Employment Branding: The 7 Things HR Needs To Consider

As an employer, everything you do expresses your employment brand.

Your employment brand is the aggregate of all of the things that employees, potential employees and their networks experience and learn about your company. Product quality, company reputation, desirability as a place to work, executive images, employment policies, benefits, compensation, consumer brand, industry influence, competitors and working conditions all influence the way that you are understood. Your employment brand is the summary of these variables.

You can control some, but not all of it. There are large parts of your employment brand that are beyond your direct control that you can influence. There are some parts of your employment brand that you can not control at all.

Formal employment branding programs, usually developed by advertising agencies, focus on consistency on color pallets, logos, and messaging. Great agencies do great work. This sort of thing is the most controllable part of your employment brand. Having a consistent look and feel creates the sense that you run a professional operation.

At the other end of the spectrum are the factors that you have no control over. Executive indiscretion, bad news cycles, product defects, awful economic conditions, exchange rates, weather and creeping technical disruption are all parts of the environment in which you recruit. The company’s reputation is shaped by these things.

The vast ground between these two extremes is where the real day to day work of managing the employment brand takes place. Your online reputation is shaped by reviews (Glassdoor), commentary, employee behavior, job ads, the quality of your website (and career section) and outreach campaigns.

One way of thinking about this is that every job is its own individual employment branding campaign. Your brand is different to different audiences. The things that make your company exciting to civil engineers are rarely the same things that work for accountants.

Here are seven major components to consider when determining your Employment Brand:

  • Ethnography
    Every bit of employment branding begins with two questions: who works for you and who are you trying to hire. The deeper your insight into these two questions, the more effective the message you can create. This art of the process can get very involved particularly if you are recruiting in a lot of different places or are trying to find new sources for existing jobs.
  • Competitive Position
    Are you a hot new tech startup in a hip neighborhood or an aging insurance bureaucracy in a decaying part of the city? Are you growing because your product is just beginning its successful run or are you a cash cow being milked with little or no growth investment? Are you the top of your industry or the bottom? Competitive position makes it easier or harder to recruit new talent.
  • Company Culture
    Is it fun to work in your company? Is advancement possible and profitable? Does everyone dress the same? Can you work from home? Do people curse in the office? Are gays, minorities and women in management positions? Nice desks or folding tables? Company culture is often best communicated in pictures and employee generated videos. Culture is how people tell if they fit.
  • Types Of Openings
    Are you hiring across the board or only at the top or bottom. Both employees and prospective employees will scan the entire range of your job openings to get a sense of your growth potential and promotion policies.
  • Working Conditions
    Light and cheery or dark as a dungeon. New equipment or old. Staff chef or bag lunch? Banker hours or 12 hour days? Hourly, salary or pay for performance? Personal growth oriented or controlling micromanagers? New ideas cheerfully accepted or you have to pay your dues before we’ll listen? These are the things people will tell each other about what it’s like to work for you.
  • Company Reputation/Desirability
    Today, your company is transparent whether you like it or not. Sites like Glassdoor and many professional organizations track and monitor a variety of attributes of what it’s like to work in your company.
  • Messaging and Channels
    Where and what you advertise (job ads) tells people a lot about you. One of the most critical and overlooked parts of an employment brand is the job ads that you publish. When you don’t pay much attention to them, candidates and employees notice.

Procatively, you can tie most of these elements together with messaging, appearance and employee awareness to create the best employment branding possible.