Talent marketing at Synovus: D’Anna Smith shares how they’re building out their program

We're navigating uncharted waters together, which is a huge accomplishment. D'Anna Smith

Synovus launched their talent marketing efforts in early 2019 — led by Recruiting Operations Manager D'Anna Smith with the help of Recruitment Marketing Partner Bronwyn Hughes.

D'Anna and Bronwyn were tasked with growing and fine tuning the various components of talent marketing within the organization.

“We're navigating uncharted waters together, which is a huge accomplishment,” D'Anna said.

Their key focus is building talent marketing awareness both internally and externally.

“That includes what talent marketing looks like and consists of,” she said. “Then, we want to gain space externally, primarily from an employer brand perspective, utilizing our career site and social media, and leveraging review sites to help drive that message home as well.”

Before they could start building that awareness, they first had to establish their Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

We're a regional bank with a community feel. We are the bank of 'here,' no matter where you are, we are 'here' within your community. D'Anna Smith
“We're a regional bank with a community feel,” said D'Anna. “So, ‘here' is our marketing word. We are the bank of ‘here,' no matter where you are, we are ‘here' within your community.”

She said they leverage that existing branding in their EVP, which consists of three pillars: “you matter here,” “invest in your community here,” and “relationships matter here.” And their talent marketing hashtags are #TheBankofHere and #YourFutureHere.

Then, the team launched their career site with the help of their corporate communications group and marketing team.

“Corporate communications is responsible for internal and external communications (public relations), with ownership of reputation as well,” said D'Anna. “We also have a marketing team responsible for brand and external content. The career site was a blend of effort from all three teams.”

Within the talent team, they determined which micro-sites would be most important to launch first.

“It was our bulk, high-volume jobs and our niche jobs that are more difficult to fill, and then for the content, we leveraged our EVP,” she said.

D'Anna said they're planning to add some additional feature functionality and refresh the content on the career site, then do a mini soft launch of the career site, EVP, social channels, and overall employer brand.

Now, they're working on the methodology and structure of creating and deploying content on social.

We've added an additional layer on top of social with talent marketing, which is a whole new concept. D'Anna Smith
The talent team doesn't own the social channels, so finding cohesiveness across teams has been essential to determining which methodology to follow.

Right now, they're finalizing their style guides for social, said D'Anna. Then, they can begin creating a content ambassador group and work on getting buy-in from the team member base so they can support the talent team with organic content and imagery.

As a conservative financial institution, D'Anna said it's been hard for them to adapt to social media, but she's proud of how far they've come.

“We've added an additional layer on top of social with talent marketing, which is a whole new concept,” she said. “We've made leaps and bounds since introducing it to the organization.”

She said getting leadership to understand the concept and benefit of talent has been crucial — but selling upwards can be difficult.

Metrics will be a big item for us this year to show the ROI for the different components of the program. D'Anna Smith
“We need to be able to drive the value back to them, which is something we're doing as we go,” she said. “We did the initial push, which got Bronwyn and me to this point, but we have to define what that looks like moving forward. So, metrics will be a big item for us this year to show the ROI for the different components of the program.”

To help keep the entire talent team up to date on the talent marketing space, they created an informative monthly newsletter.

Talent marketing has many components to it, so they wanted to keep their talent team constantly energized, up to date, and excited, D'Anna said. So, Bronwyn kicked off the newsletter in December and sends out an issue on the first of every month. Each issue includes four to five topics and goes out to about 20 people on the talent team.

You have to ensure you're able to sustain what you roll out. It's easy to launch something, but it's harder in the talent marketing space to sustain it. D'Anna Smith
“It covers various topics,” said D'Anna. “This past month was about ‘Do you know your SSI, your social selling dashboard, and your index in this space?' Bronwyn gave steps on how to go find it and it got an email going among the team about whose index is better than the other. It rallied the group because they wanted their numbers to go up.”

She said the newsletter is great for sharing tips, tricks, and updates in an interesting way. “It's fun to read,” she said. “We've gotten some great feedback on it from our group.”

D'Anna emphasized the importance of doing research and laying out a plan before rolling out your talent marketing program.

“Be methodical with how you deploy,” she said. “We put the cart before the horse and rolled out our social channels before having our content ambassadors, ERGs, and a proven methodology where they needed to be.”

She said it's crucial to understand what talent marketing looks like for your organization and to be mindful when rolling out initiatives.

“You have to ensure you're able to sustain what you roll out,” said D'Anna. “It's easy to launch something, but it's harder in the talent marketing space to sustain it.”

D'Anna Smith has been a member of the Talent Marketing Board since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.