5 Ways You Know It’s Time to Refresh Your Employer Brand

Employer brands are like consumer brands in that they must respond to changing conditions and adapt to new goals. Our latest survey found that, on average, organizations are updating their employer brand every 11 months. That’s more frequent than the 14-month average we found a year ago. Employer brands are like consumer brands in that they must respond to changing conditions and adapt to new goals. Is it time to refresh your employer brand? The answer is yes, if any of these apply to you:

Your Organization Has Gone Through a Real Change

If your company has undergone a real change, then both its mission and its culture may have changed, too. If your company merged with another, or was acquired, or launched a new division that modifies your core purpose, you’ll need a new employer brand to reflect the change — and to attract workers with a skill set you didn’t need until now. Maybe your Boston company just opened a branch in Chicago, so you’re no longer trying to engage and recruit MIT graduates. Or perhaps you’ve grown and your culture is no longer that of a casual startup. Or maybe you’ve won awards that need to be communicated to job-seekers.

Any of these events can change the mission of the company, the personality of its culture, and the personality of its employees. That means an updated employer brand.

Your Competition Has Changed

I mean that in two ways. One scenario is that your competitors have updated their own employer brands and are now poaching your top candidates. The other is that your organization has evolved or transformed, putting you in competition with different companies that have different strengths. In order to keep up, you’ll have to change your employer brand to outflank the rest of the industry. The same holds true for opening a new office or retail location, immediately putting you in conflict with existing companies.

Your Consumer Brand Has Changed

I always advocate that consumer brands and employer brands should work together and reflect each other. If your organization has changed how it engages the public, your employer brand will most likely have to change as well. You might have to alter colors, logos, images, and other branding to better align with your organization’s new messaging. This can be difficult if your current employer brand is working, but a consistent brand is worth the effort.

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It Has Been a While

Remember, most organizations are updating or changing their employer brands every 11 months. What seemed forward-thinking and trendy a year or two ago may not resonate with your talent pool anymore. You might have an employer brand that’s built for a LinkedIn world, but which doesn’t work in a world of Instagram and Snapchat — and I mean that both figuratively and literally. Sometimes branding just becomes stale. Some fonts and logos become dated. Some messaging gets copied by so many companies that it becomes cliché. A refreshed employer brand solves all these problems and can help delay new ones.

You Have Trouble Explaining Your Employer Brand

This is a very important problem. What is your employer brand? If you can’t describe your mission or vision or values in a few sentences, your employer brand is too broad, or too common, or simply inaccurate. This can affect your morale and productivity, as employees don’t know goal they’re working towards or what kind of culture they’re in. It also hurts recruiting, since job-seekers don’t understand what they’re getting into — or understand that the company itself is somewhat adrift. A simple, clear employer brand is essential for success. If you’re employer brand is vague or outdated, you need to refresh it as soon as possible.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.

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