BRANDE : blog

January 4, 2018

Becoming an Employer of Choice in 2018.

You’ve set New Year’s Resolutions for yourself, but have you set any for your company? This year, you only need one: strive to be an Employer of Choice. 


Why does this one resolution carry so much weight? When you become an employer of choice, you’ll see top applicants vying to work for you, competitors envy your employees, and your most talented workers stay with your company for years and years. 

Given the competitive job market, combined with the rise of the gig economy, new-normal Baby-Boomer retirements and Millennial job-hopping, being an employer of choice is the best way to gain a stronghold in today’s recruitment landscape.

So how do you become an Employer of Choice?  

The bad news is that there are a lot of factors outside of your control.

The most significant employer of choice drivers include: working in a great location and/or working for a company with prestigious name recognition or  #1  position in their marketplace.

While we can’t all be Google (they get check marks for all 3), the good news is that there are things that you can do to create a culture that elevates your position as an employer of choice.

1. Define Your Talent Brand

This means taking a close look at what people are actually saying, seeing and sharing about your company as a place to work. From those insights you will create a strong Talent Brand Architecture to be used as the foundation for all your internal and recruitment communications. For in-depth information on how to make this happen, refer to my new book, The Talent Brand: The Complete Guide to Creating Emotional Employee Buy-In for Your Organization.

2. Socialize your Talent Brand

Having a clear, articulated talent brand that promotes your culture, EVP (employer value proposition)  and talent philosophy (how you manage talent) is only half the job.

The average person has 1 to 12 intimate contacts, 150 social contacts and 500 – 1,500 weak ties. An employee population of 100 people could influence 10,000 people on the merits of working for your organization.

Make sure that each one of them not only has the information, but has contributed their thoughts on what makes your organization their employer of choice. (Don’t wait to read about it on GlassDoor).

Staying vigilant and continually working to improve the employee perception of your company, will pay off big time.

3. Focus On Career Development

With the younger generation, retention is a major problem. According to The Deloitte Millennial Survey  2017over ⅓ of millennial employees surveyed plan to leave their current job within two years. While this number is down from the previous year, it’s still a substantial percentage.

You’re not helpless in the battle for retention, however. A Gallup survey last May revealed that 87% of Millennials said professional development or career growth opportunities were very important to them in a job. The article goes on to say that “their strong desire for development is, perhaps, the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations in the workplace.” So becoming an Employer of Choice means making the most of the Millennial’s time, skills and talents.

3. Become a Culture of Choice

Focus on your company’s culture, and the candidate/employee experience. Don’t just hire for culture-fit; raise the bar and go for culture-add.

Think about what matters to the people who matter most to your organization. If you don’t know, find out, and position accordingly. Then create meaningful and personalized experiences that cater to their wants and needs of your talent pool as they go above and beyond in their work. 

Your ability to evoke a singular experience in the hearts and minds of multiple audiences will enable you to truly build awareness, consideration and preference with all your constituents, including employees and potential employees.

Your organization may or may not be sexy, well-know or a category-killer, but with the highest intentions and a steadfast plan, you can fulfill your goal to achieve Employer of Choice status. in 2018.

Good luck. Keep in touch and let me know how you’re doing.

November 2, 2017


November 1st marks the beginning of open enrollment season for a majority of U.S. organizations, and we thought it would be timely to look at some startling stats and the latest trends in employee benefit communications.

The good news is this: Employee Benefits have high positive impact on talent attraction and retention:

• 92% of full-time employees believe that companies that offer nontraditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent (ICIMS)

• 88% of executives agree that benefit programs have the most impact on improving employee loyalty as well as increasing employee engagement and lowering company medical costs (Wells Fargo)

• 75% of employees reported they’re more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefit program (Willis Towers Watson)

• 62% of employees under 50 wouldn’t consider working for a company that didn’t offer voluntary benefits (BenefitsPro)

• 35% of millennials have turned down job offers because they were dissatisfied with the benefits (Anthem)

Though employee benefits are becoming more costly for employers to offer, it’s great to see that they are a worthwhile and well-appreciated expenditure, particularly given the competition for talent and the millennials’ propensity for job hopping and freelancing. Offering a flexible and diverse set of benefits can really be a differentiator, particularly for small and medium-sized companies.

So how can you make sure you’re realizing the maximum impact from your efforts

  1. Implement an Integrated Communications Plan that Considers All Audiences and Influencers

Different generations in the workplace have different preferences for how they want to receive their information and in many cases, the person responsible for evaluating the different plans and options is not even your employee. Make sure you appeal to each of your audiences by crafting a combination of digital and traditional materials that can be accessed at home and work across a variety of platforms. Provide real-time text updates or the opportunity to downloadable digital assets (worksheets, PDFs, presentations) from a benefits microsite that can be accessed from your intranet, or through an easy-to-remember, password-protected URL (www.mycompanybenefits.com).  Hang posters, send emails and postcards and display signage in the cafeteria, digital screens, lockers and gyms.

  1. Less HR-Speak and More Personalization

Remember, you are talking to people. They may have health considerations, financial concerns and families to consider. Their native language isn’t always English.  If you’re a benefits administrator, make sure you keep it simple, employing less copy and more visuals, including infographics. Define terms, use FAQ sheets, tutorials, worksheets and videos to ensure that people are opting for the best choices for their situation, vs the ones that initially seem to cost less, or that they may be most familiar with.

  1. Use the Power of Branding to Disrupt at Every Opportunity

Each of us are bombarded with thousands of messages each day so make sure that your benefit communications are breaking through the clutter. Consider a theme or foundational message that you tie to everything. Add a logo. Put a sparkle in your emails by using attention-getting subject lines. Make sure that the envelopes you send home are colorful, clearly marked and iconic. Hold contests and competitions and give away prizes for accomplishing sprints by location or department.

According to an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey, 80% of participants do not open/read materials and 49% don’t understand them. Use the business case and simple strategies to reverse the trend, improve your results and build your talent brand through benefits.

Get it touch if you need some help! 

October 5, 2017

Making the Leap from Talent Branding to Employee Engagement

It is no surprise that Employee Engagement is a growing concern for business leaders. Especially when Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report informs that only 33% of employees are engaged in their job and a massive 51% are actively looking for new employment. Research from Bain and Company revealed some other pretty interesting statistics about companies and engagement:

1. Lower level employees have lower levels of engagement.

Problem: High-level management may be out of touch with employee morale on the front lines.

2. As tenure increases, engagement levels decrease.

Problem: Those with the most knowledge and experience to contribute are uninspired to do so. 

3. Engagement levels are lowest for sales and service people.

BIG Problem: These are the same individuals who are most likely to interact with your customers!

How Talent Branding Helps: 

Talent branding usually involves conducting primary research with your employees – different from an engagement survey, the research uncovers the emotive qualities that prevail within your culture. At times, just giving employees an open forum to discuss issues, vent annoyances (even the most petty) and feel like they’ve been heard goes a long way towards building engagement.

At the completion of the discovery process, following the analysis of the information, you will have what we call the Talent Brand Architecture. It will include a statement about the collective work being done, the things that make the culture unique and appealing (yes, there are always things to say) and the Employer Value Proposition – the passionate and authentic expression of the experience you hope people will associate with your company as an employer.

Bringing employees together to introduce your talent brand architecture, rewarding them for their contributions in creating it and recognizing them for their allegiance to sharing it will also revive their passion for what they love about where they work.

The bottom line:

Employee Engagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a strategic, thoughtful and continuous process intentionally designed to build bonds, repair trust, and shine a light on how everyone makes a difference through their efforts at work.

Similarly Talent Branding doesn’t happen in a creative department, in a recruitment video or on a career site.  It is ever present as an opportunity to ask questions, and shape what is said,  shared and thought.

3 ways you can join us our journey to build strong talent brands and drive greater internal employee engagement: 

Sign up to for news about how to receive your own first edition of The Talent Brand

Sign up for news about soon-to-launch Employee Engagement community, achievEE.

Book Jody for a talent brand consultation, or find out more about her speaking engagements and availability.

Always be Branding

September 6, 2017

Building Brand Equity With Your Annual Report

An annual report is like a yearbook—it should shuttle readers through all aspects of the company’s business while weighting content towards the company’s financial success and brand.

Woven throughout this content must be a clear picture of where the company is heading—a reassurance to investors that the firm has a solid game plan for moving ahead in the coming years. Here are 4 simple ways you can make sure your annual report presents your brand in the best possible way.

Create A Comprehensive Story, Theme and Outline 

What is the primary message you want to communicate? Is it investment in R&D? Growth over many years? Change in direction? Solid leadership? Defining this is key to creating an outline for the report and inspiring a visual interpretation.

Communicate with Design. Reinforce the Brand. 

The overall look and feel of the piece should not only be consistent with your company or organization’s brand, but it should enhance your theme. What key colors will illustrate your brand and report theme? What format will best communicate your theme: print or online? What style of photography and imagery will you use: high-end, abstract, illustrations and schematics, or real-world photos of people or applications?

Demonstrate your commitment to the environment by working with printers who employ ecologically responsible paper, ink, and waste print production processes. Here, the media truly becomes the message, expressed in the content of the document and in the production of the report itself.

Some options you may consider:

• Forest Stewardship Council Certified Production

• Soy/Vegetable Based Inks and Coatings

• Recycled Paper

• Recycling Extra Reports

Design Pop and Rhythm. 

The report’s design and narrative style needs to establish a visual vocabulary and cadence from page to page that keeps investors moving through the book while generating an emotional response. Readers need to understand how vital the company is to the world—customers, employees, communities, etc. They need to know your firm is special.

Once all the elements are in place, continue to ensure a quality product through diligent proofreading, production, and print management.

We Predict that More Technology will be Embedded within Annual Reports

Online annual reports are the future of compliance communications. By providing shareholders with online disclosure information, companies are bridging more disclosure gaps than ever before. They are able to provide more information more quickly effectively, allowing access to shareholders and potential investors. One of our favorite trends is the use of AR to create an immersive experience across a variety of devices and platforms.

One final note- along with presenting your company in the best possible way to investors, your annual report is also an excellent opportunity to engage and recognize your employees (many of whom are also shareholders) in their achievements and efforts in realizing your business outcomes.

August 3, 2017

Employee Engagement – is it Hot or Not?

It’s easy for for companies to say that employees are their greatest assets, or most valuable resource, but actually constructing a culture that values the individual experience is significantly more difficult.

At the highest level, it’s about forging the connection an employee feels not only towards their place of work, but the company at large. This in turn, influences his or her work ethic and overall attitude towards peers, clients, management, and even health and well-being.

In fact, it’s proven that employees who feel more connected with their company and peers take fewer sick days, are more productive in the office, and tend to act as brand ambassadors for the company’s strategic initiatives.

So it’s no coincidence that as a Talent Brand Planner, I’d be interested in Employee Engagement and the Employee Experience. Culture-fit, great management  and belief in the organization’s mission are the table stakes, but what else does employee engagement encompass? We think it includes things like:

• Developing a high-performance culture that fosters a high-level of employee commitment

• Differentiating your compensation and offerings to better attract and retain talent with culture as a key driver

• Developing future leaders by mentoring high-potential employees

• Creating a robust total rewards package that recognizes efforts, experience and contributions

But what are we missing?

Who owns employee engagement?

Is employee experience the same, better or part of employee engagement.

These are the questions we at Brandemix are setting out to answer in the hopes that through our findings, we can deliver greater authenticity to the Talent Brand.

Help us and our followers add value to our work  by taking this brief Employee Engagement survey.

Oh, and did I mention you could win prizes?

Happy Summer.