Managing the “Employer Brand”

Every company is–or should be–concerned about its brand. Even those that are, though, tend to focus more on the customer-facing brand. Granted, customer and prospects perspectives are important. But there’s another key audience that often gets overlooked in the rush to build brand. Employees.

Companies, large and small, absolutely need to build strong brands, including “employer brands.” An employer brand is/should be an extension of the overall business’ brand. A brand can be thought of as a “personality” and, importantly, it is determined by external audiences. While an organization can seek to “manage” its brand, organizations don’t “define” their brands–their audiences do. In this case, potential and current employees.

As communication channels have exploded across both traditional and digital channels with a proliferation of television stations, niche print publications and, of course, all kinds of online communication opportunities, businesses have come to understand the importance of ensuring consistency across all of their communication channels–and how all of the various parts of their business influences how they are perceived: their brand.

Employees play a critical role here, but are often overlooked. Savvy organizations understand that engaged employees can serve as strong brand ambassadors. The reverse is also true. Disengaged employees can do significant damage to a brand. Consequently, organizations that take the time to consider how they wish to be perceived as an employer (their desired employer brand), to assess how they are currently perceived, and to take steps to close those gaps, can position themselves in positive ways.

Just as with managing the overall organization’s brand though, the process becomes quite complex. The employer brand isn’t developed simply through a certain “look” for employment ads or postings, or a section of the web site. Those communication elements impact brand perceptions, but the actual brand is defined through experiences.

In this case that means that every interaction or impression that a potential employee has across their employment life cycle impacts their brand perceptions–from the description of the position, to the interview, the offer, onboarding, training, coaching, counseling, performance reviews, etc., etc., etc. The job of a brand manager is never “done” and that holds true for the employer brand manager as well.

Another important point: those responsible for the employer brand need to work closely with those responsible for the overall organization’s brand to ensure consistency. Individuals aren’t just employees, just consumers, just investors, etc.–they can be all at the same time and, consequently, they can and do hear messages that come from multiple parts of an organization. Consistency in messaging (as well as in the actual employment or customer experience) strengthens the brand. Inconsistency detracts.

What are you doing to manage your employer brand?

Recommended Reading:

Human Resource Essentials

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