I had the privilege to attend the Employer Branding conference in Sofia a few days ago. Strange thing about employer branding is that everyone you know talks about it, yet very few people/companies have actually put it in practice. This conference was, in this respect, absolutely fantastic! Lots of shared experiences and hands-on expertise, especially from the HP Talent Acquisition team Madalina Antohe & Ovidiu Voina who have delivered a fantastic presentation detailing how HP crafted and put into practice their EVP (Employee Value Proposition). Peter J. Wright, from the Leadership Forum, wrapped it all into a big picture perspective of how all of our roles have changed in the brand new business world of the 21st century.
So what are some of the insights that I came away with from this conference:
1. Building a strong employer brand is not easy, but it is certainly not a black-box of magic trickery that many people imagine. There is a clear and logical methodology to building the employer brand (very much like building any brand, for that matter), and with some help, all HRs and Marketing specialists are capable of doing it.
2. Employer branding is a team sport. If there is one lesson learned from all the experiences is that HR can't (and shouldn't) do it alone. For Employer Branding to work, HR, Marketing, Communications and Leadership team have to be in it together. Leadership sets course, while HR & Marketing each lend their expertise in devising and executing the EB campaign.
3. Know the people you're targeting! What are their needs, interests, habits? What drives them and what moves them and what inspires them? The more you know about the target candidates, the more successful your branding messages will be. Also (thanks Peter for this one), if you're looking for an overhaul - of your business, brand, processes, whatever - do not, repeat do not hire people who "look like you, talk like you, think like you" - otherwise, you won't get very far in terms of actual change.
4. Deliver on your promise. Employer branding is about making a promise to your candidates, and that promise has to be backed up by reality. He said it, "If you promise them the Moon, you better have them walk on it."
So, what about these steps?
* Get input - do your internal or external research and find out what people inside and outside of the company think about your company.
* Have your leadership team onboard and ready to provide you with long-term strategic vision
* Based on the data, craft a good and concise EVP (Employee branding proposition)
* Match your EVP to reality, and optimize internal processes based on employee feedback
* Create a strategic framework and define an action plan (content, messaging, images, channels, and the whole kaboose)
* Activate your campaign and measure impact (more views, clicks, applications, better quality of applicants, less costs for recruiting, etc.)