WilsonHCG has published this year’s “Fortune 500 Employment Branding Report” which comes up with the theme – “Strategic collaboration in the era of hyper-personalized candidate experience.” Focusing on candidate-centric brand strategy, the report opts for a holistic approach to make an employment brand successful. Back in 2015, the very first Fortune 500 Employment Brand Report was inspired by the strategic advantage that companies inclined towards promoting a strong employment brand had over others. However, this year’s report contains data that depict how some of the leading global organizations utilize employment branding as a strategic imperative rather than merely a strategic advantage.
The report stresses on integrating marketing, branding, human resources and talent acquisition teams with executive leadership in order to make a brand reach its desired level of success. Along with the top 100 employment brand rankings, the report focuses on eight industries consisting of most of the Fortune 500 companies and highlights the leading company for each industry. For a better analysis of employment branding, the report identifies 4 key stages – Awareness and attraction, Recruitment, Candidate Experience, and Employee Experience.
While summarizing this year’s Fortune 500 Employment Branding Report, the key fact that has been taken into consideration is – ‘what makes a brand great?’
AWARENESS AND ATTRACTION
Employment needs to be presented in a persuasive manner through recruitment market campaigns. Though content and distribution strategy might vary from company to company, awareness, and attraction hold 20 points out of 100 in building a strong employment brand. Recruitment marketing trends are vital when it comes to creating awareness and attraction.
Intelligent technology, like – cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality ensure a better-personalized experience for candidates and thus recruitment marketing efforts are being supported. For instance – Marriott International, ranked 4 in the top 100 employment brand rankings, uses a chatbot in its website to respond to the candidates’ basic queries. This makes the candidates’ job easier to be involved in the engagement process without requiring to meet a recruiter in person.
The rising gig economy provides more on-demand job opportunities to the candidates, creating the need for engaging passive candidates by the recruiters. However, merely building up talent communities will not suffice as candidates desire for updated recruitment marketing materials and they also try to be involved in career and industry discussions, which is necessary to create a loyal employee base. Moreover, the traditional approach of procurement departments to count on temporary employees has changed as companies now expect procurement to work with the human resources department to ensure authentic employment brand experience for all the employees.
The significance of diverse and inclusive cultures is addressed by the leading Fortune 500 companies. It is the employees’ ability to tell their individual, authentic employment stories that strengthen an employment brand. For example – Hershey, ranked 20th in the top employment brand list, explains Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in order to promote its diverse and inclusive culture. Such work groups consist of – Abilities First, African American, Asian, genH (Generations), Latino, Prism (LGBTQ and Allies Affinity Group), Veterans and Women’s groups, which are destined to incentivize an inclusive work environment. The 178th brand, United Technologies offers coaching to employees who have taken career breaks of 2 or more years, ensuring a smooth transition of those employees back to their work.
In recruiting entry-level employees, there is no alternative to recruiting college and university graduates. Southern Company, ranked 106th in the Fortune 500 list, has reached to secondary level students and teachers. The company is also inspiring the youth to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Johnson & Johnson has been the leading brand in the Fortune 500 Employment Brand Report for the past 4 years and it became the only company to score 20 out of 20 points in the ‘Awareness and attraction’ category.
Company culture should be evaluated before shifting the focus to employment branding in order to be familiar with the employees’ feelings. The HR team along with the marketing and branding teams should convey inspiring messages to the candidates to make them engage with the brand. Employment brand collateral and distribution approach need to be improved constantly on the basis of candidate and employee feedback.
Though the age-old post-and-pray strategy has lost acceptance over the years, companies still struggle with properly utilizing modern job advertising channels. Some businesses are still unaware of the advantages of embracing an employee referral program to attract top talent to their team. Despite the fact that companies recognize the value of posting to different job boards, the report’s job advertising analysis suggests that companies often underestimate the impact social media has in terms of promotional activities. The report has awarded 31 points to recruitment in creating better employment brands.
The leading Fortune 500 companies adopt an omnichannel approach to promoting jobs. High scoring employers in this category, like ADP (ranked 7th), General Motors (ranked 5th), Northrop Grumman (ranked 11th) post to numerous job boards with a view to engaging a wider audience. It is important to bear a similar messaging approach across all platforms while using several job boards, as it makes the job seekers’ tasks easier to recognize a particular company’s brand.
Videos serve as great ad content as job ads including videos are viewed 12 percent more than those excluding videos and HR teams using videos receive a 34 percent increment in application rate. Furthermore, a strong social media presence is essential for brands to have the best strategy. Currently, most of the job seekers (79 in percentage) use social media while searching for jobs and they expect brands to show their presence in social media platforms. Apart from engaging active and passive candidates, social media can function as a good tool to display an employment brand and share the relevant content. For instance – PepsiCo (ranked 52) draws its candidates’ attention to the awards it has won and the corporate social responsibility initiatives it has undertaken. It is also essential for companies to set talent priorities before going for recruitment. A company’s social media presence must encompass all platforms, ranging from professional engagement on LinkedIn to researching company stances on Twitter in order to convey a uniform message to the candidates. The marketing teams need to acquire proper digital knowledge needed to post and promote ads whereas the HR and talent acquisition teams remain busy with posting on different job boards. Thus, cross-team collaboration strengthens the recruitment efforts of a brand.
The most crucial element in talent acquisition is career websites, as they enlighten the candidates with an insight into company culture and values, career progression opportunities, and employment benefits. Intelligent technology, like – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are being used by companies to ensure better candidate experience. Using chatbots for initial screening or for answering candidates’ basic questions leads to a faster candidate journey. The Virtual Reality (VR) training was conducted by Walmart (ranked 34) in 2018 throughout the United States. Walmart found the VR training to be a confidence booster of the employees, as it led to an overall increase in employee test scores. Additionally, VR can be utilized in making skill-based games in order to quickly assess the candidates who score well.
Creating mobile-friendly websites is a must when it comes to career website development, as most of the candidates now prefer to engage with their employers using their smartphones. Video interviews are eliminating the distance between candidates and employers. AI is expected to recognize candidates’ facial expressions in order to determine their level of honesty and virtual tours of company headquarters using video interviewing tools are being popular.
Leading companies provide access to sufficient information regarding career websites in order to keep the candidates updated about their opportunities. For instance – Cisco Systems (ranked 20) enables job seekers to read stories from their current employees regarding their progress within the business.
Department-specific areas on career sites is a must-have for companies in order to ensure better candidate experience. Google (ranked 27) publishes topic related news articles, blog posts and current opportunities on its development-specific career landing pages.
Company values play a significant role in making a brand great, as 49 percent of people view it as the most important part of marketing content. Nationwide (ranked 42) includes a cultural match questionnaire for its candidates, where candidates are directed to the career website with current opportunities if their values match the company’s ones. Candidates failing to make a match based on the survey are politely informed about their different values but they do have access to view current openings. Usually, the HR departments own career websites but the contribution from every business unit is equally important to keep career websites properly functional. Meanwhile, some career websites make it easier for candidates to stay connected with talent acquisition teams by clearly mentioning the recruiter’s contact information. Hilton Worldwide Holdings (ranked 27) has a “meet your recruiter” button for easier candidate experience.
Career websites must include personalization and serve each niche audience including – specific business units and contingent workforce. Having a region-specific virtual assistant is a plus, as Procter & Gamble’s (ranked 10) holds a region-specific virtual assistant that answers questions in multiple languages. Such personalized candidate experience encourages candidates to prioritize a particular brand over others.
Content plays the most crucial part when it comes to presenting a company to the candidates. Transparency is created via real stories from current employees, which in turn improves candidate experience. The importance of transparency has been highlighted in the 2019 Fortune 500 Employment Brand Report. Although it is unwise to expect every review to be A-rated in Glassdoor or Indeed, job seekers gather genuine insights from candid reviews. Therefore, it is a golden opportunity to work on improving candidate and employee experience based on objective feedback.
Non-traditional interviews have gained more popularity than the mundane, traditional forms of interviews. Taking interviews during lunch or dinner time, immersing candidates in a virtual setting where their aptitude is tested or administering soft skill assessments to measure team working or time management capabilities are giving candidates the scope to stay relaxed and be themselves while facing interviews.
Learning and Development (L&D) needs to be a part of a company’s workforce planning programs, as it is estimated that 38 to 40 million fewer workers with college or postgraduate will be available by 2020. Recent research suggests the need for reskilling for 54 percent of the workforce by 2022. Companies that undertake L&D initiatives will certainly remain ahead of the changes that await.
All the employees must be dedicated to ensuring positive employee experience at work. It is the recruiters’ responsibility not to let candidates or employees give a poor experience to post about, as poor employment experiences are most likely to affect referral programs. Anyone having an unexpected experience with a brand will not refer it to others for sure.
Workplaces accolades permit a company to be considered as a leader in a particular industry. Though Salesforce, 3M, Charles Schwab, and PepsiCo have perfect scores in employee experience, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies have not been able to score a single point.
Conducting regular internal satisfaction survey is important, as all the companies labeled as “Great Places to Work” are identified based on employee feedback. Accolades help companies build trust about the genuineness about employment brand, as candidates want to see the award-winning tendencies of a company. It is important to post about the accolades on social media, for instance – The Bank of New York Mellon displays its accolades on its career website, dividing them into categories based on award types. The necessity of earning local awards alongside local and international awards is also addressed by the leading companies. Raytheon (ranked 44) has won multiple global as well as regional awards. It has headquarters in Massachusetts, where the Massachusetts Health Council recognized it for a healthy worksite. In the end, it is not all about winning awards but it is the contribution of the entire company in promoting the positive aspects of working in the company that matters the most.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a topmost priority for today’s candidates, as around two-thirds of the job seekers conduct research to unveil whether a particular company’s CSR claims are authentic or not. This number increases to more than three-quarters among those aged between 18 to 35 years old. Providing employees with paid time off in exchange for volunteering with local charities is a great sign of a company’s inclination to give back without expecting any direct return. Such gesture develops a sense of trust among current employees and increases retention rates. A comparison between people who participated in CSR activities and those who did not demonstrate that people who participated were 32 percent less likely to leave their jobs compared to their counterparts. Environment programs can also play a huge role as 64 percent of millennials have been found to consider a company’s environmental and social commitments while deciding to work.
Ethical business practices are a must to ensure the wellbeing of staff and boost productivity. Loyalty and trust are the two inevitable elements towards a company’s success and practicing ethical business confirm the prevalence of these two. In the era of technology and social media, the absence of ethical practices will surely lead to failure of the companies. Ethics training, like – educating the staff about business ethics, corporate governance, diversity, and inclusion, health and safety, harassment and bullying are essential in promoting ethical business practices within a company.
In a nutshell, it is the integrated implementation of all the components that can make a brand great. If fragments of the components function properly with a void created by the dysfunction of others, it will have a negative impact on the entire brand reputation.
Report Summarized by Yamin Rahman
N.B. This is an abridged version of the ‘2019 Fortune 500 Employment Brand Report. Illustrations & visuals used in it are collected from the original report by WilsonHCG, a global RPO, executive search, talent consulting and talent acquisition solutions provider, extracted from https://www.wilsonhcg.com/2019-eb-report