Does anyone remember the Coca-Cola rugby shirt from the 1980s?
I can remember buying one during the summer between ninth and 10th grade. I wore it to the first day of school, and I felt so freaking cool. Believe me, I was going to rock the tenth grade!
I had the green Coca-Cola rugby shirt, and most were red. It meant that I was in the know: part of a select group of people who understood fashion trends in 1986. I would see some others wearing Coca-Cola shirts, and we would lock eyes and know that we were a few of the ones who truly understood 1986 fashion trends.
Unfortunately, Coca-Cola clothing was only cool for about thirty seconds. Then it was over. The modern equivalent of the Coca-Cola fad is Lily Pulitzer or Vineyard Vines. Who buys this stuff?
Pre-fabricated, inauthentic talent communities are the Coca-Cola rugby shirts of talent acquisition. They exist for people who have more money than wisdom. Busy and frustrated talent advisors hope we can instantly create a group of fans who will want to follow our every move and apply for an open position with our company. These fans will then get the opportunity they’ve always been dreaming of: to come to work for the “brand” they love.
A real talent community is about giving the true fans of your brand an outlet. It’s a place for two-way conversations; a place where you can give your fans the inside information as to what it’s really like to work there and where the brand is going in the future.
True fans are what make your talent communities work, and they love the brand beyond logos and the “hip” factor.
I do not believe talent communities are for every organization. Most organizations go for big numbers and try to inflate their talent communities, which is why most talent communities never gain any traction — and fail. You have to have real fans. Otherwise, you’re just informing a bunch of people who want a job with your company stuff about your company.
That isn’t a community. That’s just marketing.
The key to great talent communities is that you let them grow organically. Ask your craziest, most loyal employee to run the talent community. You know the type. Find employees who would tattoo your company logo on their butts if you had a tattoo artist in the lobby doing free butt tattoos. If you find those employees, give them a voice. They’re the authentic, awe-inspiring men and women who will lead a great community.
It also helps if you find a leader of your talent community who likes to wear kelly green Coca-Cola rugby shirts. I hear they are totally sweet!
Throughout the month of June, our talent advisors continue to dish out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Learn how to stay ahead of these HR trends, and take a look at why mobile recruiting isn’t for everybody.