It is neither a secret, nor is it a surprise: the current situation of today’s labor market’s demography and economy favors workers. Hence, companies need to be creative, adopt proactive measures, and have a solid human resources plan in hand in order to recruit good candidates. So, learn to better position yourself and surpass your competitors in the war for talent. How? By using your employer brand to recruit efficiently – and here is how to do it!
What is an Employer Brand?
An employer brand is an organization’s reputation regarding the sum of all tactics employed in order to be well perceived by its actual and potential employees. However, it’s more than a simple image or advertising campaign; employer branding requires time and a lot of investment.
The good news? On top of being accessible to all companies, employer trademarking also firmly establishes an organization’s identity and culture in the eyes of its current employees, as well as communicates an organization’s success (quality of HR management, qualified workforce, etc.). Moreover, your company brand helps you better recruit potential employees.
Now, how to develop an Employer Brand in 3 steps!
Step 1: the audit
Who are you? While this may seem to be a trivial question, it’s not that simple to answer! In this regard, an audit of the company will allow you to paint a realistic and faithful picture of your organization, with all of its strengths and weaknesses.
You will need to determine how the work is organized, and how human resources are managed. You will also need to identify irritating factors and measure your organization’s reputation in its field and its reputation among consumers. This is also the step where you will pinpoint what needs to be improved in your organization, your social engagement, and your workforce’s working conditions, from their salaries to work-life balance.
This introspection is of the utmost importance: you need to be disciplined, humble, and honest. Indeed, it not only allows you to have a clear understanding of your company, but also to make the necessary changes to better satisfy your current employees. Kill two birds with one stone: reduce the turnover rate of your actual employees, and increase your employer qualities that can be promoted to potential candidates.
Where you stand compared to the competition
Since competition is not only reserved to the business world, but is also present in human resources, you need to identify where you stand in comparison to other organizations in the same field as you and to neighbouring businesses that attract a great majority of talented candidates. You will hence be able to identify what you need to improve or what you are already ahead of.
Once all this is established, all that’s left to do is determine the way you will broadcast the elements that make up your company’s reputation – which brings us to the second step.
Step 2: Communication Strategy
If your organization has a communications department, take advantage of their expertise, and if you don’t, chances are someone in your company has the right profile for it (you just need to find out who!).
In fact, you might not need someone to work on it full-time if your organization is on the smaller side. BUT, that doesn’t mean it is a task that should be taken lightly! When it comes to your employer brand, you reap what you sow.
Target with Precision
Make sure that internal communication is at the core of your strategy: your current employees are your best advertisers. So, give them good things to talk about when it comes to your organization.
In the same manner, ensure that your sales pitch is appropriate for your target candidates. For example, you will attract a greater number of young employees by promoting your work-life balance ethic than by spouting the merits of your retirement programs.
If ever someone was to question the pertinence of a communication strategy, just remember that it takes a lot of time and energy to establish a strong and positive employer brand – and unfortunately, it can be affected or destroyed in a matter of hours.
A good communication strategy can help you position yourselves properly, but a strategy alone does not suffice. You can have the best one in the world, but what good is an excellent strategy without proper implementation?
3rd Step: Actually achieving a better employer brand
Improving your Employer Brand starts from within
When your employees are wearing your organization’s merchandise with pride, you know you have a great Employer Brand.
Take the company Officevibe, for example. I once attended a Yammer conference on improving internal collaboration and communication. Officevibe was one of the speakers, and a few of their employees were present and sporting company shirts. Just a marketing ploy, you say? Quite the opposite! Those employees wore their shirts proudly, and the organization brand shone through because of their enthusiasm.
If your employees like the job and the workplace, they are more likely being engaged. If they like the job and work, AND are being engaged and motivated, then it is probably safe to say they like their organization and the employer, too! Now, if you felt engaged and motivated, and liked your job, work, organization and employer, would you say you’d be a happy employee?
If your employees love the organization and are happy working there, then you are already ahead of most of your competition in terms of your employer brand. Before going out and hiring experts and specialists to improve your company brand, start from within. If you make your employees happy, then they are going to be proud to have you as their employer, and they are going to communicate that pride to their networks.
Don’t communicate what you do but WHY you do it
If you want your employer brand to become stronger, then you need to stop communicating the how, what, when, and where, and start communicating the why. Why do you do what you do? Why is it important to you? Why should it be important to others?
Make sure you don’t just communicate the Why externally, but internally, as well. It is not one person’s responsibility to maintain the employer’s identity, but the mission of all.
Also, don’t just communicate from the top-down in your organization, but from the bottom-up, as well as from side-to-side! Communicate the Why to your employees, make them understand your vision and be proud of it, and they will become your ambassadors for life.
Take advantage of social media to distinguish your employer brand
Does your organization encourage fun? Show it! Does your company motivate and engage? Tell others about it! Are your mission and values unique and admirable? Communicate it to the world!
We now live in a world that no longer has barriers when it comes to communication. You can reach thousands of people with just a little bit of effort. Especially with a new generation entering the talent pool, you need to consider their needs and what excites them. Take advantage of these networks to promote your employer brand and show everyone what you’re really made of!
Don’t let your employer brand be confusing!
It is very important that your employer brand remains consistent. Anywhere you decide to demonstrate your employer brand, make sure it isn’t confusing!
If you want your employer brand to represent casualness, then demonstrate it everywhere. If you want your employer brand to represent professionalism, then demonstrate that everywhere, too!
There’s nothing wrong with having a professional, polished company brand, just like there’s nothing wrong with having a casual, fun brand. But what is not effective is having a picture of your office pool table all over social media, fun pictures of your staff in your “about us” website section…. but boring job postings that only state skills and responsibilities!
Remain true to your mission, vision, and values, and make sure you communicate it on all of your channels consistently.
Promoting your employer trademark is an ongoing process; it will not happen overnight, nor will it remain invulnerable if not constantly maintained. Aim for your targeted talent, develop a communication strategy, and implement it consistently and faithfully. But most importantly, keep your eyes and ears open to how your employees feel about your brand, and how they are representing it both inside and outside the organization.
Now the question remains: do you know who you’re looking for?