Employment Branding Matters More Than Ever [case study]

by Sharlyn Lauby on July 25, 2012

(Today’s post is sponsored by iCIMS, a leading Software-as-a-Service provider who is focused on taking the hassle out of corporate HR processes. iCIMS has grown faster than any other talent acquisition provider while staying true to its core values of customer orientation, adaptability and innovation. I hope you enjoy today’s post!)

Years ago, we were introduced to the term employment branding. Before I hear a collective groan about the subject of employment branding, let’s admit deep down inside that it’s important. I’ll admit the term employment brand has been abused but that doesn’t mean the concept isn’t essential.

After all, there are brands like Apple and Starbucks that don’t even have their name in their logo and we all know who they are…along with a perception of their brand. And, I haven’t heard any marketing executives saying the consumer brand isn’t important.

The challenge for us as HR pros is realizing that our company’s consumer brand and employment brand are two different things. And those two different brands must align with each other. Obviously, a company’s consumer brand is the impression someone gets about the company’s product or service. And the employment brand is the impression people get about working at the company.

It’s great when these two brands align. I love the brand and I love working for the company. There can be challenges when people love one but not the other. For example, can you think of a company:

Where you would buy the product in a heartbeat but never work there in a million years? Or,

That you’d love to work at but would never buy their stuff?

That’s why it’s critical for HR to develop a strong employment brand. As strong as the company’s consumer brand. HR should be as passionate about the company’s employment brand as the vice president of marketing is about the company’s consumer brand.

The payoff for a company with a positive and identifiable employment brand is qualified candidates. Let me share a story from the trenches to demonstrate:

CapTech is a national technology firm offering a full suite of services including management consulting, systems recruiting, hr, brands, employments brand, consumer brand, iCIMS, CapTech, recruitintegration and data management. For four years in a row, they’ve been counted among Inc. Magazine’s 5000 fastest growing private companies. Being a rapidly growing firm meant they were doing a lot of recruiting as well as focusing on converting their process from paper to web-based. But they knew they needed more.

As a tech firm, CapTech spent a significant amount of their recruiting efforts on unique-to-fill positions. They knew that building connections with passive candidates was important. It needed to be easy to connect with potential candidates and easy for the candidate to stay engaged with the company. Melissa Garrett, human resources manager explains why. “Recruiting in this industry has become very competitive and it was necessary to show that we were in-tune with the market.”

CapTech’s strategy was to build a talent network using iCIMS social recruiting tools and mobile portals. It gave them the speed they wanted to post new jobs and connect with applicants. Just like Melissa said – if the market is competitive, then the employment brand must align with the competitive nature of the business.

When you get a moment, check out the CapTech careers site. I love their message – “Others Talk, We Listen.” Their company culture comes through loud and clear in their recruiting video.

The success of aligning employment and consumer brands was tremendous. According to CapTech, they received over 630 mobile submissions and 233 employment applications via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. CapTech tracks results using iCIMS’ reporting tools and makes adjustments to their recruiting strategy as appropriate.

Stories like the one from CapTech remind us that brand identity is key to our recruiting success. Call it what you will, but it doesn’t dismiss the value of having a branding strategy and working that strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about the CapTech case study, you can click here. Also visit the iCIMS website,  check out their blog or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

{ 3 trackbacks }

{ 7 comments }

Josh Tolan July 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Great article about the need to develop a good company brand. Companies want to attract top talent, but these individuals also want to work at the best companies. If companies can brand themselves as attractive, great places to work they can get the candidates they crave. One way to brand your company as a creative, technologically savvy workplace is to use online video in the hiring process. It will save your hiring managers and candidates time, and will allow you to see personality sooner in the hiring process.

Urgent Care Justice July 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

Having an employment candidate turn down an offer because they read something online a customer experienced or heard a horror story from an employee does not feel good. It’s the golden rule of business, if your employees are happy, your customers will be happy too. It’s that simple.

Allan - Stainless Steel Cable July 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

People want to work at fun, energetic places but you can’t always appeal to the great employees if you image is fun or goofy as a workplace. Be careful to convey a positive message, not an unprofessional one.

Rebecca Hammett July 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Great comments everyone! It’s great to spark some conversation around this topic. Maintaining a positive and professional brand identity takes some work, but like you all have mentioned, it is extremely beneficial in the end!

Sharlyn Lauby July 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Thanks everyone for the comments. I’m glad to see the employment branding conversation is alive and well. I predict we will be seeing even more emphasis on employment branding in the next few years.

Mitch Sullivan July 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I just watched the video and have to say that it’s all been said before, many times.
I think most of the better candidates are too smart to buy into this sort of stuff that easily.
I don’t think employer brand is something you can build. It’s more something you adapt according to what people are already saying about the company – especially ex-employees rather than current.

Sharlyn Lauby July 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm

@Mitch – I think you bring up a good point about former employees. Exit interviews can be a great way of gauging your employment brand. But not the only way. High performing companies are evolving all the time – which means their brand is evolving with it.

My big takeaway from the video was the “work hard, play hard” message. I’ve worked for several companies that used the same message and it’s a difficult one to communicate. CapTech did a great job sending the message to candidates. And at the end of the day, like CapTech, you have to walk the talk.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: