Starting any new job will always include a learning curve no matter your experience level. On some stratus I knew this as I joined Havas People. Coming from a medium-size in-house ad agency that focused solely on clients in or within-driving-distance of Kansas City, I was nervous of the global agency assimilation process. But it was nothing like I had expected, and let me tell you why:
Employer Branding is a perspective
I have a considerable amount of experience in branding/brand equity. I’ve navigated many a rebrand, M&A’s, startup branding, etc, on top of the day-to-day brand guardianship that’s expected of communications professionals. But, employer branding is not a task or skill that you learn – it’s a totally new perspective of branding that I had not been pushed to consider before.
Here was my thought process before joining Havas People: “Employer branding is key to hiring more professionals and building your business, similar to how consumer branding is key to selling product/services and building your business.”
And now: “The insights that make up your employer and consumer brand are the same, and if you’re not telling that story, your brand is broken.”
I was ready to come to my first day of work, grab my key card and computer, and Google a step-by-step tutorial of employer branding. But the reality is (for all my fellow CPG peers) branding is branding and at the end of the day, putting yourself into your employees’ shoes (versus consumers’ shoes*) is a mindset and a practice.
*Pro tip: Your employees are likely to be consumers and vice versa.
Working globally is challenging
Way more challenging than I expected, and the most impactful adjustment I had to make (and yes, that includes downsizing to a 250 square foot studio in NYC): taking people for granted.
When part of your team is located in a time zone six hours ahead of you, you find you’ve taken for granted the knowledge sharing that happens by osmosis when you work desk-side with your specialized peers. And as with all challenges, I’ve grown from the experience.
I now make an effort to ask my coworkers what they’re working on, what’s trending in their respective fields, problems they’re facing and accomplishments they’re celebrating. I’m intentional in making my briefs crisper and storytelling succinct.
I over-thank to show my appreciation and build a rapport. So, while learning new things from the people around me is no longer a passive task, it has ultimately made me a better, more intentional communicator.
- Megan Scott, Account Supervisor
Have you ever gone on a date you thought went really well, only for days and weeks to go by without hearing a word from your date? This is called ghosting.
Ghosting, defined by Webster’s dictionary as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication,” was once reserved for dating. Ghosting is now common practice in recruiting.
Attending Indeed’s annual conference, ghosting was a hot topic at a panel discussion. Numerous employers explained that feedback showed ghosting to be one of the top complaints from job seekers.
Many candidates send their application to a company they’re excited about, come in for an interview, to then wait by their phone (or inbox) and never hear a word. More than just lacking common decency, it reflects negatively on the employer’s brand and leaves a poor taste in candidate’s mouths.
Candidates don’t forget when companies don't respond or update them. Numerous studies show shunned candidates are less likely to buy from a company after being ghosted. They also are far less likely to apply at the same company in the future, and may share their poor experience online and with friends.
Communicating actively shows respect to candidates for the time invested in applying, preparing for an interview, and traveling to an interview. It’s also an opportunity to leave a positive impression - leading to potential referrals and return applicants.
Even if it is bad news, don’t be a ghost - send that email.
HR technology is an umbrella term for technology that automates the human resources function. There is automated tech for employee payroll and compensation, talent acquisition and management, workforce analytics, performance management, benefits administration, etc.
While all of that is great to know, why should you care about HR tech?
First, there are the financial benefits. HR organizations that “regularly use data to make talent and HR strategy decisions” generate 30% greater stock returns than the S&P 500 over the last 3 years.*
And then there are workplace benefits, specifically related to diversity and inclusion.
Pay equity legislation is a hot topic for businesses nationwide. Eliminating discrimination in wages is challenging – pay transparency laws restrict companies from asking about employee salary history; work loads differ for same job titles; different merits receive more compensation than others; etc.
Cue HR tech to the rescue. Technology plays a critical role in navigating these challenges and committing your organization to fair pay. Pay equity in turn leads to flourishing morale, a stronger brand (internally and externally) and a growing business – not to mention proactive protection against potential lawsuits.
One tool that offers solutions to the issue of diversity and inclusion is Syndio. By compiling data about employees (gender, years of experience, IQ, etc) with internal work information gathered from employees, Syndio is able to measure the inclusion of individuals, identify high/low collaborative groups, internally influential employees and retention risk. As it relates to pay equity, Syndio can use this information to identify compensation tiers for different positions and current employees being underpaid/overpaid.
With this information, companies are able to audit, measure and potentially fix current inclusion efforts. All of which would not be possible without HR tech!
So don’t fear the technology opportunities around us – work with the technology experts to embrace them and discover your business’ potential.
*Putting HR Tech to Work for You, Zev J. Eigen, JD, PhD
We recently attended SHRM New York City’s annual conference. One of the breakout sessions discussed the future of work and the workforce. This session largely broke down the changing motivations of today’s workforce, and what is valued in a job.
It really struck me when the speaker mentioned that the number one reason people leave jobs is because they feel they aren’t valued, or able to contribute the way they would like to.
Not that they’re overworked, but that they would like to do more - and aren’t given the support, tools, or opportunity to do so.
This is unfortunate, because it’s something that can so easily be changed. Engaging employees, valuing them, making them feel included, and offering opportunities for growth is something all companies can do and should be doing.
Investing in your employees has proven benefits, including increased engagement, increased performance and retention.
Here are some simple things you can do to lean in to the changing values of the workforce, and keep employees happy:
1) Highly individualized leadership - Seek to discover every employee’s potential. Remember your team is made up of individuals. Every employee brings different experiences and attributes to the table. Treating everyone the same does a disservice to your organization, and your employees. Tailor conversations and reviews to individual’s interests, goals, and personalities.
2) Don’t focus on past performance, focus on contributions - This point is pretty self explanatory, but checking off tick boxes in generic performance reviews has limited value. Focus instead on positive contributions individuals have made, providing concrete proof of their value. This method of feedback has been shown to increase moral, makes employees feel seen and heard, and most importantly - lead to future development and growth.
3) Be transparent - Employees experience their organization through their direct leaders. In many companies, there is not direct access to the C-suite. The further down the ladder you get, the less engaged an employee is, frequently do to the lack of information and inability to see the bigger picture. Transparency is a unifier and helps grow relationships and employee investment. Keep employees in the loop with what’s happening in your organization and give them an opportunity to get involved in new initiatives and projects.
At the end of 2017, a global study* found that only 19% of employees perceive a strong match between how their employer represents itself and the reality of their experience as an employee.
It’s a troubling statistic, but not a surprising one. Across marketing – from consumer to employee – until the last decade the emphasis has been on broadcast messaging. In other words, telling your audience what you want them to believe. It’s an outdated strategy in a world where information has been democratized, transparency is expected, and sharing across channels is the norm. Consumers and employees alike expect to voice their opinions – and to have them listened to.
But perhaps employer brands have been slower than those in the consumer space to harness the potential that comes with this new landscape. Which is a particularly big missed opportunity as the changing world of work has made culture and authenticity key priorities. Millennials in particular want to work for a company that shares their beliefs. To do that, you need to first believe what that company has to say.
But whereas 90% of companies now operate on the basis of the customer experience (CX)*, it’s very recently that the employee experience has been acknowledged as a driving force.
At Havas People, we’ve been building strategies around the Employee Experience (EX) for some time. What do we really mean by that? We mean a focus on the day-to-day reality of your employees, your candidates, and even your alumni. We find ways to use our expertise in communications to add value at every touchpoint of the employee experience. Working with clients in this way, we’ve noticed a number of key benefits.
1. Better hiring
We don’t mean simply compelling attraction messaging or even good hiring stats. We mean hiring more of the right people. With an authentic look into your employees’ reality, you’ll connect with more people who share the motivations and behaviors that you instill in your workforce, not just the most talented or experienced.
2. Better retention
A focus on the employee experience by definition prioritizes and celebrates your people. After years of hearing that “Employees are our most important asset” companies are now putting that philosophy into practice with models created employee-first. This can create a very powerful social contract between employer and employee.
One of the benefits of that strong social contract between employer and employee is that – when your employees genuinely feel proud to work for you – they want to share that experience and become advocates for your brand.
4. Increased productivity and performance
Ultimately a great employee experience builds engagement. There’s a deeper sense of purpose to your work in a company which you believe in, and where you can enjoy going to work every day. In turn, this can improve productivity and performance.
There are many ways to start enhancing your employee experience, many tools available and different priorities to consider. But one simple rule to bear in mind is to consider all decisions through the lens of the employee experience. While it may sound like an unnecessary layer for decision-making, consider the potential.
People are an organization’s greatest asset. We all understand that. Isn’t it time we did something about it?
* The Employer Brand Credibility Gap: Bridging the Divide, was commissioned by global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research.
* Gartner 2017 Research Study.
* Gartner research study
It is national #STEMDay in the US.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM related occupations are growing three times faster than other occupations. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play an important role in the growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are vital to our society.
Linkedin recently took a look at STEM heavy fields and the gender representation within these jobs.
"In honor of National STEM Day, we looked at how women around the globe are faring in STEM-heavy industries—software and IT, healthcare, and finance. This included looking over the past 10 years on what women studied in university to ultimately land them in their respective careers," LinkedIn wrote.
They found that gender gaps begin early, and "While women are pursuing degrees relevant to STEM fields, they are severely underrepresented amongst graduates with technical degrees, and there is a high demand for more women in STEM fields."
Read more about Linkedin's findings, and programs they've created to help create more inclusive talent pools and advance women in tech here.
Jo Schopper, Account Executive
I just joined the team here at Havas People, previously working in digital marketing for numerous brands and public figures. Coming to the world of employer marketing from a more mainstream background may seem like a big jump, but in reality there are numerous parallels and ways thinking like a marketer can help improve the employee experience, specifically in recruiting.
Here are my initial thoughts after just one week here with the team:
People first – Creating a positive, user-friendly experience during recruitment can go a long way. Job seekers can in some ways be looked at like customers. Treating a customer poorly or not responding leads to lost sales; the same can be said for job candidates. Any poor impression during the recruiting process can lead to them losing interest in the position or company, not only while job seeking, but long term. This can have huge repercussions if they tell friends, post on social media or post a review of their experience on websites like Glassdoor.
Everyone is a recruiter – Your employees are your best ambassadors and biggest advocates. If an employee is happy at your organization, they’ll talk about it. This creates a huge pool of potential talent waiting to be tapped into, simplifying recruiting processes. Building a strong brand and sense of community makes employees feel like they're a part of something special, increasing the chances they will recommend the organization to others.
Paid ads and targeting – For retail, social media paid ads move the needle, as organic posts are becoming more obsolete. The same can be true for job postings. Sponsored ads on websites like Linkedin, Indeed and even Facebook have many advantages over organic posts. They allow you to target by entering certain demographics and criteria you’re searching for, give your posting better positioning on the site, and allow for better tracking and reporting leading to an easier recruitment process.
Jo Schopper, Account Executive
Never work with children or animals they say.
Sound advice as we prepared to shoot six videos in three days for a professional services client at their facility in Westlake, an upmarket suburb of Dallas, Texas.
OK, our shoot didn't have any children, but we did have two animals.
Sure, one was a child's toy, but you never know.
Luckily for us, the other, a dachshund schnauzer cross called Rigsby, was incredibly well behaved.
As were our crew, who were amazing.
The challenge with any shoot is coping with the unexpected and making sure you get exactly the footage you need - you literally get one shot.
This can be especially tricky when you're shooting outdoors.
On any shoot, the weather can be a demanding diva, prone to sulking and spoiling your day.
For us, she managed to maintain a beautiful disposition, ensuring day long sunshine - we did all get sunburnt though, just to remind us who's boss.
Apart from Dallas air traffic control insisting on routing every plane within a 50 mile radius over our location every few minutes, we managed to contain the external factors to a minimum.
The days were long, but very productive and well marshalled by the team at Casual Films, our partner on the shoot.
Extremely professional and very client friendly, they coped with the intricacies of shooting in a sometimes sensitive environment.
We've seen the first edit and it looks amazing, and we're confident the rest of the videos will be just as good.
Film shoots can be either a lot of fun or very hard work - our shoot in Texas managed to be a combination of both.
Gary Singh, Project Manager
In a digital world our offline gestures matter even more
Like most of you, the number of conversations I’ve been having recently about Artificial Intelligence and where the digital world is heading has to be approaching the high triple digits. It seems to be all anyone wants to talk about and, fortunately for me, is an extremely exciting subject to explore.
The implications AI holds for our lives is really outrageous and when you start to drill that down to how it may impact talent strategies in the future – the possibilities are quite endless – Alexa voice applications, Chatbots, personal office assistants - I could go on and on. In fact, I’m sure I will in an upcoming post!
But what I’m really thinking about right now is how these digital enhancements to our lives are going to further highlight the importance of offline, real world actions.
Recently we’ve been growing our team in North America. We posted the opening and an algorithm sent us a ton of relevant applicants. Relevant based on a data framework aligned to “what” we were looking for and not necessarily “who” we were looking for. For our role the “who” was just as, if not more, important than the “what.”
Of course we scheduled phone interviews and in-person conversations to learn more about the people we were talking to. Nothing groundbreaking there, but we now knew more about who they really were and could begin to determine if they’d bring the right attributes to our team and fit the tight-knit group.
Had we been using a video interview platform we may have been told by yet another algorithm how trustworthy and honest our candidates were. If we were hiring a high-volume role, we may not have had the luxury to vet our candidates so thoroughly and would have relied even heavier on an algorithm to influence our decision.
In this instance our algorithm identified a high-potential candidate, we took things offline to understand them better and then the candidate did something all job search advocates recommend but few searchers do – they sent a handwritten thank you letter after our first telephone interview!
This was someone we knew we wanted to hire from our first conversation, but this extra level of attention and care shown really put them over the top. If we were stuck between two good candidates, this would have made the difference. Had we automated the entire process, well then we would never have gotten the letter in the first place.
In a world where it’s easier to ‘click and do’ then ‘think and do,’ this extra offline effort really stands apart.
Tim Middleton, Agency Director
With the launch of Google’s enhanced job search results, I’m sure that is what a good chunk of the talent industry is thinking. From my perspective, jobs that are included in enriched search results have many benefits for employers, including:
· Improving the job seeking experience for candidates
· Priority placement in Google search results
· Attracting and converting more qualified candidates
While opting in for the Google enriched search results might mean some heavy lifting on the back-end of your careers site, the following rules should be considered when writing a job description to help improve your ranking and relevance within the search results:
1. Title: It is important to remember job seeker behavior when it comes to the search process. Most candidates won’t be searching for your listed job title. Rather, they will be using specific keywords. Therefore it is crucial for an employer to include a target keyword in the title – in the front of the title, if possible.
2. Body Copy: The target keyword should also be in the first sentence of the job description and used 3-5 times throughout the post. Consider using synonyms of this keyword to avoid repletion. For example, using the word “career” instead of “job.”
3. Links: Backlinks should also be added to job descriptions. This will not only help your SEO raking, but it will provide candidates with content that shows your company culture and all of the great reasons to work for your company.
Other tips to consider writing a job posting:
1. Be specific. An effective title contains details regarding the industry, function and level of the role. For example, “Senior Account Manager” and “Mid-Level Account Manager” are more descriptive than “Manager.”
2. Keep it real. Your company may use fun job titles like “Retail Jedi – Shopping Assistant,” or perhaps internal job IDs like “Retail Lead II (123456)”, but candidates are likely unfamiliar with these titles. Keep your job title basic but descriptive, and fundamentally keyword-driven.
3. Avoid superlatives or idiomatic phrases. Phrases like “rock star,” “ninja,” “expert” and “guru” are easily misclassified by search engines and can negatively impact the relevancy of your job description.
4. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. Avoid abbreviations, such as “Mgr,” “Mgmt,” and “Sr.” Spell out words fully to ensure that the title is comprehensive and distributed to the correct audience.
5. Keep it simple. The job title is the most important factor in determining relevancy in a search engine. Do not include salary, location information, job codes, non-alphabet symbols or other information not relevant to the title itself.
Finally, just try to put yourself in a candidate’s shoes or think back to when you were looking for a new job. If you can create one less step for them or one less click, the better experience they will have.
Sarah Green, Account Director