The experience of an employee matters. And this is how you trace these stories.

Anyone wishing to recruit new staff must start with their own employees. Real employees, with roots in the organization. Experienced people who know what the job is all about. They have a story. Let them tell this story. That is how you make a difference as a marketeer in a big company. But is this everything? How do you trace these stories?

As a recruiter, it’s your turn when you are telling something nowadays. Make sure that you actually have something to tell. That is the most important message I took with me after an online seminar of the site Indeed that I recently followed. Indeed is a digital channel to spread vacancies.

The theme of this seminar was Story telling: the secret weapon of a strong employers brand. Two experts spoke during this session, who know everything about the current competitive labor market. Maarten Bokhoven is Head of Employer Branding at ABN AMRO and Marco Dalmeijer, Teamleader Employer Branding & Employee Engagement at Lidl. They both know that new strategies are the answer.

Admitted: I got inspired by the innovative campaigns that they have created for completely different candidate-employees. Especially Dalmeijer had an appealing story about the smart Christmas campaigns of Lidl. The gory image of the sororities of Beau van Erven Dorens are sublimely being changed into a commercial about the labor market (”Hey Beau, what’s the name of that Scottish fishermen pal of yours: Lee Dell?”). Result for Lidl? A better reputation as employer and
more applicants.

ABN AMRO is also innovative concerning to seek the right candidates. Bokhoven pointed to the collaboration with The next web, where the bank neutrally adds to building files about the future of the financial world. Podcasts, videos and longreads can be found on this platform. Trying to find the right candidates is no longer being done convulsively. Because they are directly being looked up – based on content – without promotion of the bank.

There are many independent discussions about blockchain and bots. The connection with the bank becomes visible from the moment it turns relevant. Bokhovens attitude appeals to me: Because, he said, ”If the recruiter does not understand it, we have something nice in our hands.” This is recognizable, because this is in line with, I might add, what we are working on with Felix personalized recruitment.

Bokhoven as well as Dalmeijer value close collaboration with the internal department of marketing. The method of approach of ABN AMRO appeals to me the most. The lock down has been launched by the bank to attract scarce IT-specialists. This concept was developed by a media agency. In summary, a mobile room is transformed into an escape room. In that scenario far into the future, the financial system is attacked. IT-experts are the ‘heroes’ that need to save the world.

Exciting, but it is crucially important to me that employees of the bank were invited to brainstorm. Because what turns out? About thirty of our own employees from the digital and IT departments played an indispensable role in assessing and developing what they consider interesting, current and challenging. They indicated whether the code used was correct and even placed playful references in it.

Bokhoven emphasized that it is essential to assign important roles to your own employees. And to let them collaborate to make new initiatives successful. The condition is that they are rooted in the organization, come to their workplace to join in on several topics, such as wearing sneakers at the work at the bank, or if something is developed with Tikkie. This appeals to me.

But this is not everything. Because one thing was underexposed during the seminar. How do you stimulate the involvement of your own employees? That involvement is crucial to tell the personal story, in order to share and spread it. So how do you get your own people to represent their experiences in words and images?

I was waiting for that one insight into the strategic approach to promote employee value proposition. That never showed. That is unfortunate. However, that approach is in hand reach. It is not any different in the marketing for consumers. For example, what does a milkshake in the car yield to you as a commuter? Is it a dessert, does it satisfy hunger or does it remove boredom during that boring morning drive to work?

I work on value proposition every day. I do this, because we use personalized recruitment at Felix. I ask simple questions to people who work day after day. So approach someone from below (bottom-up) and not from above, top-down, spread the mission statement and assume that potential candidates join you.. No way, it is not in their point of view.

So how do you get people to share their valuable own experiences – in order that suitable new employees can be found? It is very simple: give them the space to think about what and who is needed to achieve success. For starters, ask them questions like, “Why do you get up early in the morning to spend at least ten hours of your day working?”; “What does that bring you?”; “What is holding you back?”; “What gives you energy?”.

Trace these stories. That is essential. It doesn’t matter if it concerns a big or small company. Because in those answers it almost never concerns money, holidays or lease cars. But intrinsic values and motivation. About social connections, acknowledgement, durability and a contribution to a higher purpose. Exactly the topics that today’s organizations like to see their teams working on.

People define your company. Because the ”what” is not the thing that counts, but the ”how” and especially the ”why”. That creates trust. Authentic and personal stories will be told automatically. A story that lasts and that inspires job seekers.

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