Wooing potential employees with eggs

by Julie Labrie on April 9, 2014

Mashable reported on a recent hiring campaign out of San Francisco this week, where an e-commerce platform company called Bigcommerce was using “eggs to poach employees from Facebook and Google.”

As employees waited for their shuttle buses during their morning commute, Bigcommerce personnel handed out poached egg breakfast sandwiches, and artisanal coffee that was accompanied by their “Bigcommerce pitch.”

To take their efforts beyond the streets, the campaign also came with a Twitter contest and a hashtag: #poached. Bigcommerce’s aggressive hiring strategy even included iPad giveaways for referring a friend.

Is this the new face of modern-day hiring? We’ve dropped the old-fashioned “want ads” like a hot potato, and now we’re hitting the streets, wooing candidates with eggs?

Interestingly, this campaign offers us in the HR and hiring field a lot of insightful lessons:

  • It reinforces the importance of employer branding in this highly competitive marketplace. As recruiters, we can grab the attention of your target candidates at competing companies a lot easier, if they know of your brand. In Bigcommerce’s case, they are showing the world that they are bold and brave in their brand personality, two very attractive attributes for talented workers who want to break through themselves.
     
  • While it’s gimmicky, because it has a clever play on words and pokes fun with the idea of #poaching. The humourous nature of the stunt makes it entertaining for others to read – giving Bigcommerce immeasurable PR value. Beyond reaching potential new hires, the company is also building awareness among potential clients through their PR exposure.
     
  • They’ve created a full, integrated marketing campaign here, meaning the interactions by the bus stops that have now become impromptu job fairs live for a lot longer through social media too. People who aren’t even in the San Francisco market can get involved and share Bigcommerce’s news among their social networks (since great candidates can be “poached” from any market!)
     

The greatest takeaway here from a recruitment standpoint is, that HR need not shoulder the burden of creating their employer brand on their own. In today’s marketplace, HR and marketing need to work hand-in-hand to create a great impression.

When this foundation is well built, recruitment efforts can be greatly maximized both in strategies and tactical roll-outs. We can “sell” opportunities to the best candidates who, knowing and liking your brand, will be more likely to have an open mind, and more likely to be willing to compromise more during the job offer negotiation process.

Have you come across any companies doing kooky things to get candidates to pay attention? Please share your stories with us!

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In a recent Forbes article, contributor Josh Bersin discussed how Deloitte has found the top two people issues facing organizations in 2014 are leadership and retention. More over, after companies have spent years focusing on cost cutting, restructuring, and pushing people to work harder, today, more than 60 per cent of organizations are telling Deloitte their top challenge is managing the “overwhelmed employee.”

Image courtesy iStock Photos.

Bersin predicts that the high-performing employee will soon takeover control of the workplace environment. This group is more apt to consider changing jobs as they seek out career growth, and companies need to cater to them in order to stay ahead of their competition. Thus, helping the overwhelmed employee become the inspired employee by creating a meaningful, rewarding and enjoyable work environment is an absolute must to win in business today.

Top-performing employees are often naturally inspired from within and as a result, they seek out work environments that complement and support their inner inspiration drivers.

We speak to these top-performers everyday, and have found that more and more, there are specific trending patterns of “wants” and “asks” that are popping up on these candidates’ must-have list. Here are the top three priority areas that we’ve identified based on our conversations with the most talented candidates we’ve encountered in the marketplace:

  1. Recognition versus opportunity: it’s true that thank you’s for a job well done is important, no matter how small the accomplishment; but today, a more effective staff recognition strategy is to give top-performers greater learning opportunities. Awarding employees with increased trust and responsibilities is a highly effective retention strategy. It not only provides new on-the-job learning opportunities, but also cultivates greater, faster career growth too – something that top-performers crave.
     
  2. Training versus coaching: from a return-on-investment perspective, the #1 challenge with training programs is making sure employees retain the learning beyond the actual training period. Consider moving from short-term training opportunities into long-term coaching programs. The recent book by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career, was featured in Harvard Business Review and discusses a new trend towards transitioning mentorship programs into sponsorship programs, where senior executives have a built-in organizational responsibility to see the growth of a junior employee (versus a mentor who is often expected to be only an advisor).
     
  3. Cultivating leadership potential: top-performing talent don’t always make the best people managers, but most organizations often reward well-performing employees in their career growth by promoting them into people management positions. New managers in these situations often end up feeling unsupported in new territory if leadership cultivation isn’t woven throughout the organization. The key lesson to be learned here is that leadership development is something that should be considered for employees at all levels of the organization. In the future, leadership training from a bottom-up approach will be much more coveted by top talent, versus the traditional top-down system.

Today’s workplace is increasingly becoming more democratic and collaborative. Companies who are in-the-know are placing great emphasis on this change, building this knowledge into their strategic talent attraction and retention approach.

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