Every morning before starting their day, every employer branding professional looks at their very own "everyday employer branding framework" cheat sheet.
That’s a total fabrication, of course. But the idea of having an “Everyday employer branding framework”, or a sort of daily check-in where you can step back from the daily grind and reconnect with your strategic talent goals is not a bad one.
Below is our version of such a resource. It’s a cross between a refresher on the basics, a source of inspiration, and a daily checklist of the “always-on” components of the job.
Starting from a strong, differentiated brand
A differentiated brand is sharply defined against the background of all the other brands. It makes a clear promise, and supports that promise with tangible evidence. Every time a campaign goes out or a message is shared, it has to hit the two following conditions to avoid weakening the brand.
Your brand as an employer must leverage and resonate with your overall company brand, as well as with the reality of your workplace. It needs to tell a story that makes sense. It doesn’t need to be exhaustive, detailed, or, again, completely different from everyone else; but it has to resonate with the rest of your reality.
In other words, if you are a bookseller known for neat and quiet shops, you can’t try to build an employer brand around exciting, every-day-is-a-party workplace environments. And that is ok! Some people want to work in neat and quiet bookshops, and will immensely enjoy keeping them organized and orderly for their customers.
It’s great if your employer brand makes sense, but it also has to help you hire the people you need. It has to communicate a message that is relevant to your target candidates.
If you are looking to hire engineers with a track record for innovative problem solving, you need to find a way to inject that into your brand, perhaps by highlighting innovative co-creation sessions that your tech team holds with other departments in the company.
For the advanced employer branding professionals, a positioning map can be a useful tool to remind the team of what makes the brand stand out. If you’ve never made one before, you can use our guide here.
The employer value proposition
A well-crafted Employer Value Proposition can increase the commitment of your new hires by 50%. It can also reduce the compensation premium that your company pays to hires by 50%, and increase your labor market penetration by 50%. Not to mention, it can decrease annual employee turnover by about 70%.
The EVP can be displayed clearly in a section of the career page as a small paragraph, for example, or even just a few lines.
Your EVP could also be a full memorandum or a separate page with sections on different types of health, career, and social benefits. It can even simply be injected throughout the career page design, in the form of perks in the job descriptions, quotes or interviews with employees, or even statistics about positive aspects of the work environment, such as diversity, inclusion, community work, corporate responsibility initiatives, innovation…
The format is not as important as the message itself; as long as candidates coming to the career pages understand what advantages they would get from joining your company, the EVP has done its job.
There are no shortcuts to a successful Employer Value Proposition. It’s a work that takes time and needs to be regularly updated. However, once it’s done properly, you can simply refer to it every day to gut-check every branding decision against it, and make sure you stay consistent.
Careers site and social media
Your career site, along with your Linkedin landing page and your Glassdoor company profile, are a bit like the storefront of your company.
The careers pages and the linkedin landing page, specifically, need to have an element of proactiveness to them. You want them to be attractive and enjoyable for window-shoppers, but also useful and built to target exactly the right candidates for you.
Careers sites are no trivial matter, but thankfully, they’re usually not something that needs to be updated every day. You can use this guide to guide periodic do-overs, but really, the piece that will need frequent attention is most likely the jobs section. Some companies list job openings on the career site landing page itself, others put it in a different page or groups of pages. As long as they are organized and easy to browse, it doesn’t matter much, so how they fit in the nomenclature of your website is up to you.
However, as they are probably the most visited pages of your career site, their composition is extremely important. We’ve written a bunch on what makes a great job description, as the subject is worth a few blog posts of its own.
Components of a candidate-centric job description
Most job ads focus on what the recruiter is looking for: a job title, a set of skills and experiences, and maybe some information on tasks that the candidate will need to perform.
Candidates, however, want to see major projects, company culture, objectives, teams structure and reports. Align with hiring managers on the job requirements and responsibilities, but also on the aspects of the job that the candidate is interested in learning about, like what they will be working on, what teams they will collaborate with or report to, and the exciting aspects of the job.
Action words and gender biases
Use power words to convey the importance of the role the candidate will play: Learn, create, understand, improve, lead, spearhead… It makes all the difference in how candidates react to a job description.
Bear in mind that some words have masculine or feminine connotations, and can make your job descriptions gender-biased. There are language tools you can use to automatically scan your copy for such biases. Here are a couple that you can use for free: Kat Matfield’s Gender Decoder, and TotalJobs Gender Bias Decoder.
A recent study by LinkedIn highlighted that candidates give a lot of attention to a few key pieces of quantifiable information: salary and benefits, number of direct reports, performance metrics, and title. And yes, a clear title that pinpoints where they stand exactly on the seniority scale definitely counts as quantifiable.
A note on SEO
Many job searches start on a search engine. It’s worth making sure that your job descriptions, and really, all of your career site pages, follow some basic SEO best practices to ensure they pop up in candidates’ searches.
Do a quick survey of what keywords the competition is using to describe a specific job role. Ensure you’re using the most popular variations. Be specific about things like seniority level, location, full-time vs part-time, and industry.
Google launched its own job search engine, Google Jobs, and it filters jobs based on detailed information such as date posted, salary range and company type. Make sure to include those in your job descriptions as well when possible.
Glassdoor–or any company review website– is a bit different because most of the content on it is user-generated, meaning you have only limited control over it. However, it’s important to keep an eye on it as part of a daily routine. Here’s a list put together by Jobverse of different employer review sites-–notice that certain regions and countries use their own company review sites. Use it to make sure you’re well-represented on the ones that matter for your company.
Note that 84% of job seekers would consider leaving their current employers for a company with an excellent reputation, and Glassdoor is where many candidates will go first to find out the kind of reputation you have.
You can find a detailed review on how to manage Glassdoor reviews here.
Campaigns in the everyday employer branding framework
Campaigns are part of this framework because no matter how developed your strategy on paper, and no matter how pretty your site and landing pages, they can’t replace campaigns. Campaigns are how you reach out to the outside world, or in most cases to the world wide web, to make yourself known to people who don’t know you.
Below is a totally random list of awesome employer branding ideas, mostly in video format, but not only. Some of them are from large companies with serious resources, but some aspects of their ideas are easy to implement on a budget. Use them to remind yourself of the formats, channels, tones and types of ideas available to use in a campaign, and to brainstorm ideas with your team.
Heineken - Graduate candidates interview
Old but gold: the “Go Places” Heineken Campaign is great inspirational material for a general branding message. We featured it a couple of years ago in another blogpost about great employer branding campaigns. However, while that inspirational and fun kind of message is useful to communicate the overall company brand, the interesting bit is this interview of graduate candidates:
Why is that? Because it is more targeted, features real people, and offers an opportunity for the team to actually engage with viewers who came and looked at that video, or clicked on it in an email and asked questions about it. It’s a great “follow-up” to the more generic employer branding campaign.
GE Digital - What’s wrong with Owen?
What’s wrong with Owen is a favorite. GE Digital correctly identified that the 125 year old parent company, GE, was a household name with a very, very, very deeply embedded image as a manufacturing giant. Not exactly a young developer’s target employer.
So they attacked this rebranding challenge from two angles: The first one is to provide information, with a video explaining what GE Digital does exactly, the scale of its impact, and how awesome it is in general. That’s what you find on the Culture page of their career site.
The second is to provide entertainment, making sure that people in their target audience actually want to share the content. Not to mention, it creates a positive association with self-deprecating humor, empathy, and other positive values that will be associated with their brand.
Durham Police Force - Authentic employer branding level: bodycam.
We talk about the importance of authentic employer branding, but very, very few campaigns go to the level of this ad by the Durham Constabulary. Warning: the footage is a bit graphic.
And while we’re on the subject of police recruitment marketing, here’s a great example of good branding that does not require a video budget: a campaign to hire more women in the Metropolitan Police. Even simple written interviews in pages like this one can have a strong impact on readers. The challenge, of course, is to actually get them in front of the right audience, which is where, unfortunately, video is very helpful.
Animal Humane Society - Putting your best paw forward
Day-in-the-life content is great when it’s authentic, with language that’s not too curated or too fancied-up. Great branding cuts right through to the message, and doesn’t need sophisticated wording or gimmicks.
Two great examples right here:
This vlog on the PanMacmillan career site describing the visit of one of their employees to the Frankfurt Bookmess.
This Day-in-the-life video from the Animal Humane Society, with off-the-charts levels of cuteness from all the animals.
When is an everyday employer branding framework not enough?
You’ll have noticed that the Everyday employer branding framework only works if you have an underlying employer branding strategy to support it, or at least a fleshed-out talent attraction strategy that can be declined into recruitment marketing and employer branding plans.
The standards for employer branding in today’s market are high, and it’s a moving goalpost with talent teams exploring new practices everyday. It’s impossible to keep the company aligned and provide a strong, consistent image to the outside world without a central recruitment marketing, and by extension an employer branding, strategy.
For some teams, it is possible to build and successfully deploy an employer brand across different channels and recruiting activities. They have the right team structure and operational support in place, and every aspect of their “employer branding framework” is a well-oiled machine that pushes out consistent campaigns and keeps the company on candidates’ minds.
Some companies, however, struggle with employer branding for a variety of reasons specific to their size, industry, organizational structure, or history. Some larger enterprises have decentralized brands over multiple geographies. Some have disparate talent acquisition processes and siloed tools that make it hard to align branding effort across diversity, campus recruiting, executive search, and sourcing, to mention a few. Some simply haven’t been able yet to acquire the necessary skills to do everything on the framework above.
They are missing things like market research, positioning exercises, messaging frameworks, brand measurements, and even some experience with campaign building, events, online marketing. They don’t need to be consumer-grade brand experts–yet!– but employer branding professionals need some familiarity with the above to be competitive.
In these situations, it can help to bring in outside help. Beamery Digital, for example, provides support for teams who lack experience in building digital marketing campaigns and need help with their branding strategy. There are also myriads of agencies that can help a team with their general branding efforts. These external teams can support the talent organization for a one-time brand building project, and leave them with the tools and guidance to keep growing on their own.
Recruiting Events - The Complete Playbook
Talent teams of every size can find value in this ebook, but it is especially targeted at sophisticated teams who want to leverage the technology and candidate data at their disposal to create highly effective event programs. It contains an exploration of the different types of events and how to best use them, checklists for event set up, project management tips, collaboration, event follow-up, not to mention metrics and best practices for measurement.