EMPLOYEE BRANDING: STOP FAKING IT!

Employee Branding… it’s all the rage these days. Anyone remotely involved within the Talent Attraction space has been hearing about the importance of their employee brand and its impact on a business. I get it. After all, it’s literally what I do for a living, not only internally but at times for clients we partner with. In an era where we are constantly bombarded with ideals of what the best of teams, offices, relationships, perks and so on and so forth looks like – it’s hard to not get caught up in the whirlwind of it all.

Full disclosure I am going to throw a couple of very overused and cliché words at you now… transparency and authenticity. Boom. (I did warn you!)

Here’s the thing. Stop the madness. Stop the bullshit. You want to do it right… you can’t skip over those two attributes, and you must be self-aware as a business enough to know when you are. You can invest all the time and money in the world to establish an employee brand you like, but if it’s built on a crappy foundation… you’re already losing.

I get it, you want to attract the best of the best. You want to be a destination for talent, but have you really asked yourself what that looks like for you and your specific business? Stop, focusing on Google or Joe’s Enterprises down the street. You’ve got to know who you are first, and who you want to propel you forward as you evolve and move forward. Stop competing for talent that either won’t be interested once the interaction starts or even worse you on-board and doesn’t truly engage or connect.

Some companies are built on creativity, autonomy and innovation. Some to be perfectly frank, are not. If you keep trying to be the cool kid, when you are not you are going to fail miserably every time, and that failure is going to cost you. It’s going to cost you in time, resources and money. All of which are vital to a business.

How do you ensure you are doing it right?

  1. KNOW THYSELF. You’ve got to know who you are as a business, and what you need as you grow. Don’t just ask yourself this, take the time to truly understand it. Who are the people that excel? Who are your ambassadors? Meaning, who are the people that make up your team which have proven successful in their skills/traits but also in their true understanding of your vision. The ones that have dug in and moved the barometer? You need more than skills, you need people who believe in who you are and where you are going. Analyze this… who are they? What do they look like? Be objective here, it’s important you look at this from a raw data viewpoint.
  2. FIND YOUR TRIBE. Once you know who you are and have analyzed the puzzle pieces which have created the most success in your organization. You’ve got to figure out what drives them. Why do they believe? Why did they choose you? Now start using that to formulate your brand, messaging and plan of attack in attracting the right talent. Remember, not every company needs creative rebels with a desire for a cafe in the office and bring your pet to the office days. If your business is driven by metrics, KPIs and a competitive spirit – focus on that shit! Don’t throw dog photos up in your messaging, if that’s not going to attract the right talent. Keep it real!

It’s important you are continually doing this, keep the dialogue open between you and the people who form the best of the best in your organization. These conversations and transparency at times isn’t easy, often times it’s hard. Do it anyway. Remember, like anything else things evolve and so may your employee brand, so keep this fluid and ongoing. I realize this is easier said than done at times, but it’s worth it. Stop faking it!

And finally, just in case you needed it… here are just some of the negative impacts that are bound to hit you if you don’t. Wasted time, resources and money on hiring, you are going to attract a ton of people with your fake brand and then must sift through to find your actual talent. Worst case scenario of this, is you don’t find the right talent at all or you end up hiring someone who will leave within a short time once they or the organization realizes that the fit is wrong. This won’t feel good for any party involved. Finally, outside of those very important variables… (cost, money, resources) there is your reputation! Eventually, with enough failed hires or people going through a bad candidate experience word is going to get out. And then you are going to spend a lot of time and heartache trying to pivot.

Let’s start a movement… maybe not a super sexy one, but a needed and valuable one. Be honest, be real and do the work. Good marketing focuses on the deliverables over the fluff, if all you’re bringing to the table is fluff… you’re going to get found out. Feel free to comment and start your own conversations, share tips and best practices on this below. There is nothing I love more than connecting and learning from bad ass people.

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Originally posted on LinkedIn by Director, Marketing  + Brand Health, Andrea Hurtado

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