Human Resources Branding

HR leaders know that they need a strong employment brand to attract talent. That is easy enough if you are Google or Goldman Sachs, but what if you are a small company unknown to the general public? The good news is that building a strong brand is easier than you might think.

The key idea is that you do not need to build an employment brand until the point of contact. A prospective new hire need not have a great impression of your company—or even know you exist—until they see a job ad or a recruiter initiates contact with them. As long as that first touch with the prospect generates a small degree of interest, then they will search the internet to learn more about your firm. If what they find online is a great, then in that moment you’ve built as strong a brand as any Fortune 100 company.

What will a prospect find online? Almost certainly they’ll find your website and quite possibly something on LinkedIn or Facebook, or perhaps information on other social media sites. Since what they find is so important, you should search your own company name and see what pops up first. You do not need to optimize the brand everywhere. For example, you don’t necessarily need a great website, great LinkedIn page, great Pinterest page and so on. You just need to ensure the site candidates land on first does a good job of communicating your employment brand. Remember that quality trumps quantity. One really great video showing why your organization is an attractive place to work is better than twenty mediocre videos.

The next tip is to focus your efforts towards the talent you need most. Let’s imagine your business mainly recruits for clerical positions and a smaller number of technical professionals. If you find that it is easy to recruit clerks but difficult to attract technical professionals then focus the pitch on the people you need to convince—the technical folks. As a small firm you can’t do everything, so be sure to target your investment in branding where it will make the biggest difference to your recruiting efforts. 

Tweet: Invest in branding where it will make the biggest difference to your recruiting efforts. @HRCloud

You also need to spend some time identifying and fixing any elements of the site that may harm your brand. An otherwise impressive site that contains a typo, or out of date information, or unprofessional photographs can undermine the brand. Often if you can’t afford to fix something it is better just to leave it out.

One final point, the foundation of a good image is a good reality. If your company is a good place to work then it is easy to get the message out to prospects.

Tweet: If your company is a good place to work it's easy to get the message out to prospects. @HRCloud

Packaging is important, but don’t neglect the product. Make sure your company really is a good place to work and you will find that building a credible employment brand will be a whole lot easier.

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David Creelman

David Creelman is CEO of Creelman Research. He studies the pressing issues in managing talent and culture. His most recent book, with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan is “Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment.”