What can you learn from Netflix’s employer branding? 

“High standards are contagious,” says Jeff Bezos of Amazon. If this doesn’t explain the multiplier effect of Netflix’s employer branding strategies, we don’t know what does. 

In the last decade, Netflix has redefined human resources and developed a system that attracts, retains, and manages top talent. Their culture-forward efforts became the industry standard to hire and acquire the best there is. The company’s HR manifesto is a treat if not a drawl. With its unique branding as a workplace of “freedom and responsibility,” the company developed culture that bred a sense of ownership and accountability amongst employees. 

That said, here are some key takeaways from Netflix’s unique employer branding strategy that makes them a preferred employer.

Leading by example

Netflix pioneered in reinventing the rules of hiring and aced these factors by giving their employees a concept called Netflix’s Culture Deck that has set a new precedence for others in the business to follow. From offering huge severance packages to skills that no longer fit into the company ethos to a generous parental leave policy, the company has struck the perfect balance for its employees by giving them enough leverage to act responsibly and in the company’s best interest. 

According to a report by Hired, Netflix is the company that most tech workers choose amongst other other top players including Tesla, Google, SpaceX, and Airbnb. The report highlights that during their job hunt, the leading factors that influenced employee’s decision to join an organization was compensation and benefits, followed by company culture, with a narrow margin. At the same time, negative culture and poor company reputation were the biggest reasons why top applicants turned away. 

One Size Does Not Fit All

Netflix is a leading employer because they know what their employees want in exchange for what they want from them. Their collaborative work environment is designed in such a way that it delivers according to their employees’ specific needs. Netflix did not mimic a successful company’s corporate culture; they home-grew their own based on company’s demographics. Netflix hires fresh and vibrant talent and hence understands the importance of extended maternity leave benefits. Their company culture is built to support everyone in the fold. Not a penny or effort is wasted on expensive perks that will either go unacknowledged or underused. 

Talent recruitment practices that breed loyal employees

According to a LinkedIn study, robust talent brand can reduce hiring costs by up to 50% and increase the revenue by 28%. Companies like Netflix do not underestimate these figures and put every effort to gain and retain their top talent. But you don’t have to be a leading media house to develop conducive talent recruitment policies. Netflix understood the importance of creating a high-performance ethos by articulating values by rewarding and recognising employee behaviours that aligned with company goals. In absence of proper plan and accountability, many companies that take the path of employer branding end up being an open-floor office with a foosball table in the corner. The idea is to create a culture of like-minded employees who work synergistically. 

Businesses these days underestimate the importance of creating an ambience that attracts genuine talent. The key to developing solid corporate culture lies in being distinctive and taking pride in standing out. Netflix not only defined that culture but honed it over the years to attain an auto-pilot mode that now attracts employees of similar ilk who become a cog in the company’s wheel organically, ensuring its seamless growth and progression.

Building employee relationship with trust

According to a report by Inc., employees that work autonomously are the ones who are most productive. In case of Netflix, their 5-word expense policy speaks volumes about employee sovereignty – “act in Netflix’s best interest.” The company’s tough recruitment policies ensure that they only hire people they can trust and make them believe that they play a significant role in Netflix’s growth story. A sense of ownership and accountability goes a long way in building genuine workforce. The employees get to choose what’s best for them and the company. By giving them this level of autonomy, Netflix has created a pool of employees that are loyal, motivated, and engaged. 

What makes Netflix a leading employer is their straightforward managerial style. A quick look at their Culture Deck slide will reveal that all employees have to pass the ‘Keeper test.’ Managers are asked if they will fight hard to retain a certain worker who is leaving to join their competitor. If the answer is no, then this employee does not meet Netflix standards. It’s really as simple as that! 

Netflix’s approach to HR is candid as well as modern. The company is open to embracing change and does not keep pushing outdated ideas down their employees’ throat. The synergistic work culture and focus on problem-solving skills is what makes top talent naturally gravitate towards Netflix. 

How does Delivery on Promise lead to powerful Employer Branding?

Rolls Royce may no longer be manufacturing the cars that made the company a well-known name, today it says ‘We create power’ as the group continues to be one of the world’s leading power system companies providing power for aircraft, ships and land applications. It employees nearly 54,000 people worldwide and is committed to nurturing talent. This commitment is reflected in the fact that today about 30 per cent of the company’s senior management once started out as apprentices (WOW!!!). The company felt that though they always had an employer brand yet needed an active employer brand strategy to convey who they were and what they offered in the most effective way.

After conducting interviews with employees to find out whether their experience lived up to the promise made by the marketing team, an ambitious branding strategy and multi-channel communications campaign to reach out to prospective and current candidates was designed. Rolls-Royce very often makes it to the list of awards as a preferred place to work, especially for people in the age group of 18-29 years, who are more interested in career opportunities and working for a global leader and less bothered with pay and job security.

The Rolls-Royce example suggests that in these times of war of talent, even though a company may be sitting on a huge and famous brand name to propel it in the minds of candidates, it still needs to innovate and implementation strategies through active management of its employee value proposition (EVP) to be able to make its mark today.

If you want employees to be active advocates of your organisation and ensure that they deliver what you promise to the customer, then as an organisation you first need to bridge the gap between promising and delivering what your EVP offers them at the onset.

It is important to keep into account who makes up your work force and what do they want. Such important insights will help you innovate and plan as well as implement strategies for easy brand recall. Millennials who are gradually taking over as more than 60 per cent of world’s working population are extremely focussed on learning and development. 

Singapore Airlines is a prime example to consider if you want to look at an organisation that believes and puts its own people first. Singapore Airlines demands exacting standards from its employees but also invests in helping the employees meet them. This help and investment is not only limited to their selection and training the staff but also in helping them run their lives smoothly so that they can focus unhindered on work. It must be this deliverance of the promised goods that makes roughly 18,000 people apply for the 600-900 cabin crew slots that open up annually within the company.

Brand loyalty, commitment and recognition- all kind of brand attitudes result from when the promises made to the employees are delivered with minimum fuss. Ultimately these promises influence the manner in which they deliver their services to the brand’s customers.

Image: https://www.rmagency.com/living-brand-promise/

How does Corporate Social Responsibility impact Employer Brand?

Did you know that a skill-short UK, is letting candidates cherry pick roles? More than 62% of the millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) among them, look to work for companies that have a greater social impact. These are the people who would not deter from putting in more effort into their jobs if they were having a deeper social impact nor would they hesitate in taking home a lesser salary.

In a study done by Net Impact, it was found that if all the factors were to be given equal weightage, then the 35% of the people surveyed would willingly take a 15% pay cut to work for a company committed to Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. About 45% of them say that they wouldn’t mind the pay cut to work a job that makes a social or environmental impact. In fact, the biggest chunk- a whooping 58% said that they would take the 15% cut for a company that mirrors values dear to them. 

A company invested in Corporate Social Responsibility creates a positive message and image for itself. CSR increases the employee brand value of that organization, automatically attracting talent. 

Why, you may ask?

CSR unites the whole organization around a common cause. This common cause is of course in line with the values, morals and mission of this organization. It gives the various stakeholders a purpose bigger than just churning out profits for the owners. This sense of purpose and being committed to a greater cause motivates them to go the extra length.

Look at Patagonia, the company that builds gear and makes outdoor clothes. They have woven what lies at the base of their action, their guiding mantra very well into the company’s mission statement- Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Not only are their products environment friendly and sustainable, their ‘reason for being’ results in minimal turnover.

Another advantage of involving employees in CSR is that this gives them an opportunity to learn new skills which they then automatically bring to the work table. IBM encourages its employees to volunteer on the basis of their skills- management, finance, marketing. They are sent to live in countries, which the computer giant considers emerging markets for growth, helping it to make a social impact as well as shaping its employees into global leaders and citizens.

With CSR getting more and more attention from the candidates you just can’t afford to ignore it. The promise of  exposure, engagement and alignment as part of your Employee Brand will fetch you exceptional talent.

How to make your Employee Value Proposition stand out?

Who wouldn’t be familiar with the company culture of famed organisations like the seven cafes and gym at the Apple headquarters or the free rides and massages that Google offers? These companies have also managed to attract the top talent excelling in the art of employee value proposition or EVP. To put it simply a company’s EVP is the value that an employee can expect to gain from working at the company, based on its characteristics like the company culture, public identity and so on.

According to Corporate Leadership Council, companies with EVPs viewed as unattractive had to offer 21 per cent higher compensation premiums to hire employees than organisations with attractive EVPs. So, you see it won’t be wrong to say that an exemplary EVP helps your company to stand out amongst its competitors and to attract new talent as well as to motivate and retain the best employees.

To ensure that your EVP generates maximum returns it is important to keep the following few things in mind: 

1.Understand the company’s perception: ‘Do cool things that matter.’ Google’s EVP puts it across to one and all pithily and exactly.

To make a clear and strong EVP you first need to understand how the company and its culture is perceived by the current and potential employees. This kind of information can be gathered by employee surveys, feedbacks and exit interviews. Focus group interviews are also a good way to gauge it. With this data in hand you can make an EVP and test run it with your current employees to make sure that you are on the right track.

2.Communicate the message

Marriott uses employee stories on its Facebook’s Job and Career page to communicate to the world why someone loves to work there and how the company takes pride in nurturing its associates’ structured career growth. It proudly shares the culture of giving back being nurtured in the company by posting photos and stories of employees participating in CSR activities. Their page beautifully conveys to a job seeker what it is to work with them and not just about job openings.

Once your EVP has been defined you next need to communicate it to the people you want to attract. Consistent efforts to communicate this EVP through marketing, branding and public relations will help in forming a positive perception of the value of working for your company. Make sure that social media is a part of your such campaigns as 59 per cent of employees have stated that a company’s presence on the social media and activity were partly behind their choice. 

3.Walk the talk

In an interview given to LinkedIn, NBCUniversal’s VP of Talent Acquisition (TA) and Campus Programs said, “You have to make sure that your talent acquisition team as a leader, is also having a fantastic employee experience.” Because she believes that culture begins at home, she made sure that the TA team and her recruiters at NBC Universal lived what they intended to sell to the candidates.

Make sure that you set a great example with your internal culture for everyone to follow.

Three ways to Leverage a Multi-Generational Workforce

A surprising thing has been happening at workplaces all over the globe. For the first-time ever there are people from about 3 to 5 different generations working in the offices at the same time. These active 5 generations are based on the years they were born in. 

The Silent Generation who make up about 3% of the workforce are the people born between 1900-1945. Baby Boomers were born between 1946-1964 and Generation X, born between 1965-1980. The most prevalent generation globally at 25%, going on to hit the 50% mark worldwide by 2020, the Millennials or Gen Y are the people who were born between 1981-2000. Then there are the Nexters or Generation Z who make for more than 25% of the global population right now, compose another 3% of the global work force. They are on their way to be at par with the Millennials by 2020 and can be expected to form at least a 25% of the workforce.

Coming together of this mix of people belonging to different eras in time can mean a lot of different things. They all bring to the table their own strengths and viewpoints. Though seemingly they are all different from each other yet what binds them together are their basic needs and desires at work.

Thus, arises the need of ways in which this multigenerational workforce be tapped into to harness the diversity to empower innovation and branding. Let us look at some ways in which this can be achieved:

  1. Know them well: Kris Snyder, the founder and CEO of Vox Mobile- the mobile technology management company- offers his employees varied benefits, compensations and assignments. He says, that he has developed these different perks keeping in mind where a certain person is in his/her professional and personal life. The best way to get started on something similar is by knowing the people who work for you and what they prefer. For every generation, something like work-life balance will look different. Frequent feedback and evaluation will help you manage the generational needs and the employees will be happier to work with single minded devotion towards the organisational goals.
  2. Create space for knowledge sharing: Encourage the people from the first two generation, whichever they might be at your place of work, to act as mentors to the people from the latter generation. Older generations have experience and wisdom on their side and should be encouraged to share trade secrets with the others. In turn, foster reverse mentoring as well- a culture of innovation and inspiration led by Generations X, Y and Z which can be embraced by people from the Silent Generation as well as Baby Boomers. Look towards the US Marine Corps for inspiration where 22 year lieutenants are routinely put in charge of 45-year-old sergeants.
  3. Show them the future: Career planning should be the norm for everyone. Making people see the direction in which the organisation is headed and where they fit in, in the scheme of things is a great way to communicate goals and expectations which puts each generation on an even playing field.

Company Brand vs Employer Brand- Same Same or Different?

Wherever you might be in the world, if you were to come face to face with the image of a bitten apple, would you be able to recognize the company it represents?  The answer is an obvious YES. Logos like that represent what is generally called the company or the corporate brand. Some people confuse this company brand with the employer brand. While every company has a corporate brand, only 27% brands have been found to have an employer brand. Jump right in to find out what sets the two kinds apart:

  1. Audience: While corporate branding has an ancient history and is accepted as important for success, employer branding has been gaining import since the past couple of decades. Company branding talks to the external audience about what the company does and its products and services while the employer brand of the company addresses those who work with the company and tell them about what the company stands for and how they stand to gain from the company while working for it. Easily we can assume the company brand speaking to the world around it, while the employer brand engages just the select few.
  2. Branding communication: While there is a lot of scope for corporate branding- we see it everywhere from big billboards to the taxi doors; on TV and radio as well as the big screen; communication regarding employer branding is rather niche. This can only be done on career pages and sites, job ads and descriptions, company reviews and social media. The aim of the company brand messages is to try to sell products whereas the target of the employer brand messages is to hire the right kind of people and retain them.
  3. Engagement: The engagement of your target audience with your company brand maybe short term and/ or transactional in nature, but your employees are intimately engaged with you and that too for a longer time period. You might not choose to put everything your company stands for in one message tailored for your company brand but while tailoring a message for your employer brand you need to communicate the values, culture and the mission of the company very clearly to ensure a sustainable engagement with your audience.

How to develop a strong Employee Value Proposition?

An employer value proposition has become the key to create and implement an effective strategy to hire and retain the right kind of talent. According to Universum, a New York based global employer branding firm, 84%of the world’s top 100 employers, according to college students, had an attractive Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

When clearly defined and consistent, it helps you ace the war of talent. It strikes a neat balance between tangible awards- benefits and salary; as well as intangible awards like great company culture and meaningful projects to work upon. Here are a few points to bear in mind while developing your EVP:

  • Dissect and define: Look at all the data that is available to you- employee engagement, recruitment and retention stats and exit interviews. To define your EVP you will have to analyse all this to find out what is it that defines your company. Why do people like to work for you or why they left you? Based on this, craft your value proposition which conveys the employee experience and brand’s commitment to current and future employees.
  • Align: Make sure that the proposition that you are honing is employee- centric. You will need to work on making sure that the company’s EVP is in line with the business objectives. To be able to execute it and to reap its benefits the EVP should also be able to support and garner support from the HR strategy of the company.
  • Add a pinch of Unique: It is estimated that 87% of employees value learning and personal development the most. By offering them chances at new trainings, flexible work hours, new locations or roles, you can make sure that your EVP stands out where everybody else is also trying to offer something similar.
  • Deliver: Studies show that organisations that deliver on their EVP can increase new hire commitment by 30%. Not only that, these companies also save about 70% in terms of annual employee turnover. The intent and message of your EVP should be conveyed at every possible opportunity be it your recruitment adverts or remuneration discussions. 

Employer Branding to the Rescue-Turning Employees into BRAND AMBASSADORS

At The Cheesecake Factory restaurants all-staff meals and impromptu menu tastings are a regular feature.  This is done with 2 things in mind.

  1. To acquaint the staff with what’s on the menu and
  2. To get their feedback on the restaurant’s fresh offerings

It will not take an expert to see the multiple ways in which this tactic works in favour of the very popular restaurant chain but maybe the most important thing that they gain from this is utilizing their employees as their brand ambassadors. Knowing what the restaurants are offering and being convinced about how good it is inspires and motivates the employees to go the extra mile for the customer and in turn for the company.

When taken into confidence, the employees turn into brand ambassadors. This gives your company a successful image as an employer, attracting the right kind of people and giving them plenty of reasons to stick around- a sign that the company is a preferred place of work. About 49 per cent of companies look at this employee engagement as a sign of good employer branding.

Let us look at another company Civitas Learning. It uses its mission statement- Use Your Power For Good- right at the top of its career page, leaving no doubt about what it is that they are working to achieve. Doing this helps in communicating what lies at the heart of the company to anybody new coming there looking for a job as well as communicating the company’s ethos wide across.

A poll from CR Magazine and Cielo Talent shows that 50 per cent of employees would not want to work with a company that does not enjoy a good reputation as an employer brand. So much so that even a bigger salary would not take them there or make them stay.

Both these examples also go on to show that employer branding- how you are viewed as an employer, an image that lives in the hearts and heads of your past, present and future employees- can help you turn your employees into your advocates. This keeps them motivated and inspired to give their best to the company. Recognizing your employees for their efforts can again lead to word of mouth branding for your business as well as improving performances.

So, you see, once you begin in investing your employer brand, your employees turn into your brand ambassadors going the extra mile for you and the company.

3 ways to a People Strategy as good as your Product Strategy

Professors of strategy at world’s top business school, INSEAD, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, say that successful strategy hinges on three propositions, namely, Value Proposition, Profit Proposition and People Proposition. The value proposition attracts buyers, the profit proposition helps the company make money and the people proposition helps motivate people working with the company to execute the strategy.

Most of the companies it seems, are working on only the two of these three mentioned propositions. But if you have already woken up to this fact, here are 3 reasons how you can create a people strategy for your business that is as good as (or even better) your product strategy:

  1. Create a company culture: Your company culture is a reflection of what your business stands for. Look at Twitter. Employees can’t seem to stop raving about their work culture- rooftop meetings, free food, yoga classes and a motivated work group to learn from and work with. More importantly they believe that they are doing something that matters. You can’t really beat that combination that inspires dedication in any kind of industry.
  2. Hire the right people: Did you know that 93 per cent of organizations expect the war for talent to intensify next year? The term, war for talent, was coined in 1997 by McKinsey’s Steven Hankin but the whole magnitude of it has hit home since the unemployment rates fell below 5 per cent. It has become important to focus on ‘who’ the candidate is rather than ‘where’ s/he has been or ‘what’ they have accomplished. The need of the hour is to go looking for people with a wider skill set than just what the job demands.
  3. Plan to train people: According to a report in PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO survey, 81 per cent were reported to always equip employees with new skills through continuous learning and mobility programs. This is a great way to create an adaptable work force that will be able to stand the test of the changing times.

3 ways in which Employer Branding is a crossover between Marketing and HR

Research shows that the top 10 per cent of employable workforce are snatched away from the marketplace within 10 days. If you are an employer and are looking for the right kind of talent for your company then you need to up your recruitment and retention game.

Don’t look distressed if this is news to you because the solution to this query is something that combines the best of both worlds- Marketing and Human Resources or HR. This is the magical world of employer branding.

Read on to find the 3 ways in which Employer Branding is a crossover between marketing and HR and combines the best of the two worlds to help your company grow:

  1. EMPLOYER BRANDING focuses on creating a lasting brand image: Marketing guys have always known that “customer is king”. HR has also realized that retention is less costlier than hiring new people. Companies with a strong sense of EMPLOYER BRANDING, invest in their recruitment process and ensure that an interview is a complete brand experience for the job seeker. This image is also an impression that the customer carries in their head and heart. You must have seen the images of Google’s campus style work-space. Without saying much else, the company promotes, ‘work hard, play harder’, and becomes an aspirational work place for millions around the globe.
  2. EMPLOYER BRANDING focuses on attracting talent and customers: Southwest Airlines is probably the best example to make this point. Their career page starts with explaining that they care for their employees just like they do for their customers. It also tells you the company’s vision and purpose which is to become the most loved, most flown and most profitable airline. The benefit of having an EMPLOYER BRANDING strategy in place is that it works both ways- in attracting talent as well as ensuring that the customer sticks to your brand- by knowing what the company means and stands for.
  3. EMPLOYER BRANDING focuses on social media “greatly”-  Lulu lemon Athletica is a company that has through various efforts via social media made itself known as a desirable place of work. Hashtags like #ThisisLululife and #thesweatlife tell a story of happy employees and customers. EMPLOYER BRANDING realizes the importance of using social media judiciously for company’s growth and includes testimonials from current employees among other thing.