Launching an employer branding strategy next year is a top priority for many talent acquisition professionals. Re-energizing your strategy can be challenging enough, let alone trying to jump over roadblocks that can prevent you from expanding your talent efforts. So how do you deal with roadblocks like not having an employee value proposition or not having buy-in from your executives?
Talent acquisition professionals tuned into our 2018 Kickstart: Re-Energize Your Employer Brand Strategy – An Interactive Workshop webinar hosted by Rayanne Thorn, VP of Marketing at Dovetail Software, to learn how to achieve employer branding success.
To help recap the webinar, we’ve highlighted three top perceived employer branding blockers and how to overcome these barriers.
Webinar Poll: Top Blockers for Employer Branding Success
Rayanne (@Ray_anne) kicked off the webinar by launching a live poll asking attendees to pick the top reason why they are not having success with their employer brand. Turns out 19% claim their lack of bandwidth to maintain an employer branding strategy is to blame. Surprisingly, another 19% say their Marketing team wanting to own the initiative is holding them back from success. Additionally, 14% find it too expensive, and 12% claim they have no support from their executive team.
After gaining a sense of the attendees’ employer branding roadblocks, Rayanne then dove into three lethal employer branding blockers which can kill a program before it even starts and offered suggestions on how to navigate each.
One of the top reasons why talent acquisition professionals have trouble finding success with their employer brand is because they don’t have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)–a defined set of perceived benefits an organization offers an employee in exchange for their skills and labor. This value could be composed of compensation and rewards, work satisfaction and company culture, employee benefits, growth opportunities, and other factors that can be shown to job seekers and current employees why it’s valuable to work for the organization.
Rayanne recommends a great place to start is with your best employees. Ask them why they enjoy working for your organization. She even suggests make the exercise into a fun contest by asking your employees for what they believe are the most compelling aspects of your EVP. You can make it fun and incentivize responses with a prize. And of course don’t forget to ask yourself the same question: “Why do you love working for your company?” This exercise of self and collective reflection could prompt surprising, refreshing responses you would have otherwise missed, but perhaps, more importantly, allow more people in the company to contribute to and take ownership of the EVP.
Lastly, remember to make your EVP as a catalyst to kickstart your employer brand goals, not a stopper of it. Don’t fixate on it being perfect, and if necessary, it can be a working EVP so you can quickly move to the next step in your talent brand launch or expansion. Starting with a simple 5-word EVP is better than never starting at all.
The lack of bandwidth tied as the top employer brand blocker among attendees, and too often talent programs are stonewalled by the very real, and very valid, concern over limited time, resources, and team members.
To address this, Rayanne says to start by asking yourself plainly, “Why are you trying to establish an employer brand? What is the purpose?” This question is meant to prompt a proper outline and evaluation of the potential benefits from your new employer brand campaign. Remember to not only account for the benefits to your team and talent goals, but to other departments and the organization as a whole.
The answer, for example, could illuminate a common goal between your HR team and the marketing team. The more opportunities for shared (and immediate) wins from a given campaign or project, the more likely you will be able to inspire cooperation and request more bandwidth in the form of shared responsibilities, or perhaps a new hire.
However, be sure to also evaluate the potential costs associated with your program. While you must emphasize how the benefits can likely outweigh the costs, communicating to stakeholders that you have assessed the costs earn trust.
Lastly, don’t forget to tap into the most overlooked resource: your employees. The stats suggest that the majority of your current staff are employer brand advocates waiting for your invitation to share what they love about your organization. They have first-hand experience on how it’s like to work for your company, and one happy employee can have a big impact on your employer branding message. Rayanne suggests setting 15 minutes aside to talk to a happy employee if possible, to ask for their opinion on your organization.
No Buy-In or Back Up
Getting initial buy-in, especially from the leadership team, builds upon the suggestions detailed immediately above on navigating bandwidth blockers.
However, let’s say you’ve outlined the benefits and costs to a program, and you manage to gain lateral cooperation (from marketing, etc.) in support of your initial efforts, but executive leadership still hesitates to lend their full support. One way to appeal to executive leadership, Rayann mentions, is to show what your competitors are doing. How are your competitors recruiting candidates and what does their employer branding message look like? By drawing these comparisons, you can frame the discussion around today’s fierce competition in recruiting top talent.
Remind executives tangible threats you may face if you do not communicate your employer branding message with potential candidates. For example, if your Glassdoor score or reviews are being brought up during the interview, proposing a response campaign or employee advocacy program to help answer these reviews is a less controversial request than proposing other initiatives not tied to a real and immediate payoff.
Rayanne closes out the webinar by touching on a few key takeaways from the event: Talk to your happy quality employees. Ask them why they have stayed with your organization. If there are issues within the organization talk to happy employees within that department and ask them for help to address these issues.
Most importantly think about the future, “Where do you want your employer brand to be a year from now?” Having this in mind can help gear your message in the right direction.
Having trouble receiving the budget for your employer branding strategy? Download and watch Employer Branding on a Shoestring: How to Turn Budget Scarcity Into Scalable Success webinar now.