In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of employer branding and why consistency and coordination between the marketing arm and the human resources arm are crucial. In this post, we’re going to look at a practical, step-by-step approach to building that brand by applying some fundamental branding tips to the employer branding context.
Generally, in working with organizations on these types of projects, there are five steps:
- Define what you would like your employer brand to be. This usually involves a session with key organizational leaders who, through a variety of exercises and discussions, come up with a list of up to 10 attributes they wish to be known for.
- Determine how your audience of interest currently views you. In this case, it would be employees/prospective employees.
- Identify the gaps. In some cases, these gaps may be areas where you are viewed less favorably than you would wish to be viewed. However, sometimes you may be viewed more favorably on an attribute than you had anticipated, or your audience may identify other attributes that you may wish to consider.
- Develop a plan to close the gaps so that there is alignment between how you wish to be perceived and how you are perceived. This plan would include strategies and tactics that would be related to communication and action. For example, some actions might be related to how job openings are communicated, others might be related to the manager’s role in the interview/hiring/onboarding process.
- Re-evaluate your performance in 12–18 months to see if progress has been made.
So who in your organization should be executing the steps above? The primary departments responsible for employer branding should be your HR group and the communication/marketing team. However, all departments must be involved because department and division leaders also have a significant impact on the employer brand experience.
On a final note, it’s important to stress that branding is not something that is defined by the organization; it’s defined by the audience. The best the organization can hope to do is to manage the brand experience so that it aligns with their desired brand image.
This is no less true with employer branding than with any other form of branding. How strong is your employer brand? Perhaps even more important: how aligned is your employer brand with your company/product/service brand? If you don’t know, it’s time to take some steps to find out.