Building an Employment “Brand”

Employment branding is the hottest strategy in employment. It is one of the few long-term solutions to the “shortage of talent” problem. Whereas most employment strategies are short term and “reactive” to job openings, building an employment brand is a longer-term solution designed to provide a steady flow of applicants. What is an employment brand?

Employment branding is the process of placing an image of being a “great place to work” in the minds of the targeted candidate pool. It is a concept borrowed from the business side of the enterprise. Product branding is designed to develop a lasting image in the minds of the consumer so that they start to automatically associate quality with any product or service offered by the owner of the brand. An employment brand does the same in that it creates an image that makes people want to work for the firm because it is a well managed firm where workers are continually learning and growing. Once the image is set, it generally results in a steady flow of applicants. Employment branding uses the tools of marketing research, PR, and advertising to change the image applicants have of “what it is like to work at the firm.” The goals for employment branding

A successful employment branding strategy does the following:


  1. It develops a common theme so that current workers tell friends and contacts a similar story about what it is like to be an employee of the firm.
  2. It builds and reinforces the public’s image of the firm’s culture, work practices, management style, and growth opportunities.
  3. It coordinates the employment brand with the company brand and its different product brands.
  4. It continually monitors the firm’s employment image both inside and outside the firm to ensure the brand image remains strong.
  5. It energizes the best potential candidates to apply for jobs at the firm.

What is included in a firm’s brand image?

  • The company’s culture
  • Management style
  • The quality of current employees
  • Career opportunities
  • Stable employment image
  • Impact of the product/service on the quality of peoples lives
  • Image as the leading firm in the Industry or geographic area
  • Benefits and work/life balance options
  • Learning and growth opportunities
  • Awards and honors it has received
  • The quality of its products
  • The fact that it is a challenging but fun place to work

Characteristics of a great branding campaign:

  1. It creates a sense of urgency and an intellectual curiosity to act immediately. It encourages people to visit a web site, ask others about the firm, or apply for a job
  2. It engages your mind, heart, and dreams
  3. Is complementary with the firm’s product ads and PR
  4. Gives a clear, compelling reason to work there (save lives, change the world, be the thought leader, be on the bleeding edge of knowledge)
  5. Is consistent with the views of our current employees as an accurate representation of what it is like to work here
  6. It gives the impression that it is fun, challenging, prestigious, and rewarding to work here and that people look forward to coming to work everyday
  7. It has “legs” and can serve for a long time as our employment message
  8. It works just as well for the whole company as it does for individual business units and geographic areas
  9. It is believable, sincere, and isn’t a slick PR piece that says “phony”
  10. It sends a message about our products, tools, projects, management style, culture, and opportunities. It gives the impression that “people like me” are proud to work there
  11. It is thought provoking and makes you think about your future career
  12. It makes you compare your current firm to ours
  13. It has a catchy theme or slogan
  14. It makes small firms look bigger and big firms look more agile and like a start-up
  15. It makes me feel that “this could be my dream job and dream company”
  16. It works equally well in any form of media
  17. Its message is “current but timeless” and excites across generations and job functions

Next week Part II – Steps In Building An Employment Brand

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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