In today’s competitive job market a positive employer brand has become extremely critical for attracting and retaining talent. With the emergence of advanced technology and social media, it’s become easier for job applicants to find information about a company. Creating a strong employer brand can help to cast the impression that the company is a great place to work. In this article, the author explains the importance of employer branding, who should be involved, and how to start putting together a strategy for success.
I navigated through the bustling city traffic and turned on my car radio rather frustrated! The song that was playing was Dolly Parton’s famous number ‘9 to 5’.
The lyrics –
Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
kept haunting me all the way home. I kept pondering about how employees perceive their workplace and whether employers are able to acknowledge that.
In 2015, Harvard Business Review had inferred that employer branding is becoming strategically more important to CEOs and HR and marketing leaders with at least one-third looking at building their global employer brand by 2020. Here we are, now in 2020 trying to validate this inference.
What is it that an employee looks for in a brand? Is it the popularity or the comfort of being employed there? This brings us to an important career choice decision point called ‘Employer brand’. This is, in fact, a term referred to describe the company’s reputation from a potential employee’s perspective and describes the values the company gives to its employees. What does it take for the process of creating and maintaining your company’s Employer Brand?
Every company has a reputation in the job market. This obviously includes opinions and experiences about products or services, people leaders, history of its evolution etc. But with the emergence of a multi-generational workforce, the company’s reputation often goes beyond all of these. Candidates look for aspects like how people are valued and treated. It is not surprising to note that anyone could influence the reputation of your organisation including in the people who view your ads, use your products, and eventually, speak to others about you. That reputation is known as your brand, and it can be a powerful and synergistic force — far more than just what you sell or offer. This is your employer brand, and it lives and breathes in the minds and hearts of your former, current, and future employees.
Today’s job market is becoming increasingly competitive making positive employer brand extremely critical for attracting and retaining talent. A poor employer brand value can make your talent building not just challenging but also costly. Everything from salary packages to the benefits that are offered, career advancement opportunities to time-off plans describe the culture of the organisation. The treatment of its employees can greatly impact the impression that is being made on potential candidates. An organisation needs talented and conscientious workers to drive its business forward. The best way to find such talent is to cast the impression that the company is a great place to work.
Like any other process of branding, creating a strong employer brand is a lot about authentic storytelling. While the ‘storytelling’ is all about how you want your organisation to be perceived in the marketplace, using specific messaging to help attract the kind of prospects you’re looking for, ‘authenticity’ is also about living out that story. The testimonials of such stories are satisfied employees both existing and exited from the organisation. They emerge as the loudest spokespersons. In the age of digital and social media, any stakeholder could be viewed as an authentic representative.
This does look like a lot of well-thought effort. But it does come with its own share of good news. It does not necessarily require hard-wired strategies but could even be achieved with simple small tweaks to an organisation’s way of working.
That leads us to the next question – Who is accountable for building the employer brand?
It is often debatable as to who owns the task of employer branding. While it could even be the CEO of small organisations, it could even be the marketing or corporate communication personnel. What’s most exciting is that employer brand is no longer just what the employer says it is. Whether we like it or not, employer branding starts and ends with our employees. So, no matter who owns the duties of developing and growing your employer brand, it’s imperative to remember that employees are doing most of this branding work. If the company work environment and culture aren’t healthy, one needs to work on that first. If one already has a great company culture, then it would still be a great idea to work on it to make it even better!
A great recipe for improving employer branding is improving employee engagement. Here are a few tips and tricks.
- Drive home simple messages and live by them at all times – Make positive messaging the DNA of your organisation.
- Leverage your employees as your recruiting army – Experiment with new ways of hiring that are more inclusive.
- Encourage them to talk about their success stories on social media – Do not feel threatened to let your employees talk in conferences and forums. Leverage on their personal brand value instead.
- Revamp your on-boarding process – Early engagement results in positive brand building.
- Create strong career development opportunities – Let employees know that there is room for them to grow.
As my thoughts wandered and I began to crystallize my thoughts, the traffic began to clear, both on the road and in my mind. My car radio was now playing Bob Dylan’s ‘May you stay forever young’.
May your hands always be busy, May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation, When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young…….
I felt that this was a message for us to revisit our branding strategy to remain relevant to changing times. May every organisation that reinvents its brand stay forever young … forever young …