A positive employment brand can help attract top candidates, making recruiting for your top positions easier. But, candidates don’t come to us in a vacuum. Before they even apply for a position or speak to a recruiter, they’ve been exposed to advertising, the experience of family members or friends, and the power of social media to shape what they know, or think they know, about our business. In fact, according to a recent Roper survey, over 60% of the respondents listed word-of-mouth as their best source of information.
And that’s what has brought about a great attention to Employer Branding. Companies are looking to have more control on the impression of their company in the mind of an applicant. And according to a variety of Employer Branding surveys, including early data from one we have in progress (you can share your employer branding experiences here,) those who have succeeded have been guided by the same methods and techniques used by consumer branding agencies. Moving beyond simple brainstorming sessions between Talent Acquisition teams and/or Internal Communications, the research methods used to glean employee information and create employer brands have now expanded to commonly include employee surveys, focus groups and executive in-depth interviews. But, in today’s highly social world, with unemployment at 10 year lows, and the competition for talent a top concern for CEOs everywhere, that still might not be enough.
Talent branding considers that employer branding has become a two-way street, as the employee and candidate experience is sharable (almost viral) and transparency and authenticity are the table stakes.
Talent Branding can be considered the evolution of Employer Branding. At its best, it is the art of making a strong emotional connection from your organization and its culture, to the talent it needs to attract and engage to drive the business forward. And while the visible output of the efforts may be the same- a redesigned or enhanced website, recruiting booths, brochures or website banners, the research and development process has been refined to be collaborative and as inclusive as possible of all audiences and all available information.
We are seeing a greater emphasis placed both on the employee experience, the candidate experience and the development of personalized messages that can speak to the wants and needs of each of our audiences at every phase of the hiring process including candidate rejection and employee termination.
What salaries are you paying? What interview questions are you asking and how do people rate the talents and abilities of your CEO? The answers to these questions are so easily obtained that we take it for granted, yet it might not be that we have given enough thought to the implications and responsibility it places on recruiters, hiring managers and even our employees themselves.
If you are about to embark on an Employer Branding initiative, here’s how you can build a bullet-proof talent brand and take things to the next level.
There is so much out there about cultural fit. And it does have its place. We all want that perfect candidate. The one that can live up to all the clichéd buzz words — “hit the ground running,” “add value,” “contribute right away,” and of course “fit in.”
And yet, at the same time, we are looking to build a culture of diversity in backgrounds, thinking and experience. We are looking for people who can bring something to the table versus just bring themselves to work. That’s why I think it is now time we move past culture fit and embrace a new term — “Culture Add.”
Why culture add?
When you are only thinking of culture fit, I think there is a good chance you are hiring people who think and act alike. In today’s world of speed, innovation, and adaptability, you might just need different talents around the table to progress as much as you need to. When you consider if a candidate is a “culture add” then you are looking for candidates to bring in new ideas, a different point-of-view, and bring out different traits in others in a collaborative, positive way. Ideally, this person will fill in what you might be missing to give you that competitive edge for your products or services.
The 3 Es of culture add
Employees: If you embrace this concept of culture add, I urge you to be clear with your existing employees that the next new team member will be great — but may not be just like them. Emphasize the benefits of collaboration among diverse teams, and when those benefits happen celebrate them.
Employer brand: If you want to go even further to embrace the concept of culture add, take the time to look at your employer brand — from your website to your internal materials. What would you need to do to refresh or enhance it to speak more broadly to the qualities of your culture and how prospective employees can add to it? Decide if it’s an option or an imperative and make your choice known.
Expectations: Provide change management training so hiring managers know how to talk with candidates and to help managers understand there are expectations they’ll need to meet. Offer them training so they don’t fall into a bias trap.
And above all, remember that when you hire for culture add you’re not just adding to the culture but adding to the bottom line as well.
Need help with defining your culture? Try Brandemix Rapid-Cycle Talent Branding.
An employer brand is the way your organization’s prospective applicants, candidates and employees perceive you as an employer. In simpler words, it’s the process of building an image of being “a great place to work at” in the minds of prospective candidates and employees. It is a long-term strategy that establishes an organization’s identity as an employer, and reveals how one organization is different from another. But what about “employee branding?” Having employees become your brand ambassadors is a fast way of building a grass roots recruiting effort and harnessing the power of word-of-mouth.
Loosen Up Control
Take a tip from Zappos, the online retailer legendary for turning employees into brand advocates. Loosen up a little control and let team members use Social Media to talk about the company and its culture to prospective candidates.
Create a 30-minute “employer brand certification program”
Create a 30-minute “employer brand certification program” so employees learn more about appropriate social recruiting behavior. Arm them with the information they need to create a singular brand experience. Share updates about events, news, new projects and developments, and make sure they’re aware of your hard-to-fill job opportunities and what makes them so special.
In return for their efforts, considers suggestions given by your employees and takes time to recognize them for the positive efforts they are putting forth on behalf of your employer brand.
The average person has 1 to 12 intimate contacts, 150 social contacts and 500 – 1,500 weak ties so an employee population of 100 people could yield more than 10,000 new candidates in your pipeline.
As professionals in this industry, we understand various brands and their specific allure for a consumer. Essentially, there are 20 brand archetypes into which everything can be sorted: from breakfast cereals to talk show hosts. Read my earlier blog post on brand archetypes here.
Politics aside, I thought it would be great fun to look at the recent and current Republicans seeking the presidential nomination through the lens of a brand archetype. Your comments appreciated.
Marco Rubio: The Innocent
Like Mr. Rogers, the innocent is committed to simplicity, and doing the right thing. Rubio wants to bolster education, secure America’s borders and balance the budget. His naivete can be too much at times, such as when he denies climate change. Lysol and Dove are two examples of consumer brand names that suit the innocent.
Trump: The Entertainer
While some of Trump’s speeches are about the old simpler America, he is as much the clown as the traditionalist. He makes faces at the camera, baits news commentators, and slams his competition (e.g. Carly Fiorina’s looks.) Lacking a political background, he is best known for his entertainment holdings–beauty pageants, casinos, and iterations of The Apprentice. A celebrity who suits this category is Jeff Foxworthy and a consumer brand is the Jack in the Box chain.
Ben Carson: The Traditionalist
The traditionalist seeks to restore glory through a return to old fashioned values. Carson, who announced his run at a prayer breakfast full of city pastors, certainly fits in with this archetype. Beyond religion, his conservative views and commitment to family values are as clean and simple as Proctor and Gamble soaps. Other traditionalist brands include Old Spice and Folger’s coffee.
Chris Christie: The Boy Next Door
This brand type is friendly, hardworking, for “regular Joes” — think Walmart or Covergirl cosmetics. Often photographed in khakis and polo shirts, Christie looks like your neighbor out mowing his lawn. And when it comes to issues, he’ll tell you that he wants to lower taxes and take a bite out of crime.
Discover Your Brand Archetype
Brandemix creates brand plans for clients across a wide range of industries. We can analyze your current brand, the archetype it fits into, how to communicate in the write tone of voice and how to leverage that with the right audience. Find out more.