8 steps to a Killer Employer Brand
Use these essential tactics to produce a winning employer branding strategy
1. Business Alignment - Challenges and Priorities
An employer branding strategy must be aligned with the business because it needs to demonstrate how it impacts the existing priorities of the organisation. If you do that, you get buy in from the leaders, everyone understands where it fits in and you’re more likely to get buy-in from across the business because rather than it just being a peripheral concept, everyone is more likely to be a beneficiary of the work that you do.
2. Lean into a Tangible Reputation
Rather than setting out by saying ‘we want to be the best and the most attractive’, this is about the three Cs - are you a Career Catalyst, are you trading on your Culture or are you an organisation that is proud of the strength of your Citizenship. Define something tangible that people can recognise and rally behind rather than just say ‘we want to be the best’. There’s no other business strategy in the world that says the goal is to be the best. It’s nonsense.
3. Three views – Market; Leadership; and Employees
To build an employer branding strategy it is essential that you see the world from three different perspectives. The leadership view gives you a view of the aspirational truth and a view of where the business is going or wants to go; employee view gives you the warts and all of what it really feels like to be in the trenches day to day, the everyday employee experience and what people really think. What have you got to do to thrive? What have you got to sacrifice to commit to the company? And then the market view – you need to understand what you are trying to differentiate from and what you are trying to compete with.
4. If This, then That. What a company Wants and Why, intersecting with what people Want and Why
You need to understand what a company wants and needs from your people to drive the organisation forward and you need to understand what your people want and need from the organisation. Where they intersect is the perfect place to cultivate a good ‘give and get’ proposition. Once you've done that, you can flow it into a sentence that everybody understands, a proposition that people can understand in terms of ‘if you're willing to give us this, then you will get that in return’.
5. Differentiation and Relevance
If an employer brand strategy doesn't differentiate you from your competitors, then forget about it. It can be purposeful it can be meaningful. It can be deep, it can be as accurate as possible, but if it doesn't differentiate you from you from your competitors, then it's pointless because you're not going to stand out and one of the biggest principles in a congested, sophisticated market, is that you need a point of difference to build around.
And then relevance. Is your goal to be more relevant to your talent audience than anybody else? Whilst you're striving to be different, if that difference takes you in the opposite direction of what your audience cares about, then suddenly being different doesn't matter. You must make sure you nail those two things in unison. You've got to be suitably different to stand out, and you've got to be more relevant than your talent competitors.
6. Calibrating Global versus Local Employer Branding Strategy
These two are typically always in tension with each other, but they don't have to be. You need global cohesion so everyone can buy into the same thing and sit around the same campfire together. But you need enough autonomy at the local extremity of an organisation - whether it's geographic or whether it's by persona or department - so that it can be tailored and crafted with the authentic voice of your audience. How you represent a global employer branding strategy message in China might be different to Africa or South America. So, getting the balance right is really important.
7. Digital channel auditing and understanding
You need to know where your audience is hanging out. Form an understanding of where people's attention is already focused. It’s not just about knowing the channels but knowing that will also inform the type of content you use. It might be video content, for instance, but then is it six second video or two-minute video? Getting those different formats right for each channel is really important. Make it easy for your audience to consume content that they're going to appreciate on their terms.
8. Metrics that matter
There are probably about 64 different employer branding strategy metrics that people aren't measuring now that they can be tomorrow but most of the time, your organisation doesn't care about most of those employer brand metrics. The key with employer brand, and this goes right the way back to point one with business alignment, is measuring the things that impact the initiatives or the challenges and problems that the business already cares about. Otherwise, you're never going to get support. You're never going to get buy-in you're never going to get budget and you're never going to get anywhere.