When was the last time you Googled your company? If it’s been a while you might want to stop reading this blog and hop on over to Google, preferably via your smartphone, and type in the keywords “work at _____”, “jobs at ____”, or “life inside _______”.
If yours is like most companies these days, you’ll find that it’s not your corporate website that lands first in the search results but instead your Glassdoor profile, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter page, or perhaps one of the many competing recruiting engines resting in the top five search results.
When someone searches for information about working for a company, Google knows what they want, and has learned from previous user behavior that people most likely will click and stay on websites not created by the company itself, but by peers.
In other words, it’s not what you say, but what THEY say about YOU that matters.
Welcome to the new employee decision journey, one that starts and ends with peer reviews and social networks. One that millennials, more than any generation, embrace. Millennials love sharing, rating and reviewing, and they trust user generated content to guide them in their decision making – from dating, shopping, dining, places to live and travel, and especially for places to work.
The good news is, millennials are the least materialistic generation in today’s workforce. When choosing a place to work, they are more likely to opt for shared experiences and values over money. 66 percent of millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love, than $100K a year at a job they find boring.
Deloitte found that 56 percent of millennials have “ruled out working for a particular organization because of its values or standard of conduct.” This effect only rises with ranking. 61 percent of millennial department heads chose “not to take a task at work because it went against their personal values or ethics.”
The bad news? Millennials are less likely than previous generations to stay at a company for any length of time. By one count, 41 percent of Baby Boomers said workers should stay with an employer at least five years before looking for a new job. Only 13 percent of millennials agreed.
That’s a significant drop in just two generations. No wonder the C-Suite is left scratching their head. The same Deloitte study from above reported that two out of three millennials expect to leave their current jobs within the next few years.
Really, who can blame them? It was during their formative years the banks failed, job market tightened, housing bubble burst, and the CEO celebrity fell from grace. In fact, faith in the top floor is so low for all of us that the public relations firm Edelman marked 2017 as the year trust officially went into global crisis. In its 17th year, the TRUST BAROMETER™ trust and credibility survey noted the “largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs” since the survey’s inception.
Enter social media, the world’s largest and fastest exchange of information. The place where “a person like me” is the authority figure. Where value sharing is social bonding. Where likes drive content. Is it any coincidence the waning trust in institutions coincides historically with the groundswell of social media?
Social media is where millennials, and all of us eventually, look for an insider’s view into a company’s culture, values, and material health.
Which is all to say the core values listed on a corporate website are mere words until they are endorsed by first-hand experience. Not your employer brand – what you say it is – but your talent brand – what they say it is – shapes the perception of your company as a good or bad place to work for millennials. Today you have to say it and prove it with experiential, visual “real world” examples.
Proving it, is what we call your talent brand. Your talent brand is either your best or worst recruiting and engagement tool. It cannot be controlled, only curated. It is also not a cure all, but often diagnostic at first. It will amplify the truth about your company culture – for better or worse.
If there is dissonance between culture and company values, your talent brand will magnify that disconnect.
Imagine a company that cites creativity as a core value but only has negative reviews about micromanagement to show for it. Now imagine that same company with employee generated photos, videos, and hashtags showcasing uniqueness and spontaneity. Which company would you work for? Which one truly is creative? Which one would you hire as a vendor?
Like all branding, talent branding should express who you are, how you became who you are, and why someone should choose you over a competitor. It should be as universal and unique as a fingerprint. It is the living, visual, embodiment of the core values you support, and it has more reach and frequency than any media you could create on your own.
The question, therefore, is not should you create a talent brand? Your talent brand exists already through employee reviews, photos, videos, comments, etc. And you can’t not have one. The lack thereof is itself a tell.
Rather, the question is whether your talent brand is aiding or undermining your retention and recruitment efforts. Is it serving your company’s growth strategy?