2013 Reflections and 2014 Resolutions

Before I take my brief blogging hiatus during holiday madness, I felt that the last blog of 2013 should focus on reflection and resolutions. January brings us a new year and promises new starts, so it’s important to understand what we’ve accomplished this year in order to properly set ourselves up for a successful future. Of course this can mean a multitude of things to different people, but today I’m going to focus on my career in the human resources and talent acquisition world.

Reflections

2013 has been quite the interesting year for me. I finally settled in with an employer that made me feel like I had control over my own learning and development. Once the year started, I felt like I was beginning to gain momentum in my sourcing/recruiting role. I felt secure enough with the company to get creative in my methods to the point where I was able to be successful in multiple markets and different industries. My searching methods, social media tactics and general sourcing knowledge had helped me hit the ground running every time I changed accounts and I was able to make an immediate impact each time.

My ability to do these things has allowed me to create opportunities for development of the delivery team. During my time on this team, I created a training on social media recruitment methods in which all sourcers and recruiters were able to learn the basics or learn new tricks. In addition to this, taught them the art of personal branding to gain credibility for their current career. This also gave our company opportunities to develop brand ambassadors and SMEs which promoted additional learning and content creation. Most importantly though, I was able to build up a market research spreadsheet for the tech/IT industry which has helped my co-workers ramp up faster in this market (which isn’t easy).

I eventually graduated from the delivery team and found myself on the marketing team around September. I wasn’t sure what to make of this job promotion, mainly because my background had focused solely on HR and recruitment. I was apprehensive about whether or not I could be successful in this and wondered if my education and experience in HR/recruitment would become stale. After four months of being in this role, I soon found that I actually learn MORE about the HR and recruitment industry than I did in previous roles. Also, I was able to surprise myself when I discovered the areas I was naturally good at and the things that seemed to interest me.

Which leads me up to my next point.

Resolutions

Although I’m still developing my role, I am beginning to realize the things that I enjoyed in HR can still be achieved in this marketing role. Of course, priorities change within the company and industry so I’m sure that some of these things might be propelled forward while others are put on hold. But a girl can dream right?

Employment branding is something that inspires me. As the months went on, I felt myself gravitating towards this topic more and more. I’ve even caught myself researching and silently critiquing a company’s employment brand. Lately, I’ve been given opportunities to investigate related things in my current job. I’ve had to research brands, find positive things, identify where brands are falling short and provide insight and suggestions. I love the fact that my research and input can potentially influence how a brand is able to attract candidates and retain current employees.

The other area I’m hoping to get more involved in is on a global scale. As my company expands into Western Europe and eventually Australia, I’m excited about the opportunity to get an inside look at how these companies function. I’ve always enjoyed conversations with HR professionals outside of the US and became intrigued about hiring practices, recruitment initiatives, HR laws and generally how talent acquisition and HR differ between each country. Even just learning about how resumes different from country to country was awesome. I’m looking forward to exploring these topics more.

After this brief break, I’ll be coming back refreshed and renewed with a plan of action to tackle these areas. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my career, it’s all about how I position myself. It will be interesting to see how I can evolve this throughout 2014.

Happy holidays!

Photo Source — By the way, I hope I can see the Festival of Lights in person one day!

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Why is HR Scared of Employer Branding?

Maybe my Type A personality makes me a little over-eager when it comes to getting things done but I often wonder if this quality would be beneficial for certain professionals. Employer branding has been a highlighted topic for a little while now, and HR professionals are realizing that having a strong employer brand is a significant way to attract candidates to their company. Sometimes this topic has been talked into the ground but when all is said and done, there still doesn’t seem to be any action taking place. I hear them say that they want to do it, that it’s important for their company to have it, and so on. But when it’s time for them to actually really consider putting into play, they choke.

I get it- it’s a scary thing to put yourself out there. It’s scary to think that however you promote and brand your company might be detrimental to its reputation if presented wrong. It’s hard to fathom investing money and time into something you don’t know will truly work for your organization. I know. I know. I know. However, the more you drag your feet on this, the easier you are making it for other forward-thinking companies to snatch up quality talent from the candidate pool.

Here are some steps you should consider when starting the employer branding process:

  • Research: put on your networking hats on and start talking to people who do marketing, social media community management, social HR, and even consultants that handle employer branding. For example, Jocelyn Aucoin  has been a great resource when I had questions about all of these things. What better way to get a solid understanding on all aspects of branding than talking to the people who are deep into it everyday?
  • Formulate a plan: … then reformulate. Over and over again. No one said that the brand was going to happen overnight but this is the key thing to help you have some sort of structure when you put your plan into motion.
  • Put it into action: it’s time for you  to bite the bullet and put your plan into action. And trust me, there is going to be a bunch of bumps along the way but try your best with damage control. New ideas and new processes are never perfect, so don’t expect this to be any different. Remember, it is important for you to: take notice, observe, listen, and learn from these situations/feedback.
  • Adapt: after listening and observing, it’s essential for you to seriously take the feedback into consideration and, once again, reformulate your plan. The best branding is one that is active and engaged in their “audience” and then delivers the results that these individuals are looking for.
  • Be consistent: branding is an ongoing thing. Your company changes often and your brand should reflect that. New people are entering the candidate pool every day, so be sure to also find new ways to engage these people. Be a constant presence and stay in front of people’s minds. Branding often fails due to lack of consistency.

Employer branding is important for a reason. The economy has put a lot of people out of jobs or in search of new ones. These people have potentially been in bad situations (underemployed, laid off, terminated, unemployed for long lengths of time) and want to make sure that the next choice they make is the right one. They are looking for companies that have transparency so they can feel more confident about applying.

Gen Y is also entering the workforce and the workforce will be majorly comprised of these individuals in just a few years. They are extremely savvy when it comes to finding information on things, thanks to being brought up in the technology era. Therefore, they will also be looking hard for companies that seem to be providing the most up-to-date and useful information. With that being said, do you really think branding isn’t a good investment? What you doing for your employer brand? Feel free to respond here.

More Links:

HRTechEurope White Paper on Employer Branding

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Consumer Brand vs. Employer Branding

Last week seemed like it was a hot week in the social media world in regard to branding. I was involved in a few different webinars that focused on brand ambassadors. I listened to #TalentNet radio show and participated in #TChat , as well, to hear more about the different perspectives when it came to effectively branding.  I learned all about the difference of influencers and ambassadors. I also learned about the importance of adding “personality” to your brand to engage an audience while still maintaining a bit of control. But one of the most interesting things I learned  was that a good portion of companies don’t realize there is a difference between consumer brand and employer brand.

For all my HR and talent acquisition people out there: it’s important to have an employer brand in order to attract talent. Additionally, it has to be a strong and consistent brand. In today’s job seeking world, candidates EXPECT to find more information on your company’s brand in order to determine if it would be a company they would be attracted to. Job seekers don’t care about the brand you use to tell people about your products and services. It might initially give them information about your company being a potential lead for employment, but it’s not going to engage them in the way you need.

First thing’s first- learn the difference:

Consumer Branding: As the article in Chron had stated: “Consumer branding is a concept that relies on the creation of visual, and possibly audio, elements that help to create recognition of the product. These branding options may include the shape of the packaging, colors, characters and even the shape or feel of the product itself.”  Needless to say, this branding is usually utilized to generate sales.

Employer Branding: As stated in WSJ: “The key is to align the brand with the company’s business plan, meaning the brand is designed to attract and retain the kinds of workers the company needs most — those who can help it increase sales, profits and market share. And the key to doing that is to borrow a tool from the product-marketing toolbox.”

Just like in consumer branding, it is important for employer branding to be engaging, transparent, show all of the “features”, give the “inside scoop”, and regularly update their audience about what’s new within the organization (i.e. partnerships, new career opportunities, changes in culture, and so on). Employer branding should be high on your list of “to-do” when it comes to talent acquisition and the results you get can not only bring in the best and brightest of talent, but can also allow your business to advance in ways you hadn’t imagined before.

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