The importance of positive brand experience in retail & hospitality recruitment

Every touchpoint of a retail or hospitality business is an opportunity to bring the brand to life. An opportunity to amplify the brand, making us more conscious or aware of it. If the moment at which a consumer interacts with a retail business is muted or anonymous, it’s a waste of that opportunity. If a touchpoint doesn’t feel appropriate to our expectations, it may even create discord.

This can be an enormous challenge for retail and hospitality businesses. Is the business set up to deliver a unified brand strategy? Does its brand strategy convey an idea that can be delivered across a myriad of touchpoints? Does the strategy have the right amount of internal support and engagement to be delivered? And does it focus on the communication of an idea, or the experience of the brand?

Recruitment is one business area where retailers and hospitality businesses are really leaving their brands behind, which is a massively missed opportunity. The recruitment process is a chance to represent and instil a brand’s values from day one, not to mention get the right people for the job – the people with the best potential to go on and deliver the brand to the customer. It is worth bearing in mind that many prospective recruits are also customers. Anyone going through a recruitment process is likely to talk to their friends and family about it, meaning candidates are also brand influencers by default.

HOW HARD ARE RETAIL & HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES TRYING TO DELIVER A POSITIVE IMPRESSION OF THEIR BRAND WITHIN THE RECRUITMENT EXPERIENCE?

The instinctive answer for most businesses would of course be that they’re trying very hard. But if we take a deeper look, could they be doing better? Job descriptions across the board are using the same language. Cultures and success criteria are described using the same language, despite the fact that, in reality, their cultures and success criteria can be vastly different – after all, is Primark looking for the same qualities in its shop-floor employees as House of Fraser? Retailers are invariably conveying a ‘sea of same-ness’ when it comes to recruitment, when they should be using it as an opportunity to communicate what’s different about their brand, not what’s the same.

WITH DRAMATIC CHANGES TO BUSINESS AND SOCIETY, CAN TRADITIONAL RECRUITMENT MODELS STILL BE APPROPRIATE FOR RETAIL & HOSPITALITY?

In addition to this, despite huge changes across society, retail and hospitality businesses are also still adopting a pretty traditional recruitment process. An ad is posted, applications received and reviewed, candidates interviewed and a favoured candidate gets an offer. Seems logical enough – but in a world where we are now increasingly happy to select a life partner through technology, have retail recruitment processes really kept pace?

Recruiters may be effective at matching square pegs to square holes, but by recognising the pace of change elsewhere in business and society, we can see that businesses replenishing their existing people stock with a ‘more-of-the-same’ approach is not a progressive people strategy. Indeed, more enlightened companies talk about hiring for attitude – but it’s all too true that an assessment of ‘attitude’ relies on intuitive interpretations, often based on likeability, sitting in a short-lived recruitment window and against a backdrop of easing the burden of over-stretched people.

WHAT IF, RATHER THAN DESCRIBING AN ATTITUDE WE’RE ALL LOOKING FOR, WE DESCRIBE THE BEHAVIOURS WE KNOW OUR BEST PEOPLE DELIVER?

Imagine that. At Chemistry, we call it What Great Looks Like. By backtracking through the profile of the people who do and don’t deliver it, we can build a picture of the profiles that are most likely to emulate the best people an individual retail organisation or hospitality business currently has. Why’s this so important? Because the ‘best’ people working in different retailers and different hospitality businesses will display different behaviours.

It’s all about analysing a person’s Intellect, Values, Motivations, Behaviours and, lastly, their Experience – because if we know what our best people are really like, we know who we are really looking for in a crowded job market. It’s also in the best interests of candidates and employees, because we’re marrying people to the right roles, where their potential has the opportunity to truly be delivered. We don’t just think that’s interesting; it’s the way the world should be.

What Great Looks Like bears gifts for any retail or hospitality brand and should be gold for marketers. These brands should be looking for tangible behaviours that are identifiable and distinguishing, rather than communicating their intentions that may or may not have synergy with the way the business really behaves. Knowing an organisation’s best behaviours should definitely feed into its brand strategy with confidence, and into its myriad of touchpoints.

May, 10, 2017

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