Employer Branding (EB) is both the art and the science of employee experience storytelling. It’s the organizational identity related to the employee experience. It’s the emotional response to what it feels like to work at an organization.
According to LinkedIn, 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agree that employer branding has a significant impact on hiring. It’s no wonder why more and more organizations are investing in a comprehensive employer brand strategy.
The world of Employer Branding is changing quickly. Here are 10 EB to-dos to help your organization rock 2018:
1) Look in the mirror – It’s important to gain a strong understanding of who you are as an employer and your market position. It’s time to stop trying to be someone else and begin finding the magic within your own organization. This is done through dedicated time discovering one’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This is the “why” around an organization. It’s what attracts and retains top talent and an organization’s promise to its people.
2) Lose the glam in video content – There is a reason why candidates flock to employer review sites. They are trying to gain an understanding of the true employee experience. But often employer review sites are also job portals. This means reviews in those sites may not be a comprehensive sample of the employee population, but rather those seeking a job change.
Effective EB helps share stories related to the employee experience allowing candidates to gain a glimpse into the real organizational culture. This helps round out content so that candidates also hear from employees who are happily employed at the organization. This is not to be confused with creating a perfected image of the employee experience, but rather providing more of a balanced window into the culture.
This is where it is less about production quality and more about authenticity. While high quality professionally produced video content may look great, it can erode brand trust if overly produced.
2018 is about raw and real video. We are talking vlogs and selfie style moment capturing created by employees. Talent attraction and HR can certainly support the mission, but the true stars are the employees. Character and authenticity trump polish.
3) But first a selfie! – It doesn’t need to be a selfie per se but scrap the stock images. Nothing is worse than seeing a career site where if you removed the company logo, the reader would have no idea which company it was.
Hire a local photographer and capture the fun, silly, and human side of your business. Select a photographer who is not a “portrait studio” shutterbug. Hire an artist and give them the creative freedom to wow you.
At Powerhouse Talent, we like to share the employer brand strategy and creative vision with our photographer and let them go wild.
4) Power to the people – Employee generated content and employee advocacy are hugely important not just for credibility and brand trust, but also for building employee pride. Open your blogs and vlogs up to everyone. Talent Attraction can curate content to ensure it is appropriate but empowering the voice of your team has never been more important.
5) Rolling social and feed takeovers – There is a shift occurring where organizations with strong employer brand maturity are passing the baton to their employees. Social feeds are being run as a collective force versus a corporate function. Employees are showing “a day in the life” not in an over-produced PR campaign video, but rather through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, etc. We are not learning solely about someone’s day to day job, but we are meeting their dog on their early morning walk, grabbing coffee with them on their way into the office, and hitting up a meeting with them. They show the world the people behind the logo.
6) It’s like the Hokey Pokey – You put you whole self in, not just your work self. Work/life integration is the real work/life balance. Modern employers are embracing flexibility and agile collaboration to help their employees achieve both their personal and professional goals. This integration will continue to play a strong role in EB storytelling practices in 2018.
7) Be purposefully purposeful – Employer branding content should be focused around the highest possible good an employee experience can provide. This can manifest in a purpose-driven mission, employee creative freedom, or self exploration. Purpose matters!
Author Salim Ismail in his book Exponential Organizations describes a common characteristic in exponential organizations as being the notion of having a “massive transformative purpose”. The world-class talent community craves so much more than simply impacting to the bottom line. EB storytelling will dig deep in 2018 and find its massive transformative purpose. This may be innovation, reimagining an industry, creating social good, and/or skill enrichment.
8) It’s game day! – Gamification is a great way to engage talent high up in the recruitment funnel. If you are not familiar with the recruitment funnel, click here. Gamification can be used via formalized games that interest a passive candidate and prompt them to solve challenges and puzzles, participate in hackathons, etc. In the process, they get to “know, like, and trust” the organization. This helps build awareness and allows talent to descend lower in the recruitment funnel.
Organizations also solve real life problems via gamification and crowd sourcing solutions by using money and prizes. This not only helps advance business strategy, but also builds awareness for passive talent. When the time is right and passive candidates become active, there is greater depth to the relationship versus simply viewing a job posting.
9) A landing page is all the rage! – Landing or “squeeze pages”, are not new concepts in digital marketing. These tools can be excellent employer brand building mechanisms. If you are not familiar with the concept of a squeeze page, you can check out our ERE article here. These help socialize your employer brand and EVP with passive talent. Perhaps an industry white paper or webinar led talent to this content locked behind a landing page. From there, the candidate opts in by sharing their email and first name. They then gain immediate access to the desired content.
This is your best content, your thought leaders in action. Prospective talent gains instant access to this information, as well as gaining exposure to the incredible talent within the walls of the organization. This further builds the ever-sought after “know, like, and trust”, thus allowing talent to descend further in the recruitment funnel.
Once on the email list, it’s all about nurturing. Read more on this topic here. This should not be confused with a job alert, but rather a relationship and brand building opportunity.
There are many more tips and tactics related to recruitment advertising such as programmatic ads, high precision targeting and retargeting, and more, but our focus for this article is employer brand building.
10) Try before you buy – A big focus for 2018 is a more captivating candidate experience that enhances the employer brand. This may be in-person or even via virtual reality (VR).
Candidate experience optimization continues to be very important. Organizations are reimagining ways to engage talent to showcase their employer brand during the candidate journey. For example, this may mean inviting talent into the workplace for a day of exploration beyond a standard interview. This may include peer lunches, interesting skill challenges, or casual tours of the facility and neighbourhood. Organizations are also exploring VR to build immersive candidate experiences that more realistically present the role and the culture, as well as use that same VR as an assessment tool.
Think of it like home staging. It’s about helping talent envision themselves as part of the team as they embark on the candidate journey. Only one person will get the job, but a human, interesting, and comfortable “interview” experience will not soon be forgotten. This not only enhances an employer brand, but also a consumer brand.
There is a reason our branded hashtag at Powerhouse Talent is #HumanBeforeResources. We are people before an employee number. A career should be more than a job you clock in and out of. We believe it should be a community you join, where a full life is enriched.
Employer branding efforts can be a process of organizational self-discovery, change for betterment, and a transformation to a new level of engagement. It all starts with understanding your “why” and then trusting your people to help share the story. After all, if we cannot trust good judgement for a blog post or a selfie, why are they part of the business? This is the difference between a recruitment marketing campaign and a true cultural metamorphosis via the power of an employer brand.