The Authenticity Dividend
Stock alert: authenticity pays GREAT dividends.
The industry's growth and innovation hinge on top talent, but are we doing ourselves a disservice through our efforts to attract and retain that talent by not investing enough in authenticity? Authenticity from the start removes the element of surprise and mitigates the risk of attrition, not to mention the preventable costs – both literal and figurative – of missed-out-on candidates and employee departures.
So what does that really mean? How do I show up authentically?
Does what people see and think about your company reflect who you are? Are your culture and opportunities representative of the type of talent you want to attract and keep? Recognize the direct and indirect impacts of authentic engagement on workplace culture, recruiting, and retention. Identify inadvertent obstacles and solutions to overcome them by developing an enterprise-wide roadmap to show up for top talent.
Companies can do two things to bolster authentic engagement. First, recognize that authenticity has tangible benefits. Second, consider from the candidate and employee perspective that authenticity is palpable throughout all company facets and operations, internal and external.
I thought I was being authentic...
Consider what voices are at the table as you identify and hone your business and culture brands. Fill the gaps. What does your company look like? What do you want it to look like? What do you tell candidates it looks like? What kind of talent do you want? What kind of talent do you have? Where are the disconnects? Taking intentional inventory will translate into authentic outputs.
Consistency is key.
Curating first impressions is imperative, but companies must recognize that the recruiting process encompasses multiple impressions: multiple first impressions and multiple opportunities to reinforce those impressions. How do they align? Do they paint different pictures? How are candidates and employees supposed to navigate conflicting messages? If you buy a pair of shoes expecting the size marked on the box only to find a different size inside, they will not fit and you will undoubtedly need to return them.
When the Interviewer Becomes the Interviewee
The recruiting process allows candidates to see behind the curtain of a company in the same way that internships are as much a weeks-long interview by a company of a prospective candidate as a weeks-long test drive by interns of that company. During this mutually investigative process, candidates peel off layers to get at the heart of the company, the role, the people, the experience, and then use that intel to make an informed decision about their professional path. Keep in mind that this process continues well beyond the recruiting courtship and throughout an employee’s tenure. What surprises are in store?
Define your endgame.
The high stakes of talent and the even higher stakes of retention and a diverse workforce warrant consistent, enterprise-wide reflection and refreshes lest we as an industry miss the mark or miss out on great talent. What industry knowingly omits quality control? That’s right: none. The same applies with talent. Chart your course and be both informed and generous in your course-correcting until you reach your desired goal. If intention is not anchored in authenticity, the result is a checked box, too hefty a price to pay for well-meaning efforts lost in execution.
With Black History Month and Insurance Careers Month in full swing, this is a time of significant reflection and action, but also a time where companies are putting themselves on display in both word and deed. The question remains… what will our LinkedIn feeds and talent strategies and candidate engagement and employee experiences and ERG impact all look like come March 1? April 1? September?
We as an industry can and must harness the power of authenticity to engage, recruit, and retain top talent.
With more than a decade of real-life talent case studies behind us, we have seen what works and what doesn’t. We have seen companies show up for talent – really show up – and we have seen those just checking boxes. We’ve seen magic happen and we’ve seen train wrecks. Spoiler alert: candidates and employees see it, too. As an industry, we do a lot of talking – about talent, about diversity, about meaningful engagement. It's time to invest in authenticity and turn ideas into impact!