Talent Branding, or Talent Advertising?

Talent (comics)

Talent (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I’ve been working with a company who are great at attracting high-quality candidates.  Their “talent brand” is phenomenal – but they are facing significant problems with high early turnover in their organisation.

At its’ core, any kind of branding (including talent branding) is a promise, a statement of what makes you important and unique, and why you should be trusted.  In the consumer market, your brand might promise value, efficiency, exclusivity, or quality.  In the talent market, it might promise a collaborative, high-performance culture; opportunity; or innovation. Your brand is a set of principles that communicate who you are and what you stand for.

Allbusiness.com suggests a set of principles to use when developing a brand:

  1. “Think analytically. A brand should provide something that warrants attention on a consistent basis, something your audience wants and is not getting from your competitors.”  A “me too” strategy destroys value rather than creating it.  What’s unique about your workplace that appeals to your target (talent) market?  If you don’t know what that target market is yet, define it before you define your talent brand.
  2. “Maintain your brand. One rule of thumb is that when you start to become tired of your …branding efforts, that’s most likely when they are sinking in with customers.”  If you develop a strong value proposition that you truly believe in, then it shouldn’t be a problem sticking to it.
  3. “Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Typically, the best you can do is to focus on the niche market for your product.”  In the talent market, this means understanding the workforce that will lead your organisation to success.  A brand that speaks to you personally is much more powerful than a blanket approach – “we’re great to work for” doesn’t compel.
  4. “Know who you really are. Know your strengths and weaknesses through honest analysis of what you do best.”  This is where your promise is kept or broken.  If you manage to hire top talent, but their experience as an employee is not what the talent brand promised, they’re likely to become disenfranchised and leave – or worse, become disenfranchised and stay.
  5. “Fully commit to branding. Treat all functions of the company, from product development to sales, as integral aspects of your brand.”  A talent brand needs to be integrated into the whole employee lifecycle, not just the attraction side.  If you look after your candidates but not your employees, you’ve got a recipe for employee dissatisfaction.

So what happens when the promise is broken?   In the consumer market, you “make the sale” and your customer becomes disenfranchised and leaves.  It’s the same in the talent market.  If you have high early turnover, take a look at your talent brand.  And consider using Strategic Workforce Planning to coordinate all of your talent initiatives, so you have a coherent strategy throughout the whole employee lifecycle.

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Rockstar employees get riders too

Yesterday news broke about Beyonce’s rider including $900 drinking straws, hand-carved ice balls, and a new toilet seat for each show.  This reminded me of some of the ridiculous requests rock stars get to make in their riders, those contract additions for food, drink, and – well, pretty much anything really. Continue reading

Emotional Contagion in the Workplace – Part II

Sneeze vector

Sneeze vector (Photo credit: 729:512)

In Emotional Contagion in the Workplace – Part I, I wrote about the existence of patterns that can affect productivity in ways that can’t be accurately forecast, and that emotional contagion is one of these patterns. In research published in 2010, researchers from Harvard formally demonstrated that emotions can be thought of as infectious diseases spreading across social networks, including at work.  The study looked at being “content” and “discontent” as two viruses, and found that these emotions could be “caught” from others in the social network. Continue reading

Emotional Contagion in the Workplace – Part I

Sneeze vector

Sneeze vector (Photo credit: 729:512)

Much of the work we do in Strategic Workforce Planning involves taking both internal and external trends, and determining how they might play out for your organisation.  Once you’ve done that, you can determine tactics to harness or address these trends to prepare for the best possible future workforce.

Sometimes, there are clear trends happening inside the organisation that are unsustainable – high performers turning over, key skills being lost, etc.  Identifying those trends through workforce analytics lets you understand the nature and extent of the problem, and determine strategies for addressing them.  By targeting these initiatives to where you need them most, you can ensure that your HR and Talent Management strategies are effective and efficient.

On the other side of the coin, workforce analytics and environment scanning help you to recognise opportunities and areas that the organisation is doing well in, so that you can capitalise on those.  People who are trained in a particular skillset are 20% more productive?  There’s your ROI for the training initiative right there.

One of the key things to recognise in any kind of workforce futuring is that it’s not just about headcount – you need to take into account the skillset and the productivity of the workforce too… and some trends can effect productivity in ways that just can’t be predicted.  Key among these is engagement.  The good news is that engagement (like many emotions in the workplace) is contagious.  The bad news is that disengagement is twice as contagious.  Further, trends that are subject to “contagion” have multiplier effects that can’t be accurately forecast. In a coming post, I’ll be talking about the research that supports emotional contagion in the workplace, the implications of this, and what you can do about it.  Stay tuned.

 

A Workplace Recognition Lesson from Wreck-it Ralph

In the Disney movie Wreck-it Ralph*, the bad guy is great at his job, but gets no recognition for it – in fact, he’s shunned by his co-workers.  While everyone else gets to party in the executive suite, Ralph is ignored and criticised.  Sometimes roles that are critical to our business strategy aren’t glamorous.  Are you recognising the top performers in all your critical roles, or only the “sexy” ones?

* One of the great things about being a parent is that you get to watch kids’ movies.  One of the great things about being a blogger is that you get to watch them again.

Wreck-it Ralph is copyrighted by Walt Disney Studios (2012). Its’ use here qualifies as fair use under US and International copyright law.