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Social Branding: Why is it Important in the New World of Work

You can’t afford to be part of a faceless organization in the new world of work. That’s why tomorrow’s highflyers will use talent as their brand. Martin Belton reveals more.

The world hates faceless organizations. If, for some reason, you at all doubt that, type the phrase into Google check out the comments. But if you’re keen for a reference it’s worth looking up the brilliant trend curator and keynote speaker Rohit Bhargava and his lectures on the very subject.

Traditionally, the way to overcome that facelessness was to create a strong organizational brand. Marketing experts have long wrestled with the subject. But only more recently have they recognized that an organization’s talent is also a key constituent of that brand.

With the advent of the new world of work and the increasing use of AI and robotics, I’m betting that this focus will ramp up. It is already widely accepted that AI and Robotics will offer amazing benefits and savings. But those effects will be wider. Those very efficiencies will erode the differences between organizations. By using more automated tools, operating on matching algorithms, based on industry-wide KPI’s, we can assume the organizations themselves will become more similar. So, it is to the talent within them that we must turn to express those differences.

Talent branding is not a new subject in HR. It has been defined as being ‘the voice of your employees’. In short, it’s how they act, think, feel, and operate within your business. Your talent brand will match your organization’s mission and values to the experiences of your employees. That is, how your team talks about your organization to friends and family and the way they express what it means to work for your business. All of these are aspects that live within your talent brand.

Connecting your talent brand directly to your organization’s public face engenders trust and understanding. These connections become touchpoints and references for talent pipelines, marketing campaigns, customer buying journeys to providing customer service.

Developing talent as a brand requires leadership and HR to understand and explain how talent helps to create and support the brand. There are several issues inherent in doing this:

  • Defining your talent brand. Are you a technically advanced organization? Are you a caring-sharing type of organization? Are you all about better value? How does that represent itself with your employees?

  • Defining what that talent brand is in relation to competitors, both terms of product and services, is also important. This is true for both local and national markets if you are to source the ‘best fit’ employees.

  • Importantly, applying the understanding of your talent brand when recruiting and upskilling your workforce. That means understanding how your talent brand affects the organization internally and externally.

  • Discover how you can measure the success of your talent branding can be a challenge but useful if you are to maintain its effectiveness in the long term.

  • Working with existing employees to support and educate them on the organizational brand goals becomes more important when the focus is on your talent brand.

Of all those aspects, it is recognizing and defining the first of these – what your brand is – that has the most power to influence your future directions. This is about more than just understanding individuals’ capabilities. Talent as a brand means getting to grips with areas traditionally seen as more challenging to manage as part of the recruitment and development mix. Aspects such as behaviors, emotional intelligence, and personality traits. This is of course one of the key reasons why the Talent Transformation Guild is so attached to the Talent Transformation Pyramid. This new model is specifically designed to embrace these broader measures of talent and provide HR and C-suite executives with the data that can make these critical decisions in the future.

Finally, if you are in doubt whether talent can really be the key constituent of your brand, think of this. In a world that increasingly values real corporate responsibility for facelessness monoliths, real faces – your employees’ faces – and their comments and attitudes will be the most honest and powerful way to express who you are and what you represent. And that is branding.