Client Dev & Marketing
There’s a catch-phrase whizzing around the human resource world these days – Employment Branding. What the heck is it? And how do you get it?
If your company has employees and former employees, you have an image as an employer (whether you like it or not).
Employment branding is simply the concerted effort of perfecting a positive image in the marketplace as a company that is great to work for
Most of you are already familiar with corporate branding. It’s a marketing method of deciding how you want your customers to view your company, including all of the creative methods that you use to persuade them to come to you rather than your competitors. Employment branding is similar, but aimed at a different audience.
There are some differences between corporate marketing and employment branding. Marketing efforts generally use an advertising approach – the organization promoting itself to the public. It consists of slogans and headlines thought up by teams of creative folks. Employment branding, on the other hand, is more closely related to public relations. Employees and former employees promote the organization using anecdotal information. Most people will believe information if it is presented by another person in a story-like format.
The first step in developing an employment brand is determining what your current image is, and what areas of improvement need to be addressed to make that image even better.
Interview your star performers.
Your best employees could easily leave and work for someone else. So why are they staying? Ask them what keeps them coming in every day. They will provide you with a wealth of information about what makes your company a great place to work. Some of those things may even surprise you, so don’t skip this step!
Let employees tell you how to improve.
Ask all of your employees what would make your company an even better place to work. Now, naturally, you won’t be able to do everything, but you should see some common themes. Once you’ve identified those themes, take action to improve. So many employers gather this information in one way or another, but never really commit to doing anything about the issues. Don’t make that mistake. Remember, you’re hoping to persuade people to leave perfectly good jobs to come work for you!
Now that you know what your core strengths are as an employer, and you have employees and former employees who are willing to endorse your company, it’s time to figure out how to get the public in the loop.
There is no shortage of ways to promote your brand to candidates. The trick is to assess your audience and hit them where they live, so to speak. Ask yourself these questions:
Who are our desired candidates?
Where do they work?
Where do they play?
How do they network?
Don’t just think about ways to connect with these people during work hours. Take a 24/7 approach. A majority of the people in the current workforce are used to receiving a barrage of information from multiple sources at any time in any place. Use that to your advantage.
Your mission is to get your employees “talking” to the public about what a great employer you are. Here are just a few ideas:
Have employees give presentations at conferences or trade shows. Even if the topic is industry-related, their enthusiasm for what they’re doing will show through.
Put employee testimonials on your web site. Structure your site so that team information includes real anecdotes about working at your company.
Get your employees published in industry or trade publications. People will see your company name in the byline.
Participate in “best to work for” polls. The act of going through the process will help your company improve even if you don’t make the final list.
Start an employee-run blog to communicate happenings that demonstrate what a great company you have.
It takes time to build a brand and get people aware of your organization. Start now and keep working at it. Eventually, people will be calling and emailing to request informational interviews. Before you know it, you’ll have a “fan club” of qualified people just waiting to work for you.
Pamela Moore is the founder of Compass Human Resources, a consulting firm focused on providing personalized human resource services to small businesses. For the past seven years, Pamela has been providing her expertise to organizations in the sustainability arena. She co-developed and co-hosted the 2008 Green Professional’s Conference with Fluid Market Strategies. Pamela has nearly 20 years of human resource generalist experience in a wide range of industries. Her areas of expertise include everything from tools and systems to long-range strategic planning. In addition to being a certified HR professional, Pamela also holds a degree in Accounting, which gives her a unique perspective on her clients’ businesses.
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The 77 million people that make up the US small business workforce would rank as the 17th most populous country in the world, just ahead of Iran;
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