Our reputation as an employer is important. Our image affects talent attraction, engagement, and retention strategies. In this competitive marketplace, HR has become a marketing arm for employees just as traditional marketing departments apply tools for attracting and retaining clients and customers. Here are some tips for creating a relevant employment brand:
Define your attributes
- Success – It is a magnet for employees who want to be successful. Create it, document it, then talk about it.
- Construed external image – An insider’s assessment of how outsiders view the company. It is not the same as how outsiders actually see the organization (organization reputation).
- Product or service characteristics – The salient aspects of what you do/sell and how employees/prospective employees engage with your company offering
Acknowledge and assess alignment
You are visible to the market through stated and expressed values. In the war for talent, be sure that your employment brand works in your best interest, or change it! Do your values and employment brand match? A right-fit employee will align with the company, what it sells, and how it sells. For example, I cannot go out networking in cowboy boots. If my company were a feed store – that would be ok! – but we’re not so I wear a suit. We have a client company that distributes sexual healthcare products. Their employment brand makes it very clear that if you have a problem with what they sell, then you should not work there. We admire that kind of approach.
Discouraged that a high-tech company might “outshine” your mature industry employment brand? Don’t be. Beer, jeans and kicking back at 4 p.m. on a Friday does not make it a great place to work. We encourage you to start with “why” (Simon Sinek). Our goal at The Applied Companies is to be a great place to work. We define that as an employer with open communication, meaningful work, and quality of life. Other companies may have an employment brand that states, “Make as much money as we can.” Which company do you believe will have higher employee retention?
Modeling the way through thought leadership
Research demonstrates that nearly half of a company’s employment brand is: 1) tied to the CEO and; 2) how well they are positively perceived in the community. Be known for your employment brand best practices. Write about them in visible ways. Be available to reporters and communicate your willingness to discuss trends with them.
Look at your company culture. Does your employee value proposition define your organization’s employment offer? Is it competitive in the marketplace? If not, maybe working on your employer brand should be your New Year’s resolution!
Written by Jim Annis, President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson and Tom Miller, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.