February 5, 2020 – More than half (56 percent) of job seekers across the globe say an employer’s brand and reputation is more important today than it was five years ago, according to a global study of job seekers conducted by ManpowerGroup Solutions. Candidates do not have to rely on what potential employers tell them about a company; they have instant access to news articles, social networks and employer review sites. Today’s job seekers recognize that they spend a significant amount of their lives at work, and as such they want to ensure they align themselves with organizations that have great brands and a satisfying culture.
“It’s time employers spent a little more time reflecting on what their brand is telling job candidates—and that means understanding how your audience feels about your company,” said Kristen Lampert, a principal consultant with TalentRISE, in a recent report. “Every employer has a company brand that communicates its culture, employee value proposition and overall vibe. Unlike products and services, though, employer branding is often overlooked.”
A great employer brand can be a major difference maker when attracting top candidates in a highly competitive candidate landscape, Ms. Lampert said. “If you want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you’ve got to tell a unified and engaging story about what it’s like to work at your organization,” she said.
But there’s a problem: Companies are telling inconsistent stories across their social media platforms. “As a result, they’re hurting their chances of attracting high-quality candidates,” Ms. Lampert said. “As an HR consultant, I help companies share cohesive stories online, which means I often ask them, ‘Are you playing games on social media?’”
“No, I’m not talking about Candy Crush,” she said. “I am talking about creative ways to categorize your social media mistakes. To help customers see where they’re going wrong, I show them how their social media approach is less of a strategy and more of a puzzle, a problem, or a losing game of chance.”
TalentRISE offers five social media mistakes that are playing games with your brand.
1. Crossword Puzzle
Though intellectually stimulating, you’ve gone too “corporate.” There is no connection between your culture and/or your people. All work and no play, this company lacks a personal touch and shies away from high-touch or high-cost media content.
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TalentRISE’s Solution: What does a consistent social media strategy look like across multiple platforms? Your social media sites—whether you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter—are highly polished and provide a wealth of content. You’ve got the perfect mix of corporate marketing, company culture and client engagement
2. Jigsaw Puzzle
You’re telling many stories, but none of them connect to a bigger picture. The pieces of the puzzle may come together here and there, but there is no unified narrative. Your candidates prioritize being part of a specific department or team, but they won’t engage without a clear understanding of a compelling value proposition.
TalentRISE’s Solution: Unify your strong sub-brands, business-lines, departments, or structured market segmentation. Even if different job candidates are attracted to different business lines, they should all have the same understanding of who you are and what we do. For example, imagine a marketing candidate, sales candidate, IT candidate, and customer service candidate are all applying for jobs at Toms Shoes, said TalentRISE. Even if each person is into a different product or service of the Toms brand, they’re probably all into the same universal vision or mission: making a social impact.
3. Polarized Magnets
Fragmented like the jigsaw puzzle but more extreme, candidates experience opposing stories about your brand in the marketplace. A company with multiple locations, for example, might have a great rating on one website and a terrible rating at the other. No one wins with a polarized narrative. Candidates may tolerate working for a high performing subset of an overall toxic environment, but eventually the toxicity impacts the whole corporate ecosystem.
TalentRISE’s Solution: The bigger you are, the harder this gets—but the solutions are typically the same no matter what. To create consistent feedback among candidates, make sure your people and processes are on the same page across all your locations. Is your training program different at one location vs. another? Does a manager in Austin have the same protocol as a manager in Boston? Create a universal formula for success and implement it everywhere.
Your social media sites are getting a high volume of activity, but your content lacks consistency in themes and overall brand awareness. Like any dice game, when luck is in your favor, it could look like you have more influence than you actually do. One minute you’re raking in the action, and the next minute you’re all alone. Without a streamline of consistent stories, you’re shooting craps.
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TalentRISE’s Solution: Create a uniform social media strategy that varies by market. Then empower local marketing and HR folks to drive cultural, community, and candidate engagement. If a universal content strategy is to sound like your candidates, for instance, you’ll need to adjust your messaging based on the region you’re speaking to. This means altering your dialect, words, phrases and references as necessary.
5. Hide & Seek
There’s no excuse in 2020 for a company to discount the value social media has in attracting and retaining quality talent. Candidates depend on social media to inform their interest in your company—much like consumers rely on Yelp and Amazon reviews to make purchasing decisions. Your social media absence sends the loudest message of all: “We just don’t care about our candidates.”
TalentRISE’s Solution: If you don’t have someone managing your social media platforms, you’re doing it wrong. If you can afford to build an entire team around social media, do it! And if you have a bunch of different people who fill the void at different times, just make sure they all have the same style guide to work with.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media