The big conversation this week (ignoring the global news stories, that is) is about Apple's new employer brand video. The animated video features about a hundred different variations of the famous Apple logo morphing from one to another while a female voiceover tells "constant beginners who sing off key" that "all are welcome." Visually, it is gorgeous (but really, Apply making an amazing commercial is no surprise). But the question is: is it effective?
The Best Employer Branding KPIs to Measure Your Progress | Uncubed
I've got mixed thoughts on this article on employer brand KPIs you can adopt. It has the usual suspects (Glassdoor rating, TTF, CPH), in addition to content engagement and candidate flow. Sure, those are good metrics to know, but they aren't clean metrics. If a million people engage with your content because you offered job seeking tips, does that really impact your employer brand more than tangentially, regardless of volume of engagement? And the same can be said for diversity metrics: while it's helpful to know what roles are appealing to which gender or ethnicity, metrics imply a goal, which isn't usually how we're expected to see diversity, is it? Just keep that in mind if your boss this sends this article your way.
I was really impressed by this employer branding manifesto from Spotify (While I'm a customer, I have no other relationship to Spotify). Why? While it is effectively selecting pillars you'd see in many other companies, the way it expresses and things about those pillars says more about what it's like to work at that company as the pillars themselves. Like Tony Bennett or Aretha Franklin, it's the singer, not the song. While I get to talk/think about EB data all day, people are sometimes troubled by the fact that company EVPs are often little more than carbon copies of other companies. But this is when creativity, based on a platform of solid data, can really sing. Like two houses with the same floor-plans, it is the upkeep, location and decoration that makes one house feel sterile and cold while another can feel cozy. The data creating the pillars doesn't make creativity, but they provide certainty on which bold creative decisions can be made.
How to Get Recruiters Involved With Your Marketing Campaigns
One of the biggest employer brand challenges is in getting recruiting teams to help carry the brand message out to candidates. They might complain about it being "idea of the month" or not understand how building a strong brand makes their lives easier. All they see is change. Firefish has a nice intro on how to work with getting recruiters on your side. Aside from flattery and giving them a strong sales pitch, I suggest the biggest impact comes from giving them something for free. Find one pain point they have that you can "own" under the banner of employer branding (job postings, social content, videos, a library of outreach InMails, etc). Pick your favorite recruiters and give your gift away for free. Then let those recruiters tell the other recruiters how effective the new thing was. Those recruiters will ask for your help, and once you've given them a few gifts, they will be willing to play your game with a far more open mind.
Anyone who has ever worked with sales and marketing teams knows how embedded data is in everything they do: how to collect it, how to make decisions with it, etc. And yet, data isn't really a core part of TA/Recruiting culture. Sure, we know our pipeline and TTF numbers, but that's just simple outcomes. I'm always thrown by how hard it is to get TA teams to think with data, but that's because the industry doesn't have a culture of using it. And if no one else in TA is using it, it's a great excuse to not use it. So if you're ready to change that culture, HBR has some good ideas.
8 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know in 2020 [INFOGRAPHIC]
Meanwhile (same report), further proof that the world of work continues to evolve as 73% of employees feel like they should have a role in shaping the company (see previous article about creating strategy buy-in). That in itself reinforces my own belief that reporting on declining employee engagement is an outcome of feeling disconnected from the decisions being made. Three out of four want to be part of the change, but according to Gallup, only 17% feel engaged? That's a problem.
Let's talk about trust. In a podcast last year, I predicted that salary information was crucial to candidates not just because candidates seek to optimize total compensation above all else, but because it is the only data point they can trust. Recruiters, employer branders and hiring managers are incentivized to paint rosy pictures of the opportunity, pictures candidates are not always able to validate until inside the company. Thus, they hold the salary number to be the best data point because it isn't subject to perspective or spin. Why bring up trust? Well, Edelman's 2020 Trust Barometer came out two weeks ago and it is stunning. Across the board and almost universally, trust of government agencies, companies, technology and media has fallen. People are worried about losing their job as the gig economy, automation and a lack of skills creates more and more chance of being left behind. A majority of Americans don't trust the news they get and worry about being manipulated. No major institutions are seen as being both ethical and competent. Businesses are seen as having little to no commitment for their people in the face of creating profits. Like I said, it's a stunner. And into this world goes your little recruitment marketing ad or a career site that simple suggests that yours is a company for open-minded folks looking to make an impact. How believable is that message when people don't trust the company producing it? Or when they don't feel like they have reputable third-party sources with which to validate the claim?
It took me a minute to realize that this article on how to help your employees to own your corporate strategy is actually an employer brand article in reverse. That is, rather than explaining what employer brand is, it focuses on the fact that a strategy that isn't embraced and implemented by engaged staff is really just a good idea and little more. The article suggests making strategy communication a two-way street and asking for staff to commit to the strategy. Sounds great but if you have two identical companies differentiated by the first having a strong employer brand, you can connect your corporate strategy more easily to understanding what your staff expects to get out of working there far more than the company without a strongly held brand. In a company with different micro-cultures, how do you connect a single strategy to all of them? You'll have to go team to team, culture to culture, doing the hard retail sales work to make a connection. In a company with a strong brand, all those micro-cultures have already found a way to localize your core brand. It's like all those disparate audience are already hard-wired to understand the strategy because they are all aligned to a common set of concepts.
Here's a nice short article reminding us that employer brand folks are there to help manage perceptions in other people's minds. It seems obvious, but it feels like we forget very quickly when things get busy.
Infographic: Sentiment Scale Reveals Which Words Pack the Most Punch
I talk a lot about how a thumbnail guide to measuring your brand strength is in measuring both your reach and your sentiment. But how to measure sentiment? Here's a list of words listed by how positive and negative they describe your company.
The Portraits of Refugee Coders Are Cleverly Hidden in the Websites of the Companies They Work For
There's something to be said for employer branding existing in the details, that it is strongest when it exists in the places where you'd expect it. Which is why I love this company's example of using its own website source code to tell a meaningful story about what it stands for.
The future of brand storytelling - Think with Google
What's the future of brand storytelling? Google collected some smart thinkers and posed that question. And while there was a lot of talk of "digital-first," I wonder if their own recruiters and employer branders would 100% agree.
Tesla's 'Anti-Handbook Handbook' for New Employees Just Leaked. It's Pure Elon Musk, and Your Business Should Definitely Copy It | Inc.com
I'm loathe to point to anything Elon Musk companies are doing in employer branding (when your CEO/Founder has developed a massive cult of personality, it's like having EB cheat codes). But I did like to see this example of how they use their employee manual to instill and reinforce the brand.
More data points on how different Gen Z is from Millennials. Example, Gen Z-ers are more black and white in their thinking and that they are more inclined to look for and select a niche or specialization sooner, rather than be a generalist and see what happens.
How to Rise Above Marketing Mediocrity, According to Ann Handley
Content marketing guru Ann Handley calls out branders for building mostly mediocre marketing. And for my money, employer brand marketing can take a few lessons from this article on how to make marketing that rises above the obvious.
Great employer branding isn't just ratings and career sites. It is about the power of the experience as a whole, either at the interview, at the open house, at the career event, and event when someone asks you what it's like to work there. But experiences aren't the easiest to measure, os here are some ideas on how to show leadership the impact of intentional experiences.
Why diversity & inclusion are important - Think with Google
Speaking of diversity, are you still having conversations with people and leaders who don't see the value of intentionally targeting and attracting a more diverse talent pipeline? Would the believe an argument about the power of developing such pipelines if, say, Google was talking about it? Great. Because here's a video series where they talk about how diverse talent drives business outcomes.
When brands treat job candidates poorly, it costs them money | PR Week
Want more evidence that ignoring your employer brand's impact on corporate sentiment is costing your business sales? I thought you might. It's good stuff to keep in your back pocket when someone forces you to justify your existence.
What You're Getting Wrong About Finding Candidates of Color - Fistful of Talent
What are we getting wrong about attracting and hiring diverse candidates? That we treat them like they are special. Instead, focus on giving them a concrete and tangible reason for them to choose you. It's a pretty compelling argument.
Here's some advanced brand thinking: Is there an opportunity for you to mix high and low culture ideas to give your message more meaning, more interest? This article over at HBR looks at examples of how super luxury brands co-op super-low status ideas without losing their high-status desirability. Why care? I was struck by the idea that high-status luxury isn't really luxury anymore. I can fabricate or recreate almost anything. Brands like Zara are built on making copies of high-end pieces at affordable prices in weeks. So how to stay high status? Show your high level of taste. Show that you can put a gas station potato chip on four-star meal. Show that you can pull it off. The lesson for you and I might be that we can open up the horizon to all sorts of new ideas for our branding is we have the style and taste to pull it off. Example? If I ran the brand for a fintech brand, I might feel boxed in by who the customer base is. If I provided loans as needed, I might feel weird about providing high end swag to prospects. Maybe we shouldn't exclude these ideas out of hand, but look for ways to mix things up. Because the knock on effect of mixing the two is how... surprising and interesting these hybrids end up appearing. And isn't attracting attention and interest sometimes the point?
Why out-of-home may be the ultimate location-based (digital) marketing medium
For those with the budget, there's a huge increase in talk about digital Out Of Home (OOH) ads. Think digital display and geo-targeted ad on mobile. As it provides a measure of trackability, it might be something to get up to speed on.
Why Good Candidate Experience Matters & 3 Ways To Deliver It > Sourcing and Recruiting News
I'm glad I finally get to link to an article on "how to enhance your candidate experience" without having to complain that there's more to candidate experience than "white glove." In this piece listing three ways to support your CX, the overarching theme is to provide and deliver more useful information to the candidate. Be it social signals, formal messaging and relationship-building.
Are you ready for experiential marketing? Well, if you define it as VR goggles and pop-up shops, it may feel out of your reach. But what if you defined it as advocacy? Anything that creates a deep and immersive "moment" qualifies.
Issue #44: HR & POLI SCI 5.0: Social Contract - Signature needed? | Revue
Here's your big read for the week. From fellow talent nerd Liz Lembke's Transforming Talent, this week's newsletter got my head spinning. Why? Because we don't talk about social contracts much at all and we really should. Over the last 50 years, what we expect from each other, from our governmental institutions, and from our jobs has changed. But the systems that support our relationships with our jobs really haven't. What do you expect from your colleagues? What's worth complaining about (and what isn't)? When is it okay to ask for help and when are you expected to buckle down and figure it out? Liz collects a series of recent articles on the topic, and they are very much worth your time.
‘Without conflict, there is no good story’: Wendy’s Kurt Kane on challenger strategy — The Challenger Project | The Home of Challenger Brands
Everyone loves the Wendy's social media accounts. How does a square burger chain dance so gloriously on the line of impropriety that other brands can't even get near? They embrace their position as a "challenger" brand. Specifically, they don't shy away from the core idea that you need some kind of conflict in order to create a meaningful narrative.
How Apprenticeship Employers Can Unlock the Potential of TikTok
Is it time to start using Tik Tok for your recruiting? The answer may be yes. The reason? Well, if the off-the-wall creative thinkers over at the Association of Chartered Certified Accounts are seeing results, then I think its time for you to take it seriously.
Amazon, the 80-ton six-armed gorilla in any conversation, has been quietly shifting it's MBA recruiting strategy away from "pick a few schools and camp there" to "use digital to cherry-pick talent from more schools," according to the WSJ. Two takeaways to consider. First is the obvious one: the world has been pushing students to be more open to digital-first relationships rather than face-to-face ones that students respond more strongly to. Students have been pushing back, but it looks like Amazon is going to be the one to change the conversation again and make digital recruiting more "normal." The second takeaway is that we may be seeing the end of the "top school" hegemony. There is simply too much competition from too many companies to recruit from top schools, so unless you're a FB/G/A/Amazon, you can't expect to get anything but table scraps. So maybe it's time to target top talent at second and third-tier schools rather than spend huge amounts of cash to attract also-rans at top schools.
The concept of "newsjacking" isn't new to my content marketing folk. It's the process of finding a timely (and aligned) way to jump on a current story in the next and ride it's coattails. Doing it right requires speed and guts (see: Oreo and Super Bowl blackout, or pretty much anything Wendy's does), which isn't easy. So here are some great examples of the best instances of newsjacking in 2019 you can learn from.