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Mayo Clinic Wants People Who Want to Change Lives

by
Todd Raphael
Sep 18, 2013, 1:00 pm ET

ere-falllogo-facebookMayo Clinic. It’s one of those organizations that seems to always get mentioned when people reel off the names of of the organizations they respect and admire. At least one study has it listed in the top 10 places that honor students want to work for.

But that didn’t mean it was easy for Mayo to create an employment brand and to make that brand mesh well with the company’s consumer brand.

Brent BultemaBrent Bultema, its director of recruitment strategies, said at ERE’s conference in Chicago today that the bulk of the Mayo Clinic job-candidate population comes from the local area. What this means is that the candidates are the customers, and vice versa. A bad experience as a candidate could sour someone on the organization, something they’d tell their friends and family.

Mayo’s employment branding comes from the recruitment strategies team, a group started about a dozen years ago. It tries to be a source of recruiting expertise, as well as develop new tools and strategies for enhancing Mayo’s position in the recruitment marketplace. The team will go to conferences outside of recruiting, and outside even of healthcare — with an eye on marketing and advertising best practices it can implement.

Its folks have bifurcated roles. Partly, they want to support recruiters in doing what it takes to fill certain jobs. Also, they want to support the overall employment branding of the company, efforts geared at shaping the strategy for all jobs.

Over the last year (and with a little help from some folks outside the organization, like Ryan Estis), Mayo has revised the brand and value proposition.

When you look at some of the Mayo materials from 2002 that lasted through 2011, and compare it to 2012 going forward — you see some big changes. Early on, it emphasized nursing as an adventure. Later, it talked about nursing’s impact on changing lives. The year 2002 may feel like yesterday to all of us, but if you look back now at Mayo’s photography from 2002 in its recruiting ads, the photos feel dated and obviously needed refreshing.

The latest brand incarnation, with an emphasis on changing lives, is embodied in this video:

Not Just for Candidates

The organization’s goal isn’t to throw up a logo or message on a career site and leave it there. Mayo “married the candidate journey with the employment journey,” Bultema says. That means the messages employees get as candidates are similar to ones they get with benefits communication as well as new-employee orientations.

With Mayo’s 2012 launch of a revised employment brand, total hires increased 17.1 percent, and external hires grew by 24 percent. It has fewer applicants (-2.4 percent). Turnover during the first 90 days is very low.

As to the increase in hires with fewer applicants: Maybe they “opted in” — self-selecting as identifying with the Mayo mission — Bultema says, or maybe the people who opted out were the people Mayo wanted to opt out.

Owning a Brand

Note the phrase "life-changing career" in this screenshot from the careers page. Mayo Clinic uses that phrase throughout its career-site and other advertising.

Note the phrase “life-changing career” in this screenshot from the careers page. Mayo Clinic uses that phrase throughout its career-site and other advertising.

When crafting an employer brand, Bultema says recruiting leaders need to ask themselves, “‘Who are the departments that hold the most power with marketing and branding?’ Get to know those folks.” A LinkedIn study finds that in the plurality of companies, the talent acquisition department shares the responsibility with another department. In many others, it has sole responsibility. On occasion, another department runs employment branding entirely.

Bultema says that it’s nice if the talent acquisition department solely “owns” employment branding, rather than sharing the responsibilities with another department. But, he says, that can ultimately make you feel isolated, so the shared model may be best.

Either way, he says you should position yourself as the authority on branding, including knowing the following about your audience:

  • What attributes attract them to your organization (in other words, your product)
  • What channels they use
  • What value your brand has
  • Your employee value proposition … why work here?

“Branding is a constant effort,” Bultema says. “It’s constantly evolving.”

That sounds nice, but it can also be tricky, he says. Some recruiting departments — including one whose representative at the ERE conference raised the issue during Bultema’s session — have to essentially sit and wait for a company to finish its overall corporate brand projects before they can begin their recruitment branding. In other cases, a company finishes its consumer branding work, the recruiting leaders begin building out the recruitment part of that — but the consumer marketers, meanwhile, are revising their original work. Again, the point being, this “evolving” — this evolution, and this employment branding — may be best as a joint recruiting/marketing partnership.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Jason Ginsburg

    It’s great to see an organization that has such a clear-eyed view of employer branding, but it’s no surprise that it’s Mayo Clinic, which has a very engaging employer brand.

    The Clinic is also wise to note that its applicants are often its customers, which requires a united brand that touches the entire employee life-cycle — which includes “pre-employment” and “post-employment.” After employees leave Mayo (if they would ever want to!) they and their families may still be its customers for many years.

    Employer branding sounds like a “soft” topic, left only to HR, but it has a significant financial impact on a company; costs per hire and time to hire can drain resources, while many studies show that engaged employees create more profitability for their employers.

    I happen to be giving a presentation on employer branding next week that addresses many of these topics. Those interested can register for free at http://bit.ly/EBbootcamp.

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