Monthly Archives: April 2010

A New HR Metric- Your Employees, Your Fans

We’ve heard that employees are your greatest asset, your human capital, your discretionary investors- but are they also your fans?

Through Facebook, over 10 million users voluntarily connect with their favorite public figures, musicians and brands every day. (Lady Gaga already has more than 6 million fans and her fan base is growing by almost 100,000 each week.)

But while the coolness of the brand may open the door to fans, it’s not necessarily enough to keep them engaged. It’s all about adding value.

Isn’t the same is true for employees? While opportunities, salaries and benefits may be enough to keep applicants walking through the door, what would make them truly be a fan of your brand?

The ongoing and very public dialogues that you (through your company) have an opportunity to create with your employees, are also the way your brand might be judged by talented professionals that you are hoping to recruit and engage.

The extra time it takes to create these dialogues will come from the time you save sourcing and selling candidates on why they should accept your positions.

It’s the latest iteration of the testimonials “don’t ask us, ask our customers.”

And unlike a tv ad or billboard, it is digital and might be forever.

So, BRANDEMiX encourages you– ask your employees- “will you be our fans”?

If you’re looking for a strategy to unify your brand across web 2.0 media- call us.

.Mobi not Moby

If you’re not Linked In to me, or following my tweets (I don’t judge), you wouldn’t know about my perfect day last Thursday. I was having lunch with best-selling business book author Marc Effron at the Tribeca Grill. It was beautiful weather, and also the day of the Tribeca Film Festival Judges Luncheon. Marc and I were discussing plans for BRANDEMiX to revamp his website.

“Marc”, I said, the trend is .mobi and iPhone doesn’t support flash. Just to add more context, I was telling him that his website (and BRANDEMiX’s too) was built in flash- the cutting edge of technology last year but that was then and this is now. The new iPhone G4 will be released this summer and according to the recent buzz, they still won’t support flash technology.

As it turned out, Marc has an Android phone and immediately checked to see if he could access his website. No luck.

With 90%+ of all resumes coming to you via online, the internet may well be the first touchpoint in your relationship building process with candidates-of-choice. That’s why it’s critical for you to stay ahead of the technology as you build your digital Employer Brand.

For the bean counters:

  • Over 95% of new phones sold today have web browsers and over 70 million US consumers/ employees use them regularly.
  • Cell phone penetration in the US has surpassed cable TV, web
    access and Home PCs
  • 11/9/09 Facebook announced that 1/4 of their monthly worldwide visits or 65 million visits, are via mobile.

Designing for .mobi is different from designing for flash. It’s a new world where content is king and less is more (think 140 characters.) Easy navigation is critical for engagement and download speed will drive the experience. (This will be paramount once we begin the era of pay-for-play when cell phone carriers start charging us for our time online.)

What is your takeaway?
Take a look at your current website and start thinking of it in terms of a horizontal spreadsheet-
6 rows down and 6 across. Work with a digital architect to create a great experience for the digital natives. (Note: you can sidestep your internal IT department because you’re only creating a mirror-site- something that will work in tandem with, and not in lieu of your current site.)

Start thinking in terms of the Twitter standard 140 characters, or 1.4 clicks to content. (I made that up.) Build out one pillar of your employer brand as tech geek and show your audience that you want to participate in the dialogue on any technology platform.

OK. I’m done with .mobi– and moving onto Moby.

Back to lunch at the Tribeca Grill. As we were watching the famous procession of Tribeca Festival Judges pass our table: everyone from Jessica Alba, Zach Braff and Whoopie Goldberg, Moby wasn’t there.

Best from BRANDEland.

Candidate Care. Does Anyone Really Care?

Generally speaking, Candidate Care is a pet peeve of mine and I have the utmost respect for anyone who gets it right. It means putting your best presence forward all the time.

Oft times, particularly in the period of high unemployment, forgotten are the lowly candidates– candidates who may turn into employees, customers, clients and investors.

Simple things can make a difference like returning emails, providing one point of contact, giving someone your undivided attention during an interview and providing them with written information in advance of their interview to let them know what they can expect when they show up.

More? Be on time for your interview, offer coffee, food, free company products and how about a list of the best business books you’ve read this year.

Best practice? How about implementing a Candidate Care Policy. Here’s one I just swiped off the internet:

Candidate Care Policy

Treat candidates with respect
  • Treat candidates as professionals and like customers or investors and ensure they are kept informed through every step of the process
  • Respect the candidate’s time and avoid requesting excess information
  • Answer questions quickly and honestly
  • Ask the candidate what their expectations are and get their feedback during the process.
Provide accurate and current information on the job
  • Inform candidates on issues such as work/life balance, job sharing, flexible arrangements and career opportunities
  • Only post jobs that are realistically available to outside candidates
  • Remove job ads that have been filled as soon as possible.
Provide information on the selection process
  • Notify candidates promptly when their initial application is received, accepted or rejected
  • Tell candidates about the entire hiring process, including minimum,maximum time frames, who they will meet and the finalist selection criteria
  • Give honest feedback and be positive and constructive.
The interview process
  • Ensure best practice interview techniques are adopted and candidates experience a fair and legal interview
  • Limit the number of interviews
  • Respect the candidate’s current employment by organising interview times and locations that are convenient for them
  • Make the interview a conversation between equals and not adversarial
  • Where possible give candidates the chance to speak to current employees. This will help to reassure candidates that the role is being realistically represented.
The offer process
  • Make a fair offer within the candidate’s expectations
  • Give the candidate information that will aid their evaluation of the job such as bonus potential, job security, and career development
  • Don’t place pressure on the candidate to make a decision straight away and reassure them that whatever the decision, it is the right one for them
  • Give the candidate the option to gracefully back out of a job during the first three months.
Keep in regular contact
  • For those people who are still looking for work, phone or email candidates regularly to let them know that we are still looking for opportunities for them even if there is no news
  • Keep notes on the database about each candidate’s current status and keep track of who you have and have not contacted to avoid duplication of effort
  • Email registered candidates to obtain an update on their status, and to ascertain if they are still looking for a position. People appreciate the follow up.
And always remember

– How important it is for the person to get the job that they want, and how important it is for the client to hire the right person.

Where do you begin? Try looking at your Employer Value Proposition or your Employer Brand Pillars. (If you can’t readily access them, shoot BRANDEMiX an email and we’ll help you find them.) If one says you care about employees, please don’t blow off the candidates.

After all, candidates are people too. In part 2, we’ll talk about Vendor Care ; )

The Toyota Way Back

According to the NY Times today, Toyota’s chief executive, Akio Toyoda, told investment analysts that communication was to blame for the crisis surrounding the company, not defects on its cars. Mr. Toyoda said the company had been the subject of “negative reporting”.

He has also pledged to have more communication with his dealers and has claimed to already taken ‘a number of important steps’ to improve communications with regulators and customers, who’s loyalty he believes, will help them through the situation.

Isn’t there a group he’s missing?

Given the recent safety problems, negative publicity and downward stock performance, it might also be an optimal time for Toyota to consider an internal employee communications campaign to reinvigorate the brand from the inside out.

Exactly 9 years ago, in April 2001, the Toyota Motor Corporation adopted the “Toyota Way” an expression of values and conduct guidelines that all Toyota employees should embrace.

Under the two headings, or “pillars,” of Respect for People and Continuous Improvement, Toyota sums up the values and conduct guidelines with the following five principles:
• Challenge
• Kaizen (improvement)
• Genchi Genbutsu (go and see)
• Respect
• Teamwork

A branding expert like myself, might consider these to be their brand pillars, and had they stayed true to them, they may have avoided the problems they face today.

For Toyota, finding internal support may not be initially easy. Consider 2 of the 14 Principles that are part of the Toyota Way:

Principle 1
• Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.

Principle 5
• Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.

With more than 50,000 employees in the US alone, Toyota needs to launch internal research to uncover the teams applying these principles, and then highlight the positive efforts on its business.

Through a solid communication campaign that shows the relevance of the Toyota Way in today’s troubled climate, and the recognitionof those embracing the Toyota Way, they can continue to build on the success of their strong culture.

It’s another case of a brand gone bad, but I believe that the Toyota Way can be their way back to the top.

Now can someone just tell Mr. Toyoda about BRANDEMiX?