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.