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Is Your Employment Brand Ready for 2016? Check Your Soul Factor

Lisa Quattrini Executive VP, @Workforce Logiq, Entertainment Experience, Procurement, Global Contingent Workforce Management , Global Total Talent Management, ,Freelance Management & Operations Expert

Is Your Employment Brand Ready for 2016? Check Your Soul Factor

By Lisa Quattrini | January 20, 2016

In my experience, businesses with winning brands have more than great marketing and style. They have more than strong resources and revenues. Winning brands have soul.

That's right, soul.

Because the "soul" is something that the corporeal world struggles to define, you may

wonder how I define it for the corporate world. Here’s how. A company with soul is one that gets its employees to embrace ideas and aim for goals that are far bigger than themselves. They attract top talent not only with excellence in performance, but also with a powerful vision that employees adopt as their own. They have a strong employment brand, and it is echoed in low turnover, soaring employee loyalty and waves of applicants hoping to join their ranks.

How Strong Is Your Employment Brand?

Is your business paying careful attention to its employment brand and values? Are you giving employees an opportunity to be a part of something worthwhile and big? With falling unemployment, increasing retirement among Baby Boomers and record demand in sought-after skill sets, few businesses can afford to be blase about engaging and retaining talent. When you throw open the recruiting doors, you need to know great candidates will be waiting outside.

Five Tips for Building a Strong Employment Brand

The start of the year, and often of a new season of recruitment, is an excellent time to analyze your employment brand and see how well it's working for your talent acquisition engine. Using the five tips below, examine the state of your brand and learn how to develop and communicate values that attract top talent.

Tip 1: Assess Your Brand

Do you have a clear understanding of what your employment brand is? Remember, there is always a gap between what an employer thinks the brand is and what employees will tell you it is. Do some reconnaissance and find what employees say the value and rewards are for working at your company. What are the common traits that entice talent to join? Find out what keeps employees inspired and committed. Are the messages HR and marketing use to promote your company to potential employees reflected in why employees say they stay? With a little bit of survey and interview work, a business can quickly get a picture of what the employment brand is today and whether it resonates positively with employees and candidates.

Tip 2: Define What You Want Your Brand to Be

After brand assessment, some businesses find their employment messages are fairly stale and generic. Sometimes they learn that employees are staying only because of the compensation or the benefits, which is a precarious position for businesses who want to attract go-getters from rising generations. It's also a signal that it's time to define and communicate a stronger employment brand. Employment brand building begins with the development of an employee value proposition that extolls the many benefits and opportunities that people gain from their work and through the company. Start by making a list of what makes your business a great place to work and look at it through the lens of various generations. The value proposition will change slightly for Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

Once you have a strong proposition find out whether it echoes the brand message of the company. Google, for example, is a company that doggedly pursues technology leadership and ingenuity. The tagline for its recruitment effort is "do cool things that matter" and the company is famous for the perk-filled work environment it creates and the caliber of talent it employs. The message to Google employees and applicants is that they can be a part of something big, cool and successful at Google and it works. The company gets more than two million applications a year despite having a famously grueling application process.

While we can't all be Google, you can take lessons from how they have made employees a key part of the company's success story. The thoughtful approach has resulted in one of the world's strongest employment brands. And there are few things more attractive to candidates than thoughtful employers.

Tip 3: Engage Your Employees

To build a strong employment brand, you also need to engage employees in the process. This is the age of social media, which means their voices and roles are more powerful than ever. Find out what they are saying about your company, their satisfaction levels and why they stay. If you are hearing widespread frustrations or grievances, address them before those negative assessments affect your employment brand. Give them a voice in recruitment as well by allowing them to provide testimonials and engage with job seekers. Employees with an engaging and genuine story to tell can become some of your strongest brand and recruiting assets.

Tip 4: Get the Message Out

Engage marketing, HR and PR teams to align and promote the employment brand. These business groups all communicate with important audiences - clients, prospects, talent, media, partners, etc. If their employment messages are consistent and strong, the employment brand will solidify and grow. More people will hear it, widening the recruitment net and positioning the company as an organization that is thoughtfully engaged with workers.

Tip 5: Engage Leadership

Finally, make sure business leaders are excited and talking about your employment brand. Job seekers understand that company leadership defines company culture. When a leader promotes the company as a great place to work and shares why, people listen. Job seekers listen even more carefully. Business leaders today understand how important it is to hire and retain great talent. Give them the messages they need to promote the employment brand and inspire great candidates to apply.

Don't let 2016 run away without a good look at what your business is saying and doing to keep and attract employees. The competition for top candidates will not ease up and neither should your commitment to building a magnetic talent brand.

Lisa Quattrini is an executive vice president of enterprise solutions at ZeroChaos with over 20 years of operational experience and excellence in human capital management solutions. She develops and deploys successful customer-centric workforce management strategies and operational methodologies that increase transparency and efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership.

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