November 14, 2018
In today’s competitive job market its more important than ever for companies to build and maintain a reputation for excellence when it comes to workplace culture. A great employee “brand” attracts higher quality candidates and also keeps them happy and engaged once they’re in the door.
While it may be easy to simply assume your company employment reputation is top notch, the most successful business know that brand awareness doesn’t happen by accident. Much like companies use commercials and advertisements to boost reputation in order to drive sales, crafting and promoting a reputation for being a “great place to work” takes concentrated effort and plenty of advertising. Good thing for our readers, we’ve put together common and easy to implement strategies to help charm candidates with an irresistible company culture.
Now onto the specifics…
Prepare for the Office Visit
It’s widely acknowledged that first impressions are critical in everything from restaurant dining experiences to your dating life. A great initial take can lead to repeat business and greater satisfaction in retail shopping. Much the same can be said for that critical first office visit by a potential employee. While a positive initial reaction can lead to converting a candidate into a member of your workforce a negative interaction will send job-seekers running and will likely have them warning off friends and colleagues as well.
Employers should set themselves up for success from day one by having a set of standardized protocols in place for interacting with candidates arriving for their interview. Simple steps such as ensuring there is someone on hand to greet interviewees, having interviews start promptly, and offering water or other beverages add up for a major impact. Having company accolades such as “best place to work” awards or other positive images prominently displayed can also help communicate that your company is active in creating a positive workplace.
Manage Employee Onboarding and Off-Boarding
Once you’ve made and have had an offer accepted, it isn’t time to rest on your laurels. Employee retention has as large of an impact on your employer brand as the initial application process. With this in mind, an initial training and mentoring program is essential to developing a reputation that helps attract future candidates.
A successful employee onboarding program should address the common pain points in any new hire scenario. Consider the specific job description and critical skills and responsibilities for new employees. Your onboarding process should include a system for education in these areas to help your hires get up and running as quickly as possible. While we’re handing out advice, don’t forget the universal policies and procedures and benefits guidance. These are often overlooked but are important elements of an employee’s overall satisfaction and stress level when joining a new company.
Similar to onboarding, when an employee must exit its important that they do so with a positive impression of their time and experience. Ensure that employees feel comfortable communicating their departure intentions and help develop a transition plan for their eventual replacement. If the situation is appropriate, consider utilizing the departing employee in the hiring process for new team members. Finally, an exit interview is essential in assessing your overall performance and can provide valuable info to help with future employees.
Act Out Your Brand
Once you’ve established and identified your brand in the hiring, onboarding and offboarding process, maintaining your reputation is critical to avoid undercutting your initial hard work. Document your procedures internally and regularly communicate key culture and company values to existing employees. Volunteer, team building and other non-work related activities can help employers reinforce their brand to existing team members while also allowing networking and demonstrating to potential future employees that your brand is authentic. Word of mouth is a great form of advertising, but walking the walk in front of current and potential future candidates can help reinforce your reputation much the same way that advertising does in a retail or sales environment.
Other Takeaways for Building Your Brand
Looking to communicate your employer brand effectively while maintaining the largest reach possible? After you’ve identified, established, and maintained your brand, it’s time to get to advertising your employer culture for the world to see. Larger companies will often take out commercial space and employ sophisticated marketing campaigns.
If your advertising budget is substantial, that’s all well and good, but spending millions on promotion isn’t the only way to communicate to potential employees that you’re a great place to work. Below is a list of ideas, grouped into categories, that can be implemented with little to no additional budget and by businesses of all industries and sizes.
Social Media and Other Online Forums
Use your existing social media presence or build pages if you don’t currently have them. Not only will you reach consumers and clients, but you’ll also attract and build interest with top talent as well.
- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
- Corporate blogs
- Press releases featured on company websites
- Pictures, videos, and descriptions of company parties and celebrations
- Company mission and values, and “statements from the CEO” highlighted on careers sites
Giving back both feels good and can be rewarding to your company’s reputation for a positive employer culture. Be sure to target your efforts to organizations and causes that mean something to your employees or business generally for maximum impact.
- Sponsoring charitable organizations
- Participation in charitable events
- Allowing employees paid time off for volunteer activities
- Designating a person or department for corporate social responsibility
Recruiting Materials, Including Job Descriptions
Last but not least, if you have an employer brand it’s important to ensure prospective talent is in the know. Your employment materials should communicate in a concise and consistent way. Don’t forget to include awards or accolades to show how others have acknowledged your hard-earned positive brand image.
- Recruiting mission statement – Have one and share it!
- Introductions on job descriptions
- Company-branded gifts or handouts provided following job interviews