Employer brand management is key to a modern human resources strategy. So say 59 percent of employers, according to research by the CRF Institute. But “branding” is not a traditional HR function — so building an effective employer brand is likely to require a learning curve for the folks in your HR department.
To get started in the right direction, here are three things HR professionals need to know about employment branding.
Reality must match the brand promise. The most effective HR departments are experts at building a company culture. And effective employer brands will promote the actual culture that exists at your company—not the one HR is working to build or hoping to establish. Once your company makes promises to the world of potential job candidates, your company must follow through on those promises from the first day an employee comes to work. If not, they will quickly realize your workplace is not what they expected—and they will likely share that realization with the rest of the world.
Social media matters, hugely. Social media is likely to be the vehicle a disappointed new hire might use to broadcast the differences between your brand promise and your workplace reality. But it’s also a powerful, positive force for helping to build your employer brand and assemble a following.
Rather than simply applying for advertised positions, job candidates are now using social media to seek and find as much information as they possibly can about your company. They are reading employee reviews on Glassdoor and perusing current employees’ posts on Facebook to find out what it’s really like to work at your company. To build an effective employer brand, HR professionals must understand the importance of social media in establishing the brand, and they must join the conversation online.
It doesn’t hurt to think like a marketer. While many HR professionals are active on social media, they often continue to use it in a traditional HR sense — simply posting job openings, as they would have posted newspaper classified ads in the past. But social networking isn’t about posting positions; it’s about interacting with your target audience and building relationships with them.
Take a lesson from your company’s marketing department and get proactive about utilizing social media and other communication methods to build deliberate relationships with your audience. For instance, post photos that tell the story of what it’s like to work at your company. Enlist the help of current employees to become brand ambassadors, sharing posts about their work environment and experience that will reinforce your messages. Create videos that offer a look into your workplace and the lives of the people who work there. Start conversations with current employees and potential employees about topics that matter to them.
Keep in mind that as a recruiter, your job is very similar to that of marketers. They bring in leads to be turned into contacts. And through the same process, HR professionals build a talent pool and nurture it, so when those potential candidates are ready to make a change, they automatically think of your company.