Identity first, image is a result!


The Bernard Hodes Group referred to the figure below in April 2012 about what was relevant and actual when it comes to building a strong employer brand. Naturally it is viable but it always strike me how employers start in the wrong end. It is not about what you must be to be attractive – It is about how to ACT and BE a good employer!

Preference priorities



Building a brand is as anything else you do in life which makes you either appreciated or not appreciated. Putting on fake values or pretending to be something you’re not is never going to work long-term. You must either be something which is attractive or you’re not. And no one can be best in everything, therefore you must identify your strengths and communicate those to the world.

Talking about starting in the right end. What do I mean with that? Well, it is one thing to implement a few changes in order to meet your recruitment competitors head on and compete for signing the right talents but it is another to retain them. Remember that the growth of social media has increased the closeness of every employer in the world. People today knows what is going on at your company whether you like it or not. According to Jobvite, an entire 70% of employers said that referrals were the way to go, in order to identify the most suitable talent for your company. This tells us that employees knows what is good and bad and also who would suit. Also, those who have been recruited via referrals are more likely to stay with the company a longer while. Not at all strange since Universum Group research stated in 2010 that the main reasons for leaving your employer was either a bad relation with your closest manager or “Not agreeing with company culture”.

This leads us to a conclusion which is unfamiliar to most employers today. It is not about changing things to suit some talent groups better nor about communicating those in general media. It is about knowing who you are, build on your strengths to the best of your capacity and utilizing your ambassadors to identify those with the greatest chance of being top talents for YOUR company.

Always when I get the question: “So what should I communicate in this media? We know the topic about equality is important now.” – I recommend to not state a concept and messaging making you look equal. I would start with saying: “Are you equal at all?” and “Is this what we intend on being and if so, how and what are we doing to be?”

We can not remain in a world believing we have control of everything where we can say whatever we want without it having effect on the talent market. Social media, once again, has changed your platform. If you claim to be something and then people knowing you’re not. It will be embarrassing. It would be like throwing your money into a dark hole somewhere. Don’t do that. It is not about being or pretending to be everything which you know talents think to be attractive. It is about understanding your strengths, what makes you unique and communicating those – only and to the right people of course.

Which is why your ambassadors are so important. And if you have weak ambassador-ship, few who refers new employees for you as employer, a weak or unidentified culture or unclear profile – this is where you need to start out. Otherwise you will start claiming a lot of things which later only makes you recruit people who won’t find most of your claims within your organization. And while they might stay for a bit to make their résumé look good, they won’t refer others, they will rarely be interested in over achieving at work, they won’t come loyal and foremost, they will have their eyes open for new opportunities. In short, not a good investment.

Thank you for reading.

/Daniel Sonesson


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