By Tarun Kochhar
Many prospects that ping us have the same refrain – “Let’s go social”. Their talent competitors are hooting on social platforms, hence a sense of FOMO (Fear of missing out). One is not advocating against this new foray; go ahead by all means, but remember that ‘social’ isn’t a panacea for all ills. Platforms such as linkedIn, instagram, facebook, and others. are highly cluttered and charitable to brands that put hefty sums of money into boosting their messaging. Further, since the messaging is company-driven, ‘everyone’ paints a rosy picture of what it would be like to bid adieu to your current employer and fall into their lap. To the candidate, gravitating towards every opportunity seems like being in ‘seventh heaven’.
Let’s zoom out for a minute. Where does a candidate go to or land when at the crossroads? A few probable destinations (not an exhaustive list): your career site, review sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn or then, speak with an employee or alumni. Each of which needs to be a source of credibility for your company. Here are a few examples to illustrate the point:
Career website: Let’s say your company prides itself on talent diversity. One talent pool you are keen on is ‘mothers looking to return to work’. In an era of mass customisation (a concept fully explained in ‘The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore), we would imagine that your website has a page dedicated to this segment telling them about how our workplace, environment, and benefits are designed for them. This would have the added benefit of SEO working in your favour when the segment is undertaking a job search. Is it time to go a step beyond the vanilla approach of configuring for just two broad segments of freshers and experienced professionals?
Review sites: Do candidates see a 3.7 or a 4.4 as an average review score against your company name on Glassdoor? In times where we are constantly selecting our next meal from restaurants listed on food delivery platforms based on ratings, providing scores to radio taxi drivers (and being rated by them), a 3.7 on job review sites could just prompt a job seeker to ‘pass’. The discipline of customer experience speaks about ‘service recovery’ (a concept and practice fully explained in ‘Power of Moments by Dan & Chip Heath). This concept acknowledges that mistakes will happen and customers will be unhappy from time to time; what is material is how quickly and well, brands can fix those problems. In an employer brand context, how elegantly is the company able to deal with an employee who has been passed over for a promotion, made redundant and so on? Can you implement a mechanism to deal with these situations, so employees can deal with the angst in person rather than choose to broadcast their emotions to the world?
Employees as ambassadors: 6 degrees of separation (coined by Stanley Milgram in 1967) is now said to be shrinking to half. Implications? It makes it much easier for a job prospect to reach out to a current employee. Consider that your published communication on mass media says ‘we are empowering’, but an employee confesses to an interested prospect that ‘decision making is a long and protracted process since the company is quite hierarchical’. The real value is in designing the ’employee experience’ and ensuring consistency in delivery and communication. With ’employee ambassadors, as you sow, so will you reap!
A few companies nurture strong goodwill with their alumni. However, as time lapses, alumni associations are limited to their memories and might not be in touch with how the company culture has evolved.
Back to social posts: Having stated that algorithms limit the organic reach of posts, social platforms provide a robust repository of content for the job seeker to devour. Hence, crucial to build.
Every social media handle extols the company’s virtues; browse the content and – it’s all sunshine working with the firm. A little authenticity may go a long way. So, if yours is a consulting firm where employees get into boardrooms from the word go, make top dollars, are globe-trotters – say all that, but also be quick to admit that the job requires long hours and is not for those seeking work-life balance.
In sum, it’s a bit myopic to put the cart before the horse. For the tail to wag the dog. For the media channel to trump the proposition. Authentic, unprompted and experience-led stories should be the source of creating brand appeal and differentiation for your employer brand. So, let’s go beyond social posts and fortify the myriad touch points that echo the core of the offering!
The author is the founder and CEO of Carpediem, an organization development & employer branding consulting firm.