The Personal Brand As An Employee Perk- Part 2
Andrea Herron 00:02
Have you ever wondered how a company is able to offer unlimited time off or be a pet friendly office? Curious how HR leaders manage the well being of remote or essential workforces? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Hi, I’m Andrea Herron, head of people for WebMD health services. And I’d like to welcome you to the HR Scoop. On this podcast, I talk with other HR leaders to explore the world of unique employee benefits, and about the challenges of managing unique workforces. Because well being isn’t a one size fits all approach.
In part two of my conversation with Kylie row, we discuss the hot topic of whether or not personal brands are constructive for the workplace, why employees make the best company ambassadors. And lastly, Kylie offers some advice for growing your own personal brand.
Kylie Rowe 00:57
Having a strong personal brand, working on a team can can help you leverage resources, it can help you get connected to other people from other companies that are maybe already doing something and you don’t need to recreate the wheel, the information gathering piece of it, I think, is really critical. And the other thing is, I’m a strong believer that especially when you’re talking about leadership, and creating culture, these things really, truly do need to show up in external marketing functions. And they can absolutely show up when individuals share that they’re engaging in activities that are contributing to their well being in the workplace. And as long as corporations can support individuals to do personal branding, and actually provide training to do that, well, it can be a huge, it can be a huge bonus for the company, because everyone’s voice is more credible, when someone else is amplifying it.
Andrea Herron 01:51
That’s true. And I can just almost feel the tension from the HR people listening well, we don’t want to help people be more marketable, because then they’re gonna leave, well, then you’ve got to create an environment that they feel supported they feel connected to. So it’s a win win, not a preparation to help them move elsewhere.
Kylie Rowe 02:11
Yes, and I actually looking at these little notes that I kind of prepared to have this chat with you, I was thinking the same thing, because there’s even times when I’ve been employed where, you know, because I’ve always been working on my personal brand. And there’s been times where my brand was stronger than the company that I worked at. And they’re created tension, you know, and if the leader didn’t have a big enough vision, to understand that I was able to leverage my brand to develop business and to promote the company and to make bigger connections for us, then it was never going to work out. And I think anytime that we’re coming from a place of fear or scarcity, it’s not going to be it’s not going to be healthy for ourselves, it’s not going to be healthy for the individual. And then we’re going to start to impose these sort of feelings upon someone like, this is not okay, we need to control this. And anytime that someone feels a sense of control upon them, or something becoming mandatory, they’re going to want to rebel. And it’s just one more reason why somebody is not going to work there. And in the environment that we live in today’s age where people are so online more online than we’ve ever been before. It’s really hard to regulate, using, for example, social media for business or personal. It’s so intertwined. And I would argue and I’m sure there’s a lot of people right now that might be listening, I would argue that companies to just embrace it, train their people how to do it well, and encourage them and encourage them to do it. Right.
And I mean, then we do know from the other side of it, HR people know this, you might you might go and look for someone online. And if you find content that someone posted that isn’t reflective of your core values as a company, or is it representative of a type of human that you want to work there, you’re not going to hire them. And these are really important things for individuals to understand. And when are we going to develop these skills, if not in the workplace? You know, I mean, I had a personal branding course in the MBA program, luckily, but a lot of people don’t understand how to do it. And if we can empower them, it’s just like giving them another skill for their toolbox. And it’s almost a value add, you know, it’s a different way to provide employee development that employees might actually enjoy. I would, I would suggest that companies, put it out in a survey, see if it might be something that individuals would be interested in. But then design some sort of company strategy around how you can integrate individuals using personal branding with the branding that’s occurring at the company. And maybe there’s social media challenges that occur. There’s a hashtag thing that shows up, but the more people that have a similar voice and sharing information, the more it’s going to get out there. And that’s what the point of personal branding and social media is in the first place.
Andrea Herron 04:52
This is such a fascinating concept to me because, you know, some of us didn’t come up in An era where everything was online and permanent on our record. And now younger folks just coming into whatever industry have a more tangible and very long history of things that they have posted on the Internet, which nothing ever really goes away. So the whole idea behind, you know, what is out there for you, even when a potential employer looks at your online history? And then what does that say about your company that person’s employed is just really interesting. And something that I haven’t really seen become a topic of employers, but I could see where it might be worth
Kylie Rowe 05:39
it. Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean, whether an employee likes it or not, or the employer likes it, or not, everyone that works, there is an ambassador of your company. And, you know, it is kind of important to pay attention. I mean, from a PR perspective, you know, if someone if someone did do something that was inappropriate or not acceptable that happened online, what’s your policy around that? You know, like, a lot of companies actually do have to have these types of policies? Because these things occur? And if you’re going to have policies like that, then why not educate and train people how to do it? Well, and and how to do it, right. And, Phil, you know, one of the other things that I’ll add about personal branding, especially as it relates to leadership is, if you’re not online, you’re losing credibility. And it’s, it’s just a matter of fact. And so like, for me, for example, you know, if I’m going to look for, you know, a prospective person who I may want to have as my next client, or maybe I’m interviewing someone, and I look them up, if I go to their LinkedIn profile, and they don’t have a headshot, maybe it’s super old, their bio isn’t filled out, they really haven’t created any content, I’m starting to naturally question if this person’s legit, or has any substance behind them. And it’s not fair. It’s a total, it’s a total, just what you see and the perception that you have.
But we need to understand that your personal brand is what other people say it is. It’s not how you define it, you can be you can do personal branding, which is a strategic process to ultimately help people say the things about you that you want them to buy your personal brand, is what Google says about you. It’s what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. And if you really, if you identify what those things are, and you know, okay, that’s not it. But I would like to be here instead, there’s an active process of things that people can take to change that and any, nowadays, we’re looking where people are falling thought leaders, you know, people are falling people online that are inspiring them, and nobody’s going to the company page necessarily to get inspired. They’re going to the CEO of the company, or the executive in the department to see what they’re posting. And so it’s really something it’s really something to think about. And it’s really not as difficult as you know, it may seem and right now we’re working with our CX labs program to help them identify, Okay, I have X number of hours per week that I can actually spend on social media, for example, where are the people that I want to communicate with identify that platform? What are the types of content that’s going to deliver these people the most value, and ultimately deciding to create something that’s geared toward that audience with the time allotment that you have, and it’s just a really great way to, to not be overwhelmed by it.
And one of the simplest things for people who are still with me on this one, if you’re not creating a ton of content, it’s almost just as valuable to engage online engagement is just as important as creating content. So I’m talking about liking on other people’s liking, commenting and sharing other people’s posts. Because when you do that, your name is seen just as frequently as if you created something yourself, maybe it’d be more powerful if you created the content. But that’s one way to easily pick up your personal brand is just really starting to pay attention to stuff that really fits in with who you are, how you want to show up in the world that the value that you consistently deliver so that you’re showing up talking in conversations that are related to the work you do or the work you’re getting into. I like
Andrea Herron 09:17
all of this. Okay, everyone, so go right now. Well, after the podcast, okay, after we’re done here, go google yourself, update your photo and info on LinkedIn. And if you have no idea how people see you, you could ask close friends or colleagues how they would describe your personal brand. even make it a Google survey, if you want to keep it anonymous. There are ways you could find out how other people view you see can be more active in that and that is for you individually, but also, you know, think about your leadership teams. Specifically,
Kylie Rowe 09:52
I you know, it’s almost like a 360 eval and it’s an activity that we do with our clients where we tell them to go to people that they trust, and that they believe really know them to either ask that question, what is my personal brand? Or you can even ask the questions, you know, what are the skills and talents that I’m uniquely better at than other than the majority of other people that you know. And that’s also a really important activity that really leads to self confidence for one. But it also triangulates information in a way, where now all of a sudden, you’re realizing that there’s a theme, and people are all saying the same thing that you’re really good at this one thing, and your brand should really reflect those things so that when people look at you online, they know what to expect from you. And if you have this one unique thing about you, definitely differentiate yourself that way, because that’s how you’re going to amplify your voice and others more, I really like that. And you could incorporate it into a 360, or a succession plan. Or if you have specific individuals that you’re trying to develop into leadership roles,
Andrea Herron 11:01
I think that would be a really great thing to do for them personally would make them feel valued, because you’re helping their brand internal and external. So that could be really valuable, just even from an employer perspective for targeted individuals that you want to elevate inside your organization.
Kylie Rowe 11:18
I love it, I love it so much. And if anyone wants to do that, please reach out and we can start a club because I love to see, I would love to see more companies doing that. And I know, for me when I was an employer or an employee back in the day, how cool would it have been to have the company really support, really support that and support, you know, that professional headshot and support having a really strong bio out there and to sort of teach you how to create content that’s customized for your field, so that you can really show some thought leadership. But ultimately, that’s just a positive reflection on the company. And please Have no fear HR people, we are not trying to, we’re not trying to get your people hired elsewhere. Because ultimately, people are very conscious about where they work. And they know that if they work in an environment that cares for them, and wants to develop their people that they’re more likely to stay. Yeah, we’re pushing into the future here, people.
Andrea Herron 12:15
You there’s no turning back. This is the future talking. Right? I think the whole internet is probably going to stick around so we can make it our friends or we can try and fight the reviews. And we know on our own, but the more we can embrace it. I mean, it is interesting, and it’s definitely a different perspective than I think we’ve historically taken because to your point, it’s most companies have some kind of social media policy about what you can’t do. Right. And you know, some companies run internal campaigns to try and increase their positive reviews. Sometimes that goes well, sometimes that backfires. But I really haven’t seen anyone being more proactive about creating more aligned with the vision, the mission, the passion of the organization, and the individual staff, but even more. So I really think that could be a huge value add for anyone in leadership or those who you want to grow into
Kylie Rowe 13:12
those roles. Totally especially. I mean, look, personal branding can be for anyone just like leadership can but it’s absolutely critical. When you have eyes on someone, you know, if it’s someone that externally represents your company, those people definitely need to be representing you. Well, you know, and knowing how to do it. And so a little bit of training can really go a long way in that area. And yeah, I mean, I, I love this, I love this topic of conversation. And I’m like, personal branding is one of my favorites. We actually just right before I got here, I jumped off, we have a branding and marketing office hours as part of our CX labs program, where the individuals that enter the program, they learn short tips on something related to branding and marketing. And then we just open it up to questions so that we can just help them. And we talked about developing your brand voice today and your brand Magnetic Message. And the Magnetic Message is super simple, but so important, and everyone should have it and it should be two to three sentences super short. It’s why do you do what you do? Who do you serve? How do you do it? And what are the results? Bam. You know, it’s, it’s awesome. It’s awesome. And I think there’s some really neat work that could potentially be done.
We just did a live in our on workplace wellbeing, which I know is a topic that you you talk about a lot and I could really see going through like workplace well being thing and really developing culture and getting people super connected to understand the mission vision values, but also alongside of it, training people to do that for themselves developing their own personal mission, vision and values and getting to do a little bit of crossover of work where you get to identify The things about your company that make your company great and like why the company does what it does all the things about you that make you and then you can sort of find what are the crossover, and start to actually discuss a message about yourself as you represent your company. You know, I’m so and so and I work here and my company believes in this and I love working here. Because I have a shared passion with XYZ, I mean, how powerful would that be for the company, and more importantly, the individual because now they’re like, I am so much more, we have a deeper connection than I thought, you know, or whatever, whatever it really does. But I think there’s a lot of opportunity to train people to think about these things this way, and then help them learn how to communicate it so that they can feel more proud and and share it online, which is only good for everyone involved.
Andrea Herron 15:49
Yeah, I mean, that is the dream, right? And then that’s coming from a strength perspective, and not that scarcity mindset of, you know, I have to have everything because if you get a little that’s less than I have, there’s plenty of joy to go around. And if anything we need right now.
Kylie Rowe 16:06
It is just more joy. Mm hmm. Yes, it is. It is. We need to be connected. We need to be supportive, and kind we need to be kind to each other. And to ourselves. Hmm, yes, that first Yes. Less kindness starts from within? Yes,
Andrea Herron 16:22
we’re people too. Okay. Well, speaking of being human, it would be great to share with the audience our favorite question, which is something about yourself that people may not know.
Kylie Rowe 16:35
So I thought of this sort of last minute before the show and I I’m sure there’s so many options that I could go with, but so when I was in first grade, my family lived in the Los Angeles area, and we kind of moved around a little bit when I was growing up. And we only lived there for like three years. So I only have a really small I think I have like maybe two friends that I still know from those years. But my first grade year I woke up one day and decided my name was Kyla, my name is Kyla and I wouldn’t go by anything else. And I literally forced my mom and everyone I knew to call me Kyla and they had to have talks with the teacher and everyone in the classroom had to know I was Kyla and we have these little pieces of art, you know, like your mom saves like your finger paint thing that you did. And it says Kyla on the top. So my and then and then we move to the next year to Vancouver, Canada, British Columbia. I went back to Kylie so I don’t know what’s up with that big but I just think that it’s kind of funny. testing the waters and that personal branding. You know, like, I don’t think the brand did not really resonate on that one. So
Andrea Herron 17:47
I had to move on. I think it’s impressive that you still have friends from that long ago.
Kylie Rowe 17:54
Great. I know. Yeah, I have a had a really good friend. Her name’s Leah. And she lives now in Seattle, and I bet visited her over the years. You know, we’re in touch. It’s not like one of my besties. But it’s kind of cool to be connected from people from childhood. And she’s still like used to, I’d call her today, Kyla, and like, I know who that is because that was a one year thing. So yes, I do have a secret. And honestly, not a lot of people know that one. So I’m bringing it public.
Andrea Herron 18:25
All right, well, we’ll just keep it to ourselves. It’s me and you and all of our friendly listeners. Well, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you, and we will catch you all on the next episode. Thank you for listening to the HR scoop podcast. Please take a moment to rate and subscribe on Spotify, Apple, Google or directly at WebMD health services.com/podcasts