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Innovations in Employer Branding: A Cross-Industry Perspective

A Virtual People and Culture Lab Hosted by ChapmanCG

ChapmanCG recently hosted an online virtual People and Culture lab, “Innovations in Employer Branding: A Cross-Industry Perspective.” We featured two accomplished experts to provide a cross-industry approach. In the article below we share a high-level summary and a full video of each presentation. We are also including a video of the robust and content-rich Q&A session which attendees appreciated.

Our Speakers

Blair Bennett

Senior Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition
PepsiCo

Blair Bennett is Senior Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition at PepsiCo. She is responsible for the Global Talent Acquisition Centers of Excellence and early career, professional and executive hiring globally. After graduating from The George Washington University, Blair enjoyed a career in political consulting before transitioning careers and becoming a client partner in 2005 with a leading global search firm. In 2012, Blair joined Walmart’s executive recruiting team during an epic period of growth. She held a variety of roles at Walmart, including an HR Business Partnering role with Walmart Technology and leading the eCommerce Talent Acquisition team. Blair joined PepsiCo in the fall of 2019 and enjoys working with an exceptional team. Core to her mission has been ensuring that PepsiCo is recognized as a top employer of choice across all countries and cultures it operates in.

Rick Hall

Vice President Human Resources
Regeneron

Rick Hall is Vice President Human Resources at Regeneron. A keen student of human motivation with three master’s degrees, the first 17 years of his career was with Merck. Rick held various transformative business-facing and talent-focused roles, including two years in Shanghai as strategic HR Leader for China. Rick subsequently joined Johnson & Johnson as HR Head for the J&J Innovation division before being promoted into a VP Human Resources role. He joined Regeneron six months ago. He is a member of the HR Leadership Team, playing a key role in shaping and scaling the HR function as the company continues to experience double digit growth year over year. Rick has a wealth of best-practice experience building major pharmaceutical HR functions and employer brands in the US and internationally.

The Presentations

Blair Bennett: Bringing Your EVP to Life in Today’s World and Talent Landscape

Blair discussed how PepsiCo is bringing its employer brand to life given all the changes that the world has undergone recently. The company started its employer branding initiative in 2019, looking to codify the “PepsiCo Way”; how its EVP should evolve based on the company’s direction; and the need for the EVP to speak to all 300,000 of the company’s employees in addition to prospective employees and external audiences more broadly.

Key points Blair covered on bringing the PepsiCo EVP to life include:

  1. “All hands on” approach: Experts estimate an average candidate goes through 18 touch points in an interview process. Blair emphasized the importance of a 360-degree approach. Broader company involvement understanding, building, adapting, and activating the EVP has been a key ingredient to success at PepsiCo.
  2. One size does not fit all: Blair outlines how PepsiCo is organizing its team to focus more on messaging to different cohorts—across different generations and genders, for example—and how these should be personalized and communicated.
  3. Turning data into action: Blair explains how PepsiCo carefully takes data into account to drive their employer branding and communication strategy. The frequent and correct use of data is key to understanding the views of employees and being able to create and deliver the right content in the right way.
  4. Anchoring to your foundational elements: Anchoring to your mission and showcasing an authentically human work culture is powerful. For PepsiCo this has meant anchoring on what differentiates it— “Who we are as company.”
  5. Looking at where you are on your journey: PepsiCo’s EVP journey has been a multi-year project with lots of changes. While the core “anchor” does not change, Blair explains that over multiple years many things do. It is important to be able to adapt and adjust depending on location/geography and broader changes that may be happening with your audience, and in society.

We hope you will enjoy this video of Blair’s full presentation:

Rick Hall: The Regeneron Way

Rick discusses how Regeneron has been building a recruitment brand that compels interest in both the United States and in new and growing international markets. Regeneron is possibly best known to the general public for producing one of the therapeutic treatments for COVID-19. However, the business is not new. As their CEO sometimes jokes, it was an overnight success story that took 25 years. Because Regeneron is not a consumer brand, it is not well-known as large consumer organizations like PepsiCo. Rick therefore started his presentation by sharing some company context before moving on to how Regeneron’s culture and EVP has been built.

  1. The importance of purpose: Now more than ever, the concept of purpose in the workplace is an important one. Many (perhaps most) people want to join an organization that has a purposeful mission. This is one of the attractive aspects of pharmaceuticals companies and the broader life sciences sector. However, as Rick explained, “purpose-driven” defines the whole industry and does not differentiate any single player in it. Regeneron quickly realized that it is not just about purpose—it is also how the company goes about achieving its purpose that could be a critical point of differentiation.
  2. Following the science: The Regeneron Way is about following where the science leads. Of the major pharmaceutical companies, Regeneron is the most passionately science driven. As Rick explained, “That is why we emphasize the scientific aspect of it. We want the employees who gravitate towards following the science in terms of how medical problems should be solved.”
  3. The Regeneron culture statement: Regeneron defined the dimensions of its culture statement, which has great appeal to the audience Regeneron wants to pursue:
    • Lead with Science (curiosity, innovation)
    • Take on Big Ideas (entrepreneurial spirit and drive)
    • Make it Happen (flexibility and process planning
    • Be Great Together (be extraordinary and teamwork/collaboration)
    • Do What is Right (patient focus and Integrity/trust)
  4. Setting the strategic objective: capability focused branding: Further building on the culture statement, the Regeneron team were looking to convey the company offering in a way that drives interest, distinguishes Regeneron from other employment opportunities, and purposefully forges a connection with talent in smaller locations. This involved presenting a realistic profile of the company and what the candidate would potentially be joining, and a way of working that feels quite different from other organizations.
  5. A data-driven process to reach the answer: After looking at nearly fifty distinct factors, the team determined that taking a capabilities focused approach was the most appealing to candidates. From this point, Regeneron worked to move its communication “from business lines to capabilities.” This enabled candidate conversations to revolve around (i) what capability they could bring to Regeneron to help drive action and results; and (ii) what capabilities they could build and develop while working at Regeneron. These have proven to be motivating and compelling conversations for both employer and prospective employee alike.

Rick then demonstrates how each phase of Regeneron’s approach fills in an ecosystem of communication to engage with talent on following the science and building capabilities of both the individual talent and the organization.

We hope you will enjoy this video of Rick’s full presentation:

ChapmanCG’s Final Thoughts

This session was an immense success and an enjoyable one to put together. The mix of a growing, innovative brand in Pharmaceuticals and a well-established but transforming Consumer brand offered different dimensions and perspectives, but also similarity in terms of what best practice employer branding looks like. We were privileged to have two knowledgeable and entertaining HR leaders from world-class organizations to take us on their journey. Thank you to those who attended—it was great to have you with us and thank you for the robust Q&A session which followed! For those interested in the Q&A content, you may review the full video here:

We are looking forward to keeping you updated on future virtual and live networking and People and Culture Lab opportunities.

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