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Branding From the Inside Out

Branding’s not just for toothpaste and car companies anymore.

Every last organization needs to be mindful of the brand it’s got circulating on the street out there — and just as much for the benefit of potential employees as for customers. In an age where social media is the ubiquitous presence in every outward-facing overture, the concept of cultivating powerful brand identity for the purposes of attracting staff is an increasingly necessary one.

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Consider: a survey conducted by Randstad in 2013 found that 20 percent of employees under age 30 would rather work at a lower-paying job with a brand they respect than take a higher-paying position at a less reputable or welcoming company.

Eighty-three percent of the best employers on the 2013 Aon Hewitt Best Employers in Canada list identified as having an explicit employer brand.

And a recent CareerBuilder study discovered that firms with strong employer brands attract at least three-and-a-half times more applicants per job post than other firms in the same industry.

And why not?

After all, individuals considering the merits of joining up with a particular firm need to know what its values are, its weaknesses, its strengths and how they might gain by becoming a part of it. Companies like Lululemon and Nike have clearly explored this aspect of their calling card, and that’s why newcomers to their employee ranks understand the culture they’ll encounter when they get there.

So how do you go about making your employer brand more attractive to job seekers (and, while you’re at it, how do you attract the right kind of job seekers?)? You need to identify your value proposition, discover what keeps your employees loyal, understand why they like working for you — and then shout your findings from the rooftops.

If your company has an intensive training and development program, promote it. Has it been recognized on a wider stage for its achievements? Does it have a culture of rewarding employee innovation? Does it value health and wellness? Then demonstrate it. Trumpet it. Share it with the world.

Finally, be consistent with your message across multiple avenues. From the company website through its written material, physical spaces (what impression do visitors take away from the reception area, conference rooms and office layout?), presence at conferences and trade shows, and image portrayed at candidate interviews and by way of job-board forums, the brand needs to shine unswervingly through.

Employer branding is a smart way to get the best ROI from hires. By enlightening prospective staffers about why they would want to work for your company, they will.

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