After having spent her entire career in the marketing world, last year Liz Du became the Director of Talent Brand at ServiceNow. She recently got approval to expand her team in 2020, but for the past year, she’s been focused on building out the talent brand function as a team of one.
“I’ve had to learn how to engage the rest of the organization,” Liz said. “That includes things like employee communications for content creation and the brand team for employee storytelling. The biggest part of my job has been figuring out how to activate this network of people who contribute to the ServiceNow talent brand.”
The first thing she did when stepping into the role was to create explicit goals for herself and the talent brand function.
The first goal was to create positive recognition and brand preference across ServiceNow’s priority hiring personas. “Those personas are the kinds of roles that are most important to us,” she said. “The outcome of that was to drive a higher volume of quality hires at scale.”
Her second priority has been extending their corporate brand into all of their regional teams. “We’re making sure in the EMEA and APJ regions — where we don’t necessarily have talent brand resources — that we’re at least pushing the brand content to them,” said Liz.
She’s also made driving diversity her third priority in the past year. To do that, she said they’ve made an effort to showcase diversity in their employee stories and imagery to emphasize their inclusive culture.
On top of that, she’s also put metrics in place to track the progress of ServiceNow’s brand health and worked with their UX team to update and localize their careers page.
Liz said one of the biggest pieces of her job has been teaching the entire talent acquisition team how to become talent brand ambassadors.
“I’m helping train recruiters to become more socially savvy so I can use them as an organic channel,” she said. “Over the summer, I launched a social media virtual learning program to help them optimize their LinkedIn profiles and share content to position themselves as thought leaders.”
She also ran a half-day storytelling workshop last month. “We talked about brand messaging and how we want to position ourselves, our culture, values, and story and how to put all that in their own words so they can be more effective storytellers for the company,” Liz said.
She’s focused on identifying ServiceNow’s top hiring personas and developing content for those personas over the past year.
“We had to get our content engine up and running, which was interesting because I got to collaborate with the employee communications team,” Liz said. “We decided early on that we wanted employee stories to showcase what it’s like to work here.”
To get that initiative off the ground, Liz first made sure they had a clear understanding of who their top hiring personas were and what those individuals cared about.
“A big part of my career in marketing has been about understanding audiences,” she said. “I’ve been applying that marketing lens and digging into those personas.”
She used recruiters as a resource to help her understand the stories they needed to tell and then identify the right employees in different functional areas to tell those stories.
“Then we got our content engine up and started to figure out how to scale things like photoshoots in different regions and what our strategies for long and short-form content are. It’s been a partnership with the comms team to bring all that to life,” Liz said.
Before launching the content engine project, Liz essentially only had a small LinkedIn budget — and not much else.
“An employee stories team already existed at the company, but they were mostly focused on internal stuff, so many of the people they talked to weren’t in the roles we’re always hiring for,” she said. “The big accomplishment that led to the content engine was realizing we already had a resource to develop content, and we could kill two birds with one stone.”
She explained working with the employee stories team meant they could create impactful content with a select few employee stories.
Along with the employee stories team, Liz also worked with comms to develop some storytelling pillars around the value the stories serve and making sure they highlighted teams ServiceNow is hiring for.
“Every time we had a photoshoot or a video shoot with an employee, we consistently evaluated it with the lens of ‘how is this going to help our talent brand?’” she said.
Liz said she’s proud of how effectively she’s gotten teams in alignment to bring life to their talent marketing function over the past year.
At a recent strategy session with her leadership, Liz laid out how, on her own, she isn’t able to make a huge impact across the company — but by igniting the teams around her, that impact grows exponentially.
“I showed a picture of a firefly and said, ‘This is how much light I can make on my own.’ My big ‘aha’ learning was if I ignite the recruiting teams, comms teams, social media, and some other groups to work together, we can light up the sky,” she said.
Liz said she’s looking forward to expanding their talent marketing efforts in 2020.
“We’re bringing on TMP Worldwide in 2020 to manage our integrated media plans,” she said. “This will be the first time we’re launching media programs in our markets that are tailored to the local audience and specific to the personas we’ve built.”
Liz added they’re currently in the final stages of contracting with TMP and intend to launch their first campaigns in the middle of Q1.
For other talent acquisition leaders looking to build out a program at their own organization, Liz suggested not going it alone.
“Find your fireflies,” she said. “Your biggest advantage is the existing resources within the company. Start a small task force of people you’ve brought into your vision who can help get it off the ground and spread it from there.”
Liz Du has been a member of the Talent Marketing Board since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.