Effective Branding Boosts Recruitment, Retention

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By Caryn Freeman

Sept. 30 — Successful employer branding gives job seekers a true picture of the organization and helps it stand out as an employer of choice, speakers said Sept. 25 at jobs website Glassdoor's second annual employer branding summit in San Francisco.

“Employer brand is your employee value proposition. It's what you tell the world you are as an employer. It's your company culture, your company's values, the people who work there and the work that's being done,” Stacy Zapar, founder and chief executive officer at Encinitas, Calif.-based Tenfold, a social recruiting and employer brand consulting firm, said.

Zapar encouraged employers looking to develop their brand to start by highlighting their employees. “Have them tell their story and get them to peel back that curtain,” she advised.

Zapar said the sooner employees understand the company culture, the sooner they can decide if it's for them. “A lot of people don't know what the culture is like until after they start. You want to push that out even before they apply,” she said.

She further advised employers to survey employees when developing their employer brand to help define it through the employees' eyes. “Ask employees why they chose your company. Job seekers interview with more than one company. They chose your company for a reason. That should be a factor in your employer brand strategy,” Zapar said.

She also said employers should ask employees why they choose to stay with the organization, what's the most interesting project they have worked on and what they do when they're not at work.

“Ask them about the complete person. If you have a bunch of adventure seekers, that's part of the total picture,” Zapar said.

Brand Should Be Distinct

Richard Mosley, global vice president of strategy and advisory at Universum, a Swedish-based employer branding/consulting firm, told attendees that a strong employer brand is clear about what the company stands for and clear about what the company offers employees.

Mosley urged employers to stand out and be different. “If you are going to make an impact, you have to think about how you brand yourself visually. Wherever you go in the digital universe, job seekers should know how to spot your brand. It shouldn't look like other companies; it should be distinctive but also consistent across the digital domain,” he said.

Brand positioning is also important, he said, so employers should be thinking about how their organization stands out within their industry.

“What you have to think about is your positioning within that territory. Start thinking about how what you do is different and what your language is,” Mosley said.

“When you think about the employer brand, it's not just getting people through the door,” Mosley said. “Companies have to be clear about what they are doing different. It is not just presenting differently, but it's actually doing things differently.”

Customer-Oriented HR

Mosely urged HR practitioners to stop thinking about HR as people management processes and to start taking a more customer-oriented approach. “Start thinking about employee experiences. You want to multiply and reinforce that passion that they already have,” he said.

He warned employers that when job seekers see something wonderful and exciting about the company, then get hired and get the same old boring HR processes, it can cause engagement to plummet.

“That's going to kill the passion. It might be efficient, but it is going to kill the passion. You've got to think about how you create the experience,” Mosley said.

He said in the best companies, HR is beginning to think more like marketing and marketing is beginning to think like HR, that is, thinking about the people in the organization and the culture.

“These things are coming together in a much more fruitful way,” Mosley said. “Start thinking about how you do things differently because ultimately, what you are trying to do with HR is not just keep things organized and do things efficiently; it's about really engaging people and turning them into advocates.”