You understand your consumer brand – what you sell, who your audience is and how you reach them. But how are you visible to potential employees? Building an authentic and visible employer brand can lead you to more – and better – applicants. The foundation of an employer brand can start with strategic social media for recruitment, demonstrating culture and values through benefits, and a clear connection between employment and the company mission. A few major corporations serve as inspiration, and we have a few tips for how to implement these strategies in businesses of all sizes.
Join the social media conversation
Social media can be a double-edged sword. Without a clear strategy, the individuality and abundance of platforms can be overwhelming, time consuming and ineffective. Make social media channels work for you by communicating your values and culture to create an authentic employer brand and recruit new applicants.
Corporate example: Southwest Airlines is known for high employee satisfaction, and they proactively communicate that to an external audience through their social media profiles. Southwest’s Instagram is a great example of a genuine connection between employer and employee. From highlighting professional achievements and employees’ value, to sharing personal accomplishments and heart-touching stories, Southwest Airlines uses social media to illustrate its employer brand and join public discourse about working there.
How to implement: You don’t need a budget to cultivate an authentic social media presence that fosters conversation around employment. Did a coworker earn recognition for their work? Is everyone celebrating after a big goal was achieved? Learn where and how your employees are talking about their experience at your company, absorb their feedback and start sharing content that positively reflects your working environment. Take it one step further by integrating an employee referral program that is supported by social media.
Offer in-demand benefits that reflect values
Trends increasingly show that employees choose workplaces that support personal growth and priorities beyond their jobs. From flexible schedules for taking care of kids to offering paid volunteer days, companies are starting to provide benefits that promote balance.
Corporate example: Starbucks has skyrocketed past the stereotype of what it means to work at a coffee shop. The mega coffee corporation is not shy about sharing its values and its expectations of employees, and in turn, offers exactly what their workforce needs in order to be engaged. Healthcare and PTO to part-time workers, generous parental leave, education assistance and programs to foster civic engagement are just some of the ways Starbucks connects employment to its values.
How to implement: What you can offer will be highly specific to your organization. If you have a budget, consider what you might be able to pay for: higher portion of healthcare premiums, a catered meal once per week, employee referral incentives, or childcare benefits. If you’re a smaller operation with leaner finances, you might offer half-day or work-from-home Fridays, written policies to promote and support standard working hours (like not checking emails during off-periods), or a relaxed dress code.
Have a clear mission and let it shape your company culture
A defined purpose can help your employees identify a reason to come to work, as well as easy ways to hold each other accountable and engaged. These pillars of your mission – whether you’re a nonprofit or niche company – serve as guides for culture, recruiting and team-building.
Corporate example: Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is not an environmental activist group. It started as a business to provide gear for climbing enthusiasts. Eventually, the brand became synonymous with conservation and environment protection – because of its employees. This ethos turned out to be a core value, which translated to marketing campaigns and recruitment tactics. From offering repairs on old products to providing on-site environmentally-friendly benefits, Patagonia’s employer brand and company mission are one-in-the-same.
How to implement: Marketing and advertising campaigns, staff events, and donation drives or volunteering for causes that are impacted by your products can be great starting points to integrate your employees, company mission and overall corporate goals. Your employer brand becomes tightly woven with your consumer brand, allowing every touchpoint to serve as a recruiting opportunity.