Deconstructing Employment Branding to the Basics
Many traditional businesses are just now starting to have the conversation about how their company culture or human capital impacts their bottom line and many still struggle to see how employment branding can reduce expenses and increase productivity. Meanwhile, today’s fastest growing and most disruptive companies make corporate culture a priority, putting their people first. And, the positive results are indisputable — increased employee engagement, lower turnover, higher productivity, and stronger profits.
Just as consumers are harnessing the Internet to research and understand the products and services they want to buy, prospective employees are evaluating your brand to see if there is a mutual fit. On the consumer front, companies spend a lot of time, money, and resources measuring and evaluating the customer journey and all of the various touch points required to turn a browser into a buyer. To make that sale, they must garner trust, position themselves as an authority, and have social credibility.
Well, job candidates are making the same journey and it is just as important to gain their trust, position the company as an authority, and have strong social credibility. Yet, many companies still don’t take the time to examine the journey and touch points relevant to potential recruits.
In order to convert the job seeker into a recruit, it is essential to break down the various micro-moments of a candidate’s journey.
- The Website
This is typically the first stop for prospects trying to gain an understanding of your brand’s products, services, mission, history, values, philanthropic contribution, and overall personality. Historically, websites were simply informational, but today they serve as a two-way conduit for engagement with both consumers and employees. They still contain information, which must be conveyed in a succinct and meaningful way. This information is essential to build trust and credibility with both parties.
Building out a careers page containing a company overview and available job positions isn’t enough, anymore. Brands must have a richer and more engaging experience, just as they do on the consumer side, with well-thought-out imagery, videos, PDF’s, case studies, and other content. Employers must paint a clear picture of their values, and the sense of community they are trying to build.
- Job Descriptions
This is the first touch point a prospect usually has with your company. While you want to convey what differentiates you from competitors and detail the roles and responsibilities of the position, it’s important to construct job descriptions in a way that helps to pre-qualify ideal candidates for you. We often see job descriptions that focus more on how the individual will support the business as opposed to how the business will support the individual or his or her role in contributing to the larger mission and vision of the organization. The job description is your company’s first chance to share your culture, share what makes your team have pride, and share its vision for how others might see themselves in that environment.
Some of the best job descriptions we have seen tap into people’s imagination and frame the personality, characteristics, and even habits that individuals might employ to be successful within the position. They paint a picture of what lies ahead and describe how success will be measured. Lastly, they encourage candidates to share their vision of the contributions they will make to the organization, which is far more telling than a simple resume or standard cover letter.
- Culture Videos & Testimonials
Every brand has a narrative; a compelling story that defines its culture and builds community internally and externally. Some call it their “why.” Carefully crafting this story in a meaningful and unique way allows brands to quickly build rapport and trust. Video allows people to get a more transparent sense one’s personality, authenticity, and values. Company culture videos can illuminate the inner workings and common ground for current and prospective employees alike.
Like any business plan or communications message, methodically and strategically crafting your message is imperative. Poor questions, the wrong tone, or stumbling through a testimonial doesn’t provide true value and can be detrimental. When done strategically, company culture videos can attract people to your brand and reveal what it’s like to work there more effectively than words and photographs, alone.
- Cause Marketing
Millennials and Gen Z are aligning with philanthropic causes at a younger age than their parents. Brands are quickly learning that a social impact initiative is important for their brand. Tell the story of how your for-profit company has a larger impact through partnering with a non-profit organization. It can be a bridge that creates a stronger sense of community and engagement.
Either internally or externally, a strategic alliance with a non-profit can be a great way to highlight the impact your business is making. Patagonia, for example, recently used their $10 billion tax break, resulting from the Trump administration’s recent tax cuts, to help environmental causes in South America and Patagonia. The company’s continuous and sustained efforts have made a significant impact and consumers are clearly more than happy to pay a premium for outerwear and equipment if it means supporting the playground in which they use the gear.
It’s vital that you tell the right story and align with the right nonprofit, or all of this can be destructive to your brand. Being able to walk the talk, and get employees to go to these events, support these institutions financially, and sing the praises of your impact is more important than simply putting it on your website.
- Interviewing & Onboarding
Your employment brand doesn’t just stop when you get on the phone with a candidate or have him/her into the office for an interview. Correspondence back and forth, how you say no, and how you bring people into the organization is representative of your employment brand as well.
We often tell companies how you say “no” is just as important as how you tell candidates “yes.” If a candidate receives a form email or, worse, no email at all, the company’s reputation can be irreversibly damaged. It’s important to evaluate the entire journey, including the interview process, the people with whom they interact, the onboarding process, and even how promotions are handled.
If people feel like they are sold a bad product, they can return it and will leave a bad review. When you are talking about employees, though, the consequences are far greater than a simple product return and bad review. If employees feel like they were misled, the ripple effect can be far more damaging. If they remain with the company, they may be less productive, less engaged, and less valuable. If they leave for a competitor, vendor, or strategic partner, they will spread the word about their experience, damage the employer’s reputation, and make it more difficult to attract talent going forward.