BRAND AUTHENTICITY AND CONSISTENCY AMIDST CONSTANT CHANGE
Strategic employment branding facilitates customer and business partner growth, candidate funnel expansion and employee engagement, which thereby incites greater workforce retention and performance. Many companies strive to understand, establish and promote their brand to achieve these goals, but in the same vein many are yet struggling to transition brand strategy from aspiration to reality.
Held in June 2017, the joint WilsonHCG and OpenText Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Colloquium centered around employment branding. Specifically, the “business” need for transparency, authenticity and consistency – in the midst of ever-present change – to achieve greater bottom-line competitive advantage and ROI. The following explores actionable takeaways from the conference, including thought leadership insights and first-hand experiences.
OpenText’s Personal Brand Story
During the Colloquium, OpenText Director of Talent Acquisition, Mary Megali, shared her organization’s talent and brand story. OpenText began as a startup in 1991, and has since expanded to 12,000 employees across 130 locations worldwide – including North and South America, as well as the Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.
A global leader in enterprise technology, OpenText is Canada's largest software company and was named by the Financial Post as one of Canada’s 10 Best Companies to Work For. According to Ms. Megali, OpenText’s talent acquisition function has a “seat” at the executive table as a result of their talent strategies that are driving business performance and competitive advantage across the globe.
Brand in 2017: Demanding an Inside-Out Approach
Speaking on employment brand and its impact on OpenText’s ability to attract and keep the best software sales talent, Ms. Megali delved into the collision of employee engagement and employment brand. As we are now in a truly innovative digital age, professionals have more outlets to be transparent than at any time in history. Candidates and employees alike are easily able to educate themselves around each job opportunity, company culture, competitive compensation, learning and development opportunities, growth opportunities, as well as mission statements and values, to name just a few.
“Talent now has full transparency into what they're worth – and what competitors are offering – and they will not only reject a job offer or leave an organization if they don't feel their demands are being met, but they will share their experiences as well.”
-Paul Dodd, WilsonHCG Head of Canadian Engagement
Empower Your People
Simply stated, talent – your people – not only define but further develop and drive employment brand. To maximize employment branding efforts, organizations need to empower and give a voice to their candidates and employees. Employment brand is at its best when strategy is spearheaded from the inside (internally) out (externally).
While compensation has and will continue to play a significant role in both hiring and tenure, talent today places as much importance on what a company stands for – for business leaders, this highlights the importance of an authentic employment brand; one that is communicated clearly, engagingly and consistently across all channels. Communicating brand is integral, yes, but the chicken can’t come before the egg. Companies must first develop an employment brand from the inside out that lives what is being preached. An employment brand that instills employee engagement and authenticity will in turn inspire external employee promotion – leading to referrals, improved image, candidate and workforce motivation, retention, personal fulfillment and business growth.
Authenticity Front and Center in Today’s Digital Revolution
As Ms. Megali shared, a positive “digital brand experience” can significantly influence whether someone joins your company. Moreover, an “authentic” digital presence indicates modern strategy and that companies are “present” among the digital revolution that all markets and industries are experiencing. At OpenText, their digital brand strategy is built around four unique categories:
In the Americas, for example, OpenText’s LinkedIn company page plays an important role in their digital brand efforts. Here they provide and promote a high level overview of the organization, available jobs, various company photos and events, their commitment to diversity, as well as employee perspectives (e.g., career journeys, a day in the life, the fun of “working hard and playing hard”). Overall, digital media provides OpenText with a platform for sharing the greater workforce story while likewise giving employees a voice to share their personal stories, resulting in unique, organic and authentic brand growth.
Define Your Stakeholders, Establish Their Purpose
To engage key stakeholders, Ms. Megali shared how it’s important to first define who the stakeholders are then establish the intended outcome for involving them. At OpenText, their key stakeholders for branding purposes includes talent acquisition, HR leadership, hiring managers for sales positions, sales leadership and marketing, among a few other parties.
As Ms. Megali explained, it’s not necessarily challenging to achieve buy-in for employment branding, but rather getting each party to “live and breathe” the company’s brand; to truly stand for what the organization is preaching on a daily basis across 130 locations and multiple regions. She emphasized the need to coach stakeholders on both living and sharing the brand message, and its impact on talent acquisition and talent management. The collective presence, messaging and actions of a company’s brand ambassadors and key stakeholders is important, if not more so, than the organization’s overall presence, messaging and actions.
9 Steps to Optimize Your Employment Brand
As shared and discussed during the Colloquium:
“When I walked in we had a budget of zero … We did research, research and more research on what [social media] mentions to use, what hashtags to use, how to make our social media channels grow, and what content resonates with people.”
-Shaunda Zilich, GE Global Employment Brand Leader
“When you think of employment brand today, in a world currently in the midst of an industrial and digital revolution, we need to be part of telling our people’s stories.”
-Shaunda Zilich, GE Global Employment Brand Leader
“If candidates see positive employee and candidate experiences on review sites or in communication with peers, they feel more confident submitting their resume and making a career move.”
-WilsonHCG 2017 Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands Report
“If you're just beginning the employment brand journey, it can be overwhelming. Boil it down. What do I have around me? What's the problem? What am I trying to solve? From there, what's the strategy? Then implement the tool. A lot of times, if we're overwhelmed it's because we start with the tool or the action before the strategy.”
-Shaunda Zilich, General Electric (GE) Global Employment Brand Leader