Human connection is an important aspect of everyday life. As the world continues to adjust to changes as a result of COVID-19, individuals and businesses alike have turned to new avenues to help foster interactions, conversations, and connections. Over the last few months, HARMAN has been inviting audiences to connect with us virtually, hear stories about our unique and fast-paced culture from our team members, and share insights about how we encourage our people to continue to innovate and stay true to themselves. To continue these conversations, we spoke with Cheyenne Foran, Program Manager of Talent Acquisition Branding and Social Engagement at HARMAN, to learn more about why employee engagement is a crucial component of a company’s business strategy, and how the HARMAN Global Employer Brand Team is helping employees stay connected in these challenging times.
Q: Talent acquisition and engagement is not easy even in the best of circumstances. What were some of the early challenges the team encountered this year? How did the team pivot once COVID-related challenges became clear?
A: Despite all the unknowns earlier this year, there was one thing we knew for certain – we would get through this together. Because we were all physically apart, we needed to find more creative ways to ensure our HARMAN family around the world still felt connected.
Our Global Employer Brand Team has always focused on amplifying our employee’s authentic stories – since they live the true HARMAN experience each and every day. During the quarantine period, and now during our “new normal,” we’ve encouraged our teams to share more stories on social media using the #HARMANConnectsMe hashtag to show how we’re all still thriving together, even if we aren’t sitting side-by-side. Once our team members decided to jump in head-first, we realized that we had more content than we knew what to do with! Our messaging truly preached togetherness and support during a time when we needed it the most.
One of the immediate actions we took was the creation of our “We Can Get Through This Together” banner that was shared on HARMAN’s social media accounts. The team members in our Employer Brand Ambassador Network published the banner on their personal profiles as well, and HARMAN employees loved it so much that many of them reached out asking for the cover photo to use on their own profiles too.
Q: What were some of the in-person talent acquisition strategies that had to be changed?
A: Our talent acquisition strategy definitely had to evolve in light of the challenges earlier this year. Luckily, our Human Resources and Talent Acquisition team knew how to quickly and successfully pivot to virtual interviews and onboarding processes. We continue to take efforts to increase HARMAN’s global awareness, and our Talent Acquisition team is actively seeking out prospective candidates to ensure we have a steady talent pipeline for the future.
However, during this time we also realized the need to help provide true value to our employees around the world. It was, and still is, a time to provide support in whatever areas we can. Our Global Employer Brand Team developed a new landing page on our careers website called “Stay Connected,” where we aimed to do just that with our employees and external audiences. We launched a webinar series where HARMAN experts shared their personal experiences and insights and discussed topics like HARMAN culture, technology and innovation, and tips for personal and professional development. We’ve been able to connect with so many new people through this efforts, and now we look forward to continuing to share this great HARMAN information with our community.
Q: What were some of the in-person engagement strategies the team used that had to be adapted?
A: The Global Employer Brand Team is spread out around the world, and we communicate digitally with thousands of employees on a day-to-day basis, so we had a pretty good grasp on how to communicate and inspire engagement through our digital platforms. However, we knew we needed to increase our messaging and create even more impactful content for our employees to share on social media during this time.
We always said that 2020 would be “the year of video” for our team, and that definitely turned out to be true. We collected all the great photos and videos that employees were sharing on social media through #HARMANConnectMe and created several compilation videos that highlighted their work-from-home endeavors, their families and pets, how they were maintaining health and wellness during lockdown, and more. We wanted to show and share their stories, and our audiences have really been enjoying this look behind-the-scenes from HARMAN.
Q: What are some examples of how employee engagement changed during COVID?
A: Sharing employee generated content (EGC) has always been the guiding light of our employer brand strategy. We’ve also seen how many companies are also starting to share EGC during this time. We increased our efforts by amplifying all of the photos, videos, and stories that we received from our employees. Authentic stories are always valuable, but they’ve proved to be more important now, during a time when our audiences want to see the “human-side” of a company.
We also know there is a lot of “noise” in the digital world, and as we spend more of our time online, we see it’s only increased. We wanted to ensure that our content was impactful and cut through the noise, to help provide value, comfort, and support.
Q: What were the positive results that came about from these changes? Were people engaging in new ways they may not have otherwise?
A: Even though life looks a little different now, we’ve all experienced positive moments. I truly believe that we have been able to connect with our employees on a more meaningful level. Our Employer Brand Team has taken the extra time to fuel connections and partnerships with our employees around the world. We really value hearing about their stories and experiences, and we appreciate everything they do to help create a HARMAN that we can all be proud to be a part of. So, we remain dedicated to our efforts at building personal connections. We are a community of HARMAN employees, and we want to celebrate everyone who is a part of it.
Normally, we host several in-person celebrations throughout the year to recognize and honor our appreciation for all HARMAN employees. For example, for the first anniversary of our Employee Value Proposition and Employer Brand launch, we celebrated virtually instead of an in-person event like we normally might have. Our Global Employer Brand Team created a digital thank you card that we shared with our network of ambassadors, along with recap video that featured some of the most popular employee-generated videos and photos from the past year.
We truly tried to infuse the theme of “togetherness” in everything we did during lockdown. This spring and summer, our country faced some important societal issues surrounding racial injustice, diversity and inclusion. Many of our team members traditionally would have come together in-person to take action in times like these – but it wasn’t possible this year. However, that doesn’t mean that we should stop our voices from coming together. Our Global Employer Brand Team decided to proactively communicate on racial equality issues and share our commitment to taking action and doing more as allies. In June, we created a Pride Month sticker so our employees could show their support online to the LGBTQ+ community. Even through the pandemic, we’ve witnessed our employees speak up and take action to support each other.
Q: Can you share any details about what’s in store for the team? What are the key takeaways for talent-focused teams who are looking for new strategies?
A: Things are evolving every day – and evolving quickly. We’re always looking for new ways to engage not only our external talent community, but also our own HARMAN employees. I encourage everyone to visit our “Stay Connected” site and sign up for our talent community so they can stay in the loop on every update from HARMAN. We’re also planning some new webinars featuring our executive team and female leaders in the coming months, which will be announced and promoted on that page.
We’re also going to continue amplifying our employees’ stories on our HARMAN Careers Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube channels – so make sure you’re following us! And, if you want to see the stories straight from our employees, follow #HARMANConnectsMe.
We’re excited to find even more creative ways to engage with our audiences during these challenges. We might be apart now, but we can get through this together.
Innovation, inclusivity, and teamwork are a part of HARMAN’s DNA. But what makes us truly unique are our people and their commitment to supporting one another. No matter the challenge in front of us, we’ll continue to come together, support one another, and root for everyone’s success. Interested in becoming part of the team? See available career opportunities here: https://jobs.harman.com/