Category Archives: Branding

Be the HR Brand Ambassador for Your Organizaion

who-are-you11I’ve been thinking about human resources and, specifically, each individual that works in the department.  For years, you’ve been bombarded with people telling you to rebrand yourself and the service you provide your organization.  I’d like to take that a step further and give some suggestions of things that you as a HR leader or practitioner can do to make a meaningful difference.

HR is often a faceless part of the organization.  We often operate behind the scenes with few employees understanding our value.  When you think about what percentage of your employee population knows you are the person supporting them, would that number be high or low?  If you think that number is low, what is the reason?

I believe that every HR pro should be a visible, integral part of the business. Employees of all levels should know who you are and that you are a trustworthy source they can seek out for advice and assistance.  YOUR face should be the one that employees think of when they think of HR in your company.  If I were asked to describe my “ideal” HR department, it would be one in which every HR pro would:

  • Know the business: Speak the language of the particular industry they support.
  • Understand the financials:  Financial knowledge is key to being able to strategically advise leadership on people issues.
  • Be honest: HR should not sugarcoat what is going on. The only way to really make things better is to examine the issue at hand.
  • Encourage innovation: Include HR at all levels in brainstorming to truly challenge the traditional ways of doing things.  Some processes will remain the same.  Others will be taken to new and better levels.
  • Be recognized publically (internally AND externally): Other work teams publicize their “wins.”  So should HR.

How do we get to the ideal? We RISE to a new level of awareness:

  • Reduce or outsource administrative functions where possible
  • Innovate to come up with fresh approaches to HR
  • Spread the word about what HR is and what it isn’t, and really publicize HR “wins” and successes
  • Engage all levels of the organization.  You do this by creating, attending and participating in grassroots efforts to help HR evolve.

Most importantly, don’t tear down your own field.  Don’t be the part of HR that tries to slow or stop the momentum of the people who really are trying to expand the reach and understanding of HR. Live what you’re preaching.  Get involved. Make it happen.  Good things don’t happen overnight, so do your part every day to encourage change.

The benefit of thinking about how HR is currently viewed and ways to consciously brand the department and HR pros is that you will actually put yourself in the position of being a barrier to exit for employees at risk of leaving.  Think about that.  One of the best ways HR can create business value is by reducing voluntary turnover of solid performers. By being someone that employees trust, you’ll hear about any issues as they arise, not as the employee is walking out the door.

Tell me what you’re doing, or have done, to build a brand of trust with your employees.

- See more at: http://www.brandonhall.com/blogs/become-the-hr-brand-ambassador-for-your-organization/#sthash.p6RWPIMF.dpuf

Helping The Hungry at Thanksgiving and Year-Round: Canstruction

From time to time, I look back at my blog to remind myself if I have written about a topic.  Today was one of those days when I had an idea I want to write about but needed to check to make sure I hadn’t already explored it before.  As I paged through hundreds of post titles, I came across one that caught my eye.  It was a post I wrote about Canstruction two years ago when I visited NYC.

What is Canstruction you ask?

Canstruction is a non-profit organization that holds contests around the world in order to raise food, and money, for local food banks.  They also hope to bring awareness to the fight against hunger.   The amazing art that these teams create out of cans is almost unimaginable.  Just look at some of the pictures I took at the NYC event in 2011.

 

2011-11-16_15-40-55_435The amount of time and effort that people put into raising awareness to prevent their fellow man from going hungry was inspiring.  I immediately wanted to do my part to help the cause.  As you prepare for that great meal on Thanksgiving, please consider all the people who will be visiting their local food bank this year in order to feed their family.  I just donated and it is so easy to help a family in need.  Click HERE to donate and help fight hunger.  And, check their events page to find out when Canstruction will be coming to your city.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Skills Critical to Business Success in 2014 and Beyond

leader logoWith technology today, the ability to have content at our fingertips is easier than ever before.  One place I continue to look to stay on top of trends is the writing of experts in the HR and recruiting industry.  Andy Headworth, author of Sirona Says, continues to be a favorite for me.  I learn so much about the global recruiting space by reading his work.  I also get ideas from time-to-time that apply far beyond the recruiting world.  This happened last week.

Andy penned a post called Is This What the Recruiter of Tomorrow Will Look Like?  In it he outlines seven skills that recruiters of the future will need to master in order to be successful.  They are:

  • Sales and marketing skills
  • Candidate networks building skills
  • Candidate sourcing skills
  • Social media skills
  • Content production skills
  • Contractor management skills
  • Keeping up with technology

I absolutely encourage you to read his post because the details are well worth knowing.  I want to take those ideas a step further today and expand on them to show that they can be used, regardless of industry, to become a better business person.

  • Sales and Marketing skill-  No longer just reserved for your organization’s marketing department, sharing the employer brand is something that each employee does.  Not only that, they are the face of your company to the clients, to potential clients and to potential employees.  Companies that are leaders in this area ensure that all employees know the positive messages that need to be shared with the public.  Transparency is key in ensuring that your colleagues know how to put the good news about your organization out to the world. Teaching your employees how to share their excitement about your product or services now makes everyone a potential marketer.
  • Candidate networks building skills-  It’s not just imperative that your organization’s recruiting team build networks with candidates, it is important that you encourage all your employees to be ambassadors to keep growing your organization.  Their participation with potential employees can help convince candidates to join the organization.
  • Candidate sourcing skills- One great way to encourage this is to ditch the old approach to referral programs and begin rewarding for introductions.  More to come in a future post on that.  For now, suffice to say that once your employees are company ambassadors, they will WANT to tell people to work with them.
  • Social media skills-  As someone who has been using social media for over six years now, it almost seems impossible that this is still new for some people.  However, it is.  So, if you or your staff are not using social media platform to futher the growth of your business, you are now officially behind the industry leaders.  Whether for networking, recruiting, marketing, sales, etc., you need to be in the space in order to be successful.  It is not a fad, it is a method and tools for doing business.
  • Content production skills-  One of the most exciting changes in the last few years is that we can all be content producers.  This means that employees whom you least expect to wave your organization’s flag can now do so.  Boldly.  Encourage them.  Empower them.  Teach them how to refine their writing skills.  Celebrate and reward them when the share.
  • Contractor management skills-  According to CareerBuilder’s 2013 Jobs Forecast, 40% of employers in 2013 planned to use contract and temporary workers.  This is up from 36% in 2012.  This means that you need to ensure that your leaders know the difference in how to work with them vs. employees.  It’s imperative that leaders know not to create co-employment situations that put the employer at risk.
  • Keeping up with technology-  Much like the topic of social media, technology and the use in business is now “normal”.  Being unwilling to learn or even someone who does not follow general industry trends in the technology space puts you at a disadvantage.  If you want to gain success with customers, internally with communication and data, or even on a personal level, technology now plays a role.
  • Financial analysis skills-  I’ve been saying this for years now.  No matter what type of professional you are, you need to understand how the business you work for makes money.  The best way for you to gain this knowledge is to talk to your supervisor, CFO, Controller, etc.  Also, talk to the salesmen and women in your organization.  They can all give you views of how your organization makes money.  One you understand that, you can educate yourself on the basics of Finance 101.
  • Presentation skills-  I know you may be thinking you can’t do this.  That you are too afraid to speak in public.  Well, when talking about success, you will likely need to be able to share your ideas and vision of the future with colleagues and others.  This skill is key to develop.  Start small.  You can do this at home by speaking in church, for local organizations you are part of, or within your work team.  Just know that each time you participate in public speaking, you improve your ability to use persuasion to get your message across.
  • Project management skills-  Now that most of us get our “work” assignment through series of emails, you need to understand how to manage priorities.  This is always a work in progress so having some formal skills in managing projects can help you manage your day-to-day tasks as well.  You can take classes through local management associations or colleges or you can read up on the subject.

What have I missed?  Feel free to expand on the ideas from Andy and the ones I added.  What skills lead to business success?

Employee Brands Are The Unique Fingerprints of Corporate Brands

Personal brand.  Employer brand. These phrases are commonly heard today.

I am not a branding expert, guru, or maven.  I won’t even try to tell you how to build your brand from the ground up nor how to use social media platforms to promote your brand.  What I am interested in is the way that personal branding is affecting me as a consumer.

As someone who is an active user of social media, I have learned a bit about how to build my own brand online.  I set about to be myself, the “real” me in all I write online, and that in itself has helped to create my brand.  It’s also given me the perspective to look at how other people build their brands.  Some are purely annoying- trying to “sell” me something. Anything.  Some people build a false brand and it can be disappointing to learn that they are not who they appear to be. But, for the most part, I think there are many people like me.  People who are being genuine with who they are and what they represent.

The importance of an individuals brand goes beyond just who they are.  It can be a strong connection to the employer brand.  Each employee who creates a brand online is like a unique fingerprint of the hand of the corporation.  I find myself beginning to make purchasing decisions based on some of the individuals out there who do such a good job of showing who they really are.  It makes me want to do business with their companies and, in tough economic times, this can be a very important business advantage for the company.  Subconsciously I think I have been gravitating to brands I didn’t use before because if they can hire such great people, surely they must be a good company.

Are you changing your purchasing habits based on the employees of a company that you encounter online?  Have you stopped purchasing from certain companies based on their employee’s online presence?  Let me know in the comments.  I’d love to see which way the pendulum is swinging…

Top 3 Reasons CHRO’s Need To Embrace Social

As 2011 comes to a close, many people begin thinking about the coming year and ways they can either lose old habits or pick up a new, positive one.  This year I’ve had the opportunity to speak with more CEO’s and CHRO’s than ever before and one question comes up time and again.  Should I learn about social platforms? 

The answer is a layered one, the first of which is easy.  Yes, as a CHRO, you should know about social platforms.  In reality, you do not need to be an expert, you just need to become and advocate and champion.  You need to be willing to hire HR and marketing professionals who know the intricacies of how to use social tools and the reasons behind using them.  You need to have an understanding of the value that is becoming more apparent as various sites enhance and refine their social services and offerings.  The reality is you need to be open to social because it is no longer a trend or an option, it is a valuable way to do business.

What are the top reasons CHRO’s need to embrace social?  

It’s a communication catalyst-  Being involved in social media platforms is a way to be involved in the conversation that is happening about your organization.  It is your way to have a real-time view of what employees, candidates and customers are saying about your brand. Leaders have struggled for years to get these same groups of people to give feedback via survey and now you can obtain this information on a regular basis online.

For collaboration and the wisdom of crowds-  Using the wisdom of crowds and achieving shared outcomes has to be one of the best reasons to get involved online.  Long gone are the days of only pushing information out to various groups of people.  Today, it’s about the conversation and the ideas shared both ways.  Social platforms are a way for you as the CHRO to not only be part of this conversation but to LEAD  and give direction to the conversation.  Additionally, capturing the ideas and expertise of a group of people for minimal cost and at increasingly faster speeds is the best benefit of crowd-sourcing  information for your organization.

To know thy competition-  Whether you are the CHRO of a large, global organization or a small business, one of the key components of running a business is knowing what the competition is doing.  Social platforms are  a perfect way to aid in monitoring.  Not only that, you may see what they are doing and have an idea of how to do it better, so it becomes a way of taking best practices and ramping them up a notch.  You can also see what their employees, candidates and customers are saying about them.  Believe me, if your organization is not doing this, your competition is likely already monitoring you and determining how to stay ahead in the game.

There are many more reasons and benefits for the CHRO to become a knowledgeable advocate of social media platforms.  If you were speaking with your CHRO, what reasons would you give them and why?  Share with us in the comments.

 

 

 

Social Media: Your Key To Competitive Advantage

What comes to mind when you hear the words social media?  Do you think of sites that are popular today like Twitter, FaceBook, or LinkedIn?  Do you think it is just for teens or that it is just a tool to decrease employee productivity?  Or, can you see past all the negative hype and see how to exploit social media platforms for a competitive advantage?

That’s right, social media can be your key to competitive advantage.

It is a tool that can help you as an individual or as a business leader to stand head and shoulders above the rest.  Let’s be honest, in today’s lagging market, we need a way to stand out in a positive way and to reach our current and potential clients and customers.  So, how do we get there?  Social media. These are free tools that can be quickly learned and applied in ways that will communicate your brand.  If you’re like I was, then you just don’t make the connection how that is possible.  Let me share my story.

About two years ago, I participated in a webinar that demonstrated how to use Twitter.  I sat through it wondering how in the world this would pertain to me in my role as a human resources director.  I did not understand the concept of finding people with a certain background to follow.  I did not understand why someone would want to follow me and see what I’m doing moment by moment.  And so, like many, I signed off and did not touch it again.

Fast forward to a year ago.  I loved reading human resource blogs and started my own human resource blog.  I realized that many of the bloggers I was communicating with used Twitter so I signed back in.  I followed HR bloggers and other HR professionals and saw them sharing relevant HR articles on trends and core competencies . I began tweeting (sharing information in 140 characters via Twitter) each time I wrote a new post on my blog.  My followers would re-tweet it, meaning they would send it to all their followers.  I quickly saw my blog stats rise and simultaneously, my Twitter followers increased too.

I was marketing myself!

I fell into a situation where I quickly learned the power Twitter has to connect you with other like-minded professionals in your industry or with a certain market segment that you would like to reach.  The one caution I have is that the Twitter community is one not to take advantage of.  You have to be genuine and willing to share and communicate, not just push out your personal or company agenda.  Otherwise, you will be labeled a spammer and will quickly crash and burn.

Since that time, my blog has seen exponential growth, my personal brand as a HR professional has flourished and I have the opportunity to speak globally about the power of social media.

So, have I piqued your interest in getting involved with social media?  Add your questions or your own story in the comments.

It’s Never Too Late To Revamp Your Packaging

When is the last time you’ve thought about packaging and how you package yourself?  Not only your look, but how you message things?

It seems like there have been some good articles and posts later that touch on packaging.  I think it’s important to examine how you do this on a regular basis because we can all use a little improvement here and there.  Why?  Because so much of life is based on the perceptions of others.

Want a new job?  Want to sell your product?  Want to have someone take you seriously and get on board with your idea?  It all takes the right packaging.  If you or your message have “stale” packaging, you may not get that job, that sale, or get your idea moving.  Need an example?  Here’s one:

Picture someone in your organization who is not taken very seriously.  I can think of several in my career.  One that pops to mind is a very smart woman who dressed like she was still in 1980.  While that was a fun decade, wearing shoulder pads, tight, short pants, and BIG 80′s hair now is noticeable.   She even still rocked the 80′s blue eyeshadow.  Now, I am sure she has some great ideas.  However, people in the workplace cannot seem to get past her look.  They do not take her seriously.  Why?  Because her look is so outdated, they make the incorrect perception that her ideas must be outdated too.

Here’s another example.  Have you ever worked with someone that came across more like a used car salesman when trying to sell his message or idea?  No matter how good their idea is, most people cannot get past the way the person is pushing their message.  If you’re that “salesman”, then consider changing up your pitch.

My point is that even if you have fresh ideas, are you doing things to sabotage your messaging because the packaging is getting in the way?  If so, then NOW is the time to address it.

Regardless of what type of work you do, it does not necessarily take a lot of money to make a few simple changes to improve your chances of being taken seriously.  So, do you need re-packaging?  Does your message?  For some great tips on repackaging your message, check out HR Buoy’s recent post ‘How Packaging Can Change Your Message’.

Think it’s too late to update your look to better “sell” your ideas?  Well, after 40 years, Heinz ketchup is changing their packaging.  If it’s not too late for ketchup, it’s not too late for you! If you haven’t updated your wardrobe, go out this weekend and buy a few simple, classic pieces of clothes (black dressy slacks, crisp white button-down shirt, new black dress shoes, a few key accessories).  Add in a piece or two of color.  Stick to some that will mix and match.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but may help you change how you’re being perceived at work, in an interview setting, or when selling your product.  Worn your hair the same way for 10 years?  Time for a change.

What are some other ways we can revamp our packaging?  Share with us in the comments.

PRS Brand Camp: Community, Authenticity and Purpose

It’s true…I needed a mini vacation.  I know what you’re thinking- you’re wondering which beach I headed off to in search of a view and tall, frozen drink.  But you’re wrong.  When I thought of how I wanted to use a few days of vacation, my first thought was to head to PRS Brand Camp in Dallas, Texas.   After all, even adults can use summer camp.Summer Brand Camp banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brainchild of Joni Doolin, CEO of PeopleReport/ Black Box and Wally Doolin, Chairman of PeopleReport/ Black Box, Summer Brand Camp is one of the best events I have ever attended.  Touted as the intersection of consumer and employer branding, this event brings together service sector business people from HR, Operations and Marketing.  In just a few short days, you quickly solidify the notion that the ways that the various groups tie together is the key to really successful business strategy and outcomes.

Community

The first thing you’ll hear from every past attendee is how fun it is.  It’s true- you can go to a learning event and truly have fun getting to know your fellow attendees.  I was immediately thrown into a scavenger hunt where I met people from various companies.  My favorite was Nick Sarillo, CEO of Nick’s Pizza & Pub.  I’ll tell you more about Nick in a future post.  Suffice to say I’ve learned more from him than anyone else in a LONG time.  I just finished his book A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business.

I took silly Instagrams, I waded barefoot in a fountain, I crammed into a tent with a bunch of fun people.  It was amazing.  By the end of the first night, I had a whole new group of friends.  There is also a talent show (which was completely amazing!) and volunteer time to help several charities.  All great ways to get to know your fellow campers!

Authenticity

What you may not know is how much learning goes on at PRS Brand Camp.  I learned so much that I’ll have to write several posts to detail it all. Suffice to say that I walked away far more versed in labor relations, communications, culture, financial strategy and purpose.  Even I got in on the action when I co-presented with Julie Moreland from PeopleMatter.  More to come on our session later.

Purpose

One quote from Joni really stood out to me at the beginning of the event:

“Purpose driven employees are engaged.” ~ Joni Doolin

I don’t think there needs to be more said other than every moment I spent at this event was living, breathing purpose.  Thank you to Joni for inviting me to speak and to William Tincup for suggesting it.  I had an amazing time and encourage everyone to attend next June.