Here at The Muse, we know that there's no better way to understand how to ace your own employer brand than by seeing some best practices in action.
Well, you're in luck, because that's exactly what our Employer Spotlight Series does. We feature all sorts of helpful advice and insights from companies that get employer branding right so that you can learn from their success.
This month, we chatted with Trisha King, Global Employer Brand Strategy, Marketing and Content Production at BlackRock, about using content to support the candidate journey, building a more diverse and inclusive culture across teams and geographies, and more.
Tell us a little bit about your career journey. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always gone after opportunities connected to my skills, passions, and purpose, but also roles that gave me a chance to learn and grow while making a meaningful impact in the world. I began my career in education and international development, then moved into the non-profit sector for about five years before transitioning into the for-profit world of financial services—which is where I am today at BlackRock.
Having studied anthropology, political science, and African studies in college, I’m definitely not your “typical” employer brand professional. However, a humanities education did help me develop a global mindset and hone my talent for writing, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Early in my career, I also worked internationally in Jordan for two years. Working abroad was honestly one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life to date. It gave me a deep appreciation and understanding of another way of life, and helped me become a more empathetic and culturally competent person. It also solidified my love for storytelling and gave me a chance to dip my toes into recruitment marketing and social media professionally.
Fast forward to 2018 when I joined BlackRock as part of the Global Talent Management team. I was focused on initiatives related to our firm-wide strategy for culture, recognition, and employee engagement, which helped me quickly grasp BlackRock’s history, culture, and values. I was about two months into the role when my boss at the time approached me about doing a parental leave cover for the then Global Head of Employer Brand.
I jumped at the chance since the work of the Employer Brand team closely aligned with my background in communications and marketing. While on the team in an interim capacity, I helped develop and launch BlackRock’s brand in Atlanta (a new hiring market for the firm) and led the complete redesign of our careers website. I realized through this experience that the Employer Brand team was really where I belonged, where I could work at the intersection of my strengths, passions, and purpose while making a valuable impact at the firm.
After sharing this realization with the Global Head of Talent Acquisition, we were able to work together to craft a role that filled an existing gap on the team while leaning into my skills, experiences, and career ambitions. I’m grateful to have had that kind of support. But I’m not the only one who’s moved around inside BlackRock! Identifying internal career growth opportunities for people is part of our learning and development philosophy and we encourage people to move around the company (to a different function, business, or location) as a way to advance their careers.
What is one tool or piece of advice you wish you'd known about when you first started working in the employer branding space?
In terms of tools, our recruiting teams are starting to leverage an augmented writing platform, to better understand how the language in our job descriptions can better support our commitment to inclusion, diversity, and belonging. I love this tool because it allows us to assess our requisitions in real time using a data-backed solution and enhance everything from formatting to verbiage. Over time, we aim to compile best practices that will ultimately help mitigate unconscious bias that’s baked into the words we use to describe our roles.
Stakeholder management and collaboration are huge when it comes to developing an effective employer brand on a global scale. This is especially true at BlackRock where one of our four guiding principles is “We are One BlackRock”—the belief that the best solutions result from the ideas and contributions of a diverse team of partners.
You’re building an employer brand on a global scale at BlackRock. How do you communicate your values and impact in a way that resonates with your worldwide audience of candidates and employees alike?
Stakeholder management and collaboration are huge when it comes to developing an effective employer brand on a global scale. This is especially true at BlackRock where one of our four guiding principles is “We are One BlackRock”—the belief that the best solutions result from the ideas and contributions of a diverse team of partners. We often work jointly with members of our recruiting, talent management, marketing, communications, inclusion & diversity, and social impact teams (to name a few) to ensure the strategies, initiatives, and messaging we develop remains authentic to our brand and culture while resonating in the local market.
This year, we’re also focused on developing and activating our Employer Value Proposition which will help us more clearly articulate the reasons why someone should choose to work at BlackRock. To deliver on the promise we make to candidates, this messaging will be underpinned by the tenets of our corporate brand as well as our culture, values, and purpose.
What goals are top of mind for your team when you're creating marketing campaigns and content to help activate your culture and bring your brand strategy to life?
One of the main goals we have when creating content and campaigns is to be human and tailored in our approach so we’re communicating in the most authentic and accessible way for a specific audience. Whether a UX designer, software engineer, or someone who’s interested in joining our investment team as a portfolio manager, we want to speak to candidates in a way that’s relatable and helps them understand what life is like on a given team or in one of our offices around the globe.
We also know that the reason why a student chooses to work somewhere is likely different from that of a senior-level leader or subject-matter expert with 15+ years of experience, so we try to tailor our content strategy to make sure it speaks to each of the unique talent segments we’re looking to attract across different levels of experience.
To continually evaluate our messaging so it remains accurate based on the lived experience of our people, we utilize insights from our annual Employee Opinion Survey which help us understand the experience of our employees by title, tenure, location, and business, as well as demographics.
By weaving in content at specific entry points or moments in the applicant journey, we help candidates better understand our culture and the specific team they’re looking to join.
How does the brand content and messaging you create get incorporated into the candidate experience and recruiting process?
The content and messaging we create come to life in numerous ways throughout the candidate journey—often before someone ever submits an application. We leverage social media platforms, strategic partnerships with community organizations like /dev/color, 100 Women in Finance, and ALPFA, as well as large-scale conferences and events such as Grace Hopper and the OUT & Equal Workplace Summit, to help build brand awareness among our potential recruits.
Once someone enters the domain of our careers site, we serve up relevant content like employee videos and testimonials, company news and information about our benefits, social impact work, and learning and development opportunities. By weaving in content at specific entry points or moments in the applicant journey, we help candidates better understand our culture and the specific team they’re looking to join.
This is actually one of the focus areas for our team to dig into deeper this year. Through partnership with our recruiting teams around the globe, we aim to leverage data and analytics to better understand the overall candidate journey. This effort will help us better identify drop-off points and uncover areas of confusion where new or existing content could be infused to enhance the overall candidate experience.
We also plan to leverage these learnings to create a more seamless transition from candidate to employee, so we’re not just thinking about candidate communications, we’re thinking about how those messages can enhance the onboarding and employee experience as well.
Our company believes in the power of diversity and collaboration, and thankfully, the business case has already been written, bought, and sold internally. But culture isn’t stagnant. It must evolve and adapt with the changing needs and expectations of our employees and the world.
BlackRock has roughly 15,000 employees spanning 30 different countries. Thinking about your company culture, philosophy, and values—how do you create a sense of connection and belonging among employees working in different parts of the world?
Our culture at BlackRock is underpinned by our mission and principles as well as our purpose which is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. Our company believes in the power of diversity and collaboration, and thankfully, the business case has already been written, bought, and sold internally. But culture isn’t stagnant. It must evolve and adapt with the changing needs and expectations of our employees and the world. Admittedly, like most organizations out there, we’re still on a journey to create a more inclusive culture where people from all backgrounds can succeed. As part of that journey, last year, we redesigned our employee networks with a specific focus on the role of allies.
The great thing about this new model is that it opens up the possibility for everyone to think about their own privileges and intersectionalities and become an ally for someone else. Allyship helps address things like representation more head on by creating the space for necessary (and oftentimes uncomfortable) conversations to take place between dominant and non-dominant groups. Through advocacy, dialogue, and action, my hope is that our organization can collectively move to a place of greater cultural understanding while ensuring underrepresented and/or marginalized communities have the support we need to be successful.
It’s important to note that these networks are run for employees, by employees and, in my opinion, one of the most effective mechanisms we have for creating a sense of belonging across teams and geographies. I serve as co-chair for the New York Leadership Team for Arena, the network for Associates at BlackRock, and am an active member and ally of our networks for Black professionals, Women, Latinx employees, and colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+. But there are many other affinity groups. A few weeks ago, we officially launched a Green Team Network to further encourage employee participation in sustainability efforts both inside and outside of our walls.
I care about working for a company who does the right thing and puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting important global causes and communities in need.
Can you share an example of a practice or initiative you have in place at BlackRock that you’re especially proud of and excited to share with potential candidates?
We have a few different social impact initiatives designed to encourage employees to give back to communities and causes they care about but I’m particularly proud of the fact that BlackRock matches personal charitable donations, dollar for dollar. When the news broke about the devastating wildfires in Australia, BlackRock responded quickly by launching a 2:1 matching campaign so every employee contribution to this cause could be doubled. I care about working for a company who does the right thing and puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting important global causes and communities in need.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
As part of the Employer Brand team within Talent Acquisition, I’m excited to be able to do work each day that’s related to my passions and purpose—leveraging storytelling to help organizations and individuals communicate their values and impact. Whether that’s sharing compelling employee stories through video, creating content and campaigns for social media, or managing our careers website, I get to help candidates understand who we are as a company, what we stand for, and why they should consider joining us. The work we do ultimately helps thousands of people around the world each year choose BlackRock as the place to further their careers.
These are the most rewarding parts of my job; getting to work with employees across the firm and around the world to help them share their stories in creative and compelling ways. Storytelling is personal and when done well, evokes emotion and action. It means so much when someone trusts you with bringing their truth, experiences, and opinions to life. Looking back, no matter the role or the organization, this love for creative storytelling has been the through-line in my career.
What's something you do outside of work that makes you a better employee?
Outside of work, I’m a friend, sister, daughter, and an aunt. These relationships help me stay grounded and encourage and inspire me to be my best, authentic self. I’m also a self-proclaimed foodie, fashion blogger (@froladyfashion), and facilitate a peer coaching and mentorship group through an alumni organization that I’m a part of called AIESEC.
Health and wellness are also important to me, so I practice yoga two to three times a week—a mix of church, fitness, and therapy—which helps me calm my anxieties, stay balanced, and recharge. These creative outlets and commitments to self, family, and community keep my life priorities and long-term goals in check and help me be my best self at home and at work.