Is Your Employer Brand A Social Object?

By Craig Fisher, originally posted on MonsterThinking.com
How interesting is the job for which your company is hiring?  How interesting, for that matter, is your company?  Is there a compelling story?  On July 26th, 2011, the recruiting community in San Antonio discussed this in a live conversation with Robert Scoble as he kicked off TalentNet Live at Rackspace HQ.
Talking recruiting and branding with @Scobleizer was just one of the perks of hosting TNL at such an innovative brand’s home office.
He detailed these stories in a recent article he posted on his favorite new social spot,Google+.   Here’s an excerpt from the post, aptly titled, “How do you recruit the best talent?“  Which is a question on a lot of our minds these days.
Here’s Scoble’s take:
“Graham Weston, in his TEDx speech, laid it out a bit better when he tells us how an organization can succeed at a human level. “What we all want is to be valued members, of a winning team, on an inspiring mission.” You should watch the rest of the speech (below).  His leadership is a majority of the reason I work at Rackspace.

Another friend, Hugh MacLeod , says you need to turn work into a social object. IE, something that creates a conversation. If you haven’t read Hugh’s thinking on social objects, you should (click here). He’s the artist who drew the cartoon on this post.
The best companies tell a story that creates a conversation that creates those powerful feelings after the recruit goes home. Here’s some examples I’ve seen:
SOASTA:  They buy every employee two 27-inch monitors. One for home and one for the office. That sounds extravagant, right? But it’s the best recruiting technique I’ve seen (and one that today doesn’t cost much money). It resonates with me, I turned down a job once because the guy who would be my boss came into the interview with a crappy computer. If the company didn’t give HIM the best tools, well, then, there was no chance they were going to support me with the best ones.
GOPRO: GoProbought a race car for its 70 employees to share. Here’s a video of it with CEO Nicholas Woodman driving:

Wide HERO race car testing. Laguna Seca July, 2008 from GoPro on Vimeo.
He told me it’s one reason he was glad to hold off taking venture capital so long “a board would probably not have approved that expense.” But talk about a powerful social object “the startup I work for has its own race car, isn’t that cool?”
It’s not the only social object they have, either. Their cameras are being used right now to film the X Games and employees are there working to capture that.
HEALTHTAP: They create a fun atmosphere at work. When I met CEO Ron Gutman he took me on a tour of their office, and showed me conference rooms that have themes. The one that caught my eye is the 1950s room:
So many conference rooms I’ve been in just have the same boring furniture. Not here, they bought a 1950s restaurant table and TV. Ron told me “and it only cost us $350 on Craig’s List.”
Which demonstrates “we’re gonna have fun and we’re not gonna kill the bank while doing it.” Of course, you need to know the rest of the story. Ron gave a TED talk this year on the hidden power of smiling, which then went viral.
Wouldn’t you like to work for a guy who did a TED video on smiling? I bet that’s a fun place to work and the fun themed conference rooms back that up.
Other companies that have fun workplaces?
SCRIBD, which has a zipline and electric go cart races inside the offices.
YFROG which has a rock star CEO (one of the first employees at Google) who takes his employees shooting (a different kind of power) and has a room full of blow-up frogs.”
Scoble’s presentation was very interesting.  But the best part was that he saved the last half for Q and A.  I’ve seen many great speakers do their thing; frankly, I’m not easily impressed.  But the Q&A session with Scoble actually gave me goose bumps.  I’ll admit it.  It was great.  And it set the perfect tone for the rest of the conference.
Throughout the day at TNL, we learned how some well established employer brands,Rackspace, Intuit, Monster, and AT&T, approached recruiting and engagement.  We learned from Bill Boorman how Hard Rock Cafe could hire 120 people in four weeks using Facebook and Eventbrite.
We also got a glimpse of new technology and smarter approaches to recruiting and branding from SmartRecruiters, BizzBizz, SilkRoad, BraveNewTalent, and Ajax Social Media, not to mention Monster’s newBeKnown Facebook app.  All very interesting social objects.
Does your company have a compelling story?  Come and share it when TalentNet Live happens again this month in Dallas on 8/26 at one of the world’s most recognizable and iconic brands, Pepsico.
TNL Dallas will explore the latest ideas and real world tools to rock your brand and streamline your recruiting process.  Pepsico marketing and recruiting leaders Chris Hoyt and Jim Schnyder will be on hand along with many of your favorite social recruiting innovators who are in the trenches, their everyday work executed from the talent trenches.
It’s the work that creates a conversation about the big picture, smart people talking about smart topics that matter to recruiting and talent management.  Sound good?  Well, I’m interested.
If you are, too, I hope you can make it to Dallas on August 26th.  I look forward to meeting you in real life, but if you can’t make it to Plano, click here for some ways you can join the #TNL conversation online.
And don’t forget to check MonsterThinking.com starting Tuesday, August 23, for complete coverage of the event in Dallas – and what the conversation in Texas means for the global talent community.

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