5 Steps to a Strong Employer Brand

executing your strategic plan, strategic planning, strategic communicationWe’ve written previously about the importance of employer branding and why consistency and coordination between the marketing arm and the HR arm are crucial to ensure alignment. In this post, we’re going to look at a practical, step-by-step approach to building that brand by applying some fundamental branding tips in the context of employer branding.

Generally, in working with organizations on these types of projects, the steps are:

  • Define what you would like your employer brand to be. This usually involves a session with key organizational leaders who through a variety of exercises and discussions come up with a list of 5-10 attributes that they wish to be known for.
  • Determine how you are currently viewed by the audience of interest—in this case it would be employees/prospective employees.
  • Identify the gaps. In some cases these gaps may be areas where you are viewed less favorably than you would wish to be viewed – however, sometimes you may be viewed more favorably on an attribute than you had anticipated or your audience may identify other attributes that you may wish to consider. As SHRM points out, this involves both internal and external market research; evaluating how you are viewed by your employees as well as potential employees.
  • Develop a plan to close the gaps so that there is alignment between how you would wish to be perceived and how you are This plan would include strategies and tactics that would be both related to communication and action. For example, some actions might be related to how job openings are communicated, others might be related to the manager’s role in the interview/hiring/onboarding process.
  • Remeasure your performance in 12-18 months to see if progress has been made.

So who in your organization should be executing the steps above? The primary departments responsible for employer branding should be your HR group and the communication/marketing team. However, all departments must be involved because department and division leaders also have a significant impact on the employer brand experience.

On a final note, it’s important to stress that branding is not something that is defined by the organization—it’s defined by the audience. The best the organization can hope to do is to manage the brand experience so that it aligns with their desired brand image. This is no less true with employer branding than with any other form.

A strong employer brand naturally leads to a strong product or organization brand. Your employees are your first, and best, line of offense for spreading the good word about what you do and how well you do it. How strong is your employer brand?

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