The Soda Academy
"Organizations must have a clear, actionable plan in place to successfully attract and retain the best talent."
"Hiring is expensive. Losing employees is even more expensive. Focus on the desired outcome."

Brooke Heck, Phenomblue

Does Your Brand Help or Hinder Your Talent Development Efforts?

Experience Prototyping

"Employment brand" is the term commonly used to describe an organization’s reputation as an employer, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation. An effective employment brand reduces turnover and supports recruiting efforts, while invigorating and aligning senior leadership and staff.

Employment brands are integral and imperative to an organization’s success, affecting the bottom line now more than ever. However, getting it right can be a challenge. Many organizations mistakenly assume their consumer-facing brand embodies the same characteristics needed to attract the best talent, failing to articulate what actually sets them apart in the employment space.

As of November 2015, the US unemployment rate was 5.0% — down from 10% in October 2009, and the lowest it’s been since April 2008. When you couple the low unemployment rate with recent reports that show nearly 55% of employed professionals are actively seeking new employment or advancement, it means most new jobs are going to people currently with jobs.

As such, the post-digital, connected age is one of the most competitive environments for talent in the last 10 to 15 years. Today, employees choose their employer just as much as the employer chooses them, and it’s never been more important to recruit the right people and retain them. Prospective talent must be able to visualize themselves working at an organization in order to feel comfortable choosing a place of employment.

When crafting an employment brand, organizations must have a clear, actionable plan in place to successfully attract and retain the best talent. You must ask yourself who are the people looking for jobs? What would motivate them to accept a position with your organization, or to stay in their current position? Today, with fair compensation and benefits as table stakes, it’s paramount to take a close look at your organization’s culture on a regular basis to ensure it’s a place that people want to be.

Hiring is expensive. Losing employees is even more expensive. Focus on the desired outcome. Think about how your employees tell people what they do or what you do. Are they happy? Authentic? Do they use their own words? Do they understand your organization’s strategic goals and how they apply to their day-to-day? For most companies, employees are the number one referrer of new talent. Employees who are aligned internally are your organization’s best brand advocates. People who interact with aligned employees and have positive experiences become influencers.

Organizations need to start by having a clear strategy in place. Something that resonates internally and externally, something that differentiates your organization in the sea of employers vying for the same talent and allows you to hire the right people, on-board them and assimilate them into the culture purposefully and authentically. Once they’re on board, you’ll need a plan (and specific tactics) to empower and retain the best of them.

If your organization is looking to build an employment brand, here are a few takeaways to get started:

  1. Identify your work culture. Who are you? What makes you attractive to potential talent? What makes people in your organization stay?
  2. Define a position you can own and defend. How are you different than everyone else competing for the same talent?
  3. Create the perceptions you need to be successful. Determine what people outside and inside your organization need to think and feel in order to attract and retain top talent.

About the author:

Brooke Heck is a Vice President and Practice Lead at Phenomblue, a connected communications firm. Brooke is an acclaimed business leader, whose strategies and tactical executions have helped numerous companies – including Disney and GE – achieve success in the digital age. An experienced entrepreneur, having launched two startups in the healthcare and wellness space, Brooke now works to help prepare organizations of all shapes and sizes for success in the post-digital, connected age.