A strong employer brand offers numerous benefits, including an improvement in your ability to
attract and retain top talent. It may appear overwhelming at first, however, breaking the
process down into five key phases will help you arrive at a finished product that supports
employee engagement and attracts top talent.
Take a Cue From Marketing
The process outlined below reflects what marketers have known for decades: Your brand
already exists, so in order to be credible you must “uncover” it through research versus trying
to “create” what you think it should be.
1. Conduct Research: As noted above, your first step is to conduct research that will help
reveal your employer brand. Start with current employees and find out what they like
best about working with your organization. Why did they join? Why do they stay? What
do they believe makes your organization different from other places where they have
worked? (As an aside, you’ll also uncover things about your workplace that employees
feel can be improved. Don’t bury these insights. Share them with leadership and work to
address them. After all, your employer brand isn’t fixed—it should always evolve
alongside your organization.) Next, gather input on external views people have of your
organization. This is obviously more challenging logistically and will typically require an
investment due to the need to provide incentives to participants. If you’re restricted by
your budget consider interviewing candidates who recently declined an offer of
2. Assess Your Findings: During this phase, you’ll analyze your research findings,
condensing what you learn into key points about your employment experience.
Consider using main categories, or “pillars” to frame your brand, such as those that align
with the attributes that often influence an individual’s decision to join and to stay. For
example, your framework might include pillars for Opportunities, Culture, People, Work
and Benefits. Identify two to three aspects that provide insight about your experience as
it pertains to each pillar. In addition, and this is always the tricky part, try to determine
from the research the overarching key theme about why someone should work for your
company that has the broadest appeal and reach across all employee segments. This will
serve as your main message, one that is supported by your pillars in order to tell a more
complete story to audiences.
3. Validate Your Framework: Now it’s time to take what you’ve compiled and run it past
existing employees in the form of focus groups. Gather their input on what they believe is accurate and what falls short. Refine your articulation based on the input and then seek final approval for the revised framework from your organization’s leadership.
4. Develop Your Strategy: Here, you’ll want to develop your strategy in terms of both the
messaging—the words and images you’ll use to convey your employer brand—and the
and various channels or touchpoints that you will use to communicate the messaging to
internal and external audiences.
5. Implement Your Program: It’s time to transition your process to a tactical rollout of
your brand according to the strategy you developed in step four. While you’ll likely
implement a range of employer brand communications during initial the launch, keep in
mind that involving brand ambassadors (those who can serve as champions) and
highlighting employee stories (to offer evidence of the brand’s validity) can be
extremely effective in helping to embed your employer brand internally and externally.
Wait, You’re Not Quite Done…
Like any good marketer, you’ll want to measure the results of your employer branding efforts,
shifting messages and tactics as appropriate to improve outcomes. Plus, you’ll need to revisit
your messaging every few months, reflecting any changes in your organization that impact your
employment experience and, thus, your employer brand.
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