Minutes
HR
Published on
February 5, 2024

Our events during spring 2024

At Peops Relations, we are proud to present our spring event calendar, packed with opportunities to grow, network, and develop! Whether you're looking to sharpen your skills, network with colleagues in the industry, or discover the latest trends, we have something for you. Check out our calendar and plan your spring with us!
Contributors
Calle Engström
People Partner
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The dates in this calendar will be updated continually. Be sure to follow us on Linkedin to receive the latest update.

Reach out if you find any of our events interesting!

Tips and tricks on how you can create a good candidate experience

In this blog I have talked about the importance of a good candidate experience and that currently most companies are not getting it quite right. This is especially important to note as each candidate can either preach for or badmouth your brand. Therefore, it is paramount to improve the candidate experience and create future ambassadors for your brand.

In this blog I will give you some solutions towards how to improve your candidate experience and fix possible problems; to find or attract the right people and to give them the best experience of your brand.

Fixing the basics

So how do you improve your candidate experience, avoid candidate backlash and become a better employer overall? Well first, let’s look at the basics and start off with the recruitment profile. The recruitment profile is, in modern day companies, maybe one of the most recycled documents. Not only in terms of layout, but often also in terms of text. Now this in and of itself does not have to be a bad thing, but try and be specific in what you are looking for and avoid general qualities that we expect all functioning human beings to have. Remember, the recruitment profile is not only important to find the right person, but it is also a profile on which you should base your communication (more on that later).

In your recruitment profile you should be brutally honest in what you need and very specific in what you are looking for, so don’t beat around the bush. Only then can you find the right candidate and can the right candidate find you. Furthermore, this has the advantage that you can always open up your scope later on if you cannot find the right candidate initially (trust us, this is better than a general profile which attracts 50+ candidates daily).

Another point here is that you might realize that you need something different than the candidates you have seen to fit the profile so far. Then don’t be afraid to change it and keep the profile as a base for the recruitment.  

Last but not least, if you want to attract new talent, then let others review the profile as well. Their insights and criticism might be crucial for something new and revolutionary. This is especially true if you need to replace a leaving employee with a new hire. In that case, you might not want more of the same, but something new and transforming.

Communication

Secondly, let’s talk communication. Marriage counsellors, salespeople, my mom and dad, almost everybody believes that the key to a good relationship is clear communication. Communication within recruitment often comes in three forms:

  1. Digital communication (emails)
  2. Telephone and video calls
  3. Interviews and in-person meetings

Therein there are two things very important: speed and clarity. As this blog shows, most candidates believe that their experience would have been better if the communication (from the employer) would have been better. This includes responding and giving updates when there is nothing to give an update on, for example; when you are waiting for feedback. Try to keep the candidate up to date with the knowledge you have up until that point even if that is barely more than you have informed them last time.

One way of doing so could be automatically triggered messages which get send to the candidate once something happens to the status of his or her application. The reason is simple; the candidate feels involved and heard. They feel that they are a part of the relationship and the process. So be fast and be clear. That is what candidates are longing for.

How you design you communication is dependent on three factors:

  1. the recruitment profile (you might address a VP of engineering differently than an intern)
  2. the form of communication (emails, phone calls or face-to-face meetings)
  3. how far the candidate is in the process (you can reject somebody in the beginning stages with an email, in final stages nothing less than a phone call is acceptable)

When in contact with candidates always show apathy and understanding for your situation. Every candidate has spent at least three to four hours on his or her application and they are very invested in your company. So, try to place yourself into their situation and treat them with care and hospitality. Understand that you are not only dealing with them, but also with their private life, preferences, values, their entire situation. It could be that a candidate had a rough day and is therefore easily frustrated, so be prepared to show understanding on a professional level. Try to connect as well besides just the job role and to create a bond with the candidate. Small things could be the weather, holidays or other events of that sort. Try to avoid religion, politics and social issues as you never know what their stance or background is on that. In that sense you have to stay professional and without bias.

This shows already that it is very hard to fit a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution and that is where we want to get at. This is not going to be an easy and simple fix, but there are solutions, which brings us to our third point: personalized standardization.

Personalized standardization

In the world of messaging there are mainly two ways of sending messages, either personalized or standardized. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Personalized messaging will create a better bond but it takes time and standardized messaging is easier to execute on mass, but it makes for a less strong bond. Therefore, I would argue to take best from both worlds.

Some (parts of) messages always remain the same “Thank you for your application”, “We look forward hearing from you”, “We are reaching out to you because of your experience at XYZ” etcetera. So, feel free to use standardized messaging, but always use a small personal twist in them so the candidate feels that you are trying to establish a better bond with them and that you are not simply copying and pasting every message to each candidate. This can be small talk about their application, something specific they wrote in their letter or CV, or something completely unrelated, just remember: it needs to be easily accessible for the candidate and politically correct. Holidays are a personal favourite of mine but try and figure out what works for you.

If you find something that works, stick with it, even if it becomes repetitive for you, because what is repetitive for you is not repetitive for each new candidate you get in touch with.

Higher integration and prioritization of recruitment

For most hiring managers recruitment is a necessary means to an end. They need somebody for their team and therefore they need to go through (the mostly unwanted) process of recruiting. That attitude needs to change.

Recruitment needs to be an ongoing part of the work of a hiring manager, even if there is no urgent position to be filled right now. At Google every employee is bound to spend 20% of his or her time on hiring (read more about what we can learn from Google here) and so should your hiring managers. Only that way you can find the talent you need. Weekly recruitment meetings need to be established wherein vacancies, candidates and feedback are discussed.

Direct feedback processes need to be created wherein the feedback does not go via a recruiter but comes from the hiring manager or reviewing expert themselves. This requires some training and practice, but yields better satisfaction as the candidate is directly getting feedback from the experts and able to ask them questions directly. This takes time of your HR employee’s hands which they then can use for sourcing better candidates and to look after their needs.

Involving the team will also create a better understanding for the struggles which accompany recruitment and makes the team also more understanding if some recruitments take longer than expected. This integration and prioritization of recruitment in your organization will ultimately affect the speed by which you communicate with your candidates, and that is ultimately the best thing one can improve according to candidates themselves.

In conclusion

Candidate experience is hard to improve, but necessary. It is an important aspect of your employer branding and requires careful planning and altering. The main points you should be focussing on are:

  1. setting up a precise recruitment profile;
  2. clear and fast communication;
  3. personalized standardized messaging, and;
  4. a higher integration and prioritization of recruitment.

If you need help with any of these aspects or if you need us to take off the entire process off your hands? Get in touch with us and see what we can do for you!

Line Thomson
July 30, 2022
In the 21st century we have come a long way from the original working conditions of ‘free workers’ in the industrial revolution.

In the 21st century we have come a long way from the original working conditions of ‘free workers’ in the industrial revolution. Over time we have created working places which protect, motivate and empower employees. Employers are always looking to improve the workplace to increase productivity and wellbeing of their employees. We look up to tech giants such as Spotify, Google and Facebook and their creative working environments and see those as the current example of how the perfect workplace should look like, even the term ‘perfect workplace’ is clouded with mystery. In this blog we will take a closer look at 5 common myths about the perfect workplace and show you the reality behind them.  


Myth 1: Working 8 hours guarantees productivity.  


The longer you work, the more work you get done. That seems the premises behind this myth that has been around since Henry Ford introduced the eight-hour workday to his factory workers. Experiments here in Sweden with six-hour workdays show that the opposite is true and that 8 hours does not lead to more productivity. They argue that a lot of the eight hours spent at the office are spent inefficiently and that the six hours put down a healthy amount of pressure on their employees. Furthermore, they argue that their employees are happier to show up and leave the office and are in general less exhausted. While we are not arguing that all companies should switch to six hours of work per day, we are arguing that the normal nine-to-five working days should be a thing of the past as they are simply exhausting your workforce. Try to rethink what makes your employees productive and try to tap into their needs. Perhaps working from home is a viable (better) alternative, or shortened working days with shortened breaks. As always, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.  


Reality 1: Working 8 hours does not guarantee productivity.


Myth 2: The closer the relationship within teams, the less errors will be made.  


When you think about it, it makes sense right? If you have a good connection with your colleagues and your manager and if you got your relationship and work down to a routine, then there should be less room for errors. Nothing is less true. A study by Amy Edmondson shows that employees and managers with a close relationship reported significantly more errors than the test subjects who do not have a close relationship. So why is that? The answer is quite simply: the employees felt more certain to their managers to report errors because of their good relationship. This is important to note because failure is a part of progress. As an employer you need to know where mistakes are made so you can improve your business, therefore it is your responsibility to create the safe environment to be able to report these errors. You should focus on continuous improvement rather than perfection.  


Reality 2: The closer the relationship within teams, the more errors will be reported and the faster they improve.


Myth 3: Like-minded people work better together.  

On the surface this one seems to make sense. The more you are on the same line with your colleagues the faster you take decisions and the better results you will get, right? Wrong. A study by Kathrine Philips, Katie Liljenquist and Margaret Neale disproves this and argues that homogenous teams indeed take faster decisions, but do not make better decisions. The heterogenous teams performed best in terms of decisions as they kept questioning and challenging their partners to come to better results.  


Reality 3: Homogenous teams deliver speed, heterogenous teams deliver results.


Myth 4: Additional perks make for happy employees.  


We have all seen the examples of Google, Twitter and Facebook. Cafeteria filled with food and beverages (sometimes even entire meals), doggy day care services and even cleaning services are all perks which are supposed to make your employees happy. Although nobody ever got sad from a free meal, it is not a guarantee for happy employees. These perks will only be perceived as offerings and add-ons to their job if the working culture is healthy. If you are encouraged to work through your lunchbreak, but in exchange you do get a free lunch, that might feel more as a bribe than an actual perk. It is therefore important that you get a healthy culture first which empower your employees. Only after that fundament is established, can you think about adding additional perks. If you want to learn more from Google, read my blog on the 7 most important lessons here or if you want to find out what truly motivates employees in this day and ages, read this blog.  

Reality 4: Only if you have the fundamentals right, then additional perks will contribute to happiness.


Myth 5: Doing what you love is the best way to achieve the most out of your work life.


We all heard the conventional wisdom that you should strive to work with what you love to get the most out of yourself. This string of wisdom argues that your passion motivates you do great things and make a difference in the world. There is evidence which disproves this self-centred motivation. A study done by O.C. Tanner in 2015 shows that great work or results are not so much achieved by doing something we love but, according to 88% of the participants, it is more focussed on making a difference that other people love. That is where true productivity and great accomplishments lie. This is not to say that you should not try to find job wherein you can do what you already love to do, it is just a way of saying that it is not necessarily the best way of the most out of your work life or achieving great things.


Reality 5: Achieving greatness often begins with trying to make a difference that other people love.


Are you interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us to see how we can help you to:
  • Increase productivity
  • Open up to errors and improvement
  • Create heterogenous teams that deliver results
  • Establish a healthy culture which makes for happy employees
  • Achieve great results with the right people

Line Thomson
July 19, 2022
Different teams work on branding and culture, however they are two sides of the same coin

Branding and culture are two separated dimensions often run by separated teams. This is problematic because many companies do not realise that branding and culture are part of the same process. So why are branding and culture part of the same process?

In most organisations branding is driven by the marketing department whereas cultural projects are driven by the People (HR) department. Often these two continuous projects (and participants) communicate little or not at all with one another, and that is because they are perceived as separate projects. This goes against our vision of what branding and culture is and how they can reinforce each other. We believe that a brand is determined by culture and that the correct display of a brand will reinforce internal culture. In this blog I will assess the two topics and show you how they intertwine.


Branding


Branding is an integral part of marketing. Branding is a way to steer how the outside world perceives your company and how they interact with your company. Brands can be very personal, very classy, very edgy, very transformative, you name it - and it is out there. The flavours of different brands are endless, which is not surprising as each company is trying to stick out from the crowd by creating their own unique identity. That is why it is not surprising that marketing departments focus on creating an own “brand identity” complete with own colours, values, story lines, slogans, and other components to make an own distinctive brand.


While creating a distinctive brand is important, it is almost similarly important to communicate this brand to the outside world. You can have a beautiful brand identity, but if nobody knows about it, then it is practically useless. In other words, you need to make consumers/potential clients aware of your brand. This part of marketing is, not surprisingly, called “brand awareness” which basically focusses on all the different channels through which you are trying to inform the world out there about your brand identity.


As you can imagine, these are enormous tasks, not only to define a strong brand which really stands out and persuades consumers/potential clients, but also to then get your message out there. It is up to your marketing department to properly formulate and distribute the message that your brand wants to convey.

Culture

Turning now to culture. In its core, culture is the combination of all individual values and behaviours of the people within your company. This is in part influenced by your organisational values, but also by individual beliefs. Culture is therefore not something that you can completely control, you can only partly steer it. With every new person that joins your team, or every person that leaves your team, your culture partly changes. So, in some sense culture is something you cannot control. However, you can stimulate certain behaviours and demotivate others. This way you can move culture in the right direction.


Your culture determines a lot on how your employees communicate and behave internally, but also how they communicate and behave towards the outside world. In part, your culture therefore determines what how the outside world perceives your company and your brand. This hints towards how culture and branding are very intertwined.


The same coin


So how are culture and branding part of the same process? Well, in simple terms branding is a process which determines how you are perceived in the outside world and culture determines how your employees interact with the outside world. In essence they are therefore both part of the same process: interactions with the outside world.


An organisation is its people. I believe that branding should start with assessing your internal culture. You need to know first what your internal culture stands for before you can create a brand accordingly. Why? Simple: consistency. For example: you can create a beautiful brand identity talking about how customer-focussed your organisation is, but let’s assume that your employees are rather more focussed on creating the best products (product-focussed). If your customer interacts with your representatives, which have a different attitude than your brand advertises, this might disappoint or upset them, or even worse; it will make your brand identity questionable, unconvincing, or even unbelievable.


On the flip side, having a brand identity which does not align with the internal culture also causes some problems. You will soon find that your employees do not believe any more about the message you convey to your customers/clients and that they become unhappy about the fact that the company seems to become more and more out of touch with their own employees and the internal culture. This can lead to unhappiness, unproductivity and even with people calling in sick or ultimately leaving the company.


So, what to do?


1. Find out what your culture is.

As with all cultural projects, the first step of assessing your current culture is key. Try to use employee surveys to question your employees what they value in their work, how they feel connected to their colleagues and what motivates them to come to work. Ask them how they communicate towards one-another, if they feel free to speak up during meetings, if they value creativity, how they experience the leadership; and many other questions. Try to find out how they work (together) and what motivates them to work (together).


(optional) 2. Motivate desired behaviours/demotivate undesired behaviours

In case you notice that there are many unwanted behaviours, then you should try and motivate desired behaviours and demotivate undesired behaviours. Use workshops, brainstorming sessions and early adopters to help people see how individual and group behaviour affect the brand in a positive (or negative) way. Bring out their desire to build a strong unique culture and brand. During these sessions you should get a better uniform image of what behaviours everybody wants to motivate. This is also the moment to take the leading role and move people in the right direction to start adopting the desired behaviours.


From these sessions you should also be able to bring organisational values to life. Working bottom-up: individual behaviours can be generalized in a couple of shared attitudes, which in turn can be generalized and highlighted in organizational values.


Don’t forget that organisational values prescribe behaviours. These are things you do. Therefore, your organizational values should be actionable.


3. Create a brand identity that aligns with your culture and promote it.

Now that you have found out what your internal culture stands for, it is time to create a brand identity around it. This is the job of your marketing department, but they need to keep connecting their messaging with the internal culture. If that does not align, then you are saying one thing while doing another. Once your brand identity is established and aligned with your internal culture, feel free to promote it any way you see fit.


4. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!

I do not understand why companies keep forgetting this step. Once you have created the right culture, the right brand identity, and you have started promoting it, then celebrate this with everybody involved! Present the results, show of the new polished brand, and how you are promoting it towards the outside world. While you are presenting this to your employees, remind them of how essential their contribution was into the cultural assessment and how they too have created their brand. It is just as much their achievement as it is the achievement of your marketing department. After all, your brand is your company, and your company is your brand. Everyone contributes to that, so every individual is key. Make your employees feel part of this journey and make them feel that they have contributed to this process. This will improve your overall culture, internal atmosphere, and connectivity amongst your employees.


In conclusion


Branding and culture are part of the same process. Culture is an integral part of branding, and you cannot create a solid brand without understanding your culture first. Therefore, I would argue that every brand project should align itself with the internal culture. If your brand does not align with your culture, then it becomes unconvincing and uncredible in the long run. Do you want to change your brand? Or do you want to fine-tune your brand identity? Start looking towards your internal culture and you will find your guidance towards how to change your brand and the overall perception of your company for the better.

Line Thomson
August 30, 2022

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