Employment Branding 2.0 — The 8 C’s of My Web My Way

Employment Branding 1.0 was a monologue. Employment Branding 2.0 is a conversation. And the conversation is happening real time with smart organizations participating proactively to create connections, conversations, and relationships to begin building a sustainable talent advantage.

The choice to participate is an option. The choice around how participation (or lack of) impacts the external perception of your work experience among skilled professionals, employee assimilation/engagement, and retention of the right critical skills isn’t optional. And culture and reputation are key drivers in any company’s ability to get and keep the right people. Your employer brand is no longer just what you say about you. Its what everyone says about you. And what everyone says travels fast.

We are on the cusp of transformation and recruiting will look very different coming out of this recession than it did going in. As new tools and technology become refined for our practice and reach mainstream adoption, the game will forever change to the benefit of the early adopters and visionary HR leaders who consider and deploy strategy upgrades today. But tools and technology aren’t enough, and early indications are that isn’t where the sustainable advantage will be captured. Obviously, with everyone adopting a similar set of tools, the playing field can be leveled quickly. The sustainable advantage will be captured in the blend, where tools, technology, and refined data management meet advanced relational and networking skills that combined foster more immediate and impactful relationships.

The new web tools flooding the market create increasing options and awesome opportunities to create more compelling introductions that can lead to new relationships. More sophisticated tools/techniques (those leveraged in professional selling and consumer marketing practices) are being deployed to pipeline and manage candidate relationships. And in this universe the expectations around a better experience are being elevated.

Attention spans have shorted. Response and feedback occur immediately. And people expect to participate more openly in the process. Communications strategy in the digital age is about positive interactions that create a very personalized experience. The mandate is ‘My Web, My Way’ and the following 8 C’s are important for every organization to consider:

Consume

The Web is the ultimate on-demand information device. From its inception, it has been a place where people go to actively consume media rather than passively receive it as it’s delivered. And the options and immediacy with which content is consumed is limitless. Increasing consumers want the most relevant information delivered now, and the mobile web and smart phones only elevate the personalized consumption habits and desire for real-time content delivered wherever I am, whenever I want it.

Connect

The share of adult Internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years. Among the professional set proactively managing their career progression fostering quality connections is a mandate and the smart recruiting organization is powering up the tools to drive more immediate and personal connections across multi-channel platforms — wherever the talent is.

Converse

The increased connectivity is the gateway to more meaningful conversations that drive candidate relationship development and management. And this is part of the core and fundamental expectation that demands participation, human interaction, and relational skills that support managing conversations in a way that leads to more positive outcomes. An RSS feed of an open requisition into Twitter isn’t reflective of a meaningful conversation. While it may drive some interest, alone it isn’t fostering the core relational expectations commonplace online today. Some level of precision targeting and very immediate and elevated interaction is also required.

Create

Nearly one-half of U.S. media consumers are frequently creating online content for others to see, according to a soon-to-be released survey commissioned by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. Candidates are increasingly able to elevate their presence, establish their personal value proposition, and present themselves in more expanded and compelling fashion. They expect the same of organizations and desire more participation in the process of relationship-building. More information is available to everyone around fostering the right-fit relationships that create win-win outcomes.

Collaborate

The exchange of information and working together has evolved the experience beyond a read-only or submit/wait process. Tools like Skype, SlideShare, and Google Docs have made knowledge transfer and virtual collaboration seamless and in many respects streamline project management, expedite work product, and offer necessary cost containment. And these basic tools of exchange and partnering offer a relational component to the process, creating more opportunity for participation in an open forum environment.

Community

People are increasingly interested in joining among those with common interests and ideas to share and contribute opinions, thoughts, and feelings in active forums. These dynamic groupings serve to create a more meaningful experience and expanded networks among those who desire a voice and active participation. Networks of large communities are broken down into small communities. My friends. My fan pages. My groups. My niche interests. And what I send, share, and receive is optional and changes as my needs and interests evolve.

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Customization

People now have the independence to enjoy what they want, when they want it, and where they want it, and can also create content themselves, or adjust other people’s content accordingly. Its an opt-in, self-controlled, and increasingly personal and specific experience. It’s my web, my way.

Competition

With expanding options and evolving and elevated tools and technology the expectations around experience are elevated and the competition for time and attention extreme. Organizations should consider how this will impact talent management and candidate connections and relationships into the future and make the necessary strategy adjustments to participate accordingly today.

Savvy recruiters are expanding their own digital footprint and building stronger networks while concurrently elevating their organization’s employment brand through quality ambassadorship. Think a compelling candidate would rather read the sanitized content on your website or the blog post or twitterstream from the leader in the area of the business they are considering?

Transparency equals trust. Participation adds value.

And a closing thought: If your organization still bans access to social networks at work, you are falling behind.

Ryan Estis is the managing director of Ryan Estis & Associates and recognized professional speaker/writer whose keynote, seminar, and workshop events focus on emerging trends/best practices in human capital management and sales/marketing skill development. He serves as a senior associate with the Employer Brand Institute and is a professional member of the National Speakers Association. Inquiries about seminars and event appearances can be directed to ryan@ryanestis.com

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