Let’s talk about believing.
Along my career journey, I have been lucky in many aspects. Sure, I’ve put in a lot of hard work, but I’ve also had the lucky chance to work with many talented people who believed in me and took me under their wings.
When I landed my first job at a 700-person creative agency, I didn’t get the creative position I originally wanted. It actually took me 4 years to get into the creative department. But truth be told, not getting the initial job I wanted when I joined the company was one of the best things that happened to me professionally. Not only did it give me time to better hone my craft in advertising, but it also allowed me to “fumble” into a few people who were willing to give me the opportunity to work with them on their creative projects. Despite not being a creative professional by trade at that time, they believed in me.
You don’t see that level of people believing in each other like you used to see. And I’m not just talking about individually, but also within companies.
As someone who studies marketing and advertising, we’re asked to come up with campaigns and live in the outside world. But sometimes, those campaigns don’t mirror the culture on the inside world, and this disconnect can have an impact on how you recruit and retain top talent.
If your company is putting out an external message that your people on the inside don’t believe in, it’s only a matter of time until you’re sniffed out and those people leave your organization. And it can have a rippling effect on how attractive you are to candidates.
It comes down to the fusion of communication and leadership, what I like to call “believership,” and how you communicate back to your employees in an authentic way.
Note: Ryan is the opening keynote speaker of our RallyFwd™ Virtual Conference on December 4, 2019! Sign up now for free to attend his session on “Return on Courage” and to get expert insight on all things related to the candidate experience.
Why you need believership
Poor leaders “rah rah” to their employees and turn leadership into cheerleadership. They might think they’re doing themselves a favor, but this approach lacks authenticity. High-performing employees who appreciate authenticity more than anything else will see right through that. It leads to a lack of productivity and even a sense of paralysis, and ultimately, those talented professionals will leave.
The companies that are winning are the ones that have clarity in their messaging, both externally and internally. And the employees who believe in them stick around because they have that conviction.
But the ones who don’t believe end up leaving the company, which in turn can slow you down. And a slow down is a prime opportunity for your competitors to pass you by. So in this sense, clear messaging on the inside and the outside that’s delivered authentically — i.e., believership — is the key to staying ahead, keeping your best talent and attracting right-fit candidates.
5 steps for cultivating believership
The first step in creating a culture of believership within your organization is spotting the red flags. One of the key issues to look for is determining if there’s a difference between how you’re communicating on the outside versus the inside. If you’re telling candidates that you have a cohesive culture that all employees love but you can’t back it up, take it as a warning sign.
Another red flag is a lack of investment from the most talented people in your company. One of the hardest things a company can do is to move on from skilled employees who don’t buy in, or what I like to call the talented eyerollers who don’t have conviction for their jobs.
So how can you right the ship once you’ve spotted these warning signs and create a culture of believership that resonates with both employees and candidates? The following 5 strategies can help:
- Spread your message: Putting your clear and shared message out into the world is important to your Recruitment Marketing strategy and helps you attract the type of employees you want at your company. For example, my company is called Courageous, and we are always talking about courageous leadership, culture and ideas.
- Invest in your employees: If you give your people the skills they want, they’ll become more invested in your company. Do what you can to train your future. Habitualize your training programs for employees, because if you don’t, they’ll leave.
- Reward behavior: Employees that exhibit the chosen values of your company should be rewarded. Use opportunities like town halls or newsletters to showcase those people who believe in your organization.
- Create advocacy programs: Make it easier for your employees to share positive news and feedback by developing an advocacy program or giving them the necessary tools. Opening up those opportunities helps you solidify your messaging between the external and internal sides of your business.
- Be honest: Resources like employee review sites means both the attractive and less-than-stellar aspects of your company are out in the open. Instead of burying your head in the sand, be courageous by embracing your humanity. The more honest you are in your messaging by showing how you’re making changes on issues your organization faces, the better you’re able to attract top talent and retain your valuable employees.
The more transparent and real that your leadership can be, the more people — candidates and employees alike — will buy in. Today, we are savvier — we’ve heard it all and seen it all. This is why believership will be the key. Even when things are hard, real is always better.
Note: Ryan will be featuring more courageous leadership insight at his opening keynote session at RallyFwd on December 4th! Register now for free to attend his session and to get access to other speaker presentations on the candidate experience.