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[Feature Friday] CEO Bryan Adams on Why Employer Branding is Key: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 69

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As much as you’d like to deny it, consumers make buying decisions based on how an organization treats its employees.

People are now more likely to see and therefore care about the people behind your brand. In this Feature Friday episode of the ROI Online Podcast, CEO Bryan Adams talks about why it’s essential to tell the truth about your company so you can attract people who are a perfect match for your business—and repel those that aren’t.

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Bryan Adams is an author, CEO, and Founder of Ph. Creative, a full-service employer brand communications agency that helps you sell the truth and change the way people think about your company. He’s made it his mission to make his client’s lives easier and more effective.

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People say your core values, culture, and beliefs are revealed when put under pressure—and it’s safe to say we had adversity in 2020. Who you said you were and how you acted as a company this past year are probably the best research and the best proof that you are who you think you are. What does that make you and your company?

Among other things, Bryan and Steve discussed:

  • What Employer Branding is and why can it makes a big difference for your business
  • How to attract the perfect people for your brand by being refreshingly honest
  • Why being confident that your organization isn’t for everybody is massive leverage
  • How to get comfortable repelling most of the people who wouldn't be a good fit in your organization
  • The difference between consumer and employer branding
  • The importance of setting your business culture from the very beginning
  • The “Give and Get” formula to attract the right people


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Also available wherever else you get your podcasts.

You can learn more about Bryan here:
Follow Bryan on LinkedIn 

Learn more about Ph. Creative here:
https://www.ph-creative.com/


Read the books mentioned in this podcast:
The Golden Toilet by Steve Brown
Give and Get by Bryan Adams and Charlotte Marshall


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Topics: Marketing, Podcasts

Bryan Adams: 

And actually it comes down to great communication consistently delivered. So radical candor shows up in all aspects of the employee experience. You know, from an employer branding perspective, we start at the storytelling perspective. So we look for great examples of where radical candor has made a difference or where it's needed. You know, and if we can be specific with those stories and use good story architecture that's repeatable and scalable, shareable, relatable. And then, you know, it really does help solidify that change that you're looking for. And people start to believe it because they see employees or associates throughout the organization verbalizing radical candor, in their own environments, you know, so it's authentic and transparency. So that's the foundation of how we introduce something new.

Steve Brown: 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI Online Podcast where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown, and this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Bryan Adams, welcome to the ROI Online Podcast.

Bryan Adams: 

Thanks for having me, Steve, looking forward to talking to you today.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, me too. So. So Bryan, the people listening to this podcast and wondering, alright, what's the hook here? Why do I need to hang around for this conversation? We need to sell this, right? So you've got a book called Give and Get it's on employer branding. And then you've got an agency that's a full service, employer brand and communications agency called pH creative. What the hell is employer branding?

Bryan Adams: 

It's a great question to start. So we started off as an all service digital marketing agency, and we pivoted probably about 10 years ago into this little space. And essentially, it's marketing for organizations, but not to attract customers, but to attract people. You know, and you could argue that great people are the only true competitive advantage left in business today. Everything else can be bought, automated, you know, scaled, and whatnot commoditized. But great people, you know, even when you're a solopreneur, or you're just starting out and hiring your first few people, building a natural culture, it's make or break, you know, so we help organizations were calibrated to help large global organizations with you know, typically more than 10,000 people, but we work with small companies too, to nature cultures, attract, retain and engage top talents, essentially. But we do it in a slightly different way, which I think we'll probably get into later in the conversation.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, so here's the thing. This word culture, building a culture, you need to be deliberate about your culture for you. And it's true, but I think so many people miss the mark on this because, you know, your employees can make, create a beautiful experience, I believe that your culture doesn't rise, like this invisible hand, that can really represent the best of you when you're not around. But how do you get what's in your head and get it inculcated into your employers, I mean, into your employees that actually live it, they don't just say it, but they really do live it. And you're coming at it from this background, it's unique in that you're a screenwriter or you do a playwright, what is it you do? And why is this important? How does that bake into your passion as far as your company?

Bryan Adams: 

So, um, you know, like Robert McKee says, stories are the best way of putting ideas into the world and essentially, you know, if a brain was hardware story, is the software we run to make sense of the world, you know? So story is a passion of mine, and it's sort of at the center of pretty much everything we do, and as a professional communications organization, so should be as well, I guess, you know, and so that's the sort of derivative foundation that runs right through every aspect of what we do a pH Greater.

Steve Brown: 

So that, okay, most people, they start their business they get going, you know, it's, they make it from day to day, then week to week and then they start to make month to month. And you know, they try to get this idea that's in their head and get it communicated to their prospects, their customers, their employees, the people that support them. But it's like all the focus gets on your story that you tell your potential customers. But were the big competitive advantage when you think of the brands that really do it, right? The people that work there, the people that want to be a part of that brand, people want to have that brand as a part of their identity. But there's these invisible things that accomplish this, that they innately either got right, or were really deliberate about? What are those things, Bryan?

Bryan Adams: 

So it's interesting, because I think sometimes we talk about culture, and it's over complicated, culture is nothing more than a set of consistent behaviors that are visible in every aspect of your company, you know, they turn up every day. And, and largely, it starts with the leaders of the organization, you know, and so it should, so sometimes it changes gets slightly more complicated when the organization reaches a certain point. But you know, by and large, that's what it is. And, you know, the key is, and that the most interesting thing is now even consumers make buying decisions based on how organizations treat their people the reputation for treating their people, people make buying decisions based on the stories they see of the people behind the brand. So employer brand is becoming more and more prevalent, and showing up in consumer decisions. And it's almost blurring the lines between a consumer brand and what's sometimes called a talent brand. You know, so what we specialize in is going into organizations. And on air thing, the magic, the soul, the essence of you know, what differentiates them, and what makes them a unique place to work in terms of what they stand for, how it feels what the employee experience is, and you know that sort of, it always talks to impact. You know, so does my contribution matter individually? Does the contribution of this organization matter to the world purpose? Do I believe in the direction and the vision of this organization, and belonging, how it feels to be part of it? And you know, so if we can articulate what it feels like and answer those three fundamental questions for an organization, then they can articulate who they are in a very transparent way. So people can make better decisions as to whether to make a life changing decision to go work there and whether to stay or not, you know. So that's what employer brand is all about. That's how we sort of look at culture. And those are some of the derivative parts that go into how we do it.

Steve Brown: 

So I think that a lot of people, they mesh the words branding, marketing, sales, positioning, they mesh all of these terms together, and it's not clear, you know, the definitions of each and why they're different. And so for me, when someone goes, what's a brand, what's the definition of a brand? And then the definition of a brand to me, is how you feel after interacting with that brand, that company, that person and an employer brand would be how does the employee feel after interacting with that company, and it sounds simple, but it's not simple.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah, and it can certainly get complicated, but you know, I like simple, I like to play in simple terms. You know, I find it easier if we can simplify things. And you're right, a brand is typically what people say about you when you're not in a room and employ brand is exactly the same thing. But they articulate it in the employee experience, employer branding, you know, the act of branding that talent experience, is providing an articulation and then living up to that consistent experience. So people have the words to describe the truth about the employee experience. You know, and the really interesting thing Steve is you know, as humans You know, we've been told as a kid you know, straighten your tie, comb your hair, well, people don't tell me that anymore. But you know, put our best foot forward and look your best. So when it comes to branding, and even consumer branding, you know, the lift and shift of consumer branding techniques into employer brand and switch fallen down. People don't want the shiny sunshine and unicorn truth about an organization just talking about the strengths, benefits and opportunities. What they really wants to know is do I have what it takes to thrive at that organization? Is this going to be a good match or not, you know, and some cultures and some employee experiences are great from the perspective of one person but not so great from the perspective of the other. So actually, in the book Give and Get, Employer Branding, what we talk about is, you've got to be comfortable. In fact, you've got to be confident with the fact that your organization isn't for everybody. And you can use that to your advantage massively, by being refreshingly honest and open about the fact that there are harsh realities here. And, you know, if you don't like being put into massive pressure, or you know, the work life balance isn't great, or whatever it is, whatever your harsh realities are. Those are the things that you need to be comfortable and confident with to attract people that are going to thrive, not just survive. And it gets really interesting when you start to delve into that space.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, so the subtitle on your book I really like, Repel the mini and compel the few with impact, purpose, and belonging. And it feels very counterintuitive to that you're wanting to repel most of the people. And so how do we get comfortable repelling most of the people who wouldn't be a good fit in our organization? And feel good about it, and confident about it?

Bryan Adams: 

So I love the fact that it feels counterintuitive, I totally agree. But actually, once we look at it, the big difference between consumer branding and employer branding is when you put a job posting up there, and you get 100 people, 100 applicants, one thing we know for sure, is 99% of those people who have interacted with your brand, are going to be rejected and turned away. So we don't want to just be the most attractive brand across the board when we recruit for the best talents in the marketplace. Actually, if we could only have 10 applications, or the euphoria is just one application. And that's the person we want to hire. And that doesn't make much more sense. You know, I've never met a head of talent attraction, who wants more applications, they want more of the right applications. And what's really cool is still 38% of employer brand leaders will cite an uplift in applications as a success criteria for employer brand. But then, as soon as they apply, the recruiters of that organization, are inventing technology they're using automation and artificial intelligence to deal with the deluge of applicants that they don't want. You know, they don't want more applicants, they just want more of the right applicants. So if we're comfortable and confident about the employee experience that we offer, and the fact that it's not for everybody, employer branding is there to repel most people with the truth, to compel those people who are perfectly match for our organization, you know, and if we get that formula, right, and then we do need more volume, because let's say we're hiring a significant number of people this month, then we can turn up the dials and compel more of those right people. But then we're in the territory of recruitment marketing, not branding.

Steve Brown: 

The word comfortable and confident in our culture. That's, you know, you think of the lifecycle of a business. When you start off, you're not sure what your culture is, you're just wanting to make it, you're just wanting to be around after five years. Right? But at some point, you can start to settle into the luxury of really defining your culture and being comfortable and confident to the point that you don't mind repelling people, you need good employees. But your think of where you are when you're able to kind of settle into that realization that we don't want everybody as a customer, or as an employee.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah. And I don't buy the idea that you only need to think about culture, once you reach the 20th person or whatever, you know, so for those people working alone, as a solopreneur, you have a culture, it's just you and it's your behaviors, but it exists. And as soon as you hire one more person, if you're fast paced, and you're impatient, and you're a perfectionist, and you're a detail person, and, and, and, you know that person that you hire, they need to be comfortable with that collaboration and that atmosphere of needing to deliver detail quickly and you know, some people would thrive and relish that partnership, some people would absolutely hate every minute, you know, so it's important to define that culture right from the start. And, you know, the luxury you have when you're starting out is you get to design it, you get to define your culture by design, you know, and it can be designed based around your core beliefs. And it's never too early to do that, because it's much easier to nurture and lead a culture that you want from the ground up than it is to change a culture, once you've got your 50th person, then you don't like what you've got, or it's not conducive to where you're trying to go.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, we're talking with Bryan Adams, he's the co author of Give and Get, repel the mini and compel the few with impact purpose and belonging, his company pH Creative is the folks you call in to help you really start to get your employer branding, deliberate, obvious and squared away. Core beliefs, that has to be first you have to define the core beliefs before you can start to deliver it to and so is there a process that you like to promote or identify to start? We think we know what our core beliefs but if you got stopped when you were like getting a coffee, just someone goes, Hey Bryan, what's your core beliefs over pH? I think most people would be like, well we're on this, but to have it really worked out. I think is there's a process you need to go through. What's the name of that process? Is there a framework?

Bryan Adams: 

There is a framework, and it's all documented in the book. And essentially, it's our, we call it the give and get employer branding and the framework underneath is it's nothing more than a series of questions and different research methodologies to get to the truth about what people stand for and believe in. And the interesting thing is, we've never done an employer branding project where we haven't been able to perfectly identify the values that exist in an organization, sometimes they're articulated differently in different aspects of a company. But get into the sentiments, and the derivative is usually quite straightforward. And where it gets tricky, of course, is the core beliefs and the values that exist in an organization. You know, that sort of that phrase, what got you here won't get you there, you know, when you're in that sort of phase of transition, where it's like, well, actually, there's something missing here, we need to introduce something to drive the business forward, or, you know, we no longer want that value, or it's no longer sort of fit for purpose. But by and large, the core values, and those core beliefs are what will be withstanding and will stand the test of time and be there from start to finish. And sometimes it needs to add, sometimes it needs to be refined, sometimes it needs to be recalibrated or articulated slightly differently, but that certainly is the foundation. So we do a lot of surveying, and we do workshops, and ask questions, and follow up questions, and have conversations we observe people in organizations. And that research is absolutely fundamental to building a strategy and bringing it to life, you know, with authenticity.

Steve Brown: 

So the core beliefs, they usually come from like the founder or the initial person who got it started. But over time, if you have 50 people that work there, those core beliefs are impacted by even some leading employees or people that start to take over and dry. Because what got them started, like you said, is not necessarily, that same person's not going to be leading forever. What are some of the things that you've witnessed or recognized on how other core beliefs come into play that weren't originally there from the founder?

Bryan Adams: 

So we worked with an organization recently, VF Corp, so they're the they're the corporation behind Vans, and Timberland, and TheNorthFace those sorts of brands. And after our research, a lot of common themes jumped out at us, the core values they told us about validated. But one thing across the organization and this is an organization with more than 10,000 people in you know, 50 countries. Was this evidence driven need for, there was this thing called the VF aspect of being nice, being too nice to the point where people wouldn't give feedback that was constructive and productive to making progress and, you know, using the most of the intellect and the collaboration around you. So we had to introduce an aspect of radical candor. And be clear that this is evidence based, and the fact that everybody recognizes it's missing and holding the organization back. So out of the four pillars that we produced, the strategic pillars of the employer brand, one of them was aspirational, that didn't exist, but needed to be implemented to evolve the organization and make them more effective, productive, and conducive. So that's a simple example of you know, and it's still authentic, because it was required, everybody acknowledged it was required. And now it's articulated, it's out in the open, when people can start to live up to that employer brand pillar that has been strategically put in place.

Steve Brown: 

Radical candor, that's uncomfortable for some people, some people just seem to own it. Right? How do you implement that exercise where people feel safe, to actually share things that they're thinking and they can or can't?

Bryan Adams: 

Well that's a great question. And first of all, like, it's okay, the fact that the organization's made a commitment to radical candor, and some people will be uncomfortable, and they might leave, and that you've got to be comfortable with that. But actually, the processe is around looking for very tangible examples of where radical candor would improve the psychological safety, the productivity, the aspects of belonging, purpose, and the impact of the organization. And that's done by great specific stories that can be found throughout the organization. And then also embedded in processes and procedures and appraisals, and learning and development and all the different tracks of an organization, all the different initiatives. But actually, it comes down to great communication consistently delivered so radical candor shows up in all aspects of the employee experience. You know, from an employer branding perspective, we start at the storytelling perspective. So we look for great examples of where radical candor has made a difference or where it's needed. You know, and if we can be specific with those stories, and use good story architecture that's repeatable, and scalable, shareable, relatable, and then, you know, it really does help solidify that change that you're looking for. And people start to believe it, because they see employees or associates throughout the organization verbalizing radical candor, in their own environment, you know, so it's authentic and transparent, you know. And so that's the foundation of how we introduce something new.

Steve Brown: 

So give us an example of good story architecture that is, yeah, that's an example of what you're sharing.

Bryan Adams: 

So good story architecture. So if we use the radical candor example, so we could go into an organization, and let's just say it's the South Korea manufacturing department for VF, I'm just going to make this up. And somebody whose career has been held back, they thought they were doing a good job, they're doing everything they're being asked to do. And, but until recently, when somebody said, Hey, you need to improve, you need to attend to meetings on time, because, you know, it's reflecting poorly on your professionalism, or you need to pay more attention to detail in this aspect, or whatever it is. Having somebody tell that story from their perspective, maybe we use the feel felt found, story structure, you know, the, I know how you feel, I felt the same way, but what I found after taking it up on time and having more attention to detail was people took me more seriously. When I applied for that promotion, I actually got it because I fit it into the culture and everybody was happy with my behavior and so on and so forth. Or you might use the and bought therefore, story structure, which is basically telling the story of the and aspect is the sort of status quo. You know, I've worked in this team for years, I get along great with everybody just felt a little bit. Felt difficult to progress, but I'm comfortable. I'm doing my work well, I like the people around me. Everything's great, but I felt there was something missing. And I wanted to get that promotion and something's holding me back. And therefore, I asked for feedback. And for the first time, people gave me radical candor, and it made a significant difference to my life. Weight was lifted, I knew exactly what I needed to do to progress, I did it. And now my career is flourished and thrived, and actually feel closer to the people around me. You know, so using the and bought, therefore, story structure, giving that to people and applying it to their own situation. It's a really easy story technique to use to collect stories that support the employer brand that you're trying to implement. Does that make sense?

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, that's excellent. So when you wrote the book, who specifically should read your book? When you you wrote it you had that person in mind?

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah. So there's a couple of we use what we call personas. You know, and so, first of all, any employer brand or sort of cultural leader, persona, anybody responsible for the culture of their organization, first of all, and in a, in a large global organization that might be an employer, brand manager, or director. But also for anybody starting an organization who wants to start a people lead organization, who has a fascination or a priority, focus on building a culture from the ground up and getting that people strategy right, this is for them. Anybody in an organization who has a cultural issue or a challenge, will find value in this book. And actually, we want to elevate the conversation to CEOs. You know, ultimately, they're the ones that are ultimately responsible for the people and the culture. And, you know, because I think, like I say, people are the the only true competitive advantage left in business now. And I think, what we've seen over the last few years, and certainly to the sort of COVID year, just how important looking after people really is. And, you know, I think it's the responsibility of the CEO to know exactly the importance, but then what to do about it, you know, so it's typically anybody in a leadership position that's responsible for people.

Steve Brown: 

Hey, I wanted to pause right here and tell you about a book that you need to get today. It's the funniest book on marketing. It's called The Golden Toilet, stop flushing your marketing budget into your website, and build a system that grow your business. And guess who wrote it? That's right. I wrote it. And I wrote it just for you. Because I want to help you get past the last hurdles of setting up your business and getting it squared away. I wrote it so that you can avoid time, wasting time, wasting money, wasting frustration, get the book on Audible, you can get it on Kindle, you can get it on Amazon, but get the book, take advantage of the insights in there, and let me know what you think. And now back to this excellent episode. Awesome were talking with Bryan Adams, he's the co author of Give and Get, repel the mini and compel the few impact purpose and belonging. It's a way that, his book provides tangible steps to help you recruit the talent you have. And the set you up to win more than your share of top talent in the future. So, Bryan, in your spare time, your writing? Tell us a little give us a little insight of your personal passions there.

Bryan Adams: 

So I've always played with this, a long time ago, when I first started the organization, I had a debilitating fear of public speaking. And I almost lost the business because of it. It held me back from going out and winning business. And actually I did a stand up comedy course to over take that fear, to get past that fear. And I did not become a stand up comedian but what I did become is a sort of lifelong student from that moment on in terms of communication, story, architecture and structure and just a fascination of the power of story. So since then, I've studied that after many years of workshops and read all the books and I know you're a Donald Miller fan, is that right from storybrand? I've interviewed Donald on a podcast I did a few years ago and spent a lot of time in that sort of space and marketing the agency and sort of going through my professional career, i've always used movie analogies. Because I just love film, and I love story. And now we've got a small production company as part of the pH Group. Because when we develop an employer brand, and the best way to bring that to life is to tell stories and use film and video. And we do that even with drama based scenarios to make a point. So it's definitely something that has been part of my professional and creative life over the last 20 years really, and my ultimate goal is to make a feature film, and, you know, pursue that sort of career. That's what it all, that's what it's all sort of working towards, you know, so one fine day, if I sell pH, that's what I'll do.

Steve Brown: 

So, you know, I really help folks understand that our brains crave information, in that honors, the rules of story are, always will always have. And as leaders, it's one of the biggest challenge that we have is getting what's in our hands, and getting in a format where people can quickly listen, and hear it and remember it. And the reason that story is so effective is because it stimulates an emotion in us and when emotion gets involved, then we remember, we connect, we assimilate it, where did the light bulb go off for you when you were doing the stand up stuff? Because obviously you go in and you're like, intimidated, you're gonna do this, but then one day, you see, oh, that's all they're doing.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah. And it was a six week course. And I remember I lost 18 pounds in weight, so it's a it's a great weight loss program, you know, purely through just the terror, you know, don't think I ate or slept for six weeks. But the light bulb moment went on for me, you know, the fight or flight sort of sheer terror moment was when I could cling to a formula of how to construct a joke. You know, how to put things together? You know, it's just the setup, the reveal, the pullback, all of that sort of good stuff from a comedy perspective. And the way my brain was wired, I say, Okay, this is like my sort of life raft, my safety net, I can do this now. Once I got my head round it, you know, the confidence to sort of push through and, you know, didn't become a stand up comedian, but I've got some laps in the right places. And it was life changing from the perspective of confidence. And it made me think, okay, a) it made me face my fears, like head on going forward. But b) it always made me look for, you know, what's the success formula? And it started a fascination with universal communications. And that's where I was introduced to story.

Steve Brown: 

It's interesting how it impacted your leadership abilities. If you think about the thought leaders that we follow. They've gone through a deliberate exercise and learning those things. We just think they were born that way. But in most cases, that's not true.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think there's a famous study of how Steve Jobs communicates. And it's now that the blueprint template for delivering a TEDx talk, which takes your audience up and brings them down, the cadence, the tone, everything, you know, can be studied and perfected and worked on, you know, and it's just so important, isn't it? You know, even down to the number of times you have to deliver a message for it to be delivered and actually sort of received. And, you know, there's, there's so much to it, but just covering off the basics, and just making a start with story and deliberate communication can have a profound difference on your performance as a leader or even just a teammate in a company or a social aspect as well.

Steve Brown: 

We were talking before we started recording, you're from Liverpool, it's obvious by your accent, not really had to ask for clarification on that but, one of the things that I learned from Malcolm Gladwell book which relates with Liverpool is the Beatles are from there, but they went and they did something repetitive over and over and over before they got into this zone of expertise. And this delivery, takes a certain number of repetitions before you kind of become comfortable and put in your flavor of creative on top of that framework. What are some of the things that you could coach others to start to consider or embraced to help them get the lessons that you've learned in that process?

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah, so good question. I think you talked about, you referenced the framework and formula earlier on and the Give and Get formula is unique in the fact that most employer brands just talk about the strengths, benefits and opportunities that are on offer. But the Give and Get is exactly what it sounds like, it's you know, if this organization is going to give you these things, here's what you've got to put in, in return. And the formula of each common theme you find within your organization, let's just say it's an attitude of thinking of a specific client. Now, one of their pillars is bringing it on. And that bring it on pillar, and the branding pillar articulates what it feels like in terms of the attitudes towards something, you've got to be up for a challenge, you've got to bring energy, you've got to be action oriented, and so on, and so forth. And if it just stopped there, that would be fine. But from a formula, framework perspective, go into the legs of articulating, if you bring that attitude, here's what you can expect to get in return in terms of career opportunities, acceptance, support, and advice, being stretched, and find yourself outside your comfort zone, and all of those different things, really helps to crystallize what it feels like. And what's to be gained from that employee experience. So just by using the formula to identify the common themes within your organization, and the give, as well as the get, what you've got to put in, in order to get that out, is a fantastic, simple, basic formula that anyone can use, that makes sense to your audience that will be appreciated to candidates and employees alike. Because it's like, okay, I can get my head around, I can get my head around that really easily. If I do X, I stand to benefit with Y. And then the simple question is, is it worth the effort? Is that something that I want to do? You know? Is the input worth the output? So that would be my first go to.

Steve Brown: 

And that gets you to, if you really clarify that, you can get to the rappelle. So that's where you get your first?

Bryan Adams: 

Some people would look at that input-output. And so the input is not worth the output to me. And that's okay.

Steve Brown: 

So Bryan, you know, I do these conversations, but always, I'm curious about, what's the one question that you wish people would ask you that you don't really get to answer?

Bryan Adams: 

Wow, what a great question. What a great question. So is this from a personal perspective, or a professional perspective? Or what are we?

Steve Brown: 

It's your moment brother, come on, whatever. This is a national, I mean international announcement, no one's ever heard before. Let's break the news. What is it?

Bryan Adams: 

So from a professional perspective, what I do most, and what I would like to inject in every organization, or every solopreneur, entrepreneur, is what employer branding is all about, really, what it boils down to, because there's a lot of fluff. There's a lot of complicated explanations, but actually think of it in these terms. If you asked me, Look, what is it all about, really? From a candidates perspective, or an employee's perspective? What matters to them most is this. If I work in your organization, is that going to be net positive for my career? Or not? If I put two years into your company, is it going to be worth my time? Am I going to get the promotion, the financial rewards the lines on my CV? To further my career such that when I look back on the two years I spent with your organization, am I going to be able to say that was a good investment of time or not? It's got nothing to do with free lunches, slides, you know, and foosball tables and all of that stuff. It comes down to that root thing. So, so that's the question that, you know, if I had 100 conversations like this, that's the question. I would like to be asked, and that's the information I'd want the audience to be left with, you know, anybody considering building an employer brand, make sure you answer that question and calibrate what you do to give your audience the information they want to answer that question.

Steve Brown: 

Awesome. I love that. That's so true. You know, I always think that in the interviews, I'd like to just flip them instead of me ask all the questions and you guess what you want me to hear. How about how about I sit back and you just interview me? And let's figure out what you really think. Right?

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah, yeah. So let me so let me ask you a question. From a millennial perspective, and this new generation of people who've just gone through COVID, and Black Lives Matter. And, you know, this political awakening and different sort of perspective. And certainly, well, I mean, I'm, I'm from Liverpool, I live in San Diego, so the, you know, the US sort of political agenda, I think it's fair to say is global, you know? What do you think is the biggest difference, top of mind, for the average person going to work these days? What's important to them? What matters now that didn't? You know, what's the biggest difference?

Steve Brown: 

I think everybody is wanting to figure out whether I'm safe. If you understand me, and then if I can be a part of something that's bigger than just me. So like you were saying, but I need to have something to show for my time here that I can, I can be proud of because everything seems to change or waver or pendulum swings over here super far, and comes back, but where can I have something that's always going to be consistent? That I'll always be proud of?

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah. And I think that's insightful. I mean, it always comes back to purpose, impact and belonging in some respect. But you know, I think on top of that, now, we're seeing the career catalyst aspect that was just talking about, you know, the culture piece, which isn't going away, ever, you know. And then the final thing is a conversation around citizenship, which for me, is rising in the conversation and heightened in sort of priority of people's consciousness. Now, given what's happening around them, you know, the derivative route is always impact perhaps of blogging, but it's articulated in a different way now, because of what's going on around us. And it's our job as business owners and leaders to be able to move with the times and move with the environment to remain relevant and demonstrate empathy, compassion, and integrity around those around those things, you know? So whenever we've got an employer brand in place, we want to get the foundation that's going to serve you well over a number of years, but your shop window, your employee value proposition, needs to constantly move with the current environment, the current situation, economically, socially, and the direction of your business as well, you know, so it's fascinating, and it well, it keeps me busy, because it's a moving feast, you know, but being a lover of story and human psychology, you know, for me, there's no greater place to play.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, I think those core beliefs are going to be in play regardless. Even though things may waver or change, or swerve, or flow differently, the core beliefs are always going to be the thing that feels consistent to the tribe, your tribe that you're building.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah, and it's interesting, because they say your true self, your true core values and beliefs are revealed when put under pressure. And, you know, because you can say, these are our values and beliefs. In fair weather, you can say whatever you want, but actually, when times of challenge, difficulty, and adversity like we've just had in 2020, that's when your true values and beliefs are revealed in X, that's when you find out a lot about yourself, the people around you and your organization, how they interact, behave, support, appreciate, acknowledge, etc. You know, so, what a great exercise from an employer branding perspective is look back on 2020. So, okay, who did we say we were? And who showed up? You know? Like, you know, because, because the consistency between who you said you were and how you acted 2020 is probably the best research and the best proof that you are, who you think you are. And, you know, because that's how you, that's one of our, we ask people for questions, you know, we ask people questions about tell us a time when you're put under great pressure. How'd it feel? Or tell us a time when your team or organization was under great pressure, what were the differences you noticed? Or, you know, what did you stick to in terms of what remained the same? It's really insightful that information because it really is very revealing about who you are as a culture.

Steve Brown: 

That's strange that this past year has been so difficult for us as a team and individuals, but I've never had such cohesive camaraderie and fulfillment in our team than it has been this past six months, it's really become more and more evident.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah. And we've seen it through our research, through our own team, through our clients, and just general sort of conversation online as well. People are desperate and scattered, and more physically alone and apart than ever before. But some organizations have a sentiment and a feeling of togetherness, like they've never experienced before. And, you know, for me, that means sometimes the people you take for granted that are going to sit next to you and make you that coffee in the morning and chat at lunch and all that kind of stuff, you take that for granted that relationship. When you're apart, you've got to actually work to maintain. And it makes you think, with empathy and compassion and understanding. So you consciously you happen to do things that you would do subconsciously, during normal times, whatever normal is now. And so those organizations who do have a cohesive, authentic culture, and I've actually strengthened this last 12 months, you know, and it's super interesting, because that was one thing that was surprising, like a light bulb went on for me, you know. And I'm in this space as well, and that was a really interesting lane, I was like, wow, why is that? Thinking about it? It's because it takes greater effort and it's a conscious decision. You know, so I think a lot of people have experienced that last year. And it's been, it's stood them in great stead going forward as well.

Steve Brown: 

Wow. When you were talking, I was thinking of the foxhole, you know, when you're, the soldiers are under fire, and it's like, I just need someone that's gonna watch my back while I'm trying to handle my stuff over here, you know? And I felt, I've just felt that with my team.

Bryan Adams: 

Yeah, I think a lot of people that'll be listening to this sort of nodding along, you know, because we've needed it. And that just, if you think about the first few Zoom meetings, you had video, Zoom meetings with the team where they were embarrassed about their partner walking behind them, their kids are kept up and up, and all the rest of it to now where it's almost celebrated, it's enjoyed, it's, you know, it's just part of everyday life. The perception and mindset shift has been phenomenal, isn't it? You know, and it's a big, tangible difference to what we were just 18 months ago, you know, and in some cases, some beautiful stories. And seeing people's kids and their partners and their pets and animals and all that kind of stuff is helps to humanize, contextualize who you are and what you've got going on. And it does bond people together. And it's a beautiful thing.

Steve Brown: 

Agreed. Bryan, you've been an awesome guest. I appreciate you very much.

Bryan Adams: 

Thanks so much. A really good side of a podcast conversation like this as if you just forget, it's a podcast interview. And I've just really enjoyed talking to you, Steve, it's been a pleasure.

Steve Brown: 

Well, thanks, Bryan. I appreciate that very much. I've enjoyed it as well. It's, you know, you start having these conversations with so many different people. And I've noticed that the quality is sooner you can establish rapport, naturally is like when the quality of the conversation goes way up. So I appreciate that from you very much. Bryan Adams. Give and Get the author, or co author of Give and Get, you need to get the book, Repel the mini and compel the view of impact purpose and belonging. Bryan, anything else you want to share out, how people can get in touch with you or how you like to be contacted?

Bryan Adams: 

Sure. So you can look up Bryan Adams, pH Creative on LinkedIn, make the connection. If you've got any questions about employer branding, I love nothing more than to help business owners out with people strategy questions, so feel free to share, to connect and share your thoughts. And check out https://www.ph-creative.com/. Our website for a little bit more insight and what we do and other than that, thanks for dialing in and listening. And of course buy the book on Amazon That goes without saying right?

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, exactly. You guys go get the book. Bryan Adams, thanks for being on the ROI Online Podcast.

Bryan Adams: 

Pleasure. Thanks for having me, Steve.

Steve Brown: 

All right, and that's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden Toilet at surprise, thegoldentoilet.com I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast.