Brand: A five-letter word that prompts many people to picture images of cereal boxes, soup cans, and automobiles. While marketers have long been preoccupied with branding products and services, in a tightening labor market, talent acquisition professionals are increasingly recognizing the importance of being able to articulate an employment or talent brand that is designed to resonate with prospective candidates. Because talented job seekers have more employment options than ever, effective employment or talent branding has seemingly taken on greater degree of significance than ever.
Every organization should be regularly asking themselves, “What are we conveying to applicants and prospective candidates about the merits of affiliating with our organization?” “What messaging are we using and do they connect with the intended audience?” What are some messaging areas worth paying attention to? I would argue that recruiters of every persuasion (in-house, or 3rd party) should be trying to build selling messages around the following 9 themes:
- Growth Potential-Meritocracy
- Organizational Competence/Professionalism
- Opportunity for Diverse Experiences
- Development Opportunities
- Work/Life Balance
- Likeable Peers/Managers
- Fulfillment/Job Satisfaction/Recognition
- Equitable Compensation and Benefits
Now, if you look at this list in its entirety, you will see that it forms the acronym “Good Work Life,” which at its very essence is the message that we are trying to convey – affiliate with our company and you can have a tremendous career experience. And, what the heck, I’ll throw in a 10th theme, which is: Market Reputation. It’s been well documented that people assign great value to what others think about their employer. Companies with great reputations tend to have a much easier time hiring the best talent. Companies with questionable reputations have a much more challenging time.
In my experience, just about every candidate will assign a reasonable degree of importance to the characteristics that I referenced earlier, regardless of whether they have consciously considered these attributes or not. I would argue that if you put my list in front of a candidate and asked them which two or three attributes they could live without, I expect it would be a very difficult decision-making process. What are they going to say? “No, I don’t need to actually like the people that I work with,” or, “You know, work/life balance is something that I regard to be way overrated,” or, “I would prefer not to be developed – growing my skills just isn’t that important.” I think not.
Now, in advocating that firms should craft selling messages around the themes that I referenced earlier I’m not suggesting that we want to stretch or sugar-coat the truth about our organization’s brand – naturally, we don’t want to embellish.
My list is intended to serve as a rough guide on potential selling messages that might be worth considering and that might serve to burnish your firm or client firm’s employment brand. If you can build great messaging that speaks to each of the themes that I’ve referenced, and then get comfortable articulating these to candidates, you will find that it really makes a difference relative to how your firm is perceived.
Again, in a talent constrained marketplace where people have more employment options that ever, it’s only natural that candidates are going to formulate a decision-making hierarchy that helps them to identify the very best employer and job opportunity. This fact is ultimately why employment or talent branding has never been more important.
This is Paul Siker wishing you ongoing success.