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Talent Acquisition and Branding

While the importance of product and service branding is common knowledge among businesses and consumers, the importance of employer branding often goes unnoticed. Employer branding is the reputation a company has with its employees. A company’s reputation with its workforce can be vital to the organization’s process of attracting, securing, and retaining the talented employees necessary to be successful in meeting the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. A company’s reputation directly impacts its ability to recruit human resources.

Surveys reveal that 69 percent of top talent believe that a prospective employer’s brand is extremely important, and that the employer has a brand that they will be proud to support. More than 85 percent of job seekers would not apply for, or continue to work for, a company with a bad reputation among former employees or the general public. In short, the best most desirable human resources want to be part of a reputable, winning team.

The marketplace for qualified employee talent is more competitive than ever before. Winning over an employee candidate in a crowded arena can be daunting and challenging. Building an employee brand that is honest and desirable and captures the interest of future work stars can increase retention and save money on recruitment activities. Simple and often-used platitudes are not enough. The best employer brands begin with a commitment to honest and accurate content that tells an organization’s story best from sources inside the company. According to TalentBrand.org, an employer brand is “the honest story of life as an employee inside your organization, as told by the employees in parallel with the company.” Current, past, and prospective employees can initiate and maintain a company’s talent brand through social media posts, internet audiences and face-to-face conversations. The cost associated with a poor talent brand is measured in lost time, lost money, lost trust, and lost opportunities to secure the best employees.

An effective approach to building an employer brand is to establish the company’s desired persona, values, and an honest and reasonable mission statement. Target a market niche that is relevant to organizational goals and objectives. Approaching the entirety of the employee marketplace is as wasteful as failing to cultivate a product or service brand’s most potential market niche. Identify the most valuable company rewards and attributes that will attract the best employee candidates.

For anyone who has conducted employee surveys, the process and the results can be painful, but current staff members are a valuable resource for honest answers to how and why they work for the organization. While these surveys can be brutal in how in-house talent feels about potential shortcomings in the employer brand, negative responses are a reliable source to identify and implement corrective actions. However, the process also often exposes employees’ favorite aspects of working for the company. Workers thought audits also reveal the fundamental problem of utilizing gratuitous platitudes like, “people are our most important asset.” Such statements are difficult to believe when the “most important assets” are the first assets to be downsized or restructured in tough times. Do not implement workforce surveys unless you are dedicated to initiating corrective actions where necessary.

Engaging an employer brand begins at the onboarding of new recruits. Failing to follow through on the brand promises at this stage can create a big negative experience that can create ongoing problems. First impressions are extremely important when attempting to build personal and organizational relationships. This is the best opportunity to sell the brand’s goals and objectives and encourage new arrivals to embrace the business’s mission. But do not forsake the realization that every employee is interested most in “what’s in it for me.”

Offer all employees the opportunity to pursue learning opportunities and personal career development and become recognized for their contributions to the organization. Obviously, pay rates, benefits, and unique benefits can be of interest to every worker. Ping pong and billiard tables at daily breaks might be unique and trendy, but more people quit a company because they are complacent when personal growth opportunities are no longer available.

Just like product and service brand building, the use of videos, blog posts, photos, and personalized content is an effective method of promoting an employer brand. Clean, bright, and compelling marketing collateral that is consistent with the brand message is critical to success. Perception is often the most persistent truth, even if it is not representative of the truth. Eliminate visual blemishes and errors in content quality that may be construed as inconsistent with the brand’s intended message. Visual elements and messaging must be consistent across all websites, social media channels, and traditional marketing collateral.

And now, the most critical aspects to building a successful employer or talent brand. Strive to be transparent, honest, and genuine. Avoid engaging in false or ambiguous statements about the company’s brand promises, values, and culture. Failure to deliver on the messaging will cause considerable damage to the organization’s reputation and turn away the most valuable and desirable talent.