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Employer Branding

Employer Branding

Employer branding, particularly differentiation from your competition, is an important strategy in our current employment landscape with low unemployment and an even lower supply of qualified and talented workers.

Many companies are faced with a shortage of workers, which hinders them from increasing their revenue and from growing their organization.  Instead, they are faced with refusing business to avoid facing the risk of delays, quality issues, and/or dissatisfied customers.

Recently, I spoke to a building contractor at a business event in Portsmouth, NH, who said he could double his customer base if he could just find skilled, dependable carpenters to hire. Instead, he is actually turning away business and referring them to competitors. He hopes that they will appreciate his honesty and helpfulness with referrals, so he can possibly win them back at a later date.

Today, employer branding is most easily accomplished by social media utilization, particularly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumbler. The best social media site is really determined by your desired audience and the type of content you will offer, particularly if you are focusing on visual appeal or written content.

Social media has made the job of branding your company so much faster and less expensive to reach your desired audience than ever before.  However, tread carefully as the risks of misinterpretation, missteps in general, and incompatibility with applicant, employee, and customer experiences are ever present.

Differentiation techniques include creating a distinct visual image of your organization and a story that connects with your audience, whether it is job applicants, employees, customers, or the public, and which collectively sets you apart from your competitors.

Two simple examples of differentiation are current Human Resources positions open at Google and Amazon, regarded as one of Google’s biggest competitors. There is quite a noticeable difference between Google and Amazon’s strategy here. Google is channeling their brand of innovation, creativity, diversity, and excitement. Amazon is channeling serious business, no fluff, which is likely how they built the $136 billion in 2016 revenue (compared to Google’s $90 billion in 2016 revenue).

Aside from the enormously successful companies, candidates viewing these position advertisements may be drawn in one job or other based on their personal preferences and career offerings. A Human Resources professional who loves creativity may be love the celebration of diversity brand of Google along with the concept of their “People Operations” department.  Conversely, a Human Resource professional who is business-mind and analytical may highly prefer the Amazon brand and the traditional “Human Resources” concept.

The bottom-line is that your organization needs to know who you are now and who you want to be to establish the foundation of your brand before you can move on.  Once that brand has a framework, you can begin building and reinforcing it within the organization.  No amount of outside social media employer brand strategy will be successful if it is not genuine and if employees do not embrace it.

If you find that misalignment is occurring, then that is a conversation for an entirely separate blog and set of HR tools.  However, if the desired brand resonates with your organization’s employees, you can then focus on reaching your desired audience and engaging them while reaffirming your brand identity, hiring the staff you need, retaining your workforce, and growing your business.


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