When your company is in the earlier stages of growth, relentless competition for customers’ mind share and money is a given. You know that for people to invest in or buy from you over established competitors, you must earn it.
So why when persuading people to come work for us, does our mentality flip from ‘earn it’ to ‘entitled’?
When you're building your go-to-market strategy, you identify who the ideal customer is before you begin marketing. During that exercise, you identify your customers motivations, needs, and values and then you experiment with messaging to influence their behavior. You deploy creative and analytic solutions to zero in on the initiatives that will capture interest, convince, convert and keep.
Yet despite hiring being cited as the number one scaling pain point, anything seems to go when it comes to employer brand strategy. We pray people will serendipitously stumble upon our postings, immediately infer why it’s great to work at your company, and then never forget it once they’re employed.
Here are 5 simple steps to develop your employer branding strategy:
- Set your goals
- Build a candidate persona
- Define your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
- Identify the channels and candidate touch points
- Measure the results
It’s common to have never asked ourselves: why should people work for us? What’s in it for them? What makes us different or better than other options out there?
It is a HUGE missed opportunity – and one that could truly curtail our ability to scale.
Strike Up the Band
Just as it’s essential to define a brand and value proposition for customers, we must define one for potential (and present) employees.
Elements of an EVP include obvious things like compensation and benefits, insurance, and parental leave. But like any important relationship, it’s a bit more emotional than that: career development, talented colleagues, and the ability to make an impact are also core. Coming to a place that is high energy, positive, and full of possibilities is intoxicating. People early in their careers are particularly willing to forgo higher salaries for a role that promises experience, learning, and other growth opportunities. Flexibility around hours, remote working, and part-time roles are also part of the value that today’s workforce finds compelling.
It’s also helpful to remember perks at work don’t have to be expensive or material. It is usually the less glamorous, little things that make or break your employee experience: great communication, regular recognition and reinforcement, clear goals, and treating people with respect. Focus on this over beanbags and beers.
Let’s Fall in Love
To identify and attract the right talent, a value exchange needs to be considered, codified, and then consistently communicated inside and outside the business. As with your customer reputation, your employer brand can turn your employees into your most ardent advocates or devastating detractors. Why leave it to chance?
You can identify some elements of your EVP by leveraging the wisdom and practices you apply to your customer value proposition. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Get talking: ask your employees why they joined the company. Why do they stay? What motivates them to deliver great work? Consult with a diverse group (tenure, team, age, etc.) to get the full picture. You can also consider capturing their responses on film for employer branding content.
- Run a survey: platforms like CultureAmp, OfficeVibe or Lattice provide a way to get company-wide input to help you measure and benchmark your strengths and weaknesses. A good old-fashioned focus group never hurt either. Find ways to engage with your teams. They will give you the straight scoop.
- Build a roadmap for the candidate journey: tap into your UX skills to map out the ideal experience for candidates. Watch this video to learn how Airbnb, after some hiring missteps, they cleverly involved their UX team to design an amazing candidate journey.
- Invest in a high impact careers page: once you’ve defined your EVP, give it the platform it deserves. Most of the time you’ll find this is your most visited page, if done well. Don’t mess up your first impression this early on.
- SWAG matters: if your people are willing to wear your logo in public on a travel mug, umbrella, or hoodie, chances are they’re proud to work for you. Pride is contagious. Be generous with swag – it sends a strong message about pride between your people and to the outside world
Bottom line: be intentional and purposeful about how you “go-to-market” for people, just like you are for customers. Without exceptional people who are committed to your workplace, the rest won’t be easy or even possible. Make your workplace a great workplace, by design.
What are some creative and effective things you did to “sell” your organization to highly qualified job candidates? Email us at HRonCall@insightpartners.com.