Leveraging your strengths to build a powerful employer brand. 

August 26, 201410:00 am747 views

In my previous article on the subject, I wrote that your employer brand is 95 percent determined by the wider perception of your company among the general public. It’s about how your brand interacts with consumers and clients, employees, suppliers, shareholders, neighbours and the Earth itself. I spoke about Google and Apple as companies with immensely successful employer brands.

I can hear your next question already. If you’re not one of these media darlings, can you portray yourself as a great place to work? Yes you can.

Can you use conventional marketing techniques to make more people aware that you are a great employer to work for who might not otherwise ever come across you?

Yes again.

Will that make a huge difference to either the volume or quality of applicants you receive?

Not much if you’re not telling them the Right Things.

The harsh reality is this: for the vast majority of companies, if you only focus on employer branding without doing the work that will truly make you a great brand, it will make only a very small difference in the number of people applying to you.

So how can you convert more people who come to your website from “just browsing” to “yeah, I really like the look of this company. I want to join.”

Create a top-quality communications plan that shouts about your achievements in your industry, your successes, your employees, and all the excellent programs you’ve already got in place. Your plan should include:

  1. Phenomenal job ads that sells the company and the role, portrays your company as a leader in its field tells people how fast you are growing, and that you make money, or will be making lots of it in the near future. And then making sure you drive all applicants to your careers website.
  2. Developing a top rated careers portal or website that goes beyond advertising job listings and ‘five reasons to work at company X’ type of articles- to talking about all the interesting new employee engagement programs you’ve implemented. Do you give out free meals on Monday? Talk about it. Flexible hours, or free child care, in-house sports facilities, or discounts to nearby gyms, football night, fruit day etc- don’t hide these perks. People don’t want a vague promise of a fun place to work- they want to see proof of it.
  1. An entire campaign dedicated to driving prospective employees to your newly designed careers site, with cool stuff to make the employee go “Wow, this really is an exciting place to work.” What kind of cool stuff? Here are things I’ve seen from other companies seeking to drive up their employer brand profile:
    – Media coverage of employees doing fully paid charity work- from running a marathon, to helping out at an orphanage or an animal shelter.
    – Making a fun, and off beat corporate recruitment video that highlights the coolness of working with your company and putting that up on youtube. Need help? Hire a PR agency that specializes in making Viral videos. For an idea- look at what Heineken did with their “Worst Job Interview Ever” video series.
    – Sprucing up your careers pages and pitching popular websites like Buzzfeed.com with innovative content- from white papers, top ten lists,  flash videos, jingles, info graphics and anything else your creative brain can conceive. The key is to not only highlights why its fun to work at your organization, but also talk about what your company is good at.
    – Interviewing happy new and long time employees to give a human face to your company and sharing that on job portals, review sites, recruiting sites and LinkedIn.
  2. Find ways communicating opportunities for rapid promotion, highlighting the variety of future roles available, and selling jobs as genuinely interesting and cutting-edge work with great people. If you are servicing fortune 500s in your work- be sure to mention that. If you’re working on a cutting edge new technology- talk about it in a way designed to excite the reader. You are selling more than just your suitability as an employer- you are selling your brand. Always keep that in mind.
  3. Pay a great salary and monitor internal office politics. Take a cue from professional sports team. Sports stars get paid a great deal to join a team for a reason: they’re the best. You want the best, you’re going to have to match the rhetoric with a market busting package and a great team they feel comfortable working on. More importantly- if your pay and recruitment rhetoric does not match candidates expectations- they will take to social media to talk about it- only hurting your brand in the long term.
  4. Talk about your brand everywhere. A website is just a shadow in space- but if you want incoming traffic be sure to use Twitter and other social media to tell everyone what your employees do both in and out of work. In fact you can even incentivize your staff to take to social media to talk about what they do at the company, or their accomplishments at the organization with a small competition. For example, the employee with the “Most number of re-tweets wins an I-pad.”

In a nutshell, the secret to employer branding is very simple. Make a great product or service that people love and admire, talk about your achievements and your employees’ achievements and make sure people know about it. Right there- you have the winning formula to get the best talent interested in working for you.

Finally, don’t hide your achievements behind a bushel fearing competitors. Your competitors won’t really care about your meatless Monday program or your employee of the month program- but your current and future employees will.

Building cool takes time, and careful thought, but those are resources well spent.

What have you done to boost your employer brand? Did it work? What are some of the difficulties you face in implementing a good employer brand? Lets discuss. Drop me a note at divya@hrinasia.com with your comments.

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