In exploring employer brand, I acknowledge that branding has become the most overused concept in the world of business these days. Everyone now has a “personal” brand. Brand ambassadors roam the world reinforcing brands. Even artists and musicians who cringe at the concept of “brand” all end up with one.
Brand now has a negative brand.
So forgive us this discussion of employer branding. It’s a “thing.” And it’s actually important because it exists for your organization whether you want it to or not. A lot of people believe a brand is something you can create. You can’t. An employer brand gets created by those who experience your company. If you employ people, you have an employer brand.
And that brand exists in the perceptions of people who work for you, want to work for you or do business with you. Every interaction that customers, partners, employees and candidates have with your organization become part of that brand.
The trick to “branding” is understanding what your brand is in the first place. And being brutally honest in your assessment of that brand.
If your company is patriarchal, unforgiving and difficult to work for, no amount of “cool breakroom” videos or Free Beer Fridays will change that fact.
The reality is that the starting point for any employer branding effort is finding out what employees, customers, partners and candidates really think of you. What do they value and what do they dislike? Once you have this information, branding becomes an exercise in amplifying the good aspects in a way that resonates as truth for those who consume the brand.
For example, if your company is known for high turnover, an alarming lack of upward mobility and a commitment to social philanthropy, then you know what to focus on. You could attempt to cast yourself as a fast track for ambitious employees, but you would fail.
You could (and should) attempt to initiate internal programs to overcome the glaring lack of upward mobility. And after a few years, you might be in a position where you could showcase this aspect of your brand. The point is that brands are based in perception and any “branding” needs to be based in a truth that will organically resonate with the perceiver.
Wait, you thought this would be about logos and letterhead? Well, it is in a way. Once you have identified your brand, all your communications should map back to that brand. They should convey the essence of it in some way.
But before you get there, you better know exactly what you’re working with. You need to survey all the constituencies that touch your organization and identify where the beautiful and ugly truth lies. What makes this a great place to work? Why do you work here? Why do you want to work here? What is your perception of our brand? Why? Did you have a different perception before and after being hired?
Having an ongoing program to gather intelligence, monitor feedback on your brand and continuously pulse the reactions to your processes and messages – both with your employee base and with your candidates – is crucial.
How crucial? A LinkedIn Study found that organizations with “most” of the qualities of a good employer brand could lure 42% of employees away from their current job without a pay raise. That’s powerful and it’s free.
Survale enables organizations to gather employer brand information from employees, candidates and any other constituencies automatically. Just set up a campaign and receive constant ongoing feedback along with powerful analytics to find out where your brand is hitting and missing.