31 Jan The Duet of Employer Branding
The key to successful employer branding is for HR and Marketing to be singing in tune.
Employer branding, which has become somewhat of an industry buzzword, especially among hi-tech companies and large enterprises, is where HR and marketing, two departments that don’t usually have much overlap, must come together and work as a team.
Much has been written about the contribution such cooperation makes to the company’s recruiting and employee retention capabilities. Other beneficial side effects such cooperation can have on a company are less well known.
HR and Marketing are the key employer branding players. The former has the professional competence relevant to recruitment, and the employee welfare savvy to ensure employee retention. Effective employer branding requires more, and is equally dependent on effective messaging skillfully delivered. Ultimately, it’s the sizzle that sells the steak. HR provide the steak, Marketing the sizzle.
The sizzle is all about EVP. It has to permeate both in and out of the organization. Effective recruitment requires that the world beyond the company is aware of why it is an attractive employment destination, so people with sought after skills and experience will want to come there. Employee retention demands that employees are aware and appreciative of the efforts company makes to ensure they enjoy not only good conditions, but an employee experience that is pleasant, enriching and fulfilling.
The key word is duet. It’s not enough that both participants are skilled and accomplished, they have to work in synergetic harmony together. Without that it is not a duet, just two people singing at the same time.
The keys to success are that both players realize they are equals in this endeavor, and that they understand that a good collaborative working relationship between them goes beyond employee branding, and positively impact organizational culture in a variety of subtle but important ways.
Each one has knowledge and skills to impart to and learn from each other. Since the initiating party is usually HR, this article will begin with what they can teach Marketing.
HR has the lenses through which employees, both current and potential ones, are best viewed. It also has a better toolbox for intra-organizational marketing, as it has a much deeper level of familiarity with employees, and a better appreciation of their added value as marketing channels for promoting the company’s superior EVP. HR is also better equipped to keep tabs on evolving rends in the labor market, and can give marketing the updated information it needs to ensure its messaging is relevant and on target.
Marketing can teach HR how to treat candidates as leads, who need to be segmented and qualified accordingly. For marketing people this is marketing 101, but not something HR are necessarily familiar with. Marketing is also a hub of creativity, and more proficient at crafting effective messages. It also has superior social media and networking skills and savvy, vital for spreading the word, and generating sizzle. The bottom line is that HR is about the pipes, marketing the content.
A final caveat, employer branding, like any other branding is reputation dependent. One of the worst things that can happen to a brand is to develop a reputation for untrustworthiness. Just as promising customers more than you can deliver is a sure- fire way to reduce your customer retention, so making employees promises you cannot keep all but guarantees a high turnover rate, which is even more costly than poor customer retention levels.