One of the key challenges that comes with working in employer brand is measuring sentiment. For Shana Andrews, the Senior Manager of Global Employer Brand at PepsiCo, this challenge is even more daunting because of the size and scope of the organization.
“When I was a PR practitioner, I remember our clients would always ask, ‘Well, how do I measure the impact of PR or a single news article?’”
The trick, Andrews has found, is to find a way to move from subjective conclusions to objective reasoning. That means getting deeper with your data and looking beyond the easy stats like social media impressions to find out what people really think about you.
Andrews has found that the trick is to measure sentiment in as many different ways as you can manage. “Perception is one of those things that is somewhat intangible,” she says. “You can get a sense for it but it’s hard to fully grasp—we can aim to understand it in a lot of different ways.” For PepsiCo, that means looking at current employees, prospective candidates, and alumni to see where sentiments line up and where they differ.
One tool that has been extremely useful to Andrews and her team is the Link Humans Employer Brand Index, or EBI. We look at hundreds of user-generated sources, from employer review services to forums to social media posts to get a real picture of what people are saying about you. We score sentiments across 16 attributes that show you where your company’s strengths lie, and where there might be room for improvement. Posts are evaluated based on their positive or negative sentiment, and then assigned to one or more of the categories.
As Andrews puts it, “The goal is ultimately to understand what’s working and what’s not working and how we can adjust our strategy, our policies, and our experience to really meet the associate and candidate where they are in their journey.” She hones in on specific attributes to add a layer of understanding that goes beyond metrics on followers and social media engagement. Then, once they understand specifically what’s going on, they can take steps to evolve and grow to emphasize strengths and shore up weaknesses.
While collecting data and learning is certainly important, at some point your organization needs to act on it. You need to adapt and improve the employee experience if you want to change perceptions and appeal to new talent. For PepsiCo, that might mean new benefits and perks, more flexibility for office-based associates, or more competitive compensation for frontline workers. What’s important is to constantly check the temperature so you can make the changes that matter.
In addition to the EBI, PepsiCo constantly conducts pulse surveys and runs focus groups to see how they’re doing with current employees. They also keep a close eye on their competitors to see what they’re up to so they don’t fall behind. Most importantly, they are always working on new ways to encourage team members to share positive stories and amplify them in a way that will reach job seekers where it matters.
Data is shared both laterally and to the highest levels of senior leadership at PepsiCo. HR, communications, and corporate are all kept in the loop with what Andrews and her team are seeing and what they think the organization should do about it. Leadership is an important component in making everything happen, but that’s only because they can back up their conclusions with the data they collect.
At the end of the day, even though sentiment is difficult to measure, you need to find ways to go beyond engagement metrics and really understand how people view your organization and what you can do about it. We make it easy with the EBI, but no matter what metrics you use you need to make sure you’re pushing your team to go beyond subjective notions to make conclusions based on data. If you can get objective and learn more, you can get a clear picture of where your organization stands and what you can do about it.
To follow Shana Andrews’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. To measure your employer brand, you can use the Employer Brand Index. The EBI uses 16 key attributes that measure how you compare with others in your industry.
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