What is Your Employer Brand?

It’s no longer enough to just run an ad and expect to get the best employees in the market. IT is a competition for talent and your organization has to understand how to develop your “EMPLOYER BRAND.” Strategic Partner, Diane Janovsky, has some words of wisdom to share on this topic. Enjoy this week’s Power Idea.

You’ve worked hard to develop your market brand to attract customers and grow revenues. Now, in order to fulfill that brand promise, you must be able to effectively attract and retain a workforce of capable and engaged employees. How do you do that? You develop and promote your “employer brand”.

What is an “employer brand”? First defined in the 1990’s, it is a concept that has become even more critical recently due to increased competition for talent. Very simply, it is how an organization is perceived as an employer of choice; it is the reputation of a company in the eyes of job seekers, with the goal of being a “great place to work”. Although a strong external brand is a good starting place, it alone will not guarantee success. Human Resources and recruiters used to have primary responsibility for creating the employer brand, but more and more, that responsibility is moving to marketing and to CEO’s “(HBR May2015).

Technology has been a key driver in this evolution. In the days before social media, the inner workings of a company were much less transparent, and the opinions of employees were not as accessible. Not so any longer. Employees are able to easily share both their positive and their negative experiences with the outside world, and job seekers are more likely to trust those stories over the messaging in a recruitment ad.

Coupled with technology, is the influx of millennials into the workplace. This generation has different expectations of employers. A steady paycheck from a well-known company is no longer enough. They are much more selective about where they choose to work, and they are used to having instant access to information so that they can make an informed choice.

There are similarities between external branding and employer branding. Both are strategic and intentional programs that use marketing techniques to reach a target audience. And most importantly, both brand types start with the building blocks of culture, vision, mission and values. From there, employer branding branches out to include the Employee Value Proposition, which encompasses all aspects of the employee experience:

  • Recruiting and Onboarding
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Learning
  • Career Growth
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Corporate Responsibility

So how does an organization create its employer brand? First, it must define its culture and what it stands for. We’ve all heard that “like attracts like”. If a company doesn’t understand its own identity and who it’s looking for, then any employee will do. Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” is a valuable resource for understanding the heart of a company (Start With Why).

Next, like any marketing effort, an organization must craft a clear message and make sure that it aligns with reality. That is, the actual employee experience must be congruent with the employer brand being promoted. If there are discrepancies or inconsistencies, the message will not be as effective in influencing the target audience.

This brings us to the final point, which is to engage employees to create a workforce of vocal “brand ambassadors” by giving them the opportunity to actively participate in and advocate for the brand. This can be as simple as following the company on Linked In and actively sharing content to their network. They can become more involved by presenting at new employee orientation, or volunteering for a community charity event sponsored by the company. Or they can be featured in YouTube videos talking about what it’s like to work there, like this one from Google (Working at Google).

An effective employer brand acts like a magnet to attract top talent (think about companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft). The long-term benefits include reduced recruiting costs, lower turnover and the increased productivity that comes with an aligned and engaged workforce. Intentionally and strategically creating a reputation as a highly desired place to work is no small effort, but it is well worth the investment.

You may not know where to get started, but we do. You also may wonder whether your company is ready to be an “employer of choice.” Give us a call for a no charge one hour consultation by phone or in person. You can reach us atinfo@hpisolutions.com or call 623-866-8200.

Have a Great Week!