There’s been a lot of discussion lately over how employers can navigate the growing skills gap in the American workforce. In addition to adjusting compensation levels, retraining workers and refocusing recruiting efforts, one of the most effective ways employers can help ensure they bring in the qualified candidates they need is one they should already be doing: strengthening their employer brand.
Companies like Pepsico and AT&T have recently begun their own employer branding campaigns with the aim to build awareness about what it means to work for them and attract more relevant candidates to their open positions. Already known for their strong consumer brands, these companies realize having a strong employment brand as well will give them an edge in recruiting the most in-demand workers by positioning them as an “employer of choice” in the eyes of quality job candidates.
So then what, exactly, constitutes a “strong” employer brand? Generally, there are five ways to tell if an employer has an employer brand that effectively communicates the right message to the right audiences, according to Keith Hadley, Senior Director of Employment Branding Services at CareerBuilder. Below is a checklist you can apply as you evaluate your own employment brand.
Five Tests of a Strong Employment Brand
- Is it attractive? Are the benefits and opportunities you offer attractive to potential job seekers? In order to answer this question, you first need to consider your audience. Keep in mind that workers’ wants and needs vary depending on age and situation. For example, while younger workers might seek employers who offer ample advancement opportunities, older workers might be more focused on flexible schedules and retirement benefits. Rather than having a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, tailor your message to speak to and attract different audiences.
- Is it authentic? Do you practice what you preach? Your brand should reflect the authentic work experience at your company; otherwise, I guarantee you people will find out: Thanks to sites like Yelp and Glassdoor, where employees discuss and rate their employers anonymously, it’s virtually impossible for companies to hide their true employer brands today. Not convinced? Search your company on one of these sites to see what people are saying about you. If you don’t like what you see, go straight to the source to see where you can make changes. Host an open forum to generate honest discussion and feedback or utilize employee surveys to find out your organizations of strength as well as opportunities for improvement.
- Is it embraced? Does everyone – from the top down – believe in the brand and live it each day? A brand is an extension of the vision your leaders have for you as an employer. A well-defined employment brand aligns employee and management expectations so that promises made during the hiring process are delivered. Therefore it is critical your leaders work each and every day to deliver on these promises and reinforce the brand.
- Is it unique? “Employment branding is about knowing who you are as an employer, but just as importantly, it’s about knowing who you aren’t,” employment branding expert Mary Delaney has said. Building a strong employment brand isn’t about trying to be Google or Apple; it’s about focusing on what makes your company unlike any other place to work. The best way to stand out is to find out which companies you might be competing with for workers, and then focus on what differentiates you from them.
- Is it consistent? In order for any branding to be effective, it must be consistent. Would job seekers get the same impression about your employer brand from your company’s career site as they would when visiting your Facebook page? What about if they saw a job ad online or read it in a newspaper? What about if they talked to one of your employees? If you want to make a lasting impression on job seekers, you must ensure the message you send out is consistent across every possible employee touch point.
Easy, right? Okay, yes, it’s a lot to take in, and taking on such an all-encompassing initiative can be overwhelming. Fortunately, however, there are third party service providers available to help you evaluate your current employment brand and look at ways to enhance your efforts. CareerBuilder, for instance, offers Employment Branding services – including candidate and employee research, brand message development and creative – to help companies of all sizes build a foundation for a strong employment brand.
“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue.”
Bezos’ statement is just as true of employment branding. The efforts you make today to recruit and retain quality employees will help your business stay competitive in the long run.Related
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