The business success of any given company hinges on the quality and performance of its workforce. A strong employer brand, therefore, is not only important – it’s critical.
Brand trumps money
The world’s largest brand consultancy, Interbrand, recently found that over 20 percent of employees under the age of 30 say that they would prefer to have a lower-paying job with a brand that they believe in.
In the same report, Interbrand defined the importance of a strong employer brand.
“Brand positioning is frequently based on customer insights, brand values, a value proposition as well as a brand promise. The definition is strongly aligned with the company’s areas of expertise and customer group. There can only be one brand – a clear brand positioning provides the central basis for creating a voice as an employer.”
What does your brand say about what kind of employer you are?
In its 2013 Employer Branding Survey, Randstad went looking for which factors define a strong employer brand to the audience whose influence it matters most to – talent.
What they uncovered is that behind a good brand are a few consistencies in what potential employees find important when ranking a brand: a competitive salary and good employee benefits (24%), long-term job security (13%), a pleasant working atmosphere (10%), good work-life balance (9%) and a convenient location (6%).
What to do when your brand doesn’t say what you want it to
The first important thing to realize is it’s not what you’re officially saying about your brand that defines it. Social media today has made it possible for a few disgruntled employees or customers to greatly influence a brand’s reputation. Word of mouth can be your best source of branding – if it’s saying what you want it to.
With the help from Universum Communications’ site on Employer Branding
and Interbrand’s Employer Branding – hit or miss?
article, if word of mouth isn’t saying what you want it to, there are a few steps that you can follow to make it better:
- Research, review and conquer
It’s important to know how your target audience currently perceives you. Learn what they want and need to hear from you as an employer. It’s also good to know where you’re positioned in relation to your direct competition. Constantly conduct this research, review and conquer!
- Perspective: employer value proposition
A value proposition is a statement. It’s a critical three to four, maybe five sentences that articulates the brand from the employer’s perspective. It formulates a shared basic understanding, as the employer, on topics like working environment, teamwork, management and the like. Much like a mission or vision statement, it drives the direction of your business. It is crucial to develop this statement and live and breathe it into your company – its messaging will resonate and spill over into the market that you’re trying to be attractive to.
While it is important to monitor the market and adjust as needed – a value proposition and messaging guide should not be taken biblically and never revisited and revised – but, with that said, consistency is huge. Communications and marketing materials should have a common denominator that is recognizable by the greater audience. You don’t want to be completely static but changing all of the time can come across as unreliable and indicate instability.
The value of a strong brand
A strong employer brand is invaluable. It means that you’ve done your due diligence, you conducted research, your message is out there and that people are receptive to it. A strong employer brand also means that your internal and external audiences are saying the good things that you want them to be saying. Stay in front of your brand, safeguard it and always, always be sure to live by it.