Talent Branding: Your EVP in the Age of the Mecosystem

A new buzzword on the rise is “Mecosystem,” a set of connections in which brand fits into an individual’s life in a customized way. Mecosystems anticipate and evolve along with people’s personal expectations. It’s a great concept for consumer brands. So why not apply it to employer brands?

What Is a Mecosystem?

According to Interbrand, it’s a method that places the consumer at the center of the ecosystem. The concept advances the next stage of branding, where a product or line of products works seamlessly with its owner. “Droves of digital data, refined analytics, and real-time, multi-platform interactions help brands discover what people want — even before they do,” as Interbrand says. The consultancy calls this near future the “Age of You.” That’s because, “Within the Mecosystem paradigm, you are at the nexus of the system.”

Apple and Google come to my mind, as they offer services as diverse — yet connected — as smartphones, music, email, maps, and even TV. I can see a brand like Nike on the horizon, combining wellness, fitness, apparel, and lots of great content.

A Mecosystem for Employer Brands

The concept makes a lot of sense for consumer brands. But what about using data, analytics, and real-time interactions to help employees become more productive, knowledgeable, and innovative? Forward-looking organizations can frame and personalize the employment experience on the basis on individual wants and needs to create better engagement. And we know higher engagement leads to higher profits, better retention, and lower turnover. So here’s how a Mecosystem could look for multiple stages of the employee life-cycle.

Personalized Application and Interview Process

The application process is skewed completely to the employer’s whims; about all the candidate gets to choose is the time. How welcome does that make candidates feel?

The Mecosystem philosophy means that recruiters can safely cede some power to the applicants. They could let candidates choose whether the first contact is by phone or Skype. They could ask if applicants would rather meet for coffee or lunch instead of the workplace. They could offer to show applicants part of the office that are off-limits to non-employees. Some organizations could even invite candidates to share materials beyond resumes and work portfolios — something they created, like a painting, a photograph, or a video. How much would a recruiter learn about someone if they were asked to bring in “something that means a lot to you”? Would that show off their personality and cultural fit?

This idea works in the other direction, too — your application process should be customized to your organization. Too often, I’ve seen clients rely on old, unfriendly applicant tracking systems with little branding and even less personality, asking for the same information for a position in insurance as for a position in fundraising. Companies like RoundPegg offer customized applications that reflect your company’s mission, vision, and values, and ask questions that help determine a good culture fit.

Customized Onboarding

Onboarding is often a forgotten part of the employment experience. The thrill of the interview process is over; the importance of the day-to-day tasks is still to come.

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But onboarding is a great candidate for Mecosystemization. Not every person learns the same way, so there’s no reason to instruct them the same way. During the interview process, smart recruiters can determine how best to educate the new hire — sometimes by asking them directly. Some may benefit from reading materials; others may prefer video. Still others might be better talking through the information with their manager or someone from HR. Some may prefer a hands-on approach while others learn by shadowing. Some may want to meet everyone in their department at once, while others would prefer lunch with a different colleague every week.

Real-Time Employee Engagement

There are now apps that allow employers to see how their workers are feeling in real-time. If management sees that a division is feeling anxious about a project, they can act accordingly: hold an all-hands meeting, offer incentives, change team members, or push back deadlines. While this information is usually used in the aggregate, there’s no need to keep it anonymous; disengaged workers can be sought out and coached before they derail a project, lose productivity, or jump ship. This is employee engagement at its most personalized.

All in all, this new generation of Mecosystem software provides a level of data never before seen in the workplace, and at least one of them should definitely be part of any company’s employee engagement budget.

Never mind the Age of You — this will be the Age of Your Employees. Are you ready to begin?

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.

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