Global businesses today realize that creating a recognized and respected brand is as important as building a client base or enhancing revenue. In most cases though, the focus of brand building is inside-out – one that is viewed through the eyes of the company, looking out at customers, markets, and competitors. The same does not seem to apply to employees.
But, to ensure sustained success, tomorrow’s brands must build 360-degree brand equity – one that focuses on customers as well as employees equally. The reality is organizations reportedly spend over $100 billion annually to improve employee engagement. Yet a significant portion of employees are disengaged. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from trail blazers in employer branding such as Google.
As a successful market-facing brand, Google embodies all the virtues of a great organization – constantly innovating to enhance customer engagement and meet their growing demands. But what’s different about Google is they seem to be doing the same with their employees – attracting, and more importantly, retaining some of the best global talents. And Google is not the only company with this level of engaging employer branding talent management solutions. There are several other examples across the globe such as Microsoft, PWC, Salesforce, and so on. What makes these organizations stand apart? How do they do it?
Building an engaging employer brand entails several steps. It’s not just about attracting employees to work for your company. There are several factors that have a long-term impact on employer branding – how do your employees view your brand as an employer, what is the relationship employees want to build with your brand, do employees know what your company stands for, are they able to communicate this to the world outside and so on. These are merely a few questions that scratch the surface.
Here are five critical things for organizations to consider while build a long-lasting employer brand.
1. Analyzing employee feedback to evaluate your current employer brand
The first and the obvious step is to ascertain where your organization stands in terms of employer branding. Conduct a poll or survey to ascertain how your employees view the company’s value proposition. Understand what is working well and what frustrates employees. Integrate the survey results with employee demographics to get a more accurate view. Finally, based on the feedback received, establish metrics to improve employer brand reputation.
2. Articulating company’s unique value proposition for employees
One of the most critical objectives of employer branding is to enhance your brand’s image among top talent. This is indeed similar to building a marketing campaign for your products or services. Position your company as a relatable brand that people would want to establish a relationship with. Define what your brand (or organization) stands for, clearly outline your values, and demonstrate how your organization differs in delivering on this brand promise.
3. Investing in learning and development initiatives
Understand the needs of your employees. Create an atmosphere of learning and development to foster innovation and new ideas. To create such as environment, e-learning solutions or online skill development and enhancement courses are excellent options. Younger employees join an organization to learn and sharpen their skills. Encouraging this need to align personal goals with company growth can drive deeper employee loyalty.
4. Empowering employees, instead of monitoring them
Gone are the days when an employee manual consisted of endless do’s and don’ts for employees to follow. While rules are necessary, create a strategy that effectively enables your employees to decide what is beneficial to the organization. Empower them by routinely engaging them in crafting policies that impact both employees as well as the organization. The processes and tools will need to evolve in tandem with innovation.
5. Personalizing employee strategies
Personalization is a given top priority in customer facing strategies. Adopting a similar approach with employee strategies can enhance employer branding - a factory style approach of one size fits all is passé. Create programs to recognize the employee talent through digital or other internal networks, and nurture them through mentoring and training initiatives.
It’s clear that a strong employer brand is an invaluable asset for attracting top-notch talent in today’s tight labor markets. According to a LinkedIn report, 72 % of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring. A powerful employer brand that is complementary to the company’s consumer brand offers two-fold benefits. On the one hand, it helps organizations cut through the noise and stand out in the marketplace. On the other it attracts right-fit candidates aligned with the company’s values and mission, ensuring long term success.