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5 Ways HR Leaders Can Win Talent Through Branding

Originally Published on Forbes Oracle Voice 

By: Monica Mehta 

HR executives must step up their game when it comes to acquiring, engaging, and retaining talent. Just as their marketing colleagues have done for years, HR pros need to build an authentic and attractive brand, define communities of interest, and target their messaging, says Christine Mellon, Oracle vice president of HCM transformation.

In fact, Mellon says, “this paradigm is the single most important thing HR organizations need to master.”

A consumer mentality has pervaded our work experience,” Mellon says. “Employees have different and more sophisticated expectations of how they interact with their organizations. Human capital leaders need to rethink their talent strategies to keep up.”

Mellon suggests that HR organizations take five specific actions:

1. Identify Key Communities

Most HR departments cast a wide net when trawling for talent. “They’ll put up a job on LinkedIn and wait for candidates to apply, or they’ll do keyword searches on a site and call that proactive recruitment” Mellon says. “Everyone is doing the same thing. If you’re trying to get ahead of your competitors, you need to be more strategic in your approach.”

HR pros should instead focus on communities, including current employees, alumni, customers, interns, vendors, contractors, local universities, colleges, and community organizations.

For example, when recruiting for hard-to-fill technical positions, an employer’s best bet may be to reach out to existing and former employees in similar positions, as well as to educational institutions with relevant degree programs and active alumni networks. If you’re building a large seasonal workforce for a retail operation, current customers and prior seasonal workers are viable communities of interest.

Mellon suggests that HR organizations take five specific actions:

2. Create Brand Ambassadors

Within these communities are advocates waiting to tell the world about how wonderful your company is—often through social media. Companies can tap former employees, including retirees, for referrals, Glassdoor reviews, and even college recruitment.

Recruiters can engage potential employees with relevant content on social channels. Tap loyal customers for their opinions via your company’s Facebook page.

“If you’re looking for software engineers, talk to your current engineers and find out where and how they would look for a job,” Mellon says. “Ask them what blogs they read and what professional groups they belong to. Use their social networks to expand your reach directly—that’s social sourcing. Sometimes the simplest things we can do are the best.”

3. Treat Employees as Another Kind of Customer

“Talent is undeniably the customer today,” Mellon says, and talented people assume that their technology at work will be as modern as the technology they use in their personal lives. “We fight our competitors for their mindshare, heartshare, and loyalty.”

Even your company’s job site needs to capture the attention of today’s customer/employees. “Applicants want an easy, clear, intuitive application process that respects their time and treats them as though they matter,” Mellon says.

4. Show Employees a Consistent Brand

“Many organizations appear one way to an individual when they are an applicant, but are then almost unrecognizable when the employee gets onboarded,” Mellon says. “HR organizations need to create a sense of the employee being ‘embraced’ throughout the entire talent continuum, so she feels continuity and doesn’t experience a disconnected reality from one career event to the next. An integrated talent platform is an enormous step in this direction, because you can craft a common look, feel, and tone across every employee interaction.”

5. Tap Marketing Colleagues for Help with Communications

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you tell your marketing colleagues that you want to use their stellar graphics and other work to recruit people, they might be willing to work with you gratis.

“Marketers would love for applicants and employees to view the organization through the lens of what they put out there,” Mellon says. “And they want to see that consistency of brand and voice throughout the organization as well.”

Related Articles:

Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Talent Brand

Why Recruiters Need to Market Their Jobs to their Employees


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Comments ( 1 )
  • Dr. Rob Bogosian Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Yes, brand shaping is critical for all leaders. HR leaders are not exempt and should set the tone for the whole enterprise. HR leaders must shape Cultures of Voice and eliminate silence serving as a model for the enterprise.
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