“Build It and They Will Come” — Activating Employer Brand Strategy

“Build it and they will come”. It’s simple right? If you’re my age you likely saw Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner in the 90s, and if you’re like me you’ve probably seen it 10 million times. Imagine for 1 second if you apply the idea of building something and they will come to business. What if you launched a new business and built a really swanky cool website, and then launched it? Your customers will simply find you and hand over loads and loads of money, and you’ll be independently wealthy. Think again, it’s a pipe dream.

The same principle applies when organizations embark on employer brand strategy, even integrating social media into HR and Recruitment functions. You spend time identifying what your business need is, source the right software platforms to fill that need and you hit the green light. Magic then happens. Right? Ummmm wrong! I can’t tell you how  many failed technology implementations I have seen during the course of my career within HR.

Cross FingersCase in point—a technology organization I did some work with tried to implement an internal social collaboration tool as a way to better connect and engage employees. They realized more and more of their workforce were sitting in remote locations and spending more time out of the office. They went ahead and launched Yammer. It lasted 3 months before they pulled the plug. What happened? They simply built it and hoped people would come. They did not spend 1 second looking at existing business processes surrounding communication and collaboration to see if they would successfully support a Yammer application. The long story short is this company operated in silos — marketing, sales, finance, customer service, etc… They rarely crossed functions so if that was current state what the hell were they thinking to launch Yammer when working in silos was their everyday reality? They ultimately blamed the failure on the user experience of the technology. Ummmmm noooo, the UI was fine it was their processes and practices that was the issue.

What Are You Talking About

The same lesson above can be applied to any situation where you’re doing something new and different, as part of a business strategy. Employer brand strategy, for example is one worth noting. A big part of effectively rolling out an employer brand strategy is to launch the activation strategy. Activation simply means communication, engagement, connection with your core audiences that care about your Social media conceptorganization as a place to work. Given it’s 2014 I would hope that a big part of any employer brand activation strategy is the introduction of social media. If that is the case then being on social media represents a significant change to business process. Looking at employer branding, your focus for activation may be to build talent communities as a way to deal with labour issues in specific jobs in your organization. Using this example how Recruiters and HR Professionals conduct their day-to-day business needs to change. How will they integrate social media into their work? If you think you can simply create a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account, hit a magical green button and “they will come” you will be disappointed.

So when you build your new employer brand strategy and you get to the fun part of how to activate that new brand, please… PLEASE take a very close look at your internal business processes and practices. I’ll bet my last buck that you will have to make some adjustments so you realize full value from your employer brand investment.

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