A positive employment brand can help attract top candidates, making recruiting for your top positions easier. But, candidates don’t come to us in a vacuum. Before they even apply for a position or speak to a recruiter, they’ve been exposed to advertising, the experience of family members or friends, and the power of social media to shape what they know, or think they know, about our business. In fact, according to a recent Roper survey, over 60 percent of the respondents listed word of mouth as their best source of information.
And that’s what has brought about a great attention to employer branding. Companies are looking to have more control on the impression of their company in the mind of an applicant. And according to a variety of employer branding surveys, including early data from one we have in progress (you can share your employer branding experiences here,) those that have succeeded have been guided by the same methods and techniques used by consumer branding agencies.
Moving beyond simple brainstorming sessions between talent acquisition teams and/or internal communications, the research methods used to glean employee information and create employer brands have now expanded to commonly include employee surveys, focus groups, and executive in-depth interviews. But, in today’s highly social world, with unemployment at 10-year lows, and the competition for talent a top concern for CEOs everywhere, that still might not be enough.
Enter talent branding. Talent branding considers that employer branding has become a two-way street, as the employee and candidate experience is sharable (almost viral) and transparency and authenticity are the table stakes.
Talent branding can be considered the evolution of employer branding. At its best, it is the art of making a strong emotional connection from your organization and its culture, to the talent it needs to attract and engage to drive the business forward. And while the visible output of the efforts may be the same — a redesigned or enhanced website, recruiting booths, brochures, or website banners — the research and development process has been refined to be as inclusive as possible of all audiences and all available information.
We are seeing a greater emphasis placed both on the employee experience, the candidate experience, and the development of personalized messages that can speak to the wants and needs of each of our audiences at every phase of the hiring process including candidate rejection and employee termination.
What salaries are you paying? What interview questions are you asking and how do people rate the talents and abilities of your CEO? The answers to these questions are so easily obtained that we take it for granted, yet it might not be that we have given enough thought to the implications and responsibility it places on recruiters, hiring managers and even our employees themselves.
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If you are about to embark on an employer branding initiative, here’s how you can build a bullet-proof talent brand and take things to the next level.
- Expand your research: When doing employer brand research, consider external and competitive research as well. Don’t just speak to the people inside your company; take an external look as well. Which companies are the competitors for your top talent? What are the appealing aspects of their employment offer? This can be easy enough to find out by going to their website and social sites and even LinkedIn and Glassdoor. What awards have they won; which groups are they targeting with unique messages (military veterans, women, other diverse groups?)
- Conduct a communications gap analysis: Take a view of every touchpoint in the candidate’s consideration process and see what you have (or need) to influence their decision in your favor. Consider how you are moving talent through the hiring process along with managing the feelings of those who you are not. Beyond supplying top prospects with materials or links to your website, create an information funnel designed for people with small, medium, and large appetites for knowing more about the company, the culture, the business strategy and what their day-to-day really looks like. Make sure when you develop the content, you have developed in all media from video, digital, PPT, email, and print and of course, implemented each across all social channels.
- Influence the influencers: As we evolve from employer branding to talent branding, this is the most important take away. Simply put, everyone is an influencer. Your current employees, alumni, and thought leaders. Parents, spouses, and friends. Vendors, customers, and just about everyone you know. Make sure you have thought carefully about your employer brand (the things that make your company, culture, and offerings unique), the wants and desires of the people you’re trying to reach, and most importantly, how your stories are told, retold, refuted, and shared in a world gone social.
Only then will you have truly mastered the art of the talent brand.
Want to learn more?
Join my free webinar on Thursday, March 30 for a practical approach to leveraging your company’s employer value proposition and employment brand. I will share my experience with integrating marketing, internal communications and social media to convey a seamless employer brand experience. Register here.