3 Ways to Build a Strong Employment Brand From the Ground Up
When people think about why companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix sort through hundreds of thousands of job applications per year, they often attribute the success of these organizations to massive name recognition and over-the-top perks. And sure, those don’t hurt. But at the end of the day, the reason those companies attract candidates in droves isn’t napping pods or free massages – it’s because they know how to market their cultures.
The good news is that developing a stellar employment brand isn’t something that only the hottest tech startups can do. Whether you’re from a large corporation where employment branding hasn’t been the focus or you’re at a small company that’s just beginning to find its footing, these three tips will help you create and promote an employment brand that resonates with candidates.
1. Find Your Forte
No matter what stage of development your company is in, there’s something about your organization that’s unique – and it’s your job to find out what that is. Get grounded in who you are as a company by reading through your mission statement, values, and history. Hold interviews with team members asking them why they chose to work at your company, and then compile a list of recurring themes. You can even ask customers why they chose to do business with your company.
Don’t get discouraged if the answers you receive aren’t the most glamorous – you’ll probably hear a lot about opportunities for advancement or work-life balance. But if it’s brought in folks already, there’s sure to be more candidates out there who are seeking similar benefits.
After you have a good sense of where your company culture stands, think about how those values can help inform who you want to be in the future. Once you understand that, you’ll have a solid idea of what your company has to offer candidates.
2. Create a Cache of Content
There’s a myth that investing in your employment brand takes a lot of people and a lot of resources. But creating awesome content that highlights your culture is simpler than you might think – and you can easily pull in sales folks or engineers to lend a hand. Choose a few different employees with a knack for communication to write a blog post about why they chose to join your company. Or, if you’re targeting a younger candidate demographic, set up an Instagram account that employees can contribute to in order to showcase what a day in the office is really like.
The key here is having content that comes from the employees themselves in the most authentic and creative way possible. Read: Self-promotional blog posts authored by the HR team aren’t going to cut it. When candidates can look at your career site and see employees sharing their thoughts, that gives a face to your employment brand. Your content will come across as authentic and trustworthy – not a cynical bid to fill hiring quotas.
3. Roll out the Brand Ambassadors
Once you’ve built out a sizable queue of employee-driven content on your career site, it’s time to spread the word. Of course, you’ll want to leverage your company’s social media channels, but don’t forget about the power of your employees’ social networks either! By having employees share content, you’ll effectively multiply the size of your recruiting team. When you have access to the combined networks of your entire workforce, your reach will expand exponentially.
To encourage employees to share the news on your employment brand, make it as easy for them as possible. Try sending around a messaging document or an enablement email with suggested posts to share with their networks to make sure your voice is consistent, and boost awareness even further by holding contests and giving prizes to the top-sharing employees. With incentives in place, you’ll likely end up with some bona fide employment brand evangelists on your hands.
When you’re a small or little-known company fighting in the job market for talent among the Googles and Facebooks of the world, I know it can seem like an uphill battle. But I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t take a huge budget or brand recognition to get candidates interested in applying to your company. In the end, it’s all about a combination of great people and a willingness to get creative. If you have that, then the rest will take care of itself.
Rachel Bitte is chief people officer at Jobvite – a.k.a., “head honcho of finding and keeping the geniuses who work here.” She has more than 18 years of human resources leadership and process excellence experience, and she has a proven track record of working closely with executives to lead engaged, high-performing workforces. In her free time, she is all about anything outdoors that burns calories, including road riding, mountain biking, snowboarding, and backpacking – she’s very excited about anything that replaces the calories found in great drinks and good food, specifically international cuisine.
As Jobvite’s chief people officer, Rachel brings with her a wealth of HR experience – particularly in the tech industry – with a focus on change leadership and talent management.
“I’m passionate about human resources and how business success and hiring go together,” Bitte says. “I’ve been lucky enough to explore all different sides of the field throughout my career, from customer care to business initiatives. Now, at Jobvite, I’m able to tie aspects from all of my previous experiences into one position.”