Employer branding is a war of stories, a battle for candidate’s hearts and minds; where the teller of the best story is the one who has the pick of talent. While some organisations have the power to tell story after story, dominating the airwaves, others pass by word of mouth, harking back to the viral spread of information from an older time. However it is told, the most effective branding stories have three elements.
- They are attractive – be it a story about punk ownership of a brewing company, a parable of prospective wealth at an investment firm, or a promise of personal fulfilment at a charity, the best stories are attractive to not just any candidates, but the right candidates.
- They are distinct – if you don’t stand out from the crowd, your fate may be that of a forgotten boy band member, unable to stick in the minds of fans whilst your more unique comrades acquire a cult following. A distinct story doesn’t have to be flashy or require huge budgets, it just requires you to raise the volume on what makes your organisation different.
- They are authentic – how often have you been sold a product through flashy advertising that then turns out disappointing? Now imagine you are a candidate, and the disappointing product is the next step in your career. This is the quickest way to create short-term employee turnover and build resentment in new hires (even before the honeymoon phase is over!); so make sure the packaging accurately resembles what is in the box – and if you suspect no one will join your organisation if you advertise authentically, it may be time to take a long hard look at your culture.
It’s not easy out there at the moment. Our HR Reflections research shows that while 85% of organisations are planning to increase or maintain their staff levels, 2/3 are finding it harder to fill their vacancies now than they did a year ago. Imagine what power a compelling employer brand could have in that battle.
The biggest thing to remember is, even if you haven’t actively set about creating an employer brand, you still have one. To give it the most power, you need to bring together your opinion of your employer brand, along with those of your employees, your latest joiners and your leavers. To get to the heart of your character, you have to assess it from all angles.
To win this war of words, your weapons must be authentic, distinct and attractive. We wish all of you combatants good luck, may the candidates be ever in your favour.
Jordan Saxby, Employee Research Manager, UK Retail at ORC International
Image courtesy of Supertrooper / FreeDigitalPhotos.net