Rebranding your Employment Brand: 7 Essentials
Convincing the C-suite that a re-branding is even necessary is the hard part. Especially when the C-suite only vaguely knows what a brand is.
An employment brand—just like a consumer brand—is a super hero.
It’s the persona imagined in the minds of all your workers. For most employees, it’s something of a villain. Employees will tolerate Lex Luther—for a time. Some of them will stay months and some for years, but everyone, everywhere, working for Lex Luther is looking to make a break.
As much in any area in your human resources day, this one could call for close consultation with your marketing area. But what you say? You don’t have a marketing area? Your marketing area refuses to work with you?
What ever the case, this is a brief over view of what is to be done to brand, re-brand or salvage your good name – as an employer. The ultimate point is to paint an image – and to back it up – as a terrific place to work, and to stay and plan your future.
(The C-suite, very often, has no idea why that would not be the case.)
1. Figure Out the Brand (super hero) that your Company Is and Should Be.
We don’t have to go crazy here. You can personify your brand if you need to. But you should see here, already, why thinking and working with creatives is so important to this project. You don’t need to be ridiculous. “Insurance Man” probably won’t work, though a company like Geico might be able to get away with it.
But brainstorming, and understanding, the brand your people work for, and with, and about, does not require seriously advanced creative training or experience. On the contrary, you can imagine from a purely paternalistic point-of-view what that “hero” looks like, acts like and represents. That paternalism may not be your best friend, it may be completely contrary to the relationship you want to establish. In many cases, the paternal character is, in fact, too overbearing, too inflexible. So, imagine the hero that your brand really can be and flesh her out!
2. Recruit with Your Super Hero in Mind
For some companies running lots of help wanted ads, this one can get going quickly. Start changing your ads. HR should go directly to marketing, to your agency, or to the more loosely defined people doing whatever kind of marketing you’re doing. Concise, clear messaging that hits all the right super-hero themes is essential to not only getting the right people, but also to welcoming them into a culture that is already established and worthy. The best people are going to not only expect this level of awareness, but they know their own worth, too. Culture and brand need to run straight through from recruitment to on-boarding to day-to-day work. Help wanted ads should be written with sales copy that draws carefully, and prolifically from established brand standards!
3. Get strong C-suite Backing
A few good employees walking out is usually necessary to actually get upper-management to take notice. Reviewing the actual hard numbers of what employee turnover is costing you is often another good way to wake up the beast. Do it. Stand your ground and work with marketing to present what employees perceive now and what they should be perceiving.
4. Align with your Bigger Brand Strategy
Remember, your employment brand overlaps heavily with what you’re selling to your market. That’s why it’s crucial to work with those developing your broader brand and marketing message. This can seem more difficult for those working strictly B2B or with “boring” products or services. Sales people do it, everyday, so you may want to work with them too. They’re not only used to embodying your brand, but they dedicate themselves to personifying your brand, representing it and bringing it to life.
5. On-Board—with Super-Hero Deft, Heft and Style
This should not be cheap gifts. It should mean a complete folder full of essential documents. A follow up meeting with the appropriate people is essential and these can and should include, benefits administrators, insurance administrators and if you can include someone else to make sure that your new hire is totally comfortable with everything that confronts him or her, then you’re in business. If a computer and email account can’t be had, new hires are going to understand. But leaving them alone to wonder how and when these essential are going to be provided is an ugly black mark on your employment brand. So get it straight.
6. Now Re-Board ALL existing employees.
This usually can’t be done in one day or even in one week. But re-branding also means “acculturating,” and that can mean listening, offering support, investigating and communicating. In short, it’s all those things that Human Resources is not often very good at doing. Ask, learn, and get all the valuable information you’re going to need for developing Super-Hero Employment Brand 2.0. It’s that big and important of a project.
7. Get Super-Hero to Focus on Employees’ Futures
Not the bottom line. Not the individual department level goals. If every employee can clearly see their future – inside this company, then HR has done it’s employment branding job! It can seem like a long term project. It can even seem counter-productive, training some employees to take off for other jobs and careers. But training even one employee—and seeing him or her off graciously—will put a polish on your brand like few other things. Support people, not income, and you will never lack for people bringing in revenue.
It’s a long term project, and not always the easiest one for HR people to see. Make and keep friends all over, especially in marketing and sales. But HR’s job is still to listen to everyone and to nurture a culture worth being a part of.
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