When did employment branding and employee engagementget so hot?
This week Harvard called, again. A business school prof there is about to release a report on the best practices ... and potentially issue some journal cases ... and just started writing a book on the subject -- with enthusiasm for Web 2.0 models.
Harvard Business Press is currently in the midst of a global release of a book by Sylvia Ann Hewlett called "Top Talent" where she identifies strategies to engage and retain talent -- again featuring Web 2.0 models.
There are Ning and LinkedIn communities dedicated to the subject of Employment Branding, with sub-communities fully dedicated to social media models, and dozens of blogs.
And let's not forget the conferences! I get approached to speak at a conference or on a webcast on the subject of social media and employment branding or employee engagement about once a week.
Of course, the headhunters are on this too. They are calling as FORTUNE 500 companies increasingly realize they'll be at a competitive disadvantage if they don't spend some attention on both the genuine culture and climate inside their company -- as well as the external perception of their company as a place to work.
[All in an economic backdrop mind you where it isn't too hard to find great talent.]
Who are the people fanning the flames behind this trend? Not necessarily human resources folks. They are by and large business people first. Former Wall Street folks (I suppose I could put myself into that bucket), former Marketing folks (I could fit that bucket as well), Personal Brand speakers, Career Coaches, Reporters, and yes, some bold and forward-thinking HR people (been there too).
The headhunters are actually in a bad way on this one. Companies don't know if they want someone from HR or Marketing to head up this initiative.
- HR people don't think, generally, in brand and promotion terms. They also generally like the world of command and control: policies, rules, methods for communicating to employees.
- Marketing people have never, in general, given HR the time of day. They've been focused on the outside influencers -- media, analysts, top customers -- and toss table scraps (relatively speaking in resource terms) to the internal audience.
- Ad Agencies? Not so much. They're largely still in advertising mode -- reach and frequency buying. Posters and mugs for internal engagement. Most are racing to figure out this web 2.0 thing at the same speed and bewilderment as most companies.
- What about the HR firms? The folks who focus on internal training, systems, compensation schemes to align strategies with action? Haven't been impressed yet -- and man, they ask for a lot of money, and even more time, to even make a dent in improving your standing in employee engagement and being a true company of choice.
Oh, and let's not forget the normal Myers-Briggs make up of people in business. Tags such as "Thinking and Judging" come up most often. The "Feelers" are few and far between. And yet, research shows that it is the emotional connection that drives passion, creativity, and over-performance from a workforce and in a company's business results.
Who / What Org is best at approaching this subject?
I think we at EMC stumbled on a cool formula by luck.
Today, we have a collaborative team who comes together in a fabric, cooperative, approach. Among us there is the Office for Talent within HR; executive and internal communication within Marketing; creative services and on-line platform group within Marketing; our global Centers of Excellence who are part of nearly every business org at the company; IT; PR; our organically grown brand ambassadors/bloggers; and my small operation known as the Employment Brand Office which acts as a type of glue, and prompter.
From an executive hierarchy standpoint, the initiative was born in HR, got on the CEO's radar when he launched a goal to be a well recognized company of choice and best place to work, hung out in the social media/change agent space in Marketing for a spell, and now reports to the EVP in charge of multiple areas of company inclusive of Total Customer Experience, Quality, Marketing, Manufacturing, and Operations for our largest revenue-producing division.
-------------------- Talk Back ------------------------
Are you noticing greater interest in this space?
Who/which org do you think best drives it?
On the vendor side, I've found a few boutique firms and social media-type people that are doing cool things, and I love the insight and energy I get from them. I also enjoy Gallup's work. What experts/vendors have you been impressed with?
-- Polly Pearson
@PollyPearson on Twitter