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These days, building a strong employer brand has become more important than ever.
If you want to recruit and retain the most talented people, you need to build an employer brand that is seen as an “employer of choice” rather than one out of many possible employers. In other words: you need to stand out in the crowd. And that’s where employer branding comes in.
Your employer brand is the way your business is perceived in the job market. It’s your company’s reputation in the eyes of potential candidates and existing employees and helps employers attract the best talent and retain the existing ones.
Posting a job opening and expecting a flow of perfectly fitting applicants is no longer an option. These days, HR and recruitment are tasked with employer branding that markets the company to exactly the right potential job applicants, and gets them and only them excited.
What exactly is an employer brand? Every business has an employer brand, whether it’s intentionally constructed or not. An employer brand is nothing more than a sub-segment of your larger brand identity, aimed at a subsection of stakeholders for your brand - in this case potential new coworkers.
As you can read here, a brand is built up out of the core idea or purpose of a company and the tangible/visual representations of that idea, and manifests itself through the four vectors of product, environment, communication and behavior. The behavioral aspect is paramount to employer branding, as it relates to how people in your organization relate and behave to each other first, and to external stakeholders second.
There are a lot of things you can do to create a strong employer brand. But before you consider whether you want to focus on building a special company culture, launching a great careers site or building an exceptional social media presence, you should know exactly what kind of people you are looking for and how you want to reach them.
Culture is what employees do and how they behave when no one is watching. The same principle goes for your employer brand. You can’t make it up. Just because you list some values like ‘Be Brave or ‘We value innovation’ on your employee guide, won’t make these things true. There are three basic strategic tiers that all great employer brands have in common:
I don’t mean empty sentences listed on your ‘About us’ page. Great employer brands strive for more than just pure financial gain. Think of the Tony Chocolonely’s and innocent drinks out there. Do they want to grow and make a profit? Yes, but they are also on a path to fight slavery and bring awareness into issues of social justice. And employees love them for it.
Most of us work for money, and other benefits. Not all of them are financial. Some great employer brands are small and can’t compete with salaries and bonuses, but they can offer a greater work-life balance, remote working, flexible hours, permanent contracts, or additional breaks.
Finally, companies with great employer brands practice what they preach. They set employees up for success but giving them opportunities to learn and grow in the company. They give people the tools they need to execute their roles to their best capabilities. They don’t micromanage, they make clear, strategic decisions and are transparent about them.
In the list of examples starting in the next paragraph, you’ll find many companies whose employees work in starter jobs on a lower-than-average hourly salary. The work is repetitive and physical, and still the employees give great scores to their employer. In the end, the happiest employees are trained well, respected by their company and colleagues, and have goals to work on. They feel like a valuable asset to their employer.
Patagonia, Inc. is an American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 and is based in Ventura, California. Whenever you look up great employer brands, Patagonia is on the list. If you check out their current vacancies, you’ll see that they receive hundreds of applications per open role.
Why are they so popular as an employer? Patagonia is a prime example of a company that shines with its values. While they are a for-profit clothing manufacturer, they are committed to fighting fast fashion, inhumane working conditions, and climate change. They donate a minimum of 1% of all their sales to charities, are politically active and truly try to make garments that last for years and years to come. And people love to work for a company with a clear and admirable purpose.
But having good business values is not all. They have practices and benefits that support their values. Patagonia pays its environmental interns, provides time off for civil disobedience training, and offers a commuter reimbursement scheme to those who choose not to drive as well as a flexible work scheme so employees can balance their lives and work. Clayton says the results of such an approach are obvious: Patagonia has a 6-percent voluntary turnover rate, which is 29 percentage points lower than the industry average.
Marriott International, Inc. is an American multinational diversified hospitality company that manages and franchises a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities. Marriott International is the largest hotel chain in the world by number of available rooms.
The “Marriott, Where I Belong” employer brand campaign was launched in 2012, promoting the company’s culture, diversity, and inclusion through brand messaging designed to attract, retain, and engage diverse associates. With input from Marriott’s “Next M” millennial advisory group, this platform deployed unique digital tools to attract, engage and develop the new generation of talent.
Marriott consistently ranks high on best employer surveys because they are a millennial-friendly workplace. They’ve set career paths for people, making their employees feel valued and enabling their growth. Marriott says: “The foundation for our success depends on your wellbeing. So we made a commitment to make our workplace an environment where your emotional, physical and financial needs matter. An environment where each one of us feels like a valued member of a team. A place where we’re motivated to make a difference in our communities.”
And it’s working.
Apple needs no introduction. They have an image of being a company that prizes innovation and cutting-edge technology. Apple has long been the number 1 destination for all tech talents looking to make a name for themselves. We see former employees even market themselves as ‘ex-Apple’ or ‘Apple Alumni’ in their CVs and professional portfolios. But what makes working for Apple so great? A big part of their success is how they brand the company.
From Apple’s Think Differently campaign: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Google is right on par with Apple as an innovative tech company. Google is involved in a lot of ventures and has the resources to allow employees to work on countless interesting project. They are also famous for their incredible employee benefits.
Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals, with headquarters in London, England. Big consultancies have a tendency to frequently make ‘the best employer brand lists’. Deloitte is no exception. Why do we think that is? Perhaps the war on getting the best talent is getting tougher.
This is what employees said in their reviews:
“It is a pleasure to be associated with Deloitte. It is a healthy organization, it strategically integrates employee well-being into its business objectives by giving opportunities across service lines and reinforces it through established practices on leadership support, learning culture, healthy job quality, and people-friendly HRM practices.”
“18 years with Deloitte and loved it all. Diversity, inclusion, and equality are common words at Deloitte. Life-time friends and support from shareholders was so comforting. Always encouraged to go the extra mile and mentoring program and promoting to a new role was highly recommended. Would love to return!”
Oatly is a dairy alternatives company. They create products out of soy, oats, coconuts, and other good stuff that replace dairy products like milk, cream cheese and yoghurt for consumers. Because nutritional health, sustainability and trust are so close to Oatly’s heart, they claim to be more than just another food company – they are a lifestyle company trying to become a part of people’s lives.
Oatly is another brilliant example of a company that has become very desirable to employees because of their value-driven strategy. Not a week goes by without someone publicly announcing their wishes to work for Oatly’s creative team, the golden standard of ad copy for the 2020s. Here’s what their employees are saying:
“What I love about my work is that I have the possibility to influence others when it comes to nutrition, health and sustainable eating, to be able to make a real impact in the society.“
“The culture at Oatly is extremely open. It is transparent, we have no hierarchy or bureaucracy.”
“Oatly has a strong care for your wellbeing. You can have a balance between home and work.”
Cisco is an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in the center of Silicon Valley. Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products. Cisco’s purpose is to power an inclusive future for all. They believe in the power of technology and what it makes possible for our communities, businesses, and governments around the world.
They are also the number 1 ranking company in the global ‘Great Place to Work 2020’ listing. 97% of employees at Cisco say it is a great place to work compared to 59% of employees at a typical U.S.-based company.
Here’s what Cisco’s employee’s said:
Hilton is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 6,300 properties with nearly one million rooms, in 118 countries and territories. They were also ranked #1 on the 2019 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Here’s what they credit for their success:
“Our Team Members are truly the driving force behind our incredible workplace culture. They are the heart and soul of our Hilton family and are responsible for delivering on the promise we make to our guests to provide exceptional experiences both here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Chris Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton. “There is no more fitting way to begin our next century of hospitality than by celebratin
g our Team Members and thanking each and every one of them for the meaningful ways – big and small – they have created a welcoming place for all.”
Hilton takes great care to cultivate meaningful opportunities and a workplace culture where all Team Members can thrive and be their best selves. The company does so through the continuous development of impactful programs that support and invest in Team Members in ways that matter most to them both personally and professionally, from achieving the next step in their career, to seeing the world with their family and friends.
Sharing employee stories is one of the most effective ways to get your prospective candidates engaged with your employer brand. Microsoft uses their social media platforms to share inspiring stories of their employees to capture their life in an authentic way.
Your employees can be your best brand advocates. If you get a good ranking as an employer, why not share it with your audience? Salesforce is proud to be ranked as #1 Best Workplace in Europe and shares this on their social media platforms. This shows a high employee satisfaction and can be very powerful and convincing for prospective candidates to apply for a job position at this company.
Eventbrite has started a series of blog posts called “Meet the Britelings” where they give insights into the lives of their employees. Even their office dogs get some of the spotlight!
Spotify compares themselves to a band: “Like a band, we’re dependent on each other to create the best audio experience. Like a band, we need to be in sync.” On their website they give a very detailed overview of their core values, the brand’s mission and what they expect from their employees. This helps potential candidates to get a better impression of what kind of people they are looking for and what it’s like to work at this company.
Another good example of employer branding is sharing employee stories on your own website. Twitter has created a page on their website where they give an overview of their core values combined with inspiring stories of their employees. This way they give insights into the company’s culture and future employees learn more about the people they might be working with and what kind of people the company is looking for.
Netflix shows on their career page how much they value their employees. In a blog dedicated to their existing employees you get insights in the company’s culture and lively working environment. In short videos they talk about what it’s like to work at Netflix, how the company helps them become a better individual and much more.
They also talk a lot about diversity and inclusion: their goal is to “create an environment where people of different backgrounds can contribute at their highest level and where their differences can make a positive difference for Netflix.”
Here we have a great example on how to increase the interaction with your audience while also positioning yourself as an attractive employer brand: L’Oréal used the Instagram story tools to create a quiz. They posted a series of their most beautiful offices all around the world and let the audience guess where these offices are located.
Hubspot uses their social media channels to feature their employee’s testimonials. On their Instagram page @hubspotlife employees talk about their life at Hubspot, why they chose to work there, what they love most about their role and much more. They even created a group of Instagram story highlights where they let employees take over their Instagram account, showing even more insights into the company’s culture.
When people are looking for a new employer, they often like to envision themselves working for these companies. As you can see in the examples above, many companies try to be visual with their storytelling by using photos and videos across their social media channels and websites.
To sum it up, here is an overview of some of the most common types of content that you can use for a successful employer branding strategy. You can share photos and videos of:
We hope that we could give you some inspiration with these examples and give you some ideas for the creation of your own successful employer branding strategy!
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