I began my career in Employment Branding in 2002, since then many people have asked me about the early steps you need to take (in the first couple of months) in building a robust and cost effective Employment Branding Program from the ground up– for a company that previously had no such program.
An early decision you will need to make is a budgetary one; in other words, do you have the complete resources and budgets to partner and engage one of the big named/well known ad firms to build your Employment Branding Program or can you, by using in-house resources, other departments and fellow colleagues, attempt this effort?
After joining the firm (or moving into the role of Employment Branding Manager/Director) your first steps should be organized around ascertaining how your firm’s employment brand is perceived by key constituents both inside and outside of your firm. Inside your company you can:
- Conduct focus groups with employees and employee groups to identify the state of your company’s internal brand and purpose (i.e. Employee Affinity groups);
- Conduct a Q&A with new hires at new employee orientations about your “firm’s reputation and image”;
- Review the Internal organizational surveys which your firms conducts—(this effort calls for building a partnership with your Organizational Development folks);
- Lastly, you should re-review exit interview results, and possibly, conduct a new survey of former employees about their views on the firm and their reasons for leaving.
This is a critical and necessary step, as the information you gather from all of these sources and groups will be used in developing and testing your firm’s “Employee Value Proposition” (EVP). Remember your EVP will be used in: offer letters, new hire on-boarding & welcome emails, radio commercials, video commercials, marketing materials (US & Global), toolboxes, external/internal career websites, university campus flyers, table tents, trade booth displays, etc.
Also, let me not forget to mention the very important role that Recruitment Marketing can play in developing and burnishing your local, regional, global and “target segmented” Employer Brand. In the beginning of these first 100 days, you will need to review all of your Recruitment Marketing materials, websites, trade show exhibits, giveaways, trinkets, videos, commercials, slogans, and social media pages and sites. Also make sure that your marketing materials are infused with diversity and lots of diversity images. In some cases, much like your Employment Brand, I recommend that you consider and develop specific marketing materials and sites for specific talent pool/populations and channels you want to impact and nourish.
Your next steps should be establishing and building partnerships with key colleagues and internal Departments which can help you implement, disseminate and communicate the future of your Employment Brand. Some of these key departments are: Organizational Development (previously mentioned) Corporate Communications & Public Affairs (this area was particularly helpful to me at Monsanto in a variety of ways in building an Employment Brand).
Corporate Communication can help employees communicate the Brand Message, Brand Promise and Brand Mantra. And by the way, you should use the Corporate Communication people for help with your “Best Place to Work Awards” application effort, as I did. Some other departments to also work with are: the Webmaster for your company’s overall website & the Career website, Graphics Department, Human Resources, Corporate Marketing, etc.
Let me also point out, for a minute, how critical developing a partnership with the Corporate Marketing must be, because of the necessary alignment required for the Employment Brand with the Corporate Brand. In my career, I was extremely fortunate that I joined Monsanto at a time when the overall Corporate Brand was being changed and I served (along with my Manager) on the Marketing Department’s Corporate Brand Positioning team tasked with selecting a new Corporate Brand image and tagline for the biotech Ag Giant— our Employment Brand program benefitted from that work. Lastly, you need the buy in and help of HR Leadership, the Human Resources Generalists and line Managers in implementing, executing and delivering the Employment Brand.
In addition, another stage in this effort is to periodically measure the effectiveness of the Program for possible tweaks; for example, consult with your Talent Acquisition Department to determine if your firm is attracting (and retaining) the right candidates. Consult with your HRGs to understand how the employees are viewing the firm. Personally talk to employees about their views of the firm; attend the various Town Halls around the company. Ask if your Company’s turnover is decreasing? Find out if your firm is winning (or losing) any “Best Place to Work Awards.” Meet with your OD people on employee survey results. Talk to College Students and Campus and Faculty personnel about your firm’s Employment image on key Campuses. Monitor Social Media to see what is being said about your firm’s reputation.
You obviously want to measure and report out results. In my Employment Branding Program, I had the following metrics for “ROI” on the Employment Branding Program:
- 56% and 54% increases in total completed applications via the career website over a two year period;
- Increased positive press coverage–in Ag industry publications, St. Louis and mid-west publications and national news outlets, and University and Ag related organizations, associations.
- Greater employee engagement as measured by internal surveys; & more HR prestige;
- Increased diversity in number of applicants;
- Single digit employee turnover.
And needless to say, your firm’s Employment Brand should be sync up and consistently promoted and optimized through all of your Social Media outlets and channels. Some other things to consider would be to view (and adapt): your Employment Brand vis-a-vis specific talent pools you are targeting; your Diversity Employment Brand; your University Relations’ Employment Brand, etc.
Your first 100 days in developing/executing an Employment Branding Program from scratch will be exciting and rewarding. The benefits of the Program are critical. In a word, top talent wants to work at top firms. So, a world class Employment Branding Program will not only benefit your Talent Acquisition strategy, but also the firm’s overall financial value to its shareholders.
In your next 100 days, you can focus on creating a Brand Ambassador Program composed of your top performing employees who best represent your Employment Brand and its message. You could also meet with senior HR Leaders and get approval for incorporating (enterprise wide) some elements of the Employment Brand messaging, as it relates to employee behavior, into the performance appraisal process. Thus outlining and reinforcing the firm’s expectations around the desired brand image it wants its employees to project to customers.
Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt, MBA is an award-winning Global HR professional across several industries and former Director of Employment Branding and University of Recruiting at Monsanto. Photo Credit Salon.
For more information on establishing your Employment Branding, read “Positioning Southwest through employee branding” (by Sandra Jeanquart Miles) or my other articles: