ebLarge employers, perhaps because of healthy budgets, large comprehensive well staffed HR departments, large federal contracts, and/or well established corporate philosophies for world domination - tend to have rather sophisticated employer branding strategies, proven to work.The inverse all too often seems to be true for small to mid-sized companies with fewer resources.

So, from a talk I gave recently gave to employers gathered at ITT Technical Institute in Dunmore, PA, here are some of my thoughts on what companies of any size, from micro to global can do to ensure talented opportunity seekers in the village, or the world, reveal themselves.

Establish clear, consistent internal and external communication

Once you have decided on the communication vehicles that are right for your organization - crisp, clear, clean, consistent communication needs to be emulated across all mediums. This includes your corporate website, career or employment site (or job posts to external sites), social media messaging and all other marketing and promotional materials. This will help build strong impressions and brand knowledge that will start to become recognizable and eventually memorable. This is an important step in driving applicants to your employment opportunities. If your career sites or job postings do not ooze your brand, they will not garner the results you are looking for to attract great candidates.

Some important things to consider about your employer brand are:

  • Employer Value Proposition - what employees will experience and gain from working for your business. It relates to your culture, values, leadership and talent development, which all help build your organizations unique competitive advantage.
  • What is the corporate culture, and is it emulated by all those within your organization from top down? Your employees are part of making the culture what it is and live it every day that they come to work for you.Guide how it is shaped or it will shape itself and that may not be desirable.
  • Diversity Initiatives of every level to include innovation and thought diversity. These are newer into the mix than say the protected classes - but hot talent on-board attracts hot talent to the pipeline... just mark my words and remember this.

Foster engagement through the roof in all levels of the organization

They have different accountabilities and different salaries, but all employees and their functions are integral to the organization, right? When companies adopt this attitude and employees feel they are engaged in all aspects of your business, they are more likely to have higher levels of satisfaction. It's important that from top management to lower level positions, each member is working towards a goal or company objective and can see how their contributions make them an essential part of the organization's success. Also, sharing a clear vision of where the company is headed, instead of doing like many companies - keeping it a big bad secret only an alphabet agency can tap into, can help employees feel as important as they truly are, and increase engagement even further.

Understand organizational strengths and areas of opportunity through engagement surveys

Engagement surveysare a great way to find out what is working in your organization and what could be improved on. They can help point out your company's strengths, which can be promoted in corporate communications and help in attracting new applicants. The key here is to only pull out this thermometer if the company is prepared to act on feedback. To ask for it and then bury it in a drawer is akin to asking for my opinion and then telling me it doesn't count. That's going to double back on you in a painful way. I promise. It's bad, bad technique... If you're not ready to react in a constructive way to employee feedback, take the opportunity to prepare a strategy for that and hold off on the survey until you are. But be brave and do it.

Establish solid recruitment and retention strategies
I can't really go in-depth here in this post on how to do it (consider searching my other posts), because this topic is worthy of tomes... but creating a set of well-defined recruitment and retention strategies based on industry best practices (and yes, study how your successful competitors do it) will help you attract new and nurture existing talent. I advise you to be sure to include these strategies in your employer branding strategy:

  • Employee brand advocates
  • Employee referral system
  • Employee testimonials

Continuously innovate within your business and promote it

Encouraging and prizing innovation within your company - and promoting it internally and externally, is a great aid to building a talent pipeline.Companies that innovate and adapt to changes within their industry and organization are likely to be more competitive and hold a strong reputation. Innovation gives companies that extra edge over their competition and makes them extra appealing to opportunity seekers.

  • Dont keep it a secret once it can go public celebrate successes and promote them in media releases, industry publications, on your corporate blog and social media.

Finally, here are some things to consider as you start analyzing how to establish and promote your employerbranding:

  • Whatchallenges are you currently facing within yourorganization inregards to recruitment?
  • Who are the types of candidates you want to attract?
  • Why would candidates want to apply to your business over competitors?

What strategies and tips have you applied that you can add to the list?

P.S. If you happen to be available on October 5, 2013 - check out NEPA BlogCon. Drive in, fly in, or swim in (maybe not the last one) and learn how to execute a lot of the things I talked about in this post. The ticket is only $30 and it's a nonprofit event that will benefit Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge!


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