I may be giving away a company secret right now – but I’m gonna just go out on a limb and ask for forgiveness later… because I think my team and my leadership made the smartest decision ever. They hired a brand guy – a traditional marketer who has worked strictly with consumer products in the past – to lead our employer brand team. And he is my boss.
How AMAZING is that?
On FOT and particularly among the HR and recruiting crowd I run around with, I feel like we talk all the time about recruiting being marketing, and recruiting being sales. And it’s true. The messaging, the positioning, the packaging, the brand… it all matters a huge deal to us and how we do what we do – like a lot-a lot when you’re attracting a consumer, in our case talent.
And care for employer brand has grown and grown in importance for many companies. Crackerjack, smart HR and recruiting types have done a good job for many organizations on the marketing front and/or by ensuring their HR and recruiting folks have a great sales strand in their DNA. Sometimes you see it happen on its own, sometimes it’s in partnership with creative or branding agencies. We also find ourselves soaking up and turning to marketing focused blogs, books and mags to learn from true marketers and brand pros… but even for myself – while I feel like I “get” marketing and “brand” – I feel like I’ve got it in my DNA and it’s a natural, organic thing to me – I’m realizing I really don’t get it as much as I could. Or should. Not that it’s rocket science. But I’m finding… I’ve got a lot to learn. And that’s completely cool with me.
Before you can engage, you’ve got to create awareness and attract. But who are you trying to engage? How can you break down your audience by segments and then get the right messages out to them? And what’s the basis of the attraction? What’s the emotional appeal? And what kind of insights anchor all of the work to create awareness and attract? These are the questions we’re asking and looking to answer… and then there’s so much more beyond that. And for me, it’s taking all that into play in the digital space and on social media channels. Can we say… fun?! Pretty exciting to report to this guy and be on a team that has really put their money where their mouth is… and what a world of difference it makes. Even a month in, for me, I’m learning so much by being on a team that comes from the brand world. It’s totally brilliant, I think.
So, what a completely brown nosing post this is, right? Sure, you can take it that way. But glass-half-full-me thinks there’s a lesson in it for all us. To take a step back… and challenge assumptions about who’s right for what roles and whether square peg/round hole is OK or not… and then to put that marketing and sales hat back on. Maybe you don’t get a boss who comes up through the ranks as a marketer. Maybe you are working with other internal marketing resources. But it all just reminds me that we have so much to learn by looking outside of our little world of HR and recruiting and taking a cue from other disciplines. The rigor and analytical framework of our colleagues in accounting and finance. The surprise-and-delight-we’ll-go-out-of-our-way-to-do-anything-to-make-you-happy mantra of our pals in customer/client service. (Imagine if we did that for our candidates – holy crap, can you imagine?!) Take a sec to look around you and see where the possibilities are.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.