The New Shift of Employer Branding

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Featuring VP, Employer Brand Diversity and Culture, John Graham

 

Keegan:  Well, John. You’re 6 weeks into your new role as VP, Employer Brand Diversity and Culture with us here at Shaker. How’s it going?

John:  Oh, MAN. Well, it feels like it’s been a lot longer than 6 weeks. Ha. And I mean that in a GOOD way, a great way, actually! Every single day, since day 1, I’ve been knee-deep in hyper-focused learning while simultaneously developing our DE&I client offerings. It’s been so fulfilling. I’ve had a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the Shaker culture and learn firsthand how they’ve continued to be an ongoing innovator in the Employer Branding space over the past 15 years. My being here is a testament to Shaker’s vision of pushing the industry to the inclusive approach of employer branding. This team, this purpose, and the potential of the impact we are going to bring to our industry – it’s a pretty powerful trifecta.

 

Keegan:  You bring a lot of years of experience as a thought leader in the EB space, living that experience building global employer brands in the client’s shoes. Now you’ve joined us on the agency side. What are some observations you’ve made? Any surprises?

John:  YES. During my onboarding, I heard several of my new colleagues say that every client is different, every project, and every engagement, so I was eager to see that play out. After 6 weeks in, I can attest to the fact that this is absolutely true. There is no cookie-cutting going down around here! My EB journey has consisted of end-to-end global employer brand builds, and end-to-end is the ideal state. However, I’m seeing how we step in and walk clients through any/all different stages of where they’re at in their EB journeys, with respect to their unique pain points, timeline, budget, leadership buy-in, etc. It truly is tailored expertise in our consulting approach. It’s a privilege to educate our clients throughout these journeys, knowing we are helping them to feel and be successful. I’m particularly focused on how our work will illuminate the necessary structural changes required to truly deliver on inclusive employer brands.

 

 

Keegan:  Now, more than ever, leaders are seeing it’s critical to deliver on employee needs, or be at risk of reduction in engagement, morale, and retention. And that strategic talent roadmap looks different than any other year. Can you share how we are helping to guide clients through full-cycle employer branding to create more profound integration into, in your words, the lived experience? 

John:  So, this is where the value of our tailored consult comes in again. We get to work with so many EB practitioners with varying levels of experience, and understandably the goal is to create an authentic employer brand, and effectively market it to influence talent attraction and retention. That said, an inclusive employer brand ideally needs to embody the lived experience for both the majority, the marginalized, and everyone in-between – at every single stage of the candidate and employee life cycle. Truly understanding the cultural DNA of the clients we serve and then committing to the entirety of change that can be applied at every stage is the undertaking we’re uniquely positioned to consult on. In this regard, it is less about aesthetics and the expression of the brand in the marketplace, and more so holistic, integrated talent brand, talent lived experience, and DEI strategy.

 

Keegan:  So now let’s share a bit about what’s on the horizon, and what we’ll cover in our follow-up discussions. Holistic approach to EB is one of your main wheelhouses, as is DEI strategy. Can you overview the main tenets of our soon-to-launch DEI offerings, built to deliver on our joint vision? 

John:  I’m super excited about what’s on the horizon. We have a unique opportunity to bring the historically decoupled functions of Employer Brand & DE&I together in a way that is truly groundbreaking. We’re advancing the DE&I work beyond a compliance-only approach and really helping our clients think about the daily lived experience of their marginalized employees and candidates. Our EVP and Employer Brand process will leverage our proprietary Lived Experience Survey and Lived Experience Index Score, which we believe will help our clients tell a more culturally inclusive story about who they are as a company. More importantly, over time this approach will become a benchmark for companies to measure the success of their DE&I initiatives. By helping our clients address the daily lived experience gaps, we feel that they will be better positioned to attract diverse demographic talent pools while also engaging and retaining their existing employees in more meaningful ways.

 

Watch for our next blog (the first of a 3-part DEI series) that will get into more detail about the tenets listed above.

 

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