Jim Fitzpatrick sits down with Alex Putman, founder of SPLICE Agency. Making sure to hire the right people for your business is an important aspect of being a business owner. SPLICE takes a unique approach to help you find the right candidate for your business by putting an emphasis on matching talent with your company’s culture. Take a look at the interview above in order to find out the best way to attract and hire the talent that your business is looking for.
JIM: Hiring the right people for your business could be the most important decision you make as a business owner. Joining us on the Atlanta Small Business Show to add insight on this topic is Mr. Alex Putman, founder of SPLICE agency based in Atlanta. SPLICE takes a unique approach to finding the right candidates for your business with an emphasis on matching talent with your company’s culture. Welcome to the Atlanta Small Business Show.
ALEX: Thank you. Glad to be here.
JIM: Yeah, sure. So let’s jump right in. I know the business owners and entrepreneurs, right now with unemployment is low as it is, are trying to figure this whole thing out and trying to track talent to their company and build a culture. What exactly is an employer brand? I know your company helps companies develop this and why is having one important?
ALEX: So when you think about an employer brand, you think about branding in general or your marketing? What is it that is your company? What’s driving people to your company? What makes people? So the important brand is your culture of your organization. What is that like? It’s the people of the organization, it’s sub-cultures. A company has a technology department and they have a HR or accounting department. Those are two different cultures and two different ways of thinking and so the employer brand is all that. It’s that marketing, branding of what’s it like to be an employee at this organization.
JIM: For sure. And probably just as important as the external brand to the consumer is to try to build that brand in attracting talent for your company, right?
JIM: And telling that story.
ALEX: Yeah. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s all about, what is the story? And everybody wants to know what is it like to work there and you go in for an interview and you kind of get the canned answers. “It’s great. The people are friendly.” But what’s it really like and telling that story, that perspective from the employee perspective, not the leadership perspective.
JIM: So let’s talk about that. How does a company bring that to life in their marketing vehicles like their websites and such?
ALEX: So what we do is, it’s a lot through video. It’s a lot through … Think about your standard, kind of your traditional marketing avenues. Television has been around for what, 50, 60 years now. Everybody’s used to turning on the television and watching something. Same thing with video. Now we just have more access to YouTube, stations like that. You can now host videos on your career site and so showing those authentic, real employees, discussing what it’s like to work there, what it’s like to be an employee and telling their story, why they stay. All those are part of that marketing scheme.
JIM: And they’re important nowadays, right? There’s probably some business owners who are going to go, “Nah, that’s all of that touchy feely stuff.” But in reality, that’s what millennials are looking for, if you’re looking to attract millennials to your company, right?
ALEX: It is. And what they’ll look for, the second piece of that is they’re going to look for that authentic and that real. So it’s great to have a video having employees talking, right? But what are your employees saying? What are they saying in social media? What are they saying on user forums, glassdoor.com? What are they saying in those areas? Those are critical to your employer brand.
JIM: They sure are. What does it mean to match potential candidates to your company’s culture and why is it important?
ALEX: Your culture is going to be the most important thing. You think about, we’re here in Atlanta, everybody commutes for an hour, whether you’re five minutes from your office or 50 minutes from your office.
JIM: That is so true. We can’t get rid of it.
ALEX: No. We’re commuting for over an hour one way. And so part of that is that culture is so important and people want to see what am I really getting into? Because we go into the interview, Jim, and it’s everybody’s friendly, everybody’s nice. You start day one, the orientation is kind of rusty and then you get in and you’re like, “Wait, this is not what I signed up for.” I equate it to dating. When you’re dating, everything’s great. Six months, eight months in, then two years, three years things are different. You’re married, things are different. And so it’s very similar to that and people just want it to be authentic and real at the very beginning.
JIM: So how does a small business attract this kind of talent that is looking for a good place to work.
ALEX: I’ll tell you the beauty of small business and all the people I’ve spoken with, the big thing that stands out is they like the freedom. The freedom to not be locked into processes and procedures. There’s not a 65 point step to every single thing that you’ve got to do. Also working remotely. Again, as we mentioned, the traffic in Atlanta, people love to be able to work from home. And I think there is this shift. There’s a shift from this mindset of I need you in the office eight to five, eight to six and I need this project completed. And I have a story I have from years ago, I was still in the corporate side knowing that I wanted to get out.
ALEX: And I had a manager pull me in and this was after about three months on the job and she’s like, “Hey, I just want to talk to you, things are great, but I need you to stay in the office a little longer.” And I kind of looked and I said, “Well, what do you mean, like stay in the office a little longer?” She goes, “Well, you know, around 5:30, 6:00 in the afternoon the executives come up here and they kind of walk the floor and if nobody’s here they kind of wonder why.” And I said, “Well, it’s because the work is done.”
JIM: The work is great.
ALEX: Yeah. But it was this whole mindset of, and this is where we’re shifting, it’s this mindset of show that you’re in the office versus show results. And now more people are worried about results.
JIM: A hundred percent.
ALEX: All my employees are remote. I work remote, we don’t have an office.
JIM: Wow, that’s very cool.
ALEX: Absolutely. And it’s like if I call you at 2:00 and you’re out doing an errand, that’s okay because the project’s due at this time. Let’s make sure it’s done.
JIM: That’s right. And probably happier employees as a result.
ALEX: Absolutely. Absolutely.
JIM: I don’t think in the businesses that we run, I don’t think there’s been an employee yet or a candidate that’s come in and hasn’t asked that question. Can some of this work be done from my home? I’d love to work from home or percentage, and sometimes it’s the case we will allow them to. And then other times it just so happens for the type of job they’re applying for, they pretty much have to be here in the studio or what have you. You can’t move the studio to their home. So that would be kind of a tough one. But everybody kind of wants to work from home or have that element in there.
JIM: Then appointment rates are as you know, at an all time low. Where’s the best place to start when recruiting for talent?
ALEX: Wow. You know what? I tell everybody the best place is employee referrals. If you can get referrals from people, it’s great. There’s a company I work with at Arkansas City, they have an app. And on this app … It’s great because he explained it to me like this. He said, “If you were going to recommend somebody to come work, would you go and post it on your Facebook page or would you go to your phone?” Who are you closer to? You’re closer to those people in your phone. And this app, what it does is it shows the jobs, you send it to the people you think it’s a fit for, then they can swap and apply.
ALEX: Now that’s where technology made it easy, but the whole premise there is the people, your good employees who enjoy what they’re doing, they’re going to refer people that are good people, that are good at their jobs. And so I would say number one source, employee referrals. Usually your top three hiring sources are going to be employee referral, your career site, and then job boards. I know everybody loves to say, “Well, let’s get away from the job boards. People aren’t doing that anymore.” It’s still the one of the top three resources of hires.
JIM: And what would a job board be? What’s an example?
ALEX: So you can go from … I would consider Linkedin postings a job board, careerbuilder, monster.com. All of those are kind of your traditional job boards. But if you think about employee referrals and your career side, that makes up about 55%, maybe 60% of your hires.
JIM: When you say your career site [inaudible 00:07:40]
ALEX: So think about on your website, you have your company page, right? And then you have your careers log in button. You go to the career space that’s going to have a typically a list of your jobs, but you have all this space, this real estate space and what that’s used for is those videos that we talked about earlier, telling your story. I tell people, try to tell your story, not novel form because nobody wants to read three pages. They want to see it. Pictures, images, and then kind of show the jobs. So it’s where those people get the first entry point and most companies that I’ve worked with will measure where is your traffic, your web traffic. Number one or number two most trafficked page on any company is the careers page.
JIM: It could also be that your clients are may be hitting that as well, just to kind of see the culture in your company before they engage you as one of their vendors. Is that a fair statement?
ALEX: It is fair. Surprisingly, a large number of them don’t measure those things. So when we go in we have a whole process that we follow as far as let’s gather a lot of data and in that I’ll always ask, are you measuring the traffic coming to the career page? Where are people going when they go, there? 95% of the time it’s just very rare that I have a client that says, “Oh, well, we’re measuring that. Yeah, we tracked that. Here’s that.” But you can go to marketing and you can get the Google Analytics that nobody has looked at and you’ll see, and then-
JIM: Nobody’s looked at it.
ALEX: Yeah. Nobody’s looked at it before for the career page and they’re always shocked. But then it’s eye opening for the company. It’s like, “Well, wait, we’re trying to drive all this traffic. We’re getting all this traffic in.” Because remember, these are people and these people are your consumers whether you’re small or large, these people are buying your service or your product at some point hopefully.
JIM: That’s right. That’s right. Well, Alex Putnam, founder of SPLICE Agency based right here in Atlanta for those companies that are looking to take their employment and their culture to the next level, or maybe build a culture and maybe you can go in there and help them do just that, right?
JIM: So, give Alex a call. We appreciate you joining us on the Atlanta Small Business Show. Hopefully we are going to have you back and kind of get updates on all of this, and see what’s happening in the world of employment and in recruitment.
JIM: Thank you so much.
ALEX: Thank you.