The Social Marketing of Diversity

Scientific research indicates the brain transmits 90% of visual information and processes it 60,000 times faster than information in text form[1].  Digital media has transformed the reach of visual content. Digital images such as pictures, videos, infographics, word clouds, etc., can be posted and shared quickly on social networks. On Facebook alone, 75% of content posted globally are photos. On Twitter, photos and videos are re-tweeted 63% more than other types of content (see chart below). In 2013 LinkedIn purchased Pulse, a news reader that presents content visually to its member base.

Retweet stats

The consumption of visual digital content has also led to the creation of many popular platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Flicker and Vine (just to name a few).

youtube

Instagrampinterestvine

 

 
 


Its popularity has also had an impact on marketing and recruitment; specifically in the areas of diversity. As populations become increasingly diverse it continuously creates new customer and employee needs. These demographic shifts in both consumer base and talent pools have put pressure on organizations to build workforces that reflect the markets they are trying to serve. Companies such as RBC have created an integrated approach (as shown below) recognizing the fluidity between consumer, employee and community member[2].

RBC_diversity

Consumer marketing has created digital brand strategies to tap into new demographics and create an emotional experience. The image below is a great example of this. The experience is reflected in the image to create an emotional response. To make you picture yourself using the product. It’s powerful because people can more easily relate if they see images that reflect themselves.

diversity_11

Talent acquisition is no stranger to developing diversity strategies to build their workforce. For years organizations have tried to create programs to attract, source, hire and retain diverse candidates. Few have been able to claim bragging rights. Diversity recruitment has always relied on images to depict inclusion and representation. Social media has enabled this approach to go viral.

Even though diverse images and videos are much more prevalent, prospective candidates have also shifted their approach. They now rely on employee experiences to validate the diversity proposition and actual representation of their prospective employer. According to a Glassdoor.com survey; candidates are signficantly influenced by employee experiences and how they perceive their employer.

 recommendations

 They’re looking for more meaningful and authentic messages from employees that reflect themselves.

A poster for Lakeridge Health is shown in this undated handout photo. The Ontario hospital group is turning QuebecÕs proposed restrictions on religious clothing in the public sector into an opportunity to recruit nurses and doctors.

As employees build their online presence they also provide insight to the demographic composition of their organization. Candidates now have more visibility into representation both vertically and horizontally than at any other time in history. It represents the shift from an aspiration to something that is achievable. It’s this reflection of inclusion through employee experiences that are emotional and impactful. Consider the brand of two employers below:

non_diversity

diverse_workforce

Which one would you click on to find more?

People overwhelmingly chose the image on the bottom. They felt diversity and inclusion were represented and reflected by real employees. It felt more authentic. The visual digital collage created an emotional reaction. A connection. An experience.

The goal is to make you picture yourself working at this organization. It’s employee experience that lies at the heart of talent branding. Creating an experience that resonates with potential candidates. An authentic experience delivered through employees.

I’d love to hear your perspectives on topic! Share them with me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

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[1] http://tech.co/visual-content-will-rise-2015-2015-01

[2] http://www.rbc.com/diversity/why-does-diversity-matter.htm

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Evolving Your Social Recruitment Vocabulary

In my last blog post (TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary for Business Use); I spoke about the need for HR professionals to really understand some of the industry technology terms that are being used in strategic conversations. As a part two, I want to expand that conversation and drill down a layer further. This post will focus on deciphering the terminology behind social recruitment.

21st-century-recruiting-8-statistics-to-prove-social-media-is-the-way-to-go-1-638

The term social recruitment was first used as early as 2009, but started to become part of conventional recruitment strategy around 2011[1]. Social recruitment has now become mainstream and many vendors now offer social recruiting and marketing products in addition to their core recruitment management system (RMS) offering. With the increasing adoption and investment in social recruitment, also comes the necessity to articulate ROI and explain its success. But, despite data being available through a multitude of channels, many recruitment functions still struggle with compiling data to answer to the lingering Executive question… Tell me how social recruitment adds value?

Stumped? There’s good new… this is not a quiz!

For a few years I’ve talked about the importance of introducing new metrics into the HR dashboard that can clearly describe the impact of social recruitment.

social-media-for-recruiters

Metrics can be the gateway to tell your story. It provides the forum to share success, lessons learned and forecast strategy based on data. To anchor social recruitment, a new wave of terminology needs to be adopted into daily operational metrics, performance measures, intake discussions and sourcing strategies make it meaningful.

Not sure where to start? First, let’s examine a few common industry terms that you and your team should know and use on a weekly, if not daily basis:

Term Description Why is it important?
Click Through Rate (CTR) Measures the click from the initial link though to the content page. (e.g. the click from the initial job posting link on a job aggregator to the apply button on the job posting RMS). It provides insight into how compelling your content is. The marketing to get you to click on the initial link may be good, but if candidates are not clicking through, it could be due to your content. Companies should use click through rate metrics as an indicator on what’s working and what needs to be improved. You want high click through rates to measure applicant channel ROI.
Employee Value Proposition (EVP) It’s a unique set of offerings, associations and values that will positively influence the most suitable target candidates to choose you as an employer. The proposition must be attractive, true, credible, distinct and sustainable.[2] In a nutshell, it articulates what differentiates your company from your competitors. Why should someone choose to work at your company versus a direct or industry competitor? If you want Manager’s and employees to become brand ambassadors, they need to be equipped with EVP marketing messages to promote the company.
Engagement Two way interaction of your companies brand and content between the end user and the company. Engagement identifies people who express an interest in your brand and content by interacting with it. It provides the opportunity to build rapport, creating a pipeline of candidates engaged with your company brand. Research shows that engaged employees have higher retention rates resulting in bottom line savings to the organization over time[3].

 

engagment analytics_1

 

Job Aggregator An on line database that scrapes and advertises job postings from company websites at no cost. Job aggregators have transformed the traditional job posting model. Jobs from companies are posted in one central place and are SEO indexed. Companies don’t pay to advertise job postings, they are there for free. This makes it more appealing for candidates as all jobs can be found here regardless of where they start their search (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Indeed.com, etc.). Job aggregators provide high source of hire ROI.
Pay per Click (PPC) The amount paid when sponsored content (e.g. job posting) is clicked on a website. This helps companies stay within a budget and measure ROI based on clicks. If you sponsor jobs, you only pay for what is performing.
Reach Reach is the potential audience for content based on total follower count (Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn followers, total Likes on your Facebook page, etc). If your boards have 1,000 followers on Pinterest, then each of your pins could potentially reach 1,000 people. [4] Reach provides insight into the visibility of your content as it is shared (via a like or share) to other users networks. The higher your reach the higher the probability you will attract more applicants.
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is the ability for your content to rank higher on a search engine when search results are returned. Most candidates now start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). The higher your content appears in search results, the higher the probability it will be clicked on.
Social Sharing Sharing content through social media. Most websites recognize the power of sharing content on social networking sites. Social sharing is the modern version of emailing job postings to networks. RMS’, aggregators and job boards, now offer the ability social share jobs on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

engagment analytics_2

 

Talent Brand The highly social, public version of your employer brand incorporating what your talent thinks, feels and shares about your company as a place to work[5]. Your talent brand carries more credibility than employment brand because your employees are advocates or detractors of the message. Talent brand is important because it represents a genuine view from an employee. Tools like LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index allows companies to benchmark against competitors to see how your talent brand is performing to attract and source candidates.
Talent Communities A recruitment product that offers websites geared to specific roles, candidate types or locations where people can register and receive company information and notifications. Talent communities provide specific branding, content and messaging to candidates based on demographic information. While content on talent communities can be engaging, they also serve as the feeder for talent pipelines for specific roles.
Targeted Marketing Recruitment Campaigns Use keywords and/or demographic information to target and attract relevant potential applicants for specific roles. (e.g. Call Centre, Actuaries, Mobile App developers, etc.). Most candidates start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). Unlike traditional methods of post and prey advertisements, campaigns have become a game changer because it seeks out specific individuals that appear to fit the role profile of the job. This creates a relevant pipeline and/or applicant pool. In addition to Google AdWords, social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter also offer these services.

460x250xtalentcommunity

This by no means, is an exhaustive list of social recruitment terms. It’s really meant to be an introduction to some of the more common terms you can expect to hear and see in blogs, articles, white papers and research briefs. So the next time you are asked how reach impacts your sourcing strategy, you’ll be well positioned to give an answer!

If you would like more information on HR metrics, check out my blog post Are You Using Data to Drive Your HR Strategy.

I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know if you found this list useful. You can tweet me @annzaliebarrett or follow me LinkedIn.

Ann_Nov_2012Ann Barrett, Director Integrated Solutions

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[1] Wikipedia

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/duraturo/what-is-an-employer-value-proposition

[3] http://www.bus-ex.com/article/employee-engagement-retention-and-communication

[4] http://blog.hootsuite.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media-metrics-reach-exposure/

[5] http://www.slideshare.net/linkedin-talent-solutions/5-reasons-for-investing-in-your-talent-brand-v3

How Authentic Is Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

EVP_marketing_Image

Marketing has become an integral part of talent strategy. The use of messages and branding to foster engagement, attract candidates and retain employees have resulted in some organizations thoughtfully and others inadvertently, developing Employee Value Propositions (EVP’s). EVP’s are messages that articulate what an employee can expect when they work for the company. The promises. Most of the messages, in one way or another, tend to emphasize employee development and career progression (like the image above). Branding supplements the message by offering  visual images of what an employee can experience when they’re in the organization.

The ability to deliver against EVP’s can have a tangible impact on both talent sourcing and retention. Talent functions must realize the authenticity of an EVP will be compared to real employee experiences through social media channels. Research has shown there is a direct correlation between employee reviews on social media and job application follow through. In a recent US study of more than 4,600 job seekers; almost 50% of them used social sites like Glassdoor to research the company as part of their job search strategy1. Employee reviews have greater influence on which companies candidates will choose that more closely aligns with their values. In the example below the EVP advertised career progression, but the employee review exposed this as a misrepresentation. Candidates who value career advancement may choose not to apply to that company based on the review.

bad_review_evp

EVP is important to retain your current talent bench. Consider the following true story and how it reflects on the genuineness of the EVP.

bad_meetingA friend of mine choose to work at a company that articulated messages of career progression and development in the job description, website, branding and interview processes. As an employee, she worked hard to build great relationships and develop her skill set. Messages about commitment to career development and progression were continuously communicated in town halls, intranet sites, emails and corporate communications. After a few years she felt ready to move to the next level within her career tract. With consistently great performance reviews, she anticipated an easy conversation with her Manager on formulating a plan. She raised the subject about career advancement. Her boss listened to her and after a brief pause said; “You’ll need some of these first (pointing to her grey hair) if you want to move up.” In one short sentence the conversation had ended. The employee had taken her Manager’s comments as a clear message that seniority was equal to age. She knew she would not be advancing anytime soon.

Completely disengaged, within three months she resigned and went to a direct competitor.

Of course not every employee is pegged for progression. However, this story is reflective of a top performer who believed the company was committed to advancement, irrespective of age. The revelation that the EVP was false (from her perspective) resulted in her becoming disconnected, disengaged and demotivated. No surprise, she does not endorse this company as a great place to work to her network or family. This is a tangible example that the smaller the gap between your EVP promise and delivery; the higher your retention rate can be.

Now that we’ve seen authenticity matters, what can your organization do to create a genuine EVP’s?

  • Solicit feedback/crowdsource regularly to understand what works and what can be improved – Don’t rely on annual engagement surveys to assess how people feel. Solicit genuine feedback regularly through different mediums. Highlight what is working and document what could be improved.

feedback

  •  Action feedback to address gaps – I can’t stress this enough. Feedback is abundant on ways to improve. Yet so often nothing is done to actually address it. Demonstrate you are listening to your employees by actioning feedback. If you don’t it will be seen as disingenuous.
  • Update your EVP with endorsed content Your EVP is only genuine if your employees endorse it. Update it with validated content so it is authentic.
  • Revisit your EVP every 3-5 years to align it to your strategy – The workforce is changing. Your strategy changes. Your EVP should be reflective of your strategy.
  •  Use employees to promote genuine EVP messages through social media channels – Many companies are afraid of employee reviews on social media sites. They tend to want to “shut it down” or ignore it, hoping it will go away. Instead embrace social media sites and build it into your strategy. Provide alternative, genuine experiences on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to help job seekers make an informed decision about your company.

happy-employeeThere are lots of opportunities to build genuine EVP’s. I hope these few ideas will help you to start thinking about ways to develop authentic messages!

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me twitter@annzalie.barrett or pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116hLinkedIn.

 

[1] http://recruitingdaily.com/glassdoor-reviews/

The Mobile Revolution Continues: How Social Media Revitalized the Food Truck Business

social_food_truckMany articles and blogs have focused on how social media has helped corporations grow their business. There are so many great tips and success stories on how social media has impacted HR, marketing and digital media functions. Social media has also revolutionized many industries, providing a platform for creative entrepreneurs to develop, market and launch their products. One such example is the food truck. Now for many of you who are over, let’s say 30; you may have memories of food trucks as sterile mobile canteens that served basic drinks (tea, coffee, and soda), hot dogs and cold pastries. The 21st century has seen the rise of the social food truck. Many creative chefs have chosen to fuse the restaurant and street food food_truckexperience on wheels. The food truck offers a mobile option to inexpensively introduce great food to the masses. It is the purist reflection of what social media embodies. Meeting the masses where they are.

Through social media the food truck industry has literally been re-vitalized, creating a niche market for cooks and chefs alike. Their popularity has transcended the social realm into syndicated television shows such as Eat Street and Anthony Bourdain’s series Parts Unknown.

So how did social media rejuvenate the food truck industry?

Building The Brand

The first step with any good product launch is building a brand presence. Food trucks are no longer sterile, silver vans that lack personality or ffood_truck_pics_phonelare. On the contrary, they are works of art, reflecting the theme of the food, the character of the chef with playful, catchy names like Roaming Dragon, to build brand recognition.

Once the brand is established, the food trucks use a social media ecosystem to promote their products. Within the ecosystem you will find, at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google. Let’s not forget the delivery channel. Like the vehicle, it’s mobile.

Proprietors want people to know what kind of food they’re serving, recognize the truck and of course, communicate where they’ll be so you can buy the food. Applications like Instagram (100M users), Pinterest* (47M users) and Vine (via Twitter) provide the perfect channels to do all that. The beauty of these apps is customer can also participate in the experience by adding their own pictures and comments. They are then instantly shared their with friends through other social platforms in the ecosystem. Best part? No cost.

Engagement

Entrepreneurs rely on building their customer base by getting the “word” out there. With 1.1B people on Facebook, 500M on Twitter and 343Mfood_truck_phoneon Google* they represent the biggest, free, social distribution channels in the world. Every day menus and locations are posted and tweeted to a growing customer base. While content is pushed out, customers also engage in the conversation by posting comments, taking pictures of food, by asking questions and telling owners which locations they should include in their route. Tweeting or posting endorses the vendors and their products.  As we know, recommendations carry considerable clout. People are much more likely to try a new product or service if it’s recommended by someone they know. That translates into tangible sales.

Marketing Your Location

One of my favourite things about food trucks is their use of integrated GPS apps. Food trucks don’t necessarily go to the same spot every day. They diversify their routes to expand their customer base. Customers who want to experience new food trucks can download apps that track the ones closest to them.  All done in real time, on mobile.

food_truck_appMy blog post wouldn’t be complete without weaving in how this ties into social recruiting. With such an integrated social ecosystem, proprietors can easily advertise job openings to their fan base. 

The rise of the food truck through social media is an interesting and creative story. It’s another demonstration of how social media is creating new markets.

Kudos to all of those creative food proprietors who operate food trucks and offer good quality, flavourful food, at reasonable prices.

 
Support local businesses by finding the food trucks near you.

US:                 www.foodtruckfiesta.com

Canada:         http://streetfoodapp.com/

Toronto:       http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/

* Data courtesy of Digital Marketing Ramblings

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy