- There is no doubt about the importance of attracting clients to your brand and making them love your business. But very often we forget about the other side of the coin - the employee aka talent brand.
- Each one of the people involved in your company should contribute to the creation of an exemplary talent brand in the market.
- And how you can achieve that and why it’s so important, you will only find out by reading more about why it’s the right way to go about your business.
No doubt, ‘Personal Branding’ has been in the spotlight for a while now (and yes, I’m ‘guilty’ for it myself being an absolute advocate for it as I have a passion for branding in general and having worked with so many candidates recently on identifying and optimising their personal brand to get them ready for their next dream job). But not much attention has been paid to the other side of the fence - the client/employer brand.
But let’s get the facts straight - with not only the lack of highly qualified candidates, especially in the digital industry which are clearly in high demand, but also with the abundance of information the internet provides, making companies very transparent and giving candidates an idea whether they want to be associated with them, it is time for companies to realise the importance of having a strong brand.
And I don’t even mean an employer brand anymore, but a talent brand- a brand candidates would fight to get in and give their best to contribute to the company’s success. Clearly, that’s the goal of employers, attracting and getting one of those unicorns on board by being this talent brand. But the question is, what does it take to become the next Google or Apple in your Industry?
Have what it takes
Firstly, companies need to be aware that, whether intentional and no matter how small or large, every company has a brand and a reputation.
Some have a stronger and better standing in the market than others, but still, every company has a brand image and it’s up to ALL staff - from junior to C-level - to shape and form it favorably.
The very fast changing and shifting workforce (think of millennials who will make up more than 50% overall by 2025), has very different expectations to their workplace than baby boomers have:
- Clear and quick career progression
- Genuine purpose for what they are doing
- Flexible working arrangements
- Increased use of advanced technology
are only a few aspects millennial employees are looking for when deciding where they are going to work.
Reputable brands, preferably ones supporting a good cause, offering the work-life-integration they are after as well as giving them the opportunity to progress within the company that fits with their idea of a perfect career, are some of the expectations from millennials that employers are facing.
Companies who realise this shift early, can use it to their advantage, align it with their brand vision, and act accordingly.
To get the best, most engaged and motivated staff, employers need to have a competitive advantage and create an environment that future staff are proud of working for.
And there are a few facts contributing to it. Most important though is that the brand vision and image is in line with those of the candidates the company wants to attract and one they want to be associated with - but a strong and reputable brand doesn’t happen overnight unfortunately.
It’s not a quick fix
Like with every other product and service, you must figure out your:
- company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- point of difference that makes talents choose you over your competitor.
Important is to get the buy in from the leadership team in terms of what the company should stand for as well as how to go about realising this vision as without them being genuine advocates, the best efforts will fail.
Struggle to get the buy in? Arm yourself with facts like a strong talent brand reduces cost per hire by up to 50% and lowers turnover rates by 28%.
Once you have done your homework, it is time to put the pieces together!
- Mind the gaps - Where are the inconsistencies?
- Do your materials match your research results and if so, across all channels, online and offline?
Look for patterns - What themes bubble to the top? Are there any major discrepancies and is the feedback from your audience in line with what you want to stand for?
Handle the truth - If you learn something unfavorable, address it. Don’t attempt quick fixes: slapping a new picture on your website and social media sites won’t cut it. Engage with professionals and use it as opportunity for a clear slate to get bigger and better!
Don’t underestimate the power of social influence (online and offline)
These days, more than ever the Internet provides transparency about everything and everyone.
Being accessible and providing information to your target market through social media channels is great and a good start, but having channels set up and managing them properly are two pairs of shoes: doing it halfhearted or inconsistent can damage the brand more than not doing it at all, so make sure the messaging on each of the selected channels is appropriate and adjust the style for each of the mediums you engage with your target group(s) on.
There is nothing more powerful than …
…word of mouth recommendations!
Whilst we all love the internet, we are still human beings and trust a person (especially who we personally know) more than the marketing material with the shining and smiling models who tell us how wonderful a company is. As recruiters, we work closely with talents day in day out, often over years, establish a trusting relationship. We get to know each other, we work out the next career opportunity, what the next best move is to reach the ultimate career goal and, of course, there are conversations about which company is most in line with what they are looking for.
Using recruiters as your brand ambassadors can make a big difference in terms of whether a candidate goes for a job with a company or not, especially when the facts don’t entirely speak for themselves (eg the salary on offer is (under) average compared to similar roles in other industries or companies, the company operates in a not so sexy sector but has a lot of potential to become the next big thing in its environment etc.).
This is when you can use recruiters as extended HR arm and ambassador, because it’s our job to give candidates the full lay down of facts, especially about the not-so-obvious facts like long term vision or preparing for an international expansion that can be the deciding factor.
It has not happened just once that candidates wanted to withdraw their application after knowing who the company was due to bad reviews on social sites, but eventually put their head into the ring after an honest conversation and clarification and often even joined their team.
And the moral of the story is …
Clearly, it is not an easy or quick way to become the talent brand and the employer of choice, but in the end, the effort is worth it, as it means you attract the best talents who don’t just want to work for a company but want to make a significant impact and are proud of being a part of the overall journey.
Don’t forget - high flyers attract the next generation of high flyers, so you want to stay on top of the game and be ready for the next recruitment wave.
It’s important to realise that building a brand is everyone’s responsibility, so be open minded, listen to what people have to say about the company, what expectations talents have and work with (external) trusted advisors who can help identifying the gold nugget that makes your company the next Google in your Industry.