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People are the brand - the unity of Marketing and HR


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Marketing and HR have a lot in common. The success of one depends on the other, but all too often they work in isolation. In this people-centric age where authenticity is everything, this has to change.

This paper outlines how Marketing and HR can help each other in building a consistent brand and how marketing approach and technique can enhance talent attraction.

Published in: Recruiting & HR

People are the brand - the unity of Marketing and HR

  1. 1. People are the brand THE UNITY OF MARKETING AND HR by Felix Wetzel MARCH 2016
  3. 3. 3PEOPLE ARE THE BRAND Marketing and HR have a lot in common. The success of one depends on the other, but all too often they work in isolation. In this people-centric age where authenticity is everything, this has to change. Authenticity isn’t a new thought and has been discussed to a significant extent. Nevertheless, the majority of companies and brands still do not deliver an authentic brand experience. The Marketing function and the HR/Talent/People function are not working together. Often different brand values are applied in communication and interaction with consumers to those in their communication and interaction with present and future employees – a clear sign that a company’s culture isn’t being managed nor their identity fully developed. As a consequence, the consumer has an inconsistent, often disappointing brand experience, which damages authenticity for the external audience. This inconsistent approach also has a negative effect on productivity and employee engagement as well as the attraction of future employees. People are the brand. They are the strongest and most influential brand ambassadors – marketing and HR would benefit from working closely together and utilising each other’s knowledge and expertise to achieve more impactful business outcomes. A better understanding of each other’s problems, approaches and experiences will unearth many similarities and many joint undertakings, from brand building to talent attraction. There are many models, approaches and techniques we marketers use that could enhance talent attraction and people management functions. Consumer brand and employer brand; consumer value proposition and employee value proposition; advertising and job descriptions; consumer attraction (performance marketing) and candidate attraction; consumer engagement and candidate engagement; most profitable consumer segments and best performing employees – as you can see, all these areas have similarities and originate from marketing. This paper outlines how marketing and HR can help each other in building a consistent brand and how marketing approach and technique can enhance talent attraction.
  4. 4. PEOPLE ARE THE BRAND, By Felix Wetzel4 W hen building a (consumer) brand a lot of time and effort is spent on understanding a company’s positioning towards their clients and their competition. Little time is spent trying to understand the positioning in regards to the company: What is our identity? What do we stand for? How does the brand work for current employees and future employees? How do the overall values play out in day to day working life? How do we implement the brand internally? A lot of time is spent pouring over words, images, product ideas. The same concentration, determination and creativity is missing when planning for another important stakeholder: the internal audience. Marketing is focused on the consumer/ client and the competition (and is remunerated accordingly). The internal focus is often an afterthought. A big internal launch event maybe, but subsequently management is delegated to a junior person and more often than not falls off the radar. HR and Talent management are often missing from the brand creation process HR and Talent management are are often missing from the brand creation process. This represents a lost opportunity to take what has been built and extend it towards the internal audience thus creating a consistent company culture based on shared values and shared experiences. To make the most of this opportunity requires changes to the status quo and for HR and Talent to depart from their comfort zone so that the company culture doesn’t just develop by accident. Here is an example of how we rolled out a successful and attractive external brand at Jobsite with little attention to the internal brand: Jobsite’s brand essence was “We help you plan your work life, so your whole life works better” and whilst Jobsite was a great place to work, we weren’t rigorous enough in adjusting internal behavior, policies and programs to help the Jobsite employees to plan their work life, so their whole life would work better. We talked about the brand essence, what it meant and how to communicate it, but it wasn’t consistently and convincingly applied in the internal communication and interactions. We brainstormed ideas and developed products to help candidates but we didn’t innovate internally so people could really live our brand. Using spiral dynamics we built a questionnaire for candidates to identify their personal profile, how they relate to others’ profiles, and we supplied questions to use in interviews so candidates could identify if the culture of a company was aligned to their own. We never used this internally, either as a recruitment or a performance management tool. Over time, separate internal and external brands developed. The external one continued to be managed, the internal one just happened. Inconsistency between internal and external brand At the beginning the inconsistency between the internal and external brand doesn’t really matter, but over time it shows. Over time the internal credibility drops and once the internal belief is gone, it seeps through every client interaction. A company loses its soul and slowly a brand ends where it started: undefined, undervalued and unloved. This inconsistency between internal and external brand can also be felt from the consumer and client side: The external brand builds up a significant expectation. But when the brand isn’t lived by every single employee, it isn’t delivered through every interaction. In the end the brand experience becomes significantly different than the brand expectation. This can be positive if you start with a low expectation or it can be negative when starting with a high expectation. When brand values and corporate culture are not aligned, rather than positioning the company for success, management are leaving it up to chance and the professional pride of the individual. This misalignment can also occur purely internally, if two or more sets of brand values exist. Balmer’s AC²D test (see next page) nicely explains these discrepancies. 1. Creating a consistent brand HR AND TALENT MANAGEMENT ARE OFTEN MISSING FROM THE BRAND CREATION PROCESS. THIS REPRESENTS A LOST OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE WHAT HAS BEEN BUILT AND EXTEND IT TOWARDS THE INTERNAL AUDIENCE THUS CREATING A CONSISTENT COMPANY CULTURE BASED ON SHARED VALUES AND SHARED EXPERIENCES.
  5. 5. CREATING A CONSISTENT BRAND 5 In “From the Pentagon: a new identity framework” Balmer describes the AC2 D as “a tool that can detect conflicts between stakeholder perceptions and inconsistencies in official communications strategy, and encompasses the notion of evolving image and strategy”. In other words, it helps to point out discrepancies and at the same time helps to manage culture and corporate identity in a changing environment. As long as the mismatch is desired and managed, it can actually be a positive. If you build a brand only on actual values (what you have always done and do now), you are in danger of stifling growth and not adjusting to a changing external environment. Ideally, the actual identity and the communicated one are completely aligned – no mismatch between internal and external brand. At the same time the ideal and desired identity are built with the future in mind. Where do we want to be? How do we have to behave and evolve to achieve this? The next step is for the leadership to communicate the vision and live the new reality. Working with HR and Marketing, a roadmap needs to be designed to transition between where we are now to where we want to be. Communications, behaviours and competency frameworks should be adjusted and used to assess and manage achieving the new reality. If some employees can’t or won’t come along on this journey, then this needs addressing rather than allowing it to slow the process down. The desired identity, as Trueman said in his paper “Can a city communicate? Bradford as a corporate brand” in 2004, “lives in the hearts and minds of corporate leaders. It is their vision for the organization. Whereas the ideal identity normally emerges after a period of research and analysis, the desired identity may have more to do with a vision informed by a CEO’s personality and ego than with a rational assessment.” Morphing the two and adequate execution underpins success. This planned and managed mismatch is important for the growth of a company and to attract investment, customers and employees. A learning and developing company does well to engage in this mismatch. Most of us will have experienced these discrepancies in their unmanaged state. It happens in all types of companies, even start ups where you’d think there would be a clean slate. But whenever there are people involved, there is no such thing as a clear slate. Often the misalignment becomes apparent when values and associated behaviors have been defined. The leadership realizes that they themselves don’t live the values that they proclaimed. The value definition is quickly dismissed as unimportant or slowed down without real reasons. A mismatch between word and actions will occur unless behaviors are adjusted or the real values unearthed. That can make for uncomfortable conversations, especially when it has to be pointed out to the leadership that they are not living the values that they actually want the company to adopt or when the company adopts them easily but the leadership doesn’t. If a company is flying, the general success is enough to keep morale up and paper over the cracks, but it will minimise the ability to scale rapidly in a coherent fashion and across borders and will lead to decisions – both hiring and commercial – that are against the brand values. Building the brand Setting brand values always starts with the leadership. It is then extended to the people within the brand. The process needs to be linked to the business strategy and objectives, hence taking the external environment into consideration and creating a brand that is attractive for all three stakeholders – company, clients, and competitors. The leadership needs to buy in and live the brand essence and the values. The leadership needs to be honest, if the brand essence actually is “make the owner richer” then it is better to be honest about it rather than trying to hide it behind some aspirational veil of ultimate nothingness and permanent post-rationalisation of decisions. It will be found out anyway as values ultimately become part of day to day conversations and behaviours. Actions speak louder than words. Values are observable everyday in employee behaviour values become the glue for social cohesion, the DNA of your corporate nation. Living BALMER’S AC²D TEST Critical Concern Identity Type Concept Timeframe What we really are Actual Corporate identity Past/ Present What we say we are Communicated Corporate Communication Past/ Present What we are seen to be Perceived Corporate image Past/ Present What we ought to be Ideal Corporate strategy Future What we wish to be Desired CEO vision Future AActual CConceived DDesired IIdeal CCommunicated FROM THE PENTAGON
  6. 6. PEOPLE ARE THE BRAND, By Felix Wetzel6 behaviours are key items and here the HR and Talent function can add real value through their expertise of competency frameworks and performance management. It is important that the company clearly states the behaviour that corresponds to each value, how this differs for the different levels within the company and how this is linked to performance management. This is often another point when consistent brand development breaks down: I have seen several companies, who built their brand, rolled it into the competency framework and then didn’t apply it rigorously. There are many reasons for this: as mentioned above, the leadership suddenly realises that they don’t live up to these values and behaviours, or they don’t want to rock the boat and don’t want to go through the pain of aligning internal and external brand. So in short, it either threatens a control position or makes life too uncomfortable. A competency framework that has been aligned and is being used as a management tool allows us to separate performance from results. You can measure both independently and therefore reward a great performance, not only great results. That in itself is already an improvement to the way many companies and teams are currently run. It is also a great tool to assess the people with the “right” attitude and mindset and help those people grow even if they don’t have the skills that others possess whose attitude and mindset is not “on brand.” HR is required to identify and nurture the former and address the mismatch with the latter proactively, instead of hoping that the new reality will slowly take care of it for them. Having one brand touches other areas as well. If you have a brand value that states to your clients “Seeing things differently”, you have to ask how this is translated into working practises, from the way the office is arranged, to the tools given and the policies applied. The values also become a key component in the recruitment process – what are the questions we ask to establish if a possible recruit possesses these values? What are the answers that will most likely lead to a successful and productive hire? Obviously, now I am teaching Talent and HR professionals how to suck eggs, but these are the tools that have been missing in Marketing to implement a consistent brand. Marketers can also be a stumbling block when defining values: In our world view, we want ideally 3 or 5 values, mainly for simplicity and impact reasons. However, when learning from the best, and for me Amazon is one of the best, we are more likely to be looking at 11 to truly assess a person’s potential performance and learning agility as outlined below. That might make the values initially unwieldy but in the longer term will deliver better outcomes and, most importantly, values that are useful for the entire company, not only for marketing and their branding purposes. Furthermore, I would use the same behaviours used to assess existing and potential employees in supplier and investor selection. The entire company network needs to run as seamlessly and frictionless as possible. If your company sends consultants or contractors into businesses, they are an extension of your brand. Any candidate a recruitment company sends for an interview represents the recruitment agency and is therefore an extension of their brand. After all a brand’s strength is defined as “the number of active participants in a brand’s network”, so this network is generally pretty wide and includes everybody, because remember, you can set your brand values and your brand essence, but your brand will be defined by the market, by the experiences the consumers/ candidates have on all their touch points. You can influence your brand, but you can’t really control it. Let’s talk employment or employer brand: The employment brand is a facet of the overall brand. It is based on the brand essence and brand values of the company brand but is tailored towards the specific B2E audience so it is relevant for both inbound and outbound marketing activities. Talent people, work with your marketing teams. Take advantage of their knowledge and their expertise. Marketers, include your Talent function in brand development, because they are the ones to ensure that it is consistently applied through performance management and hiring. Resu lts agility Self-awar eness Changeagility People agility M entalagility Learning Agility Delivering results in challenging first- time situations Likes to experiment and comfortable with change Skilled communicator who can work with diverse types of people Extent to which an individual knows his or her true strengths and weaknesses Ability to examine problems in unique and unusual ways
  7. 7. 7DEFINING THE PROPOSITION L et’s have a look at some practical steps and how they relate to talent attraction. Different people use different tools and techniques, but they normally follow a similar path and this always begins with business needs. For example, before deciding in which programming language to develop a new project, it would be wise to consult the talent function on available skill sets and how they might develop in the future. From a marketing perspective, it always starts with segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP). You ultimately divide the entire market into smaller, relevant pieces and choose the one you want to target. It could be done by skill and location or it could include other factors such as backgrounds, desires, motivations. This segmentation also works for and is informed by the existing workforce: Several years ago I worked with Motorola in attracting telematic engineers to work on products for big car manufacturers. We used the usual methods of sector, skill, experience and location. Through a survey of the existing Motorola engineers we realised that the majority shared a deep interest in the design of Formula 1 engines. That insight helped us be more precise in our targeting and tailor an attraction strategy. It is as important to understand their desires as their frustrations and turn offs. These days it is often called persona development. It is important that qualitative and quantitative data is used collectively. Both are valuable on their own, but they deliver their real beauty when combined. This helps you understand your target market in depth, and lets you assess the size and the feasibility of targeting it. Relevance and speed has driven recruitment in the past and will drive it in the future. But the backdrop is changing. Let’s put it in the context of the world we live in, of the broad behaviours we can observe today: The world we live in Frictionless experiences: We are busy. Our lives are full. We want everything within it, all the services and technologies to be as easy and as smooth as possible. In an ideal world, they just run in the background with minimum interference. Take Terminal 5 for example, it is very easy to go through check-in and security, hardly any waiting and only afterwards you notice how easy it was and how all the different little items created an overall smooth and seamless journey. Even leaving feedback is easy and simple via the smiley buttons. Amazon is another great example: easy to understand and use, accessible everywhere, entirely flexible. No unnecessary actions, as few clicks as necessary, great suggestions (like mind reading at times) and completely reliable at every stage. They make my life easier and that’s what I want. Mobile centric: Even though we have been talking about mobile for a long time, we are only starting out on the mobile journey and still now there are many companies with unresponsive websites. But that’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is using the data that is intrinsic: it knows my location, it knows my address book, it even knows and remembers the languages I use to write texts to specific people. Linking up these data sets is incredibly exciting and users today expect that it is being used to give a more personalised experience. Diminishing loyalty: People are becoming more happy to share personal data, login by Facebook, try new apps and website. But if it doesn’t work as promised, if it uses your data for something else than stated, they abandon you and won’t use you again and to top it all off: they tell the entire world. Loyalty has to be earned through every interaction, every single time. This trend is especially pronounced with younger generations such as the Millennials, but is now seeping through to everyone, as we all have learned the hard way that most companies don’t reward loyal customers but just chase new ones. People expect a tailored experience that works around their busy lives, uses all available information to make decisions easier and faster, and communicate with them in an honest and authentic way. Use my data and deliver me the best solution, don’t bother me with having to make unnecessary steps. That is the world your brand and talent attraction strategy has to fit in. 2. Defining the Proposition PEOPLE EXPECT A TAILORED EXPERIENCE THAT WORKS AROUND THEIR BUSY LIVES, USES ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION TO MAKE DECISIONS EASIER AND FASTER, AND COMMUNICATES WITH THEM IN AN HONEST AND AUTHENTIC WAY.
  8. 8. 8 Occupying a distinct position in the job seeker’s mind After segmentation and targeting, the next step is positioning your company within the wider world we live in and the specific mindset of your target customers: “Positioning is a marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer. Companies apply this strategy either by emphasizing the distinguishing features of their brand (what it is, what it does and how, etc.) or they may try to create a suitable image (inexpensive or premium, utilitarian or luxurious, entry-level or high- end, etc.) through advertising. Once a brand is positioned, it is very difficult to reposition it without destroying its credibility.” Source: Positioning_(marketing) Replace “consumer” with “candidates” and you end up with an employer value proposition (evp). As I said above, it is important that it isn’t just based on an image but that it is based on a reality. At this stage, you can use Kenichi Ohmae’s triangle (below), to keep all major stakeholders in mind. Only when all three are taken into consideration and dependencies are understood can you build a sustainable and meaningful positioning. I like to add a 4th C into the model – the one of ‘Community’. It used to be normal that good business was profitable business and took care of the communities it touched. These days it seems to be less obvious with some industries not adding any value to society. Now it is time for more detail and precision: really understand the target market and their perception of you, so you can tailor your proposition perfectly to their needs and desires. To take you back to the Motorola example: Most telematic engineers didn’t know that Motorola was working with car manufacturers. This insight helped us tailor our messaging to position Motorola differently. As a next step the reknown marketing mix comes into play. This ultimately focuses on delivering value to your customer (customer value proposition or within the HR industry: the evp). From customer centricity to people perspective Most people will have heard about this tool Marketing’s 4Ps – product, price, promotion and place (there are also extensions to 7 and 12 Ps). At some stage, there was the realisation that the 4Ps are inward focused and look at the market from a company perspective, where as marketing (the clue is in the name) is about a market perspective and about customer centricity. So the 4Ps became the 4Cs. Product became Customer Satisfaction (or Customer Value), Place became Convenience, Price became Cost and Promotion became Communication. This makes much more sense and increases the accessibility of this method. This approach can also be used in the talent community: Customer value/satisfaction is by far the trickiest and comes down to overcoming frustrations. What really frustrates people and how can my product or service overcome this frustration? Some people might not know what to do with their dog while they work, so you could allow dogs into the workplace – that is a shallow example, but you get my point. It could be time to develop their own products or training. The research you have done in the previous step will tell you. Convenience – it is one of the biggest differentiators in today’s world and lots of businesses like Amazon are pushing ahead in this field. Some people might find it more convenient to work from home, so how would you accommodate this in your working environment? Cost – how much are people willing to pay for your product? This often also includes the indirect cost of switching. This is when salaries and packages come into play, but also the cost of losing protections if people have been in a job for more than 2 years. CUSTOMER • Core benefit • Expected product COMPANY • Basic product • Potential product COMPETITION • Augmented product • Potential product KENICHI OHMAE’S TRIANGLE
  9. 9. 9DEFINING THE PROPOSITION Communication – how do your customers want to be communicated with? At what frequency about what topic? What interests them at what stage of the process? When does communication become interruption? When does engagement become stalking? It is seemingly the simplest ‘C’, but judging by the way recruiters treat candidates, and by how many still rely solely on the the traditional advertising route, it is clear that this ‘C’ is potentially the one that could have the biggest impact. The four Cs don’t exist in isolation but rather reinforce each other and, depending on the market you operate in, will have different weighting and importance. Putting the viewpoint of the consumer/candidate at the centre (becoming customer centric) is the most important step, because it prevents you making costly mistakes. Let me repeat again, the adjustments you make to the outside world need to be mirrored on the inside. Ideally they are already in place internally before you start externally. I wonder if customer centricity needs to be expanded to also include internal customers. In this case it would be helpful to move from the term “customer centricity” to “people perspective” with the following definitions: Customer centricity People perspective Employee Consumer CUSTOMER SOLUTION PERFORMANCE What is expected of me and what will the company do for me? How will performance be managed? How will my manager ensure that I can perform to the best of my abilities? Will the company invest in my performance improvements? How will my life improve when using this product/service? CONVENIENCE PERSONALISATION The workplace is designed around my needs: I can work from wherever I want, with the tools I want. I have the freedom to create my own environment and can bring in my own style. How will it be personalised to me and how will it be delivered to me? Can I combine it with existing offers and applications? How will it use my data to tailor it to my needs with no input of myself? COST PACKAGE What is the total package? Salary, stock options, pension, restrictions, onsite massages... How does the company benefit the wider community? How does the entire contract work like? What other non-direct costs or savings are included? What is the cost to the wider world (has it been sourced from environmentally friendly materials?) COMMUNICATION PARTICIPATION I can participate in the making of this company as much as I want. I can just vote or I can become part of the movement. This company participates in making the world a better place. Can I participate in an on-going project to get to know the people and the culture? How can the product participate in my life? Can it be integrated into my overall routine and preferred way of communicating? How can I feed into this product? How can I build on top of this product? How can I participate in their success (through crowdfunding, feedback)? How can I let other people know about this product?
  10. 10. PEOPLE ARE THE BRAND, By Felix Wetzel10 Replacing the 4Cs with the new 4Ps makes a lot of sense when moving people, instead of consumers, into the centre of a company’s activities. This is especially apparent when seen against the bigger backdrop of conversational commerce, collaboration, personalization and the blurring of the traditional lines between consumers, candidates, employees, contractor, suppliers and investors. Throughout the entire process, we are dealing with people, so remember this is an evolving process; one of testing, learning, refining. It is less about failing fast than learning fast. Don’t forget that a new evp and all the benefits need to be translated for the internal audience, the people already working for you. Don’t make the mistake of taking your existing people for granted! Measuring improvements You have worked with Marketing in developing the brand, you have spent time defining your personas and overlaying them with quantitative data, you have fine tuned your evp with the 4Ps. Now it’s time to get it out there and create the candidate experience. Let’s set the metrics first. How will your activities feed into the fulfilment of the business objectives? How will we measure its impact along the way? What are the key performance indicators that help us stay focussed, help us differentiate between the important and nice to haves and help us make decisions on what to continue with and what to abort? Are you spending your money in the right channels? Are you judging your suppliers against the right data set? At carwow, for example,we realised that marketing money spent in the second half of a month (say January), only delivered returns in the following months (February and March), but not in the month that it was actually spent. So an ROI based on spend and revenue in one particular month was inaccurate and useless. In talent attraction and sourcing you have to take time to hire into account, in order to assess suppliers and manage your funnel proactively. In Marketing, this has now become known as “performance marketing”. Anybody who managed a B2B pipeline will know the drill. Along the way there will be new insights. This new information will allow you to build more and more meaningful and more and more accurate data sets and metrics. Be aware to have enough data before you change direction and overlay it with insights into actual behaviour. It‘s about learning and continually tweaking, reinventing and improving, not giving up at the first less than optimal result. To do this effectively, don’t be tempted to only look at pure ROI, but rather at the conversions of every step from start to finish. This will allow you to test, tweak and ultimately improve the ROI, focussing on performance rather than results as discussed above. The impact of branding can also be measured, both qualitatively and quantitatively – a brand and branding activity has to deliver impact and response. The importance in planning the metrics beforehand can be seen in the guidance this provides to help you stay focussed on the most important tasks along the way. IN TALENT ATTRACTION AND SOURCING YOU HAVE TO TAKE TIME TO HIRE INTO ACCOUNT, IN ORDER TO ASSESS SUPPLIERS AND MANAGE YOUR FUNNEL PROACTIVELY.
  11. 11. 11TALENT ATTRACTION CHANNELS T he career website is the starting point for any outbound activity but it is surprising how many are not mobile optimised and are not built for SEO purposes. It is also worrying how many are built without the appreciation of what job seekers want from a site and how job seekers choose to be interacted with (see paragraph “The world we live in”). Instead of a focus on relevance and speed and an understanding of where a career site sits in a candidate’s recruitment value chain (or job searching journey), many career sites focus only on great culture and drown the individual in videos and white papers. People are time poor and extremely busy - be very clear why they come to your website and make it as easy as possible to find what they look for. If a career website only promotes the brand but doesn’t drive response, change it. If you can’t change it, park it. The metrics set out above will help you. We have become a cynical bunch. We all know that corporate videos and interviews with employees are scripted. So how about you connect me with real people that can answer my questions? Every other site these days has a chat service that is triggered by consumer behaviour, why not career pages? If your candidates are so important, surely you can spend the time talking to them when they have the questions, in real time, now, when it suits the candidate. Another step towards the application of conversational commerce. Have a look at retail sites and transfer the same principles into the design of your career pages. There you will find all the eye candy, but also a clear goal orientation to shepherd you to the check-out while offering additional items and giving reassurances along the way. Retail sites remember where a returning visitor has left off. Registrations and check outs are made as easy as possible. Some career pages still require the candidate to manually cut and paste their CV or use old parsers that are so inaccurate that the candidate might as well fill out the CV form manually. At this stage, recruiters – more likely than not – blame their ATS. Change your ATS if it is destroying your candidate experience. Anything that hinders a seamless candidate experience needs replacing. Retailers also make great use of emails or sms to inform consumers where they are in the process, what is happening next, and to prompt the move to the next stage in the purchase funnel. This is an area that deserves much more focus in the Talent and Recruitment world. It has a real potential to impact your metrics positively. There are two types of emails, transactional ones and information ones – I would suggest utilising both and continuing to activate participation. When a website is launched, it is only the starting point of the journey and a career site needs constant attention and improvements.This includes uploading new content. The improvements I am talking about are linked to the metrics - how can we improve our conversation rates, how can we get more people to open their emails? Permanent questioning, permanent testing and permanent measuring. It requires permanent allocation of skill sets that are not naturally found in Talent functions, such as designers, developers and data scientists. Include existing employees In an ideal world all of a company’s existing employee should also be held in their CV repository so every new job they want to fill is first matched against current employees. Employees know that they won’t be overlooked and the recruiter knows what talent they have available. If they don’t or can’t offer the new role to an existing employee, at least they have the beginning of a blueprint of what kind of person they are looking for. Email or internal messaging systems are a great way of keeping employees informed of when they appeared in a short list for a new role and could give them insight into potential future career paths or personal development. This empowers employees to more proactively participate in the overall growth of the company. Some companies take it a step further such as Sodexo who use internal headhunters. Their internal recruiters have access to succession and performance data, and use this information to help guide their internal searches. They also support and coach the internal candidates in preparation for interviews. This helps to address the issue in organisations of external candidates arriving much better prepared, as the internal candidate believes that the manager already knows about them. Although, as you can imagine, many line managers were not too enamoured with internal headhunting, Sodexo’s approach makes sense on so many levels. It works for 3. Talent Attraction Channels WE HAVE BECOME A CYNICAL BUNCH AND WE ALL KNOW THAT CORPORATE VIDEOS AND INTERVIEWS WITH EMPLOYEES ARE SCRIPTED. SO HOW ABOUT YOU CONNECT ME WITH REAL PEOPLE THAT CAN ANSWER MY QUESTIONS?
  12. 12. PEOPLE ARE THE BRAND, By Felix Wetzel12 the individual as getting a call from the internal recruiter makes them feel valued and highlights their opportunities for growth. That results in the individual feeling good about the company and in turn becoming an even stronger brand ambassador. It works for the company in terms of talent retention (because let’s face it, if the employee sees no chance of change or success, they’ll leave anyway), and what’s more they can now up-skill their staff not only through courses and coaching but also through real world experience. This in itself will result in reduced time to hire and time to productivity. Additionally, it’s a great way to reinforce new behaviours, spread skills and enable more impactful cultural change, yet in a very subtle way. This active portfolio management of employees is admirable, because a company’s talent pool starts and ends with the existing workforce. Let’s build clear characteristics of the players we want on our roster. Let us be ruthless in applying these when bringing in fresh talent and appraising existing talent, but let’s then support our talent and give them the opportunity to become the best they can be. Technological solutions such as Rolepoint for internal mobility, and Predictive Hire and Majio for help with automatically identifying traits and characteristics of relevant employees are getting more and more interesting. Candidate Experience The annual Candidate Experience awards, provide participating companies with lots of insights, but a participating company can decide if they want their own results published or not. Retail is once again showing us the way where it is now the standard to implement review services such as Trustpilot, FeeFo, Reevoo. Users can rate the service, and via a free text field, leave a detailed review and reasons for their rating. All reviews can be viewed and published on the site. In the recruitment industry, instead of having to go to Glassdoor – another step in my already busy life – the candidate should be able to see reviews from their peers directly on the career site. The fallacy of talent communities Recruitment and job seeking and finding are driven by speed and relevance. Job seeking is – for most parts and for most people – a stressful and confidence- zapping experience. They have limited control over the process and outcome, yet it has maximum impact on self-esteem through rejection and probing. A job seeker wants to get the process over as fast as possible. Being invited to participate in a talent community is the last thing they need. Even the argument that talent communities are for passive not active candidates is flawed. Putting aside the fact that there is a big argument to be had over whether there is such a thing as a passive candidate, more importantly let’s look at behaviours and outcomes. Passive candidates would be even less interested in engaging with your employer brand facet. It is much more beneficial for a company to participate in an existing community, rather than building their own. The challenge for a brand when confronted with passive candidates is to be at the right place at the right time, when a candidate is ready to make a move, but on their terms. Job Boards and beyond I understand why companies use job boards (including aggregators) and LinkedIn. I understand why companies use recruitment agencies. It makes complete sense as they drive value. If your target market is using them and is participating actively, then they belong in the overall mix. As long as job boards and LI continue to improve and deliver better personalisations and recommendations through improved matching, candidates will continue to use them. But competition is fierce, standing out is difficult, hence the brand can often get lost. There are many candidate sources beyond job boards and LinkedIn, such as Workshape, StackOverflow, Swoop Talent which are worthwhile testing and trialling. If your target market is there, you have to be there too. Don’t stop here. Jumping straight to social Many companies use job boards and LinkedIn and then jump straight to social media. It always surprises me that they leave a whole host of proven, valuable, desired marketing channels untouched and instead engage in channels with lower direct returns, REASONS TO LIKE REVIEW SERVICES: l PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO YOUR USER BEHAVIOUR l ENABLE USERS TO PARTICIPATE l RESULT IN PEER TO PEER RECOMMENDATIONS (THE IMPORTANT SOCIAL PROOF) l THE DATE AND TIME STAMP SHOW HOW POPULAR A SITE IS l DEMONSTRATE HOW OVERALL SATISFACTION COMPARES WITH COMPETITORS l ALLOW YOU TO REACT IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR USERS
  13. 13. 13TALENT ATTRACTION CHANNELS lower possibilities to scale and that require more effort. It shows three things: 1. Talent functions and their advisors don’t have the expertise and knowledge about other marketing channels, especially from a B2C perspective. 2. They don’t understand their target market and are not taking a people perspective. 3. Management, after listening to some charlatans, believe that social media is free, delivers differentiation and scalable response, which is a sign that the company does not use metrics and KPIs for the entire candidate journey. The wider world There are many other marketing channels, that deserve focus before jumping to social media: SEO, PPC, Facebook lookalikes, native and programmatic advertising, in- game advertising... They are used in other industries and deserve more consideration and usage in the recruitment industry. Be aware when tracking as there will be different behaviours for each channel: Somebody searching on Google has a clear intent, somebody seeing an ad on Facebook is in a far more passive mode, therefore participation will build more slowly and messaging needs adjusting accordingly. Research and constant interactions with the target market will give insights and guidance into communication and participation channels outside of digital such as Sky AdSmart or local media. Your research will also give you insight into interests and activities outside of job hunting and careers that you can tap into. Choose your marketing channels according to your target market. The question to answer is: What is the most effective way of communicating with the talent you want to attract? Assembling the right team Google is a search engine, that’s why they have a substantial team of bright people focussing on improving their search all the time. That makes complete sense, doesn’t it? If people are really important for business, why is there a resource constraint on the talent function? Why don’t we have the right skills for the world we are currently working in? Why are we not doing what we expect of other functions and companies? Who is responsible and accountable for digital channels, beyond job boards? Where are the digital teams found in consumer marketing functions? Are we seeking talent with transferable skills? Are we ready to give up control? Are we ready to change? All these questions require answers. THERE ARE MANY MORE MARKETING CHANNELS, THAT DESERVE FOCUS: SEO, PPC, FACEBOOK LOOKALIKES, NATIVE AND PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING, IN-GAME ADVERTISING... THEY ARE USED IN OTHER INDUSTRIES AND DESERVE CONSIDERATION AND USAGE IN THE RECRUITMENT INDUSTRY.
  14. 14. PEOPLE ARE THE BRAND, By Felix Wetzel14 The game is challenging, fun and educational just like RMS. We could never get in front of this many people this quickly. Over 1 million games have already been sold and they are finishing up an android version right now. While playing, the game people will see the RMS brand pop up at least four times and not in a cheesy way. We are a character in the game… an expert advisor. Lastly, our LifeRisk business actually builds similar, much more complex of course, models. So this gives us an easy fun way to explain a part of our business to people inside and outside our industry.” “ ”Amelia Merril SVP People Strategy, Risk Management Solution on the game, Plague Inc
  15. 15. 15LEARNING FROM THE BEST A melia Merrill, SVP People Strategy, for Risk Management Solutions (RMS) used an incredibly creative approach based on good insights and an appreciation for the competition her company is facing when hiring. RMS is based in Silicon Valley and therefore competes for talent with the likes of Google, Facebook, and a multitude of cool and colourful start-ups. RMS obviously doesn’t have the same brand awareness and brand recognition, or the apparent attractiveness, of their competitors. So RMS has to contact a lot of people before they get one to bite. RMS is offering sophisticated products and services for the management of catastrophe risk associated with natural perils such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and windstorms, as well as products for weather derivatives and enterprise risk management for the P&C insurance industry. RMS also leads the market in risk modelling for man-made disasters associated with acts of terrorism, and in 2012 released the first infectious disease model to quantify and manage the risks associated with pandemic disease on the world’s population and economy. So to build some serious brand recognition in their key recruitment market segments, Amelia and the team came up with an ingenious solution. RMS featured in the game “Plague Inc.” In 2012 Plague Inc. was one of the most played games on iPhone and iPad. RMS wasn’t included in the usual advertising ways, but as a character in the game. As Amelia Merrill explained: “The game is challenging, fun and educational just like RMS. We could never get in front of this many people this quickly. Over 1 million games have already been sold and they are finishing up an android version right now. While playing the game people will see the RMS brand pop up at least 4 times and not in a cheesy way. We are a character in the game… an expert advisor. Lastly, our LifeRisk business actually builds similar, much more complex of course, models. So this gives us an easy fun way to explain a part of our business to people inside and outside our industry.” But it didn’t stop with the release of the game. Amelia Merrill and team used it for internal engagement by having a contest where an employee created a situation which caused a virus to react differently during the game. Externally they handed out access codes for the games at all kinds of events. The real beauty, besides the creativity, is the understanding and development of some key principles of recruitment and marketing outlined earlier in this paper: l It’s a great, real world example of the fact the employment branding is only a facet of the overall company brand (instead of a loosely connected, separate entity). l It follows the traditional marketing principles of Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning and shows an in-depth understanding of the target audience. l It closes the distance between brand and candidate, and cuts out any intermediaries. l It spans across different marketing channels and overcomes the digital divide. l It’s built on the knowledge that the internal and external audience are intrinsically linked, and uses this initiative to enhance and reinforce RMS’ culture – after all your employees are your most important brand ambassadors. 4. Learning from the best – how RMS combined it all WHY DON’T YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SKILLS FOR THE WORLD WE CURRENTLY WORK IN?
  16. 16. 16BIOGRAPHY About Felix Wetzel B uilding on nearly twenty years of senior marketing and strategy experience within disruptive, two-sided marketplace companies, I am fascinated by the concept of introducing Marketing principles and techniques to Talent functions and Recruitment companies. I help companies position themselves in a way that is attractive to clients and empowering for employees, and then translate this into product and marketing implementations. I advise CEOs on designing strategies and building organisations that match their ambitions. I integrate HR Tech solutions to improve the candidate experience and internal productivity. It’s all about people. Tell me about your stories, challenges and experience. I’d love to know your thoughts about the themes and topics covered in this paper. MARKETING AND HR HAVE A LOT IN COMMON. THE SUCCESS OF ONE DEPENDS ON THE OTHER, BUT ALL TOO OFTEN THEY WORK IN ISOLATION. IN THIS PEOPLE-CENTRIC AGE WHERE AUTHENTICITY IS EVERYTHING, THIS HAS TO CHANGE. GET IN TOUCH: @felixwetzel blog: “People, Brands and Random thoughts”