12 Days of Talent – Day 1 Part 2 – HR’s Top Priority for 2015 – Authenticity

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The Future of Talent Lies in Embracing Authenticity

By Joe Minaudo, The Talent Company

As organizations continue to compete for talent, in my view, there is a critical driver that many organizations overlook: whether or not their people, culture and brand are perceived as authentic. 

Why does authenticity matter now more than ever?  It’s because of our increasingly networked world. Nearly every one of your candidates, employees, customers and vendors is being asked what they think about your company. If the message is positive (i.e. if your organization is perceived to be genuine), you have an immense advantage over your competition. However, if the message is negative and your organization is being criticized on various social media and networking sites, then your ability to attract talent becomes much harder.

Tips for Embracing Authenticity

If you think that your organization has some work to do in this area, then the good news is that enabling authenticity is neither costly nor challenging. Here are 7 tips that I have recommended to help my clients transform how they are perceived:

Treat Each Candidate Interaction as the Last One – Ever!

Yes, it is important to try and keep the candidate pipeline full. But in my opinion it is even more important to focus incessantly on treating each candidate interaction as your last one – ever!  That is, you should view each visit to your career site, email sent, phone call made, interview completed and referral introduction as a key opportunity to convey that your organization strives for and cares about authenticity and all of its attributes, such as care, enthusiasm, professionalism, quality and leadership. Leveraging every touch point in this way is the best way to build authenticity into your organization.

Turn Executives into Authenticity Champions

Your executives are (or should be) your biggest champions. How passionate are they about engaging and elevating your organization’s talent? In other words, is talent management a key theme on the executive agenda? Is it a priority in the boardroom?  Leaders need to be authentically waving the organization’s flag at all times.

Ensure that Managers and Supervisors Play a Role

Managers need to be trained and supported on how to demonstrate and distribute authenticity through all levels of the organization. A key element of this is engaging employees, and ensuring that they feel valued. Its simple; if employees are engaged and feel valued, there is a direct correlation to company’s increased performance and client satisfaction.

It’s a continuous effort of process improvement

Organizations invest millions of dollars into getting customer care and retention right. And while you do not need to spend millions on your talent function, you certainly do need to ensure your talent function is fit for purpose. It takes time and should be part of an ongoing commitment – not a one-time-event. Authenticity takes time to build up and must be continuously supported or else it will diminish.

Make Candidate Care and Experience a Priority

Just like a visitor in a hotel, your candidates – both internally and externally – should feel like a valued guest. Every interaction should be designed for a positive experience, from initial contact to communicating why they were unsuccessful during the interview process.

Ensure that your External Brand Mirrors your Internal Experience

Frankly, there is no point in marketing your organization as a top employer if candidates and employees do not support that claim. Nobody benefits when a new hire feels like he or she has been deceived because the external brand does not mirror the internal experience. When that happens, it is only a matter of time before the employee leaves; or worse, they stay and contribute to a culture of disengagement.  Your organization has to feel and show like it is a great place to work. That’s the path to authenticity.

A Little Humility Goes a Long Way

No matter how admirable an organization may be, and how often it is ranked as a “best employer” or “most trusted brand,” there is always room for improvement. Organizational perfection may be an inspiring vision, but it is not a realistic expectation.

So, if you detect gaps in your talent function, or you get specific feedback from a candidate that their experience with your organization was memorable for all of the wrong reasons, then instead of hitting the panic or the denial button, humbly take ownership of the problem and explore what can be done to solve it. Sometimes simply saying sorry and promising to do better can turn a vicious critic into a future prospect.

Organizations must continue adjusting in an increasingly competitive and complex talent market. And while there are many factors and variables to consider, in my view authenticity is often overlooked as a critical driver; one that not only makes the process of attracting, engaging and retaining talent easier, but much more enjoyably as well!

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Joe Minaudo is the leader of the Recruitment Strategy and Transformation practice with The Talent Company (www.thetalent.co), a human resources consulting firm that works closely with clients to develop, optimize and innovate their Recruitment and Talent practices. Joe possesses more than 15 years of recruitment, talent management and workforce planning experience. He has lead recruitment and workforce planning functions for both international and global Big 4 consulting firms. Joe can be found at the following social tools LinkedIn and Twitter.

For more information on The Talent Company and our 12 Days of Talent project, visit www.thetalent.co

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