5 lessons you can learn from the world’s best marketers about building employer brand

Recruiters and HR folk are playing more and more in that floaty, conceptual brand world where marketers usually hang out.

It makes sense. Employer brand’s role in attraction and sourcing the best candidates isn’t going anywhere. And especially for the big retailers, there’s a growing awareness that the line between employer brand/candidate relationship and corporate brand/customer relationship is becoming increasingly blurry.

 

Is that a candidate or a customer? I can’t even tell anymore

 

A strong employer brand will make lasting impact, adding weight to everything you do, helping you cut through the clutter. In essence, your employer brand lets you build real, lasting relationships with people. A weak employer brand is a barrier standing in the way of those relationships. At best it’s a difficult hurdle. At worst it’s actively damaging your ability to do your job.

That’s why getting fluent in the language and practice of building brand is a good move for people-people. The good news is there’s a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be tapped down the hall in your marketing department.

Your marketers are expert in finding small, simple ways to bring your values to life in everything from your websites to your advertising. They instinctively know how to segment audiences, connect with them on an intimate level and then keep them on the hook en masse. They’re also really practised at spotting how you can make the biggest impact with the most people for the least money. And let’s face it, big impact for small money is music to…well, everyone’s ears.

Tapping into that knowledge doesn’t just make your job easier. Those companies where marketing and HR work closely together (like the awesome team at Progressive Insurance) gain a significant head start over those whose departments keep their distance. As you and your marketers get cosier, here are 5 insights you can take from some of the world’s best brand builders that you can start applying to your employer brand today:

 

1. Creativity isn’t just fun – it’s also effective

How that applies to your employer brand: Using creativity in your employer brand campaigns will make budgets go further and help attract exactly the people you want.

 

“Two decades of international research measurably demonstrates that creative campaigns are more effective campaigns, and that more creative businesses are more successful. Creativity works by making campaigns more likely to stand out, more likely to be recalled, more likely to be talked about and more likely to persuade people.”  James Hurman, The Case for Creativity.

 

Since the days of Mad Men, marketing has intuitively understood the value of creativity. Brand strategist James Hurman put that gut instinct to the test. In his book The Case for Creativity he demonstrated through 15 major research studies that the more creative a brand is, the more effective they are convincing the right people to buy.

Your employer brand is selling a product too – the roles at your organisation, with top talent as your target. That means that pushing for recruitment campaigns that go beyond the traditional is worth it – you’ll make more noise, be more attractive to the people you want, and have more lasting impact than you would with a ‘safer’, more traditional approach.

As an example, L’Oréal’s creative “are you IN?” campaign didn’t just break the mould, it also returned in a big way. They grew their LinkedIn fan base to 300,000, with 70% of those interested in a job opportunity with them. Now that’s what I’d call a successful Expressions of Interest drive.

  

2. Build your brand by connecting with people emotionally

How that applies to your employer brand: In a nutshell? Pay attention to the candidate experience.

 

“I create messaging that forms an emotional connection with people. My boss has referred to my job title as Chief Emotion Officer.” Kelly Bennett, CMO of Netflix

 

When building your employer brand, attracting someone into a specific role right away isn’t always the immediate goal – what you do always want to do is get people hooked on your culture. That’s about connecting with people, giving them insight into who you are and leaving them wanting more. That paves the way for the future, and adds power to the next message – when you’re advertising a role that might fit them well.

Building emotional connection means all your candidates – even the unsuccessful ones – should leave with a great feeling about your company. The candidate experience, therefore should reflect who you are as company. Don’t be afraid to move away from dry corporate imagery or language. Every touchpoint, from the job ad to the application experience to the emails you send during the process is an opportunity to share a bit of your brand and connect with your candidates on an emotional level.

 

3. Stand for something.

How that applies to your employer brand: Attracting the right people is more important than attracting the most people. As recruiters, we often do this refining at the screening stage. Great marketers know the smart money is in doing this at the attraction stage, and they advise doing it by taking a clear position with employer brand.

 

“Brand must be part of culture to be successful, so the challenge is to find the purpose and connection. It’s critical to have a sharp point of view and stick to it. If that means there are some people who are not part of your customer base that’s ok, as long as you believe what you’re doing is right.” Seth Farbman, CMO, Spotify

 

Marketers know that accessing more customers isn’t always the goal – sometimes (often!) it’s about singling out the very best customers – the best ones who will engage deeply and become passionate advocates. The earlier in the process you do this, the more efficient your process becomes.

The same applies to your employer brand. Even at a most basic level, drowning in huge volumes is nearly always a negative. What is ideal is if the right candidates apply – those are the candidates who, yes, have the right experience and skills, but more importantly, are the ones who share your values and mission. They’ll be driven by the same things and passionate about what you’re doing.

A bit of CX/values inspo from our pals at Atlassian

These people will be more engaged in the process, add to your culture, stay longer once you hire them and help drive the productivity of your teams. And if you need some data to support that claim? Here’s a crowd-sourced list of research and articles we’ve been building over the past few years.

 

Emily Culp, former CMO of Keds supports this idea, “Everything we do is designed to build culture and establish what our brand stands for.  A solid grounding in understanding the day to day purpose of our brand frankly helps me motivate my team. That work helps all of us do our jobs better and helps us stay passionate about our consumer.”

 

Just as in marketing, attracting the right talent means taking a brave (read: honest) stand in the market, shouting from the roof about who you are as a company and being clear about who you aren’t. Are you a youthful, edgy brand? Go ahead and use slang in your communications – you’ll certainly put off some candidates (ie. the wrong ones) but you’ll connect with the right ones. Do you have a clear purpose, attitude or mission? Build that into everything you do. This bleeds over into your internal relationships resulting in better retention of talent.

 

4. Listen to your audience and give them what they need

How that applies to your employer brand: Listen to your talent market and get flexible with your approach and offering.

 

“To be truly customer-centric [the head of strategy and insight] and I have to be working hand in glove. I see her as a key partner in bringing the truth of the customer to our team, and using that to build the marketing plan,” Morgan Flatley, CMO Macdonald’s USA

 

A marketer’s role goes beyond spitting out marketing messages, in exactly the same way as a recruiter’s roles goes far beyond sorting resumes into piles. They often are instrumental in changing the products or services to better align with the changing needs of their audiences – essentially asking, what can we do to make it easier for our audience to buy from us.

The same goes for you as you build your employer brand – what can your People team do to make it easier for the talent out there to choose you. Put an ear to the ground to discover who your potential talent pool really are – what drives them and what they’re looking for, then adjust the way you’re communicating and what you’re offering accordingly. That’s almost certainly not just about salary raises – it could be around things like flexible work opportunities, charitable initiatives or a unique way of working.

 

5. Evolve, but stay true to your core

How that applies to your employer brand: Keep up with changing times, but don’t lose sight of who your company is at its centre.

 

“We make sure that everything that we do is very true to the values of our brand and bring that brand to life in a way that we protect as much as possible,” Julia Goldin – Chief Marketing Officer, Lego

 

Lego has always been focussed on diversification. For decades that strategy worked well for them, until it went too far. In 1998, the company posted its first-ever deficit – it cut jobs, and faced more falling sales in the early 2000s. Their new CEO in 2004 was tasked with refocusing Lego back to where their heart is – building and creation, messages that had become muddied amongst their wildly growing product portfolio. Their huge come-back success can be attributed to this commitment to their core values, even while continuing to evolve with the needs of their audience.

For your employer brand, the need to evolve is, of course, paramount. As new trends emerge and the needs of candidates change, it’s tempting to throw everything out and jump on every shiny bandwagon that goes trundling past. While that can work at first, it will have a shelf life – eventually these new policies or approaches will begin to clash with the core principles, values or missions of the company.

For example, is really clear, honest communication a fundamental part of your culture? Chucking a buggy chat-bot or confusing gamification experiencing into your recruiting process might seem like a cool, down-with-the-millenials idea when you’re cruising HRTech conferences. But if it’s making your communication less clear and less honest with your candidates, it’s muddying your employer brand. It’s a brand-crime.

Just like Lego is working hard again to ensure all their activities support their core mission, every change in your HRTech stack or process should start with one question – does this support and reinforce our values?

 

Bring your marketers into your world

Wherever you sit in the HR or Recruiting team, core marketing skills are becoming more and more integral to your job. Understanding how to build and harness brand to build meaningful relationships with talent will give you a significant edge. In the same way TA and HR teams are working together to define and build employer brand, how about you rope in the marketing crew down the hall to give you some tricks for communicating it?

 

Weirdly turns your employer brand into a super-slick candidate experience. Integrated in your existing application process, we make sure the first touch people have with your employer brand is a positive one – whether or not they end up getting the job.

Candidates are customers too. About time we treated them that way, no?

In the world of retail, mountains of investment are poured into polishing customer experiences every year. The idea is that if everyone you touch leaves with a positive feeling about your brand, that positive feeling will result in more money spent at the checkout counter. It’s not only logical, it’s been proven to work. A recent McKinsey study claims a 10% improvement in customer experience results in a 10% increase in revenue.

And here’s the clincher: in the retail sector, the vast majority of your recruitment candidates are ALSO CUSTOMERS.

Just think about that for a second.

That means every interaction you’re having with your candidate pool, are also interactions with your customer base. This all boils down to one indisputable fact for recruiters and recruitment marketers:

A great customer experience starts with a great candidate experience. Or put in a more sobering frame, a poor candidate experience is a poor customer experience.

We’ve all heard about the famous Virgin Media calculation: From 123,000 rejected candidates each year, 6% were cancelling their monthly Virgin Media subscription. That equates to about 7,500 cancellations – about £4.4 million per year. By reframing candidate experience as an opportunity for customer retention (and as it turns out, acquisition), Virgin actually turned those losses into a £9.7Million sales improvement.

I mean, that’s a good day at the office, right?

This is what turning -4.4M into +9.7M feels like.

We spend a lot of time talking about efficiency in business – breaking down silos, improving cross-department collaboration, making sure all parts of the business are working together to create consistently great offerings, beautiful customer experiences and happy shareholders. This shared outcome – candidate/customer experience – is a great example of that efficiency in action.

Recruitment and talent managers are in an awesomely privileged (and powerful) position in this equation. The people you’re talking to every day – whether it’s through job ads and social media posts or screening activities and interviews – are not just the ones who will design and deliver all the parts of your company’s services, they’re also the ones who buy those same products and services.

Finding little ways to make engagement with these people smoother and more enjoyable can actually enhance your recruiting process while also making sure the impact you’re having on them as customers is a positive one.

 

Three ways to polish your candidate/customer crossover

Here are a few practical start points to consider:

  1. Do your top-of-funnel touchpoints complement the in-store experience? 

    If you had to boil down the feeling customers get when they walk into your stores to one or two key messages, what would they be? For example, at Bunnings, it might be “People go out of their way to be helpful here”. Now think about where candidates have their first interaction with you – your careers site, your social presences or maybe your job ads and initial application form. Are these touch points reinforcing that same message? Bunnings does this really nicely on their career site by including a very clear, step-by-step breakdown of the application process (as well as a super-friendly and simple pre-application quiz).

  2. Do you actually know, for sure, what candidates think of your CX?

    Data is fun. But let’s face it, putting numbers around candidate experience can be pretty tricky. In order to justify spending on your CX, you really have to find a way to measure it.  We developed our own WeirdlyNXS feature to do just that. If you’ve got a custom Weirdly pre-screening quiz included in your process, you can automatically collect real, qualifiable data measuring your candidate experience. Alternatively, you can look into adding an existing marketing-style NPS solution to your process.

  3. How do you say no? 

    48% of candidates list “waiting to hear back from a potential employer” as their number one pain point. If you’re fielding large volumes of applicants, that’s a helluva lot of people associating  anxious or nervous feelings with your brand. We all know rejection can be hard, but uncertainty is much worse. There are some good ideas in this blog, but ultimately, think about how you’d like to be treated as a start point. Don’t leave applications hanging – no ghosting! Be clear, be prompt, be honest and tactful. And don’t forget the top of the funnel – high volumes mean personalised messages might not be possible, but this is where you can take advantage of automation. We’ve had customers include an automatic “based on your answers, you might not enjoy working here” message if they score below their pre-screening quiz threshold. That’s enough to keep applicants feeling informed and like their time is being respected.

 

Of course, there’s another bonus to looking at your candidates this way. It means you’ve got ammo for the next budget conversation you have with your CFO. How much resource is marketing allocated for brand sentiment work? What about your customer service department? There’s a huge opportunity here for resource sharing, cross-department collaboration, budget re-allocation. However you look at it, the days of recruitment experiences playing second-fiddle to every other touch-point are over.

Because really, ultimately, building a beautiful candidate experience is all about your customers.

 

If your CX could use an extra polish, Weirdly’s custom pre-application quizzes might be just what you need to build your employer brand and give every candidate a “wow” experience.

Weirdly language translation: A properly global candidate experience

Bonjour! Kia Ora! 你好! Olá!

Whatever language your candidates use to say hi, Weirdly’s right there with our new translation feature.

Gone are the days where a global recruitment means watering down your candidate experience to a boring, easily-translatable ATS application form. With this new feature you can showcase your employer brand, give candidates a peek at your organisational culture and inject a bit of fun right at the front of your application process, in any language you like.

This guy is as chuffed as we are about recruiting in Mandarin

How does Weirdly work in different languages?

First, for any newbies here, Weirdly produces simple, fully-customised quizzes that integrate into your current recruitment process. These not only transform your application process into a world-class candidate experience, they also screen every single applicant for alignment with your core organisational values. That means faster screening (as we pre-qualify based on alignment), higher candidate engagement and ultimately, better quality hires that don’t churn.

Until now, we could only offer this improved candidate experience in english speaking recruitment campaigns – not ideal for any of our larger, global customers. So we built them a feature you all get to benefit from.

Being able to serve the same screening quiz in different languages has the obvious advantage of giving applicants all around the world, a consistent and inclusive employee brand experience. Particularly awesome for our customers who’re recruiting customer-facing, retail or hospo roles.

 

With an ATS Integration:

If you’re using Weirdly integrated into your ATS process, your quiz will automatically be attached to each job ad, in the language of that ad. So say you’re advertising a role on a major US job-board, with a Chinese version posted on WeChat. The WeChat ad will automatically be linked to your Chinese language Weirdly quiz, while the English version will be attached to the US job board ad. This linking is done automatically in your ATS without you having to click any extra buttons – keeping it super simple!

Hiring in brazil? Sem problemas!

Without an ATS integration:

Whether you’re running a campaign outside your usual ATS process, or hosting an expressions of interest/talent pooling job on your career site, a Weirdly quiz is a brilliant way to attract and engage with your applicants. People clicking into your custom quiz will be presented with language options to choose from. On selecting their preferred language, they’ll be able to click straight through and complete the questions in their preferred language. Such an easy way to create an inclusive, accessible candidate experience.

 

If you’re serious about diversity and inclusion, or recruiting across global markets, engaging with candidates in their preferred language is important. We’re chuffed to offer a way to do that, without compromising on candidate experience. Ka rawe!

 

Weirdly screening quizzes include a question bank tailored to your company and validated by the Weirdly CultureLab. It’s branded to look and feel like your company, and can be integrated seamlessly with your ATS. Sound cool? Find out how it could slot into your process

 

 

WeirdlyNXS: Like NPS, but just for candidate experience

Building great candidate experience can feel like packing your kid an ornate lunchbox, hoping for good feedback but knowing you’re more likely to get a frustratingly ambiguous shrug. Did they love it? Did they hate it? WHO KNOWS!? Meanwhile, you’re stuck periodically sniffing for old sandwiches fermenting under a bed.

Not anymore! Well, not for your candidate experience at least. Our new WeirdlyNXS feature is here to help you put quantifiable certainty around your candidate experience. If you want to talk to someone today about how this might slot into your recruitment process, click here. Unfortunately, you’re still on your own with the lunchbox.

NXS – the X stands for eXperience, not lunchboX.

Weirdly’s new NXS feature borrows the best parts of the NPS (NetPromotorScore) tool, trusted by marketers all over the world, and tweaks it for the specific recruiting context. What does that mean exactly? Well, where NPS reports on customer loyalty based on answers to a simple question, NXS gives you tangible metrics around candidate experience using a similar question.

Why is NPS such a big deal?

Marketers love to talk about how difficult customer/brand relationships are to measure. Everyone agrees a customer’s loyalty to your brand is a pretty good indicator of great things like “buying more products” and “influencing contacts to buy more products”. These are signs a marketer is doing their job well, but loyalty is pretty hard to measure accurately. Enter, NPS.

NetPromoterScore is a simple question, worded and delivered in a specific way, that puts metrics to loyalty. The logic goes, the more loyal a customer feels toward your brand, they’re more likely to actively promote your products to their friends and networks.

Anyone who selects 9 or 10 is flagged as a “promoter” – they’re most likely be great brand ambassadors who spend a lot with you and/or recommend you to everyone they know. People who choose 7 or 8 are labelled “passives”. They’re pretty neutral – maybe not promoting you, but probably not bad-mouthing you either. Anyone scoring you between 0-6 are called “detractors”. These customers are the most likely to be unhappy with your product or service.

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters gives you your overall Net Promoter Score. This is the “one metric to rule them all” marketers use to answer the question “how good is our brand loyalty?”.

So why is NPS interesting to recruitment?

Just like with loyalty, putting hard numbers around your candidate experience is notoriously difficult. It’s also incredibly important – as our candidate experience impact calculator demonstrates.

Using the NPS model – very simple format, a single dip-stick metric – we believe it’s possible to create an accurate candidate experience measure. We’re calling it NXS – Net Experience Score.

So how is NXS different?

Measuring your candidate experience is often left as a retrospective exercise, done with successful candidates only. That’s frustrating because it relies on people’s recall and it doesn’t take into account all the other people who experienced the application process.

Recruiters and HR heads are starting to experiment with using the NPS question as a more immediate way to get feedback. At Weirdly, we liked this thinking, but kept getting stuck on the idea that measuring loyalty (like traditional NPS) doesn’t seem like the right metric for candidate experience. Think about it this way:

Imagine you’re an engineer, applying for your dream job at NASA. After completing your application, you’re asked the traditional NPS question. Most of your friends are designers so of course you wouldn’t recommend they apply for THIS job. Does that mean you had a bad candidate experience? Or does it just mean the question is measuring the wrong thing?

So we’ve come up with our own alternative – taking the best bits of NPS, but tweaking the question to better focus on how the candidate rates their experience. WeirdlyNXS cNPSSlotted into the end of Weirdly’s custom screening quizzes, our NXS question is delivered to every single candidate after they’ve hit the submit button. The results are calculated as each candidate responds, then included in the regular reports shared with you by your Weirdly customer Manager.

If you’d like to get real, reportable metrics around candidate experience, choose a time to talk to our team about WeirdlyNXS today!

What is this magic! 15sec video intros at the front of your recruitment process?!

One of the most common features we get requests for is video. Video integration, video interviewing, video screening – basically anything that includes a candidate looking deep into their camera and spilling their truth.

We get it, there’s nothing quite like looking someone in the eye. So we’re super excited to share our latest feature. A video solution we’re sure you’re all going to love. Hold on to your socks, things are about to get very, very cool.

Video screening that’s dead simple – for you and your candidate

Considering video in early stage screening is a no brainer – especially for customer-facing roles where someone’s ability to convey warmth and connect right from the word go is paramount. But noone has time to churn through hours of video.

Our solution is short, sharp and gives you just what you need – 15-30secs, answering one question you can customise yourself. Best of all, it’s seamless for the candidate – so you’re not adding lots of time and clicks at their end and your beautiful candidate experience is being enhanced, not destroyed.

Candidate application selfie video

This could be your candidate. Look at how happy she is about your new, frictionless video application!

How does it work?

For your candidate, the process couldn’t be simpler.

At the end of your super-awesome, custom Weirdly quiz – at the same place they normally drop in their details and upload their resume and/or picture (if you require it), they’ll see a button to upload a video.

Worried your candidates won’t know what they’re clicking on? Don’t be. Hovering on the button or clicking the question mark next to it reveals a helpful blurb to manage expectations.

Clicking the button will reveal your custom question. This could be anything you like, from “You’ve got 30seconds to tell us about your first pet” to “In 15seconds or fewer, explain the theory of relativity”. The clincher is it’s got to be fast. 15-45seconds fast.

The idea is you’re getting a chance to see another side of your candidate, and they’re getting a chance to showcase a bit more of what makes them special. So while these videos might give you a really awesome jumping off point in an interview with this candidate down the line (Hey Charlie, your first pet was a dragon?? Tell me how that came about!), they don’t replace the deep, probing questions you’d ask further through the process.

And if they realise they’ve made a huge mistake – their sound was turned off or they shot the whole thing with the camera pointed at the ceiling – they can re-record at the click of a button.

For the recruiter, it’s just as seamless.

When you’re reviewing a candidate’s quiz report, the video they’ve recorded will be there ready to click and watch right under their profile info.

 

If you’re using Weirdly integrated into your ATS (so you don’t actually ever log into Weirdly itself), your candidate’s video can be passed through to your ATS too. This differs slightly for each ATS so get in touch with your Weirdly customer manager if you’d like to see how this works in your specific ATS.

If you’re keen on adding short, simple video early on in your process while keeping that candidate experience smoooooth, get in touch. We’ll run you through a demo and talk specifics around your own process and pricing. 

#HRTechFest Day Two: Too much good stuff

As day two of HRTechFest came to close, it was clear Australia’s leading HR festival isn’t showing any signs of losing its top spot on the event circuit. It was two days (and an evening, if you count Sunday’s pre-event, event) packed to the brim with inspirational keynotes, on and offline banter, and real, tangible, practical ideas for people-people looking to learn.

The exhibit area was no different – the best HR Tech has to offer was on show (including yours truly ?). Alongside the custom t-shirt printing and donut walls, delegates got to see live demos of products and talk to exhibitors in real detail about how new tech tools would fit into their own processes.

End of Day Two: Thumbs ups have reached extreme levels

Just like on day one, there were some clear themes that had people buzzing all day (that is, inbetween the bouts of FOMO-induced anxiety about which talks to attend). Here are the top things delegates couldn’t stop talking about:

Gamification. Not as complex as it seems

Gabe Zichermann (Onward) had the whole conference talking about technology addiction and gamification. Rather than the elaborate (read: expensive) experiences we often imagine, Gabe talked about the simple principals and ideas behind the concept of gamification. Most interestingly, he talked about how we can apply them in logical and practical ways to build positive cultures.

Knowledge obesity and being more human

Atlassian’s Dominic Price presented a really thought provoking session where he talked about the relationship between knowledge an application. His challenge was to balance our quest for an overload of knowledge, with strategic application of that knowledge. He echoed the cry of many of this week’s speakers: Great technology is only part of the solution. Defining our problems carefully and specifically and retaining a human-to-human perspective is also vital.

Design thinking, Agile and Team dynamics

Flexibility and strategic creativity were popular themes across all the speakers getting social media buzz. Whether they were talking about making huge, companywide change like Natalie Peters at Telstra, applying gamification to build culture or innovating better toys at Lego, finding ways to think beyond the traditional approach was the common thread. Building teams and tailoring learning initiatives to help employees thrive in changing environments isn’t a challenge that’s going to go away anytime soon, so it was awesome to hear so many speakers share their experiences in this area.

 

As well as all these topics, conversations still kept coming around to the cornerstone issues of culture, values and experience (employee and candidate). Because of this, our “what makes you Weirdly awesome” values wall was super-popular.

I got doooots, they’re multiplying

We had people flocking at breaks to select the value they believe makes them really great at their job. We’re pulling the data we captured into a simple report we’ll circulate over the next few days. If you’d like a copy but didn’t make it to our stand, you can get in touch by booking a demo below!

Weirdly screens every single applicant for values alignment without ever leaving your ATS. You see the best candidates instantly – saving up to 25% processing time. Best of all, Weirdly’s custom candidate experience creates 40% higher engagement, strong employer brand and reduces bias. You build more diverse teams, unified by your company’s core values.

 

#HRTechFest Day One: Useful buzzwords only

Well here we are already, day one of Australia’s biggest (and fastest growing) HR event is in the can. It was a huge day – awesome speakers, dancing with giant flowers over lunch-time and a buzzing exhibition zone.

Equal parts elegant and sassy

Here’s our breakdown of the key things that were getting the most chatter on the ground:

Our awesome stand and custom conference quiz

Ok, ok, maybe we’re tooting our own horn a bit here but honestly, our team’s doing an amazing job. If you’re visiting tomorrow, swing by, let us know the values you think make you awesome at your job and have a chat to our crew about how Weirdly can improve your candidate experience and screening. If you’re not at the conference, you can still join in with our cheeky custom quiz: Could YOU be Australia’s Next Prime Minister? (and get a sneak peek at the kind of magic we can work on your own application process).

Harnessing design thinking in HR

Chris Havrilla (Bersin Deloitte) spoke passionately about how HR teams can use design thinking frameworks to support growth. Getting clarity around the needs and problems to be solved, and using the insight and design thinking structure to support business cases for boundary-pushing innovation.

Learn to love data

HR is becoming increasingly strategic and ever more complex. Leaders in our industry are reskilling and getting more comfortable with using data to inform and support decision-making and a number of speakers today talked about the rest of us need to follow suit. More and more tools are entering the market flooding us with opportunities to collect, connect and analyse data (*cough* includingWeirdly *cough*), it’s time to start using them in our own processes.

Don’t forget to be human

HR needs to take themselves out of the world of automation and into the world of relationships. Ultimately, HR and recruiting is about humans, connecting with other humans. Automation, AI, Predictive data – and every other shiny new tool or system you come across can be brilliant for our teams and workflows. At the end of the day though, we should also be challenging them to make our process feel MORE human, not less.

We’re pumped for day 2 tomorrow so stay tuned for the final wrap up – you might even find out if you’ve got a shot at the top job in Canberra. And if you can’t catch the crew tomorrow but are keen to understand how Weirdly can improve your candidate experience, speed up screening and give you visibility over your diversity, book a demo with us now.

* If you’re interested in reading our day two wrapup, click here.

Weirdly + Bumble: A custom theme to get the beehive buzzing

The office is buzzing with our latest custom-theme launch.

Bumble approached us recently about including a customised Weirdly quiz on their (already pretty awesome) career site. While most of our customers use us integrated with their ATS and current recruitment process, Bumble was after a slightly different arrangement.

They wanted a really brilliant candidate experience, that would sit entirely outside their recruitment process. Something that would give candidates a cool way to engage with the brand, discover more about Bumble’s culture and values, and find out what particular values they share with the company.

Our design and front-end whizzes put their heads together and came up with a really beautiful, fun design that totally captured the Bumble spirit and worked well across any device. And our in-house Psych and question-writing team found ways to weave all sorts of Bumble-a-fied language through the custom question bank we built for the popular startup.

Jeanie, the Bumble-doggo is chuffed to be part of the Weirdly crew too.

All-in-all, we’re really proud of this latest theme and most importantly, Bumble are chuffed too. It adds a little more interactivity to their career site, help build their employer brand and gives the candidates a taste of life at Bumble, before they decide to invest time in an application process.

Curious? You can check out the Bumble theme here (and get inspired by their website afterward).

If your organisation could use a candidate experience like this, our team would love to chat – whether you’re looking for something integrated in your recruitment process, or sitting outside of it like Bumble.

What are organisational values, really? Examples from companies who walk their talk

“The best companies take their core values to heart, challenging themselves every day to ensure they are truly living their values. Likewise, the companies that have core values, but don’t focus on them, often find themselves struggling financially and culturally.”
– Rob Dube, Forbes

What are values, really? You spend months defining just the right words, get them printed up on jazzy posters, or painted on the cafeteria wall, and then… what?

Values should be the pillars on which you grow your culture and engage with your employees. By all means, get those decals designed up, but your values need to go way, way further. “Be bold” sounds cool and all, but what does that actually mean?

This is important – according to Harvard Business review, “empty values statements create cynical and dispirited employees, alienate customers, and undermine managerial credibility”.

Not exactly inspiring stuff.

So what are the real world initiatives you’re offering your people? What are the behaviours you expect from them that show you’re really living that value? Remember these aren’t about making everyone the same – it’s saying to your people, “Here is what we believe at our heart”.

 

A few examples of companies doing an awesome job of living their values

There are some pretty nifty companies out there already doing an awesome job at turning their values statements into real life, impactful policies. Here are some of our favourites.

Corporate Traveller

Corporate Traveller, are all about taking responsibility and celebrating and boy, do they live those values!

Love a good confetti cannon/light show/giant balloon mash-up

They support employees taking responsibility with a unique incentive model that gives travel managers a really tangible sense of ownership over their customers. Losing (or winning) a customer directly impacts everyone’s take home pay all the way up to the CEO. That makes the team feel more like a collection of small business owners who are empowered to make and own their decisions. In many cases, business development managers also have the chance to make that feeling real – they can buy into the business and share in an additional percentage of profit each month.

That expectation of ownership is also backed by heaps of training and support, so their teams are set up to succeed. Inhouse learning and development academies and wellbeing benefits all connect into another one of their values, Care For Our People. Then staff are encouraged to reflect that care back out to the customer – with budget allocated for “watermelon moments”, the extra surprise and delight teams can deliver to customers at their discretion.

Successes are also celebrated – a lot. Every month, every team has a small budget allocated to get together and recognise awesome things that have happened. Those successes level up to the office-wide awards nights, and then all the way up to national and global events for exceptional achievers. The global gathering is a huge deal – this year it was held in Berlin and last year’s keynote speaker was Bill Clinton.

 

Patagonia

As one of the great, truly values-led brands out there, Patagonia are passionate about outdoor activities and want their people to be as well.

Their HQ is near the beach in Ventura, California, and on days when there’s an offshore blowing and the waves are beckoning, employees are encouraged to leave the office and go for a surf – or participate in any other outdoor activity. The office even supplies a stash of Patagonia-branded towels to mop up after their sessions.

Possibly an actual Patagonia employee, commuting to a meeting

This helps Patagonia stay true to their founding mission, with the added bonus of providing their people an easy way to test out the new apparel. It’s totally in keeping with their CEO, Yvon Chouinard’s socially and environmentally responsible belief that “Patagonia and its thousand employees have the means and the will to prove to the rest of the business world that doing the right thing makes for good and profitable business.”

And when you’re one of the world’s most beloved outdoor and lifestyle brands, sometimes going for a surf is the best way to remind yourself just what that “right thing” should look like.

 

Whole Foods

Unsurprisingly, one of Whole Foods’ core values is about health – they’re all about promoting team member growth and happiness.

If you work at Whole Foods and eat this, you probably get a lot of high fives

All employees are entitled to pretty great store discounts as standard – 20% in the US. But Whole Foods goes a step further. Any employees working at least 20 hours a week get medical insurance (including vision and dental) and access to initiatives that support mental health. They also incentivise their people to stay healthy with opportunities for even bigger discounts based on hitting positive health stats. These are tracked based on blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking status and body-mass-index (BMI) screenings.

Employees also have access to a website that make it easy to track their own eating habits, helping create a culture of awareness, responsibility and allowing this value to live well beyond just the financial incentive.

 

Etsy

According to Etsy itself, the company’s values are all about being “committed to using the power of business to create a better world through our platform, our members, our employees and the communities we serve”.

Could these be woman-engineers sharing a joke with man-engineers?

How are they bringing that mission to life? Well, one impressive initiative is to increase opportunities for female STEM careers. They launched a series of grants to support their female employees to either upskill or retrain as software engineers. By choosing the best 12 from this “Hacker School”, Etsy increased the number of women in their (traditionally male-dominated) engineer pool, as well as improving their gender diversity stats across the board.

The coolest part is that overall, the initiative is making Etsy a more attractive place to apply for female engineers outside of the company. The stats for women applying to roles in Etsy’s engineering department increased from 7 to 651 which is a fairly big jump, by anyone’s standards.

According to Etsy CTO Kellan Elliott-McCrea, this has had the knock on effect of attracting high-quality male engineers who, critically, also share the company’s values:

“The men who come into our organization are excited about the fact that we have diversity as a goal. They are generally the people who are better at listening, they’re better at group learning, they’re better at collaboration, they’re better at communication,” she says.

 

Weirdly

And then there’s us. As a values-assessment tool, we’d be remiss if we weren’t living our values pretty hard out.

One of our biggies is about being fans of people. Everything we build is designed to positively impact lives and build people up – that goes for our customers and candidates, as well as for our own team. One of the best ways we bring this value to life internally is with the Chuffy-bot we created for our Slack team.

At Weirdly, “a chuffy” is the term we use for giving someone mad props – making them feel chuffed by noticing their hard work. It’s a double-whammy in our eyes, as it rewards people for doing awesome work, as well as encouraging people to notice and give positive feedback on an incidental, day-to-day basis.

When someone notices another team member doing something awesome, they throw a message in the Weirdly Slack team’s #chuffy channel. Our Chuffy-bot adds a funny compliment and the person gets notified that someone’s stoked with their work.

Chuffybot: guaranteed to awkwardly bring up your ex at work

To tie it in to the rest of our Weirdly values, each chuffy gets tagged with one of our custom “values” emojis. That way everyone in the team can see which value that person has been caught living up to. On a more general level, we can also see which values we’re performing at strongly as a team, and which ones are not being lived or recognised quite as often.

It’s an awesome policy that helped us evolve our early-days obsession with celebration and confetti cannons, into a more remote team friendly approach.

 

Time to climb down from out of the decals, guys.

So, where are your values? Sitting up on the wall in your boardroom for people to ignore? Or are have you turned them to living, breathing actions that fuel the very core of your company? We know, really truly, that values-driven companies are successful ones – customers love you, your team love you, and you’ll find it easier to make decisions about the future of your organisation. Those are some sweet wins all around. So, now’s the time. Take a lead from these awesome values-led companies, get your values down off the wall and into technicolour.

Weirdly’s all about helping you seamlessly build your values into the heart of your recruitment process. If you’re keen to find out how our simple software could help you do just that, grab a demo now.

5 prime ministers in 5 years. Bad culture will eat you from the inside.

Australia has just elected their 5th prime minister in as many years. Why? Not because of a freakishly short election cycle. Nope. These leaders are being torn down and turfed out by their own parties. Votes of no-confidence, insurgency – however you frame it, there’s something going down in the culture of these parties that promotes in-fighting and dissent over unity and finding ways to work productively together.

This culture is eating them alive. Vision, strategy, execution – the pillars our businesses are built on all hinge on one thing: Focus. And nothing disrupts focus like a culture that promotes upheaval, political game-playing and in-fighting.

Our organisational culture is a by-product of the values we choose to amplify and encourage in our teams. There’s no “good” culture vs “bad” culture – there’s only productive vs unproductive.

You can have a culture that’s fiercely competitive, promotes a high level of autonomy and still supports people to be productive and focussed. Conversely, you can build a culture that’s really supportive, all about close collaboration and also super productive and focussed. The key is unity. Everyone being aligned with each other and the organisation – sharing the same core values, while still bringing their diverse perspectives and strengths to the table.

When employees (or for that matter, party members) aren’t aligned on the core stuff, your culture’s framework starts to fall over. Trust breaks down, suspicion runs rampant and the environment becomes combative. Ultimately this leads to a dysfunctional culture that can really damage your business.

We see this happen in the corporate world periodically – most recently with the fall of Theranos.

So how to avoid this kind of culture-breakdown?

 

The three key elements in organisations with a productive, healthy culture:

1. Pre-vetting candidates for values alignment

Make sure the people you bring into the organisation hold the values that support the culture you’re building. If you want to grow a competitive, highly independent, energetic environment, look for people who say, value winning, but also care deeply about integrity. You’re looking for combinations of values that’ll protect people from descending into antisocial behaviour and pulling your culture with them. Integrating tools like Weirdly into your recruitment process can help with this step.

 

2. Uniting behind a strong leader

This is a tricky as it’s a balance between having a leader who inspires confidence and having a culture that supports the leader to lead. It’s a tricky equation that often includes weighing internal disagreements against the larger goals for the organisation. A great leader will at times make decisions in the name of the larger company goals and strategies that feel uncomfortable for members of the organisation. A great culture will allow this conflict to be managed in a productive, mature way.

 

3. A brutally honest assessment of cultural values

Anyone who has done any kind of honest self awareness work knows assessing your personal values can be a challenging process. It can be even harder as a business. But if you don’t genuinely, authentically recognise the values and culture you’re embracing in your organisation – especially the ones that you feel uncomfortable with, there’s no room to celebrate or change them. Think about what behaviours you reward or incentivise, and which ones you discourage. That’s the start point for honestly defining the values your culture is built on.

 

Is your culture in danger of eating you from the inside? Or is it looking pretty healthy and you’re keen to keep it that way?

 

We’d love to talk to you about how Weirdly can help make sure you’re building teams of people who will add positively to your culture, not create instability. Click below to talk to one of our team: