The concept of “Employer Brand” has undergone a dramatic change in recent times. Content is shaping how people find and connect with each other. Organizations now have to become content creators to remain relevant. They cannot rely on external media—paid or earned—alone. They have to invest in creating “owned media”. For an employer brand this means media that showcases the organization’s culture in the form of articles, presentations, videos on the websites, LinkedIn company pages, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels. This is necessary as otherwise the average Joe will only see the reviews and ratings from employees and alumni on a wide variety of subjects ranging from culture to salaries to interviews on sites like Glassdoor.
Importance of employer brand
One of the biggest challenges that companies face is attracting great talent. Having an employer brand strategy would help in attracting good talent by communicating the distinctive Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for specific talent segments.
Secondly, brand image and company reputation also play a major role in how candidates perceive the attractiveness of the company. It helps the recruiting team move from “outreach” (sales model) to build “inbound” (marketing model) talent.
Thirdly, with the proliferation of new communication and media platforms, organizations are required to make their presence known through such platforms or be at the mercy of reviews by current and former employees that may build the wrong perception about the company. Companies have the opportunity to do so by leveraging digital media. According to a CEB research, a good employer branding strategy helps in attracting better culturally fit candidates.
Listen to the Web
HR needs to “listen” to conversations on the social web to know what people are talking about it, its leadership and even its competitors. This can be as simple as checking search engines regularly or using sophisticated tools that track large number of conversations and judge the sentiments of the audience. Hiring managers need to be showcased as thought leaders in the area and their professional profiles have to tell a consistent brand story.
It is essential that top leaders, recruiters and hiring managers start thinking of themselves as brand ambassadors. It’s great if the CEO is active on Twitter and constantly looking for talent as well. HR also needs to enable employees to become brand ambassadors of the organization and empower them to share curated content and gamify the process using leaderboards. For this, a clear social media policy is needed so that employees know what to share with their networks and what not to share too.
Within the organization, it means HR (along with IT and other functions) needs to get the organization ready to deploy tools that enable employees to use the principles of “participation for a purpose” to engage the next generation workforce with the larger organization. These tools can be deployed from the cloud (via the internet) or installed on company servers too. Most large ERP service providers also offer social networking softwares these days. These tools help employees to connect across geographies and silos to discover and collaborate with other colleagues. It is also a great tool to engage the greater part of the workforce in larger change initiatives or communication when they are rolled across the organization.
It is important to create a culture where employees think of themselves as storytellers and feel free to share internal stories with their professional networks—without waiting for permission. One of the biggest challenges that organizations face in employer branding is finding the right partner agency to work along with. Most communications agencies have little or no understanding of the O2C—Organization to Candidate ecosystem.
In the social era, Employer Branding is not dictated by the employer, but by what others say. The only way organizations can influence this is by participating in the conversation.