Avery Block, social engagement and brand champion for Taco Bell, has 15 years of operations and human resources experience. She has previously worked for Claim Jumper Restaurants and has served as an industry panelist on a variety of topics. I interviewed her about how Taco Bell HR is using social media to find employees and foster internal communication.
External social media use has a clear goal: To attract and retain customers. What is HR’s goal in using social media? What strategies do you use to reach that goal?
We are seeing a burgeoning trend of more and more HR professionals migrating to the social space as a recruitment strategy. However, beyond social recruitment, our goals with social media are integrated with other long-term department goals. We are seeking to connect and engage with both current and future employees, share our company culture and what differentiates us as an employer and foster emotional connections with the brand. The result is being an active community of brand ambassadors — people who want to either work for us or already do.
We are in a unique position in that our customers and our employees are quite often one in the same. To that end, our HR and marketing teams collaborate to ensure that we align our brand messaging and tonality.
Taco Bell has a wide range of jobs available, from the drive-thru to corporate headquarters. How does your approach differ in recruiting for such positions and in communicating with employees after they are hired?
A benefit to social media is that it can be leveraged to recruit candidates for all levels within the organization. Several social media platforms are available, but it is not often a one-size-fits-all. The ideal approach is to adopt tools that best drive visibility to your targeted demographic. For example, we utilize LinkedIn for corporate positions, and Twitter and Facebook predominately as sources for recruiting hourly team members and in-store management. We have also incorporated social media into long-standing recruitment strategies including employee referrals, college career days and our own hiring events and campaigns for team members and management.
In the same way we use social media to market our employment brand to potential candidates, we are able to reinforce the brand with employees. We can directly communicate benefits and perks of the job, give individual or team recognition, as well as inform them of company happenings.
Some people view working at a Taco Bell restaurant as a temporary job. Can social media be used to change that perception? How?
Absolutely! While working at one of our restaurants is an excellent job to carry one through college, the experience does not have to end with school. What someone outside of our organization might not be aware of is our high tenure at all levels and our commitment to ongoing education, growth and development. There are always opportunities for advancement. In fact, we have many franchise owners and corporate employees who started as team members, and social media is an ideal communication tool to share these stories. It is not just a job at Taco Bell. It can be your career, your future.
At People Report’s Workforce Symposium, you mentioned that Taco Bell is testing an internal social media platform. Can you explain more about it? What are the pros and cons of creating a new platform for in-company communication rather than using one that already exists like Facebook?
We are in the infant stages of testing a site. We believe it could be a valuable vehicle to communicate our brand message and receive feedback from our employees. The one thing they all have in common is they work for Taco Bell, and the site will provide them a place to engage with each other.
The choice to not use an existing platform came down to privacy concerns, but the biggest challenge has been integration with the HRIS [Human Resource Information System].
Above all, we want it to be fun!
Photo courtesy of Avery Block.