Using Talent Communities #socialmedia for Employer Branding

Organizations face two big challenges in the context of two ever-changing realities –  key talent is hard to find and job seekers look to peers and the collective wisdom of the social web to decide on what firm to join.



The two objectives organizations will need to start thinking about are:


  1. How to Build an employment brand that is relevant to the needs of the key talented people and to monitor the conversations on the social web to understand how to join in the conversation
  2. Understand where these talented prospective employees are, what they talk about and how to engage them to attract them to consider you an employer.


Organizations will need to move away from building their presence from social networks and integrate them to build online communities for their talent pool.

When a person joins a talent community owned/ stewarded by an organization – he or she gives permission to the organization to have a conversation with him/her – and it is up to the organization to either mess it up by “pushing” its message or to take it to the next level by active engagement.

As this becomes more and more common – recruiters and hiring managers will move more and more into “community manager” roles and need to build and take on newer skills to augment their existing skill sets. The ability that will count will not be to tell their own stories, but encouraging participants to tell their stories.

Tomorrow’s organization needs to tap into the talent pool will need to move from step 1 to 5:


  1. Listening & interpreting what your prospective talent desires –
  2. The employer brand is no longer in the organization’s control. Everyday, people are asking information about and reviewing what others have said about employers’ cultures, roles, career prospects – in sites like or even Google Places.
  3. What do your prospective employees really look for in their ideal workplace ?
  4. What’s the perception in the market about your company and it’s culture?
  5. What’s the perception about your competitors?
  6. Use “listening” tools (Radian6, Alterian SM2, Buzzstream). This will identify the social places where they “hang out”. Which will lead to step 2.


2. Find & attract good talent. Monitoring content that they create and queries they answer. Holding talent contests around the content they are looking in prospective candidates is a great way to finding talented people. If the organization builds virality in the contest it’s a great way to spread the word and engage a larger talent pool


3. Engage with active prospects. Engaging needs to be done in two places – the niche social networks they converse in – and the organization’s own branded social community – which could be a blog or a full fledged social network. It can be used to showcase organizational culture, with rich multimedia content like photographs, videos. Firms should encourage employees to participate in such forums – specially employees who are considered experts in their field. Both the employees and the organization benefit as both brands get built.

  1. Content can be curated on the corporate site from the social web around different axes : product, market, industry.
  2. Content can be created by the organizational employees on the organizational site too.
  3. Prospective employees could also be invited to contribute content and showcased in a leaderboard.
  4. Employee/ Team blogs serve two purposes specially for large organization – they act as communication vehicles with the media as well as engaging niche talent.
  5. HR and recruitment focused community platform like Microsoft’s also help give tips and tricks to prospective employees


  1. Onboarding new recruits– While this is done offline, I feel a part of making initial connection could be done virtually even before people “sign up” and strengthen bonds between future employees.

Learning: Social technology can make learning more of a continuous process than the 2-3 day event it currently is. These tools can also be used by trainers to add more to the classroom and create a community of learners who can continue to share experiences and be a support group as they implement learnings in their workplace. Marcia Conner’s book “The New Social Learning” shows how various firms are using tools to augment employee training.
Recognition : Companies like Rypple, Globoforce have started the concept of social peer recognition and it can be a powerful factor to increase employee engagement. In the future look out for predictive analytics about engagement and attrition by analyzing how employees are being recognized by their peers.
Knowledge Sharing: Forget the idea of databases acting as “repositories” of knowledge, internal social networks can capture employees work activity as social intranets connect deeper into business applications – and team members can follow what others are doing on their activity streams. Newer tools like Opzi and MindQuiltcan also emerge as a enterprise version of Quora, the popular Q&A site.


5. Alumni connect – Today’s employees can be tomorrow’s ambassadors if an alumni program is managed well and alumni see value being a part of the community.


In Conclusion


The vast majority of organizations and job seekers are stuck at the “salary” discussions as they don’t think about the desire of an individual to make a difference and meaning to others. And unless you can connect with that innately human desire which are discoverable and engaged via social technologies  – recruiters and organizations will continue to judge a person by their current and future salary levels and they in turn will treat each firm as a mercenary would.


It’s about time organizations and job seekers got to know the human side of each other.

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