2020 has been a year of incredible change and upheaval. For organizations and business leaders, managing the ripple effects of a global crisis requires an equal measure of poise and adaptability. Sometimes, though, you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that led to it. To succeed in our new world, it’s becoming clear that conventional thinking has to change.
Except, as talent acquisition professionals and employer brand leaders, we can often fall victim to an over-reliance on conventional thinking.
And you can understand why, right? Conventional thinking can appear to minimize risk and ensure continuity, but when we make decisions based on feelings of fear and survival, the outcome is usually never good. As Robert Quinn, head of organization and management at the University of Michigan’s Ross Business School, told Psychology Today:
“We make these conventional assumptions because they’re often accurate and it’s how we see people behaving at work. So unless we do work to the contrary, which I call leadership, then organizations naturally drift towards the negative. But when we take fear away and we build confidence and hope and vision and orient people towards purpose and the future, the brain functions in a different way, and performance is different.”
To truly excel as employers of choice, organizations need to navigate our new world with fresh thinking and ideas. We need thinking that addresses candidate concerns, doubles down on authenticity, and provides a clear and compelling vision for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. Here are six examples of how conventional thinking should change:
1. Storytelling vs Storydoing
To connect with candidates, you need to move from storytelling to storydoing. Storytelling is very common among organizations, and often involves broadcasting a mission statement or employer brand tagline across multiple channels and platforms, promoting an ethos of what companies believe in and how they expect people to behave. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but on the whole, it tends to lack any real substance or evidence of making real impact. Storydoing takes this one step further, and aligns higher purpose initiatives with real action.
Storydoing starts with action, change, and impact and then provides a plethora of storytelling opportunities once real initiatives have been launched and significant results are evident. Examples of this could be anything from sacrificing profit for more ethical supply-chain choices, or investing in local communities.
In short, talk is cheap. If organizations become the change we want to see in the world, we’ll have a greater respect, trust, and affinity for them.
To challenge conventional thinking, start creating elevated employer brand content that resonates with people on an emotional level. Videos, rich media, and interactive content have an important role to play in bringing ambition, conviction, and innovation to life in meaningful ways. This is particularly true for specialist and graduate recruitment roles that are becoming increasingly difficult to fill.
If you really want to push things to the next level, then do what few are willing to try: Experiment with gaming, immersive experiences, and virtual reality. These all have massive potential to engage candidates, but achieving them with tactical effectiveness requires a clear roadmap.
When you combine higher-purpose initiatives with new and innovative ways of delivering content, then you instantly create a point of difference in the marketplace and are able to capture attention in a content-saturated landscape.
2. Ignoring Reality vs Incorporating Reality
It’s no longer enough to simply shout about the perks and benefits of your organization. You need to inspire talent.
It’s common for organizations to focus on the “sunshine version” of the culture they have rather than focusing on the culture they need. To appeal to a new generation of talent, organizations must shift to bringing clarity to the difference between what they have and what they’re striving toward.
To achieve this, lean into the harsh realities of your organization that people need to overcome. Talk about the challenges, the imperfections, the adversities of the long road ahead as part of your vision for the future. This can become your greatest opportunity to engage, motivate, and connect with talent…