A company with a strong HR brand spends 50% less on finding qualified specialists than a firm without one. Let’s see what an employer brand is and how to build one, even if you have a small staff and budgets.
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An HR brand helps attract and retain people while reducing search costs and communicating brand values to job seekers.
The key difference between a brand and an HR brand is the audience. A brand involves positioning a company for customers, while an HR brand is positioned for employees and job seekers.
HR branding originally originated in large companies, like Netflix or a world-famous online casino, but over the last five to seven years it has been successfully implemented by small and medium-sized businesses. Small companies build and use HR branding in a different way than large companies. They often emphasize separate HR branding directions and proceed from a limited budget. For example, time off without sick leave in case of ill health is also about taking care of people and strengthening the employer’s brand.
Here’s what to do if you want to develop the employer brand in your company and keep within small budgets.
Focus on the company’s key benefits. Don’t try to talk about everything at once. Identify the key benefits that set you apart from others and talk about them. These benefits can be anything that strengthens the brand, from company image to working conditions, culture and team atmosphere.
Keep every employee more closely connected to the product. Anyone who joins a small team is connected to the product in one way or another. It’s important for each employee to understand what the company does and what their role is in that process.
Take on the role of HR branding specialist. Smaller companies can’t afford a dedicated HR branding specialist, but they are successfully practicing combining this role with others.
To create a recognizable image of the company, work not only with current employees but also with those who can become them. Here are tools to help you do that.
Your main task is to make your employees brand ambassadors, so that they tell you how cool your company is and recommend it to their friends. To do this, use a referral system.
You can come up with a system of bonuses for recommendations of cool specialists. For example, give $100 to employees for each friend who joined your company.
Another tool to help build relationships with employees is your merchandise. One small badge immediately differentiates people into “us” and “them” and unites the team with each other.
Experiment with tools to choose the ones that work for your company. Corporate events, team building, and internal communication formats should be tried.
The second part of the HR brand is communicating outward. You articulate what your company is good at and tell potential candidates about it.
For example, you are in the mobile app development business. You can post a form on your website for incoming applications, even if there are no job openings right now. This will help you gather a base of people with similar values and the right skills. When a new project comes up and there is an urgent need to hire a new IT person for the team, you will primarily work with incoming applications, rather than posting jobs on websites and job search chat ads.
To start building your HR brand, research your target audience, decide what your message is, and decide how you’re going to communicate it.
Building an HR brand is an ongoing process that cannot be limited in time. Be prepared that you will have to engage in HR branding throughout your business journey, summarizing interim results and defining new goals.
To make it easier, imagine that your company is a character. Think of who he is, how old he is, what makes him different, how he communicates. This will make it easier to communicate, such as writing posts for Instagram. Speaking on behalf of a specific character, you will speak to the audience in a unified style.
Understand who you are looking for: what kind of specialists they are, from what field, with what experience, and so on. Talk to the team – this will help you draw up a portrait of the ideal candidate and define a set of his or her key competencies. Study your competitors to understand what people value most in similar companies.
All this will highlight the key messages that you will voice, for example, at interviews.
Consider whether your existing design or logo matches the messages you will be communicating.
You may end up with a guideline that you will use to guide your visual communication. For example, putting your logo on print media and making illustrations for your corporate blog.
Check verbal communication elements, such as slogans, video text, press releases, website content, and promotional messages. Established verbal communication standards are usually documented in a document called the Tone of Voice.
If you have a small company, don’t spread out across multiple channels, but focus on one or a few. This channel should be organic in terms of tone of communication and audience, and should not require a huge effort or monetary investment.
Once a channel is chosen, think about content. Many companies make the typical mistake of talking about one thing at a time. For example, only about business. In this case, it’s unclear who we are writing for: job seekers or employees. Try to create a 360 picture by talking about the company from the inside, people, product, advantages over competitors.
Take a closer look at the employees. Maybe someone is willing and ready to take over communication.