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. Where 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.Steps In Building An Employment Brand Strategy

    1. Set program goals and define what branding is expected to do for our employment efforts over the next 1-3 years


  1. Define or re-fine your current employment strategy and where branding fits in
  2. Define measurable employment goals
  3. Coordinate your efforts with your internal PR and product branding department
  4. Benchmark and learn all you can from successful product and employment brands
  5. Calculate the potential ROI for branding
  6. Show how branding will bring a firm closer to “Employer of Choice” status and increase applications, referrals and sales
  7. Develop lists of the criteria used by leading publications to identify “great places to work” and use them as the beginning criteria for your branding effort
  8. Identify the success/failure factors for branding by looking at other companies using branding
  9. Identify the target market (candidates) for our branding efforts
  10. Develop a target profile (who they are/where to find them, etc.)
  11. What are our competitors employment “brands” (non-employment and employment) that we will be competing against?
  12. Assess our current employment image among current employees, applicants and the general public using surveys and focus groups
  13. Assess our firms current management practices, benefits, culture etc. to identify what we “have to sell” and what we need to improve
  14. Identify key product/programs and company needs for the next two years that require new talent
  15. Identify critical skills/competencies needed to meet these product goals (and the related jobs)
  16. Identify who else is targeting the same candidates? And what tools/strategies are they using?
  17. Develop a formal branding plan to build brand awareness
  18. Get manager buy-in to the plan
  19. Assess how it can differentiate our firm from its competitors? What competitive advantage does it offer? What will be their response to our plan?
  20. What are the potential problems with branding and how will we avoid/minimize each?
  21. Show why our branding solution is the best among other possible recruiting strategies (using numbers and dollars)
  22. Develop our branding message and pre-test it
  23. Rank potential media and tools to convey branding efforts
  24. Select the media/methods to convey the branding message
  25. Prove that the medium works to attract our profile candidate through pilot/beta testing
  26. Create a process to continually measure and evaluate the program’s effectiveness
  27. Implement the plan
  28. Identify any subsidiary benefits from program
  29. Monitor its progress and improve it

Miscellaneous things you can do to build an employment brand as well as other Employer of Choice possibilities:

  1. Speak at events where potential applicants may be in the Audience
  2. Go to events that “passives” attend and in a neutral way reinforce our brand to attendees
  3. Co-advertise and co-list our jobs with other major employers that are strategic partners with you and that also have a strong employment brand
  4. Having CEO/HR of VP write a book or get profiled in a major publication
  5. Make other managers aware of our best practices and WOW employment features to share with reporters and others that inquire about our firm
  6. Ask current employees why they work here and get the word out of what they like
  7. Get on Fortune magazine/Working Woman etc. best places to work/most admired company lists
  8. Speak at analysts events to make them believers also and to cut down on their “sniping” on us. Influence/sell market analysts to rate your firms stock a buy based on your strong people programs
  9. Invite family and friends of employees on site to see “what it is like to work here” and the importance of the employees work so that they will help spread the word on what a great place this is to work
  10. Develop a slogans, mascot, songs, colors, jingle, Logo, and/or image that is identified independently of the firms product
  11. Develop brand recognition and specialized names (catchy names) for individual employment systems (independent of the firm’s image) Ex profiler, referral program, internship program reference check (Sun screen)
  12. Copyright and sell employment branded items (Hats, T-shirts, pens, etc.) that depict work at our firm
  13. Involve former employees (alumni) in the process of spreading the word
  14. Offer benchmarking, consulting or training services to teach customers, suppliers how we do employment in an attempt to “convert” the attendees
  15. Publish a recruiting newsletter/magazine/brochure for other recruiters and possible applicants that highlights what it is like to work here
  16. Publicize any Baldridge/Optima/diversity-type awards to indicate excellence in a great place to work
  17. Come up with cool names/titles for our jobs to give people something to talk about
  18. Develop affinity groups and diversity programs that might get us mentioned in national publications and help make us a better place to work
  19. Get local restaurants/suppliers to name food after our people/programs/products
  20. Put famous celebrities/professors on your advisory board to help build our image
  21. Get EE’s to put decals, license plates on their vehicles to broadcast their loyalty
  22. Get mentioned in movies/ video games as a fun place to work
  23. Get written up as a Harvard type case study
  24. Have movie stars/athletes endorse our products and visit our sites
  25. Co sponsor “career workshops” in schools to build our image early
  26. Start an employment cartoon…tell them Kenny works at X company!
  27. Sponsor a sports/employment speaking tour or running events
  28. Have a X company sponsored academic contest/scholarship
  29. Have a X company credit card to show businesses the financial impact of your employees
  30. Have individuals write columns for publications
  31. Get us on clean up highway signs
  32. Have a B or E school/professorships named after us
  33. Sponsor Internet features like push information newsletters/joke of the day/quote of the day, etc.
  34. Sponsor technical chat rooms/listservers/conferences
  35. Develop an Alumni club for ex-employees/Retirees
  36. Give kids X company bookbags and sponsor school events
  37. Add WOW benefits (concierge, dry cleaning, childcare, etc.) that gets you talked about in the local press. Develop a list and make sure employees send a unified message about what it is like to work here
  38. Ask your employees and the union to help spread the word about what a great place to work we are

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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