Attract and Retain

How to use your brand to find and keep the best and the brightest.

Diana Lillicrap 2.28.2022

When it comes to branding, it’s common to consider customers, prospects, and other influencers. But are you thinking about how your brand can also help you attract and retain the right talent?

In today’s competitive employment market, employee branding is a hot topic. Many organizations are struggling to find and keep enough skilled and experienced employees to meet the demand of work. If that sounds familiar, here are a few ways your brand approach can help with this challenge.

Consider the audience

As with any audience, employees have their own needs and wants. Taking time to identify your ideal candidate or employee in terms of your brand can be helpful in guiding you to finding the right fit for the job. Beyond the education and experience an employee needs, what are the other traits that will be a good fit for your brand. Look to your brand purpose as a guide. You want employees that believe in what you do and have a passion for why you exist.

Define what matters most

To help identify what employees care most about, consider creating an audience persona. You’ll probably discover it will take more than just money to attract a win-win candidate. On top of a competitive salary and good benefits, culture, work environment, feeling respected, being able to contribute something meaningful to the world, and having room to grow as a person are top considerations for employees who have their pick of job options. And remember, all decisions, including whether to take or keep a job, come down to how the person feels. Make sure you are clear on how you want your employees to feel during the interview process as well as once they have the position. 

Determine your value

Once you’ve figured out what matters most to your employees and how you want them to feel, you can put into terms what you have to offer that matches to their wants and connects with them on an emotional level. Here’s another place your brand comes in to play. Good branding needs to resonate with all audiences. What’s your value proposition for employees? Is it a feeling of being cared for? Is it flexible hours and work-life balance? Is it ownership in the work or even the company? Or maybe doing work that is making the world a better place? Whatever it is, be clear about what they get from your brand that they won’t get someplace else.

Target your response

When you have your value determined, you are ready to put it into action. Start with some targeted messages that clearly communicate what matters to employees and how your brand delivers it. Then figure out the appropriate tools to support that message and put it out there in the right places. Of course, there are the obvious places like LinkedIn or job search engines, but don’t forget to cast your net wider, especially if you are struggling to find the help you need.

Meet them where they are

You need to meet your prospective employees where they are in life, not where you think they should be. That might be on a billboard as they make a long commute. That might be at a  job fair across the country (especially if you are open to relocating or remote working). Or it might be on social media channels posting in threads about topics that are outside of job offerings, such as finding purpose in life, finding joy in a place (workplace or other), or multiple other topics that have a related thread to your brand purpose. Whatever you determine is best, don’t be afraid to be a little different. Aim for being inspiring and joyful. Show them your authentic nature and how they will get more from your brand than what they can get at their current job or another possible job they are considering.

Keep them happy

Attracting the right people is important, but don’t forget that keeping good employees is much easier and less expensive than finding a new hire. Be sure to use your brand to help with retention as well. From the onboarding process to keeping employees engaged with branded touchpoints to giving them a sense of pride and ownership in your brand, there is a lot you can do to support your people. Use the same process of determining your value and defining what your employees want. If you’re not clear, don’t be afraid to ask them with a simple survey or some qualitative research.

Engage them more

Once you have an understanding about what employees value and want from your brand, put that knowledge into use by creating and communicating the right messages across the appropriate channels and tools. Simple things can go a long way in building brand advocacy and joy. If you learn your employees take pride in wearing branded gear, create it. If they prefer flex Fridays over team lunches, adjust. Consider other engaging ways to build a team of brand advocates, such as creating awards to acknowledge employees who are effectively living the brand or allowing employees to give gift cards or other kudos to fellow employees that are doing a great job. With a little extra care and maintenance, your employees will feel connected and committed because they are valued and celebrated as a vital part of what makes your brand great.

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