BRANDE : Employer Value Proposition

January 5, 2017

Becoming an Employer of Choice in 2017

Being an employer of choice means top applicants are eager 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 new-normal Baby-Boomer retirements and Millennial job-hopping, this seems like a great item for the top of your New Year’s Resolution list.

So how do you become an employer of choice?  

The bad news is that there are a lot of factors outside of your control. Employer-of-Choice drivers include attributes like working in a great location, working for a company with great/prestigious name recognition and/or a number 1 position in their marketplace. But while we can’t all be Google (they get checkmarks 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. Here are some of them.

Become a Culture of Choice- Create meaningful and personalized employee experiences and rewards. Think about what matters to the people who matter most to your organization. If you don’t know, find out. According the the Jobvite Jobseeker Nation, compensation is more important to established professionals (ages 40-54) than Millennials who greatly value the flexibility to work from home. While you’re at it, start mapping your internal culture fit to the customer experience. Again, if you’re not sure what that is, find out from your Marketing department. When Southwest Airlines committed to a delivering customers to their final destinations with a smile, a joke or a song, they made sure that joke-telling was part of interview process and fun was part of their culture.

Socialize your Talent Brand- Having a clear, articulated talent brand that promotes your culture, employer brand, employer value proposition and talent philosophy (how you manage talent) is only half the job. The other half is TBPR- Talent Branding Public Relations. The average person has 1 to 12 intimate contacts, 150 social contacts and 500 – 1,500 weak ties. That means that 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 Glass Door.)

Focus On Career Development- 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.” In just 3 more years, this high-achieving, highly productive yet untethered generation will make up more than 35% of the US workforce. So becoming an Employer of Choice means making the most of the Millennial’s time, skills and talents.

Become an Authentic Brand- Brands are about trust. 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.
The internet has leveled the playing field. Your customers are also vendors, employees and investors. Conversations that used to happen around the water cooler are happening across the internet on sites like Glass Door, Yelp and Amazon. Yet within the organization, the drivers of influence for each of these target groups are often siloes of spin. The myriad of messages are often in competition with one another.

To genuinely be an authentic brand means that you have developed an integrated, values-based messaging approach that is true at the highest level for all audiences and speaks in one voice. An authentic brand represents the ultimate truth and often reshapes how you attract, onboard, engage and retain talent.

Your organization 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.

Note: We are compiling a list of Employer Branding Resources. Please add yours here:

April 26, 2014

Connecting the Dots from Culture to Talent Management

Every organization has values. Curating the stories about the behaviors and decisions that employees make, based on company values, is also part of employer branding. The HR department and, in particular, its internal communications component, shapes those stories.

What does it mean to be a values-based organization — and why should you strive for it?
Here are 3 very good reasons.
1. An organization that places its values first (even above profit) can form closer bonds and longer tenures with its employees.
2. Organizations that hire to their values, and promote those values to the workforce, create a common vision and a culture of shared priorities. The values guide employees’ decisions and actions, making it easier for each of them to contribute to the company’s mission.
3. Longer-tenured employees and more productive employees contribute more money to the organizations that employ them.

A values-based organization

So it’s intrinsic to an organization’s success that they link their company’s culture, talent, and people practices. To achieve this consistency, the human resources department must define the culture and employee experience as it reflects the company’s values. HR must also keep employee performance continuously aligned with strategic goals of the company. Being a values-based organization can be connected as a brand concept through HR and employee communications.

HR and internal communications are significant stakeholders in defining and promoting the culture of the organization, producing a vision and value proposition for each “center of excellence.” Moreover, they can create a line of sight from the culture to the employees that keeps them committed to achieving the business goals. The HR department has the sole ability to recruit, manage, and engage talent in a way that’s aligned with the company’s mission and culture.

Believe it or not, there are still many organizations that have no such values-based foundation upon which to build. They may have a top-down corporate culture, with management leading by directives instead of by example. There may be little sense of community, as departments operate under conflicting priorities. Employees may not be hired for their affinity to the company’s values and feel less of a connection to their employers…who then wonder why their workers aren’t contributing their fullest to the company’s success.

Good news to them — I’m offering a free webinar on this very subject — “HR Branding: Connecting the Dots from Culture to Talent Management.” It should have f
ar-reaching benefits to any human resources professional looking to articulate their company’s values so all employees travel the same road to success. The webinar will be presented on Wednesday, April 30, from 2-3 pm EDT. Sign up for this valuable online presentation here. 

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to align your company culture with the employee experience!

November 4, 2013

Busting Employer Branding Myths

Considering how important employer branding is, I still encounter a lot of confusion and misinformation about it. So, as a public service, I thought I’d bust some of the myths about employer branding.

Myth #1: Employer branding is unnecessary
Some clients tell me, “We’re an employer of choice; great candidates will find us.” And yet you never hear executives at Apple or Disney or Coke say “Everyone knows our products; customers will find us.” In fact, those brands have massive marketing budgets. You can’t assume that your exact desired demographic, whether it’s MIT grads or truck drivers, will actively seek you out. Or think about this: What if great candidates do know you — and don’t like what they see? Employer branding can increase awareness and engagement by refocusing your messaging on your company’s mission, vision, values, and business strategy.
Myth #2: Employer branding is expensive
Good employer branding actually saves you money, through lower recruiting costs, higher engagement, and increased productivity/sales. Depending on the plan goals, a basic research project can be launched for as little as $10,000. You can start small with communication audits and internal surveys, and then add executive interviews and employee focus groups. If you can secure a larger spend, we recommend surveying external constituents to provide context to your internal findings. 

Myth #3: Employer branding is completely separate from consumer branding
It better not be! An employer brand must be absolutely aligned with and inspired by the consumer brand. After all, candidates are customers, investors, and influencers. One of the first things we do on any employer branding project is break through organizational silos and align the employer brand with the company’s current messaging. We try to get all stakeholders — Marketing, HR, Internal Communications — into the same room to make sure we have a consistent brand that’s authentic on both sides of the house. Along the way, we often help Marketing and HR become friends!

Myth #4: Employer branding research can be done in-house
It can, but it’s much more difficult. Employees are reluctant to share their true feelings with their HR department for fear of reprisal. Executives interviewing each other often leads to an “echo chamber” effect, where no one advocates change. And external constituents, such as customers and former applicants, think surveys are a marketing ploy and stay away. Brandemix is a neutral third party; we take empathetic listening to the next level by listening, probing, and processing. An outside set of eyes can reveal things about your employer brand that you never saw.

Myth #5: Employer branding only helps the hiring managers
Au contraire! The entire company benefits from a strong employer brand. You’ll attract employees who are a good fit for the culture, who stay longer, perform better, and recommend the company to others. More referrals and lower turnover makes for a happier, more stable workplace. HR will have more time to work on other initiatives, like workforce planning, talent management, or diversity. Eventually, you’ll have weeded out the underachievers and filled your roster with satisfied employees, which studies have shown create more profit for the entire organization.

Don’t let these myths fool you. Employer branding is crucial to the success of any company, from a nonprofit to a regional chain to a global corporation. It cuts costs, generates profits, and can turn your company into a true employer of choice.

Any other myths you want busted? Drop me a line.
July 18, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: The Importance of Employer Branding

A strong employer brand can lead to more engaged employees, which leads to great productivity, which leads to higher profits. So why do so few organizations have one? Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg explains how an effective employer brand is created.

If you’d like to learn more about Brandemix’s employer branding services, write to employerbranding@brandemix.com.

July 15, 2013

How to Build an Employer Brand

Many organizations pay attention to branding but overlook the importance of an employer brand, which defines who you are as an employer. Just as your consumer brand tells the public what your brand stands for, an employer brand speaks to your employees – from the newest hire to the CEO – and to your potential employees, the job-seekers whose first encounter with your company may be through your employer brand.

Employer brands also help job-seekers self-select, help HR recruit and train to the brand, and help the entire workforce promote the brand through their actions and communications. The effect it has on quality of hire can separate a good company from a truly great one.

A few statistics from Employer Brand International

With that in mind, here is a brief overview on the process to create an effective employer brand.

An employer brand deserves the same study and due diligence as any other major decision your company makes. That means embarking upon a solid research plan that involves employees from every level.  Typical research plans include quantitative, in the form of an objective, anonymous survey; qualitative, in the form of focus groups and one-on-one interviews; and ideation sessions, workshops for collective brainstorming. Participants can include employees, potential employees, executives, customers, and even vendors. Be sure to align the findings with your company’s mission, vision, business objectives, and consumer brand.
Once you’ve discovered how people feel about your brand, you should find your niche, the areas where you deliver a singular employee experience that no one else can match.
These concepts can be illustrated through an “employer brand architecture.” Your organization’s vision is the foundation of the structure. Your differentiators make up the “pillars.” The “roof,” your employer value proposition, is the single-minded expression of the benefits of working for your organization.

All this work isn’t just to have a catchy slogan on Monster.com. An employer brand positively affects a number of talent management concerns, from attraction to retention to employee referrals. A strong employer brand creates more engaged employees, which leads to higher profitability.
In 1994, a group of researchers from Harvard University published a study (and later a book) on the Service Profit Chain, arguing for a direct link between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profit. Some subsequent studies put the difference between the best “chains” and the worst as high as 20% – which could mean billions of dollars. More recently, a study by Aon Hewitt found that companies with engaged employees outperformed the stock market by 22% in 2010.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a non-profit, a local business, a national chain, or a global powerhouse; every organization succeeds with the best talent. Build your employer brand and you’ll enjoy greater profits, happier, more productive employees, and a great culture that attracts and keeps the talent you need to fulfill your business objectives. Ready to create or refresh your employer brand? Contact me.