Career Advice Job fairs and Events

New dawn for hiring

SCMP-CP joint conference examines the latest strategies for luring top talent

Poor employer branding can be an obstacle to recruiting top talent. As perception is often reality, organisations that are perceived as excellent places to work at naturally attract the best prospects.

Boosting an employer brand, however, is neither a simple nor quick task. That’s why the Employer Branding Conference, organised by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) and Classified Post (CP), and solely sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, will provide valuable insights on areas such as the factors influencing Hong Kong jobseekers, how to create an effective employer brand strategy, and the effective use of social media in building employer brand equity. The event will be held on September 11 at The Mira Hong Kong.

The one-day conference, part of Classified Post’s 40th anniversary celebrations, is bringing together marketing gurus, disruptive thinkers and prominent HR practitioners from top employers in the city to share ideas, strategies and best practices in developing attractive employer brands.

Mike Walsh, CEO of digital advisory Tomorrow, will demonstrate an action plan for HR leaders in his keynote presentation. “I’m going to explore the model of the 21st-century business and what it will take to attract, manage and retain the kinds of people business leaders will need to make that vision a reality,” he says.

Walsh sees tomorrow’s war for talent as not just a simple struggle over supply and demand. He believes that companies will also have to re-imagine their entire philosophy and approach to work in order to attract the future’s most capable talent.

A constant traveller, Walsh is always on the lookout for new technologies and behavioural trends to translate into usable strategies for transforming global businesses. He says his presentation will offer a dynamic tour of some of the world’s most innovative companies that thrive in disruptive conditions, while identifying what separates these companies from those that merely survive from one crisis to the next.

Walsh’s own company focuses on consumer innovation and counts organisations such as Fujifilm, Merck Pharmaceutical, BBC Worldwide, Bentley Motors and HSBC among its clients. Walsh is also the best-selling author of Futuretainment, an award-winning handbook on the future of media and marketing.

Emma Reynolds, co-founder and CEO of boutique consultancy firm e3 Reloaded, will deliver a presentation-cum-workshop on why HR managers should think like marketers in dealing with candidates and staff. “Every candidate is a potential customer and every customer is a potential candidate. But most companies treat candidates without differentiation. They don’t allow them to express their creativity nor care about the candidate experience. Candidates are now rejecting that,” she says.

An in-demand international speaker, Reynolds has spoken in more than 20 countries. Her firm is currently “disrupting” the recruitment industry by promoting a marketing-centric approach to employee engagement to enhance workplace productivity and reduce recruitment costs and attrition.

She recommends designing candidate experiences in the way marketers use touch points in creating user-centred designs. “On average, there are about 40 different touch points in the candidate experience, and every single one of them is a moment of truth. How many moments of truth were there when you were either annoying the candidate or were providing an amazing experience?” Reynolds says.

Jared King, co-founder and managing partner at e3 Reloaded, will provide the conference introduction and moderate its panel discussion. “CEOs and leadership teams spend tons of time and energy preparing for presentations to shareholders, but they don’t put the same thought and passion into the way that they treat candidates and employees,” he says.

King thinks that even though employees and job candidates are thinking and acting like customers, companies neglect them the most. One way for HR managers to think like marketers is to understand their audience, but it’s a step many firms don’t take, he adds.

“The big shift is to try to get into the heads of their audience and to understand what they really care about and to give them that,” King says.

He adds that firms should switch from expecting loyalty to treating candidates and staff like royalty. “The thinking [by employers] that ‘we’ve got the jobs, therefore, we have the power and we don’t have to treat candidates well’ still lingers, but candidates and employees are now thinking like customers. They have more choices than ever before. It’s easier to switch jobs now than 50 years ago,” he says.

Lon Safko, an entrepreneur and best-selling author of The Social Media Bible and The Fusion Marketing Bible, is visiting Hong Kong for the first time to lead a workshop on the value of fusing traditional, digital and social marketing. He will take delegates through a system he developed to help HR managers, brand managers, and marketing and sales executives uncover hidden opportunities.

“It’s about really looking at your traditional marketing efforts, determining what’s working and what’s not, and fusing those tools with the very best and most appropriate social media tools for your company and customers in a way that no one has ever seen before,” he says.

Safko doesn’t sees social media as about selling, but about connecting and building relationships. He thinks that a sound social media strategy, fully integrated with traditional marketing, is the key to building and maintaining a strong employer brand. He points out that it took a long time for Fortune 500 brands to recognise the value of social media marketing, but now, top multinational corporations including Coke, Apple, McDonald’s and Kraft all understand the power of social media.

“For example, Kraft Foods’ Oreo Cookie [Facebook page] has more than 34 million fans. That is a lot of brand engagement,” Safko says.


Full-day conference:
Employer Branding Conference
September 11, 9am-5pm

Keynote Presentation:
The 21st Century Workplace by Mike Walsh
September 11, 9.10am-10.10am

An Unlikely Partnership: When HR and Marketing Join Forces by Emma Reynolds
September 11, 10.40am-11.40am

The Connected Employer Brand – Building Employer Brand Equity Using Social Media by Lon Safko
September 11, 1.10pm-2.10pm

Professional Workshop A:
Fusion Marketing: Optimise Your Employer Brand by Lon Safko
September 12, 9am-4.30pm

Professional Workshop B:
Design Your Company for the Future by Mike Walsh
September 12, 9am-2pm