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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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

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

Engagement- The Cornerstone of Onboarding: A Tale of Two Stories

Engagement is playing a bigger role in sourcing and retention. In the Deloitte 2015 HR Technology Report, John Bersin articulated the next era of HR technology has shifted from automation to engagement. Things like blogs, social communities, tweets, facebook posts, social crowdsourcing, etc. are all strategies that companies are undertaking to remain competitive and retain their human capital investment.

on_imageBut what about that window of time when a candidate is transitioning from their old job into the new one? The Onboarding window. It’s the optimal time to capitialize on the excitement and eagerness of new hires.

Some companies have already started focusing on engagement by shifting away from automated forms and mass structured orientation classes to using social channels, interactive video and/or “buddies” in orientation. This supports research which finds 80% of learning happens in an unstructured environment through conversations with co-workers[1].

Successful onboarding also has a bottom line impact. On average, the cost of finding a replacement for a junior level employee is about 20% of their salary. That percentage increases as the level of seniority increases[2]. Interestingly, new hire turnover within the first 45 days can amount to about 300% of the new hires annual salary[3]. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to get onboarding right.

OB_firstyear

Some companies are still focused on using technology for forms automation and provisioning instead of engagement. The importance of interaction with employees should not be underestimated whether you use technology or not. Consider the following two stories and its impact on retention.

Experience  # 1- High Engagement; Low Automation

Jill* was referred by an employee to a prestigious financial services company. After a number of interviews she was delighted to accept a senior position. Jill was excited to start her new job. Prior to her start date, she was called into the office to complete the new hire paperwork.  She was presented with her offer letter and a number of forms to sign and complete. The entire process took about 30 minutes. She would be notified via phone or email if there were any issues or questions.

Day 1

On her first day, Jill* arrived at the appropriated time and was greeted warmly by the receptionist. After a few minutes, onboarding_1John*; her new Manager, came out to greet her. He welcomed her and showed her to her desk. He told her he would be back in 30 minutes once she got settled in. There was an envelope on Jill’s desk with information to log into her computer, set up her voice mail and keys for her cabinets and office. John came back after 30 minutes and escorted her to his office. After a few minutes of banter he presented her with a word document that outlined her schedule for the first week. He provided an overview of the organizational structure, gave her a seating chart of the floor and talked through what needed to be completed on the first day.

After spending some time going through the schedule, John took Jill around the floor and introduced her to the team. He also introduced her to her “Buddy”, Mark*, who also reported to him. Mark would be her main point of contact for questions and specific work related items. As per the schedule, Jill spent sometime with Mark to get her up to speed and identified some other key contacts she would need to meet over the next week.

At lunch time, John came back and all three of them went for lunch. After lunch; Jill had some time allotted with the Coordinator to complete her benefits enrolment. After that, she completed some mandatory training courses. Around 3:30; Mark came by to visit Jill. He dropped off a few files for Jill to familiarize herself with. He also offered to answer any other questions she had. Jill was glad to have the personal interaction and said she would review the files to get a head start for the next day.

At 4:30 John came by to enquire about Jill’s first day. How was she feeling? How were things? Was the schedule he prepared helpful? Was Mark helpful as a Buddy? Jill was quite happy with the proceedings of the day and found having a buddy extremely helpful. John was glad. He talked about some of the projects she had been assigned to and some of the challenges they were trying to address. John told Jill to call it a day, and said he looked forward to seeing her again tomorrow.

happy_eeAs Jill commuted home she reflected on the day. She was quite impressed with how her the first day unfolded. She was glad John assigned her a Buddy and appreciated his thoughtfulness to make her feel comfortable. She was confident she made the right decision to join this company.

Jill stayed with the company for 5 years.

Tale # 2- High Automation; Low Engagement

Sally* was referral by an employee to a prestigious financial services company. After a number of interviews she was offered and accepted senior position. Sally was excited to start her new job. Prior to her start date, Sally was emailed her offer letter and instructions on how to complete the onboarding process.  The process consisted of completing a series of electronic forms, checklists and collecting banking information. Sally thought the process was quick and efficient. She enjoyed the ability to complete transactions online at her own convenience. She also had the option of emailing her new Manager if she had any questions. This experience renewed her excitement to start her new job.

Day 1

On her first day, Sally arrived at the appropriated time. She was greeted warmly by the receptionist who asked her to wait as her Manager, Amy*, had not arrived yet. Sally waited in the reception area for 30 minutes. When Amy arrived she greeted her warmly, apologized for being late and showed her to her desk. She told her she would be back in a while as she was late for a meeting . Sally took the opportunity to get settled in. The keys for her cabinets and information about her computer were on her desk.

Amy came back after an hour and started to introduce her to other people on the floor. She then returned Sally to her alone_workdesk and asked her to start reviewing some documents on the shared drive. Sally started reading the documents Amy requested. As there was no schedule, Sally did not know what time Amy would come by for lunch. Sally waited for Amy but soon realized lunch wasn’t part of the first day. She decided to go down to the food court by herself. At the elevator she ran into Amy who said she was going to grab a bite, did she want to come? Sally nodded and they went down together. Sally was just about to pay for her sandwich when Amy said she would pay for it. Unsure of what to do, Sally smiled and thanked Amy. They walked back to the office to their individual desks, where Sally ate her lunch alone.

Around 2:30pm Amy came by and asked Sally to meet with her to debrief about some of the projects she needed to become familiar with. After the meeting Sally went back to her desk and started completing information for her benefits and mandatory training.

At about 4:30 Sally got an email from Amy saying she had to leave early and hoped her first day went well. She said she was happy to have her on board and would see her tomorrow. Sally realized she would not have an opportunity to debrief with Amy about her first day. Unsure of when she should leave, Sally decided to pack up and call it a day.

Womancontemplating_istockimage_0As Sally commuted home, she reflected upon the day. Her first day had not been what she expected. In fact it was quite disappointing. She barely spent anytime with Amy and was left alone most of the day. She felt isolated. Her colleagues seemed so busy she felt awkward interrupting them. She also couldn’t believe the lunch mishap. She contemplated whether this was normal behaviour at the company? Was this going to be a good fit after all? Had she made the right decision? It left her with an uneasy feeling. Hopefully tomorrow would be better.

Sally left the company just before her first year anniversary.

The two experiences above are true stories that have been shared with me. Even through Jill and Sally had vastly different experiences, both stories illustrated how important engagement was in cementing the employee experience and retention. I asked Sally if she would have traded a manual process to completing onboarding forms if it meant she could spend more “engagement” time with her Manager and/or co-workers. Without hesitation she said YES.onboarding_mobile

Now picture Millennials entering the workforce. Connected, collaborative, social, mobile, comfortable on multiple device types and demand 24×7 accessibility. Conventional strategies will do little to keep this generation stimulated and engaged. Companies need to capitalize on using blogs, communities and gamification to appeal to this generation. Building rapport can also be multi-dimensional. Tools like Skype/FaceTime can be alternate ways to chat with colleagues or management. Communities to crowdsource or connect with others are familiar ways for Millennials to engage. A Buddy (in person or virtual) is still a wonderful way to help new hires acclimate to the company.

So rethink about your approach to Onboarding. Engagement is the foundation to employee retention!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Names have been changed

[1] http://www.socialtext.com/blog/2013/05/goodbye-boring-orientation-hello-social-onboarding/

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141014104815-21377985-driving-people-excellence-through-social-onboarding

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/