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Kendra Van Nostran

Kendra Van Nostran is the director of Peer Group US, a division of CKR Interactive that is devoted exclusively to employee communications research, employer value proposition development and employer brand consulting. She helps clients use primary and secondary research to solve a broad range of recruitment and retention issues.

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5 Ways to Get the Most From Your EVP

by Mar 7, 2013, 5:10 am ET

brandLike many large-scale organizational initiatives, employer branding was quickly placed on the back burner when the recession hit. This was unfortunate, particularly given the countless benefits and outcomes associated with strong employer brands, such as less turnover, improved engagement, higher offer acceptance rates, and reduced recruitment costs.

Thus, one of the most exciting things to emerge in HR over the past few years is the renewed focus on employer branding. Lately, I’ve enjoyed a number of helpful articles and interesting perspectives shared on ERE, from Jody Ordioni’s persuasive snapshot of the benefits associated with attractive employer brands (4 Things to Make Sure Your Boss Knows About Employer Branding) to Claes Peyron’s step-by-step approach to employer branding (9 Steps to a Successful Employer Branding Strategy). Both pieces emphasize the need to look at an employer brand as far more than a tagline and see it for what it truly is — a research-based effort that requires strategy, planning, and thoughtful execution.

But how, exactly, do you arrive at a point where your employer brand is more than a tagline and pretty pictures? Simply put, you need to start by properly investing in the employer value proposition development process.

After all, EVP is where it all begins. It’s your key to ensuring authenticity, and it’s the foundation for everything that comes after you’ve clearly articulated who you are as an organization and what you offer as an employer through deliberate and methodical research. If you get this piece right, then you’ll be poised for success in terms of brand strategy, creative development, and internal and external communications. Miss the boat on your EVP and you’ll find yourself floating aimlessly without the direction needed to solve complex recruiting and retention challenges.

Given this, along with a desire to follow the framework Ordioni and Peyron have used to share their thoughts on employer branding, here are five ways to get the most out of your EVP. keep reading…

Integrating the Internet Into Your Recruitment Plan, Part 2

by May 17, 2002

As discussed in Part 1 of this article series, the successful integration of the Internet into a recruitment marketing plan relies on two phases: planning and execution. Once you have completed the planning phase, it’s time for the execution phase, which includes tracking the success of your efforts, to begin. The execution of Internet marketing tactics includes three steps: 1) developing campaign components, 2) crafting your message specifically for the Internet and 3) tracking effectiveness. 1. Develop all of the components required for your Internet sourcing strategies. Let’s say you’ve chosen to incorporate the Internet into your employee referral program promotion plans. Possible components for this promotion include a mini website that details your ERP guidelines and hosts the forms necessary for participation, email updates sent to staff regarding who has participated in the program and what they’ve won, and an e-mail program that keeps potential candidates aware of your organization’s opportunities. You’ll probably need to work with your marketing and IT departments, or advertising agency, to create the mini website and develop the content of your email marketing program. If your recruitment marketing plan lists a banner campaign that will be used to drive traffic to your employment website, you’ll need to have the banner artwork created and determine which targeting filters you want to use for banner delivery. All of your Internet artwork should reflect the look and feel of the creative you’ve developed for other media campaigns. 2. Craft messages that are appropriate for the Internet. To effectively market your organization’s employer brand, extend the messages you convey through other media to the Internet. Consistency of message is key to strengthening your employer brand among potential candidates. You’ll achieve this by acknowledging how Internet communication differs from other media and crafting your messages based on this understanding so that they are effective in speaking to your audience. As most people are aware, Internet users are more apt to “skim” online information than to read every line. This is why the content of most Web pages is relatively short, relying on formats such as bulleted text to quickly convey important points of information. Make sure that any Web pages you create for your recruitment programs follow this format. If you have to present lengthy or detailed information, such as ERP regulations and policies, provide a link to a PDF file or Microsoft Word document. Email is similar, in that users have a tendency to skim the information quickly to determine if it’s a message that want or need to reply to. Develop email messages that are engaging, but to the point. If you have an employment opportunity to highlight, include information right away that would motivate the recipient to investigate the opportunity further. Emphasizing a unique benefit, such as flexible schedules, is a great way to grab the attention of potential candidates. Be sure to include copy that encourages recipients to forward the email on to friends or colleagues. This is among the most cost-effective ways to increase the reach of Internet communications. There’s another aspect of email usage that you’ll want to keep in mind when executing your campaign: Because of the high incidence of both spam and computer viruses spread via email, users are wary of receiving emails from unknown addresses. While it’s tempting to create generic email addresses, such as hiringinfo@xyzcompany.com, you may risk having a large percentage of recipients deleting your emails before they’ve even been read. To combat this effect, encourage your staff to participate in the distribution process as much as possible. An email message from a friend or colleague is far more likely to be read than one arriving from a general email address. If you have to distribute emails from a single address, have your IT department establish another personal address that varies slightly from your current address (kendra@davidgroup.com versus kvan@davidgroup.com, for instance). This will allow you to keep distribution messages separate from your regular email address, while still sending them from a personal address. 3. Track and measure the effectiveness of your online efforts. Tracking is one of the most important steps in your process. Not only will it help you evaluate the effectiveness of your online efforts, it will also lead directly back to your next planning phase. Use tracking data to fine-tune your programs and increase the amount of money you spend on the tactics that performed the best. Unless you have a sophisticated applicant tracking system in place, it may be a bit of a challenge to track how well your Internet recruitment efforts are faring. However, there is information that you can gather to help evaluate the effectiveness of your programs regardless. Vendors should provide impression and clickthrough rates for any banner campaigns and sponsorships that you’ve purchased. If their reports don’t include clickthrough percentages ó an indicator of the effectiveness of your creative ó simply divide the number of clickthroughs your creative received by the number of impressions delivered. Since most of your online efforts should be driving users to your employment site, your IT department or Internet Service Provider should have data regarding where employment site visitors are coming from. Gather this information in order to evaluate which sources delivered the most visitors to your site. Or, if you’ve hosted hiring events, make sure the surveys that attendees fill out include questions about how they heard about your company and if they’ve ever visited your employment website. Once you’ve compiled your tracking information, determine which Internet sources and strategies yielded the best results for your organization. Then, return to the planning phase armed with this data to revise your recruitment plans. Include those strategies that proved the most effective, as well as some online recruitment methods that you haven’t yet tried, and start the cycle over again. With each cycle you should be able to successively increase your online exposure and better reach your target audience. That, after all, is the promise of a comprehensive recruitment plan that has successfully integrated the Internet.

Integrating the Internet Into Your Recruitment Plan

by Apr 9, 2002

Though it has been widely adopted by human resource professionals both as a source of candidates and a recruitment tool, the Internet is still often viewed as a separate recruitment vehicle rather than one part of a comprehensive strategy. As a result, recruiters often implement online methods as an afterthought or when nothing else seems to be working. But in order to achieve the best results from your recruitment efforts, it’s essential to plan in advance how the Internet can complement other methods and help form the foundation of your recruitment strategy. The integration of online media tactics can be broken down into two phases: planning and execution. The first part of this article series focuses on the planning phase, which includes developing an overview of the Internet components you want to use throughout the year to achieve your recruitment goals, the gathering of media information, and budget allocation. Part two will detail execution and tracking?? steps that also lead back to the planning phase. Planning Your Approach Today’s online advertising strategies are far more sophisticated than yesterday’s job postings. New formats?? from pop-unders and skyscraper ads to electronic newsletter sponsorships and e-marketing?? require more planning than earlier formats, such as job postings and employer profiles. And because Internet advertising has evolved tremendously over the past few years, it’s no longer feasible to consider your Internet strategy as an add-on. The following steps will help guide you through the planning phase: 1. Determine how you plan to use the Internet in your recruitment efforts. Spend some time thinking about all of the options available via the Internet and which options make the most sense based on your recruitment needs. You can separate your options into two categories?? advertising and special projects:

  • Advertising. This category covers Internet components that require the purchase of online space, such as job postings, career site memberships, banners and e-newsletter sponsorships. If you’ve purchased these components in the past, review the results to determine which approaches it makes sense to use again. If you haven’t implemented these tactics before, there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind as you decide which options make the most sense for you based on your recruitment needs. Job postings are good for generating a large pool of candidates quickly. Typically, you’ll get the best results from industry-specific or niche sites. Career site memberships make sense for employers with many openings at any given time. Banner advertising is good for employer branding and driving traffic to your employment website. E-newsletter sponsorships are often successful at reaching a narrow demographic or people with specialized skills and knowledge.
  • keep reading…

Acquiring Lists for a Recruitment Email Marketing Campaign

by Mar 12, 2002

For months now, we’ve been listening to the buzz surrounding email marketing as an advertising method. And while privacy advocates protest the endless spam that Internet users are inundated with daily, projections by Jupiter Media Metrix predict that spending on this advertising format will reach $9.6 billion in 2006. Email marketing has been both branded as a curse and praised as the next marketing revolution, allowing advertisers to instantly send messages to millions of potential customers at a relatively low cost. In a recent ERE article by Scott Weston, Permission Marketing for Recruiters: Building a Targeted List, Mr. Weston points out that the major benefit to recruiters of gaining permission to contact people by email is that it allows them to easily build and maintain relationships with potential candidates. Mr. Weston focuses on how to build your own database of contacts through the use of job agents, networking, and capturing information at hiring events. Using their databases, recruiters can then focus on developing relationships with these contacts through email communications. But another way recruiters can implement email marketing into their hiring strategy is to rent a list from a vendor. This tactic lets recruiters skip the step of gaining permission to contact potential candidates via email and move directly to establishing relationships with list members. Also, recruiters who have already begun to develop a database can rent lists as a way of adding to their current databases. By renting appropriate lists to execute email marketing campaigns, recruiters can target individuals based on experience, industry, and location. The key is to find quality lists that are tailored to your hiring needs. The result of doing thorough research and analysis upfront is that you’ll have more control over who receives your messages ó an attractive aspect, especially when you consider how many unqualified responses you receive through other means, such as job postings. Plus, what could be better than delivering your message directly to the desktops of professionals with the skills and qualifications that you’re seeking? With email marketing, you don’t have to hope that your target audience sees your classified advertisement in the newspaper or clicks through a banner advertisement to arrive at your corporate employment website. Tips for Choosing Appropriate Lists Here are several tips to help you develop a successful email campaign and reach your target audience:

  1. Determine if there’s an available email list that meets your hiring needs. There are numerous brokers out there who will try to sell you a list with hundreds of thousands of addresses. As most recruiters know, bigger isn’t necessarily better ó especially when you’re trying to reach people with particular skill sets and experience. Question vendors who try to sell you large lists but can’t provide specifics about the individuals in their databases. If the vendors don’t have demographic information about their subscription base available, then chances are their lists are not targeted or well-maintained and won’t have any impact on your recruitment efforts.
  2. keep reading…