“For a brand to ring true, and have real authenticity to it, it must start from the inside of the company. It must be inextricably linked to the soul – the very DNA – of the company. The company must live and breathe its brand from the inside out.”
– Daryl Weber
What is Employer Brand and Why Should I Care?
Most companies understand the need for product branding – decide on your audience, then craft an engaging story and select promotion platforms. You see the need to create brand awareness to set your product apart from competitors. It’s obvious.
Yet few companies do a good job of translating these basics into creation and management of their employer brand. Same battle – different field.
Let’s start by talking a little about brand in general terms.
Again, if we think of product brand, it’s the image that we project to our customers and prospects, and the promise that we make when we talk about the products we build.
How is your company/product unique? What value does it bring/why is it relevant? How do people feel about your product (good, bad, indifferent) How well known are you/your products?
How is an employer brand different? Shift the optics from customers and prospects to employees, prospective employees and also to all of the people who influence these – the community, their friends, neighbours and family.
Why does Employer Brand Matter?
(hint: ITS MORE THAN RECRUITMENT)
Your brand is the story that is told about your company when you aren’t in the room. When this is a positive, compelling and authentic story, you attract great people. You also build a strong culture, with great employee engagement and retention.
Organic recruitment – When your recruitment message comes not only from marketing, but also from employees and from other word of mouth, it is more powerful and authentic.
Motivation & Engagement – When your brand reflects purpose and instills pride, it becomes the reason why people get out of bed and go the extra mile for you and your customers.
As we all know, engaged employees deliver more and produce better results.
Retention – When brand reflects purpose and alignment with personal career objectives, your team will power through tough days and stay engaged through challenges.
Define your WHO
So where can you start if you want to define your employer brand and craft a compelling and authentic message?
Much like product branding – we start with the target market. What does the ideal team look like? Who are the ideal employees who you want to attract?
Think about the company you have now. Now think about the company you want to have in 6 months, 1 year, 3-5 years. Ask yourself the following questions:
Who is on your ideal team?
What are their skills & experience?
How are they working?
These questions may help:
- Who are your customers and who will best serve them?
- What products do you develop now, and what’s on the road map – who will build them?
- Think about your leaders and how they’ll develop strategy and execution plans – What are the characteristics of your ideal leaders?
Once you’ve define the audience, you can get to:
Crafting a Message that will Inspire.
Let’s get to the heart of what motivates your employees. (hint: It isn’t cash or free lunch)
In Daniel Pink’s video ‘The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us’, we learn that, when it comes to creative and intellectual roles, money is not a motivator. What really drives people to perform is Autonomy, Purpose and Mastery.
In all of our conversations with top performers across technical, business, and leadership roles this is consistent. Money is rarely the reason, unless they feel unfairly paid now and hence undervalued. Everyone wants to make an impact – both personally by being a valued and important member of the team, and as part of a company that is doing something important.
Talented professionals want to be challenged and use their unique talents. They want to be recognized and respected. They want to work with good, smart colleagues – to be part of a tribe.
This means that your branding message needs to tell the story of your purpose, and how the people you hire will make an impact. You need to convey authentically that you value and care for your people, and that you trust them to make decisions. You need to show how you enable employees to grow personally and further master their craft.
Think of the companies that you’ve admired as employers, and you will see that they convey these messages with their branding, and that they can tell stories of how they deliver on this promise.
Does this knowledge change your story and how you would describe your company?
Stay tuned for our next instalments in this series, where you’ll learn about when and where to deliver this message to the best people, and how to ensure that your company is delivering on the brand promise.