Employer Branding For Dummies book cover

Employer Branding For Dummies

By: Richard Mosley and Lars Schmidt Published: 02-21-2017

Attract the very best talent with a compelling employer brand!

Employer Branding For Dummies is the clear, no-nonsense guide to attracting and retaining top talent. Written by two of the most recognized leaders in employer brand, Richard Mosley and Lars Schmidt, this book gives you actionable advice and expert insight you need to build, scale, and measure a compelling brand. You'll learn how to research what makes your company stand out, the best ways to reach the people you need, and how to convince those people that your company is the ideal place to exercise and develop their skills. The book includes ways to identify the specific traits of your company that aligns with specific talent, and how to translate those traits into employer brand tactic that help you draw the right talent, while repelling the wrong ones. You'll learn how to build and maintain your own distinctive, credible employer brand; and develop a set of relevant, informative success metrics to help you measure ROI. This book shows you how to discover and develop your employer brand to draw the quality talent you need.

  •  Perfect your recruitment marketing
  • Develop a compelling employer value proposition (EVP)
  • Demonstrate your employer brand ROI
Face it: the very best employees are the ones with the most options. Why should they choose your company? A strong employer brand makes the decision a no-brainer. It's good for engagement, good for retention, and good for the bottom line. Employer Branding For Dummies helps you hone in on your unique, compelling brand, and get the people you need today.

Articles From Employer Branding For Dummies

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54 results
Tips for Delivering Content for Your Employer Brand

Article / Updated 04-21-2017

When you have a clear idea of the look, feel, and function of your employer brand and career website, you’re ready to turn your attention to the most important component of any website — content. As you gather and create content for your website, follow these guidelines: Align your content with your employer value proposition. Tailor your content to the different talent groups you’re recruiting. Write job descriptions that attract the right people and make everyone else think twice about applying. Streamline the application process, so exceptional candidates aren’t turned off by an onerous chore. Tailoring content to target groups for your employer brand Writing branded content about your company and what a wonderful place it is to work is relatively easy, but it may not resonate with specific talent groups. What makes a company a great place to work for marketing people isn’t what makes it a great place to work for programmers, product development specialists, or operations analysts. Target content to different talent groups. Here’s how: When developing content, consult personnel in the talent areas you’re targeting. For example, if your company is in dire need of software developers, ask the software developers in your company to be involved in content development. Ask them to produce content, make suggestions, or at least review content before posting it to your career website. Nobody knows more about what appeals to a certain talent group than the people in your company who belong to that group. Provide a balanced mix of content throughout your website to showcase various departments and personnel that have openings you need to fill, such as administration, business development, engineering, design, operations, and legal. You may want to include more content for talent that’s a higher priority or give such content more prominence on your career website, but provide at least some content that speaks to each talent group you recruit. If your value proposition differs substantially for different employee populations, consider creating a separate page for each talent group and populate that page with content that speaks more directly to each group. You may even want to create a microsite that focuses on recruiting high-demand talent. Trying to appeal to everyone often appeals to no one. Overly general messaging fails to resonate with any given target group. Identify key talent groups, and ensure your career website clearly conveys your EVP to your most coveted prospects. Writing effective job descriptions Job descriptions are one of the least evolved tools in the corporate recruiting tool belt. They tend to be written for the benefit of the employer, not the employee. When writing job descriptions, don’t simply list job features and qualifications (employer needs); focus more on how the position is likely to benefit the candidate (employee needs). Focus as much on the feel as the facts. Here are a few suggestions on how to infuse your job description with both facts and feel: Add links to additional content and messaging, such as press releases, awards, employee blogs, multimedia, company social channels, and so on. Linking to addition content makes the job description more dynamic and interactive. Include a 30-second video of the hiring manger talking enthusiastically about the specific position in the company and the unique work environment and camaraderie the department fosters. Share stories of employees in similar roles and their career growth. Include LinkedIn profiles or other social profiles of team members, so the prospect can envision how cool it would be to work with these extraordinary individuals. Embed photos or videos of the office that reveal the company culture. Include infographics and other visual media to convey the opportunity being presented. Prospects may not view job descriptions until after they investigate a potential new employer, but they’re just as likely to encounter a job description when they take the first step on their job search journey. A high percentage of active job seekers start their search on the Internet using job-related terms instead of the names of specific employers. Here are three suggestions to increase the availability and impact of a job description: Make it mobile. Assume your primary audience will be reading the job description on a mobile device. Make it meaningful. Avoid boilerplate templates and laundry lists of expectations. Make it dynamic. Add photos, videos, and links to bring the job to life. Consider using tools such as Clinch to frame job descriptions with other relevant contextual content. Such content may include day-in-the-life video profiles, photographs of the working environment, and tailored brand messages that highlight aspects of the overall employer brand promise that are known to be most relevant and important to the type of people targeted for the role. Making it easy to apply Face it, applying for a job can be annoying and frustrating. You come across that amazing job, spend hours getting your résumé and application together, submit your application, jump through a series of hoops, and then wait … and wait … and wait. This is the unfortunate reality for most job seekers today. Here are a few suggestions to make your application process less painful: Apply for a job listed on your career site. How long did it take? How pleasant was the experience? Did you ever hear back about the status of your application? If you received a reply, did it have a personal touch or was it obviously a stock template? Applying to your own jobs is a great way to understand the application experience. It can be eye opening, revealing why your drop-off rate is so high and applications are so few. Optimize for mobile. Make it easier for mobile users to navigate the application. Use white space. Keep sentences short. Don’t overdo the word count. Be sure to keep this in mind when writing the copy for your career site. Audit the application process. Using tools such as Google Analytics, find out where applicants are dropping out of the process and focus your efforts on those points. While you’re at it, eliminate any nonessential steps and nonessential fields on the application form. Manage expectations. Let the applicant know upfront how much time the application generally requires to complete and how the process will unfold. Consider adding FAQs to your auto-response application receipt confirmations to help set expectations when candidates apply. Provide feedback. Inform applicants of where they are in the application process and how much further they need to go. After an applicant submits an application, send a timely confirmation message with some indication of when the applicant can expect to hear back. Approach the online application process as an opportunity to find out more about potential candidates instead of as a way to weed out unqualified applicants. Personalizing your response letters Most companies confirm receipt of the application by sending an impersonal, computer-generated email. Such letters typically say nothing more than “We received your résumé. Thank you for applying.” That’s what applicants have come to expect; yes, the bar is that low. The good news is that this standard, impersonal approach presents you with a golden opportunity to exceed applicants’ expectations. Here are a few suggestions for adding a personal touch to your response letters and proactively addressing candidates’ questions and concerns: Include graphics. Add a colorful, branded header image and one or two interesting or entertaining graphics in the body of the message. Provide a hiring process overview. Remove the mystery of applicant volume, how applications are evaluated, the interview process, and the time frame. Let candidates know when they can expect to hear back. You can relieve a lot of anxiety simply by managing expectations. Lighten up. Use appropriate humor or some other approach to connect with the applicant on a more personal level and alleviate any tension. Give applicants something to do. Include a link to check the application status and links to social channels where you post additional jobs content. Keep your EVP in mind when composing response letters. The overall appearance and tone of your letters must align with your core positioning and brand pillars. To brand your company as the fun, creative place to work, for example, make sure your letter is both fun and creative. When composing a rejection letter, show some compassion. Acknowledge the fact that rejection letters can disappoint and discourage job seekers. Let the applicant know how stiff the competition was and how difficult the choice was. Do your best to make the candidate feel good about herself and her qualifications and hopeful in her job search.

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How to Ensure a Positive Employer Brand Experience through Induction and Orientation

Article / Updated 04-21-2017

Once you’ve made an offer and it’s been accepted, you may think that you can take your foot off the employer brand marketing pedal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Onboarding talent in the right way is just as important as recruiting the right talent. If you succeed, high expectations will fast-forward into high engagement and high performance. Get it wrong, and disappointment will lead to disengagement and early attrition. Focus on the fundamentals for a positive employer branding experience As you launch your efforts to deliver a positive brand experience through induction and orientation, focus on mastering the fundamentals first. Here are the five onboarding practices that are essential to effective employer brand engagement and identification as well as to hastening the new hire’s time to performance (the time required for a new employee to begin paying dividends): Set global standards while allowing for local tailoring. Set up a consistent global onboarding process across your organization to ensure close alignment with the EVP, effective application of technology, and consistent feedback and metrics. As with other employer brand management processes, give other divisions in your organization the freedom, within certain constraints, to localize the standards and practices to meet the needs and preferences of regional cultures, local business units, and specific talent segments. Start orientation early and stretch it out. Successfully onboarding new employees requires a great deal more than a day-long induction session. As soon as the selected candidate accepts the offer, start some form of preboarding process. Extend your orientation to a period lasting 3 to 12 months. Establish clear ownership and ensure seamless teamwork. HR generally owns the onboarding function, but it’s definitely a team sport. The reason a formalized process is required is because effective onboarding requires the close coordination of many different functions within the business. Prior to onboarding new employees, make sure the following departments are onboard: Recruitment team: Responsible for ensuring a smooth handoff of the new employee to the department that person is assigned to and to other members of the onboarding team. HR management: In charge of the overall delivery of onboarding, providing support to hiring managers and updating the process to meet the changing needs of the business. IT and facilities: Tasked with ensuring new employees are appropriately equipped and enabled from day one. Learning and development: Responsible for evaluating the learning and development needs of new employees and providing the educational and training resources required. Responsibilities include the provision of e-learning support through induction and orientation. Line management: Takes the leading role in welcoming new employees and orienting them to their new roles and to colleagues and bringing them up to speed on performance objectives. Leverage technology. Technology can play a highly effective role in guiding both new joiners and hiring managers through the onboarding process, as well as providing a more consistent on-brand experience. Technology support may include task flow management, socialization, and cultural orientation. A number of these services can be built onto an existing human resource management system (HRMS) or ATS, but the best in breed according to benchmarking research conducted by the Aberdeen Group are custom-built portals that are fully integrated into the wider talent management system, such as Workday Recruiting. Leverage the power of data to optimize performance. Onboarding provides an important data set that that enables you to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as quality of hire. IT links the data collected during the hiring process, data collected during subsequent performance management, and data gathered during development processes to provide full-stream visibility into the employee life cycle. Linking these three data sets enables organizations to better understand the kind of interventions required during onboarding to ensure people feel fully engaged and accelerate to full performance in the shortest possible time. Preboarding new hires Recruiting a candidate shouldn’t stop the moment he accepts an offer, and neither should your employer branding efforts. Because most recruiting structures are transactional, they stop as soon as the selected candidate accepts the offer. This is a real risk for recruiting, particularly considering the competition for top talent in today’s markets. You can be assured your competitors aren’t slowing down in their efforts to woo your new hire. Make your offer more “sticky” by developing a plan to have the hiring managers, team, peers, and others involved in recruiting your new hire maintain communication during those vulnerable weeks between offer acceptance and start date. Here are a few things to consider in order to create a “white glove” onboarding experience: Create an onboarding checklist for everyone who has a stake in the new hire, including your hiring manager/team, recruiting, HR, facilities, and IT. Establish clear expectation of who will do what and when, in order to ensure a smooth onboarding experience. If the recruiter is making the offer, have the hiring manager follow up within 24 hours. Your hiring manager should congratulate the new hire, answer any questions, and make herself available for anything that comes up. Assign a contact person to each new hire. Make sure the person has a point of contact at all times for any questions. Have someone check in with the new hire every week. Don’t let the new hire fall off the radar. Help new hires make a graceful exit from their current employers. Prep them for the exit/notice meeting, potential counteroffers, work transition, and so on. Understand that this is an emotional experience for some employees, and let them know you’re there to support them. Send the new hire any resources, documents, links, and so on that help with understanding the company, team, role, and so on. Be sure to let them know that this “research” is entirely optional. They may be buried with transition work for their current employers, so don’t add to that stress or pull focus by adding mandatory preboarding reading. Providing a warm welcome Starting a new job is as stressful as it is exhilarating. By making your new hire feel welcome and attending to her creature comforts, you can mitigate the stress and ease the transition while initiating your retention efforts. Consider adding one or more of the following steps to your onboarding process to create a pleasant and memorable onboarding experience: Send a welcome letter signed by the hiring manager and members of the department or team that will be working closely with the new hire. Prepare and send the person a detailed itinerary of her first week, including any and all orientation sessions. Prepare the person’s workspace to provide everything he’ll need — desk, chair, computer hardware and software, sticky notes, and so on. Be sure that IT sets him up with a network username and password. Nothing sucks the wind out of day one more than waiting hours to get a computer set up. Schedule a team lunch or happy hour near the end of the person’s first week. Assign an onboarding ambassador to answer questions and shepherd the new hire through the first couple of weeks. Provide a tour of the building. Schedule meetings with senior leaders. Introduce your new hire to others new/recent hires. Check in at the end of week one. Schedule regular (weekly at least) check-ins during the first 90 days. Establish clear goals, deliverables, and priorities for the onboarding period. Designing an extensive orientation process Many organizations allocate only a day or a few days to orienting new employees, but for best results, extend your orientation period to three months at the minimum and up to a year. Create a three-column table with the scheduled time periods in the left column, the onboarding phases in the center column, and objectives for each onboarding phase in the right column. Phases of Onboarding at the LEGO Group Time Period Onboarding Phase Objective Acceptance to arrival Preboarding Setting expectations Day 1 to Week 1 Induction Welcoming and equipping Week 1 to Month 1 Orientation Connecting the dots Month 1 to Month 3 Integration Building a network Month 3 to Year 1 Acceleration Getting up to full speed Consider adding a fourth column for assigning each onboarding phase/objective to the department(s) or individual(s) responsible for that phase/objective.

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Apply Customer Experience Thinking to HR Processes to Improve Your Employer Brand

Article / Updated 04-21-2017

Customer experience is an important part of employer branding. People often take for granted the planning and discipline required to deliver an excellent customer experience. When companies get this right, it often feels easy and natural, much like a great athletic performance, but it generally takes considerable effort to deliver a quality experience on a consistent basis. Consider the brand experience of an airline customer, and the complex coordination of services required to deliver a distinctively positive experience. More often than not, the process starts online with a digital experience: How informative and easy to use is the website? On the way to the airport can the customer check-in using her smartphone and keep up to date with any changes that may be affecting the flight schedule? How easy is it for the customer to check in her bags? How friendly and informative are the customer service assistants at the check-in desk? Once onboard, how comfortable is the seat? What kind of entertainment is available? How good is the food being served? How attentive is the cabin crew? Getting all these experiential elements right (at a competitive price) lies at the heart of successful customer marketing. Delivering an excellent employment experience requires a similar coordinated effort throughout the company, often under the direction HR. Thinking differently about HR and your employer brand The reason leading airlines pay so much attention to the design and consistent delivery of the customer experience is that airline passengers (especially frequent flyers) can generally choose between providers. Because employees (especially the most talented) are also free to choose between employers, it surely makes sense for companies to apply the same rigor and discipline to managing the employment experience. This has not been the kind of thinking HR has conventionally applied, but the HR function looks set to go through another period of transformation with significant signs of convergence between talent management and customer experience management thinking. Stop thinking of HR as an administrative function and start thinking of it as a customer service department for employees. Reviewing your current employment experience Shaun Smith, the author of Managing the Customer Experience (Pearson FT Press), identifies three levels of customer experience, with the ultimate goal of delivering a differentiated branded experience that’s not merely reliably good in delivering against service expectations but distinctively great in delivering unique customer value. The employee experience is generally more complex than most customer service experiences, but your company would benefit from adopting a similar approach. The goal is to climb the ladder from brand busters to brand signatures. Spotting brand busters Brand busters are employment experiences that undermine the employer brand for any number of reasons, such as the following: Inconsistent experience: Inconsistencies in the employment experience are typically the result of having no people management process in place or executing the process that is in place inconsistently. Induction and orientation processes are prone to these kind of inconsistencies in many organizations. Unsatisfactory experience: Employees are typically dissatisfied with the employment experience as a result of poor process design, insufficient investment, or both. In many organizations, employees are most often disappointed with career development and mobility. Off-brand experience: The preceding two brand busters may relate to any aspect of the employment experience, but an off-brand experience is more specific to your employer brand promises. If you promise “a world of opportunities” but have no process or investment in place to advance employees’ careers abroad, then you have a classic brand buster on your hands. In small to medium-size companies, a strong leadership presence and tightly knit culture can sometimes deliver a consistently positive employment experience with very few formal people management processes. In larger companies, an absence of well-designed and well-executed processes almost inevitably leads to significant inconsistencies. Even with well-designed processes, insufficient time and investment applied to training and communication lead to similarly poor or inconsistent employee experiences. Identifying brand builders Brand builders are consistently positive employment experiences resulting from professional, well-executed, but relatively standard HR procedures. To step up from brand busters to brand builders, all you need to do is figure out what your competitors are doing well and follow their lead. You don’t need to do anything special. Raising the bar: Brand signatures If your organization has successfully turned brand busters into brand builders, and has a consistently positive and professional approach to people management process, the next level to aspire to from an employer brand perspective is the development of signature experiences — elements of your company’s employment experience that make the experience unique and superior to that offered by competitors. Signature experiences are of value to employees and to the organization, but they also serve as constant reminders of the company’s culture and values. Signature experiences may be different by degree, in terms of the amount of emphasis or investment dedicated to the underlying process or practice. For example, you may have a career path model that is similar to other companies, but better because you invested more than your leading talent competitors in the kind of software that enables employees to map out different career options and training requirements. Alternatively, the employment experience could be different in kind, which means it includes elements unique to your organization. These generally require greater investment in imagination than money. Signature experiences may define processes that are so central to the organization, they could be seen by many as defining its core ethos, such as Kaizen, Toyota’s continuous improvement process, or GE’s lean-thinking Work-Out. In other cases, it simply represents a distinctive aspect of the business such as IBM’s online collaborative Jam sessions. Some companies, including Google and Virgin, seem to be naturally drawn to creating signature experiences.

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How to Attract Talent on Twitter with Your Employer Brand

Article / Updated 04-21-2017

Building an engaged network on Twitter can have a huge positive impact on your employer brand’s recruiting efforts, particularly if you’re recruiting in fields such as knowledge workers, who tend to flock to Twitter. It’s an open platform, meaning anyone can see any content without necessarily following the account, so tweets have the potential of reaching a wider audience. If you don’t know the difference between a hashtag and a price tag, you may want to check out Twitter For Dummies, 3rd Edition, by Laura Fitton, Anum Hussain, and Brittany Leaning (Wiley). Picking up strategies by observing others Before you venture into any unfamiliar social gathering, whether online or not, hang out for a while and observe how others in the community interact. When you’re setting out to establish an employer brand presence on Twitter, observe other Twitter accounts that have strong positive employer brands and take note of the content they tweet, the tone or voice, and how they interact with potential candidates. You can find plenty of role models on Twitter; here are examples of a few good corporate accounts you may want to follow: @NPRjobs, @JoinTheFlock, @PepsiCoJobs, @MicrosoftJobs, @ViacomCareers, @InsideZappo, and @HootsuiteLife. Try following your peers and competitors on Twitter to find out what they’re doing to compete for talent. Check out the collection of more than 250 brand recruiting handles on Twitter. Using hashtags to source candidates for your employer brand Most employer branding efforts are designed around pull marketing (attracting prospects), but sourcing is a push marketing technique that involves proactively recruiting individuals with high-value skills and expertise. The focus here is on building a strong employer brand, but Twitter is also a good platform for recruiters and organizations to identify and engage with prospects who may not even be in the market for a new job. When posting job notices on Twitter, include function- or job-specific hashtags in your tweets (for example, #digitalmarketing, #PR, #webdesign, or #accounting). You can find function- or skill-specific hashtags by searching the web for “job seeker hashtags.” Tread carefully when using hashtags. If you’re oversharing jobs with event hashtags, you’ll likely face blowback for spamming. You can also use Twitter to source candidates by keeping an eye on hashtags relevant to positions you’re trying to fill. For example, if you’re recruiting Drupal developers, keep an eye on the hashtags: #Drupal, #DrupalCon, #Drupal8, and so on to see what these communities are talking about and to identify influential developers. If you’re recruiting marketing managers, keep an eye on #marketing, #digitalmarketing, #marketingresearch, #mktg, and so on. Plenty of tools are available to help you identify influencers within various hashtag communities. Here are a few to check out: Google Trends Audiense Hashtags What The Trend Sourcing local talent? These tools and others enable you to search for people talking about relevant topics within a certain mile radius of your company. Engaging prospects for your employer brand When you’re posting tweets, which are essentially very brief, overlooking the necessity of offering followers something of real value is far too easy. Keep the focus on delivering valuable content. Share behind-the-scenes photos or videos to help prospects get a sense of what it’s like to work for your company. Share articles and resources about your industry. Join Twitter chats and share your insights and expertise. Interact with your followers. Try to respond to every @mention and question. Engagement and interaction are vital for building community. Getting your employees involved with your employer brand To fully harness the power of Twitter, get employees involved. Candidates don’t want to hear only from employer brand managers; they want to hear from peers doing the work they (prospects) may be doing for your company in the near future. They want to talk shop with the people who may someday be their colleagues. Great talent can recognize similar talent. Consider developing internal programs that encourage employees to share their knowledge and expertise in online communities where you recruit. By increasing their visibility in certain professional circles and establishing themselves as experts in those communities, your employees can expand their own professional networks while helping you identify and attract talented prospects. Prospects want to hear from your employees. That product manager you’ve been wooing wants to see tweets from your product team that will help them get a feel for the work, team atmosphere, culture, and so on. You may share supremely clever and compelling content on Twitter, but you’re still an HR guy or gal. You have an agenda to bring talent into your organization, so of course your posts are biased. Gauging your employer brand’s Twitter impact You can use any of several available tools to measure the reach, retweets, impressions, and so on related to your tweeting activity. You should also be measuring applications and hires coming from Twitter through your applicant tracking software (ATS). Use these tools to adjust your campaigns regularly. You may be tempted to obsess over your number of followers. Don’t let that be your primary indicator as to whether your account is successful. If you focus on providing valuable content and engaging your community, followers will come. Focus on this and you’ll have something better than followers; you’ll have brand advocates who bring you the best talent available.

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How to Market Your Employer Brand on Facebook

Article / Updated 04-21-2017

Your employer brand can’t afford to neglect Facebook. Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla of the social media world, and because the platform is so powerful and influential, your company needs to be on Facebook. After all, about 20 percent of the world’s population is on Facebook, providing you with an incredible opportunity and tool to build your employer brand. We assume you’re on Facebook and you know the basics. If you need guidance, check out Facebook For Dummies, 6th Edition, by Carolyn Abram (Wiley). Creating a Facebook Page for your employer brand Most businesses create a Facebook Page primarily to promote products and services to customers. To use Facebook to build an employer brand, you have the option of using the company’s existing page or creating a separate page to build the employer brand: Use the company’s existing Facebook Page. Depending on your company’s size and resources and the focus of the content on the company’s existing Facebook Page, you may be able to leverage the reach and impact of that page to share some of your employer brand content, including jobs and workplace culture. The advantage to this approach is that the channel is likely already established, with set governance, content strategy, and, most important, audience. The downside is you often lack control and have to work through established content calendars to insert your employer brand content. Build a new Facebook Page. If you have the bandwidth and resources, you may want to build a separate Facebook Page dedicated to your employer brand, so you have full autonomy and authority over the content, content shares, tone of voice, and engagement strategy. It’s a great way to tap into the largest social network, and the 1.7 billion or so active monthly users. Consult your content marketing strategy to determine the type of content you share on your Facebook Page. If you’re building a dedicated Facebook Page for your employer brand, notify employees and ask them to follow and share the page. You may also want to leverage the established reach (and likes) of your corporate channels with strategic requests to share and promote your content, so their audience becomes aware of the employer brand channel and has the opportunity to get an inside look at the employee experience. For companies with strong consumer brands and existing customer affinity, this is a great way to quickly grow your audience. Hosting Facebook Groups for your employer brand Facebook Groups is another great tool for employer branding, particularly as engagement levels in LinkedIn groups continue to decline. Facebook Groups allows you to create open, closed, or secret groups that allow members to interact, share, and engage with one other. Consider creating a private group that includes employees, prospects, and fans. This approach provides a direct way to engage prospects with your existing talent, enabling prospects to ask questions and get a firsthand look at the culture. It also enables your team to identify engaged prospects you may want to recruit. Broadcasting via Facebook Live with your employer brand Facebook Live, recently added to Facebook’s portfolio, taps into the resurgence of livestreaming, enabling users to broadcast live video from their mobile devices. You can find a variety of applications for broadcasting live on Facebook.

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How to Recruit on LinkedIn for Your Employer Brand

Article / Updated 04-21-2017

LinkedIn is typically the first tool in most organizations’ employer branding portfolios. It’s certainly no stranger to recruiting, with more than 90 percent of recruiters using the platform to find talent. If you want step-by-step instruction on how to use LinkedIn, consult LinkedIn’s online help system or check out LinkedIn For Dummies, 4th Edition, by Joel Elad (Wiley). Building your Company and Career pages On LinkedIn, you can create a Company Page to showcase your organization, its products or services, its culture, and other attractions. You’re allowed a base level of customization at no cost. Enter the standard info — about the company, location, website address, industry, company size, and so on. You also have the option of adding a banner and a logo. You can further customize your content, look, and feel by upgrading to a premium account. After you’ve created your Company Page, click the Careers tab and customize your Career Page. Again, LinkedIn allows you a base level of customization at no cost. For additional customization options, you can upgrade to a Silver or Gold Career Page, each of which provides additional features, such as a clickable banner, customizable modules, analytics on who is viewing the page, direct links to recruiters, video content, and more. LinkedIn recently updated its Company Page format to make it even more employer brand friendly. Now you can upload photos, feature executives and key employees, and even highlight employee-contributed blogs from the LinkedIn Publisher platform. Posting regular status updates Posting regular status updates is key to promoting your company’s corporate, customer, and employer brand on LinkedIn. Posting compelling, relevant content builds engagement and community and raises the visibility of your Company and Career pages. You give your followers a reason to engage, share, and return for more, regardless of whether they’re currently looking for a job. This engagement fuels discovery and helps draw new followers to your page and ideally to your jobs. LinkedIn has dedicated significant resources toward building more robust employer branding capabilities into its platform. It has released several branding resources to help organizations in this effort, so be sure to search for its most recent resources. Video in particular is a great way to highlight your culture and shine a spotlight on your employees. You can also include links to employer branding campaigns you have on other networks. Measuring and optimizing engagement Analytics and fine-tuning are crucial to any social media strategy. Without analytics, you have no real sense of whether your efforts are making an impact. This is where LinkedIn adds value by providing real-time engagement analytics directly beneath each post. This indicator enables you to see what kind of content interests your audience most and adjust accordingly. Click the Analytics tab of your Career Page to access valuable data and insight into your audience — including clicks, likes, comments, shares, followers acquired, and engagement percentage. These metrics are useful tools to help you continually recalibrate and refine your content. Another interesting widget in the analytics dashboard is the “How You Compare” dashboard, which reveals how your follower count compares with that of other organizations. This metric gives you some perspective on how you’re doing on LinkedIn and may point the way to some best practices you’d be wise to emulate. Having employees update their profiles Today’s candidates are savvy shoppers. They’re researching companies and colleagues before, during, and after the interview process. What will they discover when they view your employees’ LinkedIn profiles? That answer may determine whether they pursue your company or head to greener pastures. Your employees are brand ambassadors; help them shine by providing training and guidance on creating a compelling professional LinkedIn profile that reflects positively on your organization. If you have a culture video or other employer brand collateral, ask employees to embed it in their Experience section. In their Current Experience section, have them describe what they do and why they enjoy it. These subtle additions can pay huge dividends when candidates research your organization.

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How to Align Your Employer Branding with Your Corporate and Customer Branding

Article / Updated 04-20-2017

The employer brand forms one branch of the overall brand tree. The trunk of this tree is the corporate brand, which includes those elements (including core values and identity guidelines) that should ideally be reflected in every branch of brand communication (to current and future employees, customers, investors, business partners, and other key stakeholder groups). Likewise, the employer brand defines the core elements that should be reflected in some form across every branch of recruitment marketing and employee communication. This overall framework, branching outward from the corporate center, is often referred to as the brand hierarchy. Working with a monolithic brand The monolithic or branded house framework describes organizations that work with a single overarching brand, such as Amazon, Apple, IBM, and LEGO. The LEGO Group offers up a great example of a branded house framework that is both consistent and adaptive. Although its early branding focused narrowly on LEGO products and customers, the company recognized the value of tailoring the brand to different stakeholder groups. The result was the LEGO brand framework. In the LEGO Group’s case, the Mission, Vision, Spirit, and Values define the core, and the four promises define their tailored propositions to the company’s four main stakeholder groups: customers (the Play Promise), partners (the Partner Promise), employees (the People Promise), and community (the Planet Promise). In the context of a monolithic brand, which is probably the most common, you need to be particularly aware of the relationship between the employer brand and the customer brand, because the associations built through customer brand marketing and experience are most likely to influence people’s expectations of your employer brand. You must consider the influence of the customer brand and experience when reviewing your current employer brand image. Likewise, your customer brand affects where and how you build bridges between your customer and employer value propositions and marketing strategy. Generally speaking, building bridges wherever possible is to your advantage, but you need to pay attention both to the potential resonance and to the potential dissonance between customer brand benefits and the employment offer: Potential resonance: Look for aspects of your customer brand that may be highly relevant to your employer brand. The most obvious aspects tend to be higher-order associations with the following: Purpose: The value the customer brand brings to individuals and society. Teamwork: For example, the customer marketing of McDonald’s, which focuses on family and friends, translates well into the “family feel” McDonald’s promises employees working in its restaurants. Empowerment: For example, many tech brand promises such as Vodafone’s “Power to You” focus on empowering and enabling qualities that translate extremely well to the work context. Innovation: Because employers place a high value on innovation, building a clear bridge between innovation in the customer brand and the employment offer makes sense, as long as the degree of participation in innovation is sufficient to make it a working reality. Performance: Customer claims, such as Avis’s famous line “We try harder,” can set a positive tone and expectation for the employment experience, but this needs to be handled with care, as explained next. Potential dissonance: Some customer brand promises don’t translate as well into employer brand promises. For example, given the widespread desire of people to achieve some form of work/life balance in their careers, Citibank’s previous tagline “Citi never sleeps” may have played very well with customers but not necessarily as well with potential employees. If you’re working within a branded house framework, carefully assess potentially positive overlaps between the employer and customer brand. Also, address any potential conflicts. Navigating within a house of brands An alternative to the branded house framework is the house of brands framework, commonly found within consumer goods companies — companies with a single corporate brand but many different product brands. Examples include P&G, Unilever, and Diageo. With the integrated branded house framework, you have one employer brand but a more diverse range of consumer value propositions. A key objective within the branded house framework is to educate prospective employees on the relationships between the company and its product portfolio. For example, Unilever smells sweeter when prospective candidates realize it owns the leading global brands Axe and Dove. Such communication helps potential candidates to better understand the full reach of the company’s footprint and the potential scope of opportunity available. If your company’s name is identical to the name of one of your leading products, as in the case with Bacardi, Ferrero, Pepsico, and the Coca-Cola Company, high levels of product awareness may work both in your favor and against you. Having such a popular product in its line certainly makes the Coca-Cola Company well known to talented individuals around the world. However, the Coca-Cola Company and its similarly named bottling companies are often assumed to sell only Coke, which can appear very limited to potential candidates. In this situation, it’s even more important to promote the wider portfolio of brands that the company owns to ensure that potential candidates don’t underestimate the full scope and diversity of the company. Optimizing the parent-subsidiary house of brands framework A common variation on the house of brands framework involves a group or parent company acting as an umbrella brand for a number of subsidiaries. In this situation, you may need to consider two levels of employer brand — the group/parent brand and the subsidiary brand, as in the following examples: Levels of Employer Branding Group/Parent Brand Subsidiary Brand Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) Holiday Inn PepsiCo Frito-Lay The Walt Disney Company ESPN The group brand generally sets the parameters within which the subsidiary brands operate. These parameters differ significantly from group to group and vary depending on which end of the spectrum the group operates: Loose (weak) group brand: In some holding companies, the relationship between the group and its subsidiaries is purely financial, with very few restrictions on the subsidiary branding or management style. At this end of the spectrum, it makes sense for each subsidiary to develop its own EVP and employer brand to best reflect its organizational style, culture, and customer brand positioning. Tight (strong) group brand: At this end of the spectrum the only difference between subsidiaries within the group is the company name, with every other aspect of management consistent across the group. Here it makes sense for the company subsidiaries to operate under one group-level EVP and employer brand identity. Between these two extremes is a range of possibilities where branding is more a question of balancing the roles of group and subsidiary employer brands. To strike the right balance in this middle ground, place greater emphasis on the group EVP and employer brand identity when The group brand carries significant equity, adding appeal to any subsidiary brand it is attached to — for example, Volkswagen (Group) and Skoda (subsidiary). The primary group-level objective is to leverage synergies and efficiencies of scale. The organization wants to promote shared values and culture across the group. Emphasis is placed on creating a group-wide leadership cadre through a shared leadership development scheme and promotion of career mobility around the group. Overall engagement with the group is more relevant or desirable than maximizing frontline engagement with the product or service brand that the subsidiary delivers. Shift the emphasis to subsidiary EVPs and employer brand identities when The group brand carries low or negative equity in relation to a subsidiary — for example, Volkswagen group in relation to Bentley and Porsche (subsidiaries). The primary group-level objective is to maximize the distinctive brand personality, autonomy, and agility of its subsidiaries. The group espouses a diverse, multicultural organizational ethos, where each subsidiary is allowed to operate within its own value system within the limits of a basic code of ethics. The organization places a greater emphasis on leadership loyalty and specialism within subsidiary companies than on talent mobility across the group. The group wants subsidiaries to maximize frontline engagement with its product and service brand. You can also choose to operate a sliding scale of group/subsidiary brand identification, depending on the role and seniority of employees. With this model, the group employer brand operates as a management and shared services brand, with the subsidiary employer brand taking the lead in the process of hiring and engaging frontline employees. Don’t treat the relationship between the corporate brand and employer brand as a one-way street, with the corporate brand dominating the higher ground and dictating all the moves. Recent research from Edelman suggests that developing a strong employer brand has become a highly critical component in driving the overall corporate brand reputation.

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Why You Need to Take Your Employer Brand Beyond Recruitment Advertising

Article / Updated 04-20-2017

Traditionally, recruitment advertising was the primary means by which organizations built their employer brands, but this approach is quickly becoming less effective as demand for a richer, more diverse range of marketing content grows. If you’re looking for reasons to ditch old-school recruitment advertising to free up resources for generating more engaging content, you’ll find plenty. Here are five good reasons to replace recruitment advertising with more engaging content marketing: People are experiencing advertising overload. Over the last 15 years, most recruitment advertising has moved online. When first introduced, online advertising was a comparative novelty, and the proportion of people clicking on advertisements was reasonably high. In 2004, the average click-through rate for banner advertising was 4 percent. However, as the volume of advertising increased, click-through rates sharply declined. By 2008, the click-through rate dropped to 1 percent, and it now stands at around 0.1 percent. Use of ad-blocking software is on the rise. The last few years have experienced a sharp rise in the use of ad-blocking software. Research conducted in 2016 and published in the PageFair Mobile Ad Blocking Report estimates that more than 400 million people use some form of ad-blocking software worldwide, and adoption is growing fast. This means that regardless of how enticing your recruitment advertising happens to be, fewer and fewer people will see it, especially the young, tech-savvy talent most employers want to recruit. Audiences want the inside scoop, not marketing hype. Social media channels have given employees a stronger voice. Most people have always been somewhat skeptical of recruitment advertising. They understand that advertising is designed by communication professionals to catch people’s attention and interest. It’s always “sunny-side up.” Advertising seldom if ever provides a fully rounded picture of what the company is really like to work for. Advertising still has a place in drawing attention to your employer brand, but research suggests that people now have a much stronger preference to hear about your company from employees, not advertisers. Showing trumps telling. The growing influence of social media also appears to have affected the type of content people are looking for. They’re much more interested in getting a feel for what the employer is like through authentic personal stories and realistic illustrations of life at work than highly polished and prepackaged advertising claims. Audiences demand variety and relevance. People are also demanding greater variety and content that is more aligned with their specific needs and interests. Repeating the same headlines in the same advertising formats may be good for brand consistency, but it’s unlikely to deliver brand engagement. This trend is particularly strong in social channels where a rich and varied flow of fresh, up-to-date content is required to capture people’s attention and build a following. The same is true of career-site content. People are now more used to getting location, function, and job-specific content in addition to general company overviews. Target audiences are no longer passive recipients of push marketing. You need to do more to earn their time, attention, and engagement.

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How to Create a Visual Employer Brand Identity with Impact

Article / Updated 04-20-2017

Both what you say and how you say it (your body language) are important factors in making a strong positive impression on people. In employer branding, think of your visual brand identity as the body language of your brand. Use the corporate brand identity described in your EVP as the starting point for any decisions relating to how you present your employer brand from a visual perspective. In most leading companies, corporate brand identity guidelines are designed to cover every form of brand communication, but you may find that your existing brand guidelines are more limited. Ideally, your corporate brand identity guidelines should contain guidance for the following visual elements: Company logo(s): These guidelines generally cover how and where the company logo is presented within typical digital and print communication formats, including web pages, advertising, brochures, and presentations. Design elements: Guidelines for design elements cover graphics other than the logo, such as background texture, line style, white space, and color blocks, that must be consistent in order to reinforce brand recognition. Color palette and fonts: These guidelines establish the range of colors and fonts suitable for brand communication. Photography: These guidelines may specify a range of acceptable images to be used when communicating the brand or more loosely define a recommended style of photography (with illustrative on-brand and off-brand examples). The corporate brand guidelines should provide a general set of parameters for your employer brand identity, but it’s common practice to adapt the “look and feel” deployed in recruitment marketing and employee communication to the specific needs and preferences of the target audience. This practice tends to follow a regular pattern in the following respects: Corporate branding tends to favor a relative narrow, muted, and conservative range of colors (more generally suited to investors). Employer branding tends to be more effective where a broader, richer, more expressive range of colors is deployed, because it generally suggests a more welcoming, personal (less corporate), and diverse working environment. Corporate branding tends to favor relatively formal design schemes (expressing solidity), whereas the design elements deployed by successful employer brands tend to feature more vibrant and flowing design elements (expressing human energy and creativity). Corporate and customer branding often put greater emphasis on presenting the product and other more tangible manifestations of the company, such as buildings. Employer branding tends to be more effective where it places much greater emphasis on images of people. In practice, this approach generally results in a separate set of employer brand guidelines carefully balancing alignment with the overall corporate and customer brand guidelines, but also adapted to the more human context of employment. Pay close attention to the “look and feel” of your talent competitors’ employer brand, so you can consciously choose colors, visual design elements, and photographic styles that clearly help people recognize your brand and differentiate your company from others within the same industry or talent pool. If you’re employing a creative agency, be sure an analysis of your talent competitors’ branding is incorporated in the creative brief and ask the agency to demonstrate how its creative solutions help you to stand out from the crowd. After establishing your visual brand identity, apply it consistently across all your digital career domains, so that prospective candidates clicking between one domain and another, as they commonly do, immediately recognize the overall integrity and unique flavor of the brand.

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How to Identify Tangible Claims and Proof Points for Your Employer Brand’s EVP

Article / Updated 04-20-2017

Your employer brand needs to make tangible claims. Developing a pie-in-the-sky employer value proposition (EVP) to attract talent without paying due care and attention to your organization’s ability to deliver on your promises is seldom a good idea. False promises destroy credibility and trust and undermine your employer brand. Prior to finalizing your EVP, clarify your claims and put some facts and figures behind them. Try these two steps: Translate your draft pillar description into a series of more specific claims. Test whether the evidence/facts support these claims. For example, if one of your potential pillars focuses on “a strong sense of community” within your organization, break it down, as follows, into specific claims and then subject each claim to a series of proof-point test questions: When we say we offer a “strong sense of community” we mean: Claim 1: We are a closely interconnected global company where you’re likely to work alongside people from many different parts of the world. Proof-point test questions: What’s the average diversity by country of origin across our business units? What proportion of our employee population have worked in, visited, or communicated with business units outside their home country? Claim 2: We encourage people to develop a wide personal network within the organization. Proof-point test questions: What’s the average number of LinkedIn and Facebook connections people have with other employees in the company? What proportion of these connections is outside the employees’ immediate business unit? Claim 3: We are a relatively informal company with an open and accessible approach to management. Proof-point test questions: What proportion of managers sit in an open office environment? How often do front-line employees get an opportunity to ask questions directly to members of the leadership team? You can find the answers to some of these questions by analyzing existing data, but you may need to conduct additional research to answer others. What’s important is that the answers are based on tangible evidence and not wishful thinking, policy statements (which may or may not reflect reality), or isolated examples (which may or may not reflect common experience).

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