Today’s best employee candidates are busy, and may not be looking for your job or any new job. They have many competing sources of information, advice and networking, and are choosy – often cynical – about what they read and hear.
Thus, reaching your best potential candidates requires finding and entering the world they live and work in, and inviting them into yours. And that requires creating your employer brand, just as you do for branding your products and services.
Your employer brand must be consciously built, nurtured, promoted and reinforced in all the ways and places your potential employees access and are exposed to information – general interest media, business-to-business press, social media, special-interest websites and networks, word-of-mouth, and on smartphones, mobile devices and computers.
So if you need to build or refresh your employment brand, or just want to reinforce and promote it, consider (or reconsider) these requirements:
- Be clear about what you want to accomplish. There’s been a lot of buzz around employer branding as the war for talent has heated up. Before embarking on the employer branding journey, ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to scope, objectives and success metrics.
- Don’t assume you know how employees feel. Would you go with your gut when it comes to understanding your customer wants and mind-set? That’s a high-priced gamble. Strong employment brands are derived from research that gets to the heart of what makes working for your organization special.
- One size does not fit all. Design your employer brand research and methodology to address your organization’s specific needs and culture. An off-the-shelf, “one size fits all” approach will, most likely, result in generic outcomes.
- Employer branding is not only an HR initiative. While it’s often driven by Talent Acquisition and the need to attract top talent to your organization, defining your employment value proposition and crafting your brand should be viewed as a business imperative. Active involvement from key stakeholders across the organization and in the C-suite is critical for success.
- I want to be the employer of choice. Always a lofty goal, in the grand scheme of things it comes down to the fact that you can’t be all things to all people. That just leads to generic “me-too” positioning that doesn’t differentiate your organization from your competitor down the street.
- The experience is the message. Building brand loyalty requires every brand to live up to its promise. So if perception doesn’t match the reality, you’re in trouble. Your employer brand builds trust when it’s anchored in your core strengths as an employer, but also needs to speak to where the organization is headed.
- Do you have Brand Ambassadors? Do managers understand and embrace the employer brand? Do their behaviors reflect and support the brand promise? Having managers and employees fully engaged brings the brand to life.
- What’s in it for me? A common mistake of many organizations is to speak from the company perspective. Your employment brand is designed to set mutual expectations, telling candidates what you expect, and what they can expect in return.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, employer brands aren’t built and maintained with scattered efforts and isolated job postings. It takes careful positioning promoted with systematic and thoughtful content and messaging. It takes a compelling story, distributed in effective ways that surround potential employees, creating awareness and attracting interest.