In speaking with hundreds of talent acquisition professionals each year, I’m struck by the response to this question: “What is your employer brand?” Most say something like , “um…I would have to think about it, but I would say we as a company value our people, we are ethical, and friendly….uh…not sure – really….let me ask my colleagues.” Some recite the company values as though they were the employer brand, some speak from their own personal experience at the company, and some respond unabashedly that the company does not really have a defined employer brand.
Here’s the problem. If you are in talent acquisition and you can’t define with certainty what your employer brand is, then what are you communicating to your candidates? Imagine their confusion when candidates receive one message from you and an entirely different message from the hiring manager. This unfortunately happens quite a lot.
Truth is that we need to be intentional about what we communicate about our employer brand. Being intentional means having a strategy, and a plan and a way to measure progress to plan.
One of my dear friends, Pamela Harless, Chief People and Culture Officer at Grant Thornton, taught me about being “intentional.” Pamela strengthened Grant Thornton’s employer brand by being intentional. First, she needed to understand what is true internally about the employer brand. In a systematic way she uncovered the answer to the question, “Why do employees stay?” and from there drilled down to consistent key employer value proposition themes that resonate internally. She then gathered data and insights on how the firm is perceived externally by students and experienced professionals. This coupled with competitor intelligence we provided, enabled Pamela to find that sweet spot of employer brand honesty; brand strengths and brand advantage that resonate both internally and externally. She is intentionally building alignment and consistency around the employer brand messaging about what it’s like to work for Grant Thornton and why people stay.
Another great example of intentional employer branding can be found at macyscollege.com. The Macys team poured over data and insights about what is important to students when choosing companies to work for, and how they perceive Macys employer value proposition. Led by Anne Voller, VP of Talent Acquisition at Macys, the team refreshed the Macys Careers Website and campus collateral to reflect what is most important and true; the foundation of which was derived from data. This is one incredible Careers website built with “intention.”
Are you intentional about your employer brand?
About the author
Vicki is Senior Vice President Talent Strategy and Employer Branding at Universum