Blog posts advertising “immediate” improvements to something rarely live up to the expectations set by their title. This is because, generally speaking, people are more likely to read something that advertises an easy solution with quick results.
Unfortunately, very few actions accomplish anything “immediately.” Most worthwhile advice takes time to implement, and even longer to see measurable results. Building an employer brand is no different: it takes time, energy, and the right approach before any measurable results become apparent.
Branding is a journey. You can’t build an employer brand only to let it sit. A brand is an organic, living entity: if it’s not maintained and enhanced, it will rot.
There are no “quick fixes” when it comes to branding initiatives: but there are actions you can take today to kickstart and accelerate the process.
1) Make Social Media a Mandate
You probably already know that “social is everywhere/everything/everyone/etc” - and you’re probably sick of hearing about it. But the universal recognition of social media as a critical platform makes following through that much more important.
For better or for worse, most customers (and candidates) expect that your Twitter, Facebook, and other social accounts are manned 24/7. Tools like TweetDeck allow multiple people to access the same Twitter account, and similar options exist for Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.
You might also encourage your current employees to participate in your social initiatives. While Elon Musk is pretty unique when it comes to social following (most CEOs don’t have 11 million+ followers on Twitter), he epitomizes the sort of branding work that can be done on social media.
Recently, when a Tesla customer suggested an improvement to the Tesla software, Elon Musk replied within 30 minutes and affirmed the suggestion.
Again, not everyone has an Elon Musk or major social influencer at their company. But he does show what can be done when social media is properly tended to.
Implementing a “social accountability program” - where current employees represent and respond to candidates and customers on social media - can be done relatively quickly, and accelerates any existing branding initiatives.
2) Fix your Job Descriptions
The job description is often the first interaction a candidate will have with your brand, particularly if your organization is primarily B2B.
In Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Report, one of the “new rules of talent acquisition” they suggest states:
“Job descriptions focus on the needs of the candidates - a tactic that yields three times as many highly rated applicants.” - Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, 2017
Here they’re referring to a “Needs-Supplies”-style job description. Most job descriptions are still a list of demands that require a candidate’s abilities (these are appropriately dubbed “Demands-Abilities”). A “Needs-Supplies” job description flips the script, and shows candidates what needs of theirs the job will supply.
For example, where a traditional job description might display a list of responsibilities, a “Needs-Supplies” job description will place a focus on internal mobility, advancement opportunities, and examples of team-based projects that show what the candidate can expect to be a part of.
Depending on the number of job requisitions in your organization, this could be an easy implementation or very time consuming.
Using the needs-supplies approach to its full effect will also involve learning about the sorts of projects a new hire will be expected to participate in, as well as potential career trajectories. But there are small tweaks you can make to create a more brand-friendly job description today.
3) Leverage Current Employees’ Pictures and Video
You don’t need a video production team to give candidates visibility into your workplace. When you throw a company event, create a central location for employees to share their pictures and videos. With their permission, use these to create branded content: “day in the life” videos, workplace introductions, and career page slideshows being a few examples.
Incorporate “employer branded” content into your marketing materials (and vice-versa). Brand is brand is brand, and anything that positively affects one aspect of your brand will have knock-on effects for the rest of it.
Creating a shared folder and gathering employee’s experiences is something you can do right now, though turning those experiences into a branded narrative will (and should) take a little more time.
4) Let the Company Know (be the Uber for internal initiatives)
Before their recent string of scandals, Uber was the archetype of the sharing economy. Every new idea and company was “like Uber for X”. Instacart was “Uber for Groceries,” Grubhub was “Uber for Takeout” - there was even an “Uber for Trash”.
When it comes to employer branding, talent acquisition needs to become the “Uber for employee initiatives.”
Enable your employees to create their own events and build their own “extracurricular” initiatives. Be the liaison between your self-starting, go-getter employees and the rest of the company.
Make sure your employees know that there are resources available for them to take their idea (be it a department retreat, team dinner, or intramural soccer team) to the next level. When you become the arbiter of internal initiatives, you are perfectly positioned to make them a part of your employer branding.
You can start this process today with a company-wide email and a shared spreadsheet. Current employees are the cornerstone of your employer brand - empower them to turn their ideas into action, and your brand will reap the rewards.