Closing the series with tips to enhance your experience
It’s about all talent. Even those who will never be successful with OUR companies. It’s about creating experiences for current employees, former employees, people who LOVE our brand. It is about a Talent Experience. And if we are going to create great ones that stand out, we need to accept a few things.
One, we actually have the power to fix this. We are the ones who create these experiences. We are the ones who can re-think how our company interacts with talent. We are the leaders in this space. If we are the ones with the jobs and we really need great people to come impact our companies, we can make this happen. We can build the business case that tells our c-suite that by re-thinking the way we do things we can be more effective and efficient in driving the best talent into our companies that will stay longer and be more productive. We are the ones who can eliminate the black hole. We are the ones who can completely change the conversation from “If I were to punish people in the most dehumanizing, humiliating way, I'd make them apply to jobs--and never hear anything--over and over again.” to well, not that! We actually collected that response from a survey we did asking people about their feelings of the candidate experience… yikes! But despite that, we have the power and influence, to fundamentally change the uniquely human experience of finding a job. What if we told people what was going on, even when nothing is going on. Even when they are sitting in the review status for weeks. They want to know something, even if it’s things are stuck. Because after speaking with countless candidates in my career, there is one universal truth, when they hear nothing, they assume the worst. This is another empathy moment. When you’ve applied for jobs in the past, and your recruiter went dark, what did you assume? You assumed the worst, even though you have first hand knowledge of how this all works, you still thought you were out. Now, imagine the people who have no=hand knowledge…it’s one of the easiest things we can do. Simply let them know on a regular cadence what’s going on. Consider this your opportunity to make the world a better place.
Second, we need to start getting real around here. We need to start acknowledging that we are asking people to work for money. Money matters. I know there is research that is going to tell you that managers are important and purpose and mission are important, but very few people are going to do their jobs for free. We need to start recognizing that we are asking people to work. And work is hard. It’s not play. I am saying all of this because one of the things we consistent do to talent is oversell. Overpromise. Remember that time you really wanted to buy something cool and you read all the reviews and everyone really liked that thing and the marketing was so slick and the sales experience was great, and you got it home and it just blah. You had buyers remorse. Or, like I did with my fitbit, I was so excited, I went and got it, and I used it like mad. I tracked everything. And then, like a year later, I couldn’t find the charger, or something and I just lost interest. It wasn’t quite buyers remorse, but it lost it’s luster, it wasn’t keeping me engaged. We are doing all of this to our talent and more. We are promising sunshine and roses and unicorns and rainbows. And fulfillment, and it’s really just work. I was talking to a major marquis brand, one that millions of people want to work for. I visited their career site prior to our meeting and I notices that according to their site, working with them, I’ll have the opportunity to change the world. Oooohhhh, I would LOVE to change the world, I mean, talk about a fixer upper, this world we have today. I wanna do that! That would be awesome! So, when I met with this leader, she was telling me how the are drowning in unqualified people. So, I asked her, what does changing the world actually mean there? She told me it meant working long hours, solving unsolvable problems, bringing you’re a-game 24/7. I said wow, that is not what I had in mind. You realize you don’t have a quality problem, you have an education problem. You’re not telling people that. And I know what your thinking, we can’t tell people that, no one would apply. Well, that’s not totally true in either respect. First, there are elegant ways to tell people you work long hours. I worked with a healthcare company years ago and they had nurses who worked long shifts, you know like nurses do…anyway, instead of plainly saying our nurses work loooooon shifts, we told people in our communications and marketing which shoes help our nurses get through their long shifts. It’s subtle, but you get it. It grounds you in the experience. The second half of that lie we tell ourselves that no one will work here if we tell them the truth, the reality is, yes, there are people in the world who actually want to bring their a-game all the time. They exist, the challenge is finding them. And you know what happens when you elegantly tell the truth to the right audience, you convert more people who stay!
Our third, and last thing we are going to have to accept if we are to create amazing experiences for talent is this: process is not experience. Experience is the thing that overlays the process. Getting an iphone is an experience. Opening the box is an experience. Heck that box is so nice, I’ve seen people upcycle them into planters…now that’s an experience. You open the box, you click a few buttons and you’re using it. It’s an experience that overlays the process of getting your new tiny computer up and running. It’s simple and clean. It’s elegant. It’s minimalist. But, it’s still getting a tiny computer going in 60 seconds.
So, in our world, when we are designing our own talent experiences, I want you to channel your inner Mary Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life when she’s standing in the Building & Loan during the “run” on the banks. And everyone is freaking out. Mary stands tall as asks them “How much do you NEED?” And that lovely woman says she needs $17.50? Be her! Yes, we all want everything. But, what do we need? Do you need a 90-minute application? How does this support your process? Or do you need basic information and some technology that will go scrub the internet for the rest of my information. Do you need me to upload a resume and copy and paste? Or do you NEED better parsing technology? Think about what your bare essentials are and start there. Now, you may run into instances where what you need from a base level you know is excessive. For example, you’re company culture may actually need 4 rounds of interviewing? I don’t know why, but you do, and you’ve talked to the people internally and there is no way around it at all. If this is what you need and you know it’s a tough hurdle for talent, the solution is so simple… prepare them for this! Think about great experiences. The best are easy and elegant. When they go off the rails, the thing that saves the experience is knowing. So, when you are designing your experience focus on what you absolutely need, your bare essentials, and the start communicating where things are going to get challenging. Be proactive in preparing people for what to expect. Like today. You knew what to expect and it has been an amazing experience, thanks Team KC! While most experience is an overlay to process, for me, talent experience is the intersection of employer brand recruitment marketing, and systems to create delight.
The way we do things today isn’t engaging. Lengthy applications, processes that lead no where and a lack of real authentic information that tells me what’s in it for me. We have built walls and one size fits all experiences. When it’s really a one size fits none experience.
So, we have to shift our paradigm and processes and thinking if we are to achieve the goals of finding, attracting, engaging, nurturing and converting these passive candidates.