How do you attract and keep top talent? How do you develop your brand as an employer? Duh! It seems so simple, and yet it is so rare – Manage your people well, develop them, train them, grow your own when you can. ‘WALK the walk’ and not just ‘talk the talk’ found in your employer brand marketing. Give to your employees and you will get back tenfold.
The results of Fortune Magazine’s Annual Survey to find America’s Most Admired Companies is out and one of the dimensions measured is the ability to attract, develop, and keep talented people – i.e. Manage Talent. You can find the Best and maybe even more interestingly – Worst, lists here. According to Ann Fisher, Fortune writer, the companies on the Best dressed list have three main things in common:
- Open and frequent communication between the ranks and executives. Top management is accessible and employees feel that they truly contribute to meeting the company goals.
- Operational Excellence. The top companies have an expectation of excellence from everybody.
- Grow Your Own. According to the Fortune story, “Instead of grooming only so-called high-potential workers for bigger opportunities, they offer plenty of chances for every employee to learn and grow — which means that when they need talent, they can find it in-house rather than having to look elsewhere.” These companies keep right on developing and training their people regardless of market conditions. They promote from within allowing employees to really believe that there are long-term opportunities.
The best/worst lists for ability to ‘Manage Talent’ are very interesting but I do question if the results are a true reflection of the internal attitudes and practices toward managing talent, as in this study “a broad cross-section of executives were asked who they believe has an edge when it comes to recruiting and developing talent.” While many on the list have a well-known reputation for their great people management (P&G, GE, Google), I would like to see the results from a study where a broad cross-section of EMPLOYEES are surveyed. Would their lists be aligned with the one’s here? While this study will certainly bolster/hurt the employer brands on the best/worst sides – it is the real overall employee perception of how they are regarded and treated that ultimately makes or breaks your employer brand.
Regina at HR’s Brand New Experience alerted us to the blog post about the now infamous note from the employees at that Vancouver Coffee House illustrating that while the coffee house boss-man may have thought that he managed his people just fine – the barristas clearly thought otherwise.
How do we relate to all this from a marketing perspective? Lou Adler recently wrote on ERExchange, an article on ways to get more top performers into the candidate pool where he said:
“Fire your recruitment advertising agency. Stop listening to excuses. If you’re not seeing top performers, your recruitment advertising agency isn’t any good. Hire a consumer products marketing agency instead. For the same money, you’ll get 300 to 400 percent better performance — and a new way of thinking”.
We say BULL.
While he is dead-on that recruitment ad agencies need to start looking at recruitment marketing more like consumer marketing, all too often hiring companies have major areas of dysfunction that people try to solve with marketing. Surprise – that doesn’t solve the problems.
Sometimes recruitment/consumer marketing can create a vision that is so compelling that it helps drive the culture of the company, think “Just do it.” from Nike, but the vast majority of the time marketing seeks to win the favor of your target audience at the expense of any rationale thinking around how to deliver on that marketing promise. Then we sit around and wonder why the marketing didn’t work.