5 Questions About Employer Branding

Stacey Stratton of True Talent Group shares her expertise on attracting great talent.


At 5 by 5 Design we believe it’s possible to change the world by posing the right questions, listening to the honest answers, and following the path that emerges from the dialogue. Today, we’ve tapped into the insights of staffing expert, Stacey Stratton.

Stacey is Founder and CEO of True Talent Group, an award-winning boutique staffing and recruiting agency that provides its clients with the best marketing and creative talent in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Stacey and her team are smarter about connecting the right person to the right job because they know what makes their talent tick, and understand the challenges their clients need to solve. Stacey is an award-winning entrepreneur whose awards include 40 Under 40, (REAL) Power 50, Enterprising Woman of the Year, Women in Business, and many others. We’ve asked her for her take on these 5 questions.

1. What is employer branding and why do we need to pay attention to it?

Employer branding is the process of creating the identity of a company as an employer of choice. It’s important not only because it determines what types of future employees your company will attract, but it also affects the retention of your current team. Having a great employer brand will help stimulate business growth and help your company achieve its business goals.

2. What do employers need to do to stand out to current and potential employees?

There are many ways for employers to stand out!

First impressions of a company are everything. Having a well-defined, well-communicated hiring strategy keeps the process smooth and positive for both the hiring managers and the candidates. Set realistic timelines with all parties—the best candidates have many companies trying to hire them!

Benefits are important to today’s candidates. The Glassdoor Employment Survey found that nearly 80% of workers would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase. Competitive pay is still important but the rising costs of healthcare have employees valuing affordable healthcare.

Remember, a company’s benefits extend beyond pay and benefits! According to a Gallup survey, nearly 55% of workers rate work-life balance as important when considering a new job. Technology allows people to do their job wherever they are. Providing flexibility to employees—knowing that they will answer Hong Kong during the middle of the night—is a perfectly fair trade off.

Do this and you’ll get, and more importantly, keep the best employees!

3. What is the biggest challenge in attracting and retaining great talent?

Each year, we at True Talent Group produce our annual Talent Forecast. This report looks at Minneapolis/St. Paul job and hiring trends.

The biggest challenge is the lack of talent available. Unemployment in the US is near an all-time low—and the same goes for Minnesota. This sounds great—and for the most part it is—but as unemployment rates go down, competition to attract top talent heats up. Now that the pool of available talent is so limited, multiple companies are trying to woo the same candidates. Companies need to tighten their hiring process to become more efficient and faster or risk losing candidates to companies that have already figured this out.

Leadership is by far the biggest factor in retaining great talent. Leadership does not look the same as it did five or even ten years ago. Leadership in today’s workplace is much more collaborative and inclusive of the broader team. Many of today’s employees want to have a clear understanding of a company’s goals, mission, and leadership development programs. Skilled leaders either know, or have teams to help them, create programs for identifying, recognizing, and fostering those skills across the organization.

4. What are some of the most effective methods or channels to communicate to employees?

Direct team communication is clearly the most effective. If you want to know what your employees want or need—just ask them! Engage in a conversation, and be open to their suggestions and thoughts. You can also try:

  • Daily or weekly standups
  • Town hall meetings
  • Q&A sessions with leaders
  • Lunch and Learns

It’s really simple—make the effort, listen to your employees, and watch it engage your teams!

5. What new trends or best-practices have you seen in talent recruitment?

No lie, this is one of the toughest talent markets we have seen in years.

Recruiting in 2017 is different but there are many ways to stand out. Here are some of the things you can do today:

  • Treat candidates like customers
  • Optimize your application for mobile and social
  • Anticipate skill gaps as Baby Boomers leave the workforce
  • Utilize technology to speed up the recruiting process
These simple tools can help you turn even passive job seekers into active candidates!

Did this spark an idea? Let's talk!

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