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Employer Brand Strategy Sprint Series


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Automation and humankind



Employer Branding, Talent Attraction

Advances in technology and the digital sector in particular are shifting the way we interact with the world and with each other, driving constant change and shifts in human behaviour. For great talent attraction, we have to stay ahead of the curve as we adapt to this ever-changing landscape.

Automation and humankind

We have Big Data and technology which is certainly helping us with the science part in allowing us to make informed, intelligent decisions as we take numbers and apply interpretation. But we can’t learn everything from technology and big data.

What about the art? That feeling and subconscious know-how that we all spend years training as we develop and gain experience.

Neuroscience research by Soon et al. (2008) demonstrated that the brain is subconsciously aware of our decisions before we actually make them. In other words, we’ve already come up with a decision or an answer, before we realise we have.

Consider Formula 1 racing - they have incredible real time analytics not just at the race venue, but real-time, big data beamed from a car driving at up to 200mph on a race track on one side of the globe to the race team’s headquarters in Britain. They have 100s of incredibly smart people monitoring the big data – providing insight and informing the team, the driver and adapting their strategy.

But that technology cannot feel, hear and see; you need the all the senses of the driver who will know if and when something feels right. He feels first and thinks second.

Technology and digital can be a huge relationship killer if we’re not careful. Make sure the decisions we take around technology help us get closer to the customer, not further away through poor automation and execution that makes communication impersonal.

Don’t get me wrong, I help run a digital employer brand agency; we embrace technology and have a thirst for it. But, we have a passion for people first.

This is why, more than ever before in talent attraction, we should be investing in understanding what makes people tick. This is where candidate experience and business strategy meet.

It’s the ‘human algorithm’ that provides marginal gains and will give you a competitive advantage in business and your recruitment efforts.

Ask yourself, when it was that you last looked at your candidate? When did you last walk in their shoes? Did you really take time to listen, talk (face to face, not just digitally) get them involved, watch and learn from them? When did you last show them that you care?

Look at the journey we ask candidates to take from the moment they first touch the brand; online or offline. Gain insight into what they are feeling and thinking as they go through this process. Like never before, candidates engage with brands via multiple channels and devices. There are so many touch points – some of which you might not even know about. Consider at each stage of communication – how easy was this process for them? What would they remember about you at each point? Would they be compelled to shout from the rooftops about their experience … good or bad?

Try mapping out those points with candidate journey mapping and investigate at each step. Then, consider what your candidate thinks and, more importantly, how they feel at each stage of that journey. It is this process that keeps us constantly connected to the all-important human side of talent attraction.

Use empathy mapping to gain insight on what your candidates’ emotions are throughout their journey with your brand. Do they feel positive or negative? Happy or sad? Have you designed for happiness?

Have you planned your ‘attack and defence’? We’re often great at planning for things we believe will provide happiness but what about when it doesn’t go to plan? How have you planned for unhappiness? How do you spot it? How have you prepared your people for that potential outcome?

I promise that by running a candidate experience session you will uncover things that shock and surprise you. And you will spot moments of magic; golden nuggets that will enable you to make significant improvements to your candidates’ experience and how you make them feel about you when they engage with your brand.

By tuning into the emotions we can create a state of positive emotion toward our brand and business. And this is proven in biology. When we experience a heightened emotional state, we release dopamine which acts as the save button of our brains. That means that by creating highly emotional experiences, we become memorable to our audience. Humans naturally like to share stories of great, emotional resonance – in simple terms – we love to tell the world when we are happy!

But I think we can go deeper than that. More than ever before, in a digital talent attraction world full of tech, we need a culture of candidate first. “Culture,” said Brain Chesky, CEO of Airbnb “is simply a shared way of doing something with passion.”

Passion is an incredibly powerful human emotion. Put passion into all you do in your quest to create world class experiences for your candidates. And by recruiting those who share your passion for the customer, you will organically grow a culture with your customer at its heart.

Because in a world where there’s always more tech and we become immersed in more things digital, the one thing that we will always be is human.

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