We are a fast-growing start-up hiring for our multiple business functions and therefore I usually spend significant time meeting job seekers as our potential hires. Last week in one such interview with a potential hire I happened to come across a job seeker who had walked-in for a role with us but I could not help but notice in her CV that she had joined her current employer only 2 months back. It got me very curious to ask what made her walk-in for an interview with us when she has already taken up the same job with another employer only two months ago. At first she hesitated to reveal but I am glad she opened up and shared her side of the story.
According to her, though she did all her homework before joining that company by trying to read about them at their website, on social media, and even talking to the hiring manager & the HR staff of that company about the job role, benefits etc at length; but as soon as she completed her first few weeks onboard that company she started to develop the feeling that “she does not belong there” and then finally came a point when she decided to call it quits & move out of that company. Naturally that lead me to ask her what was missing there, what made her feel that she did not belong there, how does she know that she will not feel the same way about us or for that matter any other company that she is exploring a job opportunity with?
Obviously it is not very easy to articulate an apt response to such subjective questions & hence the best approach she thought was to give me some examples of situations & her colleagues(without naming anyone) behaviour & the way they reacted or responded to those situations, the way the HR representatives reacted to her feedback and finally the way her boss did not really seem to care about what was going on the floor & rather just ignored and avoided acknowledging & talking about that matter in a transparent way. I think now I had a better idea of what could have put her off & what was she really seeking.
As we took the discussion ahead with a much better understanding of what was amiss in her last employment, I asked her to cite the 3 most important things that she would value in her employer and what I liked about her response was that it was direct & quick, she did not even blink an eye to cite – transparency in dealings with employees, sharing expectations as well as feedback proactively with the employees and also encouraging them to share theirs for the company towards continuous learning & improvement and highest standards of business ethics even if it costs walking away from a significant business gain.
The discussion went on further and the more we discussed, the better was the engagement & impact on both the parties as we could relate & connect at multiple levels. As the discussion ended & she left our office; it made me wonder how even some of the very young job seekers with little industry experience also have such an impressive clarity of thought about what they wish to do, whom they wish to work with as their employer & what their work expectations are.
It also made me give a deep thought to what could employers do to minimise such incidents or disconnect with their employees.
Almost all the employers today have a strategy, resources & an agenda towards the employee branding but in most of the cases it is a piecemeal approach & not very PEACEful. Yes, PEACEful and this is how we see it –
P – “Personalised”. We all know that “one size does not fit all”. So is our employee branding holistic. Does it have a connect & touch point for each department or business function or people with different mindsets & personalities, employees with different demographics etc. Are we conveying this rightly & it being perceived that way?
E – “Engaging”. Is it engaging enough? Is there a two way communication happening or are we making the same mistake that most of the employers do – one way broadcasting only. Is there an element of “genuine care” in it? Yes, people are smart enough to figure out whether we really mean to genuinely care about them and their personal & professional growth or not.
A – “Actionable”. Are we only talking about our employee branding or really practicing it & living it in reality? How do our daily actions on the floor exhibiting our core values & beliefs? Are our actions in-line with the brand we wish our employees to perceive?
C – “Collaborative”. Did we adopt a “collaborative” approach while defining our employee branding & practices. Did the stakeholders from all the key business functions participate in the discussions to envisage & formulate it or does it only represent the CEO’s or HR Head’s personal viewpoint or we think it’s a good idea to implement just because we learnt about it in some fancy HR article/ event or just because someone else in the industry has implemented it?
E – “Effective”. How do we know what we are doing is right & our employees are receiving it well because it is adding value to them? For our branding to be effective, it has to be measurable. And for it to be measurable, we have to identify the “impact areas” for business that we would like our employee branding to add maximum value to viz. Better Employee Loyalty & Retention, Reduced Attrition, Higher Productivity, Happier & Healthier Workforce, Collaborative Work-Culture etc. If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It, even the Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
Well, to summarise; the interview with this job seeker helped me make PEACE with our employee branding once again and reminded me of some of the fundamentals that we usually end up ignoring otherwise.
Hope you also find it useful in making your employee branding PEACEful too.