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Employment Branding > Talent Acquisition

Do You Need to Define Your Employment Brand? Five Tests

Pop quiz: Does your organization have an employment brand? No? Wrong answer. Every organization has an employment brand. Whether it’s defined or not: That is the question – the answer to which could either put you way ahead of the competition when it comes to recruitment… or leave you way behind.

If clearly defined (and clearly communicated), your employment brand can be one of your biggest recruiting assets. The following five tests to determine if it’s time to define – or redefine – your employment brand.

Test #1:  Ask five employees, leaders or – better yet – recruiters in your organization to describe what your company’s employment brand is. If you get five different answers back – or some version of your corporate brand – you need to define your employment brand. Your employment brand should be clear, consistent and known throughout your organization. It is crucial that your organization’s leaders are not only clear on what your employment brand is, but that they work to “live the brand” each and every day; otherwise, how can you expect the same of your employees? As for your employees – they are your best brand ambassadors, and everything they say about working for your company is a direct reflection of your employment brand.

Test #2:  Go to the careers section of your company website. Would an interested candidate be able to answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” just from visiting this page? In other words, do you talk about any of the following: work-life balance, advancement opportunities, career growth, compensation and benefits, or your unique culture? If you’re not clearly communicating your company’s employee value proposition, you need to define your employment brand. Most companies waste valuable “real-estate” on their career site’s main page talking about their products, their history, their mission and values; however, in a 2011 survey of 4,500 job candidates nationwide, most candidates say they are simply looking for answers to one question: “What will this company do for me?”

Test #3: Now go to the careers section of one of your competitor’s websites. How does that message compare to yours? How does it contrast? (Or does it?) Would a candidate visiting both sites (yours and your competitor’s) be able to pinpoint what you offer employees that this company doesn’t? Would that candidate be more compelled to work for you over your competitor (or vice versa?) For example, many companies’ career sites communicate some version of the phrase “We care about our people,” or “It’s our people who make the difference.”  But a company with a truly defined employment brand will find a way to avoid these clichés and be able to communicate what it is that defines and differentiates your workplace experience. For inspiration, check out Zappos, Google, Starbucks or Chipotle, all of whom offer a unique and distinguishable employment branding message.

Test #4:  Conduct an organic search for mentions of your company on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Next go to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. What are other people saying about your company? If it’s not positive – or if they don’t seem to be saying much at all – you need to work on your employment brand.  While you can’t always control what people are saying about your brand, defining your brand can help create both positive sentiment around it and larger brand awareness (which I’ll discuss in greater detail in the second part of this series).

Test #5:  Search for your company name using the Google Adwords Keyword tool, and see how many people per month search for your brand. This will give you a quick, free indicator of your relative corporate or consumer brand awareness.  Now, look up how many are searching for your company plus the word “jobs” or “careers.”  Many companies are surprised to learn how little organic awareness and interest there is in their careers.

Why Bother? Benefits of a Defined Employment Brand

As CareerBuilder’s Rosemary Haefner can attest, defining your employment brand will enhance the way you recruit candidates, retain employees, and grow your organization. When you clarify who you are as an employer, you can also clarify what it means to be successful in your organization and which areas of the organization you need to invest in moving forward. Furthermore, studies have shown correlations between a strong employment brand and increased revenues and profit margins, and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Look for part two of this series, where I’ll look more in depth at the benefits of a defined employment brand.

Keith Hadley

About Keith Hadley

Keith Hadley is the employment branding practice leader at CareerBuilder. Hadley has over 20 years of experience helping organizations grow by aligning the human elements with business strategy. As a consultant with RSM McGladrey's Strategic Planning Group, Hadley worked in Paris, Frankfurt and Chicago helping small, owner-managed businesses integrate principles of marketing, business development and organizational behavior. Today, Hadley leads CareerBuilder's employment branding practice, building research-based brands and launching them across an increasingly complex and fragmented digital media environment. Hadley works with large and small business alike with a passion to see them attract and retain the people they need to be successful. Hadley received his undergraduate from Baylor University in History and French. He earned his MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago.
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