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Crowdstaffing featured as Rising Star and Premium Usability HR platform in 2019

Crowdstaffing has earned the prestigious 2019 Rising Star & Premium Usability Awards from FinancesOnline, a popular B2B software review platform. This recognition is given out annually to products[...]

May 13, 2019

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A Memo to Employers: Staffing Pros Curate Content And Brandings

Did you see the Memo?

In our last article, we looked at a controversial new workplace app called Memo and its implications for employment branding. Memo, developed by Collectively Inc., is an app that allows workers to post anonymous comments about their employers to specific groups, privately and publicly. It’s already attracted 10,000 users from well-known industry leaders, as well as a few cease and desist letters. What the emergence of Memo really speaks to, however, is the transformation of today’s workers into influential brand ambassadors. Talent themselves have become instrumental in sculpting an organization’s employment brand through the content they author across personal blogs, social networks and apps such as Memo. And peers, consumers, investors, competitors and prospective employees take their words seriously.

For contingent workers, who cycle through programs, the issue becomes more pronounced. The stories they relate, positive or negative, don’t affect a single organization -- they shape the perceptions that potential candidates will have about multiple staffing agencies, MSPs and client organizations. In this article, we’ll examine some best practices for engaging talent and controlling employment brands through content curation over social networks and other web properties.

The basics -- time for a makeover or a facelift

Before we delve into curating the content that affects employment brand, let’s look at some basic housekeeping tips that can help us stay relevant and prominent when candidates seek us out.

  • Update the website. If the HTML whiz who designed your company’s website is now looking into retirement communities in Boca, it’s time for an update. Millennials grew up in a world fueled by technology and the Internet. If your web presence strikes them as outdated, stodgy, bland or amateurish, they may not bother to research you further. Members of this generation thrive on innovation, and they want their employers to project an image that’s tech-savvy, modern and pioneering.
  • Who works here? Today’s talent are social. They want to integrate with a business culture that shares their values and vision. Alignment with your company’s personalities and management styles inspires confidence and enthusiasm among job-seeking Millennials. If your site omits staff bios, images of workers or stories from employees, candidates will lose interest. If the only profile on the site is that of one executive, and if all content on the site appears to be posted by that executive, talent may also arrive at the conclusion that the company lacks the support and resources necessary to its success.
  • What have you done lately? Authenticity and transparency are paramount to earning Millennials’ admiration. They will scour the Internet for some evidence to support the claims you’ve made as an employer, or for stories that showcase your achievements. An Internet search should produce proof of your mission statement, business drivers, relevant testimonials and other interesting success stories that lend credibility to your organization. Without that, candidates may not deem your company worthy of their respect.
  • Your job descriptions look like credit card contracts. Today’s talent are drawn to job descriptions that impart engaging, accurate and informative details about the position, the company and its opportunities --in a concise format. Long-winded, complicated and self-aggrandizing descriptions will turn off candidates. And tedious, abstract lists of responsibilities will push talent away to more intriguing prospects.
  • Your social media presence seems lackluster and robotic. Social networks are the voices that speaks loudest to Millennials. Your presence on social media should be frequent, human and interactive. And the information your share should be directly related to the key characteristics of the organization and its culture -- tech savvy, creative, etc. For Millennials, dormant social media imply that you are not mainstream or are hiding something.
  • No ties to your community. As we discussed in our last article, Millennials value organizations that actively give back to the communities they serve and which patronize them. If your company can’t demonstrate some commitment to corporate social responsibility, diversity, charity or philanthropic endeavors, today’s talent are likely to migrate toward organizations that do.

Contributing to and controlling employment branding conversations

Whether your organization actively promotes an employment brand or not, it has one. Through media such as Glassdoor, Whisper, Yik Yak and now Memo, your reputation is established -- for right or wrong -- by a much larger base of reviewers: customers, current employees, former employees, competitors and even applicants in various stages of the hiring process. The tales they tell reach far and wide. Even journalists, scanning for story ideas, will pursue a subject based on conversations they find across social networks. In some outlets, social media have virtually replaced formal press releases. Rather than allowing outside parties to dictate your brand, become part of the dialog and control how it informs the opinions of others.

Be authentic. This is imperative. To Millennials, traditional marketing and advertising campaigns pledge allegiance to something other than the truth. Talent approach this kind of wordplay with skepticism, even in the absence of embellishments, twists or intentionally misleading claims. Sometimes, more is said in the white space between sentences. Consider some of the world’s most reputable technology leaders. They attempt to entice top talent by touting perks such as free gourmet commissaries, massage parlors, laundry services, child care, unlimited coffee and more. And though these enterprises really offer such things, there’s a hidden reality that’s not being addressed: the unavoidable notion that these fringe benefits are provided to make up for incredibly long work hours. That might not be a stumbling block for every candidate; yet to many others, failing to address such scheduling rigors comes across as a lack of authenticity.

Be precise. Your employment brand must be direct, compelling and specific. It’s not possible, or even attention-grabbing, to list every facet of your work culture. Focus on the key aspects you want candidates to take with them, as well as the demands associated with the position. Authenticity should still infuse this content. While you don’t need to mention every detail, you also don’t want to hide anything that could disengage talent later. Play up a couple of key strengths that you value and take pride in: excellent work-life balance, stellar benefits, collaborative teams, etc. Also be sure to note some of the challenges, requirements or demands. For example, you might acknowledge the need for long hours on certain projects and then justify these demands by discussing your generous time-off policies.

Be present. When applicants begin researching your organization, they will undoubtedly stumble across reviews, comments and discussions that influence their perceptions about your reputation and talent brand -- both encouraging and discouraging. It’s an unavoidable byproduct of this increasingly social and information-rich century. That shouldn’t imply, however, that this content exists outside of your control. Keep tabs on the statements being published across media about your firm. Actively respond to any negative or, in your opinion, undeservedly critical comments. You may discover that they have arisen from a misunderstanding or lack of information that you can easily clarify. On a more proactive note, begin posting your own content, videos, images and stories that speak to the employment brand you ideally want to promote.

This is also an excellent time to perform some due diligence. Research the social media sites that are most popular with your audience or group. Make this a regular practice, and take steps to ensure that you’re posting to these sources frequently. Here are some other points to consider:

  • By failing to take part in the conversation, you are inadvertently granting other voices permission to preach from your soapbox. And as we all know, the loudest voices are not those extolling your virtues. The conversation is going to take place with or without you. Before some squeaky wheel starts calling for grease, you can lead the dialog, conduct the choir and tell your own story.
  • While you can’t prevent the occurrence of some negative input, you can counter it and preempt other less favorable feedback. Encourage your colleagues, customers and staff to contribute content that highlights positive stories, successful outcomes and important accomplishments. With more participants on your side, any criticism begins to appear underwhelming.
  • Though negative feedback is inescapable, it can be authentic. No organization is flawless, not even Google or Apple or Zappos. Every worker and every customer has a unique perspective, and you can’t please everyone. Rather than denying their assertions or ignoring them completely, take accountability and describe to your audience how your company is addressing these shortcomings and taking steps to rectify them. Without some level of critique, a company can actually appear inauthentic or boastful. Acknowledging imperfections and then demonstrating how your firm is seizing the opportunity to launch continuous improvement efforts shows that your organization listens, cares and is serious about success.
Sunil Bagai
Sunil Bagai
Sunil is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, thought leader and influencer who is transforming the way companies think about and acquire talent. Blending vision, technology and business skills honed in the most innovative corporate environments, he has launched a new model for recruitment called Crowdstaffing which is being tapped successfully top global brands. Sunil is passionate about building a company that provides value to the complete staffing ecosystem including clients, candidates and recruiters.
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