Is Your Employer Branding Piecemeal or PEACEful?
A deep thought to what could employers do to minimize such incidents or disconnect with their employees.
We are a fast-growing start-up hiring for our multiple business functions, and therefore I usually spend significant time meeting job seekers as our potential hires. Last week in one such interview with a potential hire, I happened to come across a job seeker who had walked in for a role with us, but I could not help but notice in her CV that she had joined her current employer only two months back. It got me very curious to ask what made her walk-in for an interview with us when she had already taken up the same job with another employer only two months ago. At first, she hesitated to reveal, but I am glad she opened up and shared her side of the story.
She did all her homework before joining that company by trying to read about them on their website, on social media, and even talking to the hiring manager & the HR staff about the job role, benefits, etc., at length. However, as soon as she completed her first few weeks on board that company, she started to develop the feeling that "she does not belong there" and finally came to the point when she decided to call it quits & move out of that company. So naturally, that leads me to ask her what was missing there, what made her feel that she did not belong there, how does she know that she will not feel the same way about us or any other company with which she is exploring a job opportunity?
It is not very easy to articulate an apt response to such subjective questions. Hence, the best approach she thought was to give me some examples of situations and her colleagues' (without naming anyone) behavior. The way they reacted or responded to specific concerns, the way the HR representatives reacted to her feedback, and how her boss did not seem to care about what was going on the floor and instead just ignored and avoided acknowledging and transparently talking about that matter. Now I had a better idea of what could have put her off and what she was seeking.
As we took the discussion ahead with a much better understanding of what was amiss in her last employment, I asked her to cite the three most important things that she would value in her employer and what I liked about her response was that it was direct & quick. She did not even blink an eye to cite – transparency in dealings with employees, sharing expectations and feedback proactively with the employees and also encouraging them to share theirs for the company towards continuous learning and improvement, and the highest standards of business ethics even if it costs walking away from a significant business gain.
The discussion went on further and the more we discussed, the better was the engagement and impact on both the parties as we could relate and connect at multiple levels. However, as the discussion ended and the candidate left our office, it made me wonder how even some of the very young job seekers with little industry experience also have such an impressive clarity of thought. They know about what they wish to do, whom they want to work with as their employer, and their work expectations.
It also made me think deeply about what employers could do to minimize such incidents or disconnect with their employees.
Almost all employers today have a strategy, resources, and a plan for employer branding. Still, in most cases, it is a piecemeal approach and therefore not very PEACEful.
Yes, PEACEful and this is how we see it –
P – "Personalised." We all know that "one size does not fit all." So is our employer branding holistic. Does it have a connection and touchpoint for each department or business function or people with different mindsets & personalities, employees with different demographics, etc.? Are we conveying this rightly, and is it perceived that way?
E – "Engaging." Is it engaging enough? Is there a two-way communication happening, or are we making the same mistake that most employers do – one-way broadcasting only. Is there an element of "genuine care" in it? Yes, people are smart enough to figure out whether we mean to care about them and their personal & professional growth genuinely or not.
A – "Actionable." Are we only talking about our employee branding or practicing it and living it in reality? How do our daily actions on the floor exhibit our core values and beliefs? Are our activities in line with the brand we wish our employees to perceive?
C – "Collaborative." Did we adopt a "collaborative" approach while defining our employee branding and practices? Did the stakeholders from all the critical business functions participate in the discussions to envisage and formulate it, or does it only represent the CEO's or HR Head's viewpoint? Do we think it's good to implement it just because we learned about it in some fancy HR article/ event/ workshop or because someone else in the industry has implemented it?
E – "Effective." How do we know what we are doing is right and our employees are receiving it well because it adds value to them? For our branding to be effective, it has to be measurable. And for it to be measurable, we have to identify the "impact areas" for business that we would like our employer branding to add maximum value to, viz. Better Employee Loyalty & Retention, Reduced Attrition, Higher Productivity, Happier & Healthier Workforce, Collaborative Work-Culture, etc. If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Improve It, even the Management thinker Peter Drucker has said that "you can't manage what you can't measure."
To summarise, the interview with this job seeker helped me make PEACE with our employer branding once again and reminded me of some of the fundamentals that we usually end up ignoring otherwise.
I hope you also find it helpful in making your employer branding PEACEful.