A reasonable night sleep before the Summit. Felt really good this morning, this is our third employer branding event in Italy and I really enjoy the positve outlook of managers over here. They are very keen to learn best practice and it's always great to meet up with members of our EBI team based in Italy. Veronique, EBI's Senior Associate based in Paris has also flown in for the event so we have 7 of the EBI team here today.
I opened up the day and had a translator which is always fun! I shared 'Global trends in employer branding and the implications for leaders in Italy.' We then heard from Giuliano Noci, Professor of Marketing, Politecnico di Milano who spoke on 'Employer Branding: lessons from marketing discipline.'
Paolo Emilio Testa, Human Resources Director at HP delivered a really interesting presentation on, 'Building an effective Employer Value Proposition (EVP) to attract graduates to HP.' Following Paolo's presentation Eugenio facilitated a Q&A session about the morning presentations. Delegates are always very keen to learn what other companies are doing in Italy and it was a great way to lead us into the lunch break.
Following lunch we had a discussion between delegates and a panel of leaders from Microsoft, Vodafone and Ferrero which was facilitated by Barbara Demi, Partner ETLine e Associati. I also joined in the panel. The topic of discussion was, 'The impact of Employer Branding on retention: building internal loyalty and maintaining a valuable talent pool.' Each company provided an overview of what their company was doing to enhance retention and Barbara facilitated some interesting questions from the delegates.
Sonia Tramontana SEMEA Rewards Manager at Ceva Logistics then presented an indepth insight into, 'Re-branding – energise your workforce to support brand values through times of change.' I'm amazed at just how far Italian companies have progressed in Italian companies over the past 4 years I have been conducting events here. There is also more marketing and communication professionals at this years event which is also a good sign.
Kerry Noone, Senior Marketing Manager, Talent Acquisition Group, Sodexo Human Resources USA rounded off the Summit's presenters by delivering an excellent presentation on, 'Using social media to develop, leverage and strengthen your employer brand.' Sodexo's social media strategy is world class, as is its rercuiting function which was awarded the 2010 ERE Best Practices in Recruiting award. The Italian leaders are always keen to learn how the world's best companies are delivering their employer brand strategy and Kerry's presentation was extremely well received and no doubt will inspire leaders to invest in social media. It is a relative new field for Italian companies.
We concluded the Summit by presenting the EBI Employer Branding Excellence - National Awards - Italy. The 'Excellence in Employer Brand Strategy' award was presented to Microsoft. Congratulations! It is our first year for the Employer Branding Excellence Awards in Italy and we look forward to growing the awards in 2011 to continue to recognise the development of the employer branding concept in Italy.
As is tradition, the EBI team headed our for a post Summit dinner. Eugenio found a great restauant not far from our hotel (Italy's like that!). It was a great way to round off 2 weeks in Italy and a successful Summit. I always enjoy connecting with members of EBI in person and everyone gets along really well. This year we had team members from Australia, USA, Italy and France with us in Milan.
Tomorrow is the long hall back to Australia via a day stop over in Hong Kong before we are back there in early June. I have two weeks now to work on completing my new book and to get ready before I fly out to the USA on 14 June.
A wonderful time in Italy once again! Ciao!
Weather perfect again, though the hayfever is killing me! We spent the morning having a great look around Bologne. Eugenio and I had an excellent strategy session and have a good year of activities mapped out for 2010/2011. We then finalised preparations for the Summit before our drive into Milan.
On our arrival to Milan which Eugenio says takes 2hrs but always takes 3-4hr! we went straight to Politecnico di Milano, the venue for tomorrow's Employer Branding Summit. It's a beautiful University, rich in tradtion. It was great to meet up with our contacts at the University once again, they are such a friendly team. Their careers services continues to grow in headcount and I would rate it as world's best practice. They have 15+ staff providing careers services for students and companies are well integrated into the careers programs, everyone wins! It's alot different to our Universities back in Australia where career services appear to rank low in the services chain for students.
Andrea and I met up with Kerry Noone (Sodexo USA) and her husband Kevin and headed out for a coffee. Kerry and Kevin had only arrived earlier that day from the USA and had already spent a day touring the city. Kerry is a member of the EBI Advisory Board. I really enjoyed meeting Kerry in person as we have only previously had the chance to connect virtually previously.
This is my third time to Bologna and it always starts with a walk around the city. We are staying with our Italian partner for the Employer Branding Summit and Senior Associate of the Employer Brand International, Eugenio Amendola. I can't believe how well he speaks English after meeting him only 4 years ago when he could only speak a few words of English. He attributes this improvement to his hour long skypes with me over the years! I just wish my Italian was as good as his English, but I'm trying!
Dinner was a mix between an Aussie Barby (not sure where they get there barbys from but even this one looked like it was built in the 13th century like many other parts of Italy!) and a traditional Italian feast. It's one of those meals when you are full after the first course and there are three still to go!
Looking forward to travelling to Milan tomorrow to connect with other members of the EBI team, Veronique (flying in from Paris) and Kerry (flying in from Washington DC).
We travelled by bus through the winding Tuscany roads to Siena. It's a small but beauiful town to walk around. When you arrive at the The Piazza Del Campo it's another breathtaking site. It doesn't matter where you seem to travel in Italy the culture and essence of the towns is amazing. Back to the hotel to check out and onto our next stop in Bologna.
We traveled to Pisa today to see the leaning tower. I grew up learning about these historic buildings at school and when you are standing right infront of them it gives you a totally different perspective, you really appreciate the time, skill, care and patience that went into building them.
Taking in the view of View of the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) is breathtaking. The patience the builders must of had is hard to imagine given the speed at which buildings are thrown up these days. The leaning tower of Pisa was built in three stages over a period of about 177 years.
Wow, what a city and a change of pace from Venice!
We went on a long walk when we arrived to take in the amazing sites this city has to offer. We climbed to the top of the tower adjacent the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo). It's a great way to get your bearings (and birds-eye view) of Florence.
I’ve had an amazing week in Venice and have walked just about every inch of the city. After two days I've started to really understand how the economy works here. It’s not alot different to any other international city I’ve been to, other than the way goods and services are transported around the city using the waterways and alleys, instead of roads many of us are used to.
There’s a lot of manual labour required to lift goods off the boats and cart them through the narrow alleyways to the buyers. There are no bikes and cars allowed here! This adds to the amazing ambience of the city.
It just works here and every day thousands of tourists arrive and thousands leave. The main evidence of employer branding at play is in the restaurant sector. It’s difficult to find an authentic Venetian restaurant amongst the hundreds of places where the food is as authentic Italian cuisine as you’d find on the shelf at a Tesco or Wal-Mart!
Adding to this is the poor level of service dished out by the same restaurteurs who heckle passers-by on the street to encourage them to choose their restaurant amongst the hundreds of eating places in Venice. It’s a cycle that is felt at the customer touchpoints (we provide poor service) and at the employee level (I don’t really care what our customers think because tomorrow there will be many more passers-by to replace you). Unfortunately this attitude breeds a restaurant sector that is focused on profit rather than a signature customer experience (which usually brings good profits anyway!). It also appears that talent is in very short supply in this sector, no different to many other sectors around the world.
Counter balancing the restaurant sector is the great level of service provided by the gondoliers, public transport staff, market staff, artists and the retailers. It’s clear there is a high level of employee engagement in these industries and it translates into a great customer experience. Luckily, the gorgeous physical locations of the city also work to offset the damage that is done by the restaurant staff which if left to breed into other sectors of the economy would destroy Venice as one of the world’s most population destinations. However Venice is still one my favourite cities I have travelled to on my Employer Brand Global Tour over the past two and half years.
On my next visit to Venice I will seek trusted referrals on which restaurants to visit. Restaurant referrals (just like like employee referrals!) are the key to a signature customer experience!
We now travel to Florence..........
Waking up in Venice after a great nights sleep, there's nothing better. Another beautiful day, around 22C and sunny. Place gets going very early and found a great coffee bar for my first expresso at 6.30am. There's something special about Venice this early in the morning, very still and the colors are breathtaking. By 7am, the place kicks into gear and there are people everywhere.
Today we're off to check out some of the churches and museums (and recommended bars - thanks Steve! and get lost in one of the many allys!)
Had a great flight. The Cathay Pacific crew were fabulous. It was like a 5 start hotel in the sky. Cathay Pacific have been doing a big push on their empoyer brand the past couple of months with full page spreads in global magazines such as The Economist. It shows are the coal face, the crew were amazing. Their campaign website is worth a look>
Arrived in Venice after 36hrs on the go and felt like you would feel after 36hrs! Arriving in Venice was breathtaking. Now I know why people say it's one of the places you must visit before you die! We had a good look around, went to the beautiful St Marks and had dinner by the Rialto bridge and crashed very early, the lack of sleep had caught up!
Check out some photos from pour first day in Venice>
Flew out from Adelaide to Milan on Cathay Pacific. We arrive in Milan in 24 hrs then 3hr train trip to Venice. Deep breath, you can do it! The 2010 Italian Employer Branding Summit is on 27 May 2010 so we thought we'd arrive in Italy and take in Venice, Siena, Florence and Bologna before meeting up with the team next week.