As marketing professionals, we are always looking for new ways to add value to our company and its bottom line. One area where we can put our skills to good use is helping our companies develop a strong employment brand — the clearly articulated reason for someone to work for our company rather than for a competitor. Partnering with your HR/Talent Acquisition (TA) team to create a compelling employment brand can make a huge impact on your company’s hiring in today’s tight employment environment.
Think of prospective hires as another segment of your company’s customers. Job seekers research potential employers in similar ways to how they research products — they comparison shop online. A recent MRINetwork study reported that nearly 70 percent of candidates say a potential employer’s employment brand is important when considering or accepting a job offer.
Marketing professionals bring the right skills and experience to help the company understand and address target talents’ key decision-making factors. A traditional brand development process can include the following inputs to create a compelling employment brand:
- Research the needs of the types of candidates the company wants to hire: what’s important to them rationally and emotionally when it comes to an employer, what might be a deal-breaker, and how candidates recognize when a prospective employer embodies the characteristics of their ideal place to work.
- Understand the competitive landscape, knowing how each competitor for talent positions itself as an employer. This then leads to critical understanding of how a company can differentiate itself in ways that are meaningful to its target talent audiences.
- Remember that brands — including employment brands — are about promise and delivery, so aligning the employment brand with what a company can believably deliver on is key.
- Create segmented employment brand messaging that directly addresses the different needs of various target talent audiences.
- Develop employment brand activation strategies that map to target talent’s media habits.
GETTING STARTED WITH HR/TA
Marketing often needs to make the first move with HR/TA when it comes to partnering on employment branding. The best time to develop a new employment brand is in conjunction with a corporate branding project. Bringing HR/TA to the table as the corporate rebrand project is concluding is a natural time to introduce them to the refreshed brand platform and brand messaging. It gets HR thinking about how the company’s new brand might influence how they talk about the company as a place to work.
This is exactly the scenario that happened with one of the nation’s largest futures brokerage firms, which leveraged its marketing and HR teams to create the company’s first-ever employment brand as a part of a larger corporate rebranding project.
If your company is not currently undergoing or considering a rebranding project, suggest to your HR/TA counterparts that today’s low unemployment rates and ever-increasing demand for qualified talent make it necessary to have innovative recruiting efforts. And that you (as a marketing professional) can help them create a competitive advantage, resulting in more qualified applicants and faster times to fill open positions by developing a resonant employment brand. You’re there as a collaborator and partner to make their jobs easier.
Now more than ever, it’s important for companies to actively develop strong employment brands that differentiate them from their competition in ways that are relevant to the types of candidates they want to recruit. Marketing professionals, with expertise in branding, target audience insights, messaging and brand activations, have the skills and knowledge to partner with their HR/TA counterparts and play a critical role in shaping and bringing to life employment brands.