By Lucy Dunn, 11 January 2014

lucy-dunnAs the New Year begins, it usually comes with making new plans, maybe these are business plans or more and more these days, they maybe personal plans. The New Year is one of the popular times to review one’s “position”. As we are approaching the talent shift season (after bonus time or Chinese New Year), many of your key performers could be on the look-out for new career opportunities, both implicitly and explicitly. Before lunging into a search frenzy, or trying to create a strategy for your next move, have you taken a good look at your brand?

Let me share some thoughts, from a candidate, as well as a company perspective –

As a candidate:

  • First and foremost, have you updated your CV with relevant experience and highlights of your USPs (unique selling points)? Pity but true, your first and perhaps lasting impression may well be made on the basis of this simple black-and-white document. Spend some time thinking about your future and then highlighting the points or experience that demonstrate your ability or potential for the new positions prior to approaching employers or 3rd party recruiters
  • What about your online presence or digital footprint? In this day and age, your social profile is perhaps more influential than you think. Getting business contacts to “recommend” or “endorse” you on sites like LinkedIn should be an ongoing networking activity. Each time you complete a project or make a substantial new connection, make sure you offer to endorse the other members and of course ask that they do the same for you. As far as “personal” sites such as Facebook, Weibo and the like, make sure any non-professional pictures or irrelevant information are taken out. Today companies check you out online before deciding to invite you for a meeting.
  • I know, your brand is not built in a couple of days. If you have not put much effort in networking and making connections in your industry, both internally and externally, start now, it is never too late and it is one of the highest ROI investments you can make.
  • The point is to get as many people to SPEAK WELL OF YOU, both professionally and even personally because the voice of others carries many times the weight of your own statements on a CV. This is what brand managers call “Buzz”. It has direct impact on your “brand” which in turn has direct impact on your career progression and getting that very dream job

As an employer:

  • How do candidates perceive your company? How do you reach out to exceptional candidates? Brand can be a significant attraction, look at Apple, Google and the like, they have great candidates lining up anytime there is a rumor about opening.
  • If you get these right, you can potentially have a loyal workforce, and save a great deal of money in retaining, and recruiting new hires!
  • What is your strategy in branding as it relates to employees or potential employees? I strongly believe there is huge benefit for the HR department to spend some time monthly with their Marketing and Communications department. Unlike FMCG companies, few logistics companies have strong marketing voices when it comes to communicating to key stakeholders like employees. What initiatives are you taking in 2014 to convince your star performers that they should stay and to attract people to your company? Remember, compensation is a key dissatisfaction factor but seldom do companies pay enough to assume that the bond is bullet-proof. Though a cliché, your employees do need to come first. Employee turnover sometimes causes more damage that you can imagine.
  • Are you taking a reactive or proactive stance to the changes in the current business cycle? This probably mirrors your approach to looking for great candidates. Do you wait for a vacancy or do you invest in building links to candidates you would like to hire? There is never time but there is even less time when you get the news that your number-1 producer has accepted another offer. Strategic personal planning and recruitment programs a key for a successful New Year.

Hope the above helps trigger some thoughts to better position yourself and your company in the coming New Year.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you on what these ideas stimulated or if you have different views.

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