Employer Branding: the Power of People
Updated: May 19
Let us address the trending movement: Great Resignation. Plenty have spoken about why it has taken place. Reasons being better pay opportunities, job satisfaction, job meaning, work culture, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, we are missing the greater picture, i.e., the company that provides these jobs. I mean if you are not aware of the shoe size, you will keep changing your shoes till you find the perfect fit. Likewise if you just apply and apply (thanks to Easy Apply in LinkedIn) without knowing and understanding what your employer stands for, it will be an arduous journey. Let's be honest, hiring new employees and training them takes a huge toll on the entire company, not just the HR. Human capital management is unique to every company and hence the workforce would be unique too. If not done right, it is a huge loss borne by the company.
The importance of Employer Branding
As Millennials and GenZ step forward into the workforce, a change has taken place in the mindset of employers. Brands and companies are now forced to recognize the new mindsets of the youth for they bring with them creative innovations and thought processes that fits with the mind of the changing consumer scenario. For them financial perks are not enough, the present workforce looks for meaning, satisfaction and flexibility in their careers. Along with that, the global pandemic has shed light to the toxicity of the hustle culture while giving a better understanding of what work/life balance is supposed to be like. It is no longer the age of sticking to one company that just rolls out the pay on time, it is the era of switching to jobs that provide a better experience and learning opportunities.
You can’t clap with one hand
Employer and employee relationship is a two way street where both parties play a huge role. As an employee, one should be aware of their skills and attributes, have a life goal in mind (yes those 5 years down the line questions do matter) and be open to new avenues of growth. For employers, it is crucial to be clear about your brand personality and values, about what you bring to the table in addition to the job opportunity. In short, to be clear about your employer brand, which stems from your brand vision. A good employer brand can filter out potential candidates, reduce the training expenses and bring in higher traffic (in quantity and quality.) So how do we create an employer brand?
Know Yourself, Know your Brand
Each brand or company has a unique personality, visions, goals and voice. It is just a matter of introspecting and comprehending the voices that build the organization. When done, what you have is a clear picture of what your brand looks like, how it feels like, what it sounds like. We have mostly seen a brand with a customer focused lens, but it is now time to look at it with an employee focused lens. This is to get the company and the workforce acquainted with each other, to tell their stories and connect. When one knows and understands the other, communication flows easier.
Be on the same page
An organization means nothing without its employees. So when the brand pictures its growth, and leaves out the growth of its employees, it is a clear red flag. The whole idea of employer branding is to align the growth of the company with the growth of its employees; here lies the win-win, the sweet spot. It does not mean growth only in salaries but growth in terms of skills, valuation and culture. It is a growth as a whole which needs alignment in policies, values and environment.
Constructive Criticism is a good sign!
After you have built the brand and aligned it, it is time to test it. So far it has only been from the employers perspective, and remember we said it is a two way street. So now, it is crucial to understand from the employees perspective too. Maybe you think you have checked all the boxes but getting honest feedback from the main audience is crucial. It lets you know how your employees actually feel, and it is not just about taking feedback. Acting on it and improving where you lack will give confidence to your employees, gaining their trust. This in turn will create a positive image of the brand, for treating employees poorly has always had a negative backlash among the consumers.
Put it on paper
When it comes to branding, unique proposition value is always discussed and seen as a stand out point amongst the competitors. The same can be applied here, where brands/companies can document and put forth what they can actually offer to the current employees as well as the potential ones. We call it Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This gives a clearer understanding of what employees are expected to do and what they can expect in return.
It's not always like a needle in a haystack
Earlier I have mentioned that employees should be aware of their skills and attributes, but most of the time this is not the case, especially when it comes to freshers and younger employees. They are the ones who are still navigating their career choices, and still learning about their skillset (mainly soft skills). Their true capabilities are brought out by the right employers which makes employee management and training crucial to sift the chaff from the wheat. Understand what method and strategy suits the best, and figure out who fits in where and how. You will not hit bullseye in the first go, but it's a work in progress.
Showing off is not bad
Just like you market your brand and your products & services, it is important to show off your employees too. After all it is the employees that keep the show running, so don’t be shy about them. It adds a personality to your social media too. At the same time, encourage your employees to talk about their work experience. Be it LinkedIn or Facebook, works as a good marketing tool too.
The Power of People
Employer Branding has taken the world by a storm, with many now realizing the importance of it. Several times corporations have made decisions to either invest in their employees or in other avenues of business, and that has made a significant impact. It is crucial to view employees and human resources as an investment rather than an expenditure. At the end of the day, they are people , they are Resources. Worst case scenario is them being burnt and skeptical. Employers are like leaders, who are empowered by their people. With strong and good leaders employees will support them through tough and good times. For example WeWork, which recently turned profitable in the first quarter of 2022, after their major fallout in 2019.