Have any conversation about Employer Branding,as with political correctness, the debate is endless because both terms are loaded with cliche and are easily manipulated by either side in the debate. Both terms recycle arguments so broad that feel comfortable for either side to hide behind, but in the end are just a pastiche of cliche and sloppy thinking.
recycling old news or fears on which no research is based.,
The importance of Employer Brand has increased but it’s definition shifts because of customer behaviour, the tools of the trade and the type of business we work for. Despite this the traditional media agency view of brand still holds sway and this seems to go largely unchallenged. HR departments can really begin to shape and control this without needing to spend thousands and thousands of pounds that could easily be spent elsewhere. Let me challenge a few established shibboleths:
Data/Research – most organisations run employee engagement surveys – this is full of data that is completely relevant…. This is the the real story (especially for a B2B company) of the brand. The brand is what your people say about you. This data can tell all sorts of things good and bad that will drive how you represent yourselves in the market. Whilst spending thousands of pounds on further research maybe useful it won’t tell you something your people haven’t already said…. Just look at the COOP. In addition in our social world tools such as glassdoor give us insight into what the candidate experience is and what perceptions we may need to shift.
Messaging – If you are working for a company with a clear mission, goals and strong purpose – regardless of sector, you can find a way to tell it. If you don’t have this, no amount of research can spin this….candidates know….
Candidate Reach – social media means access, great in house teams are at the pulse of the market. Smart use of LinkedIn and Twitter means a dialogue. Resourcing functions are HR communicators, giving internally focussed HR partners a direct line to internal and external talent and can be responsive, agile and smart in targeting the right candidates. In addition,LinkedIn Talent Brand Index provides data and insight into your brand reach and profile….this is more accessible and cost effective than any of the traditional routes. It’s only a surprise this hasn’t caught on more quickly….
Recruitment and HR teams have an opportunity to be the vanguard, especially in non consumer brands. HR have the opportunity to shape this and deliver real commercial value in providing rich data about talent, metrics on candidate experience. In addition, this can really begin to open up opportunity to internal talent. This data may start to prove that the grass isn’t greener all the time. The data may tell us that there isn’t an endless pool of talent out there…. With this data we might even start to work out that we can win the war for talent…. We don’t need consultants to tell us what’s in front of our noses do we?
For a number of years the traditional media model has been under threat, what has kept alive is fear of taking bold decisions, the inability of HR and Recruiting functions to prove this data and make the case. We can finally make our case and enter the data revolution. The question is are we up for the challenge?