Thirty years ago, employer branding was not even known by that name, or any name for that matter. Communication with talent was often indistinguishable from other corporate communication. Talent communication was then focused on general messages directed to whole populations.
Ten years ago, general marketing became more recognizable as the employer branding we know today. It was characterized by demographic targeting, where certain schools were selected for focused campaigns. Universities were classified as tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 and so on. The classification was typically based on the reputation of the universities. Top schools became tier 1, and pretty much everybody focused their resources on those top universities.
Then several things happened: the Internet revolution, attitude shifts among talent groups, and the maturity of employer branding. Using technology instead of geographical presence made it possible to brand oneself at more universities, and more developed employer branding strategies made the corporate identity stronger. Simultaneously, talent groups shifted from prioritizing salary and benefits when choosing employers, to putting greater value on corporate values and culture.
In today’s mature employer branding world, employers have shifted their focus from “top talent from top universities” to “ideal talent for our culture.” In other words, the level of academic skill is less important than the person’s ability to apply those skills within the specific company culture. Employers have also realized that diversity – academic as well as ethnic – strengthens their business. So mixing people from different universities and with different degrees is a high priority. At the same time, talent groups are continuing to prioritize cultural fit and values over financial benefits when they choose employers.
So as we move into a new decade, personality and culture are fundamental words for successful employer branding. I, for one, am looking forward to this new reality. I hope you are too!