How do you turn a brand into an employer brand?

17Nov08

By Gertraud Eibl, SPS

Tap into a growing and increasingly important market segment

The term brand is not a new one. But the term employer brand is rather young compared to its “big brother”, the brand. Today in many market segments and industries around the world companies and HR managers are competing for the top employees.

Attracting the best employees is like a battle. Finding and hiring the best personnel is indispensable to staying successful in today’s business world of global competition. That’s why it’s so important for organizations to build up a successful employer brand.

Creating a marketing opportunity

Many marketing firms may not consider the potential creative opportunities employer branding offers. They might think employer branding is all about recruitment. But that’s just the beginning. Thinking outside the box to reach the employee audience offers the potential to create truly personal and interactive messages. The key is knowing what mixture of emotional and rational messages will resonate with the audience while ringing true to the employer’s brand. Building an employer brand starts with identifying an employee value proposition (EVP).

The EVP is like the DNA upon which company values are built. Companies must clearly communicate what makes them unique, and do it in a way that is meaningful to potential employees. Promising great career opportunities won´t be enough; 44% of all employers use this argument. From an employees´ point of view, the message must stand out…and not be interchangeable with competitor’s messages.

The first step is the process we all know and love….called “positioning”. A few questions must be answered: What do we stand for? Who are we? What do/can we offer? Where does the way direct?

Employer branding is not just presenting facts that describe the advantages the company offers to employees. It is about delivering the idea of a unique and attractive work experience that sets the company apart in the labor market. Communicating what is different may involve examining all facets of the work experience. It might help to interview people who have joined the company recently.

One way to help convince university students to join a company is to send “business ambassadors” or “career ambassadors” from the company to university campuses to help spread the client’s brand message. The career ambassadors are believable role models with real stories and real careers with whom students can identify.

Walking or talking?

Because employees directly experience whether or not companies deliver on their brand employer promise – whether they walk or talk – they play an essential role in the process of employer branding. Involving employees in the campaign development process helps you learn what today´s employees want, what the most talented employees want, and what employees in the defined industry want.

To define the employer’s core message, plan to hold a series of interviews with new and ex-employees to answer a few questions:

  • What are our exceptionable strengths as an employer?
  • What is especially important for our target group when choosing an employer?
  • What do the most important competitors offer?
  • How are we currently seen as an employer?

In addition, holding workshops with the company’s own employees and analyzing competitor’s material might be helpful.

Creating an employer of choice

Employer branding can start and continue a lively dialogue between an employer and employees. The main goal for a company is to become an employer of choice and to increase retention rates. If a company´s branding message becomes aligned with the reality that exists for its employees, the message will be clear and honest for the audience and for potential employees. A balanced and clear message helps an employer brand to become a strong one with an employee value proposition that offers both emotional and tangible benefits.

What kind of employer brand do you have?

Tell us your point of view. What do you think is the potential for employer branding to be successful in your agency or market?

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One Response to “How do you turn a brand into an employer brand?”

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