On the eSkill Assessments Blog, we bring you topical articles with historical contexts to help HR professionals use this information in their everyday worlds. Today, we will talk about the latest and hottest topic in our field, “Employer Branding.”
Employer branding is all over social media and featured at HR conferences worldwide, but why? It’s not a new concept, but currently this buzz phrase cannot be avoided.
According to Wikipedia, employer branding is “commonly used to describe an organization’s reputation as an employer, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation. The term was first used in the early 1990s and has since become widely adopted by the global management community.”
The Corporate Eye explains employer branding, according to the definition from The Employer Brand Institute’s Brett Minchington, as “the image of the organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders).”
In 2014, Chris Van Mossevelde wrote a piece for Universum defining employer branding as “the process of promoting a company, or an organization, as the employer of choice to a desired target group, one which a company needs and wants to recruit and retain. The process facilitates the company’s ability in attracting, recruiting and retaining ideal employees.”
This sounds a lot like corporate branding, right? However, it’s important to remember there is a difference between branding and employer branding. For example, we all know and even love many great brands, but we don’t want to work for them. Think of a major retailer headquartered in Arkansas. Everyone knows of it and probably shops there, but do you want to work there? How about your favorite coffee shop that is located in every town? It’s another great brand with good benefits and industry-leading pay; however, few of us want to work there. We just want coffee with our names spelled correctly on the cup.
Then, there’s Google. We all use Google in some way, and I bet many of us would love to work for them. They have plenty of work perks and a huge campus location with gourmet chefs, exercise facilities, desks and offices made out of toys, and free chocolate! Google’s SVP of People Operations, Laslo Bock, has been featured as a true inventor in attracting workers to the Google brand, which has been named the best place to work at least 7 times for 10 straight years.
During an HR conference, a young woman said to me, “I feel like I work in a great place, we have a lot of fun and do a lot of great things, but I just don’t think the community knows about us.” That’s a failure in employer branding.
Remember, Wikipedia’s definition of employer branding included the company’s “reputation” as a key factor. What is your company’s reputation? Also, where are you getting your information? It’s not enough to think or feel as if your company is one of the best in your area. You have to know what the labor force thinks of you.
In order to do that, you must conduct stay interviews,exit interviews, and candidate experience surveys while paying attention to your employees (just like Brett Minchington suggested in his definition of employer branding). Are your employees actively referring their friends to you? Are you retaining your top talent? Are your employees even marginally engaged?
Also, just like Chris Van Mossevelde said, you have to be the employer of choice among your community. How do you gain this reputation?
By focusing on your employees (or talent), you automatically set yourself apart from other competitors in your industry. Often, this is why people prefer to work for one company over another. For instance, in my hometown we have thousands of warehouses and distribution centers, and some have better reputations than others. Some offer more frequent water breaks, air-conditioned warehouses, and higher pay, while others don’t. Local warehouse laborers know which employer is best to work for, which is why they all try to work at this location.
Your employer brand is not just a great way to attract new candidates; it’s also a great way to retain and engage employees. When you talk to happy employees, they can explain why they love their employers. Usually, these companies take care of their workers, encourage fun, and treat everyone with respect. When that happens, these folks tell others about their company, which helps you establish your employer brand. To maximize your impact, you must promote your employer brand via social media, print media, talent communities, blogs, products, services, and brand ambassadors.
What’s your opinion of employer branding?
Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.