If your company wants to get in bed with innovation, but you either can’t or don’t know how to get high-potential talent in the door, here’s a suggestion: You may need to take a close and critical look at your company’s culture.
But we’ve done that already, you may think. We’ve spent a ton of time and money on new branding and on bringing our corporate culture into the twenty-first century. You’re telling me it’s not going to attract the talent I’m looking for?
The question relies on an important distinction between two types of branding. One type is the product or service branding you project to the consumer. The second type is the way that your brand reputation is perceived within the industry. You can spin your mission statement all you want—but smart prospective talent (the kind you’re looking to attract) will always get the inside scoop from colleagues (who have lived the brand experience) before they’re invited to join your company. And if—in spite of a well-placed investment in your organization’s consumer-facing brand—your company culture sucks, and your job opportunities don’t offer growth, then your reputation is a talent turnoff. And then the work that goes into fixing this type of branding issue goes deep.
According to Angela Yeh, Founder and CEO of Yeh IDeology, companies interested in recruiting innovative talent need to take an honest look at their culture, to ensure that they truly deliver on their company manifesto. Then, companies need to understand how their identity is received by prospective talent, and anticipate how well a desired candidate can integrate within it. “We’ve met hiring managers that drink too much of their company’s Koolaid, who are not honest about the way their brand is being perceived and experienced,” Yeh says. “Be absolutely self aware, transparent, and candid about where the organization is and where it’s progressing. Have realistic expectations.”
“The innovation industry has exploded,” Yeh notes. “And these days, the talent pool is brilliant.” She adds that smart talent knows how to bring their A-game, and by the same token, they want to know that the role and work they’re landing feels thought-out and together. “We’ve seen it with several of our clients—culture clashes occur when the brand thinks it’s an amazing conglomerate, but the talent is aware of cultural, moral, or ethical issues within the company’s industry reputation.”
“The really disruptive news,” Yeh says, “is that the innovative talent that is hired to drive an organization’s success actually gets to dictate the terms of their employment. The market allows top-tier talent to be extremely selective. Helping a company understand what talent values, how to adjust their culture, how to reposition their brand reputation, and how to craft job offerings to attract high-value candidates is just groundbreaking. This impact affects a company long term and beyond.”
Yeh IDeology is a talent strategies and recruitment firm specializing in design and innovation. If you need help bringing your brand reputation into alignment with your brand identity, we can help you craft and refine messaging that attracts the talent you seek. Please email Yeh IDeology at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.