dont tell me who you are.
p4 Culture branding: just another social recruiting fad?
p6 Is this just another marketing exercise?
p8 Culture brand: Rackspace
p10 Sounds interesting how to begin
It may be tIme to bump your perfectly coIffed employer brand In favour of all thatS real and human about your workplace.
Sally hunter, dIrector of kellyocGS emea practIce, and bIll boorman, founder of #trueventS, explaIn why orGanISatIonS Should conSIder peelInG back theIr employer brand to reveal the culture brand hIdInG underneath.
JuSt when everyone aGreeS StronG and clear employer brandInG IS crItIcal to entIce hIGh-value candIdateS, alonG comeS a new term: culture brandInG. why?
culture brandInG: JuSt another SocIal recruItInG fad?
Many employer brands are simply machinations of marketing, or glossy representations
of your brand that feel too scripted and too perfect. Most job candidatesparticularly
the intelligent, leading thinkers in high-demand fieldssee through those carefully
crafted messages in the same way consumers at large dont trust advertising and
marketing. Dont tell me who you are. Show me.
Culture branding is about rubbing off all that formality and polish, and discovering
what lies under the surface. What unites your most dedicated employees? What
makes working for your company different from others in your industrynot from the
perspective of marketers and professional image-makers, but based on what your
employees feel about their daily routines and each other?
Above all, your culture brand should be true and meaningful. Any workplace can be
fun and any workforce can have high integrity. If you look at your competitors, youll
find no shortage of banal phrases to describe their organisations. Your culture brand
aims to capture some true, ineffable idea about your organisation and employees
one that both job seekers and current employees believe in, respect and want to
continue to strive for.
Employer branding constitutes what you think about work, whereas culture branding refers to what you feel about work.
bIll boorman, founder of #trueventS and expert In SocIal recruItInG
why bother? ISnt culture brandInG JuSt a dIfferent name for employer brandInG? JuSt publISh Some edGy, realIty IntervIewS and call It a Good effort?
IS thIS JuSt another marketInG exercISe?
culture branding is more than your employee reality channel for three big reasons:
Culture branding is not simply documenting what your employees are doing day-to-day,
like a security camera capturing unscripted moments. Culture branding must identify a
higher idea that your employees stand for, and find ways to illuminate it and enrich it.
By presenting a truer picture of your company to job candidates, you are effectively
pre-screening them to find out who will fit in and succeed within your organisation.
When culture branding is done well, you can predict who is going to get a job based
on which pieces of online content they look at and engage with.
Culture branding asks you to capture the essence of work within your organisation
in order to further enrich that ineffable thing within your workplace. A well-honed
culture brand not only excites your future employees, but also rallies and motivates
your current workforce.
Would employees and future job candidates rally around an idea like Fanatical
Support? Lets look at the story of Rackspace and their team of fanatics
culture brand: rackSpace
rackSpace IS a Global It hoStInG company that, lIke many technoloGy companIeS, IS contInually In hot purSuIt of talented developerS, deSIGnerS and enGIneerS. they have a reputatIon aS an excellent employer, wIth deep commItment to cuStomer ServIce (or fanatIcal Support aS they refer to It).
In 2010, at a time when most technology companies were expanding their social media
machines using channels like Twitter and Facebook for recruiting, Rackspace decided
on a different tack. Says Michael Long, head of global employment branding initiatives,
My gut told me to hold off The majority of [social media] approaches I witnessed had
a lot to do with simply sharing jobs. While I can understand the natural inclination would
be to share opportunities, it just didnt seem to do justice for this much larger pursuit of
sharing our culture.
What Rackspace wanted to do was to capture such an authentic snapshot of what it
is to be a Racker (the nickname for Rackspace employees) that candidates would
immediately know whether they fit in.
We should always keep in mind that the most engaged and longest lasting contributors
to our organisations are the ones who fit within our cultures, explains Long. Our
goal should be to accurately depict ourselves knowing good and well that for the right
person, we will absolutely be their best place to work.
GIve that culture brand Some Space (onlIne)Rackspace created a content-rich Rackspace culture site separate from its career site. The career site offers all one would expect: opportunities, how to apply, benefits, etc. The brand culture site offers a glimpse of real life at Rackspaceall the passion and enthusiasm of original Rackers. rackertalent.com
Long and others at Rackspace wanted to move beyond the idea that Rackspacealong
with hundreds of other technology companieswas simply a fun place to work. A quick
search engine dive would, by and large, return pictures of Ping-Pong matches and festive
events. While definitely a part of the work environment, this in no way encapsulated the
entire picture, explains Long.
In particular, the company wanted to highlight the essence of what makes Rackspace
tick: the brilliant minds and eclectic personalities of Rackers. The company launched
RackerTalent.com, a microsite that takes a journalistic approach to defining what makes
Rackspace a great place to work. The site includes a blog with 60 contributors from four
continents, day-in-the-life videos and video interviews with employees. The goal: not to
over-hype Rackspace, but to capture the essence of the company as it is.
Rackspace operates RackerTalent as a content flash mobpublishing community
solicited posts and videos without all the polish and oversight typical in a large corporate
blogging endeavor. Culture branding in the castle (i.e. Rackspace global headquarters
in Texas, inside a former shopping mall), is just as thoughtful and energetic. If its true
that physical environment shapes culture, then Rackspace is all about creative freedom
culture brand: rackSpace
and collaboration. The office has wide open spaces, communal dining rooms, plenty of
personalised work spaces, and absolutely no closed-off offices. The space is designed to
foster impromptu gatherings, accidental meetings and lots of togetherness.
The company has designed over 100 employee t-shirts and related swagall highly
valued by the employeesto recognise celebrations and special contributions. Our
personal favourite? The takes one to know one shirt awarded to employees who
contribute to the employee referral program. While these may seem like small details,
each reinforces the culture brand, energises employees and proudly positions the brand
to the outside world.
capturInG the eSSence of the company aS It IS. read a racker bloG here.
The most engaged and longest lasting contributors to our organisations are the ones who fit within our cultures. Our goal should be to accurately depict ourselves.
mIchael lonG, head of Global employment brandInG InItIatIveS at rackSpace
It should be a concept people can be energised by, and should be employee-driven
rather than marketing-driven. With this concept in mind, you must then ensure your shop
window reflects the idea across every recruiting channel. Your culture brand should be
reflected in your online materials, social media channels, brand advocates and every
other activity related to recruiting.
Next, ensure your culture brand is evident in the lived experience of your employees,
every day. Reinforce your culture brand in the physical workplace, your organisational
structure and workplace rituals. While your culture brand is defined by what already exists
within your organisation, you must also nourish it and improve it to ensure
Remember, if you want your employees to share their feelings about work across their
network, you need to build an environment that encourages people to talk freely and
SoundS IntereStInG how to beGIn
fIrSt, a company muSt fIGure out what hIGher Idea or qualIty makeS ItS workforce and workplace unIque.
share openly. Start by giving permission. Large corporations typically distribute policies
about communications during onboarding. Communication and social media policies
usually advise employees that permission is always required before speaking on behalf of
the company. These policies are born from fear, and should be rolled back to encourage
your employees to share your companys culture with their friends and peers.
Finally, build an online community or content site where your employees can share
brand culture; encourage employees to join and participate in activities like blogging or
social media chatter. (Of course before creating and releasing content to your website,
employees need guidelines and training). With a high-energy, authentic culture brand,
and a framework in place for employees to share, they will tell the story of work better
than any artfully crafted, shiny marketing message.
ultImately, ItS not about chanGInG your culture. ItS about lIvInG wIth It and ShowInG that culture to the world So future employeeS can make an Informed choIce about workInG wIth you.
about the authorS
Sally HunteR is RPO Practice lead eMea for the Kelly Outsourcing &
Consulting Group and is responsible for the RPO proposition from client
relationships via the account management team to consulting on HR
transformation. Sally has extensive experience in the human capital sector,
including leadership positions within strategic account management for
staffing providers to operational delivery.
BIll BOORMan is something of a recruitment veteran, having worked in the
industry for 25 years. He started as a front line recruiter, then became involved
in training, later becoming Director of training. now, as Managing Director
of the Bill Boorman Consultancy, he is specialising in training and business
consultancy for a wide range of recruiters. Bill is organising and hosting #tru
(the Recruiting unconference) events around the world.
Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a leader in providing workforce solutions.
Kelly offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class
staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe, Kelly
provides employment to more than 550,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2011 was $5.6 billion.
Visit www.kellyservices.com and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter.
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