4 Things to Make Sure Your Boss Knows About Employer Branding (the 5th Is Optional)

Employer branding is the new black.

According to George Anders’ recent article on Forbes.com, LinkedIn is spreading the word about the significance of having a strong employer brand, and at the same time providing more tools and resources to help companies promote one on their platform.

This is great news for talent acquisition professionals who are on the front lines of trying to win the hearts and minds of top talent everywhere. And while there are many who question the economic recovery, U.S. unemployment levels have dropped to a three-year low and in the IT sector, many companies are offering employees up to $10,000 in referral bonuses. The message is clear: it’s time to look at your employer brand.

So you’re not Apple, Amazon, Deloitte, or Disney. Don’t despair. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an employer brand or employer value proposition of your own.

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Here are four things to tell your boss when you’re putting it into your 2013 budget.

  1. It’s not a headline or tagline within your recruitment marketing materials. Your employer brand is the essence of the employer/employee contract. It’s the reason people join your company and the reasons they stay. (Intuitively this information may be known to some or all of your organization, but going through the exercise of defining your brand architecture — your differentiators and employer value proposition — will make sure that you’re all speaking in one voice.) Once this is defined, it may never appear in any of your recruitment marketing materials or internal communications. The essence of the employer value proposition can be communicated in a multitude of ways, varying by business unit, country, or corporate initiative.
  2. It makes the company money. A well-defined employer brand will be integrated with the business strategy and articulate the shared responsibilities for achieving success. The ROI is not an HR metric (cost-per-hire, time-to-fill) but rather revenue growth. In March 1994, Harvard Business Review wrote about the service-profit chain. Employee satisfaction drives customer satisfaction/loyalty and revenue growth. This relationship still holds true today. Employer branding fuels employee engagement, engagement fosters productivity, and productivity fuels profitability.
  3. It saves the company money Good employer branding connects employees with cultures — and the chance of a hiring misfire is greatly reduced. There is transparency in the employer-employee contract and everyone knows the deal going in. Turnover goes down. Recruiting costs go down.
  4. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. Communication audits and employer branding surveys can get the ball rolling, and executive interviews and internal focus groups can be selectively added. For a small research plan, costs can be as low as $10,000 – $15,000. If you’re lucky enough to get a bigger budget, I recommend you survey or speak with external constituents to really provide context and color to your internal findings.
  5. You will have more fun at work. Yes, it’s true. Once you have gone through your branding exercise and embedded the essence of your competitive differentiation into your careers website, videos, recruitment, and social media marketing, and internal communications, you’re all set to reap the rewards. Happy hiring managers, increased employee referrals, more unsolicited resumes coming in from top talent, lower turnover, and greater retention. You’ll have more time to work on other critical initiatives like workforce planning, talent management, or diversityand inclusion. Or maybe just steal a few extra minutes to read another ERE article or two.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.

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13 Comments on “4 Things to Make Sure Your Boss Knows About Employer Branding (the 5th Is Optional)

  1. These are all great reasons why employer branding is important in attracting great employees. While number 5 might be optional, it’s also very important and very true. Having more fun at work will translate into happier employees. Happier employees will be more productive and more likely to refer other great talent to your company. If your employees are happier you’ll be more likely to schedule interviews, in person and through online video, with the top talent your company needs to survive.

  2. Thanks, Jody. IMHO, recruiting is getting quality butts in chairs, quickly, easily, and affordably (pick any two). It is NOT “employer branding,” otherwise known as using better-used resources (time, money, people, etc.) to convince a bunch of folks so gullible they’d actually believe your company’s marketing hype that your company is much better than it really is.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  3. The most important point you made in this post is how successfully branding your company will help with employee retention and recruitment. To expand on this point — how does this occur? In my opinion, employees know what your brand is about and can more easily facilitate employee referrals and aid recruitment efforts. What do you think? Cheers!

  4. @Keith. Don’t tell anyone but IMHProfessionalO Employer Branding done well is the articulation of what you’re saying to get those quality butts in chairs. (presuming it’s all true and not some made-up recruiter bype.) 😉

  5. Thanks, Jody. ISTM that is what Marketing and Corp Comm are for. As an example, I think Recruiting should send JDs to Marketing to make them as interesting and attractive as they can be. Also, enticing and waiting for people to come to you strikes me as a very passive (and slow) process. I think it is better to have a(n):
    1)Strong, well-paid, highly-participated(in) ER program, 2)Interesting. easily-accessible (no more than 2 minutes to find the right job), quickly applicable (no more than 2 minutes to apply to the right job) jobsite
    3)Trained, aggressive direct-sourcing program to directly go after people that we want to hire NOW.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  6. Thanks Jody. ISTM that’s what Marketing and Corp Comm are for. As an example, I think Recruiting should turn over JDs for Marketing to make as interesting as possible.

    Employer Branding strikes me as a passive (and slow) approach to hiring.

    Instead I recommend a(n:
    1) Interesting, easily-findable and accessible (no more than 2 min. to find the job and apply) jobsite.
    2) Strong, well-paid, highly-participated (in) ERP.
    3) Well-trained and aggressive direct-sourcing program to find and contact the people we want to hire NOW.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  7. Thanks, Jody. That’s what Ithink Marketing and Corp Comm are for. As an example, I think we should turn over JDs to Marketing to make them as interesting as possible.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  8. Great Article Jody!

    Employer Branding is what makes retention possible. Retention is what makes growth possible. Without it, recruiting (in my industry) becomes a revolving door tended by hawkers who will say whatever it takes to achieve the necessary numbers coming in without any concern for the numbers going out. At an average 106% turnover at last count, (about a month ago) this industry has proven that recruiting alone is not the answer. With the pool drying up rapidly, our industry has to look for solutions that make sense. I like that about your article. It presents a holistic solution instead of a Band-Aid approach to growth.

    Thanks!
    Franc

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