What Matters 2022: Summer School Edition

4 min read

Overheard at GMM HQ

"It is a noisy world out there and how we consume information and news has evolved."— Patty Pologruto on the latest blog, Rethinking Modern PR: Going Beyond the Press Release.

Ease Your Hiring Woes

Hiring post-pandemic has been no easy feat for companies in the life sciences industry and beyond. In this difficult talent acquisition market, you, as a company leader, have a pressing need to find and retain top talent. Summer doesn’t help as people tend to check the UV index more than current job openings. On top of that, candidates’ employment expectations have shifted through the pandemic. It’s increasingly important to demonstrate how you take care of employees, what your brand stands for, and the ways you put your values into action—in other words, your employer brand. Because guess what? All your competitors are trying to find and hire the same top people.

A strong employer brand strategy can be the difference-maker in an ideal candidate’s decision to join your company over the other options available. It’s vital to appeal and connect with today’s increasingly web-savvy job candidates—and your current employees. Here are some stats you need to know:

An employer brand strategy is the key to both securing and keeping top talent.

Make It Matter

LinkedIn has become one of the most valuable online channels for B2B employer brand strategy. It’s the #2 ranked place candidates go for more information before applying for a position. So how can you leverage it to your advantage? Let’s look at a real-world example in our space. Thermo Fisher Scientific has been in your shoes and struggled to attract the best and brightest talent. Using LinkedIn Elevate (which has now been incorporated into Pages), the company was able to drive employee advocacy among leadership and employees. The results went well above the company’s goals by bringing in new, qualified hires, and boosting their overall reach by a whopping 62%. Learn from Thermo Fisher Scientific and start your employee brand strategy today with employee advocacy.

Required Summer Reading

One thing you might not know about Grey Matter is that we’re all bookworms. It seems like Summer just begs you to pause and prioritize more time for reading. When the temps start to rise, you can expect people on our team to find a shady spot to turn pages while sipping some fresh lemonade (or maybe an Aperol Spritz even though the NYT said it drinks like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day—not in a good way). But because we’re also science nerds, we read because it’s one of the easiest ways to vacation—even if just for our minds. That’s right, a study out of the University of Sussex determined that reading distracts our minds from stress, and allows us to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness. Reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68%.

We often have lively exchanges about what we’re reading, and just last week we had a conversation about what we consider required Summer reading. The list was lengthy (follow us on LinkedIn for details) but also highlighted some of the advantages we’ve seen from our book discussions:

  1. Climbing out of a creative rut that can strike during the sluggish summer months
  2. Breaking down communication silos by inviting all employees to participate
  3. Feeling more connected with each other, especially considering we have a very remote-friendly workforce
  4. Higher participation rates in development because it is opt-in-oriented with low barriers to entry
  5. Giving more people the chance to have a voice

Make It Matter

Implementing an official company book club is an excellent way to align talent and business strategy, build camaraderie, develop soft skills, and even boost morale. When planning your book club, think about how your company’s culture will impact the level of formality in your team’s discussions, and whether you use consistent discussion questions or switch it up every time. Here are eight steps to launch your company book club smoothly:

    1. Assign a point personThe first step is to assign a point person who will ensure that the book club happens every quarter (or month if you’re feeling ambitious)—and that it goes off without a hitch. At Grey Matter, our Digital Marketing Manager plays this part.
    2. Communicate out. Find a way to tell everyone in your company that you now have a company book club. At Grey Matter, we have a Slack channel called #book-club that we use to suggest and discuss books but an employee newsletter does the trick too. Hot Tip: Inform new hires of your employee book club as part of your onboarding plan.
    3. Choose your book. At the start of each quarter, your point person should send an all-company communication asking employees to suggest a book. To start, have executives suggest books that are in line with your business goals. This will set the tone for everyone else. With options to choose from, employees vote via a simple Slack, Google, or SurveyMonkey poll.
    4. Assign a host. Often, the person who suggested the chosen book hosts the book club that quarter. However, anyone can step up to host but we do recommend to rotate this role. Again, this models an inclusive environment you wish to see in the workplace.
    5. Order books. The host should encourage employees to RSVP yes or no to the calendar invite right after the book is chosen. Give employees two days to RSVP then have your point person order books based on the number of people who plan to attend. At Grey Matter, we are fully remote so our team attends virtually. Each person purchases their own books and puts in a request for reimbursement.
    6. Plan technology. Speaking of remote employees, make sure you plan your meeting technology ahead of time. At Grey Matter, we use Zoom and Google Meet for the meeting.
    7. Prepare discussion points. The host is in charge of preparing discussion points. There are plenty to be found online with a simple search, but hosts are free to come up with their own ideas. The point person should check in with the host two days before the book club to ensure the discussion points are ready but it’s not a bad idea to route them in advance to give people time to prepare their ideas.
    8. Hold the book club. Now the book club should go off without a hitch thanks to proper planning! The host invites participants to share ideas, without forcing participation. If someone just wants to sit and listen, that’s fine. If one person routinely dominates the discussion, don’t be afraid to say, “You’ve given us lots of great insights, [Barb]. But let’s give others a chance to share their ideas now.” Good moderation is important to make everyone feel comfortable.

And if you have any good book suggestions for our Summer Reading List, please do share!

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