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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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    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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    The Impact of Sustainability on Your Employer Brand

    At Link Humans, our goal is to help you understand why someone would want to join and stay at your company. The better you know your reputation as an organization, the easier it will be to attract the right people and get them to stick around.
    To do that, we do research and analysis to transform sentiment into data, analyzing over one million employer brand data points to create the Employer Brand Index. At its core, the index measures what current and prospective employees care about and how likely they are to say something about it.
    We also use this methodology to research trends in employer branding and talent attraction that may have implications for the industry’s future. We’ve previously looked at the role of diversity and inclusion at 20 top US tech companies, the state of innovation and technology at the top 10 US banks, and how employer brand values have shifted during the pandemic.
    For our newest study, we’re looking at how Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles impact employer brand and why they’re more important than ever, especially as we begin to recover from COVID-19. In our recent podcast, I caught up with Olivia Thompson, our Account Manager, to discuss the study results.
    What Our Data Tells Us About ESG
    In creating our Index, we go through a pervasive process of categorizing commentary according to positive and negative sentiment,” Thompson says. “From these comments, we categorize them even further into our sixteen employer brand attributes.”
    As we’ve been looking over our data for Q1 2021, we’ve noticed that ESG has been a significant driver of positive commentary. “85% of commentary towards this attribute is positive,” Thompson reports, and it’s also the second-highest mentioned attribute on social media. This combination of something likely to be talked about positively and widely shared is potent when it comes to your employer brand. This makes ESG a great driver of positive impact towards your overall Employer Brand Index score.
    Why Sustainability Should Be a Key Part of ESG Initiatives
    In her research, Thompson found that sustainability, in particular, formed 23% of the total number of positive ESG mentions in Q1 2021. Whether you’re talking about reducing plastic use, aiming to be carbon neutral, or starting initiatives to combat climate change in other ways, both employees and candidates are taking notice.
    ESG initiatives also have a strong link with another high-scorer from Q1 2021: mission and purpose. Candidates, employees, and alumni were likely to talk about an organization’s mission and purpose, and the commentary was overwhelmingly positive.
    “From a talent attraction and productivity perspective, maintaining a strong ESG agenda generally is important for both keeping your current employees motivated and attracting new ones,” Thompson says. The Future of Work study from PwC backs up this sentiment, finding that 65% of people worldwide want to work for an organization with a powerful social conscience.
    Activating Your Sustainability Message
    Our data also enables us to contextualize this information regarding who is saying what, which can help you understand how to make a plan for activation and impact. 46% of positive commentary on sustainability has come from senior management, and 90% of it happens on social media.
    Senior management needs to lead the charge in discussing sustainability and ESG initiatives on social media. Meanwhile, your team should look to leverage a range of channels, hashtags, and campaigns to boost activation—and track your success. “It’s people’s stories that are going to be of interest,” Thompson says, “and if the conversation is positive, you should try to boost it as much as possible.”

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    A Strategic Approach to Employer Reputation

    What makes your campaigns instantly recognizable as belonging to your brand? When your employees talk about your brand online (and they do), do you know how and where?
    These are the questions Kirsten Bethmann has been asking as Global Employer Reputation Lead for Mars, Incorporated. Mars has set an inspiring goal for itself: to become one of the most attractive employers in the world by 2025. Achieving this goal, Bethmann believes, requires a renewed focus on brand consistency.
    The journey toward greater employer brand consistency supports greater brand awareness—often the biggest ongoing talent challenge organizations face. Unless you’re a beloved consumer brand with widespread name recognition, your employer brand team is likely all too familiar with this struggle.
    Establishing a Shared Vision
    A clear employee value proposition is the cornerstone of a consistent employer brand. For Mars, that EVP is built on three pillars: people, purpose, and development. The employer brand team took this EVP development a step further by adapting the Mars statement of purpose (“The world we want tomorrow starts with how you do business today”) into a tagline: “Your tomorrow starts today,” which personalizes and transforms the Mars mission into a call to action for its employees.
    Standardizing Brand Guidelines
    Companies that operate in multiple markets must walk a fine line between enforcing brand guidelines and empowering markets to represent themselves authentically. Mars began this work by creating a central platform for its guidelines, a “one-stop-shop” for learning how to use color, messaging, and more.
    Leaving Room for Personalization
    Within these brand guidelines, employer brand teams in each of Mars’ markets have the flexibility to make campaigns their own. Brand guidelines dictate certain standards for social media messaging, but Mars’ employer brand leaders recognize that messaging from sales employees may sound different from engineering’s messaging. Bethmann and her team welcome those differences.

    To follow Kirsten Bethmann’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help building your EVP, the foundation of your employer brand, get in touch with us.
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    How Royal Caribbean Group Navigates Employer Branding

    “Adventure” isn’t just something Royal Caribbean Group offers its customers. It’s also a love shared by its employees, as well as the key to the brand’s exceptional success at engaging new and diverse talent.
    How do you find the perfect employee when you’re a company as intrepid as an international cruise line? Royal Caribbean Group’s Talent Marketing Manager, Thea Neal, has done it through practices like investing in team morale, practicing inclusion, taking a holistic view of the employee experience, and careful listening.
    The Challenge of Talent Marketing as a Cruise Line
    Building out an authentic employee value proposition for a single organization is difficult enough. It can be even harder when that organization houses six different brands, as is the case with Royal Caribbean Group. Employer brand leaders may encounter hesitancy, as Neal did, from more senior leaders who are wary of defining an EVP that may not feel relevant to all branches and levels.
    Invest in Morale
    To attract and retain the best talent, Royal Caribbean Group makes serious investments in its culture and employees’ well-being. Even during a pandemic, the company has found ways to preserve and adapt its office traditions, like happy hours (now virtual) and Halloween (a staff favorite).
    Practice Inclusion
    Prioritizing diversity and inclusion has helped Royal Caribbean Group attract employees from a range of backgrounds and identities. This has been a special focus of Neal’s team, which recruits talent from around the globe. Cultural context is always top-of-mind for Neal when formulating her employer brand strategy: “The employer brand that I put out in America needs to resonate just as well as the employer brand I put out in the Philippines or Indonesia,” she says.
    Consider the Whole Employee Journey
    Neal’s team frames the employee experience as a journey—in fact, the “Journey with us” tagline appears across Royal Caribbean Group’s careers site, social media accounts, and internal communications. This framing reflects the emphasis they place on supporting people throughout their time with the company, from candidate to alum, and not just on the recruitment process or the “sell.”
    Become a Better Listener
    Neal urges other employer brand leaders to listen to fellow employees as closely as possible, especially when their feedback disrupts your assumptions. “A lot of times, as employer brand folks, we have these rosy glasses on. Sometimes you need that real perspective from an employee to create something better, listen, and evolve,” Neal says.
    This approach to talent marketing has helped Royal Caribbean find perfect-fit candidates that join the family and stay for years (and voyages). These candidates-turned-colleagues share Neal’s love of seeing the world and helping others do the same. It’s a passion that unites the team, regardless of role; as Neal puts it, “Who doesn’t want to sell amazing memories and experiences?”

    To follow Thea Neal’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For data-driven insights into your company that you can act on, get in touch. We can help you develop strategies for making real change.

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