Employer Brand

155 articles

“Survey says …”

I don't know about where you work, but in our company we receive a yearly employee satisfaction survey. It asks a lot of questions about what I think of my career prospects, management, coworkers, and the direction of the company. Based on my responses, it appears that I'm a pretty happy guy, albeit with serious underlying issues regarding desk clutter and the tendency of our office plant vendor to rely too heavily on dracaena. In other companies, employees are subjected to engagement surveys and culture surveys. Each of these provides valuable information to management. Some organizations even supplement these surveys with focus groups and other studies. What does this have to do with developing an employer brand? Very little. And that is precisely the point I'm coming to (about two paragraphs ahead of schedule I might add). When developing an employer brand, we rely heavily on research, both qualitative and quantitative. Invariably and understandably, companies want to reduce the scope of their employer brand projects in order to reduce both time and cost. In their efforts to do so, some organizations insist on force-fitting data into places it just doesn't belong. ("I really don't understand why we can't use our 'Bring Your Pet to Work' survey results as a basis for our brand position!") The problem with this is that the aforementioned research doesn't address the primary points that need to be understood when creating an employer brand strategy. Some of these are: - Company attribute performance and importance - Job attribute performance and importance - Candidate propensity to change jobs - Candidate motivation - Consideration criteria - Decision criteria There are lots of ways to get to this information - as long as your research methodology is actually designed for it. It's also important to understand the role of qualitative research, quantitative research, and how these support each other. Quantitative research is about breadth and prevalence. It is the outline for the picture you are trying to create. Qualitative research provides depth and context. It is the color that goes within the lines. Try creating an employer brand position without quantitative research and you end up with a sprawling mess of poorly defined tones and voices. Try it without qualitative research and all you have is an outline absent of any vitality. But research isn't the entire solution. There is also analysis and strategy development - at least that's what 78% of respondents in our latest survey stated. r Random Rant: What's with elevating mobile phones to romantic gift status?!? The introduction of Motorola's new pink Razr phone was positioned as "just in time for Valentine's Day!" I'm incredulous. I can just imagine presenting a phone to my wife as a sign of my unending devotion. ("You got me a phone for Valentine's Day - what, were they out of toasters?") No wonder the divorce rate is high.

When you come to a fork in the blog …

Yogi Bera, New York Yankee of days gone by, has a book out entitled "When You Come To A Fork In The Road, Take It." It's one of his most famous aphorisms, and from what I've seen, the guiding light for a lot of organizations when it comes to determining what their employer brand strategy should be. What's that you say? All employer brand strategies are the same? Determine the value proposition, how to couch it, and go home for an evening of Must See TV? Well my friends, I beg to differ (although why one needs to beg in order to differ is beyond me). There are two distinct approaches that an organization must grapple with when it comes to determining the path to take for its employer brand strategy. Is it seeking to attract candidates to a culture that is properly aligned with its mission and business objective, or is it seeking to alter the culture from the outside in, driving change through the attributes of an employee population more in tune with its business objectives? The answer to this has a dramatic and immediate effect on crafting the approach to the development of employer brand strategies. In the first instance, the organization would seek to find a balance between its aspirations for the employer brand and the realities of the employment experience. In the latter case, the entirety of the strategy is driven almost solely by the aspirations. The implications of an aspiration-only approach usually means that the strategy can be developed and brought to market faster, but the organization must be prepared for the ensuing dynamic tension that results when a new set of employee attributes are brought into the organization en masse. ("Set up a perimeter - the newbies are preparing to storm the cafeteria!") The more typical approach of matching market drivers with existing cultural attributes takes a bit longer to bring to market. This is because, as stated in a previous posting, there are three distinct perspectives to understand: employer aspirations, employment experience realities, and market perceptions. However, the organization can look forward to focusing its efforts on amplifying the culture, which is much easier on the organizational psyche. One approach is not superior to the other, it's just a matter of making the correct determination prior to beginning the development of an employer brand strategy. Or if you'd like, you can do it the hard way, and simply come to the fork in the road and take it. r Random Rave: I actually prefer Woody Allen's variation on coming to a fork in the road. It can be found in the opening of a speech he once gave to college graduates. "More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Ceci n’est pas une blog

I thought that the best possible way to start this running dialogue on the state of employer brand development would be with at least one somewhat obscure, seemingly unrelated reference, thereby assuring all that our conversations will seldom be one-dimensional, and if they are, at least they will offer the possibility of semi-rational randomness. So on to Rene Magritte, one of my favorite artists, whose Surrealist body of work includes "Ceci n'est pas une pipe," a fantastic juxtaposition of words and image. Many have taken the approach that Magritte's painting of a pipe accompanied by the caption, "This is not a pipe," simply points out that the artist is emphasizing he has created a picture of a pipe, not an actual pipe, and that representation of a thing is quite different than the thing itself. This takes us to the relationship between employer branding and the employer brand. (No, really, it does.) Most organizations would like to believe they have established an employer brand. But most organizations believe that all they have to do to accomplish this is develop and execute some colorful, descriptive employer branding materials - typically ads, brochures, and web sites, and get those materials in front of candidates. ("Glad we got that done, now let's move on to matrix management!") However, all that these companies have created is the representation of a pipe - they have not created the pipe itself. The real effort should begin with determining what kind of pipe a company should create, or whether it should be a pipe at all. This requires an understanding of an organization's aspirations for its employer brand, the realities of the employment experience, and the perceptions of that experience. But most of all, it requires an understanding that a working employer brand is a set of strong, positive associations that employees and candidates have about an organization as an employer, that it is more than advertising, and, that it is rare. Okay, that's it for this first time out. I've got some ideas for the weeks ahead that will get into specific aspects of employer brand development. But I’d also like to know what areas you would like to examine, however random they are. r

Two leading CHCOs affirm need for employer branding … even (especially) now.

On Tuesday, I heard two top Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) confirm what we have been sharing with our clients as the way ahead in 2012: Even amidst budget issues, agencies and their workforce need to get the story out about their value. In fact, with government employees being slammed as under-worked and over-paid, the present is the best time to show taxpayers the ROI on their taxes and government leaders the ROI they receive from investing in employees. Employees can then genuinely believe their own management finds them worthy of enhancing skills through education and training.

Evaluating the Hiring Process to Maximize On-boarding Initiatives

Many HR professionals don’t realize the on-boarding process begins when a candidate applies for a position or is sourced by a recruiter and not on an employee’s first day. These first interactions between the candidate and your organization set the tone for how they perceive your employer brand.  It’s vital to get off on the right foot!  Two important factors contributing to on-boarding during the hiring process:  the length of time it takes from a candidate’s initial application until an offer/rejection is made and how informed the candidate felt during this time.