An employment brand is one of your organization’s most important assets. Just as a consumer brand attracts customers and repeat business, an employment brand engages candidates and sets you apart from competitors for talent. Today these brands are often one in the same since your candidates are often your customers. Your employer branding is essentially the narrative you share about your organization — who you are, what you stand for and what it’s like to work for you. It touches upon every aspect of talent acquisition, including the quality of your career pages, the candidate experience and even your commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Here is some advice for building a successful employment brand — or, if you already have one, refining and improving it.
A superior employment brand starts with an accurate employee value proposition (EVP). This is the backbone to a strong brand and has to be created with information from existing employees and your external target audience. Before you can market your employer brand, you have to have employee buy-in and this is accomplished via your EVP. Include employees input, concerns and feedback when creating the EVP and be sure to deploy it internally before taking it externally.
Transparency is the hallmark of a great employer branding strategy. Dishonesty is a liability for two reasons:
What if you don’t think you have a compelling story to tell because there aren’t enough unique aspects about your company? Start by studying and addressing any challenges first; if employee morale is down, find out why and start making improvements. Then you’ll have an organizational culture and environment you’ll be proud to talk about.
Employer branding is generally considered to be a qualitative exercise, with a vague return on investment. This doesn’t need to be the case. Consider metrics to measure as you begin designing or improving your employment brand strategy. These will typically be related to quality-of-hire and cost-per-hire. Collecting quantifiable data will help you in two aspects: First, you will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses with precisions; and, second, you will be able to provide hard facts to leadership, which can build support and help secure more funding.
From multinationals to mom-and-pops, all companies need to start somewhere with their employer branding strategy. There’s no reason to start from scratch with an all-encompassing strategy; a phased approach will gain leadership buy-in, build confidence and allow you to build on your successes. Consider what you can do with career pages, job descriptions, job boards and social media — these are often inexpensive but can have a strong impact on the brand.
Your marketing function understands your consumer brand inside and out. Marketing professionals know how to build and maintain a successful brand, and their experience and knowledge will be invaluable. A good employment brand can build off the reputation and recognition of the consumer brand. A best practice is to use the same visual and verbal identity as the consumer brand — this means a similar tone for written materials, and the same fonts, graphics and color schemes.
Sync up your human resources team with marketing -- it is vital to building a clear and transparent employer brand. What they are communicating to candidates via interviews and messaging has to be in line with what the marketing department is communicating as well. This also drives home the importance of everyone in the company owning the employment brand—this is not a one-department job. Make sure everyone in the organization and each department is delivering a consistent and updated message.
David Simanoff is WilsonHCG’s editorial strategist. He helps WilsonHCG win work and engage stakeholders. David graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s in English and history, and is now pursuing an MBA and a master’s in marketing at the University of Tampa. When not working, he is either traveling, watching movies or spoiling his rescue dog, Lucy.