3 Employer Branding Tricks to Stand Out in the Crowd
If the idea of creating an Employer Brand strategy seems overwhelming, start with these 3 easy (and essential) first steps.
Don’t have an employer brand strategy yet? I understand.
Maybe you’ve been thinking you don’t really need one. (You do, though.) Or maybe you think you can’t afford the time, skills, or budget to take this on…
Here’s the deal: if you have employees, want to keep them, and have hopes of attracting highly talented candidates in the future, you can’t afford not to have an employer strategy anymore.
For a lot of business owners, I think that one of the biggest obstacles to launching an employer brand is how squishy, theoretical, and daunting the whole exercise seems. Just do an online search to try to understand the basics. You’ll get 52 million search results, most of which will tell you to do things like, “define the candidate persona,” “optimize the employee value proposition,” “define recruiting KPI’s and goals,” and then, of course, measure, analyze and report the heck out of all of them. Did you know that many large companies now invite candidates to lunch meetings and parties – via virtual reality?!
Great stuff. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
The truth is, a well designed, well run employer branding strategy will, indeed, include all of those characteristics and several more. But here’s something equally true: you don’t have to do it all right now and you don’t need to be a marketing guru to get your employer brand defined and launched. You just need to get started, pointed in the right direction.
So stop procrastinating and get the ball rolling with these 3 straightforward and totally achievable steps. By the end of Step 3, will you have a fully integrated, fully implemented employer brand strategy with all the bells and whistles? No, you will not. But you will have a clear definition of who you are as an employer, what benefits you you can offer potential employees, and a realistic plan for communicating those fundamentals in a way that attracts talent.
- State Your Purpose – as an Organization – and Why Your Employees Are Part of It
When is the last time you pondered the question, why does our organization even exist? If you find yourself stating your purpose in terms of revenue, ROI or market domination, that won’t get you to a meaningful employer brand strategy. Don’t get me wrong, those are critical metrics; but they probably don’t describe the reasons you leap out of bed and sail joyfully into work each day. They won’t ignite the imaginations of highly talented candidates in search of meaningful, challenging work, either. Break it down into these three questions:
- What are you earnestly trying to achieve with your business?
If you manufacture board games, are you trying to give America more family time around the table? Or are you creating heirloom quality chessboards that will be cherished for generations to come? You get the picture.
- What kind of workplace are you trying to create or sustain?
Is the board game manufacturer passionate about maintaining an environment where imaginations and new ideas can bounce off the walls and brainstorming frequently leads to new ideas? Or a quiet, thoughtful workspace where craftsmanship is nurtured, uninterrupted?
- What kind of team are you trying to assemble and grow?
This is not a demographic question. It’s something you can answer by looking at the answers you wrote to the first two questions. You’re looking for people who want to be part of who you are and would be thrilled to join in the fun with your team.
- Define Absolutely Every Single Benefit You Have to Offer
Start with a laundry list. I’m talking tangible and intangible here. Include everything: insurance, paid days off, flexible time, company car, the kinds of company wide events you regularly host, special attributes of your work space (e.g. common rooms, game areas, proximity to coffee shops, restaurants, transportation, exercise facilities, beautiful scenery), etc. Then keep going! What’s the atmosphere like? How do people encourage each other, challenge each other, build a sense of community at work? Your list should be long, specific, and filled with everything positive that your employees experience and depend on. The next time you need to write a job description, don’t dump the laundry list on the bottom of the page. Do choose the most powerful, employee-enticing benefits from the list and put them at the very top of the job description.
- Integrate Your Purpose and Your Benefits into All Communications
Everything. Will candidates land on your homepage and immediately feel like they’re getting a glimpse at the best place in the world to work? When they get to your careers page, does it read like an exciting invitation to an amazing experience? Weave the statements you’ve just crafted, above, into all that you say and do, from emails to tweets, to facebook posts, and internal meetings. And keep it authentic by checking in with your current team. Does it resonate? Is it real? When they give you feedback (especially about any disconnects between your messaging and their current reality), listen respectfully and tweak accordingly.
The trick to all of these steps is realizing that you can’t just do them, memorialize them in a nifty memo, then forget about them. They’re habits you’ll need to establish and build into your every day routines and communications. That takes a fair amount of commitment. But if you do this, you’ll have a sturdy framework for attracting top talent.