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What Is Employer Branding? Do I Need It?

HRH 6 | Employer Branding

What is employer branding? Do you need it even if you’re a small to medium-sized business owner? In this episode, host, Andrea Hoffer, answers these questions as she highlights the need for you to attract the right people and retain them. After all, these are the very people who will bring your core purpose to being in your business and out to the world. Listen in on this brief yet insightful discussion to help you get your employer branding right.

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What Is Employer Branding? Do I Need It?

We’re going to talk about, what is employer branding? Is it something I need to be concerned about, especially if I’m a small to medium-sized business owner? First, let’s start by defining employer branding and employer brand. Your employer brand is what your reputation is as an employer. It’s what your employees and what the outside world thinks of you. It may not always be what you think it is. It is putting the work in to create that unique employer experience. It is to differentiate yourself as the employer of choice, as a place where people who want to work or knocking down your doors to work. You want to create that true experience and then you want to get the word out. You want to promote what makes you unique as an employer and what makes it great to work at your place. Why is this important?

It’s important because recruiting is going in a way where the employees or the candidates want to know if they are going to fit in at your place of work. Are they going to be successful and happy? Do they feel like they belong there? Every place of employment is different. One person may fit in at one place, but may not add another. It doesn’t mean that one employer is better than the other. It means that the candidates’ values are shared with what the organizational values are. It’s important for you to spend time getting to know what your reputation is and what it is like to work at your organization or business. You don’t want to be promoting that one thing out there when in reality, it’s something else.

What will happen is you’ll start to recruit and attract candidates that think they’re coming into one type of environment. The truth hits them in the head quickly and then you’re going to lose them. Getting employer branding right is important, not just for recruitment to attract the right people, but it’s extremely important for retention. If you’re doing employer branding right, you know what is great about working at your place of business, you know what type of people are going to be successful and what type of people are going to feel like they fit in. When I say what type of people, I mean the shared values who believe in where you’re going, who believe in how you function.

If everybody knows and shares your core values, then they know how to make decisions for your business. Click To Tweet

Let’s back up a little bit. You have your mission, your core purpose of being, and that’s what you do as a business. It’s not, “Why you make money?” It’s what you do and why you even exist. You have your vision. Where you’re going? What is that dream that you’re planning to achieve? I once read in a book that, “Vision is defined as a dream with a deadline,” which I knew who to attribute that to. That is a great definition of vision. Lastly, you have your core values, your guiding principles. This is how you do everything as an organization, as a business.

This is how everybody acts on a daily basis. If everybody knows and shares your core values, then they know how to make decisions. You don’t always have to be involved in the day to day decision making, because if they’re going to truly live your values, you know they’re going to make the right decisions. It’s important for you to get a handle on those three things because this is what is going to start to defined your employer brand. That’s when I say, getting the right people in, those are the people that will embrace these things that are passionate about what you do and believe and value what your guiding principles are.

We’ve started to touch on employer branding. One thing that comes up a lot is companies may put a lot of money, resources and effort into getting this incredible employer branding marketing plan out there, and it tracks all these great candidates. When they joined the organization, they learned that it’s not the way it was described. This is where, before you put any resources towards employer branding, you want to take an inward look, you want to ask your current team, “What it truly is like to work here?” Do some self-assessment and learn, are you functioning as an employer as you truly want to? Are there areas that you can improve upon to make this an even better place to work? Are there certain things where some potential employees might be attracted to this environment and others may not? They may find it challenging or not the right fit for them. You want to be aware of that so that when you put your employer branding out there, you’re being authentic and true.

HRH 6 | Employer Branding
Employer Branding: Your employer brand is what your reputation is as an employer. It’s what your employees and what the outside world thinks of you.

That way you will attract the right people. If they wouldn’t be successful in your organization, they’ll be able to see that for themselves and will probably not apply for your position. That’s important to get a hold on. Once you have a good feel for what your employer brand is and you’re ready to promote it, you want to bring it to life. Often, the small to medium-sized businesses are like, “I don’t have the resources of a large corporation. I don’t have the money to do all these fancy videos and blogs.” That’s okay because a lot of the recruitment marketing material out there, the videos, the pictures and the blogs and other material that highlights what it’s like to work at your business, sometimes does a lot better when it’s not polished, when it’s not professionally done because it comes across as more authentic.

They know that there wasn’t a marketing team behind to tweak and make it seem even better than it is. Authenticity is number one. You want to get out there what it truly is like to work at your business and what differentiates you. We’re going to talk about some ideas. Videos are number one. It’s always been great for any kind of advertising or marketing. Social media has become one of the best ways to attract good candidates. Job boards still have their function, but you also want to have a good social media campaign and videos get a lot of eyeballs.

YouTube is the second largest search engine. Make sure you have some great YouTube videos on there that showcase your employer brand. Pictures work well too, blogs, and anything that talks about what it’s like to work at your place. Here are some ideas. Day in the life. Get as many of your current employees involved in this project. One, because it’s going to help them to feel even more a part of your culture, brand, and company. They’re going to be excited to share with the world what it’s like to work there. Have them talk from the heart and talk about what they love about working there and also, what they find challenging. Make it realistic so that these potential candidates know what it’s like.

Get the right people who are passionate about what you do and believe and who value what your guiding principles are. Click To Tweet

Ask them like an interview-style, what do the core values mean to them? How did they see it being lived in the day to day life at your business? Have them share some of their hobbies, their personalities. You can have a photoshoot with their pets. When I say photoshoot, they can take their phone and take pictures. This is important even for remote businesses. You want to still showcase all your different team members throughout wherever they are. If you give them some guidelines and help them on how to take good videos and pictures with their phone, you’ll have some great material to share. They’ll share it with their friends because they’re the star. “Here I am at where I work, and this is what I’m doing.” You’ll start to get more eyeballs on it, which will then start to get some future candidates interested in joining your company.

Even if you don’t currently have an open position, you want to continuously get your employer brand out there so that when you do have an open position, you already have followers who are going to see it. These are people who are interested in your mission. They’re passionate about what you do. This is a community of talent, of potential team members for you, without you having to throw an ad up and seeing what comes in at that point. You also, want to showcase your employees’ successes. Did they get a special certification? Did they overcome a challenge? Especially, if your business helped them through it. Let them talk about it and how being a team member at your business has impacted their life.

Talk about team success, showcase a department or a success that a team came together and overcame a challenge or a huge project that they launched. Showcase them. They’re the ones who accomplished it. Even give a sneak peek of what’s going on behind the scenes, “One of our clients we work with is a Cold Stone Creamery franchisee.” A great idea for them is to show how the ice cream is made in the back. “Get that out there. It’s a special secret. See what’s happening behind the scenes.” It gives them an idea of if they joined the team, what it would be like to work there? Could they see themselves making that ice cream? Some will and some won’t know. If you do some charity events together or go to community events or do social events together as a team, make sure you’re always taking pictures and video. That shows your culture, what it’s like to work there? What it’s like to be part of your team? What you’re supporting outside of your business and if you are supporting a community event?

HRH 6 | Employer Branding
Employer Branding: Getting employer branding right is important, not just for recruitment to attract the right people, but also for retention.

That’s important to them as well. If you want to take all of these different aspects, I’m sure you can use your creativity. Show what is so unique about working with your business? What do you love about working there and what might you not like about working there? That is more powerful than putting a job posting up there. That starts to get your name out as an employer. Quite frankly, it helps you as your business as a whole with some of the employer branding and recruitment marketing things we’ve done for our clients. We had one client say, “This is our busiest month ever, and we haven’t done any additional marketing, but we had been doing additional marketing on social media about what it’s like to work there. It not only drove candidate traffic, but it also got their name out there as a company.”

People like to see that your employees are important to you. I’m not saying it’s a guarantee, but there’s a good chance that it would also help in driving customer traffic. Your customers may be great potential team members in the future. You never know. This is a big part of recruitment that I often see, the small to midsize companies forgetting about or not putting thought into. It hurts them when it comes to attracting great team members because it’s making it more difficult for their voice to get out there about how great it is to work for their company.

I would suggest if you own a small or work at a small to midsize company, look into doing some videos. Start off small, do a couple of employee testimonial videos. If you need help with it, reach out to us. We offer services around this. “Do it with you,” type of services where we coach you on what to do. We give you sample scripts, templates and coach you on the best way to hold the phone, things like that. It will still be authentic, but you still want to make sure the videos look good. In addition to all of these videos, pictures and things you want to get out there on a regular basis about your employer brand, you also want to incorporate some of these videos when you are actively recruiting.

One of the things we do with our clients is before we even start the recruitment process, we work with the CEO to record a short video. Introducing themselves, talking about their mission, core values and who they’re looking for this position. We take that video and we incorporate it into our video interview process. One of the first things we ask our candidates to do is to answer a couple of questions on a one-way video. Before they do that, they meet the CEO as a person, as being authentic. Showing their excitement that they’re candidates interested in joining their team and saying who would be successful here.

We’ve received such amazing feedback from candidates, saying that video made them feel like they already understood the CEO, what was important to him or her. It made them feel a little more comfortable in doing the video interview. We’ve seen it appropriate throughout the interview process where people keep coming back to that video when we do the phone and in-person interview. Sometimes it’s something different. Each candidate hears something different that resonates with them. That’s been good information as we screen and figure out if this person is a good fit for the team. That’s something that I would recommend doing. To recap, anybody can do some employer branding videos. Before you do that, be clear on what it is like to work at your business or organization. If you find some things that you’re not happy about, then change them. It’s not always easy. It takes some steps in the right direction, aspire to be that employer of choice and then promote it. Get it out there in an authentic way through video and pictures as content on social media. Thank you for reading.