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    Employer Brand at a Booming E-Commerce Company

    This pet care brand is building an exceptional culture while growing rapidly, thanks in part to its successful employer brand strategy. And though stay-at-home orders certainly played a role in Chewy’s success, it isn’t just the convenience of online shopping that’s driving its transformation.
    Its employer brand is helmed by Senior Employer Brand Manager Kara Hendrick, who has played a crucial role in helping Chewy keep pace with a season of rapid growth.
    Internal Champions
    The employer brand function at Chewy grew out of the company’s goal to raise awareness of the growing number of diverse roles it needed to fill. Chewy’s HR department was one of its first champions, which kickstarted company-wide enthusiastic support for Hendrick’s work.
    Hendrick knows that finding these internal champions is key to employer brand success, and she prioritizes building relationships with stakeholders in PR, talent management, branding, and social. These relationships are especially beneficial for employer brand projects with vast scope but limited resources; they help Hendrick avoid getting too “in the weeds.”
    Culture Investment
    This attention to the personal pervades Chewy’s culture beyond its customer service strategy. Team members aren’t “employees” but “Chewtopians,” and Chewy’s operating principles include statements like “Act like an owner.”
    When lockdown restrictions forced Chewy’s corporate offices and customer service centers into home offices, the company’s talent management and employee experience teams met with its CHRO and CEO to revisit and recommit to its values.
    No One-Size-Fits-All Strategy
    Chewy recruits for corporate customer service, tech, and fulfillment center roles, all while maintaining a unified message and navigating each talent segment’s unique challenges. Hiring for a diverse array of roles, Hendrick has learned, demands diverse strategies.
    “What attracts a software engineer in Boston isn’t the same as what attracts an operations manager in Dayton, Ohio,” she observes. Designing an employer brand strategy that will be successful for all these markets demands careful listening.
    This fact hit home in Hendrick’s early days at Chewy when she met with the Head of Fulfillment Center Recruiting. After listening to Hendrick present her grand plans for targeting fulfillment center candidates, he asked, “Have you ever visited a Chewy fulfillment center?” Hendrick admitted she hadn’t yet. But after her first visit, “It all made sense.”

    To follow Kara Hendrick’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help gathering the right data and developing strategies to make real change at your company, get in touch.
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    Attracting Talent to a Tech Company with French Roots

    This tech company with French roots has a unique way of framing its EVP—or, as Talend says, its JNSQ, or “je ne sais quoi.”“
    Talend was on a mission to put words to what were necessarily undefinable qualities of its brand and culture. What its people marketing team, led by Global People Marketing Manager Jonathan Hehir, uncovered was the importance of culture, diversity, and company-wide EVP stewardship.
    Why Culture Is Key
    “It’s tough for candidates to truly understand what their next business looks like and the type of culture they’re interested in,” Hehir says. “I can understand why candidates when they’re looking at their job search, are behaving more like consumers. Everyone’s edging for that little bit of attention.”
    According to Hehir, the people of Talend are close collaborators and united by love for their field. To succeed, Hehir’s team has to demonstrate that supportive culture to the rest of the tech world.
    What Makes a Unique Workplace
    Like many companies, the pandemic spurred the company to revisit its commitment to diversity and its employer brand. Led by its new CEO Christal Bemont, Talend sought out new ways to own its core values (agility, integrity, passion, and team spirit) and reexamined its “je ne sais quoi” (or JNSQ, as the team says).
    Among the many positive results of this self-reflection was a recommitment to making Talend an inclusive workplace: “An environment where people feel safe and feel a sense of belonging; a place where they can be themselves, even if they may not be visiting offices or their coworkers,” in Hehir’s words. Public reception was positive as well. According to Hehir, “People enjoyed the idea that we were celebrating people’s differences from the outset.”
    Revisit Your Culture’s Roots
    This sense of shared stewardship of the EVP, or JNSQ, has had a major impact on the success of Talend’s employer brand activation efforts.
    “Remember where your culture stems from,” Hehir advises fellow employer brand leaders. Remembering the people behind the brand, he says, is what gets him excited to tell Talend’s story—and welcome new faces into it.

    To follow Jonathan Hehir’s work in employer brand, connect with him on LinkedIn. For help with your own EVP, get in touch. We help you identify the values and culture you want to create in your company.
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    Is Your Employer Brand Helping or Hindering Your Hiring Objectives?

    Most employers agree that great employees are at the heart of every business. To secure the best candidates, hiring managers typically put significant efforts into two key facets of the hiring process: producing an attractive job advert and properly screening the applicant’s CVs.
    The interviews and onboarding that follow must be conducted with the utmost care, managed by members of staff with the knowledge and time to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity to secure the right candidates.
    However, with 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreeing that employer brand significantly impacts hiring, the key to enticing top talent could lie within how attractive your business seems to potential employees.
    So, if you want to meet your recruitment objectives, it might be time to think about the meaning of business branding and how you can use it to gain a competitive edge in the market…
    The ins and outs of company brands
    In short, business branding is a way of identifying your business. It encapsulates what sets it apart, what makes its offering different, and, perhaps most importantly, reflects the company’s values.
    A company develops a positive (or negative) impression of its brand through the quality and competitiveness of what it can offer its employees, including its salary and benefits, management style, culture, and commitments. As such, branding and recruitment go hand in hand — particularly in the digital world, where so much business and hiring activity happens online.
    Organizations around the world are working on nailing their branding — but why? What benefits are employees looking for, and why is it vital to get it right?
    Firstly, it generates cost savings. According to LinkedIn, companies with positive employer brands or favorable reputations within the market can get up to 50% more applications than companies with negative brands. And that is not all; successful employer branding has multiple proven benefits for hiring businesses, including:

    Conversely, companies that fail to focus on branding stand to lose out significantly — financially and reputationally. One study revealed that 82% of prospective employees consider brand and reputation before applying for a job, which could prove disastrous for business growth and bottom lines in organizations that fail to meet expectations.
    So, can you afford to fall short of the mark in the current recruitment landscape?
    Establishing a brand for your business
    A strong employer brand is crucial for securing skilled, engaged, and leadership-bound workers.
    When done well, a branding strategy can deliver multiple functions simultaneously — from defining products and services to showcasing a unique approach to company culture. Consistent, first-rate employer branding should speak for itself, helping to communicate all a candidate needs to know through every interaction with your company.
    Though defining and developing your business brand is a long-term commitment, there are a few key areas you can focus on to improve how your business appears to prospective candidates…
    Refining your employer value proposition
    Branding works alongside employer value propositions (EVPs): an employer’s marketing message and promise to its employees regarding its core values.
    Every company’s EVP is different. It is the sum of everything you offer as an employer — an employee-centric approach that tells the story of your business and why someone should consider joining your team.
    An EVP can be conveyed through consistent corporate messaging and recruitment marketing that helps communicate key messages to the employees you are trying to reach. However, whilst talking a good game is great, you must also walk the walk to ensure your branding comes across as genuine — a key facet to succeeding in your goals.
    Bringing your online reputation up to scratch
    One of the trickiest parts of navigating the job hunt for candidates is working out which companies they would enjoy working for. So, ensuring your business’ reputation reflects well across the board is crucial — from online reviews and staff testimonials to official accreditations.
    Many employers throw out attractive perks and salary offers, but a growing number of workers look for something more. According to research by CareerBuilder, 83% of candidates are willing to accept a lower salary from an employer with an excellent reputation. So, building and maintaining your brand as a business can lead to lower salary responsibilities and attract more interest from serious job seekers.
    In today’s world, social media plays a starring role in business branding, with many candidates basing their employment decisions on the quality of a company’s online presence. Monitoring and updating social media pages and websites are critical to ensuring you put your best foot forward.
    Optimizing your onboarding process
    Candidates often gain their first impression of your business brand during recruitment. As a result, every onboarding stage should be carefully considered to ensure talent is not dissuaded from pursuing an opportunity within your company.
    For employers, this means issuing timely, thorough feedback, remaining organized, and staying up to date with the latest trends — from virtual recruitment and remote working to HR management.
    Of course, this can quickly become an overwhelming task — especially in the current candidate-driven market. So, experts recommend enlisting the support of a specialist recruitment agency to support a successful business branding strategy.
    After all, if you are going to invest time and money in your business brand, you want to do it right.
    By Julie Mott, Managing Director, Howett Thorpe.
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    How to Produce Engaging Social Media for Gen Z Candidates

    While it may be difficult to imagine the generation Z cohort succeeding millennials having a major impact on the workforce – with the majority still working their way through higher education and some having barely even left primary school – the reality is, that Gen Zs will make up 27% of teams by 2025.
    That’s why tapping into this talent pool, sooner rather than later, will be a key driver of cultural and commercial success for organizations of all shapes and sizes over the coming years. The question is, how?
    As digital natives who can’t recall a time on Earth without the internet, Gen Zs are undeniably tech-savvy, which is why social media will be a holy grail to help attract and recruit top-tier talent.
    Gone are the days of dry and colorless Indeed listings. Today, it’s all about injecting brand personality into every aspect of your comms, being omnipresent, and tapping into pain points with clear solutions.
    The reality is, that Gen Zs know what they want – and are willing to walk away if they don’t get it.
    Money-hungry recruitment rogues will tell you that the more you spend on your content, the more value you can drive – but that’s simply not the case.
    Gen Zs wants to feel valued
    It’s no secret that we’re operating in an employee-driven market. And with such fierce competition fuelling the race to get in front of jobseekers, demonstrating that you understand their needs and desires from the offset is crucial.
    In any workplace, Gen Zs want to be seen – both figuratively and literally – and the rising use of social media is only enhancing this expectation of employers. From team-building exercises and company events to shout-outs for individual achievements within your organization, consistently showcasing your people online will be a key driver to help pique the interest of prospective candidates.
    When it comes to recruitment ads, this element of value becomes increasingly important. Think of the listing itself as an opportunity to provide practical job information and hammer home on the prerequisites – think holiday allowances, retirement packages, flexible working policies, cultural initiatives, and more – but remember that the follow-up is equally, if not more, important.
    The reality is, that 17% of Gen Z applicants will want a job within a week of application. Let them know you want them, and do it fast.
    Omnipresence is key
    Don’t shy away from using a multi-channel approach. We already know that the threshold of communication requirements for this demographic is higher, so leveraging different platforms to make sure your brand is front-and-center is a must.
    But more importantly, make sure content is tailored appropriately to suit the style of each channel, so it doesn’t look like a lackluster copy-and-paste job.
    Not every person that stumbles across your comms will be actively looking for a new opportunity – and applying for a new role requires thought and consideration – but by increasing the exposure of your brand you have an opportunity to make a lasting impression on passive candidates too.
    If someone feels compelled enough by your content and your values truly resonate with them over a prolonged period of time, they might be inclined to seek out a position at your organization directly.
    Make it meaningful
    One of the most sought-after focuses for Gen Z jobseekers is an explicit focus on mental wellbeing – according to a recent survey by Employment 4 Students, 68% of 16-24-year-olds see this as a priority in the workplace.
    With this in mind, do you have the right support systems, resources, and initiatives available to meet these needs?
    We’re not talking about subtle nods to awareness days here, or half-hearted fundraising initiatives to help complete the charity champion tick-box exercise. Instead, efforts need to be focused, and they need to be consistently at the top of the agenda.
    One of the most effective and impactful things you can do as an employee to engage Gen Z jobseekers – and to have a positive impact on the world overall – is to promote a culture of acceptance. Create compelling content that not only celebrates open and honest conversations around mental health, but that shows you, as a company, see mental illness as no different from ailments such as cold and flu, sickness, or diabetes.
    Adopt a low-pressure approach through referrals
    When using social media to market your brand to Gen Z job seekers, it’s not just about public content, but more personal and private content too.
    According to data from talent acquisition experts, Yello, almost 62% of Gen Z job applications prefer to explore opportunities based on referrals. Let’s not forget that this cohort has always had access to the world’s information at their fingertips – they’re rightfully cynical and know not everything is always what it seems.
    By encouraging existing employees to share company content on their own profiles, and reaching out to prospective candidates via direct message, you’re able to make more trusted hires based on networks of people your teams already know, but slash budgets in the process.
    With a collective effort from individuals across the entire scope of your team, your current talent pool could be your company’s best asset when it comes to recruitment.
    Don’t forget that Gen Z jobseekers are big on feeling valued, too – and what says, ‘we want YOU!’ more than a direct outreach?
    It’s not Earth-shattering, this demographic is just more vocal about their needs. And that honesty is a real tonic in a recruitment landscape that’s uncertain in every sense of the word.
    By James Urquhart, Managing Director and Co-founder of Let’s Run Marketing.
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    Building Employer Brand at a Manufacturing Brand

    Ball Corporation is a leading figure in the aluminum manufacturing industry: It manufactures 50% of aluminum cans in North America, along with household products and aerospace technology. However, it hasn’t released a new customer-facing product in 25 years.
    That’s changing with the launch of its new, infinitely recyclable aluminum cup. This new product offers an alternative to the plastic cup and can be recycled as you would an aluminum can. The company’s hope is that consumers will reuse the cups when refilling their drinks, reducing plastic waste.
    Leading employer brand through these historic changes is Heidi Myers, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Ball. Myers and her team have embraced this spike in visibility as an opportunity to frame the brand as part of something bigger. This framing, Myers hopes, will attract the next generation of great talent to Ball.
    Putting the Brand on the Map
    Ball’s product launch coincides with another monumental event for its brand visibility: It’s just received the naming rights to a sports arena (formerly the Pepsi Center) in Denver, Colorado, where Ball is headquartered. The move is part of a partnership with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and another outgrowth of Ball’s sustainability efforts.
    Ball Arena’s presence in Denver is a huge step for brand awareness. Myers and her team see a tremendous opportunity to cultivate name recognition during home games and other events and sharpen their competitive edge as an employer.
    A Spike in Visibility Leads to a Spike in Growth
    What has all this headline-grabbing change done for Ball’s growth? A lot: The company is experiencing a 200% growth increase in North America alone and recently opened three new manufacturing plants. Ball’s team now encompasses roughly 18,000 employees around the globe.
    This rapid expansion poses some exciting challenges for Myers and the talent acquisition team. New plant openings mean attracting talent to locations where Ball hasn’t recruited before. The secret to keeping pace with all this growth, according to Myers, is activation. “Don’t underestimate activation,” she says. “Any resources you can dedicate to it, do it.”
    Myers recognizes the central role that employer brand and talent acquisition play in Ball’s future as an innovative, rewarding employer: “Talent acquisition is the backbone of an organization. Without good people, your organization is not going to grow.”

    To follow Heidi Myers’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help gathering data and insights you can act on to improve your own company, get in touch.
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    How Google Does Employment Branding

    When your employer value proposition is to “build for everyone,” you need an employer brand strategy that centers on authenticity.
    Leading employer brand at one of the world’s tech titans means grappling with a reputation of legendary proportions, supporting a network of 120,000 employees around the globe, and staying sensitive to the needs of one billion users.
    It’s what Mary Streetzel faces every day in her role as Head of Employer Brand at Google. And though Google’s scale sets it apart from most other employers, the lessons Streetzel and her team have learned about employer brand strategy have universal relevance.
    The Need for More Data
    Data has played a starring role in the evolution of Google’s culture and employer brand strategy. Its mission to “increase the world’s knowledge” includes the company itself—Streetzel and her team are constantly gathering more data to help make Google a better place to work.
    You may have heard legends about the notorious Google interviews of 10 years ago. Hiring committees tested candidates with trick questions (“How many ping pong balls could you fit in a school bus?”), graduates of high-profile alma maters seemed to receive preferential treatment, and one candidate allegedly went through 16 interview rounds before receiving a decision.
    These hiring practices, Streetzel insists, are relics of a bygone era. There’s been a culture shift toward a more empathic, broad-minded, and diverse Google, thanks in part to data.
    Let Your People Do the Talking
    Streetzel refuses to let the buzzword status of “authenticity” cloud its meaning and importance to employer brand. “Brands have to go ahead and admit it: You’re a business. Tell the truth,” she says. “Then, let your users tell the story a little bit more. That’s authenticity.”
    User- and employee-generated content is one of Streetzel’s favorite ways to let people, rather than brands, do the talking. Most recently, Google handed the storytelling reins to its interns for International Intern Day and filled its employer brand channels with personal perspectives on life as a Googler, directly from the mouths of interns experiencing that life first-hand.
    Streetzel and her team want future Googlers to see themselves in these authentic stories, seeding a new and diverse generation of employees. “We really want everyone to see themselves at Google,” she says. “We want to build a Google that reflects the world around us.”

    To follow Mary Streetzel’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help identifying the values and culture you want to create at your own company, get in touch.
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    Leading an Employer Brand Evolution

    When a business changes, its employer brand must evolve as well, as this professional services brand is learning as it recruits from an increasingly diverse talent pool.
    What does “adaptability” look like when you’re one of the largest professional services companies in the world?
    This is the challenge facing Erin Maxin, Global Employer Brand Leader at EY (also known as Ernst & Young). EY employs well over 200,000 employees worldwide and works with clients in over 150 countries.
    1. Attracting Tech Talent Outside of the Big Four
    Attracting tech workers is one of the most common talent challenges facing employer brand leaders today. Unless you’re a sought-after Big Four employer, you may struggle to fill tech roles and retain tech talent.
    EY has had to shift away from the campus recruiting model it’s used for years, in which internships fed the hiring pipeline. “Our talent models are changing because our business is changing,” Maxin says. Now, EY recruits from a broader range of backgrounds and skillsets than ever before to find the best matches for their tech roles.
    2. Diminishing Employee Tenure
    The “partner track” is less of a draw for candidates than it was in the past when employees preferred to stick with a job for a longer period of time. Job tenures are shortening, and today’s workers are less likely to desire a decades-long relationship with their employers.
    “The experience applicants have from a candidate perspective is really important to our ability to sell and build our brand in the marketplace,” Maxin says. For her and her team, crafting an exceptional candidate experience isn’t just humane; it’s vital to business success, too.
    3. Preparing for a Global Crisis
    The pandemic has forced drastic change onto many businesses, including their employer brand teams. Teams went remote, wellness became paramount, and brand messaging that worked in a pre-COVID world no longer resonated.
    “When things change your world, like the pandemic,” Maxin says, “you can customize it very quickly and get your regions and stakeholders what they need.” It’s an approach that focuses less on policing and more on empowering, educating, and creativity.
    4. Brand Trust Is Thornier Than Ever
    Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer report revealed the tremendous role consumer trust in a brand now plays in its success. Meanwhile, employees (both current and former) are turning to platforms like Glassdoor to offer their unvarnished thoughts on the employee experience.
    This means transparency and experience management are now central to a successful employer brand strategy. “You can put out gorgeous videos, gorgeous ads, and great content on your social media channels. But if your people are not having a great experience, they have platforms through which they can share that,” Maxin reminds us. “That is your employer brand, like it or not.”

    To follow Erin Maxin’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help evaluating your own employer brand, talk to us about the Link Humans Index, which uses 16 key attributes to measure how you compare with others in your industry.
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    How HR Can Maximize Your Company’s Talent Brand

    Employees seek out assistance from Human Resources for all sorts of reasons. From understanding your benefits to sorting home office equipment, or even the simplest of queries such as ‘who do I go to about my payslip?’ – questions for Human Resources are exactly that, human, and should be handled as such. When employees seek guidance, reassurance, and knowledge from their HR teams, and they are met with call center hold music or have to dig through a labyrinth of details to find the right contact – something is not right.
    It is no secret that we are in a very tight talent market at present, which means the question that should be on every CEO and senior leader’s mind is “How do we establish, maintain, and build our company’s talent brand?” And, “how can we attract and keep the best applicants?”. For those of us in HR, we must figure out how we can support or solve this issue, and what exactly HR’s role is in the talent war we find ourselves in.
    Through a series of four studies that involved more than 32,000 participants, the ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) and I have attempted to answer this crucial question. For the first time, we have quantified the power of the HR function, with a new metric that pinpoints specific factors that influence talent brand, people’s intent to leave, and reasons to actually leave, all in a study across 25 countries. The metric also measures the psychological experiences shaped by excellent HR service quality and the data that uncovers exactly what leads to these positive experiences. This metric is called HRXPS – the HR XPerience score.
    What the research uncovered
    Our research allowed us to analyze HR through three different lenses. Firstly, to determine if an employee thinks HR adds value to their experience (called Value-Promoting). Second, if HR is performing its responsibilities effectively (Performing), and third, if employees view the HR function as detracting from the value of their employee experience (Value-Detracting). Using these three facets we identified some key findings, including but not limited to:

    Clear communication is key – A single point of contact influences HR XPerience Score, and employees are twice as likely to say HR is Value-Promoting when they experience a single point of contact within HR, as opposed to multiple contacts.
    Don’t be a stranger – Employees are 7.4 times more likely to say HR is Value-Promoting when they experience seven interactions with HR. The higher the level of interaction, the higher the Value-Promoting score.
    Deliver on your services – The more HR services an employee uses, the higher the HRXPS. We found the top three services that influenced HRXPS were a formal onboarding process, attention on their performance, and access and ability to use health benefits.

    How to increase HRXPS at your organization
    Unsurprisingly, our data shows that there is a strong relationship between a high HRXPS and lower intent to leave and lower active job searches; in effect, lower turnover and a stronger talent brand for your company. So, what can organizations, and the HR function, in particular, do to increase HRXPS?
    It can be tempting to move away from individual, more personalized contact in a bid to increase efficiency, but our research proves that this has the opposite effect. In the complicated and emotionally fraught situations that HR is often responding to, employees always want to have someone as their guide. They may have to hand them off to an expert for their specific need, but someone who knows their name and situation will be hugely comforting.
    Every interaction with HR is an opportunity to form a positive experience, and although the broad current trend is to reduce interactions, the more HR services an employee uses and the more frequently the employee calls on the HR function to help with a work-related issue, the higher their HRXPS is going to be. To further validate this, we investigated whether a specific HR interaction would drive higher HRXPS. Does reaching out to solve a conflict matter more than, say, requesting information about health or other benefits? We found when it comes to these tasks and services, more is better, regardless of the topic.
    Above all else though, formal onboarding and frequent performance attention have the highest impact on HRXPS. In the competitive talent market we find ourselves in, being attentive is imperative. Employees must be having frequent conversations about their performance, whether it’s with someone from HR, a manager, or a team member.
    Our research shows that the HR function has a serious role to play in an organization’s overall talent brand and the employee experience. Instead of replacing HR and removing the human factor, technology should be used as a tool for HR to add value and emotion to their roles. Now you know what to do and how to measure that impact, it’s time to show just how valuable HR is in the current workplace climate.
    Marcus Buckingham (@mwbuckingham) is a New York Times bestselling author, a global researcher, and head of ADP Research Institute—People + Performance.
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