Reputation and brand attraction often come and go. What was popular yesterday is not as popular tomorrow. Be it a product brand, a corporate brand or an employer brand, it is all the same; it is a challenge to retain a top position over time. In a way, it is natural as people always enjoy change, challengers and new experiences. But a brand is foremost always the result of a corporatations actions and way to communicate those actions.
As you behave, you will be perceived!
And as we all know, sharing your perceptions of a brand is only a click away on preferred social media. Your behavior has immense effect on your employer brand. In fact what most still fail to grasp, your behavior has a much bigger impact than your communication unless the communication is -about- your behavior and something you’ve actually done. Something you claim to be or claim to want, is not as attractive as what you -actually- have done, achieved or succeeded with.
Behavior has big brand impact.
Employer branding does not differ in this aspect whatsoever – Of course not! Surprise for anyone? I am surprised if you are surprised. Communicating in a magazine about you caring of women’s careers is a nice thing to do but won’t impact even nearly as strong as when you actually hire women as managers and support their career development with education and equal salary to men. Caring about corporate social responsibility is also a nice thing do but the same thing goes here. It is your behavior people will enjoy talking about, sharing and have an opinion on – be it good or bad.
Do first. Communicate next.
The messengers of your communication is always primarily your own home turf. Whenever did you see a Ice Hockey team decide the values of the organization and discuss the way of working towards winning the medals and then communicating that to the market before having won trust and commitment internally? My guess is you’ve never seen that in any successful Ice Hockey team. The same thing goes for employer branding. You must always win the brand ambassadors first, those who will carry the flag high and truly embody and commit to the strategy, the targets and the journey. Those are the ones who will carry your message to the market. Ironically this is not always how it works – and those are the clients who most often used to ask me: “We want to have a stronger employer brand, in which magazine should we put our adverts?” – Think again, I say.
Truth is, none of the employers being mainstream ever made a difference. Employer branding is as managing any brand process – you must truly act and communicate something specific which is in line with your identity and personality. Create a clear image of what you are like and what personifies you for your certain target groups.
Your full candidate experience – where your behavior has biggest impact on your employer brand!
Ironically, the employers with strong employer brands are sometimes the most arrogant – so used of being flooded with applications of top candidates. They soon lose interest in seeing to their employer brand and truly acting with quality. Those who believe they will always be on top no matter what should think twice before letting candidates experience a poor candidate experience. It could very well be as such that top candidates prioritize other employers if they feel handled wrongly. And remember; good people want to work with good people.
A poor candidate experience drive away good people!
Having talked to talents about their experiences of job seeking, I come to remember why I once decided to co-found Jobla. All of these stories are perfect case studies of how “NOT-TO-ACT” and I will clarify some of them in later posts. In short however: It does not matter if you have a good employer reputation at first, if you don’t offer a quality experience talents will draw their application back and head elsewhere. And remember, they do so with their network. You can’t afford to treat talents badly or leave them with an unimpressive candidate experience. Today, you don’t just reject a talent and his skills. You risk losing out on a talent and his professional network for a long time to come. We live in a time where people communicate of their experiences, share them and compare stories like never before. Career stories are among the most interesting to share.
And for you employers out there, everything which affects a talents view upon you as an employer is a story which will be told and shared. Be it your ways to attract or reject a talent in a recruitment process, be it your way to negotiate new internal deals in order to retain top talents, be it your way to manage your employees to reach goals. Some of these processes are not per definition employer brand processes. But everything a talent gets in touch with with you as an employer, is a part of your employer story. That is why you can’t fake it with an advert.
Act good, be good, be a winner.