Hiring managers and recruiters may not spend too much time thinking about workplace culture and brand. Typically brand and culture come up when a recruitment team is scrambling to put together an employment ad or job description. In an effort to attract the right candidates, the team gets together and works feverishly to craft a brand statement, or debates a way to define the culture of the company in a way that makes the company appealing to candidates.
I have an alternate view: defining workplace culture and corporate brand is really the front end of the recruitment process. Waiting to think about workplace culture and brand until you need to recruit is like closing the barn door after the horses have left.
As I’ve written elsewhere, creating and maintaining a brand-based corporate culture can help businesses recruit and retain the very best talent. Here are a few of my thoughts about workplace culture branding, taken from the world of marketing and now infused right into your workplace culture.
1. Workplace Brand Promise
Brand promise is the foundation upon which to build a brand. In your team, discuss what the company’s brand promise is. What differentiates “insert your company here” from the competition? How do you offer value in your products and services? Sketch it out, then you’re ready to move to the next step: aligning brand promise and brand attributes.
2. Workplace Brand Attributes
Brand attributes are the descriptors you use to convey and support your brand promise. Ask your team: What word comes to mind when you think of your company’s brand? What does the brand stand for? What benefits does the brand portray? If your brand were an automobile or a soft drink, which would it be?
3. Workplace Brand Positioning
Now you’re ready to talk about positioning, which involves building a narrative to support your brand promise, using brand attributes. Ask your team: who are our current and future clients? How do clients interact with our company? Who are our target clients? Who are our major clients? What is the company’s vision, and how does that meet customer needs? What’s your competitive differentiator(s)? With the answers to these questions in hand you will be able to envision your ideal candidate, and ready to create a brand positioning statement that will appeal to that candidate.
4. Workplace Culture Perception Audit
The next step is a perception audit, conducted with current employees, willing customers and trusted advisors. Here are a few questions to ask your research group:
- How is your company perceived by its clients?
- How is your company perceived by its employees?
- How would we like to have the company perceived? (Look back to your brand promise, attributes and positioning.)
- What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Who are the company’s main competitors?
- How is the company perceived in the following areas: Quality, Awareness, Brand Associations, Brand loyalty?
Revamping your brand using workplace culture
With brand and positioning work in process, it’s time to inject workplace culture. By creating a strong, desirable culture brand you’ll be able to attract talent by sharing and communicating your excitement about the business’s potential and linking that potential to a candidate’s interests.
It’s easy, especially with so few jobs available, to think brand and culture aren’t what attracts employees, but your brand and culture are your best tools for recruitment and retention. Most people want to work for a brand they admire. Make sure your brand aligns with an appealing workplace culture, and you’ll have the edge. The goal is to be the place your employees want to be, the place job candidates want to be, the place customers want to do business with. Do the work of building an irresistible brand and culture. And let us know how you’ve done it at your company.