The employer brand may not be a top priority for all organizations right now, amidst the sudden changes brought about by the pandemic, but it still needs to be addressed. Perhaps you’re not investing a lot of effort into your branding right now. However, the critical decisions and directions you move the organization in have the power to define your employer brand.
Consider companies that are prioritizing profits over the health and safety of their workers, or those who are cutting larger-than-necessary portions of their workforce in order to cater to shareholders. Whether we like it or not, these important business decisions are going to define the employer brand. Mark Cuban said it best: “How companies treat employees during this pandemic will define their brand for decades.”
The Employer Brand is Always Evolving
In simple terms, the employer brand is how you communicate your organization’s identity to employees, applicants, and customers. It’s your organization’s personality. But just as the organization is complex and made up of a dynamic and diverse workforce, so is the employer brand. It is not simply owned by you or a management team, but rather every employee’s communications both internally and externally work to shape this. This means that cultivating your employer brand is much more about cultivating a positive company culture than about creating a catchy slogan to define your product or services.
The employer brand can have a great impact on your organization’s ongoing success. The brand you cultivate has the ability to attract and retain top talent, giving you a competitive edge against other organizations looking for that same talent. Right now, the turmoil caused by the pandemic gives us the opportunity to define the employer brand by the decisions we make.
Before the pandemic, recruiting was a top challenge in the health and human services industry, with many executives indicating a lack of qualified applicants as their greatest challenge. While the pandemic may have put many things on hold, it’s likely your organization will at some point need to attract more talent. In fact, many human service organizations have seen increased demand for certain programs during these challenging times. This makes it all the more important to find the very best talent and bring them in to your organization. And the employer brand can contribute to your success here.
Building Your Employer Brand
So what does your employer brand look like and how can you cultivate it further? To start, think about your organization’s mission, vision, and core values. How do you communicate these aspects of your organization both internally and externally? Are you communicating about these things? As you start to think more and more about what makes your organization unique and what makes it great, you can start to communicate and incorporate this messaging into things like the company mission statement or your explanation of core values to a potential candidate for example.
The Employer Brand is also Online
With more and more individuals working from home and staying at home, the internet has become an even more important mode of communication for many. We’re relying on technology now more than ever to stay connected, which means our exposure to different companies and brands has increased as well. You should take your employer brand online, creating a presence with it on social media, your applicant site, and external career sites. Continue to reiterate your messaging about the positive aspects about your company to help make them become synonymous with your organization’s name.
Candidate Branding Strategies
As we’ve discussed the importance of employer branding for attracting candidates to your organization, the online candidate branding experience is also important. You’ll want to use these online channels like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to provide a snapshot of your organization’s culture. Giving candidates a glimpse into your organization, through job descriptions, photos, videos, and even employee testimonials, can help applicants understand what to expect and to help them become excited about the opportunity to work at your organization.
Employee Branding Strategies
While attracting top talent is great for growing your organization, you’ll also want to use your employer brand to help engage your existing employees. Company-wide communications and news articles are a great way to improve transparency and alignment among your workforce. Think about different ways to reach employees and provide them with information that’s relevant to them. And while a lot of this can be accomplished online through internal websites or email communications, don’t forget that there’s no substitute for face-to-face conversations.
Employees that understand the organization’s strategic vision and their individual role in contributing to the organization’s success can be great assets. Not only are they more engaged and more productive, but they can also become champions of your employer brand, spreading the word through their network about how great it is to be a part of your organization. This can tie directly back to your candidate branding strategy when you incentivize employees to channel their personal networks to help refer top talent.
Whether we pay attention to it or not, the employer brand continues to bear great importance for organizations across all industries. Especially now, consumers are keeping a close eye on how organizations are reacting to changes caused by the pandemic. And they’re using this information to define your employer brand for themselves. It’s up to you to take control of your employer brand and use it as a strategic differentiator that will help your organization thrive in the future.