what going to translate down the pike. Proof is in the pudding — or not — an organization without a strong company culture will lose out to companies that do.

Here are two values it’s key to transmit:

1) Supporting Your Employees As People With Lives

Companies like Apple and Google clearly align employer brand with workplace culture. Why are we still talking about these more mainstream brands you ask? Because they have historically embedded themselves into our collective brain. Innovation, creativity and teamwork are part of that culture, as is the message that to keep people inspired, fresh and happy, the organization has to support them. Job seekers are savvier than ever and will turn on a dime: a company that touts “long hours in the trenches” translates as “doesn’t respect my need for a life outside of work.” One that doesn’t address childcare and benefits for a family translates as “we are more important than your family.” That won’t work, particularly given this intensely competitive recruiting culture, not to mention ever-increasing workplace options.

2) Living Your Mission Statement

Integrity is key among the values external job candidates are shown to hold dear in a prospective employer. That’s what happens when the mission statement is clear, authentic, and transparent. Make sure your employees are part of the mission statement so it aligns their engagement with the company goals — they are the embodiment of your employer brand. And make sure the same clear goals and values in that mission statement are part of your recruiting strategy, your videos, your mobile and social platforms.

There are more ways than ever to convey employer brand, whether to active or passive candidates: social, mobile, onboarding, video. And we have the immense power of analytics to draw from. Yet while the workplace is transforming rapidly, it’s still plagued by some of the same issues that have always plagued it: employees disengage, recruits go where the grass looks greener. There’s still a gulf between the organization, brand and the human being. More than ever, it’s time to change that.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

6 Reasons To Start Live Video Streaming Your Brand

Recently a friend told me about Facebook Live and shook his head: Writing content is going to die, he said. We’ll all be communicating via video. I don’t know about all that. But I do know that livestream and live video is here to stay, and as a tool for talent, they’re another level of revolution. But rather than waste any words here (how old school) I’ll get straight to the point.

Here are my 6 reasons to livestream and live video for your personal or employer brand:

  1. More authentic. This is general, but we know that in business and marketing, there’s a truth problem. And in this talent-driven job market, employers have to market themselves to candidates, active or passive. But you have to do it without smacking of old-fashioned intentionalism: seaming it, sans script, into a sense of participation and experience. That’s where livestreaming comes in. It’s not static. It reads as real.
  2. Better than robots. Robots, even are getting more human, as AI gets better at programming strings of behavioral patterns and starts freaking us all out. Which means that we need to be even more human than ever: warts and all. Flaws, it’s been said, are what will ultimately to distinguish us from — them. Again, the glory of livestream, where saying “I don’t know”in real time actually gives people more authority, because your audience will believe it when you say what you doknow.
  3. Expected Access. Livestreaming brings everyone together in real time and in a real way. Increasingly, the way we perceive something is really happeningis to actually see it happen it, or at least watch it in replay. We expect to have access to important events and important people. So staying off live video is denying access in a social media culture that increasingly assumes that if it matters, it’ll be livestreamed. If you’re not livestreaming it, it can’t really be that critical
  4. It’s engaging. The livestream app Periscope had some 10 million users at last count,and a portion of that are savvy businesses working to humanize their brand. When businesses use Periscope to take people behind the scenes before a product launch, or inside meetings to let them into the process, the live commenting and social aspects that can happen concurrently add an instant level of engagement.
  5. Breaking the wall. Before the rise of these livestream apps, also including Meerkat, Facebook Live, Snapchat and others, there was a physical and social wall between brands and their audiences. Every communication innovation has broken a barrier between people. But the way livestream enmeshes social and real time, conversations and presentations, and brings everyone into the room, means that the final wall has been broken. And this we do know: once a wall is down, as we know, there’s no putting it back up.
  6. Great for candidate experiences. What brings candidates to your company? It’s a powerful, compelling, authentic employer brand. It’s a clear story that everyone aligns with in the company. How do you show that? Livestreaming and live video are an incredibly powerful way to bring a candidate inside the very workings of their prospective employer, show the perks and structure and systems without having to describe them, and also, spark that leap of faith that spurs the application. Onscreen immediacy sparks a far closer and immediate connection than having to process written and spoken information. It becomes a multidimensional experience, which is far stronger an impression.

Livestreaming may seem dangerous: a no-filtered, unpackaged, come-what-may approach to presentation. It’s not. What’s dangerous is discounting it. And there’s going to be more and more guidance on best practices, I promise, including tools to best adhere to the mantra of livestream’s three golden words: Under one minute. What livestream is doing is changing the very fabric of how we perceive, and it’s going to transform how we work. Another gizmo? Nope. You don’t want to be left behind on this one.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.

Why Talent Acquisition Should Own Recruitment Marketing

Recruiters and marketers used to sit in different areas of the office, playing distinctly different roles. But as we all know, that’s shifted quite a bit with the focus on recruitment marketing. A marketing hat is now an essential part of a talent acquisition leader’s wardrobe. The most successful recruiters and talent acquisition leaders have embraced the entire world of marketing, from tactics to metrics.

According to The MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, a biannual survey conducted among nearly 2,000 U.S.-based executive search recruiters of MRINetwork, 90 percent of recruiters say the market was candidate-driven in 2015, up from 54 percent in the second half of 2011. When the landscape looks like that, candidates need to be wowed and wooed. And let’s be honest, the best employer brand often wins the race.

Within this same study, 31 percent of respondents say that hiring managers are not finding enough suitable candidates. And when that happens, they have to fight that much harder to find, grab and retain high quality candidates – or someone else will.

So creating a brand that compels people to want to work there is absolutely critical. Whether it’s a perk like free lunches, a dog-friendly workplace or a generous vacation policy, those messages need to be blasted loud and clear. What are even more important to share are those deeper cultural messages such as commitment to transparency or the opportunity to do meaningful work. And who should be behind this communication? Talent Acquisition! (With the support of executives and current employees, as well.)

LinkedIn recently released Global Recruiting Trends 2016, offering both predictable and interesting findings. It states 59 percent of respondents are “investing more in their employer brand compared to last year.” So with this investment, it’s once again obvious who should whole-heartedly, passionately and strategically own the employer brand and the correlating recruitment marketing: the Talent Acquisition Team. Here are a few reasons why.

Consistency of Message. This is Marketing 101. When you want to send a message, make it clear and repeat it. When you are marketing to potential candidates, it’s the same concept. If there are inconsistent messages coming from social media profiles, job boards, talent networks, online employee reviews and other platforms, candidates are just confused.

When Talent Acquisition owns the employer brand and recruitment marketing efforts, it is a great opportunity to fully grasp the company culture, put it into compelling words and sell it. This requires savvy research, solid writing and constant management. Simply put, employer branding needs to be placed as a high priority and coddled a bit. With all the visibility that comes with our online culture, monitoring and engaging potential candidates is part of the big picture.

Universum’s research showed that “74 percent of respondents claimed to have at least a moderate employer brand presence on social media, only a third said they had dedicated employees posting content and responding to users on a regular basis. Even more surprising was that only about half of respondents said they measure their social media activities.”

Candidates Care More. I talk a lot about the candidate experience because expectations have changed. With a talent shortage and shifting generational demands, people want to be courted a bit. The process of the candidate experience is a slight jump from what we’re talking about, but it starts with effectively reaching talent. With companies like Google, Salesforce and Wegmans out there topping Best Companies to Work For lists, candidates want a little cultural dazzle with each job posting. Research continues to show that Millennials and Gen Z are more extremely interested in company culture.

Virgin Pulse’s report, “Misunderstood Millennials: How the Newest Workforce is Evolving Business” states that “73 percent of Millennials seek meaningful work at an organization with a mission they support, and a remarkable 90 percent say they want to use their skills for good, suggesting that Millennials seek workplaces with a culture of altruism that enable them to give back. Millennials also care about workplace culture, with 77 percent noting it is just as or more important than salary and benefits.”

And I’ll throw it out there again … who needs to own these messages, illustrating a commitment to altruism or a hip company culture? Talent Acquisition.

 

Here’s a little warning for you, though. If a talent brand is misrepresented – by flat-out false promises or simply poor word choices – or even through silence – quality of hire will be affected. You want employees to be there for the right reasons: They knew what they were getting into and they want to stay. They are more productive, visionary and committed. When Talent Acquisition effectively manages its marketing efforts, the overall workplace will reap the benefits.

So how do you put in into action? To understand how to become a modern recruiting organization, SmashFly offers a great resource that outlines some of the key skills and roles within the recruitment marketing discipline in 5 Essential Roles of the Modern Recruitment Marketing Team.

This post is sponsored by SmashFly. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.

Photo Credit: RollisFontenot via Compfight cc

5 Tips To Hire Right The First Time

HR lesson for 2016: Pay attention.

Interviewing and hiring is never simple. Just like loving someone for all the wrong reasons, you can hire — or not hire someone — and err in judgment. Some of it has to do with them, but a lot of it has to do with us. Bottom line: Even if you’ve got the perfect candidate, creating a positive takeaway in terms of interviewing and the hiring process is critical. The first real portal into an employer brand is the recruiting and hiring process. But there are more ways to do it wrong that right.

Here are five tips for getting it right the first time.

1. Consider the employer brand. Keep that as your north star, everything aligned in that direction, and you’re ahead of the talent game. According to a recent study, 69 percent of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation — even if they’re unemployed. Which means keeping not only a positive image, but also the reality of your employer brand well-scrubbed. It is critical for attracting the right talent. It also means taking a hard looking your candidate experience.

2. Sweat the small stuff, and search far and wide. Social media means everyone has access to everyone, which means there’s an incredible amount of information available for the taking and the giving. Note that 84 percent of hires would consider leaving their current job if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation. This also confirms the old adage of leaving no stone unturned. Pay attention to the micro as well as the macro when it comes to searching for viable candidates — passive or active.

3. Calibrate your hiring to the season. If you’re a startup, get a jump on hiring with a healthy recruiting push in January — when small and hungry may be the message a potential hire looking for a better employer wants to hear. Career resolutions are big for the New Year, one reason the beginning of the year sees a spike in the traffic on LinkedIn’s Job Slots — up some 250 percent. Ditch the challenge of going up against a Goliath and trying to match them perk for perk. Instead, take advantage of the beginning of the year to show off the lean gleam of a new firm with loads of potential.

4. Max out the metrics. As was recently pointed out, we’re living in the midst of a recruitment paradox, in which what we recruit is not necessarily what we want to retain. What constitutes a perfect hire — and how you measure it — has long been the subject of debate. Now is the time to deepen the intelligence of your metrics, and see where the gaps are, such as: qualified applicants, turnover, vacancy rate, declined vs. accepted offers, and the performance of new hires based on the source that generated the lead (a great one to measure).

5. Make it easy to stay. There’s a reason why certain companies win CandE Awards for their candidate experience – and a reason to follow their lead. Bungled interviews, inappropriate questions, talent overlooked for all the wrong reasons; insufficient caretaking and lackluster onboarding is going to prompt that new hire to reconsider his or her options. Once we shift into, “I’m looking for a job” mode, it’s easy to return there; and certainly brief stints have become acceptable within the new work culture.

Make sure the roots set deep with your candidate experience. There are indeed best practices and good etiquette, and best to heed them. The Talent Board noted that only 85.3 percent of organizations sent a “thank you” correspondence to applications, down from 89.5 percent; recruiters who are required to respond dropped nearly ten percent, from 49.3 to 39.6 percent.

No matter how fancy your analytics or social media searching, there’s still one factor you can’t overlook. We are human. As writer, film-maker and perpetual job-seeker Heath Padgett found out when he quit his software sales job and traveled the country in an RV, working a different job in each state, we really are only as good as our hearts and minds. They are still what we need to improve hiring practices. And, yes, relationships are still critical.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on 12/30/15