Welcome to the Lead with Indeed podcast, a series of fireside chats with experts in employer branding, recruiting, HR and more.
In this episode, Bryan Chaney, Indeed’s Director of Employer Brand, chats with Camille Richardson, Head of Global Employment Brand Creative at Facebook. As a former marketer, Richardson brings a unique perspective to building an employer branding team. Their conversation covers:
- Transitioning careers into employer branding
- Building a team of employer branding content experts
- Using virtual collaboration to keep teams connected while working remotely
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Bryan Chaney: Welcome to the Lead with Indeed podcast where we chat with the experts in employer branding, recruiting, HR and much, much more. We'll hear how and why they do what they do, and expand our knowledge of how they're driving results in today's world of work. I'm Bryan Chaney, Director of Employer Brand at Indeed.
Bryan Chaney: On today's show: Camille Richardson, head of Global Employment Brand Creative at Facebook. She's worked in brand marketing roles, directed the employer branding team at department store Macy's and today works as the head of Global Employment Brand Creative team at Facebook.
With so much uncertainty in the labor market right now, the landscape for attracting talent to your company has changed and keeps changing, and it's important we share thoughts and insights to solve these challenges together. With that in mind, I spoke with Camille about transitioning employer brand between industries, building a team of employer brand content experts and keeping your teams connected during a time of remote work. Let's get started.
Bryan Chaney: Welcome to the Lead with Indeed podcast. I'm so excited. This is not the first time I've been able to talk with Camille. I enjoy it every time. Please welcome Camille Richardson of Facebook. Welcome. How are you doing? Good morning.
Camille Richardson: I'm great Bryan. How are you? It's good to be here.
Bryan Chaney: You're in Atlanta now aren't you?
Camille Richardson: I am in Atlanta now.
Bryan Chaney: And you recently moved. You were west coast, and you're moving to get closer to family, yes?
Camille Richardson: Yes, that's right and so I'm getting back to a place that I'm very familiar with and love a lot, so it's kind of a little homecoming as well.
Bryan Chaney: That's awesome. It's good to be near where you're familiar and have it feel like home. And recently you've actually been given the ability to do that because Facebook has actually shifted to all-remote working. So how has that impacted your experience as an employee?
Camille Richardson: It's actually definitely increased my level of personal satisfaction with the company and with my role. One of the things that drew me to Facebook was that it was a very collaborative environment and had this really strong culture, and I spent almost 3 years in the Bay area at the Menlo Park Headquarters soaking that all in.
But I was ready for the next phase of my life — my family's life — and being that extended family is near to the Atlanta area, it just felt like the right time. And for me, the remote work opportunity could not have come at a better time. And I can still do my work and still enjoy my team and still be proud of the things that I can accomplish, but be trusted in that I can do it from wherever, whenever.
Transitioning careers into employer branding
Bryan Chaney: How did you make the leap from your marketing background into the talent brand space?
Camille Richardson: I was in consumer marketing for my entire career in multiple industries: home improvement, airlines and hospitality — restaurant-type industries — and I was really always happy with that world. I had spent a good amount of time in the local or field marketing side of consumer marketing, and was used to working with kind of people on the ground in the business one-to-one directly.
And so what happened was, I essentially saw a listing for a role online, probably on Indeed actually, at Macy's a few years ago, and it was for a director of employer brand and my husband, Danyon, actually has experience in both marketing and HR, and I showed it to him. I mean he's happy at his job, but I was just like, ‘Hey, I came across this role that might be interesting for you.’ And he read it and he goes, ‘This is for you,’ and I'm like, ‘No it's not. I don't do HR.’ And he's like, ‘No, actually like read it again,’ and I did and started researching what this whole employer branding was about and just completely fell in love. I immersed myself in it for an entire weekend learning about it, understanding it.
The opportunity that I saw to make the leap was really, one — I was already storytelling. It was a little bit different but I was doing some storytelling. There was some needs that I had from my previous company of like, helping to boost the reputation of the company to help with hiring in a way, so I was a little bit connected in that space with the very kind of overarching brand perspective. So you have that two-level thing working, which I think works really well in employer brand too. You're telling very specific stories to very specific audiences at times, but then you're also managing this entire brand perception, so that has worked really well I think for my transition through the role.
Bryan Chaney: You went from a role of a solo talent brander — I think, right? — at Macy's where you were having to be the generalist and do a little bit of everything, which is a lot of roles that are out there. And you went to an organization that is a bit more mature, and advanced and super high-growth, where the segmentation was key to being able to dive deep was super key for talent attraction and thinking about the brand. What would you say was your biggest surprise or ‘aha moment’ when you went from two very different working environments for employer brand?
Camille Richardson: Yeah that's a great question. At companies, when employer brand first starts out, there's a lot of explaining and educating that has to happen for a long time, and at Facebook, that phase had kind of happened already. And not to say you're not still educating at times — you are, there's always opportunities. But the value that was placed upon that team was there. And so for me it became not proving the worth of Employer Brand in general, but more about, ‘How can I add to the value that was already being shown by this team who had done so many great things?’
So I went from kind of the establishment of something new — explaining exactly why are we here and what are we trying to do, how can we help this talent acquisition team reach their goals — to, not having to backtrack to that point, but more so to saying, ‘Here's how I'll continue to add.’ And that was really nice, and I think it also just showed up in the fact that our team has continued to grow tremendously over the past few years that I've been at Facebook. So that value and perception has continued, which is really nice to see.
Building an employer branding team of content experts
Bryan Chaney: Now tell us about your team.
Camille Richardson: So I manage an employment brand creative team at Facebook. So it's made up of individuals who are amazing experts in their areas of responsibility whether it be filmmaking, design, brand strategy, media partnerships, ads and digital campaigns, copywriting, content strategy.
So we have a pretty robust skill set on my team and the interesting thing is, well, first — I love every single person on my team. It's the best team that I've had a chance to work with. But it's just so interesting to sit amongst individuals who can add so much in their own unique ways to each and every initiative that comes across our list.
Bryan Chaney: When you were hiring them, my guess is you might have inherited some of them as far as a team, and then you hired some. When you were thinking about that hiring process, were you looking for skill set first, or you were looking for people with recruitment marketing or employer brand storytelling, or what was your thought process? What was No. 1 for you?
Camille Richardson: So the fun thing is I did get a chance to, for the most part, build the team; there weren't many people there already when I started. So most of these folks are newer since I've joined. And I was looking for those that had a good understanding of employer brands, because obviously that would help in understanding anything that we're trying to do. But also, it would have given them kind of that unique perspective of straddling recruiting talent acquisition, and marketing.
I like the mix that we've ended up with, because we have ended up with people that are newer to employer brand, but we've ended up with, I'd say, the majority of people who have had interactions with, or have directly worked on teams of Employer Brand before. So it's been nice.
How to stay connected through virtual collaboration
Bryan Chaney: When you're collaborating, there's nothing that sets off a creative team quite like inspiration, right? And as you're working virtually, how are you maintaining that? How do you, what are … any secrets you can share with us?
Camille Richardson: It's top-of-mind for me for sure, and I'm always thinking about new ways to do it. So now that we're all working from home, they actually have started offering virtual series where an entire team can come and do something creative together for a couple of hours. Again, just kind of removing yourself from that day-to-day work. So that's on my list to do with the team.
In terms of what we've already done, it's the little things. It's checking in at the beginning of the meeting and saying, ‘Let's not talk about work for the first half hour. Let's just talk about us, what's going on.’ We've talked about, we've used a happy meter: ‘Between one and ten, how are you today? What are you feeling?’ Some people just like to throw out a number and they don't wanna give a full explanation — that's cool too.
Or we’ve done things where we say like, ‘Show and tell time! Pick up something in your house, anything, that you're loving right now. It could be your coffee. It could be your juicer. So yeah, just anything that you have, a collection of something that you think is really cool in your house.’ So that's been really fun to just see little peeks into peoples' worlds. And connections are made that way too, where somebody's like, ‘Oh my gosh, I love working on cars too. I didn't know that you were overhauling this 1960-whatever Chevy.’ So it's nice to learn about each other that way, and I think it keeps that team connection going. So we try to do that where we can as well, and that has helped.
Bryan Chaney: When we think about the year 2020, nobody had that vision right? It's been a hellacious year for lots of reasons. What's hit you about 2020 the most that you wanna share, and then what have you, what kind of learning have you taken away from it?
Camille Richardson: The toughness of the year so far — and I'm sure it will remain really tough, if not tougher for the remainder of the year — is a gateway into creativity and innovation that we didn't know we had in us. It's one thing to just go about your daily grind and try to think of a new idea here and there. And that's cool, and it kind of levels up, the work. But when you have to completely change what you're doing — like, your work doesn't exist anymore in the way that it existed previously. It's in the way that the filmmakers on my team — they're not out on shoots anymore so, ‘What are we doing? What does that look like now? How can we still add value? How can we be creative?’ So that, for me, has been the inspiration that I've gotten from my own team: is to see how they've pivoted, and what they've brought to the table that was never there, and things that worked so well that we're gonna continue this beyond.
I think the best thing that's come out of all of this is the way that we rose to that occasion, and just decided that, with doing things differently and creating new ways of building those relationships, introducing ourselves to people … that there's actually been some successes that we thought were just going to be sort of, kind of, stop gaps in the meantime, but have been really great and have worked well for us.
Bryan Chaney: Well, it's an interesting thing for a creative project because you either take away the money, or you add lots of money, and that changes your whole mental process for how you solve that problem, right? So — and I've thought about this before because you hit that block and you're just, ‘How do I deal with this in this way? How can I be creative?’ You have to remove the … you have to change those challenges, because our brains get locked into those habits. And how does your team now talk about telling a story? What the process, because you've got new rules?
Camille Richardson: So a lot of it is just, keeping it real. When you have budget and you can do something really slick and really well-produced — sometimes it almost separates you from some of that authenticity that you can get at when it's just somebody sitting in their room, and their cat suddenly appears in front of their screen as they're talking.
It's kind of nice to be able to say, ‘We're real people, too!’, which was always the goal to say anyway, right? You want people to understand that the employees that work at your company are real people, and I think it's just been able to elevate that a bit more. Bring it to the forefront a bit more. Allowing us to sort of walk that line between personal and professional. And ask questions in virtual panels that we wouldn't have asked before because people are in their own home environment and are more open to sharing about themselves.
So for me, it's been a nice way to humanize people a bit more. When you're listening to someone who's a vice president of some high-powered organization, sometimes you just feel it's not really approachable, or they're not approachable, or maybe just not as accessible. But when they're at home and their kid runs in the room, or they spill their coffee in front of the video camera, like, anything — it all just turns into, ‘All right, they're the same as me. I did that two weeks ago.’
Bryan Chaney: I can imagine … you've got a creative team, they're focused on those things … not everybody has a team that size. Not everybody has a whole bunch of resources. And I know we've had this conversation in the past, where you don't have unlimited resources. You have a team, so your resources — time, and energy and creativity, and when that comes down to one person or part of a person, right? From a resource perspective, who've gone out and created all these things — all the storytelling, these videos, these podcasts, all these pictures, and the ways that that experience is shared externally.
Do you have any advice for the people who are now going through a similar process, and going, ‘I can't use any of this stuff that I had. I can no longer use all the content, the great stories that we've captured.’ Have you thought about that?
Camille Richardson: We have. And we've done some really cool things with reutilization, repurposing, that we didn't think we could do. There is a long list of things that we felt like just don't apply anymore. What we've done — just one example — is to refresh something through having an interview, like a current interview with a person.
So, say you had someone, you have a short video clip of them talking about something. And it's great — but it feels maybe a little disconnected to where we're at today. We go back out to that person, and we ask them a few more questions that really do relate to where we're at right now. We find a part of that video to say, ‘This does tie in actually. It's not exact, but it's enough,’ and then utilize that copy when we're pushing it out to explain, bring out those points that they answered in the recent interview.
We've been doing that with quite a few executions that I think have turned out really well with the melding of the older, and then the newer, information that we got from those individuals. And everyone's been really willing to answer a few questions about how they're dealing with things today, or what does their job look like now, or everyone's experiencing this together, we’re all going through it. And so it's almost I think a nice thing for people to have some space to talk about what it's like for them, and we need to just try to shine a light on them, push that out there for people to take in.
So I think just thinking really creatively and trying to infuse some newness where you can, gives that older content new life really easily.
Bryan Chaney: I love the recycling and repurposing, and going through there to find the essence of the story, right? So there's the materialistic or surface-level stuff around a story, but if you get to the base-level of, ‘This is the actual journey that the person is sharing,’ there's a lot that can be repurposed. I love that.
Thank you so much Camille. Thank you for sharing and for talking a bit about your journey and the path that you've been on. Congrats on the move, and I'm happy you're happy with your kids and the new space. I love that. So thank you for the time, and I hope you have a great rest of your day. And good luck with settling into your new home.
Camille Richardson: Thanks Bryan. Appreciate it as always and I'll talk to you soon.
Bryan Chaney: Thanks Camille.
Bryan Chaney: I'm Bryan Chaney. My thanks to our guest, Camille Richardson, and a big thanks to you for listening. I think there were some key takeaways for us all such as focusing on maintaining a human connection with your team, and be sure to read the room in your employer branding approach, because the work you were doing doesn't exist like it did before.
Sign up for Lead with Indeed for more content, episodes and to meet more independent thinkers and doers from the evolving world of employer brand. Up next: Chrissy Thornhill, Senior Manager, Global Recruitment Marketing at SalesForce.