“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1). The principle behind this passage is self-explanatory, and as valid today as it was when it was originally written. Today, branding is at the core of a company’s DNA, and it applies to product, services, business and people alike.
In fact, all of us engage in branding even if we don’t realize it. If we’re not talking about it, we’re doing it. We brand ourselves, we brand our products, and sometimes even brand our competitors. Employer branding is another type of branding that has gained a great deal of momentum in recent years. Today, it is as pivotal for businesses as traditional product/services branding.
Hiring made easy
One of the fundamental elements in the long-term success of a company is its human capital, and most managers won’t compromise on the quality of their employees. When new talent begins working at a company, the parties (employer and employee) establish a professional and social relationship. The purpose of this relationship is to build trust in the organization, adapt the perceptions and interests of the new hire to the values of the employer brand, and maintain the valuable pool of talent that is so hard to recruit.
While the relationship between employer and existing employees is clear, getting new talent, luring employees away from the competition or reaching quality candidates that move between companies is a far more interesting challenge. Companies will move heaven and earth to get talent that is in high demand. Experienced employers know that the decision to join one company or another is not driven by salary or benefits, but by brand value and perception. If the value proposition is not good enough, candidates and employees will not develop roots in the organization, and many resources will be required to drive them to action and commitment.
What do your employees really think about your business?
Already at the beginning of the hiring process you should identify the traits that are suitable for your organization and its values, at least at a very basic level. It is not the same to be ‘part’ of a brand as ‘understanding’ a brand. Your new hires and employees must understand and identify themselves with the brand to forever represent your company faithfully and become ambassadors.
Employer branding is an integral part of a company’s business strategy. External and internal branding share the same principles, but the concepts and marketing messages differ since what drives talent looking for work is not the same that drives existing employees.
Employer branding for new hires must offer a value proposition, just like you would do for customers. It must differentiate your company from your competition and highlight your relative advantages. The more you stick to this proposition, the more talent you’ll be able to find, and the more stable the relationship you’ll establish over time with your employees.
Different tactics, one goal
There are many ways to develop or reinforce brand identity among existing and potential employees. Tactics range from marketing messages in talent-recruitment to internal communications and experiential activities that convey your message to existing employees.
When hiring new talent, your messages should be about your culture, your values, your differentiators. Study the market environment where you operate, see what others are doing, use every possible platform to get to your target hires. Learn what makes them tick and be sure to transmit your messages in their language. Most important, potential candidates want to see and hear other people talking about your company. So give your current employees a voice on your website and let them tell new hires what it’s like to work in your company.
To maintain your current pool of talent, the methods are slightly different. During the hiring process and when they start working, educate them about your company’s values, history, products, competition and more. Reinforce and repeat this strategy regularly, for example, when launching a new product. If possible, encourage employees to try your products and experience them as consumers. When your employees establish a connection with your brand, they’ll recommend it reliably and objectively, and will feel more part of the organization. Internal communications, team-building activities and stories by their peers will keep them feeling they are part of something bigger.
Above all, remember – salary, reliability, benefits, responsibility and promotion are part and parcel of every recruitment process in any company, even in a one-man show. They have a great effect on employer branding. But in the long run, they are really not the decisive factor when a candidate decides to work for your company instead of for the competition.
If you would like to hear about how Xtra Mile was instrumental in significantly improving the employer branding of global hi-tech companies in several locations in Europe, give us a call.