Unite The Allies To Boost Your Employer Brand
Written by Andy Goram, Bizjuicer
The worlds of consumer-facing brand and employer brand are getting ever-closer. The lines of ownership, traditionally of Marketing and HR respectively, are blurring. Increasingly a collaborative union between the two departments, who both have audience attraction and retention goals, is the solution to powering-up the employer brand and ensuring a consistent brand experience for customers.
Typically, a business’s biggest asset are its people. They are ultimately the ones who deliver the experience conceived around the boardroom table to its customers and keep it alive. Attracting, engaging and retaining the right people to do that is an increasingly competitive landscape and one that is critical to success.
Today’s potential candidates are a savvy bunch, with more search tools and expectations than ever before. Creating the right employer image and getting that message out there to best effect calls for the two departments to unite.
The adage of “happy staff, happy customers” still rings true, but “happy” has now been substituted for “engaged”. It goes a little deeper than happiness and illustrates an emotional connection to the company.
Engaged employees are known to perform better and recommend their place of work to others. HR has a keen focus on the engagement measure for good reason. But that’s not unlike the focus a marketer will have on the customer advocacy measure in their NPS survey, or equivalent measure of customer happiness or satisfaction. Both parties understand engagement. Marketing can help HR increase engagement by bringing the brand personality to the standard policies, benefits and compensation plans.
A Consistent, Aligned Brand Story
Recruiting customers, employees and candidates are not dissimilar activities. People will often cross the customer and candidate pool. Having a consistent brand message across all these activities is key. The story you tell your people, will ultimately be the one that they tell their customers.
Working together, marketing and HR can ensure one engaging brand voice and message. HR can help marketing by driving the brand message internally which will ultimately affect the quality and consistency of the brand delivery to customers
Targeting The Message
Recruitment is a battlefield and the spray and pray of generalist messages thrust out to the candidate market is an inefficient strategy. A tailored approach is necessary and something the marketers work with day-in, day-out.
Being clear about who you are targeting, why and what’s attractive to them is important. The excellent HBR paper “What it means to work here” written by Tamara J Erickson and Lynda Gratton, suggests that work plays 6 general roles, which correspond to 6 types of employees. Each segment cares deeply about several aspects of the employer-employee relationship and little about the others.
Understanding each segment’s motivations and then tailoring the message and your employee value proposition to potential candidates is another area marketers and HR should work together for combined success.
Be Where Your Market Is
The key to a successful marketing strategy is to put the right message with the right offer in front of the right customer at the right time. Picking the right channel for your message is also a critical decision. Your use of social media is a key part of that.
Marketers use social media to increase brand awareness, engage with their audience, and seek out new customers. Marketing can help HR identify the right strategies to enhance their recruitment activities.
A unified approach to ensure a consistent brand voice is heard, is required. Get it right and social media will help you authentically show off your brand, your culture and why people would want to work there.
Sharing stories and content is a great way to track engagement across employees, customers and candidates alike. Harnessing this data will allow marketers and HR to refine and optimise their messaging and activities for greater results in the future.
Don’t Stop The Narrative Once You’ve Hired Them
It’s so important that the story continues throughout and beyond the hire phase. You’ve got the right person, you want to keep them and if the reality doesn’t match up to the promise, you’ll be back to square one. Don't stop the narrative once you've hired them.
Don’t just wait for the induction day presentation, which should give new employees the full brand baptism from the start, as well as all the compliance bits. No, think about what happens immediately post the “your hired” conversation. What brand amplifier, or teaser campaign will you share with them to get them to feel they’ve made the right decision, even before they turn up on that first day?
Marketers can help HR champion the importance of induction programme as an important factor of consistent brand delivery, as well as HR’s focus on the seamless transition into company culture. Then you’re into the cycle of the constant, brand culture narrative required to see through on that promise.
Best Of Both
Ultimately marketers want the brand promise delivered more consistently to customers. The chances of that happening are significantly enhanced by hiring the right people and keeping the workforce engaged - two focuses of the HR department (amongst others!).
By working together, and creating a strong and consistent employer brand, that’s true to the consumer brand, both needs are met, and the company has a greater chance of continued success.
Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer – a consultancy that believes people are the often-forgotten internal fuel that can power businesses and brands to greater success. He helps businesses build stronger brands through engaged and aligned people and consults on employer branding, transformational change, brand development and customer experience.