Category Archives: Hiring

Brandemix Bonus Reel: How to Become an Employer of Choice

Director of Interactive Branding, Jason Ginsburg, explains how an organization can get started on the path to becoming an employer of choice.

To learn more, please email us at employerofchoice@brandemix.com

Game On for Employee Gamification

While speaking at a recent HR conference in Vegas, I had occasion to meet Jane McGonigal, game designer, speakerauthor, and probably the world’s biggest advocate for gamification, the idea of adding game incentives like points and prizes to non-game activities.  

While within the HR community gamification is still catching on (I find a number of my clients don’t even know recognize the word) gaming, in all forms, is incredibly popular. When the latest Call of Duty video game was released in November, one in four workers called in sick. Look at it from a productivity standpoint: The amount of hours it took to create all of Wikipedia’s content in 12 years…is spent every three weeks playing Angry Birds

During Jane’s keynote speech, she cited the 2012 Gallup study that found that 71% of American employees aren’t fully engaged in their work, making it “impossible to innovate” and costing $30 billion in lost productivity annually. 

Infographic courtesy of Gigya


It’s no surprise that she believes gamification can help. Evidently she’s
not alone. A study by gamification company Gigya showed that gamification increases website engagement by 29%, website commenting by 13%, and social media sharing by 22%. Here are some recent employee gamification success stories.

Motivating employees
Risk Management Services recently turned an internal re-branding into
a trading card game. “Another email or intranet page just wasn’t going to get employees on board,” Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement Amelia Merrill told IABC. “
This contest was fun and different from anything we have ever done.” Merrill said the initiative was a “smashing success.”
 
Orientation and onboarding
Recruitment marketing agency Maximum recently won a Creative Excellence Award for Best Interactive Media for its Deloitte China Virtual Tour campaign. Maximum virtually mapped Deloitte’s offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, allowing job-seekers to explore every department – and get a firsthand look at what working at Deloitte China is really like. More than 20,000 job-seekers took part in the tour’s game feature, Green Dot Mission, and shared their scores on China’s most popular social networks.


Health and wellness
Aetna recently partnered with social media company Mindbloom to create an enhanced version of Mindbloom’s Life Game, an online social game for personal wellness. Players grow an on-screen tree by attaining personal goals, ranging from health to relationships to finances. According to Forbes, activities include “substituting water for soda, taking the stairs to the office, cleaning your room each day, or simply thanking a friend.” Players earn virtual rewards while making progress in their real lives.

Employee referrals
Just last month, Herd Wisdom launched Most Wanted, a mobile app that gamifies the employee referral process. How? “Every action – from choosing an avatar to sharing a job posting – earns points and get participants in the running to win giveaways from Herd Wisdom,” the
company says. The game offers “instant gratification,” since employees can earn points and prizes before they refer anyone, and features funny animated scenes to keep them engaged. Mobile apps like Most Wanted turn social sharing and mobile gaming, which just about everyone likes, into a talent pipeline for any company.

Are you ready to gamify your careers site, social recruiting channels, employee referral program, or other HR initiatives? Contact Brandemix and it’s game on.

How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Employer Branding Pitfalls

I travel around the country giving presentations on employer branding and building and promoting an employer value proposition. I usually highlight employer brand success stories. But as major brands like Goldman Sachs and Zynga stumble into PR crises, I thought it might be useful to help your company avoid the most common employer branding mistakes.

Don’t be inauthentic
Your employer brand embodies your employees, your culture, your vision, and your values; these are impossible to fake. So if you’re a fast-paced company with an entrepreneurial culture, don’t market yourself as a laid-back environment with unlimited vacation days.

I remember looking at the careers site for BP several months after the 2010 oil spill and being shocked to see that it looked the same as before the spill. Surely the eco-minded Generation Y or Gulf Coast residents affected by the disaster might hesitate joining the company afterwards? But there was only one acknowledgement of the situation – a tiny text link on the sidebar that asked “Why is it a good time to join BP?” Why indeed?

BP Careers, November 2010
Don’t get lost in the crowd
The are dozens of salty snacks on the market, so how does Doritos stand out? By having an attitude: Coming in crazy flavors with cool names and bright packaging. In the same way, your employer brand has to be distinctive. Avoid bland themes like “Grow your career with us” or “We offer work-life balance.” Almost any job can become a career and almost every job lets its employees go home at night.


Don’t get stuck in the facts
So many careers websites begin with, “Company X was founded in 1950 and now operates out of 75 offices in 12 countries.” Does that year mean the company is old-fashioned? Do those 12 countries mean employees get to see the world? Do the 75 offices mean employees can be transferred against their will?

Stand-alone facts like those can be both boring and confusing, a deadly combination for anyone looking to top motivate talent. Remember, you’re trying to create an emotional connection, so facts and numbers can only get you so far. Instead, talk about how your company helps people’s lives. Let employees share their stories. Show your workplace. Highlight employee events, rewards, volunteer work. Never be boring.

Be authentic and differentiated, and add an interesting and emotional component to your recruitment messaging.  If you can’t always leave them laughing, at least leave them hungry to learn more.

Let me know If you’d like to learn more  on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or right here in the comments.

Thanks to My Curators and Creators – From Yourr #1 LinkedIn Voyeur

Last summer, Pew Internet Research reported that 46% of adult internet users were Creators; that is, they have shared photos and videos that they’ve created. 41% are Curators; they’ve reposted, retweeted or repackaged information that they’ve found
online. 32% are Creators/Curators.

I presume it also implies that 54% are Internet Voyeurs — neither posters nor creators. And while I don’t fall into that category (I’m in the 32% batch), I have been getting a tremendous amount of inspiration from my LinkedIn network of generous professional friends, many of whom I’ve never actually met or spoken with.

Today I want to thank:

Kate Billing
We’ve never met but share a passion for branding and bagels. Your updates  about leadership, happiness, and inspiration are always uplifting and I’m sure you are too. Also loved this great video about putting purpose into marketing (imagine that?).  I promise to get together on my next trip to New Zealand.

Debbie Laskey
According to my inbox, we’re actually celebrating a 2-year anniversary of connecting.  Your updates are tailor-made for me. From the hottest trends in digital marketing to matching a consumer brand with a consumer experience, I’m always clicking, reading, and agreeing. Please keep it up.

And thanks to Michelle Sybert for this image!

And thanks to Michelle Sybert for this image!

Davar Azarbeygui
You made my morning with your share of TBWA Transforms Briefs into Art, from Branding Magazine. Inspiration is everywhere and today you brought me mine.

Pat Wadors
Finally, someone I actually know. Making the Most of Your “Aha!” Moment” was a fun read. I can only hope I have more of them because those gamma activities are the foundation of Brandemix’s creative currency.

A friend recently wrote that thinking doesn’t start when you arrive at the office and end when you go home. It starts when you wake up and continues when you read the news, when you look around, when you read books and blogs. It doesn’t even stop when you go to bed. You dream your job. That’s how you become great.
 
So thanks for all my #1LinkedIn connections for helping me be great every day.

Why Bridgepoint Education Careers is a Social Media Superstar

I recently discovered Bridgepoint Education’s clever use of Twitter and Pinterest to hire for its campuses and offices in San Diego, Denver, and Clinton, Iowa. I then had the chance to speak with Christina Hastings, Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, about her philosophy, her strategy, and her success.

Christina runs a personal Twitter, @aRecruitersPOV, as well as @BPEdCareers. Like many organizations, however, social media is no single worker’s full-time job. An associate, KelliAnn Holly, contributes to the Bridgepoint accounts.

On Twitter, Christina and KelliAnn create themes for each month: January’s was #NewYearNewYou. February’s was #WhatDoYouLove. March’s is #GiveBack, which emphasizes charity and volunteering. The duo also came up with themes for each day of the week:

Monday – #HotJobs
Tuesday – #JobAdvice, tips for resumes, interviewing, and the job search)
Wednesday – #Development, as in “How do you become a better you?”
Thursday – Throwback Thursday, as in “What was your recruiter’s first job?
Friday – What to do around town, highlighting shops and restaurants near Bridgepoint’s locations in San Diego, Denver, and Iowa.

aRecruitersPOV on Twitter

“It’s important to speak on behalf of the brand and as a member of the brand,” she told me. She believes in “profersonalism,” a combination of individual personality and corporate culture that conveys a personal yet professional message. “People would rather connect with a person than a company,” Christina said.

Christina has three expectations for anyone contributing to her department’s social media: Be yourself, support the brand, and drive everything back to the brand.

Bridgepoint’s TAD department is responsible not only for hiring, but also developing, training, and engaging employees. Christina uses the hashtag #TADculture to give an inside look at the employee experience. Her goal is to tweet three to five times a day, with at least one photo. When she and KelliAnn recently ran out of images, they spent their lunch break roaming their San Diego office, taking photos.

For inspiration, Christina looks to @FordCareers and @GenMillsCareers, who communicate their culture “without being one giant billboard.”

Christina and KelliAnn also manage Bridgepoint Education Careers’ 11 boards and more than 400 images on Pinterest. “We visually showcase what the culture looks like on the inside,” she told me. “It lets candidates peek behind the curtain. If someone’s cousin says, ‘this company looks cool and my cousin should work there,’ then we did our job.”

One board features photos of the Bridgepoint recruiters, complete with Twitter handles (and the #TADculture hashtag for good measure). Another is devoted to inspirational quotes. Christina is planning “Behind the Bridge,” a board that will serve as a tour of Bridgepoint’s San Diego workplace. “We’ll show you where you’ll park on your first day, and pin photos of our gym – and even the best time to use it!”

Bridgepoint Education Careers on Pinterest

Christina says she models her efforts after the Pinterest boards of Intuit Careers, Target Careers, and a Brandemix Social Media Superstar, Taco Bell Careers.

She plans to expand to YouTube, but is waiting for a bigger content library. “If we can’t produce videos on a consistent basis, is it worth it to be on YouTube? I want to have 20 videos before I feel like I can create a YouTube channel.”

Social media recruiting efforts can be difficult to measure, but Christina says she increased social hires from 4% to 7% of all hires last year. Most companies peak at 10%, but Christina would like to eventually reach 20%. With goals that bold, it’s obvious why Bridgepoint Education Careers, and Christina Hastings, are Social Media Recruiting Superstars.

Sometimes It’s All Hands On Deck

Telecommuting has been all over the news this week. First, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer changed the company’s policy that allowed employees to work (sometimes entirely) from home. Yahoo tried to put the story in perspective with a press release that said, “This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home. This is about what is right for Yahoo right now.”

Just a few days later, Best Buy announced that it would eliminate its renowned Results-Only Work Environment, a program that allowed corporate employees to work when and were they chose, as long as the quality of the work met the company’s standards. Like Yahoo’s change, it’s not a total ban, but corporate employees are now expected to work 40 hours a week and to come into the office “as much as possible.” Best Buy spokesperson Matt Furman said, “Bottom line, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ at Best Buy and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.”

So, are Yahoo and Best Buy doing the right thing? As a consultant to major brands on culture and employer branding, I think they are.

Working from home -- a lost luxury?

Working from home — a lost luxury?

Both these companies are engaged in turnarounds. Smart companies react to changing situations with their own changes, so I see these moves as responsive to business needs. It’s also reflective of the companies’ faith in their talent to help them steer the ship out of the storm.

Mayer and Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly know that they need the collective brainpower of their employees to come up with great and wonderful ideas. It takes a village, after all. In fact, Marissa Mayer was brought to Yahoo to make the company more like Google – and neither Google nor Facebook, both of whom have made it so easy for us to connect with people virtually, allows unlimited telecommuting.

Bloomberg, a hugely successful digital company, was a pioneer in seeing the value of instant, in-office, business exchanges in real-time. Their buildings famously have no offices, only shared spaces. It’s even part of their employer branding: “Our wide-open workspaces encourage collaboration.”

Bloomberg's share workspaces. Photo by Willie Jeung

Bloomberg’s share workspaces. Photo by Willie Jeung

Many other companies limit or ban working from home. In fact, 15 of Forbes 100 Best Companies to Work For have no telecommuting program. 

Talent management professionals have long known that it’s a business imperative to have the right talent for the right jobs at the right time. Now we coming to recognize that they need to be in the right place too.

Need help changing your culture? Email me and we’ll talk.

Free webinar: Socialize Your Healthcare/Non-Profit Recruitment

This inside look at social media recruiting best practices for hospitals, healthcare companies, and non-profit organizations will take place on Wednesday, March 13, at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific.

Register for free here!

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Making Great Employer Videos




Job-seekers don’t want to see another “Harlem Shake” video; they want to learn about your workplace, your culture, and your employees. Here are some tips for creating a compelling employer video.

Boasting from Brandeland!

What a week for Brandemix! Our Director of Interactive Branding and I
have shared our thoughts on employer branding, social media, and recruiting in four fantastic publications. On top of that, we presented our popular webinar,
Socialize Your Talent Strategy, to more than 70 participants around the country and across the Atlantic. We were even asked to moderate an HR panel at Pace University.

Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check out these sites:

I was interviewed about employer branding for The Human Factor, the website of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management. I gave shared my stories, gave advice, and outlined the three
characteristics of a successful employer brand: Alignment, Authenticity, and Differentiation.

I was also quoted an article for Rescue a CEO, part of CEO BlogNation, offering entrepreneurs tips on how to rebrand a small business. I broke down every rebranding initiative into four simple steps.

Always a big fan of social media, I was featured in a piece for Managing Your HR called Social Media Can Help Companies Better Compete for Qualified Candidates. I quoted some important statistics for recruiters, like how 73% of employers
claimed they had made a successful hire through social media, and that 43% of employers said social media increased their quality of hire.
 
Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, wrote Meet the
Rock-Star Brands of Social Recruiting
for the SmartBlog on Social
Media. He showed how Taco Bell, Sodexo, and UPS are cleverly using social channels to engage job-seekers and make hires.

Jason was also at Pace University, moderating the panel “Careers in Focus: Human Resources,” which featured representatives from NBC Universal, Penguin Publishing, Ipreo, and Harlequin speaking to students from Pace’s Lubin School of Business about the evolving field of HR.

Finally, I also had the honor of moderating a panel, “Selecting
and Optimizing Your Applicant Tracking System
,” hosted by HR/NY. I
spoke with professionals from TechnoMedia, S&P, and Oracle Taleo about matching an ATS to the
needs of a company, its recruiting partners, and its ideal candidates. We all shared best-practice
tips for maximizing your system’s potential.
 
Would you like us to write for your site or speak at your event?

The Week’s Most Important HR Tweets

I follow lots of influential HR, recruiting, and employer branding professionals on Twitter. They’re a great daily resource of developments in talent acquisition and retention. I retweet as many of these insights as I can, but it’s impossible to keep up with the constant stream of news. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of this week’s most important HR tweets.

Tom Boltthe popular and prolific CEO of Leute Management Services, joined a number of other HR professionals in tweeting about the article, “Five Ways to Get The Most From LinkedIn in 2013.” The article, written by Certified Professional Resume Writer Kelly Donovan reminds job-seekers to use LinkedIn’s newest features, such as endorsements, projects, and videos and slide shows. Most intriguing was the idea of sending a follow-up letter after an interview via LinkedIn mail instead of email; it’s an idea being touted as “the new cover letter.” With this piece, Kelly highlights another way that LinkedIn is changing the entire job search experience.

I noticed lots of tweets about another “top five” article – this one by Meghan Casserly in Forbes, titled “The Top Five Reasons Employees Will Quit in 2013.” Meghan cites a survey from executive advisory firm CEB that named “stability” as the most important thing workers are looking for in a new employer: “It’s about going to a place that has its act together and can offer both long-term potential and stability. The next four things employees look for are compensation, respect, health benefits, and work-life balance.

Lastly, professionals from many different business fields were tweeting Fast Company’s piece, “Secrets of America’s Happiest Companies.” In this fascinating article, Lydia Dishman points out something we at Brandemix know all too
well: that disengaged employees cost their companies money – in fact, a total
of $350 billion a year. The article is based on CareerBliss’
50 Happiest Companies List, which offers some surprises. “Fun” companies like Disney and Google didn’t even make the top ten. #1 was Pfizer, followed by NASA, the Department of Defense,
KBR, and Cisco.

Why? Lydia lists the “5 rules of employee happiness,” which include role mobility
and having a meaningful impact on the world. The third rule focuses on employee
recognition, which I always tell brands is important to workplace happiness. The
fourth and fifth rules involve work-life balance and common-sense policies that
make workers’ lives easier, not harder. If your company isn’t following at
least a few of these rules, you may be hurting your bottom line more than you
think.

 

For more thought-provoking HR tweets, be sure to follow Tom, Kelly, Meghan, and Lydia – along with Brandemix and my personal Twitter, of course. And if you know of more HR Twitters worth following, drop me a line.