brand buildingWhen it comes to an organization’s employment brand, companies typically fall into one of 4 categories:

1.) The known: Employees understand and embrace the company culture, and job seekers are also familiar with that culture.

2.) The undiscovered: Employees understand and embrace the company culture but job seekers are unfamiliar with that culture.

3.) The market-defined: Job seekers have a pre-defined conception of a corporate culture that employees are unaware of.

4.) The unknown: An organization that is relatively new and does not have an established corporate culture.

There aren’t any easy answers to defining and mastering your company’s employment brand, but here are few places for human resources professionals who own this effort to start:

If you’re a company that falls into the known category, look for congruence. This is usually a maintenance activity because everyone knows what they are dealing with; either good or bad.  At least you know what you’re up against.

Companies that fall into the undiscovered category can be easy to assess and manage as well; particularly if it’s positive.  Those being the case, discover ways to publicly exploit what the company does well and wants to be known for.  If you know your organization doesn’t do something well, correct it before the market discovers it.  Depending on the issue, this may take some real effort.

If you’re a company that finds itself in the market-defined category, the task is easy; get out to the market and ask.   Ask recent hires what enticed them about the company.  Ask the executive recruiter you work with what they are hearing. Visit sites like to see what current and former employees say about the company- just start asking.  There may be some pain here if what you find out isn’t what you necessarily wanted to hear. But better that you know it.

Finally, if your corporate culture is an unknown, it’s going to take a combination of internal discovery and assessment, external discovery, and an analysis of the difference between the two, to come up with an action plan for your brand.

No matter which category you fall into, the lesson for human resources is “be active”.  Take an active stance and define your brand rather than letting the market define it for you.

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