99 ways to make your employer brand STICK
James Ellis, October 2019
Every employer brand initiative has three phases: Development of the EVP, development of the formal activation and channel strategies, and integration with every aspect of the business. Most companies focus on the first two and forget the third. They expect the internal employer brand manager to run that part. So what does that look like?
It looks like finding all the different ways people engage with your employer, inserting messaging and driving behavior change in every team, every level internally and externally. Wow, your job is hard.
Here’s a secret: great employer branding isn’t done linearly. Every hour or dollar put into the brand does not yield the same impacts. So a smart employer brand manager looks for ways to do small things to create huge impact.
Having developed a structural EVP with pillars that staff and candidates can connect to, and having built a formal communication plan to activate the brand, you should be looking for areas of opportunity, areas of maximum leverage, where your smart effort turns into an employer brand that is embraced by staff and leadership as if it were 100% organic.
Done well, you can expect to see better applications, lower costs per hire and higher retention rates. If your brand is truly authentic, credible and attractive, it will support communication and recruiting strategies to drive hiring for years.
So here are 99 ideas (almost all of which are free) you can start doing today to turn an architectural and data-driven EVP into something that lives and breathes throughout your entire company.
- The first paragraph of all your job postings explain what your company is trying to do. Not some "mission statement" junk, but what's the dent you're trying to put in the universe. Are you trying to make the trucking world more efficient? Are you here to make pets more comfortable? Do you exist to connect people? Say it. And yes, it should be the first line!!!
- Write a paragraph describing the company culture as it exists in the day-to-day. Use lots of feeling words and add into every posting. Feeling words? Joy, fear, drive, ambition, satisfaction, comfort, uneasy (for a start). It should be the last paragraph before the bullets.
- Make it insanely clear what your company rewards. Not cold brew or 401ks. Things like: we reward staying up late. We reward the best idea. We reward the team player. We reward commitment to mission. We reward the iconoclast. We reward the kindest people. What your company rewards is who you are.
- Talk about what parts of the job are hard and un-fun. No rose-colored glasses here. They make your positive claims more credible.
- For the bullets, trim them way back. This isn’t a legal document, it’s a marketing document, so everything in it should make the reader want to learn more, not be bored to tears for the sake of “comprehensiveness.”
- For every bullet that demands what the applicant should know, re-write it so that you show how that skill you are expecting them to have will be used on the job. It will describe the job better and show how the applicants will be making an impact.
- Many ATSs allow you to create a headline for the job posting (and if you don’t have a dedicated field, make it a heading 1 or heading 2). Write a heading that will make people want to learn more about the role and company. A compelling question or a surprising fact is a great way to catch people’s attention on the job board, and re-frames people’s expectations so you can influence them more effectively.
- Take everything you've just done and turn it into a single great job posting. Give it to the #recruiter. Ask nothing in return. When it attracts better candidates, ask the recruiter to tell other recruiters. Build your library of reusable great job postings one requisition at a time and take control of the narrative. Remember: the job posting is the first real impression of your brand most people get. Make it count.
- Your job is to make your recruiters’ job easier by seeing things from a different perspective (the brand rather than the requisition). When you help a recruiter, they are more likely to carry employer brand’s water and be an ally. Start by showing them the new job posting format. Get their buy in that the new format is better. Let them know that you’ll be counting on them to give feedback and tell you how it performs versus the previous model (assuming “model” is the right word). Start by showing them that you are here to help them to lower skepticism and increase trust. Turn them into allies (because they won’t start that way).