Category: Culture

What we can learn about employee & candidate experience through a cup of coffee

What we can learn about employee experience through coffee

Two years ago, a long-standing neighbourhood second tier coffee shop chain was replaced with a Starbucks. The former coffee shop was usually empty. While they made awesome donuts, they struggled.

Down came the sign and nobody knew what would soon occupy this prime corner lot. Then came the infamous green signage, the modern refacing of the exterior, and beautiful interior fixtures that felt like home (or at least a home we wish we lived in). There was no modification to the physical structure, in fact the floor plan remained unchanged.

Today this Starbucks is constantly packed. From students to entrepreneurs, from parents to neighbourhood kids, it’s the local go to place.

Why is it now so busy? They both served coffee, had ample seating, and played music. One magnetized customers while the other was unnoticeable.

Starbucks created an experience in the truest sense of the word.

When the HR community talks about “employee experience”, many redirect the discussion towards process optimization which may be part of the solution, but not to be confused with the immersion of partaking in a meaningful moment.

So what can we learn from this java transformation?

Create an energy – It all boils down to energy. As Marty Neumeier says, brand is a “gut feeling” about a product or a service. Starbucks created an energy around who they are, what they stand for, and what one can expect. There, we are introduced to vibrant music some of which we have never heard before, versus the typical elevator soft rock pouring through the speakers elsewhere. Staff are laughing and chatting with each other as well as customers. The lighting is dim and warm in stark contrast to the sterile and impersonal environments elsewhere.

Ask yourself – What is the energy of your workplace when you enter the door? Even schools these days are pumping music through the PA system to kick off the day with the “right vibe”.

Vanilla (unless as an espresso shot) is the equivalent of white noise – Starbucks didn’t play it safe, they played it as them. From their decor to their music selection, it’s not for everyone but when it’s right, it’s VERY right. This is how you create raving fans. Apple also takes bold stances and as a result, their following is deep-rooted. Playing it safe and opting for vanilla will never create a remarkable brand.

Ask yourself – What is your organization’s brand personality? If you are struggling to find an answer, there’s your answer. Ditch the vanilla and leave your mark.

Traditions matter – Cultivating an experience is about creating customs and traditions. Starbucks writes your name on a cup and we joke at some of the strange spellings, but we have come to expect that as part of the experience. It is personal. It is distinct.  

Ask yourself – What traditions do you share as a company that are embedded in who you are and are part of the fabric of your culture? What playful and memorable moments occur during important milestones (onboarding, birthdays, baby showers, etc.)?

Create belonging – Starbucks creates warmth and comfort at every turn. They use woods instead of plastics for seating, as though they are inviting you to “stay awhile”. This again is in stark contrast to the turnstile “fast food” ambiance that we have come to expect elsewhere. Companies too should be looking to foster belonging and warmth. From the outset, organizations that create a comfortable environment for talent to explore opportunities within, will be the ones that win, over those that “grill” and intimidate during the interview process.

Ask yourself – Are you creating comfort and belonging in your interview process?

The power of brand – Brands are built on consistency. Starbucks has found their “secret sauce” for creating a welcoming environment that has personality and emits an energy drawing in both new and repeat customers. Instead of building a process, build an “experience”, master it, and then create a system for consistently delivering it. Your employer brand will thank you.

While this example may appear to paint a picture of a diehard Starbucks coffee drinker, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. While I will drink Starbucks coffee during my many visits there, it is not my preference. So why do I keep going back? I return to truly experience something more than a transaction. Your current and prospective employees seek the same.

 

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Powerhouse Talent -employer branding, culture and talent attraction

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and global mobility: a…

The Employee Value Proposition and global mobility: a tool in the war for talent? | Magazine | Relocate magazine

The “war on talent” is mostly due to a shortage of skilled labour. How can the Employee Value Proposition help employers attract and retain talent, especially in the world of international assignments and global mobility? This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine.

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80% of LGBTQ workers are ready to come out…

80% of LGBTQ workers are ready to come out at work, but only half do

Eighty percent of LGBTQ employees said they’re ready to disclose their orientation to their workplace, but only half actually have, according to a report emailed to HR Dive from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). BCG’s fourth-edition global survey on the perceptions of LGBTQ employees also found that a third of these workers said they believe that being out at work would hurt their careers.

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Companies are Using Architecture and Design to Inspire Workers

Companies are Using Architecture and Design to Inspire Workers

Can an office building, workplace, or cityscape have an impact on how we feel — both mentally and physically? In her fascinating 2017 book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives, architecture critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen

 

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How To Breathe New Life Into A Stale Employer…

How To Breathe New Life Into A Stale Employer Brand

If your organization has been having difficulty finding and retaining the talent it needs, it may be due in part to a stale employer brand. Not to be confused with your company brand — which encompasses the messaging, perceptions and valuation your customers have of your organization’s products and services — your employer brand is your reputation as a great place to work or an awful place to work.

 

There Is A New Compensation Currency And I’m Not Talking About Bitcoin

There Is A New Compensation Currency…

There is a new currency out there and I’m not talking about Bitcoin…or Ethereum for that matter. Increasingly we are seeing the intangibles weighing more heavily on the hearts and minds of applicants and employees when making employment decisions.

So, what are some modern-day tenders of choice?

Flexibility– There have been countless articles, research, and conferences about how millennials wish to work differently. What is surprising to some is that many other generations are thanking them for being the catalyst for change positively impacting the way we work. Working parents, human and fur alike, now enjoy greater flexibility to provide their most meaningful contribution in a manner that makes sense for their roles and their lives. Progressive leaders empower their people with a challenging mandate and then allow them to decide how to best achieve the optimal outcome. From flex-hours to remote work, how we work has changed and thank goodness for that!

Solution- Consider implementing agile workforce programs in your workplace. This is more than writing a policy, it’s a lifestyle change. Lead by example by having your leaders demonstrate these progressive programs in how they collaborate and measure success.

Inspiring leadership– Move over command and control, inspiring leadership is where its at. What resonates with someone is individual, but we have yet to hear someone ask to join a company where there is more hierarchy, regiment, and excessive approval processes. What we do hear about is accessible leadership, removing bottlenecks, mission-driven work, and a clear vision.

Solution- From the top of the house down, ask yourself if you have the type of leaders that will magnetize critical talent populations to your organization. On a go-forward basis, be sure to hire leaders that support a cultural metamorphosis.

Virtualization– In order to achieve this flexibility, one needs technological requirements to help make it happen. A virtualized workplace has allowed us to collaborate not only cross-functionally, but also globally in very meaningful ways. Legacy facetime has been replaced with Apple Facetime, Google Hangouts, and Skype.  Providing smart ways to work helps a workforce manage their most precious resource, their time, by shaving hours off their commute and positively impacting the environment.

Solution– Start utilizing tech tools that power a modern workforce. You would be surprised how many are free or low cost. Locate the early adopters in your employee population and empower them to train and evangelise on these tools.

Purpose– “We’re here to put a dent in the universe”- Steve Jobs. According to an Imperative study, 40% of the US population is purpose-oriented. That figure is even higher in several European countries. Many employees are no longer working for the all-mighty dollar alone. We are driven by impact and the dent we make in the universe.

Solution- Ask yourself, what is the bigger purpose of the work you do? Promote this bigger purpose as a focal point of the mission and employer brand messaging.

Fuller Talent Utilization– “We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make” – Lewis Carroll.  Regret can also be tied to the talents and gifts we did not have a chance to share. Narrow role scoping and a culture of colour within the lines can translate into underutilized talents. What a shame! It’s no wonder why the start up ecosystem has a natural magnetism to it. Bootstrapping means fuller talent utilization. We all want to be the hero and show the world what we are made of.

Solution-Provide broader mandates and challenge your team to try new things and tap into their hidden talents. Foster a culture of career exploration internally.


Modern Organizational Structure
– What would you select, cog in a wheel or valued contributor to the mission? Progressive leaders are looking to limit communication bottleneck and create greater access to information. If speed to market is game changing, reliance on old school hierarchy and communication protocol can spell disaster. Elon Musk’s now famous email on communication at Tesla embodies the spirit of open communication in the best interest of the organization versus a historical chain of command. While this may seem like an impossible dream for the multinational giants, this is exactly how Tesla is looking to compete with “intelligence and agility”.

Solution- Revisit structure and look for ways to streamline communication and optimize how work gets done. Encourage open communication and accessible leadership across the company that serves the culture and the customer.

Per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, compensation and benefits are basic human needs of personal safety. Those must be present but to truly attract and retain, but in today’s war for talent, the exceptional are looking for far more than their personal safety needs met. They want fulfillment. It could be increased autonomy or creative freedom, perhaps it’s tied to the mission. Regardless of what the driver may be, it leads back to how an opportunity at your organization can enrich their life, not simply thicken their crypowallet.

#HumanBeforeResources

 

Powerhouse Talent -employer branding, culture and talent attraction

The Power Of Employee Reviews For Your Employer Brand

The Power Of Employee Reviews For Your Employer Brand

Most organizations spend tons of time thinking about their consumer brand — how prospective customers perceive their products or services, how effectively their brand communicates the information it needs to attract those paying customers and the ROI on all of the marketing activities they’re doing to grow that public brand.

 

 

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5 Predictions on the Future of the Employee Experience

5 Predictions on the Future of the Employee Experience

Remember when the open office floor plan was an innovative idea? When colleagues were excited about moving email over to chat apps? Or when you only used two or three apps at work each day? If you haven’t already guessed where this is going, let me lay it out for you: the employee experience is drastically changing.

 

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Why Employer Branding Is So Important

Why Employer Branding Is So Important

3 min read This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog Having a reputable employer brand is a must for an organization’s strategy because it helps companies recruit better candidates, reduce hiring and marketing costs, and improve productivity. Therefore, for organizations that are still in doubt about investing in employer branding, here’s why it’s so important.