After a turbulent 2020 (that needs no introduction), we’re all aware the world will never quite be the same. This goes for employment branding too. The forever-changed COVID-19 world, as well as pivotal social justice movements, have prompted some altered rules in the realm of business. From widespread digitization trends to a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), new precedents have been set.
With our most recent employment branding report, we’ve compiled data of the Fortune 500 companies that earned high marks on our grading categories. If you’re questioning what’s the best thing to put on your career page or how to make diversity and inclusion a priority in upcoming company goals, look no further. We’ve provided some examples that exemplify best practices – so you can take insights back to your own campaigns.
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7 Best practices to inspire your employment brand
Although the past year’s turbulence is undeniable, it’s important not to use that as a crutch. Instead, companies being well-received share some common traits, including properly communicating changes to employees regularly; continuing to adapt to workers' new way of living with flexible scheduling and sick leave; and focusing on human connection versus a transactional way of doing business.
The following companies prioritized human stories, and it paid off in their ratings:
Microsoft takes diversity seriously
With a powerful headline right at the top, Microsoft is clear and concise when it comes to its plan, which is always the way to go. Letting its main points and actions drive the rhythm of the page, the moniker “This is Microsoft,” echoes the company’s dedication to its people, who are clearly displayed throughout. The warmth of everyone’s faces – not to mention the opportunity to become involved in community, which is also clearly stated – shows how Microsoft does a great job of listing objectives and commitment to fostering change and diversity in its business.
Why it works
As a brand, Microsoft excels at echoing its values in every aspect of how it does business. It’s clear its intended message – which is to “empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more” – plays well to its ubiquitous use of tech in schools, businesses and more. On its careers page, it sticks to applying that concept to diversity with workforce stories and lets its employees do the majority of the talking on behalf of the company (which is a best practice for people being drawn to your organization!). Right now, employee-generated content is more important than ever to reinforce your brand’s authenticity and human element.
Netflix shows, doesn’t tell
Paying homage to its visual medium, Netflix stays true to its branding with its “behind the streams” look at working for the company. The set of videos features employees talking about the company in their own words and it’s more effective than the CEO doing the same thing. Why? Because these are people from all countries, backgrounds and job titles waxing positive points; we, as humans, respond emotionally to these narratives. That resonates with everyone watching and it feels genuine – because it is genuine.
As an example, its video series on “SheRules” shares stories about what led women of different backgrounds to Netflix. But instead of focusing on what they do at work, it was the camaraderie and the journey that got them there, which strikes on a deeper level.
As they say, ask and you shall receive for talent – and Netflix not only knows this, but applies it effectively through emotional language and action.
Why it works
Research has shown potential job seekers are much more likely to respond to employees speaking about the company versus the company channels or the CEO. While there are a variety of job titles within Netflix’s videos, its streamlined page brings extra cohesion to its branding and overall visuals. When it comes to recruitment, as a company, you want to be as authentic and upfront as possible about what it’s really like to work at your organization – and Netflix’s intro video about trust and responsibility does just that, and then some.
Berkshire Hathaway has great reviews
All the work companies do to invest in employees and provide a great culture pay off when reviews come in. Attracting top talent means offering them the chance to grow and express themselves without fear of being judged. Berkshire Hathaway does a glowing job of letting employees past and present gather in a community to share their experiences. One of the major vetting factors for prospective workers is understanding company culture and whether it will be a good fit, and employee reviews help the cause more than executive leadership speak. According to Glassdoor research, 66% of job seekers trust employees the most when it comes to understanding what diversity and inclusion really looks like at a company, significantly higher than senior leaders (19%), company websites (9%) and recruiters (6%). All in all, this is a great example of employee reviews and providing a helpful candidate experience.
Why it works
Reviews are effective – but authentic reviews create highly trustworthy indicators and benchmarks for both companies and prospective job seekers. Comparing your reviews to other competitors can be a useful baseline on what they’re offering that you may have room for improvement on, or room to emphasize more. Consider adding links or a live feed (many sites offer this as a code add-on) directly to your website for easy browsing too – as it shows you value transparency and are proud of what others say about you. Lastly, be sure to interact with reviewees as a way of extra communication and a commitment to improve. Simply put, having that human element of reviews reveals more visibility into what your company culture is like, and will attract the right talent if it’s a place that supports their beliefs.
Dell’s awards speak for themselves
Although our research for the 2021 Fortune 500 Employment Branding report showed a dip in the scores for accolades due to employment instability in 2020, recognition can still be displayed tastefully. Cue Dell: Its clever framing of employee recognition ensures its awards center around team members rather than company performance or revenue. It’s a useful takeaway to focus accomplishments around team contributions versus ROI to show you care more about people than profits.
Why it works
Everyone loves feeling appreciated and accolades are an essential piece of a healthy company culture. This allows companies to foster a place where people are acknowledged for hard work and are incentivized to continue that behavior. From a branding perspective, this is a noteworthy piece to set you apart from others – especially if other outside awards are given for workplace culture. Accolades dipped due to the pandemic, but this doesn’t mean you can’t innovate and find other ways to reward your people. Consider a program that lets employees put points toward spreading goodwill, for instance. Employees who feel appreciated will continue to put in the hard work since they feel they’re making a difference. Paired with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, you can get creative here and generate new ways to focus on your people and reward employees internally (where they’ll feel it’s genuine and well-meant).
Ralph Lauren brings purpose and sustainability together
Their corporate sustainability is broken down into four main parts: Design the change, create timeless style, protect the environment and champion better lives, all navigable through this carousel.
Tying a strategy to lasting change and positive impact is interwoven with Ralph Lauren’s corporate sustainability. Its eye-catching animation image and easy navigation gives readers, at-a-glance, exactly what its mission is. Answering the call as a business to help enact an equitable and sustainable future for all, it successfully lays the page with streamlined design and messaging that ties back to its roots. For employment brand, it’s essential to always tie your why back to business objectives.
Why this works
It’s become the norm for consumers and prospective employees to want companies to step up and support bigger environmental and philanthropic efforts. Ralph Lauren integrates sustainability into its messaging with a sense of pride – showcasing employees and how these differences have added up. On top of that, future pledges are a show of good faith that these initiatives will continue, giving a sense of hope for job seekers.
Farmers Insurance takes a creative approach to awards
With a clear COVID-19 disclaimer at the top of its career page, Farmers Insurance takes a refreshingly direct approach to reassuring people on its safety precautions. It also took the opportunity to link directly to Instagram, which hosts a highlights reel showcasing awards front and center. This story summarizes all its beliefs and values.
Why it works
Accolades has been a tough category to put in the spotlight during the pandemic, but Farmers presents the information without boasting about it. In fact, with its employee-generated content on Instagram, it creates an environment of trust and perpetuates its inclusive culture. It presented awards creatively and blended it well within social media; the company stayed relevant and relatable even in the current environment.
Coca-Cola’s candidate experience excels
It’s no secret: applying for jobs can be frustrating, especially if the process requires duplicate data entry on job history. Coca-Cola outlines the hiring process with conciseness and provides other helpful application tips (and no doubt common questions it gets during the process). We love how it’s transparent and upfront about what you can expect, easing those interview jitters and providing next steps after it’s over.
Why it works
The more difficult you make it for people to apply for your company’s roles, the less chance you’ll get the desired talent. Candidates are looking for a frictionless, seamless application experience that can pull history from LinkedIn and even sync with the EasyApply feature. Coca-Cola does just this, with a clean website page that doesn’t overcomplicate anything. If you don’t have one already, consider a page like this to outline your hiring process so candidates go in knowing exactly what to expect.
How does your employment brand stand up?
We hope these examples give you a good starting point on improvements you can make to enhance your employment brand in 2021. While the world has changed, the beauty of it all is we can adapt and improve just as quickly to what candidates and employees want from their workplaces.
If you want more info about which companies do employment brand well, we invite you to download the 2021 Fortune 500 Employment Brand report – where we elaborate on how employment brand has evolved.