“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” – Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin
Branding is not an idle thing. It has been compared to an airplane because once a company gets the big metal bird off the ground, the flight is not over. If left to soar without any propulsion, a brand will surely lose all height it may have gained at one time. While the effort to create a strong employer brand seems challenging, companies are finding that it works. Out of more than 100 respondents from varying sizes of organizations, 80% believe that their successful branding has brought down costs, increased top candidate applications and made them top of mind as employers of choice.
Employer brand, like company culture, is definitely receiving a few bad reps. That’s mostly because many companies are seen throwing big budgets and employee time trying to simply improve what many consider something out of their own hands. While it’s true that employer branding is more than an internal campaign and new logo, it isn’t completely out of a company’s control. Yes, most companies cannot build a brand like Google or Coca Cola, but that doesn’t mean the initiative to create a strong and positive reputation is wasted. Brandemix found in their Employer Branding Survey that 55% of companies attribute a recent employer branding initiative to an increase in career site traffic, employee engagement and quality of hire.
The biggest advocates of employer brand are the ones who come into the office everyday and keep the company afloat. That is right, employees are the brand ambassadors and should be considered when taking steps to improve it. For hard facts, put together a short employee survey (like the one below) that will gather what employees feel the company is doing correctly while revealing what may need improvement. Consider new hires as well. Ask questions about expectations and if they were met or fell short. Leave nothing off the table because employees want honesty. In fact, 92% of employees say they find honesty to be the number one most important trait found in managers.
While hard facts and employee opinions are important to the development of employer brand, there is something important in the softer side of the company. This is the story that the employer wants to tell, the environment the company has created and wants to continue creating. Bring in social media and published content to not only report the things the company is doing well, but to tell the story of the company.
Employee outings, the office culture, appropriate jokes and projects all have a place in the eye of the public. The result could be happier, more proud employees and a higher income of interested, qualified applicants. Not to mention, it is more likely that employees will refer candidates to the company. Referred candidates are 3-4 times more likely to be hired and have lower turnover rates.
There is no end to employer branding and while that seems exhausting, it’s actually wonderful news. While it demands attention, cultivating reputation means there is something worth growing behind it. A company doesn’t sit stagnate, so neither should it’s brand. In 2010, Facebook had 600+ million users, Twitter had 26 million and Google+ didn’t even exist. In just 3 years, Facebook grew to 1.15 billion, Twitter hit 554.7 million and Google+ had 1 billion registered users. The point is, times change and not one company is left unaffected in some way by new technology, trends and protocols. What was hip three years ago, may not be the end all be all today.
If an organization stops moving with employee wants, it will probably begin losing appeal to candidates as well. The most comprehensive employer branding stories don’t just take distribution channels, internal programs or managerial training as the solution; they devise strategies that incorporate all these things. Companies are reporting that employee branding initiatives are working and leaving positive effects in their wake, but only when planned and executed properly. While some argue that employee branding is nothing to be concerned with, others are growing better relationships with their employees and developing ways to attract and retain talent.
Bio: Julie Salerno, VP Sales
Julie Salerno provides guidance and leadership to GreenJobInterview’s sales team and is responsible for the ongoing growth of the company’s revenues and profitability. She is involved in strategic planning, helping to managing the company’s resources, and improving its business processes.
Previously, she served as a partner and senior executive recruiter at Personnel Strategies, Inc.
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