Idealpeople Blog: Employer Branding - Simple Tips

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Employer Branding - Simple Tips

Idealpeople are evangelical about Employer Branding (AKA Recruitment Branding). We help businesses who don't know why or how to get it right, and we have been fortunate enough to work with worldwide winners who are already doing it right. It's this combined learning and advisory experience which has helped us to develop pretty hot skills in the whole subject area.

So, here are our first in a series of several tips, targetting employers who lack the time or resources to undertake a large scale, multi-channel recruitment branding excersise.

Do you actually know WHY people joined your firm, despite countless offers from your competition at the time of joining up?
How about what makes them STAY despite the stress, the grind of commuting, long hours, headhunter calls....?

What makes employer branding different to product branding (or your other related marketing/corporate literature) is that it's about something much more intangible, dynamic, and harder to fathom. Yep - That'll be Your People. Positioning your company as an employer of choice in the context of this global war for talent is absolutely key to get right if you want to compete. Seriously.

Recruitment Branding (Employer Branding) is hard to initiate, manage and develop, as very often, HR, Line Managers, Board Directors are "too busy to contribute" to what they may see as pointless, cheezy, or unrelated to core business activity.

What's everybody else doing?
The purpose of this is not to plagarise. Employer Brand should be an individual thing, and it's important that you don't just steal the good bits of someone elses external PR. If you do, you will have loads of people happily sign up contracts of employment and then quickly leave as they discover your 'commitment to personal development and training' brand-bite, actually means that you get to sit next to someone more senior than you who just says "watch me do this, and don't let me have to explain it twice" There's loads of training, but it's all on the job - our external budget was shot in 2002..."

Start With Your Starters
When you next hire someone, for any post - ask them WHY they joined your business rather than another.
You may think you know, but the chances are you will be surprised. Make sure this information is documented, and refreshed every time you have a new starter.

Get the Story from the Staff
Ask your existing staff the same question. Identify what it was that they identified with, whether it was about company mission, values, people, tech stack, whatever. Again, I can garuantee that it was nothing to do with your Marketing Brochures, and probably very little to do with the Coffee they had at the interview, your big logo stuck to the side of the building, and very often, not even the money that sealed the deal. Make it a priority to find out why they stay with you (Especially the long serving/suffering - the 'lifers', if you have any who have been constant performers or resilient to change. Once you know why your current staff joined and stay, document, and keep.

Surprisingly, so few businesses make the time to do this. Aside from providing you with a very basic/simplistic overview of the qualities you aleready have which make you desirable as an employer, this will also make the staff feel involved. Involvement is key to staff engagement, motivation... or so a wise HR pro' once told me. So, before you ask them, explain the purpose of your questioning.

Explain that you are trying to take some steps to refresh the image of the company to prospective employees in order that you can continue to hire people as talented and brilliant as those you already have. This garuantees to make them feel all warm and cosy inside, and they will then (over 10 mins or so) be able to give you tangible reasons for them being happily stuck with you. Patterns will emerge.

Stay tuned for further actionable ideas on how to take your company forward through employer branding.

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