The word “brand” gets thrown around an awful lot lately. There are corporate brands and personal brands. In the recruiting game we often talk about the importance of branding one’s self. How are you labeling your company, your culture and your products? Branding is very important from all angles. We usually associate branding as the Marketing Department’s baby but it’s not, everyone within your organization is part of the brand.
When we think major brands we think of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Wal-Mart, Target, SmartRecruiters, Ford, Levis, Nike, and I could go on and on. A company’s culture, commercials, website and overall presence are all part of the brand but no company could exist without their employees, aka talent. The talent within your organization helps to develop, spread, cultivate and represent your brand to the community and the world.
In addition to your products, packaging, corporate image and marketing; human resources should be part of your brand strategies. Recruiting is a function of HR and therefore HR should be part of the brand messages being communicated throughout your company.
One of the best pieces of job search advice is to research the company online – read their website, about us page, press releases and communications. That’s all part of the branding strategy. And when an applicant sees something they like, they want to be part of it. Even job board ads are part of the brand strategy and that’s where HR comes in. The recruiting or talent acquisition process should include a collaboration with the Marketing Department. Once the description is created, marketing should work with HR to make sure the ensuing job ad fits the corporate strategy. This ensures a solid and consistent corporate message is being distributed.
Working in HR, I’ve seen mixed brand messages and it is quite confusing. For instance, if a company uses social media to find new talent and then discourages social media usage; that’s a fail. If a company claims to be an industry leader but its workforce is mostly “warm bodies” with few benefits and perks; that’s a fail. If a company boasts about being innovative and cutting edge, yet they use old technology and software; that’s a fail. Top talent wants the best of the best. The best benefits, treatment, culture and environment; if not they will find it elsewhere.
The recruiting, training, onboarding and workflow are all part of talent management. Aligning and developing those strategies with the overall mission, vision and goals starts from the inside out. That message gets carried from the employees throughout the various departments – from Communications, Production, Human Resources, and Marketing. With the rise of social media, the professional world of who is doing what has never been more transparent, intensifying the importance of talent branding. Your talent is your brand.
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