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The Definitive Guide To Employment Branding

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There is no single agreed-upon definition of Employment Branding. Like many of the most useful components of Human Resources, Employment Branding (EB) is a broad umbrella of ideas with a decidedly local implementation character. In this Guide, you will learn about the big picture and pick up enough advice to start your own unique EB implementation.

You’ll also find a number of insights and ideas from the leading practitioners and thinkers on the subject. While they do not always agree with each other (or the author), their experience is broad and expansive. Their tips and insights are scattered throughout the Guide.

EB encompasses everything about the company related to what it is like to work there. A well-managed brand helps the ‘right’ people find their way to the organization as a place to work. A solid EB initiative can reduce costs, improve workforce quality, decrease recruiting workloads and increase recruiting productivity.

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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The Definitive Guide To Employment Branding

  1. 1. By John Sumser, HRExaminer EMPLOYMENT BRANDING THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO
  2. 2. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 2 Contents EMPLOYMENT BRANDING DEFINED EMPLOYMENT BRAND? THE RECRUITING PROCESS CENTURY LINK SELF APPRAISAL GETTING STARTED EMPLOYMENT BRAND IS MADE OF MEDIA TARGETING AND LABOR SUPPLY AN INTRODUCTION TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING WHY FOCUS ON YOUR 9 STEPS CASE STUDY BUILDING AN THE EMPLOYMENT BRAND A WORD ABOUT Company Values are the soul of the EB Candidate Experiences are the Currency of the EB Stories are the Heart of The EB EMPLOYMENT BRANDING
  3. 3. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 3 There is no single agreed-upon definition of Employment Branding. Like many of the most useful components of Human Resources, Employment Branding (EB) is a broad umbrella of ideas with a decidedly local implementation character. In this Guide, you will learn about the big picture and pick up enough advice to start your own unique EB implementation. You’ll also find a number of insights and ideas from the leading practitioners and thinkers on the subject. While they do not always agree with each other (or the author), their experience is broad and expansive. Their tips and insights are scattered throughout the Guide. EB encompasses everything about the company related to what it is like to work there. A well-managed brand helps the ‘right’ people find their way to the organization as a place to work. A solid EB initiative can reduce costs, improve workforce quality, decrease recruiting workloads and increase recruiting productivity. EMPLOYMENT BRANDING AN INTRODUCTION TO ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Sumser is the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in Human Resources and Human Capital. John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance.
  4. 4. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 4 It’s fair to say that a company has an EB whether or not it chooses to manage it. In its unvarnished form, EB is simply the organization’s reputation as a place to work. Deciding to manage your EB turns it from a public reflection into a conversation. Investing in your EB is a project that doesn’t end. As business circumstances, expectations and needs evolve, your EB has to be maintained to respond to those changes. Knowing what your target labor markets understand and believe about your organization is critical. Responding effectively in ways that continue to build your reputation is the name of the game. EB is a ‘scalable’ concept. It can be applied to problems of all sizes, from a specific job to a department to a division to the company as a whole. Each step of the scale involves an increase in the size of the resources involved. This means that the EB idea can be applied to varying degrees around the organization. For instance, your strategy might be to focus only on mission-critical roles. You might want to emphasize jobs that are hard to fill. You might try to focus on the company as a whole with no reference to specific jobs. You could help employees and potential employees understand the cultural differences between departments. Since EB involves the way that current and past employees experience their relationship with the company, the team involved with EB will always have a deep sense of the negative parts of the company’s reputation. A significant part of the work of the EB team involves making sense of this feedback. It is challenging information that can be a critical part of the company’s future. The importance of getting your Employment Branding work “right” can’t be overstated. The message that you’ll be marketing to the world is one that needs to be genuine, transparent and resonates with the type of candidates who will thrive within your organization. That’s why it’s important to start internally when building your employer value proposition and marketing plans. Connecting with your teams at every level, tenure and location beforehand is key to capturing what really keeps your company alive. When you’ve discovered why your employees are excited to come in to work, what gets their hearts pumping about their job, what your culture enables them to do or to be (both inside and outside of the office!) then you’ve found something that can’t be replicated by an agency or fancy application or upgraded system online. You’ve found pillars on which to build a powerful and honest Employment Brand. ASK THE EXPERTS – Chris Hoyt, Chief Innovation Evangelist, CareerXroads
  5. 5. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 5 for something like “What’s it like to work at Company X?” Compare the primary brand and the Employment Brand. How are they the same and how are they different? You’ll also notice that the relationship between brand and EB is different for different companies. What you will most likely see is that the company spends a lot of energy managing its primary brand. It will respond to and engage the public who address it in public forums such as Twitter. But you will also see that a similar level of engagement isn’t usually taking place on the EB front. The most interesting thing about a brand is that it is a perception. The company’s primary and Employment Brands exist in the minds and hearts of individuals. While they can be measured and influenced in the aggregate, the primary objective of both is to understand and influence the perception of a group of individuals. A central piece of any EB initiative is a constant testing and retesting of assumptions and expectations. Employment Branding Defined The difference between regular advertising and brand advertising is simple. Regular advertising is focused on generating a transaction: “Buy this thing now at this special price.” Brand advertising is about differentiation; it tells the story of how your offering is different. The same is true of the difference between job advertising and Employment Branding. EB is the sum total of a company’s reputation as a place to work. That reputation is composed of things such as: Online reviews (on Glassdoor, Indeed, Yelp and other business- review sites) Word of mouth in local and professional communities Stories the company tells about itself on its website and in other media Stories told in job ads posted around the Internet (and offline) Stories that employees tell Experiences of job hunters and customers An organization’s EB is related to (but not the same) as its primary brand. You can get a sense of this by considering the corporate reputations of two or three very popular companies. Consumer-oriented companies work hard to make sure that they are seen in a positive and compelling light. You can see a company’s primary brand by searching Twitter for the company’s handle. This will give you a flow of information, partly what the company thinks of itself and partly what the public thinks about the company. This is the raw, real-time essence of the brand. Once you have a clear picture of that operation’s reputation, look up their employment reputation. There are a number of good online sources of reviews of the company as an employer. Search
  6. 6. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 6 Listening. Your recruiting process should have ‘listening stations’ at every step of the way. These mechanisms “hear” what is really going on when candidates: Research your opportunities Learn about what it’s like to work there Apply to openings Consider selecting you (even why you are choosing them) Manage disappointment when you don’t choose them Onboard as a new employee The more employers ask candidates about their experience at every step of the hiring process, the higher they end up rated by the candidates they didn’t hire. Setting Expectations. Your recruiting process has been fine-tuned to set expectations about the work. But, for those who don’t get that far, the expectations you set about the recruiting process from the start are crucial. The more employers describe in advance what to expect at every twist and turn in their recruiting process (and deliver), the higher they are rated by the candidates they didn’t hire. Being Accountable. It’s not rocket science: what you measure as performance, and link to rewards, impacts behavior. The more employers measure candidate attitudes, provide usable feedback to recruiters and link results to recruiter performance and rewards, the higher they are rated by the candidates they didn’t hire. Being Fair. The largest variance in candidate ratings about their experience can be attributed to the answer to this question: “Were you able to share to your satisfaction with [company name] and all the reasons why you think you were competitive for this position?” From the moment a candidate is exposed to your process, they receive messages about whether they have a fair shot at competing for the job or whether the fix is in. Everything from unanswered questions, unexplained delays and poorly-trained hiring managers can impact this perception; root those out.The more employers are perceived as having a fair process, the higher they are rated by the candidates they don’t hire. There are many claims about how to improve the candidate experience. If a potential solution doesn’t impact one of the four categories above, it won’t account for much. Your Employment Brand doesn’t just ride on how you treat the candidates you hire; the candidates you don’t hire must be treated with respect, listened to, have expectations set, believe they were treated fairly, and know that the employer holds itself accountable. 1 2 3 4 – Gerry Crispin, Founder and Principled Navigator, Career Xroads ASK THE EXPERTS source: www.TheCandEs.org Four Things You Know (or Should Know) That Will Change Candidates’ Attitude and Behavior
  7. 7. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 7 In addition, EB helps past, current and future employees understand the value of working with (and for) your organization. Imagine developing a supply of talented people who are excited and eager to come to work for you. By starting with a higher- quality, engaged workforce, you may expect to grow the engagement levels of your overall team. In settings where the competition for talent is fierce, EB helps you differentiate your organization. A reputation as a great and challenging place to work can make you a destination employer, a place that people want to head towards. The discipline required to effectively execute an EB initiative will put you in the position of being able to quantify, measure and report the realities of your employment marketplace. Since all companies and labor markets have different supply-and-demand dynamics, results will vary, but you may rest assured that a company with a strong Employment Brand will outperform its competition. Why Focus on Your Employment Brand? Where’s the payoff? What’s the ROI? If you are going to have any real success in your EB project, you are going to need buy-in from the people who control resources. Regardless of their level and yours, they are going to want to understand why they should invest their scarce resources in this area. You are going to want to be prepared with compelling and persuasive answers well before you ask for resources. Over time, a solid EB initiative will reduce the costs and increase the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts. A great EB project will reduce the number of unqualified candidates who must be removed from the recruiting process while increasing the relative quality of the candidate flow. EB can reduce your reliance on more expensive sources of data about prospective employees. – Maren Hogan, CEO, Red Branch Media Q: How important is content to Employment Branding? A: Employer Branding cannot exist without content. Much of today’s debate is about which kind. Branding and storytelling go together like peas and carrots. What employee story are you trying to tell, and to who? Content is the only way to tell that story to more than one person at a time, whether it’s via a video or webinar, a podcast, a website or a laundry list of items that simply appear in a job ad. While none of these are right for every company, all are examples of using content to tell a (true) story about your company and what it’s like to work there. ASK THE EXPERTS
  8. 8. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 8 The Employment Brand is Made of Media Another way of thinking about EB is that it is composed of four types of media. Information about the company as an employer, whether provided by the company, its employees or other parties, is always communicated through some sort of media. The media types are: Paid: Job ads, billboards, programmatic advertising, other advertising, traffic acquisition Earned: Word of mouth, press releases, viral stories, search engine optimization (SEO) Shared: User-generated content, online reviews, internal social media initiatives. (Shared implies that the company can be proactive in social) Owned: The company website, employment website, newsletters, job alerts, talent communities, email campaigns, content marketing The company can’t control all media. The experience of an individual employee or prospective employee boils down to which media they consume and how completely they digest it. A world-class EB initiative blends the company’s narrative about what it’s like to work at the company with creative and proactive responses to the flow of uncontrollable information from the public. It takes experience and sensitivity to do this seamlessly. In the early stages of an EB project, the results will always leave room for improvement. Company Values are the Soul of EB The development of an EB must include a review of company values and some level of assessment. Most companies have some sort of values statement floating around. Company values are often communicated in placards and on the intranet. It’s rare that anyone inside the company ever formally checks to see if the company lives up to those values. Sometimes, employees report moments of extreme irony when high- ranking executives do the opposite of the published values while standing underneath a poster proclaiming them. To get EB right, you have to understand how well the company embodies its PAID MEDIA SHARED MEDIA EARNED MEDIA OWNED MEDIA
  9. 9. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 9 – Elaine Orler, Chairman and Co-Founder, The Talent Board values and whether you want to continue to promote them. There is always a set of values that the company embodies, whether or not a formal process identifies said values. The closer the EB comes to communicating the values that are actually practiced, the better. Stories are the Heart of EB A list of truisms accompanying a long list of cherished ideas is not going to differentiate your company from another. The EB project is, from one perspective, a search for great stories. Imagine that you are building a library of anecdotes about what it feels like to work for the company. Storytelling is one of the ways that EB differs from more transactional recruiting and recruitment advertising. The idea is to conjure a picture in the mind of the candidate. EB stories are related to the contemporary idea of delivering an improved “candidate experience.” Q: How does the Candidate Experience drive Employment Branding? A: Candidate Experience is not only an outcome but an input to Employment Branding. As organizations, we create content (branding) to position our companies to the candidates we hope to attract. Branding content is often the first deep content a candidate has exposure to, to best understand the organizations goals, values and opportunities. That content and positioning create response from candidates by joining our communities, or directly applying to our positions. From the 2015 NAM candidate experience award, 48% of candidates (total of 90,000 respondents), stated they need more time to learn about the company and sought that information before applying. That time spent researching an organization (averaging 1–2 hours) is exactly why organizations need to manage their Employment Brand. The Employment Branding content found to be the most valuable to candidates, based on feedback in the same survey, were: company values, products/services, employee testimonials, answers to ‘why’ people want to work here, and answers to ‘why’ people stay here. ASK THE EXPERTS
  10. 10. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 10 you need to reach. The bigger the group you need to reach, the higher the volume of responses. The higher the volume of responses, the more time involved in processing them. More time always means more expense. The ideal recruiting operation only takes in as much data as necessary. Additional data always involves some level of expense for acquisition, processing and storage. That means that the front end of the recruiting Candidate Experiences are the Currency of EB The current thinking about ‘candidate experience’ is oriented towards the administrative processes faced by a job hunter. It is critical that the hiring process minimize the inconvenience and anxiety it naturally causes. Much of the thinking in this area centers on hassle reduction. EB opens the possibility that a candidate could have a delightful experience, influenced by the company’s desire to be great, and marked with examples of the warmth, nurturing, grace and development opportunities. A Word About Targeting and Labor Supply The cost of recruiting is directly related to the size of the audience Q: What are the best uses of video in Employment Branding? A: For effective Employment Branding, there is no better medium than video to distinguish yourself from your competition and to demonstrate what is meaningful and attractive about working for your company. Video dominates our media landscape for good reason, delivering higher entertainment value than text and static pictures. You can leverage video to provide an immersive view of your employee experience. Candidates can envision themselves coming through your doors, sitting (or standing) at a desk in your office, and engaging with your projects and employees. Their family and friends likely won’t have a chance to visit your firm; video can help these unseen decision-makers understand and appreciate working with you versus your more well-known competition. Popular products can be their own advertisement for careers at your company. But if you’re a young firm, or you’re in a crowded career marketplace, investing in a quality video can attract the candidates you seek and drive them to choose you. ASK THE EXPERTS – Justin Hall, Producer, Transformative Communication Services
  11. 11. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 11 Q: How do you find the right Employment Branding statistics to watch? A: The easy answer is to look outward at: Traffic increases (number of eyeballs your efforts drive to your sites through either traffic visits or number of times shared links have been clicked on by your audience). Reach extension (the ability to capture new eyeballs and prospective candidates) Brand awareness However, the “easy answer” isn’t always the right answer. EB also has a big impact on your existing employee population; so many of the metrics you should monitor will actually relate to your internal population. Here are the top 10 metrics for employer branding health: Goals: Are you meeting your program goals? What percentage of goals are you meeting? For the goals you aren’t meeting, track what’s lacking and monitor progress throughout the year so you can make appropriate adjustments. Sentiment: Tools such Iris (Universum’s SaaS program for Brand Monitoring) and Mention are great options to help you track online sentiment. For employee population sentiment, referral traffic is a great indicator of positive sentiment and employer branding health. Head-To-Head Conversion Rate: When Candidates are getting more than one offer (which you have to assume is a strong possibility), what percentage of those candidates accept your offer over the “head to head” competition? Shareholder Satisfaction: Internal stakeholder/program shareholder satisfaction, with the results of your efforts. Intern Conversion Rate: What percentage of college interns ultimately come back to work for your organization after graduation? Track % offered vs. total intern number, and track interns offered permanent role vs. % accepted. Top Schools Percentage: Of the schools your program has identified as their “top schools” for finding graduate talent, what % of your hires do each yield? Quality of Applicant (QoA): This look into applicant quality focuses on the % of your recruitment programs’ applicants (not hires) who meet minimum expectation criteria. Performance Data: What percentage of your hires are performing to 1) plan, 2) in the top 50%, and 3) identified for leadership development? Training Failure Rate: Track the number of hires who “wash out” or don’t make it successfully through the training program / probationary period. This includes those moved to other positions in the company to avoid termination, not just straight attrition rate. A high TFR shows you may be attracting the wrong types of talent to your organization, or that your EB and recruitment marketing messages may be off-point. Attrition & Retention Rates: We’ve heard about the importance of attrition and retention, but it’s not straight attrition that needs to be the concern: it’s regrettable turnover that matters. Some employees we want to leave; but when we can’t keep the employees we want and/or need, that’s an indicator that there is an EB impact and there is potential messaging that needs to be either tweaked or addressed within the program to improve retention. So track the percentage of regrettable turnover (hires you wouldn’t have wanted to lose) to best monitor employer brand health. – Crystal Miller, CEO, Branded Strategies ASK THE EXPERTS
  12. 12. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 12 process is an ongoing endeavor to get the flow of candidates “just right.” Since the labor market is in constant flux, with supply requirements and demand capacities varying significantly over time, the effort requires a continuous investment in time and energy. An EB should be big enough to address the audience that the company needs. Any larger or smaller and the costs associated with recruiting will grow. Determining the required audience size and structure is simple in theory and more elusive in practice. All planning for Recruiting and Employment Branding begins with a solid estimate of the hiring requirements for the next several years. You need a spreadsheet that lists the types and numbers of required hires by year. The spreadsheet should cover no more than five or six years, and no more than 8 to 12 categories of employee. That’s roughly 50 spreadsheet cells of hiring forecast. If there is no workforce-planning process in your company, you can get a solid handle Q: What’s the first thing to do when beginning an Employment Branding initiative? A: This first step in building your Employer Brand is asking yourself one question: why? This may sound obvious, but many companies rush to build an Employer Brand for employer brand’s sake without foundational direction. Establishing a clear ‘Why?’ is fundamental in determining how you will go about building, executing, measuring, and iterating your Employer Brand efforts. The field of Employer Branding is complex, and goes much deeper than social media and EVPs. Without a clear understanding of the problems you’re trying to solve and your ideal outcomes, you can easily spin your wheels and head off in directions that aren’t leading to the outcomes and results you seek. Starting with a clear answer to the “Why?” will help you prioritize and allocate your resources and time properly. Most importantly, it will allow you to measure and track the success of your employer branding efforts. ASK THE EXPERTS – Lars Schmidt, Founder, Amplify Talent on these numbers by tallying the current number of employees in each category. Then multiply that number by the attrition rate and the forecast growth rate to build a defensible forecast of your own. With those numbers in hand, it is easy to estimate the audience size. Roughly, for every open job requisition (assuming one requisition per job) you’ll need around 10 names on the shortlist. You might start by estimating that you will need 100 sets of candidate data to produce those 10. For a company of 1,000 employees with an attrition rate of 15% and a forecast annual growth rate of 10%, the number of hires would be about 250. In the worst case, you would need 25,000 prospective candidates to populate 250 short lists with 10 names on each. Since there is significant overlap between jobs, you might be able to get by with an audience of half that. Frankly speaking, the size of the audience required to fuel a company’s growth is often enough to
  13. 13. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 13 steer the EB initiative towards a variety of commercial services. Employee data aggregators and other bulk sources of candidate information fill the gap here. Self Appraisal After the basic targeting is underway, it’s time to take a good internal look: what you want to understand is exactly how the world sees your organization as an employer. This is not a good time for sugar coating or hiding from the truth. Make an inventory of the data from search engines, social media and review sites. What are people saying about you as an employer? Look for detailed info from: Alumni Current Employees Job Hunters Customers News Outlets Competitors ASK THE EXPERTS – Mark Hornung, Sr. Talent Manager, Talent Marketing, Informatica Q: What are the three biggest mistakes in Employment Branding? A: The simplest definition of “brand” is a “relationship.” So the employer brand is the relationship the employer has with employees (current, past and potential). It is a two-way connection – the actions of one influence the other. Employer Branding is the act of communicating the brand, i.e., explaining the value proposition inherent in it (the answer to “What’s in it for me?”). The three biggest mistakes employers make with Employer Branding are: Not being clear about the Employer Brand. If you cannot explain it in a simple sentence, it’s not clear. Distill it to its essence. An Employer Value Proposition (EVP) that misses the mark. If your EVP is about creating value for shareholders, that won’t resonate with employees; there’s not much in that for them (other than more work). Your EB and its messaging must be meaningful to employees, current and prospective. Not communicating the brand. Even if you have a great relationship with your employees, if you don’t tell anyone it remains an abstraction. Think PESO here: Paid, Earned, Social, and Owned media. Have a good mix of each, appropriate for your industry and markets, in order to make sure people know what your brand is and if it’s right for them. 1 2 3
  14. 14. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 14 One way of evaluating all of this data is to quantify it by source. For example, what percentage of reviews in each category are fundamentally negative? Often the most negative information involves the practices of a few managers or a specific location. Keep an ongoing assessment of the public perception of the company as an employer. You can show progress with EB by showing a change, by category, in the volume of negativity. (Better spun, it’s the growth in positivity.) Building an Employment Brand The goal of an EB project is to communicate the following to the appropriate audience: What it is like to work for the company Why someone would want to work there Why the reviews are wrong To repeat our earlier assertions, EB is the combination of both 1.) company generated and 2.) non-company-generated information about the company that a past present or future employee consumes. EB projects are the way that companies tell their side of the story. Careful definition of the audience is required to ensure an adequate focus. Some organizations begin their EB process by formally defining an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The EVP is a series of statements or a short story that – Rob McIntosh, Chief Analyst, ERE Media, Inc. Q: How do you capture the essence of an Employment Brand (i.e. how do you capture culture)? A: Based on my experience running large global talent acquisition functions that have looked to define Employment Brand and value, it always comes down to a few simple-to-follow principles. First, look through the lens of the customer (the candidate or employee) and answer the question of, “What is so special about the company, its mission/vision, and, most importantly, what is it like to work there?” I have seen way too many people confuse Employment Brand and culture with some marketing fluff and glossy brochures with stock pictures of happy diverse people. It ain’t that. It’s as simple as being transparent and telling people what it is like to work at your company, and just as important, telling them what you aspire to be. People want to work with other people who share a similar mission/vision value proposition, but also do it in a work environment that motivates them to leap out of bed every morning. It’s not rocket science, but too many people over-engineer the question-and-answer in my humble opinion. ASK THE EXPERTS
  15. 15. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 15 ASK THE EXPERTS describes the benefits employees receive for the work they do. It is the underlying ‘offer’ on which EB is based. The alternative approach is to assume that the basic value proposition is hardwired in the organization, and get started with the rest of the process. There are advocates for both points of view. The next step is to begin to accumulate a library of stories about the company. These stories can range from a video of a ‘day in the life’ of an employee, to a heroic tale of the adventures of an employee, to a region-wide marketing campaign. Like everything EB, the specifics are dependent on the circumstances and resources of the organization. The fundamental principle is that, in addition to product differentiation, each company now has the opportunity to differentiate as an employer. – Bill Boorman, Managing Director, Recruiting Daily, LLC Q: What’s the best way to innovate in Employment Branding? A: Employer Branding and employee value proposition (EVP) have become mainstream. Most companies provide more than job ads as part of their talent attraction strategy. They identify and frame an EVP, summed up in 5 or 6 “cool” statements. As with other strategies, the principles become dated as the general market catches up. Where we are now is a period of “employer blanding,” where one career site or communication looks much the same as the other. For example, the first few hundred companies who launched a “day in the life” video, an Instagram account or content on a hashtag were seen as different. As recruiters increasingly moved to try to be marketers, their content focused on attraction by making companies look increasingly attractive rather than projecting an honest story, which has a real value in enabling candidates to make a real choice. EB and EVP approaches are getting tired. To have real value, organizations need to move from an approach of unified single messages to individual messaging that is person-to-person between employees and their peers in the wider industry. This is less about content and more about enablement without dictating the message to the messenger. A good example of this is by sharing what folks are really interested in. How is this company going to make me more employable by another in the future? It takes some bravery to allow and enable people to connect and talk honestly, but it is the only way individual communication and attraction becomes valuable, with the right people in the right jobs in the right companies.
  16. 16. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 16 THE RECRUITING PROCESS 9 STEPS EB is woven throughout the recruiting process. A world-class EB project has stories, examples and experiences integrated into each phase of the process. As the recruiting process moves towards the hiring moment, the role of EB is to persuade the candidate that joining the company is the right decision. Here is the recruiting process in a nutshell. Each of the 9 steps of the recruiting workflow are defined by a series of keywords. (Not all companies use all of the processes outlined in the individual steps or even all of the steps.) 1 Target Supply, Demand, Demographics, Design of Work, Job Description, Context, Marketing Plan, Employment Brand Design, Price the Job, Compensation Philosophy, Interface w/ Workforce Planning, Interface with Business Development Proposals, Revise if Fail EB Initiatives: This is where you accumulate the research, layout the EVP and design compensation. In Targeting, it is important to learn about the demographics of each group you must reach; that way, you can design messages that are relevant. 2 Attract Job Ad, Landing Pages, Employment Site, Employment Brand Execution, Distribute Jobs, Referrals, Social Media, Data Aggregation/Collection, Talent Communities, Talent Databases, Mailing Lists, Email Tools, Drip Campaigns, Fill the Top of the Funnel,
  17. 17. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 17 Online Events, Physical Events, Physical Media, Mobile Branding, Landing Page, Revise if Fail EB Initiatives: The attraction process is just like an advertising campaign in traditional marketing. You are trying to reach specific kinds of prospects with specific offers that you want them to accept. This involves a mix of all four PESO media types. The things that work best here are ideas, images, stories, documents and files that can be shared across delivery mechanisms. 3 Identify First Match, Early/Aggressive Filtration, ShortListing, First DeRisking, Skills Testing, Personality Assessment, Reduce to 10 Candidates, Administrative Coordination, Revise If Fail EB Initiatives: Any communications with candidates who don’t make the cut should be flavored with EB and executed in consonance with Candidate Experience guidelines. Eliminating a candidate from the shortlist is a good moment to see if they fit somewhere else within the organization. THE RECRUITING FUNNEL 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Target Attract Identify Convert Persuade/Select Close De-Risk/Final Verification Onboard System Analytics & Larger System Feedback
  18. 18. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 18 ASK THE EXPERTS – Will Staney, Founder, Proactive Talent Strategies Q: Are there companies that shouldn’t or don’t need to focus on Employment Branding? A: Having worked on and led Employer Branding at companies ranging from less than 200 to over 75,000 employees in startup and large enterprise environments, I can confidently say there are no organizations I feel shouldn’t focus on Employment Branding. Large or small, well-known consumer brands or unknown startups, every employer should have at least some focus on Employer Branding because every employer has an Employment Brand whether they focus on it or not. By not making an effort to join the conversation and tell their employee experience story, they risk letting others control the perceptions of who they are as an employer. They also risk not attracting the right culture-fit talent by not giving candidates the ability to adequately research their culture before applying. Now, the focus of their Employer Branding efforts may be different depending on who the company is and what their goals are, of course. For example, a small startup or B2B company who doesn’t have a well-known consumer brand may need to focus on Employer Brand awareness more than, say a Google or Facebook. However, even a Google needs to use Employer Branding to differentiate their culture from their competitors or raise awareness of a particular effort like diversity and inclusion. So, no. I do not believe there is a company on the planet that shouldn’t use Employment Branding to help them hire, just like I don’t think there is an organization on the planet that shouldn’t use marketing to help sell their product or service. a clear picture of the process and insert communications at strategic spots. 5 Persuade/Select Courting, Deep Interviewing, Interviewers as Brand Advocates, Risk Assessments, The Hard Sell, Data Review, Feedback If Fail EB Initiatives: The conversion process is a series of communications opportunities. Each candidate interaction, in person or with a machine, should be flavored with strains of EB. From the waiting period before the interview to the hotel room the night before the interview, the EB team should make 4 Convert Final Filtering, Produce 2 to 3 viable candidates, Interviewing, Interview Logistics, Schedule Coordination, Travel Arrangements, Video Interviewing, Interviewing Process, Data Review, Revise If Fail
  19. 19. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 19 EB Initiatives: The reason that Employment Branding is critical throughout the Hiring process is that you are setting expectations about life at the company. Well managed, these can be self-fulfilling and rearrange the organization’s culture. Continuing to reference brands and stories in the persuasion and selection processes means making sure that each person who interacts with the candidate is suitably prepared. 6 Close Negotiate, Settle, Offer, More Negotiating, Legal Vetting, Revise If Fail EB Initiatives: This is the moment. The candidate is able to take in very simple messages that really stick. 7 De-Risk / Final Verification Background, Résumé Verification, References, Offer Letter, Close Out / Update Files, Rerouting for Non-selected Candidates, Feedback If Fail EB Initiatives: This part of the process can be the most anxiety-inducing for the candidate. As the final kinks are worked out of the background investigation, demonstrating care for the candidate in limbo serves as a visceral demonstration of company values. 8 Onboard Paperwork-Immigration, Tax, System Passwords, Benefits Enrollment, New Hire Logistics. Acculturation, Feedback If Fail EB Initiatives: The transition from outsider to insider is fraught with complexity and uncertainty. This is exactly where an EB program shines. By focusing on the benefits of joining, the EB team can reduce any issues generated by waiting. 9 System Analytics and Larger System Feedback Funnel Close Rates, Quality of Hire, Hiring Manager Satisfaction, Candidate Satisfaction, Cross Phase Analysis, Business Consequence, Detailed Performance, Benchmarking, Comparative Analytics EB Initiatives: Most hiring managers don’t care about the candidate’s experience or the Employment Brand. Use analytics to continue to persuade them about the value of EB.
  20. 20. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 20 GETTING STARTED EMPLOYMENT BRANDING As you can imagine, there is a massive range of things you can do in Employment Branding. By this point, either your imagination is in overdrive or you are drowning in possibilities. There are so many directions you could take that simply beginning can easily become a problem. Here are a few things to get you started: 1 Adopt a philosophy of defining the problem before you solve it At each step of the way, in every decision, it will be easy to get distracted by the opportunity to be creative. There are so many ways to express your company’s culture. Focus on the “Why?” 2 Develop a workforce planning model It can be as simple as a spreadsheet with 10 types of employees and an estimate of how many you’ll hire; it can also be dramatically more complicated. This is the problem you are trying to solve. 3 Do a demand analysis of each category of worker How many are available in your city (or the cities in which you have offices)? How many job openings are there? This is the current demand. Many job boards can tell you this with a simple search result. 4 Do a supply analysis of each category of worker There are generally two or three sources of data about the supply of different categories of worker (Department of Labor, Local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Initiatives). Match your demand data with research in this area. 5 Identify the most critical positions you are trying to fill It’s likely that there are several unrelated categories of worker who are your hardest to fill. Compare these categories with the supply and demand data you collected. The most critical positions are those that are hardest to fill and have the weakest
  21. 21. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 21 supply/demand position. (In some cities, there are two positions available for each available worker.) 6 Start Here Solve your biggest problems first. Use things you already have. Gather your resources. You’ll need engagement survey data, company newsletters, promotional videos, statements of mission, lists of values, blog postings and other collateral material. One way of thinking about your first efforts is that it’s like scrapbooking: plan on taking found materials and repurposing them. 7 Develop a profile of the kind of worker you want to hire Demographics, education level, outside interests, level of expertise, favorite hangouts (online and off). You are trying to create a picture of a target audience. This is the group to whom you are addressing the various materials (emails, videos, web pages, events) you will develop. 8 Begin experimenting with messages to your audience In job ads, email and web pages, begin making the case that your company is a great place for people in this profession “because…” 9 Build a values display Start with a story that you tell in a document and then move it to the employment section of your employment page. Give examples of the values being used on the job. 10 Each week, add a new element Have a weekly meeting during which you evaluate your progress to date and then pick the next projects. Make them bite-sized. This has been a romp through the issues involved in Employment Branding. If you have read this closely, you should have more questions than you began with. That’s a good thing. Building an effective Employment Brand involves figuring out how to stay curious about some very repetitive processes and how they are progressing.
  22. 22. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 22 Tina Williams solves a very tough problem every day. As the Director of Talent Acquisition at CenturyLink, she recruits for over 400 locations from an office in Northeast Louisiana, near the Arkansas border. Her messages about working for the company have to be tailored and disseminated differently in each place. For each category of worker in each location, she prepares nuanced individual materials that describe the company in ways that matter in that locale for that profession. She specializes in “working closely with business leaders to translate business strategies into human capital needs and then delivering programs and services to meet those needs.” Or as she says: “We tailor (segment marketing) from skill sets to geography to demographics. Messaging is tailored and it gets more so if the position is hard to fill. You change messaging and tactics based on the position.” For some, the challenge would be daunting. Since Williams cut her teeth on trench-level marketing for the same firm, she almost intuitively understands the 400 markets and their nuances. “We look for every kind of talent everywhere,” she says. She worked in marketing at her company for 16 years before being promoted to run the Talent Acquisition Department. “We have a separate organization that focuses on employment marketing and branding. We hire from entry level to multiple degree technical skill set,” she says. “Because we hire so many who are so different and the name is new, we knew we had to introduce or reintroduce ourselves as an employer of choice.” CENTURY LINKTINA WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR OF TALENT ACQUISITION CASE STUDY
  23. 23. DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 23 That recruiting problem required a branding solution. When the company decided to build a recruiting team, step one was to develop a staffing operation (all tactics, no strategy). Step two was the establishment of a separate employment marketing and branding initiative. Last year, she hired an Employment Branding agency to help with continuous improvement. The EB firm had a proven track record. She recruited someone from the company’s marketing department to manage the contract. When asked if EB reduced her recruiting costs, she says: “You can’t always look at this from a pure cost perspective. Our goal is to hire the highest quality people. I am sure that our approach gets us there. We can show it with evidence from our process. But, no, I can’t point to a direct cost savings.” One really important key is internal support. “Brett Blair, our VP of Talent Acquisition made it possible by removing roadblocks and making sure I had the resources I needed,” she adds. “He coached and supported our team at every step.” About the most important things to do, she immediately began raving about the quality of her team. Then she outlined a basic process: First, you must identify and understand your audience. Second, you must tailor your messages for each audience. Third, you must use different tactics for each market, tailored to your goals. Fourth, use your leverage. My employees work in a regulated industry. That makes knowing where to find them easier. Fifth, take the material through the same process that any other marketing message gets. Tina Williams used focus and attention to build a national Employment Brand in 400 distinct markets. It sounds easy when she talks about it. She is always relentlessly moving on to the next big project, accomplishing it and moving to the next one. “We tailor (segment marketing) from skill sets to geography to demographics. Messaging is tailored and it gets more so if the position is hard to fill. You change messaging and tactics based on the position.” – Tina Williams, Director of Talent Acquisition, Century Link

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