Talent Acquisition Leadership #4... The employer brand
Leadership in recruitment comes in many forms, from driving the strategy, creating the vision and eventual execution. Are we asking too much of existing TA leaders to be able to make the change? They haven't sold things or marketed things; they are former HR managers or external recruiters and the world has moved - leaving them behind. Where all of these gaps come together is in the definition of the employment brand. Brand is king in all aspects of life and increasingly the blurring of consumer and enterprise has made it even more important to know what is it is we are using to engage with candidates. If we are always talking to them we need something to talk about.
Branding needs work. It is more than the logo, the well written job ad - but it is those as well.
I have spoken to senior executives and some recruiters than believe what the company is doing is enough to attract people, that their revenues are x or they are better than competitor y will make people come to them. They hide behind a corporate brand that has been created to sell to people but not potential candidates that need something more compelling, something more personal.
The Employment brand needs to have substance. Employment brand needs to be real and genuine. If it isn’t then candidates will spot it a mile off.
Employment brand is about how an organisation wraps and packs what it stands for; its history, its future and its values. It needs to be the connection point that candidates remember, that they take with them into the organisation and that they share with everyone they meet. It is that voice of the organisation and because it is employment based needs to be authentic. Not many people can define brand. Not many organisations can define employment brand and it is up those recruitment leaders to drag their organisation to the table to talk about it. (love this)
If your company was a tin of beans in a supermarket what would it look like? How would you package it, which shelf would it be on, for that matter which supermarket would you be in. Our companies spend millions defining a value proposition to sell to other companies and yet spend nothing defining a value proposition for those that are doing the selling. But branding doesn't stop there... The medium you choose to share that information has changed too. Many recruitment leaders are scared about transparency, but to be authentic don't we need to be transparent? Leadership should be doing that; leading the conversation with current and future hires, accepting that for all the good news and experiences there are some bad but those bad experiences have been acknowledged and learnt from.
Some of this engagement can be manipulated; get your corporate PR guys engaged and talking about the employment brand. Potential customers want to know what makes an organisation tick as well. What could tell them more than a clearer understanding of the types of people you employ or the values that you have? Recruitment leaders should be out evangelising. Sure they may say some stuff that the corporate doesn't like but they will also say a lot of good things that will enhance candidate and client knowledge.
So, so far I've not said anything that should scare anyone, I've not suggested too much?
But if that is the case then why is it so difficult?
Part of it is the corporate environment. Whilst the key to successful candidate attraction is to have vision of what you want, some leadership, some marketing, pr and sales skills, IT systems and tools, it also about allowing people to have transparent engagement with your company.
Two way communication that will develop a relationship. It is here that it starts to break. Corporates just aren't thinking that way.
They want to talk but on their terms.
The result is they go into traditional 'broadcast' mode, telling people what to think, telling them how to feel, all in the belief that by controlling the message they control the process..
But technology (and the world) has moved on.
Potential candidates are getting on to Google and seeing what they can find out about you and in many cases they don't like what they find. It's not that they don't find positive messages but that there is no real and honest counter argument. Corporate TA need to get out into communities on and off line.
It’s time for TA leaders need to be brave and let go a little.
In the new world not only does your TA leader need to understand how to actually recruit, they need develop their own skills in PR, marketing, relationship building and sales.
If every candidate was treated like a potential customer how different things would be.
Is your TA leader ready?