‘Culture’ can sometimes seem like such a vague word, but it is always on the HR and recruitment pro priority list. And now we are told it is a critical element of an authentic employer brand. So, where do you begin?
To share advice from people living, breathing and leading in the recruitment game (with a few war stories to tell), we bring you Part 2 of our employer brand expert Q&A, this time covering:
- Should you focus on marketing your employer brand if you’re struggling with culture?
- How to get your brand out there, even if you don’t have a huge budget
- When candidate experience goes wrong - why and how you should streamline the transition from candidate to employee.
If you haven’t read Part 1, check it out here.
Q: Can you market your employer brand if you don’t have a massive budget? How can you make an impact?
Mahesh: I think you have to ruthlessly prioritise. What are you going to put your time and energy into?
When I joined Airtasker, I had to decide on which part of the journey to work on; policies and benefits etc., or focus on talent acquisition. I decided to focus on talent acquisition, as getting the right people on board generates faster ROI, which in turn funds new projects.
Deborah: Lendlease introduced a “wellbeing day” initiative which caused a stir in the construction industry.
Their employees get a day off every four months to use for whatever purpose they want without any questions.
The initiative has apparently reduced the amount of personal leave taken, as people were taking these three days in the year before they hit breaking point. It has paid for itself. A program like this can seem unattainable to companies with small budgets but could actually work if it’s self-financing. It’s a brilliant initiative.
Q: How should those who are struggling with culture try to market themselves to candidates?
Mahesh: I’d start off by saying don’t.
Culture is such a big word, it’s a vague word. You’re talking about employee experience. The employee experience is bad? OK, that’s something we can fix. Culture is a bit more intangible.
Try to work on your culture step by step. If your ‘culture’ isn’t great, you’re just going to have to work harder to acquire people and be upfront about ‘working on establishing a great culture’. Authentically call it out and then work on it at the same time.
Deborah: I believe it was Netflix who said culture for them is, “How you hire, reward and exit people from the organisation".
If you can focus on getting those three stages right, or understand where your problems lie, you’ve already come a long way.
Keryn: Be authentic. Call it as you see it, be honest about where you are, because otherwise people just see right through that and they’ll switch off immediately.
Q: Have you witnessed any examples of an amazing candidate experience, that comes unstuck once that person joins the business?
Deborah: I experienced a business that had a lengthy recruitment process - five interviews and hours of testing.
As you progressed and made it through each level, it became quite seductive, if felt like you were joining some sort of exclusive club!
By the end of the process, new hires went in on their first day, toured a beautiful office, were offered organic breakfasts (if you came in at 7am), and these beautiful meals (if you worked past 8 o’clock), there was concierge bringing you coffee, a bottomless fruit bowl, snacks… all these amazing perks.
But at the end of the day, the workload was unsustainable. The care and perks were compensation for working ridiculously long hours and that doesn’t work for everyone. People in these environments can end up burning out quickly and turnover can be high. This amazing first impression, became this unhealthy “workaholic” environment.
I think the great experience can unravel very quickly in situations like this.
Q: How do you think organisations can streamline that transition from candidate to employee?
Deborah: For me, it’s about automation and onboarding. My advice is to automate as much as you possibly can, and make the transition seem seamless. There are plenty of great HR tools out there.
You have to consider the experience for the candidate, all the way through the recruitment and the onboarding phase.
I commenced a role in an organisation that was renowned for innovation and I was so excited to be joining them. Then, I received my offer letter as a PDF and a number of Word documents that I had to download, print off, complete manually, scan and send back.
On top of that, there was a team behind the scenes typing up all this information into a number of systems, leading to data entry errors. The experience unintentionally didn’t match the company’s image of innovation.
Implementing a self serve tool and automating parts of this process was one of the first thing I changed when I got there and it was a relatively easy process to improve and made a positive impact to the user experience.
Thanks again to our panelists for another fantastic session. If you missed the last event, or aren’t based in Sydney, check out our events page for details of upcoming Disclose. Discuss. Discover dates in Sydney, Auckland and Toronto.