We’re excited to chat with Jennifer Newbill, Employment Brand Director at Dell, and introduce Jennifer as a facilitator at Talent Brand Summit. Check out our video chat with Jennifer below and learn more about her path to employer branding, what's she's most excited about the Talent Brand Summit, and a quick sneak peek into her roundtable discussion topic.
Registration is now open and early bird pricing ends on March 1st! You can request a ticket here.
Q: How did you get into the talent brand space?
Jennifer: Total mistake. No, it wasn’t a total mistake, it was kind of a cool evolution and journey. I’ve been at Dell for 14 years, and in the recruiting industry for about 20 years altogether.
In 2009, Dell acquired Perot Systems, and at that time that was our big, bold acquisition, and we realized we needed to create more global teams and functions. Up until that time, recruiting at Dell had not been a global function. We had not had a global leader. We had not had what we called a Center of Excellence (CoE).
So in 2010, when that was formed, with all these types of reorgs and globalization of these organizations, I knew somebody who was in that newly formed CoE, and he was like, “Hey, you got a recruiting background, L&D, talent management, and you’ve got program and project management experience. We have this new role we’re creating, we don’t really know exactly what’s going to transpire, but it’s going to be mostly employment brand."
He described it to me as a little bit of recruiting and a little bit of marketing. Of course it’s a lot of marketing, so that’s been my learning curve as an HR person. But that’s basically when it happened. And that was over 7 years ago that I came into this new organization within Dell. It was an individual contributor role. My first project was to revamp our corporate careers website.
Q: Why excites you about participating in Talent Brand Summit?
Jennifer: Oh my gosh, there’s a whole list but I’ll keep it brief. First of all, it’s in my background. I live here. In June, it’ll be incredible and gorgeous in Austin. So of course, there’s the convenience factor. But Austin is also a cool place. It’s a cool place to host people who have never been here before. I hear time and time again, “Oh, you live in Austin, that’s on my bucket list” or “Oh, you live in Austin, I went there years ago to visit my friend who went to University of Texas and I never went back again. I heard it changed a lot.” And the answer is 'yes' to all of those. Austin is just a really great place to visit.
I’m also excited about the format of the event. I have found, in attending a number of different events, that ones where you have a really high degree of networking and best practices sharing are the ones where people walk away with the most learnings and ideas in their front and back pockets.
I have been to events that are unconference-style or aren’t really presentation heavy – where you don't just have one person saying, “this is what we’ve done, now go forth and prosper” – it’s more conversational and dialogue-heavy. You’re not just hearing from the facilitator but also the people at your table. Those are the kinds of conferences I personally got the most out of, and I want to see our group take that direction more and more. Because I think we’ll all walk away from those types of discussions all the better.
And that’s one of the difficult but exciting things for a facilitator as well as an audience member. As a facilitator, I will readily admit, I don’t have all the answers. There is no secret sauce. Every company is different. So when you have a more conversational based event, even as the person facilitating the conversation, you’re like, “Oh wow, I just learned something really cool that XYZ company did that we hadn’t thought of.” And there’s a more spontaneous and dynamic element to the event and the conversation, and things may come up you never planned for.
With a more traditional presentation, it’s completely planned. You have slides. You have a pretty good idea about what you’re going to say. There might be some Q&A at the end, but usually that’s cut off.
Q: Give us a sneak peek of the roundtable discussion you’re facilitating at Talent Brand Summit?
Jennifer: I’m going to be facilitating a session on employee advocacy. I’m just super passionate about employee advocacy. Your employees are the barometer for how the market sees you. At Dell, for example, 40% of our external hires come from referrals, which is really great. And I think part of that is attributed to how our employees are feeling, how comfortable they are with the referral program, how they talk about the organization, and how they understand the mission and values of the organization.
And so how do you harness the power of your employees and their voice and the relationships they have with people that you and your corporate accounts don’t necessarily have, is the really fun part of the discussion. Some companies have contests. Some companies have really formal programs. We’ve done some really cool things at Dell that I’m excited to share. But again, we don’t know everything, so I’m looking forward to what other people have to share on how they leverage their employees for employer branding.