Everyday we are consciously and subconsciously inundated with messages involving who and what companies and organizations are all about. Although Branding may be an activity more frequently engaged by marketing and advertising professionals, companies have begun to investigate on how these principals can help them create and maintain their own internal brand.
Who’s the target? None other than their very own employees. While employer branding in many ways may seem similar to consumer branding – the two are quite different. Have you been thinking about how employer branding may assist you in developing a dynamic workforce? View the 6 photos above and take a look at six “things to consider” before you embark on your journey to brand your workforce.
Find out what they're saying
What would employees tell a friend about working with your company or organization? Yes, it’s time to do a little internal research. So, what are they saying? . . . .Like what you hear? Start communicating this feedback to potential candidates, stakeholders, and consumers/clientele. Not a fan of the feedback? Make plans to bridge the disconnect. Find out what you need to do to make sure their experience is indicative of the workforce brand you hope to build.
How do you get that valuable information from those “yet to become a part of your dynamic workforce”? Consider these points below in researching outside the organization to learn more about your target employees:
You need to . . . .
- Know about your target groups wants and needs from an employer (Extra Tip!! you can’t market yourself without connecting to and offering something based on their wants and needs)
- Know how the target group perceives you as an employer
- Know where you are positioned in relation to your competition
Retain your ambassadors
The best way to build or strengthen your employer brand is to hang on to the human capital you have invested in. Covering Step 1 will be essential in assisting you in doing so effectively.
Joey V. Price, the CEO of Jumpstart:HR, advises companies to “proactively map out employee development & succession plan strategies”. A recent survey found that over half (55%) of job seekers were actively looking for growth and development opportunities in their next job (Jumpstart:HR survey, 2012).
Your existing employees are not only ambassadors to your employer brand but to your company brand as well. Encouraging them to engage external industry communities -on and off line- is an effective tool in supporting retention.
An employees individuality encompasses their own personal brand, if it flows with your corporate brand – you’re good to go. This should mean they’re representing you well!
Build and employee advocacy program
Let’s take the perspective that your employees are the builders of brand relationships. If Customer Experience Management (CEM) is about managing the consumer emotional journey in engaging your product/service offering, then wouldn’t the Employee Experience Management (EEM) focus on delivering the brand experience?
This is where your new EAP comes in. Everyone wants to feel good about what they’ve done, what they do, and what they will accomplish in the future. Creating a EAP and properly training your workforce will empower your employees, give them a voice, & make them feel as though they are making a difference. Take a look at the Employer Brand Relationship Model here.
Try some Applied Personal Branding
Yes, we just said that supporting an employee’s individuality in turn supports the employer brand (Step 2). While most see this as a contradiction, the most successful companies understand and embrace that the individual & corporate brand can cooperate rather than compete.
With the right perspective, it is possible for companies to build on employee individual traits.
What is Applied Personal Branding?
“A strategy that is based on the principal of personal plus corporate NOT personal vs. corporate; when employees are clear about who they are, what makes them exceptional (self-discovery), and they have been educated with an understanding of the corporate brand objectives, they can apply their unique skills and expertise to activate the corporate goals” – as defined by William Arruda, an expert in personal branding.
Remember, individual & employee brand identity can coexist, in peace.
Define your EVP
So, what is your EVP? Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) can be loosely defined as what gives your current and future employees a reason to work for you. This should also reflect your company’s competitive advantage.
Identifying, defining, & managing your unique employer offer can provide you with the following benefits
- Increase in talent pools (top talent wants to work for you!)
- Stronger employee engagement (the talent you acquired still wants to be with you!)
- Decrease in salary costs (It didn’t take much to get them there! (For better or worse, more 'attractive' employers are often able to pay below premium)
Communication is key, but key to what
Key to everything! Each of the preceding steps should involve targeted communications. Communication without strategy & a clear defined purpose will be a waste of time and money.
Once you’ve done all this great work, you’ll need clear methods of communicating your employer brand. Your ambassadors will be a key source of support. But what should you communicate?
- Communicate the vision: something key about brands, they constantly remind their target consumers who they are . . . . so, share & demonstrate your vision – consistently.
- Communicate equally: leave no department un-turned! From the janitor to the President, every department matters & communication will bridge gaps & engage everyone at all levels.
- Communicate informally & interactively: Why informal? . . . so things can be relatable. Why does it need to be interactive? . . . . so you can continuously engage – suggestions, feedback, ideas will only help you face challenges and build a strong brand.
- Communicate the ‘living brand: Communicate acts & action! Additionally, overtime your brand may take on a personality of it’s one, if done well this personality will likely begin to impact if not define your organization’s culture. Leadership & ambassadors should be great role models on how to live your employer brand.
- Communicate Success: This will be your message in demonstrating the “why” behind your employer the brand. Why does the company do what it does? Why are employees so important to the overall picture? Why does their work matter? Communicating Success will allow you to reinforce your vision, start to finish.