During a recession, you'll likely be making fewer hires- potentially only replacing key positions. Employment Branding is absolutely necessary to ensure your attracting the very best candidates that will help you company survive the downturn and thrive in the upswing. Here are some of the most important things I'd ask everyone to consider when developing or reviewing your external employment brand:
- If you asked every applicant to share what they know about your company culture during your first phone call, what would the result be? Ask this question to every applicant you phone screen, and track the results
- When you do an online search for "Careers at (YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE)" what would you find? Make sure you have pages on your website dedicated to your employment brand.
- If you aren't hiring, how could someone find out what it's like to work for you? Be sure to keep your employment brand visible all year long and drive a consistent message.
- How many GREAT applicants do you get when you're not actively hiring? Companies with well developed employment brands will receive applicants from great candidates all year long, because they want to be part of your organization.
- If you went for a recruiting day at a campus right now, would there be a line of students waiting to speak with you? Utilize social media and online resources to generate a buzz about your company- and yes, even YOUR company is buzzworthy!
- What would your current employees say if they read your employment branding promotional materials? Remember, brand integrity directly affects your ability to retain new hires and existing employees- so be sure that you're brand is true.
Consider this: With all the bad news about layoffs and unemployment, any news or PR you can generate about your positive employment brand will catch people's attention. In fact, it is much easier now to grow your employment brand awareness and brand penetration! While others are shying away from the spotlight, you can take center stage.
If you aren't currently hiring, investing time and energy in your employment brand now will lead to significant payouts when you're back in growth mode. Develop brand loyalty now, and when you're ready to hire, great people- and maybe more importantly, the right people- will be banging down your door.
EMPLOYMENT BRANDING STORY FROM THIS WEEK:
When we work with job seekers, we push the idea that employers are looking for the "right fit" for their company. We guide job seekers to begin their search by doing a self assessment- what are their own core values, strengths, motivations, talents, desires, and comfort zones. Once you know what makes you happy, and what you want from life, then you can target companies who's culture and mission fit your own. This is the key to long term employee satisfaction, increased retention, and ultimately profitability.
Here's a quick story to illustrate (verbally) how employment branding can affect the type of candidates you receive. A soon to be graduate at Smith College is looking to start her career with BET, and has asked for some advice on her cover letter and resume. She has already interned with the Media Education Foundation and with MTV, so has relevant experience in this industry. Additionally, working in media is a passion of hers, and she has the experience to support that. However, it's likely that BET will collect hundreds of resumes for this position, so it's important to make sure she conveys her alignment with their culture and philosophy.
We went on the web to research more about the career environment of BET, their culture, professional development programs, etc. And found nothing. The job she was applying for was written up in three sentences, part of a pdf that included a dozen or so other job descriptions. There was nothing about their culture, nothing about the types of employees they're looking for, nothing about the benefits they offer to top talent. There was simply no information that would shed light on who they are and what kind of environment a new hire is walking into. While I can't find statistics published on this, I have a pretty high confidence that they struggle with significant employee turnover. If you don't specifiy the type of culture you have and the type of people you're looking for, you're far less likely to attract the right ones.
I told this student that she continue to reach out through social media and other online resources to explore the culture and environment further. A key to getting the interview is presenting yourself as the "right" person for the job because of your unique combination of skills, talents, motivation, drive, values, and passion that align with the company.