The 3 Levels of Employer Brand

 

Employer branding has become one of the hottest topics in HR, and the importance of attracting and retaining the right talent continues to grow. As companies continue to invest in the development of a brand and employer value proposition (EVP), there are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for.

Developing a core brand message and EVP is just the beginning, and many companies go with a one size fits all approach. It is important to differentiate your messaging for your various audiences. Any given company might hire a wide variety of skill sets, and all candidate personas are not alike. Similarly, the positions and work environments within companies can be significantly different.

In addition, there tends to be too much focus on making everything seem like rainbows and roses. If your brand messaging over emphasizes the attributes that are intrinsically positive, your Pollyanna brand vision may be too different than your brand reality. We need to keep in mind that our brand is not supposed to attract ALL people, just those who are the right fit. Yes, this means that your brand should also deter people who aren’t a fit for the company too.

So how can you avoid these pitfalls?

Start by breaking and focusing your employer brand into these three levels:

Company Brand Define the overall employment experience in your organization and identify what your employees connect to the most. This is the easy level, because it is what most of us are already doing. Once you have the overall employment branding down, it's important for companies to get more granular, honing in on individual departments and functions to fine-tune the messaging.

Department/Function Next, think about each of your business units, departments, or functional areas to identify key attributes that might be unique to that group. You might have geographical and cultural differences, or significant variance in the personas. For example, a sales department is quite different from an IT department, and your branding message should relay that information.

Hiring Manager/Team The last level is probably the most important and the most overlooked. We need to start developing the brand from the company-wide level down to the hiring manager and team level. In a given day, this is where our new employees might be spending more time than they do with their own families. However, most companies aren’t providing the right insight in the attraction stage of recruiting, leaving it invisible to candidates.

As you can see, employer branding extends beyond the whole company approach. Your branding initiatives should dig deeper to the department and team levels so that the right candidates receive the aspects of your brand message that truly matter to them.

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What other pitfalls have you seen with employer branding initiatives?

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