People are what makes a business successful. Most organizations spend considerable time and effort on product branding – from the color choices in a logo to the type of packaging for products, the perfect image evokes emotion to convince prospective buyers to shell out cash and persuades current clients to return for more. But when was the last time your organization thought about the brand it presents to current and potential employees? Attracting high-quality employees is as important as attracting customers.
Employer branding is the term for the image your organization portrays as a great place to work. An effective employer brand takes the qualities that make people want to work for an organization, ensures that they are instilled throughout the business, and uses them as a marketable point of difference. So, on the outside, your employment brand is an expected employment experience. Internally, it’s the reflection of how you treat your employees – a mirror image of your organizational culture. Above all, it’s truthful.
Key elements of attracting good employees
When new employees join a company, employer branding makes them feel as if they have known the company intimately since the moment they first saw a job posting. From the careers section of the corporate Web site through the interview experience to the tenth year on the job, employees feel good about the organization.
When that cultural feel-good experience occurs, there is less turnover, lower absenteeism, higher productivity and better customer service. Many elements are parts of developing a long-lasting, effective employer brand, including the corporate Web site, email signatures, online job postings, recruitment tools, career fair booths and applications. But the employer brand doesn’t stop there. Here are some simple tips to follow in building an employer brand.
- Integrate employer branding into corporate business strategy. It doesn’t take tons of money and clever ads or recruiting campaigns to create an employer brand; it takes an organizational commitment to actually delivering an outstanding work experience. True employers of choice follow simple employer branding techniques that are embedded in the organizational culture, starting with a clear statement of what the organization’s vision and values are.
- Define your employee market. The clearer you are about the talent you need to attract and retain, the more you can understand the aspirations and motivations of that talent pool. The more you understand those communities of talent, the easier it is to identify people who will thrive in your organizational culture. Salary and benefits alone aren’t always the key. Some employees are far more interested in corporate values and ways of working than in more definitive benefits.
- Get the facts. Don’t assume your organization is an employer of choice simply because someone in HR decided to use the phrase. Survey employees to find out what they do – and don’t – like about working at your company. Ask questions that get to the heart of what current employees really think about the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, how it compares with other employers and what can be done to improve. Don’t overlook exit surveys, either – sometimes the most valuable information about your employer brand will come from the employee who is walking out the door.
- Use the Web wisely. Employer branding doesn’t mean just putting lots of job posts out on the Internet so that people see your company’s name. Mass postings can actually decrease your desirability as an employer because when candidates see lots of repeat postings, they may assume your company is having problems with high turnover. If you are experiencing high turnover, do your homework internally to determine what the problem is. Get it fixed, then post for the job.
- Invest in your management teams. A Gallup poll echoes common sense: Employees join companies, but they leave managers. Invest in leadership training at all levels, and carefully listen when surveys indicate management concerns. Management accountability is crucial for any employer branding. Invest in supervisors and managers who can deliver a great work experience, and you’ll see a positive upswing throughout your organization.
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