In theory, employer branding aims at promoting an organization as an employer of choice. In practice, though, employer branding is sometimes counter-productive. Magnified company values, embellished job descriptions and exaggerated imagery are no longer convincing. So, what are the best practices for employer branding, and how can you make sure that you go “beyond corporate bla bla” and provide true value to your (potential) employees? Here are three straight-forward ways to lift up your employer branding.
Tell the truth
Are you familiar with career websites that sell embellished representation of working life? Consider the hotel industry for instance. So many hotel companies use the same cliche of a smiling waiter placing cutlery on a table with utmost dedication. To work, employer branding must be more authentic and transparent. Companies should provide a glimpse of what working for them is really about. While hotel work is about long hours and low pay, it is also about adrenaline rush during service, surprising guest requests and bonding time after a busy night. It is these things that make many people fall in love with the industry. These are things that should be showcased. A genuine approach will attract the right people to your company and not the ones lured only by shiny pictures. For instance, Vienna House (Austria’s largest hotel company) features on its career page real employees pictures to present its the company values.
Tailor your messaging
All of your customers don’t have the same expectations or requirements. The same applies to your employees. The entry level staff are in need of guidance about their future. While the management might seek continuous education to climb up the corporate ladder, understanding the topics that keep your employees up at night will help you tailor your messaging. For the younger workforce, you could create a company blog with career advice. For management, you could share your top managers’ best practices and stories during your next annual meeting. In short, stop communicating to your employees with a one size fits all approach. Instead, tailor your brand messages to your audience’s need.
Engage your company from the ground up
Building an employer brand from an “executive ivory tower” is a recipe for failure. Instead, engage your workforce in the process to develop authentic messaging. When L’Oreal wanted to develop a clear Employee Value Proposition (EVP) in 2012, it involved all of its employees. This inclusive approach led to the creation of a strong EVP offering “a thrilling experience” or “a school of excellence”. As a result L’Oreal employees saw the EVP as a true code of conduct rather than a collection of taglines. Depending on your needs, you might consider engaging with stakeholders outside your organization. If you are working on a recruitment campaign, for example, why not involve your Twitter followers to get their opinion?
Employer branding is not easy, and takes time. Make sure you tell the truth, tailor your messages, and engage your workforce. With this approach, you will win the first battle of the talent war sooner than you think.
Did your organization go through a re-branding exercise? Do you have difficulties attracting the right people to your company? Are you looking at ways to engage your staff? Let’s continue the discussion by email or tweet.