Yesterday at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, we celebrated the best employer brands in Canada, with business leaders from across the country. 9,500 Canadians picked the most attractive employers in 2015 as part of our Randstad Award survey, the largest piece of independent employer branding research.
Randstad Canada's Point of View in the Financial Post
This week, we will hold in Toronto the 5th edition of our Annual Randstad Award ceremony.Unique to Canada, the Randstad Award identifies the most attractive places to work among 150 of Canada’s largest employers (by employee size), based on the opinions of more than 9,500 job seekers and workers in Canada.
What's more, job seekers share their opinions on a variety of questions: what values and attributes are the most important to them when choosing an employer, which social media platforms they use to in their job hunt, and which sectors they would like to work in.
What Attracts Job Seekers?
The results show that job seekers are driven by innovation, and attracted to companies who require engineers, computer scientists, data architects and other highly skilled, technical professionals. Maybe that is good news for the looming skills gap that we are seeing in Canada right now in technical and skilled trade fields?
Read the editorial piece from our President Tom Turpin in the Financial Post to know more.
Growth Hacking: What is it, How is it Helping Companies?
Get ready for the digital marketing buzzword of 2015: growth hacking. If you haven’t heard it yet here’s your brief.
“Growth hacking is about using data to drive decisions, obtaining low-cost acquisition, and achieving massive scalable growth for a company,” says Jeff Goldenberg, founder of HackologyTO a workshop series designed to teach marketers without technical skills like programming how to be a successful growth hacker. People agree on that definition but there is a split on what people assume a growth hacker to be.
Who are the Growth Hackers?
On one hand there are technically minded people; the coders and developers who know how to link APIs (Application Programming Interface which specifies how software components should interact) and databases to create webpages and web applications that generate explosive growth. The other group is the traditional marketers now living in a digital world.
An API is the structure of how a digital machine, like an operating system, search engine or App work. Having access to one lets someone plug different types of data into it and get different types of output.
These people are finding that new marketing techniques require skills that weren’t taught to them in schools or large corporations. There is a skills gap that is plaguing marketing, and it is costing companies more and more every year. In a 2014 study by International Data Corporation about CMO predictions for 2015, 25% of CMO’s and CIO’s will have a shared roadmap for marketing technology.
The Fire Hose of Data a Challenge For Most
To make matters worse when attempting to dip your toe into the growth hacking waters you will inevitably be hit by a fire hose of data, metrics, and “hacks”.
“People fail to realize if you stick with it and set up systems to capture the right data, the right metrics to focus on, and the right “hacks” then making decisions becomes easier,” said Goldenberg, who through his talk helps marketers be less terrified of all of the information coming at them. “Marketers hear of the technical demands and think their skills are eroding, we want to help fix it.”
For marketers looking for jobs today, skills like, data analysis, design or Photoshop, basic web publishing like HTML 5, or using content management systems. For the non-technical marketer, these skills can create a barrier for them, preventing otherwise capable marketing professionals from applying to these jobs. “Most of these skills have easy to use tools or relatively low learning curves."
Tools you Can Learn Today
Jeff outlined some tools you can use today to improve your digital marketing, whether it is to market your company’s jobs, or to promote your employer brand. Software as a Service (SaaS) has been key to giving people the right tools to be a successful digital marketer. SaaS allows non-technical people to do technical things such as creating a landing page using Unbounce instead of learning HTML, CSS, and graphic design.
Companies are starting to realize the versatility of SaaS and marketing departments are changing to become more data driven. “We need to become growth hackers blending data, testing, and content to achieve growth. If you aren’t then you are at a competitive disadvantage,” states Jeff as data driven decisions become more important.
At Hackology you can expect to walk out of a workshop with tangible and topical growth hacks to take home. Think of it like being given the tools and a set of instructions. With the right tools and the right instructions any digital marketer can pull off incredible things.
Learn more about HackologyTO: a workshop series that will show you the tools to be a growth hacker, no programming required. Use the code hackologyjeff to get 25% off tickets.
What I (really) think about Gen Y – Confessions of a Gen X’er
Marie-Noelle Morency, Communications Manager at Randstad Canada, describes how she’s turned a new page with Gen Y, finding ways to with their help do more with less and dance while doing so.
After watching my parents putting up with jobs or bosses they resented, to be able to pay for our car, our house, my education, my clothes, and so on and so on, I swore to myself that I would not manage my career like this. I admired my parents’ resilience, while wishing and wanting for more. I wanted to be happy to go to work every morning, and not having to resort to buying a stack of lottery tickets in hopes of escaping work life misery.I was driven by achieving my full potential.
But my confidence and determination took a hit. Just like my peers, I’ve known two economic crashes – one rightfully named Black Monday in 1987 and the second was the DotCom bubble late in the year 2000. We were well-educated and ambitious, but we couldn’t get suitable jobs and we knew we could, out-of-nowhere, lose everything. This may explain why my contemporaries are often depicted as pessimistic, negative, individualist, rigid and rebel, materialistic, and insecure.
Idealism or nonchalance?
So while I like my generation’s penchant for independence, self-actualization and achievement, I cannot help but envy Gen Y’ers idealistic views, and their nonchalant, fearless attitude.
When I look around and discuss with my Gen X’ers friends, I see that they all did well. They now have nice jobs, shiny titles, they are respected in their field. But oh boy, was the road filled with obstacles, and with the necessity to prove themselves over and over again, as opportunities were limited and employers had the upper-hand. I have experienced the same hurdles. So whenever a Gen Yer would roll into the office, that I would perceived as narcissistic or conceited with a “know it all” going on “I should be a VP already” attitude, or they’d utter the phrase “What, you don’t know that’s there’s an app for this?’’ it would make my teeth grind.
Hidden Gen Y tendencies revealed
I learned to work with them, though. Learned to appreciate their creativity, their go-getter attitude, their resourcefulness, their optimism, their willingness to put in the hours, and it inspired me. And to my surprise, we have much more in common than I thought. Their optimism resonated a side of myself that buried deep within me who wanted to dream big, to reach for the stars, to be stimulated with grand ideas, to have fun. While Gen X is also called the McJobs or the No future generation, with Kurt Cobain as the poster child, I always felt there was something colourful and bright under that gloomy, grungy, cynical varnish. Both generations have worshipped Seinfeld and Friends for that sane dose of self-mockery, we all danced to silly pop hits from long gone bands like the Backstreet Boys, Ace of Base, Spice Girls and the likes, and relished the possibility of being connected with the world through Internet.
Calling all dreamers
So after having that epiphany, I looked for ways to work better with Gen Y. I have valuable experience, spending most of my work life mastering the art of office politics through a number of reorganizations, cutbacks, and management musical chairs, working around tight budgets, and being the queen of doing more with less. So why not turn this into a win-win relationship, where I can act as a mentor, or a facilitator, who can recognize and foster Gen Yer’s sense of innovation, while adding a dash of realism and structure in their planning. Gen Y craves the immediate and constant feedback, and they do thrive on a motivational leadership style.
And the fun only begins. I will soon to have to find new strategies for the Gen Y’s followers, Gen Z. Born between 1994-2010, they will soon make their debut in the working world, and while they share similarities with Gen Y, they are quite different. I say that because, being back at university to complete a degree in digital content, I’m getting to know some of them. They are as digitally-savvy, well-informed and open-minded as Gen Y, while being more prudent and pragmatic, as they were raised around a great recession and 9/11. Maybe they are the best of both worlds? I am looking forward to have one of them on my team! The more the merrier, right?
What do you think of your generation? How do you interact with other generations? Ask me anything on Twitter @marienoellem or @RandstadCanada
Generations Part 2: Gen Z, the world’s your oyster
James Rubec, Content Marketing Specialist at Randstad Canada, shares his thoughts on the generational huddle he's grown his career within and his hopes for the new generation entering the workforce today.
If everything I’ve read about this generation is true they’ll fit right in – but companies better invest in them and allow them to take their time to figure out what the organization actually does and how it works.
Bringing in Gen Z for data entry, or to sort files that shouldn’t be printed anyway is a waste of their energy. What this generation has experienced is 15-years of rapid evolution of technology and social norms. They expect everything to move that fast and they might be right.
I started my career when using a cell phone in the office might get you a funny look, now I’ll be in meetings where we’ll all periodically pull them out to look at new messages; faux pas or status quo, who knows.
This generation will be more connected and will face more of the challenges that will come with it. There are so many channels for communication, which ever combination this generation chooses to use will win out.
They will be masters of their domain and if they have coding skills, building tools to make business easier will be second nature. No longer with there be a six month development project and a team of four – they’ll just work on it in an afternoon and Shazam you’ll have a new business application. Sure that might not be “focus” but it is more productive.
More than anything they want to learn and be certified – they know that knowing something is good, but showing that they know something immediately has more value. Of course not everyone can build applications in an afternoon but it could come to a point where building a solution to a problem replaces the Powerpoint presentation. This generation will expect society to come to the table with solutions or to not come to the table at all.
Disruption is the new productivity and Generation Z has grown up in a constant cycle of it.
Generations Part 1: Gen Y is the Jack of All Trades
James Rubec, Content Marketing Specialist at Randstad Canada, shares his thoughts on the generational huddle he's grown his career within and his hopes for the new generation entering the workforce today.
I grew up with two older sisters and saw exactly how competitive, career driven and challenging life has been for Gen X. I’ve always looked up to those born in the early 80s, they’ve been my mentors, my leaders and role models, seeing their struggle taught me two things;
Enjoy life – While #thestruggleisreal, is it only a struggle if you aren’t enjoying your journey – I also grew up with John Hughes movies, to quote Ferris Bueller’s day off;
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it."
I feel that a lot of Generation X missed it because they were terrified of the repeated crashes in the economy and the amazing longevity of the boomers. Getting out of school with debt is a great incentive to get your life moving, but what if you can’t?
Network in real life: Back before Facebook my sisters had tons of friends and they did things, real things like car trips and dinners and back yard bbqs. They didn’t need a Facebook event to make it happen, they just got out and did stuff. They followed through on their commitments not just on peoples’ Twitter handles.
Now I’m just happy to have them around to help steer the ship in real life while my generation is busy swimming in apps and technology.
Generation Y: Jacks of All Trades, but Masters of None
Growing up in Ottawa, I have a slanted view of my generation, there were a few fields people could go into – government, tech, pure academia or the trades. I know almost no one who works with their hands and that’s endemic of our society. I know one carpenter, one painter and they are experts in their trades – that’s also endemic of our generation.
Knowing how large the world is makes us demand the best from ourselves in all we do. Problem is we want to do everything and know everything. We all have a DSLR camera, we all have improvisational training, we all of degrees, we all have lofty dreams - we are unique just like everyone else. The Internet did this to us, at one point we’re DIY, at another we have no time to do anything ourselves. We work hard, probably too hard to be productive. We network well but know too many people to build on those relationships in substantive ways.
Provide valuable feedback to Gen Y
I think we’ll get better with age, with focus and a winnowing of our dreams. It is often said we’re constantly seeking praise and feedback, it's because we're asking the world around us “Is this any good, should I keep doing it, is it worthwhile?”
Provide that feedback, that input and give Gen Y all of the opportunities you can. They'll make it worth your while.
Gen Z Resume Tips: No experience? No problem! How to showcase your value
Young workers, as you venture forth into the world of work you are armed with many things: your degrees or diplomas, fresh ideas (lots of them), work ethic, networks (social and personal) and your work experience.
Take stock of what experience you have and expand on it with projects, personal references and storytelling. Discuss your professional and educational journey and walk your resume readers through these five facets of your work experience:
Promote your skills and certifications: When you leave school you will leave with more than one piece of paper – you will leave with skills. What can you do? Who has trained you to do these things? Remember to discuss the skills you use to complete work in detail in your experience section. Breakout what tactics you’ve used in your work. Better yet, if you have any certifications that prove you are proficient in a method or with a tool be sure to highlight that in your resume.
Include all of your work experience: Whether it was a Co-Op placement, or a temporary position, your experience matters. You ability to conform to corporate methodology and practices is important especially if you have management experience. What training did you receive how many people did you manage, what did your teams achieve? Just because it wasn’t your dream job doesn’t make that experience irrelevant it is a matter of story-telling. You need to look at the job description and funnel your experience through its lens.
Interested in recruiting workers from Gen Y or Z? Read how to attract a new generation of workers,click here.
Get recommendations, include quotes: Whether it is with former employer, colleagues, professors or volunteer managers ask for recommendations on Linkedin, they help. You can even use them in your resume. When someone says something about you, that comment has a lot more strength than when you say it about yourself.
Break out your project work: Include insight into projects that you worked on, not in terms of tasks, but accomplishments. Describe what the projects’ objectives were, how you helped the team achieve them and what the end results were. This way you share more value.
If, while you visit the company’s website, or read about the industry, you have some ideas, interesting questions or suggestions why not share them? Without pretending that you can solve anything, as at this point you don’t have the full picture, at least you can show that you are curious and creative!
Include your blog: Depending on the role you are applying for, showing employers that you are active digitally and are experienced at building out your own personal audience shows people a few things. One, that you understand tone knowing how to shape content and messaging in a successful effective way and two, that you have web and social media skills, very much valued but today’s employers.
Companies are looking for you, they need to bring you in to become the next generation of leaders, experts and specialists.
When you get to the interview stage it is your time to weave a web through these five factors. Connect the dots between your work experience, your studies, the networks and communities you participate in. Showcase how you have grown and learned through the relationships that you’ve developed with past managers and companies. Explain how the skills you have learned can be useful to the organization, give concrete examples and share your ideas. Employers are looking for bright, well-rounded young workers, so show off your enthusiasm!
Indigo: an employee experience of storytelling and culture
Walk into any Indigo and speak with the employees on the floor. They are smart, knowledgeable, inter-connected and above all helpful and Canadians have noticed.
For the last four years Indigo has placed within the Top 20 most attractive Canadian employer brands. What that means is that when asked during Randstad Canada’s employer branding survey, the Randstad Award, an overwhelming number of Canadians have said they want to work for Indigo. Indigo has achieved this through storytelling.
“We think of Indigo as a cultural department store … and at its heart it is all about storytelling.”
Laura Dunne, Indigo’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources knows the brand its product line and people. With over 6,500 employees working out of 91 superstores under the brand names Chapters, Indigo and the World’s Biggest Bookstore and 130 small format stores, under Coles, Indigo, Indigospirit, SmithBooks, and The Book Company, selling everything from books, ear buds, sheep skin throws and premium children’s toys – that’s a lot.
That story is found in the products Indigo sells and the people they employ. Whether it is wellness, technology or housewares, Indigo shifts with the culture around it, adapting the product line and team to suit the needs of their customers. To do this Indigo taps its national network of employees and their experiences.
Digital community connecting national teams
“We’ve built a virtual community called Galileo that allows our employees to engage with each other and our brand, overtime we increased its functionality to include a section called Galileo Ideas,” said Dunne, who found that the platform was being used to share best practices on employee experience, financial performance and other innovations “This is the grassroots for change. We have thousands of participants sharing ideas for improvements in store and in every area.”
Indigo’s brand has been closely tied to creativity and innovation and this platform grew to be an embodiment of that value.
That change and adaption has given Indigo’s talent team the opportunity to reimagine the employee experience which allows them to bring exciting partnerships into the brand and the in-store day to day.
“We partner with brands that share our values, we try to preserve their mystic as they grow with us, and we want them to be complimentary,” said Dunne.
If you go into any Indigo you experience multiple brands at the same time. You can go to a Starbucks, or into an iStore where you can buy headphones or iPads and you can shop for children’s toys like the American Girl line which Indigo recently brought to Canada. Each is catered to its own audience and each requires its own specialized team.
“American Girl is a brand of toys, dolls and dolls accessories,” Dunne explained. “We needed to build a customer experience that was engaging for children and their parents so we launched a recruitment campaign asking people to apply for an ‘audition’ to represent the brand.”
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Indigo didn’t just post a few job ads with a catchy title, in the spring and fall of 2014 they launched a full social recruitment campaign with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
“We received thousands of applications and the quality of these candidates was amazing,” said Dunne explaining that the auditions were held in groups of carefully selected candidates to amplify the experience for everyone involved. “We were able to put some people in Indigo Tech, or Home in on- site sales.”
American Girl’s brand builds the self-esteem of young girls, helping them find their passions and to embrace diversity. They also have a particular service model that Indigo needed to replicate in the employee and customer experience.
One brand thousands of stories
“You need to bring that story to life. We flew down to the States and learned directly from their teams, we brought the training methodology back and rebuilt it,” said Dunne.
The Randstad Award is presented each year to the most attractive employer in various countries throughout the globe.It’s not just another prize for the trophy cabinet because the winner is based on the outcome of the world’s largest survey into employer branding. And unlike other best employer awards, it is ‘the people’s choice’, based on the views of a representative sample of employees and job-seekers in each of the participating countries. 9,500 respondents per country between the ages of 18 and 65 are asked for their views on a country’s 150 largest companies through an online questionnaire.The companies are selected through national statistics agencies. This means they cannot request or subscribe to be included in the survey. The winners are selected solely based on the appeal of their employer brand. Such careful measures ensure that the survey remains completely objective.
Introducing Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010. Coming to a workplace near you very soon with seven million of their peers in Canada, Gen Z is poised to make their mark in business. So who are these future workers? How can employers prepare for this next generation? What are the differences between Gen Y and Gen Z, and how will those differences impact organizations? And most importantly, how do you attract, engage and retain them?