Consider these cases:
- Many of us may have experienced the difference between a cheerful talent specialist inviting you to a position available vs another one where the interaction is merely transactional and to ‘fill’ the position.
- Or, when an interview is scheduled, on one hand, the recruitment lead explains the role, tells you whom you will meet, and provides you with all the information you need to be successful. In another case, the meeting is slotted without considering your personal time and preferences and without you knowing whom you will end up speaking with on the other end!
- Or, when the talent acquisition contact tells you that ‘we want someone at your level and experience but who can operate at a junior level’, alarm bells should go off about the corporate culture and the mindsets within. If there is a lack of clarity on the role and how the organisation can tap the human potential to thrive rather than ‘serve’ the current needs, there is a serious issue.
Despite all the ‘song and dance’ companies do with ‘how great our workplace is’ and ‘you will be joining a cutting-edge firm’, it only matters when the rubber meets the road. The human interactions, with the frontline staff, are the ‘make or break’ events in which so few organizations invest time. Probably, because their leaders don’t view it as vital or they are too arrogant to think that the brand recall will override all potential conflicts.
Why is this a problem for employer branding and how can organizations nip it in the bud?
It takes a long time to build an employer brand but it takes just 1-2 poor interactions and decisions to undo the great work.
How many leaders have taken the time to sit in on recruiter outreaches and conversations to gauge the pulse of what candidates feel, seek, and believe in?
How many managers have taken the time to give honest and constructive feedback on the process and also take hard decisions when they know the people on the frontlines aren’t suited for the role?
- Do a dipstick among your frontline staff and there is a good chance many of them can’t articulate what the company’s purpose is or what the brand stands for and how they fit in. I don’t blame them – the issue begins further up the hierarchy. Just 28% of staff feel aligned with their company’s purpose.
- Invest in your managers and leaders going through a ‘frontline’ boot camp that makes them aware of the challenges, opportunities, and implications of engaging prospective candidates in a highly competitive environment.
- Provide training on branding, especially personal branding for your frontline staff so that candidates are engaging with people they view as experts and thought advocates. Not just another ‘recruiter’ trying to get ‘bums on seats’.
- Grow the team’s capabilities in digital marketing because it will help them understand what drives candidates and how to tap into the market better.
- Conduct refreshers (if not done already) on the employee value proposition and how it has evolved post-pandemic and the hybrid work expectations in today’s market. Everyone is busy. Therefore, these reinforcements can help immensely.
- Train your frontline to be empathetic and ‘go to the source’ and figure out the core issues that matter for candidates. Not just the ‘small talk’ but truly understanding what the candidates struggle with. If they aren’t going to join immediately, they may consider you in the future.
- Collaborate with your staff because they have great insights and ideas on what’s working, how people think about the brand, and what needs to change. They are also your first responders during crises if you have them on your side.
No employer brand can achieve success unless the frontline staff are inspired, empowered, and equipped to do what’s right for the brand. It isn’t a ‘tick-in-the-box’ exercise to have informed them about the brand standards and provide scripts to talk to candidates. Unless they truly believe in what they are saying, it will end up sounding ‘fake’ and that puts your employer's brand in jeopardy.
Discover: Employer Branding 101 | First Fix Your Company Culture
This article was also published on Aniisu K Verghese's LinkedIn or aniisu.com.