“A brand is not a product or service. It’s an emotion, a perception, a memory, an experience.” Spoken by Simon T. Bailey at a conference earlier this summer, these words are important to keep in mind – even when it comes to employment brand.
Understanding the Intangible
Too often, we talk about employment brand as a thing. We make it seem like a tangible object that we can simply create, shape, mold and sell. And while we can do these things to a certain extent, the reality is that both consumer and employment brand are comprised of external perceptions and the feelings or recollections that users have when they think about your company. Though you’ll never have complete control, proactive – not reactive – management is the piece that’s critical.
How to Proactively Manage Your Employment Brand
1. Zero in on your purpose and goals. Before you can effectively manage (or at least play an active role in) your employment brand, you have to determine your goals. What do you want to be known for as an employer? And this goes deeper than great perks, like free employee lunches, competitive salaries and a casual dress code (though they may be important to some). Really think about your company’s overall purpose and how you can tell that story to active and “passive” job seekers alike. It’s not just about who you are and what you do – it’s about what a candidate will gain by working for you, in terms of professional development, the opportunity for community involvement and a real sense of purpose. What does working at your company say about your employees? How will it make them feel? What will their friends and families think? These are all things to consider before moving forward.
2. Create your messaging. Once you understand your employment brand goals, it’s time to create content and tell your story. But that’s still not enough. Talent attraction is a huge piece of the puzzle, and even a great story still has to draw candidates in. So, whether it involves creative recruitment marketing campaigns through use of a variety of platforms or an improved SEO strategy, remember that your employment brand message is no good unless it’s getting in front of the people you want to apply. Also, consistency is key!
3. Train your people. Of all the elements of employment brand, the one that seems to be overlooked (or flat out ignored) most often is current employees. Your people are what make your culture and can have a significant impact on external perceptions and experience with your company. Whether it’s a recruiter that provides a poor candidate experience or a customer-facing employee misrepresenting your company, it can cause serious issues. But instead of waiting to do damage control, avoid it all together (or as much as possible) by educating your team members on your employment brand goals and messaging and how they’re expected to treat candidates/customers.