Welcome to the first Monthly Review of the year. January has certainly been a busy month for the world of employer branding, recruitment and technology. Let's look at the best stories from last month.

Recruiting in 2017: Expert Predictions

Well, it is the beginning of the year, so the authority voices are bound to be talking about the recruitment predictions for the upcoming twelve months.

So what’s in store?

Well, along with technology continuing to improve and automate the way we manage attraction and hiring (more on that later), 2017 will also see us ‘harkening back to the more human elements of recruitment marketing’.

Laurie Ruettimann, founder and principal of LFR LLC and Glitchpath, Inc. says,

“Recruiting must have the right blend of technology and human interaction …. You must bring in your candidates and spend some time with them. You need to get to know them, and they need to get to know you. I think those recruiters and HR professionals who do well in 2017 will be the ones who have a high EQ (emotional quotient) and who are able to make a case to the human heart.”

Another prediction talks about harnessing the power of employee branding. Yes, you read that right. Just when you thought you’d nailed employer branding, your employee branding is another facet you need to be polishing. Employee branding is where you leverage satisfied employees and encourage them to use their own social networks to drive your recruiting efforts.

Katrina Collier, of The Searchologist, says, “Trust your employee advocates to use the networks they’re comfortable with to share information,” 

A study by Weber Shandwick and KCR revealed that 50% of employees have already shared something about their employer on social media.

So 2017 really is the time to harness that employee social voice.

And don’t forget our guide to planning your employer brand strategy in 2017 that we highlighted last month.

Man For The Job

If you’ve been lying awake at night, anxious over the thought of the Obama twiddling his thumbs and getting bored now someone else is in charge, you might be pleased to know that the creators behind the tongue in cheek card game, Cards Against Humanity, have created a job advert especially with the ex-POTUS in mind.

Ok, so his name isn’t explicitly mentioned and at first the skillset is pretty generic, calling for ‘strong public speaking skills’ and a candidate with ‘steady disposition’.

But then things start getting a little more specific.

Seriously, how many people do you know with minimum eight years’ experience of President of the USA or equivalent nation?

You might be ‘happy to travel for work’, but can you lay claim for ‘recipient of the Nobel Peace prize?’

No. I thought not. Best not click ‘apply’ on this one.

TLDs: Are They Worth it?

There’s been a shift in the way brands are using TLDs. That’s Top Level Domains to you and me. It’s the suffix part of a domain name, so the .com, .co.uk, .org, or in recent years, the .jobs part of a web address.

Once upon a time, it was all about grabbing the best domain name suffixed by the appropriate suffix. But now, brands are creating their own suffixes, generating new modern user-friendly domains.

But personalised TLDs come at a hefty price – around $200k, which means that only the biggest brands (or those with the deepest pockets) have been able to invest in them. So far, more than five hundred global brands have taken the plunge, including obvious tech giants such as .apple and .google and big retailers and luxury brands, like .bmw and .nike

It’s all very well and sure, it looks nice and clean, but are there any real benefits to these personalised TLDs?

Well, firstly, personalised TLDs offer greater flexibility for the business and a more seamless experience for the user. Some examples include, xbox.microsoft, office365.microsoft and even linkedin.microsoft.

Then there’s the added element of security. Organisations, such as banks, will have ownership of the .bankname, so customers will know that as long as they are on .bankname page, they are not at risk from phishing sites.

For many, personalised TLDs are still out of reach, but if you think branded TLDs are the way forward for your business, you might want to schedule this webinar taking place at the end of February.

Buzzword Bingo

LinkedIn has revealed the most over-used recruitment lingo found on their site. And there’s no surprises here.

Passionate, strategic, creative and specialised all make the grade, along with six other words that effectively make candidates roll their eyes and move on.

LinkedIn’s Head of Talent, Jon Addison, said,

“Recruiters are the front line when it comes to a company’s ability to attract the best talent. More than half of candidates wouldn’t consider working for a company whose values they didn’t know or agree with, so a recruiter’s profile should clearly communicate the unique aspects of their organisation’s culture and purpose. That’s why we’re encouraging recruiters to check their LinkedIn profiles for these buzzwords and make sure they stand out from the crowd in 2017.”

Your LinkedIn profile should be a working as a conduit to attract the best talent. Think about the sort of language that resonates with your target audience. What’s the culture like at your place? What does it mean to be part of the workforce? Think carefully about your answers and write your profile based on that. 

The Robots Are Coming

Stephen Hawking has warned that increasing use of AI and automation will lead to the decimation of middle class jobs. Just as the automation of factories resulted in the decline of roles in manufacturing, AI and automation brings a new threat to the working world.

And with recent news that a Japanese insurance firm has replaced 34 staff with AI, what hope is there for the hundreds of thousands of employees in roles like these across the globe?

Hawking goes on to predict that only creative, caring and supervisory roles will be immune from the robot takeover. This prediction leads to further questions surrounding the customer experience. After all, automation may bring a slicker service, but can it ever truly replace human interactions?

Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, Nathan Perrott is also sceptical, saying,

“True AI – that is AI that thinks, learns and adapts, will be a big part of our future. AI that is based on decision trees wont’ last – it will become annoying and will provide the same annoying experience that customer service automated telephone options provide. And as customers experience this frustration over the next decade, with poor AI experiences (such as chatbots that don’t offer much added value), there will be a return to human interactions again. Of course, those that get it right and develop true AI powered chatbots that can understand natural language, process it and understand it, will win – as long as they improve the user experience. For most, this won’t be the objective – the objective will be to create something shiny, and ‘innovative’, regardless of the user experience or their needs."

It’s estimated that by 2021, 6% of jobs in the US will become obsolete due to automation, with roles in logistics, customer service, transportation and consumer services quoted as being the most at risk. Oxford University narrows this down even further to specific job roles decreasing, including loan officers, reception and information clerks, paralegals, retail sales people and driver roles.

The Future of Programmatic

Jobs aren’t the only area AI is impacting. Programmatic marketing is constantly evolving and in order to get a true picture of how your campaign is working, you need to really dig deep into your analytics to mine the data. 

Finding someone with the expertise and knowledge to do this though isn’t easy.That’s why the introduction of AI into buying platforms should go some way to easing the whole experience, evolving the reporting from a typically manually-led to a more automated process. An automated process allows users to better understand large quantities of data, from across all channels, (such as email and social) and not just display advertising.

​Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Are You ready?

You know something’s seriously wrong when there’s an annual report dedicated to the subject.

The 2016 Global Gender Gap report, published by the World Economic Forum outlines the disparity between the sexes, in 144 countries, from not just an economical perspective, but health, educational and political too.In it, there was the shocking suggestion that it would take 170 years for the gender pay to completely close.

170 years.

I’ll just let that sink in.

Now, the introduction of the new gender pay gap reporting will hopefully go some way to close this gap. The new gender pay gap reporting (not the same as equal pay audit) regulations will require organisations with more than 250 employees to publish pay gap and bonus reports by 4 April 2018. The first pay gap information must be based on a snapshot date of between 5 April 2017 – 4 April 2018. 

Information on bonuses must also be included (and should be based on the 12 months leading up to the 5 April 2017). 

The final stage of the process requires you to post your data on a government website and your organisation’s website, where it should be made easily accessible to the public. The report must be signed off by an authority figure, such as a CEO and must remain on your company website for at least three years.

But what figures do you actually have to publish? There are six calculations you’ll need to make:

  • average gender pay gap as a mean average
  • average gender pay gap as a median average
  • average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average
  • average bonus gender pay gap as a median average
  • proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment
  • proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay.

It’s not mandatory to provide any commentary on your organisation’s report, but of course, providing comments is encouraged to help people better understand your report.

The reporting dates for the public sector are slightly different to the private sector, with the snapshot starting on 31 March 2017, not 5 April.

Follow this timeline to make sure you don’t miss any crucial dates.

In a recent survey carried out by the CIPD, 47% of HR professionals said they did not feel their organisation fully understood the government's reporting requirements. So, if you’ve got any further questions, this webinar (taking place in the next few days) is a good opportunity to ask questions.

For employers that have a good story to tell as far as gender pay equality is concerned, this provides a great opportunity to stand out from an employer brand perspective. And will no doubt help with that diversity problem most employers have.

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Facebook Long-Form Video

Facebook has announced it will start to favour longer-form video over live streaming and shorter-form video content. 

The reason behind this move is likely to be down to a shift in improving Facebook’s video advertising efforts.Pre-roll ads, like the kind you often see on YouTube, are not the sort of advertising that Zuckerberg wants to support on Facebook. Instead, Facebook will be testing mid-roll ads (those that appear during the consumption of a video – a bit like the advertising reliant on-demand services from ITV Player & All 4) during longer form content.

But what does this mean for brands? Should you scrap your shorter videos, in case they don’t get ranked high enough in the News Feed? 

Well, our advice is not to start planning your epic video yet.Firstly, any content you produce needs to be created with the viewer in mind. Don’t just make a long video for the sake of it. You’ll want to keep your users engaged throughout the whole film. And remember, it’s the percent completion metric that counts for how the video will be ranked in the News Feed.

Facebook Product Manager, Abhishek Bapna and Research Scientist, Seyoung Park says,

“If you watch most or all of a video, that tells us that you found the video to be compelling — and we know that completing a longer video is a bigger commitment than completing a shorter one. As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we’ve realized that we should therefore weight percent completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalizing longer videos.”

So you might be asking yourself what’s the best length for a video? Bapna and Park advise that,

the best length for a video is whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling.”

But emotional connection is much more likely to be built when film is longer, with brands that have already jumped on the long-form bandwagon including BMW and Burberry.

Something for the Weekend

No experience? No worries! How a convenient noodle snack can empower you to secure your dream job.

Spas, forest rooms and cookery demonstrations: Inside the offices of some of Australia’s coolest workspaces.

Could you be crowned Employer Brand Manager of the Year 2017? The award is open to HR, Marketing and Corporate Communication individuals (and teams!) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Making something bad at least look pretty.

So that’s it for another monthly review. How’s 2017 been shaping up for you so far? Are you going to invest in personalised TLDs? What about long-form video content, is that an area you want to invest in? Let us know in your comments.

Bids & Marketing Executive

Josie co-ordinates TMP's marketing efforts across Europe. She is responsible for managing EmployerBrand.com, implementing the agency's social strategy and co-ordinating events around the UK and across Europe.