How strong is your Employer Brand? See how Ericsson reinvented its Global Employer Brand to attract top talent

Brand ImageCompeting for top talent is tough in the current economic environment. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 3.1 MILLION employees quit their jobs in December 2015. In a robust job market, it is hard to attract, engage and retain top talent. Therefore, organizations are investing more than ever in their employer brand as they start to understand its breadth and value. Human Resources has become one of the key contributors in communicating a company’s brand identity.   

The question for HR managers is, “How strong is your employer brand?”  Here’s how one global company reinvented its global employer brand to help attract and retain top talent in a very competitive field.  

Ericsson is a communication technology and services provider. As such, it competes for talent with the world’s top companies that have highly visible employer brands.  Think Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, to name a few, and you can see what they are up against.   

A few years ago, as the company diversified into mobile technology services, it realized the time was right to rebrand itself to compete for top talent. Ericsson’s talent acquisition and recruiting was initially decentralized throughout Sweden and the 10 regions where the company is based. Each region had its own recruiting process.  The company itself did not have a consistent brand message or communication strategy.  

The rebranding process was an intense one. It included focus groups, delving into the perception of Ericsson as an employer, analyzing its competitors’ branding, and identifying the best method to strengthen its employer brand.  The Ericsson team developed a unified employer brand message, named “You + Ericsson”, that focuses on using various media platforms, a new careers website, and social media networks to give people a better understanding of the company culture and its employer brand. Using blogs, video and other formats, the company reaches out to candidates, which has resulted in better brand awareness, and increased site traffic and social media engagement.  

Matt Kaiser, a key member of the Employer Branding & Digital Recruiting / Global Talent Acquisition at Ericsson, shared his approaches with HRO Today at its Global APAC Forum.  He stated, “What we’ve done now is we really centralized that model and we started to look at more of a global approach, so when we look at our message now, we have one overall message that we’re going to market with in order to attract talent, engage talent, and hire talent. We go to market as one Ericsson. We have a global message, but then we’re also capturing information from the regions to provide some slight nuances or regional representation. We have built a communication platform where we are sharing our message that includes our website and our digital channels – things like our social media platform, and our search channels.”  

However, one of the most important issues at Ericsson is employee engagement. Happy employees are brand ambassadors.  According to Kaiser, the company has a high engagement rate, which means their employees are, “excited, they’re passionate, they want to come to work, and they’re happy to be there.” The popularity of social media has made companies a great deal more transparent. People are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say than on its recruitment advertising. This means that talent attraction relies a great deal on employee engagement and advocacy. Ericsson encourages employees to share their happiness with other like-minded people (engineers know other engineers) through social media and a robust employee referral program. 

As the Ericsson team found out, an employer brand will continue to grow and develop over time and requires ongoing nurturing and attention. Organizations that fail to recognize the importance of their employer brand and monitor it accordingly are likely to find themselves losing out on the best talent to firms with stronger employer brands.





City of Austin Bans the Box for Public and Private Employers

bantheboxOn March 24th, Austin became the first city in the South and joined fair chance hiring cities including Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco requiring both public and private employers (with 15 or more employees) to remove inquires about prior felony convictions from their job applications.  The issue can be discussed when a conditional offer of employment has been made.  A background screening can be performed at that time.


Austin May Steve Adler said, “The ordinance will allow more Austinites to get jobs so they can afford the city’s rising cost of living.”


Penalties will not be imposed during the first year, but after that employers could be fined up to $500 per instance.


Is Your Company’s Social Media Policy Outdated? Chipotle’s Failed Social Media Policy

Chipotle Grill logoA Chipotle employee was caught posting several complaints on social media about the company’s wages and snow day policy.  When the company’s national social media strategist discovered the tweets, the employee was quickly reminded that he was forbidden to disclose confidential information about the company according to the social media policy in Chipotle’s Employee Handbook.  He was told to take down the offending posts, which he did.  Two weeks later he was distributing a petition on employee breaks and was fired for insubordination for raising his voice at his manager. The employee subsequently sued under the NLRA.

Apparently, Chipotle’s social media policy was outdated and did not comply with the current National Relations Board (NLRB) rulings.  An NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) ordered Chipotle to rehire the employee because his postings were protected “concerted activity” that were covered under Section 7 of the NLRA. The ALJ held that although the policies in question didn’t prevent Section 7 activity explicitly, they could be reasonably construed by employees as doing so.

The ALJ also tore into Chipotle’s social media rule that prohibited employees from damaging the company by spreading “confidential” information on social media, saying that “confidential” was not well-defined.

“The board wants [employers] to be specific so an employee doesn’t think you’re telling them: ‘you can’t talk about what you earn and the terms and conditions of employment,’” says Howard Wexler, an associate at Seyfarth Shaw. He recommends giving employees specific examples of what is and is not considered confidential to further clarify and help the policy withstand board scrutiny.

It was ruled that the employee should not have been asked to delete his critical tweets and should not have been threatened with discipline for circulating a petition about employee breaks.

The ruling, which Chipotle has the option of appealing, shows how tricky it can be to exercise oversight of an employee in a time when the NLRB is eager to protect workers’ social media speech.  Employers can still monitor employees bad-mouthing them on social media, but “The board continues to define and interpret ‘concerted activity’ very broadly,” says Herrick Sovany, attorney and founder at Sovany Law. “As long as the employee speaks to general terms and not directly with regard to himself or herself, it’ll be protected more likely than not.”

If your company has an outdated social media policy, it’s time to ensure it is updated.  While you are at it, make sure that if you are using social media searches in your hiring process they are being done right.




Compliance: The Real ROI of Background Screening

Compliance circleBusinesses worldwide have seen the need for pre-employment background screening and are now doing these searches as a routine part of their hiring process. However, shutting the door on potentially harmful employees has now opened the door to a new realm of litigation and court battles.

With a revolving door of compliance lawsuits that seems to just keep on spinning, it is more important than ever to make sure that before a background screening provider vets your potential employees, you must first vet the market for the right provider who adheres to responsible hiring practices recommended by the EEOC and follows the guidelines of the FCRA.

Partnering with a background screening company is an investment to insure your business against the economic disturbances caused by poor hiring decisions. With any investment, you expect to see a return benefit, but what many companies are seeing instead is the inside of a courtroom. So what is the root cause of screening partnerships costing your business potentially millions in damages? One word: noncompliance.

Noncompliance to the strict rules and regulations of the background screening industry can really cost your business. Your time and money are too important to waste being bogged down in the mire of expensive litigation, so it is critical to find the right provider who will actually save you money, not exhaust you of it. The potential harm of having the wrong provider is seen all throughout the industry today. Grocery store chain Whole Foods has settled a class action lawsuit for about $800,000 after not properly informing applicants that they would be undergoing background investigations. Home Depot recently settled a class action lawsuit for $1.8 million for violating the FCRA by not having proper background check forms for the applicants. One of the top banking and financial companies is fighting a $12 million lawsuit for an FCRA violation caused by a noncompliant background investigation which violated pre-adverse action notifications. As you can see from only a few examples, should your business find itself on the wrong end of one of these kinds of lawsuits, your ROI is going to take a serious blow.

You can get a glimpse into the kind of quality that a background screening provider will give you if you take a look at the lawsuits that they themselves are fighting. One of the “top” background screening providers is fighting a $4.75 million dollar lawsuit for an FCRA violation in which they reported outdated information on an applicant which resulted in a loss of employment. This same provider is defending another class action suit when they reportedly failed to provide applicants with consumer reports prior to taking adverse action. Two other major credit reporting agencies have recently been named in a lawsuit in which they violated the FCRA by listing inaccurate data. Other major players in the industry are facing lawsuits for a number of noncompliance issues such as failing to reinvestigate a disputed report, illegally reporting race, and failing to provide notices that help applicants correct mistakes.

When it comes to background screening, ‘cheaper’ or ‘bigger’ does not mean ‘better.’ Unfortunately this fallacy has cost many businesses millions of dollars. While a low price tag is appealing, the allure is gone once inevitable litigation rears its costly head and you are left to pay for the damages.

Many background screening providers have the rhetoric of being compliant, but few have the record of being compliant. The top three consumer reporting agencies are currently defending over 200 separate lawsuits and regulatory complaints. That is not the kind of stability and trust you want from a business partner, especially since the whole reason you pay for pre-employment screening is to protect your company from these kinds of situations.

A trusted partner should not treat their services as a caveat emptor. In order to have peace of mind, a provider should have confidence in meeting all compliance requirements by providing client indemnification for any non-compliant processes in your contracts. When choosing a provider, look for a CRA who has never had a complaint filed against it with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or any other state/federal regulatory agency. The best protection for your company would come from a CRA who has an unblemished history for never having a judgment against it in connection with the performance of a background investigation and never had a Class Action lawsuit—something that has become commonplace in the screening industry.

Compliance can be ensured in a number of ways, one of which is finding a provider who is accredited by the NAPBS, adhering to specific requirements governing business processes and controls specific to the background screening industry. NAPBS accreditation requires an independent audit with demonstrated compliance against program standards relating to legal compliance, consumer protection, quality and accuracy, and more. Accreditation ensures that a company’s background screening services are completed with the highest level of compliance and accuracy, using industry best practices. Not surprisingly, only a small percentage of all employment screening companies are accredited by NAPBS.

CARCO is one such company who meets all of these requirements, making us the right investment for any business.  CARCO is one of a select group of background screening companies that has received NAPBS accreditation and puts compliance at the forefront of every screen we do, which in turn protects your business from any needless litigation. The ‘return on investment’ that top competitors provide instead ends up being a ‘return to court’ for you and your company. When other CRAs claim to be compliant to lawful regulations, history shows they instead are defiant. With CARCO as your partner we make sure that threats are mitigated, not accentuated.

Executives’ Alliance Foundation Leaders “Ban the Box”

According to a recent press release, leaders from 42 foundations announced they have “banned the box” by adopting fair chance hiring policies or ensuring that questions about criminal convictions do not appear on applications for employment with their foundations. The foundations are members and allies of the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color—a philanthropic network committed to improving outcomes for boys and men of color, their families, and their communities.

This philanthropic call to action also follows positive developments in the private sector, with employers such as Starbucks, Facebook, and Target leading the way. President Obama also took action to move toward banning the box in the federal government’s hiring process.

According to the Executives’ Alliance, the need for action is urgent. Over 70 million Americans have arrest or conviction records that can show up in background checks, reducing the likelihood of a callback interview for an entry-level job by 50 percent. This takes a particularly heavy toll on communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration.

Research shows that employing formerly incarcerated people reduces recidivism and strengthens families. By adopting fair hiring policies, foundations are playing their part as employers to remove the stigma associated with a record, and setting an example for other foundations and their grantees to follow.

Executives’ Alliance members and allies have reviewed their hiring policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance with the civil rights and consumer laws regulating criminal background checks for employment and guidance on the use of criminal records issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  In addition, the Alliance has commissioned the National Employment Law Project to develop a Model Fair Chance Hiring Policy and Toolkit for employers in the philanthropic sector.  The model policy will incorporate key features of the nation’s strongest fair hiring laws (adopted by New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and other major cities).

The foundations taking action include:  

Andrus Family Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Arcus Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Black Belt Community Foundation, Butler Family Fund, California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Casey Family Programs, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Consumer Health Foundation, Deaconess Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, Ford Foundation, Foundation for the Mid South, Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Foundation for Louisiana, Kapor Center for Social Impact, Kresge Foundation, The Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, Living Cities, Lumina Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Missouri Foundation For Health, Nathan Cummings Foundation,  NBPA Foundation, Nelly Mae Education Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Public Welfare Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, The Schott Foundation for Public Education, Sierra Health Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Southern Education Foundation, Tides, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

They also issued a challenge to all U.S. philanthropic institutions to follow suit and eliminate barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records.

SOURCE Executives’ Alliance

Judicial Redress Act Signed Into Law


On February 24th, President Obama signed the Judicial Redress Act into law. The law allows European citizens to sue in U.S. courts if they believe their data was mishandled by the U.S. government.


The law was an important condition of the Privacy Shield data sharing agreement between the U.S. and the European Union (EU). According to the President, the new law ensures that data of “not only American citizens, but also foreign citizens” is protected under U.S. privacy laws and regulations.


Mark MacCarthy, senior vice president of public policy, stated that “the ‘EU-US Privacy Shield’ will set an essential legal and political foundation for the free flow of data across international borders. In doing so, it ensures that U.S. business can effectively operate overseas and protects American economic leadership and jobs here at home.”


Vera Jourova of the European Commission said, “I welcome the signature of the Judicial Redress Act by President Obama today. This new law is a historic achievement in our efforts to restore trust in transatlantic data flows”.