Developing your own employer brand
Elisa Hendricks, a former managing director for Midlyn Day Communications and an expert at helping companies attract, retain and develop top talent, described the need for businesses to develop their own employer brand. “To attract the best and brightest employees, you need to market your company,” said Elisa.
What is an employer brand? "Companies who don’t think they have one actually do," said Elisa. "An employer brand is what people are saying about you when you're not in the room." She stressed the importance of connecting how you or your leadership communicate the business vision of your company and the human resource initiatives you participate in to develop a strong employer brand. "You have to figure out what it really is like to work for your company and then identify the good and bad." Elisa said that "branding is doing the right things and communicating it." It makes sense that attracting and retaining people who share the same values of your company, your employer brand, will result in a higher level of loyalty.
The nuts and bolts of creating an employer brand include developing a promise by determining the attributes of your company and selling your strengths to potential candidates, using exit interviews and employee focus groups to establish your brand reputation, and positioning your brand by identifying your target audience and knowing what today's employees want. "An employer brand is more than just a logo and a catch phrase," said Elisa. " You have to engage workers by giving them what they want — respect, tools to succeed and meaningful work."
She quoted Peter Van Stolk, Founder of Jones Soda: "I can't tell you something is cool. You have to hear it from someone you think is cool." Same thing with employer brands: if your own employees are saying good things, you know you’re doing something right.
Tips for developing an employer brand:
- Look at your competition and see what they are doing. Learn what works and what doesn't.
- Employees prefer to work for companies that treat them with respect. Ensure your corporate culture provides employees with tools and techniques to engage and empower.
- Not only use exit interviews to gauge employee perceptions, make use of "stay interviews" in which current employees are interviewed consistently about what is and isn't working for them.
- Use employee referral programs. Employees who refer friends and colleagues to your company must think your company is worth working for.