Your organization is under a microscope. Between social media and every other internet outlet, everything your organization does is met with a judge, jury, and… well, judgement.
The internet is the first place potential candidates, customers, and future business partners look for information. And that’s why employer branding is so important.
A good employer brand allows organizations to recruit top talent and is key to maintaining a competitive advantage. On the other hand, a tarnished brand can cost you big. Like customer branding, it begins before potential employees ever interact with you, and should be consistent throughout your relationship.
While marketing departments everywhere understand that, human resource departments and leaders should take a lesson. Often new hires are sold on company values and things they hear in an interview, but once inside the organization reality sets in. The brand they bought into doesn’t exist.
Uber is a good example. You may remember the Susan Fowler blog of 2017, where she blew the whistle on their culture of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. More recently, when the pandemic hit Uber laid off 3,500 employees on a Zoom call that lasted a little over three and half minutes. However, I’m pretty sure they told new hires they cared about their success.
Since then, employees have been bashing the company and have been claiming that Uber doesn’t care about its workers at all… not too inviting for people on a job hunt.
I started using Lyft in my travels after the Fowler debacle, and have since found them to be a good example of both customer and employer branding. While Uber was laying people off, Lyft was launching its LyftUp program to “promote equity and economic opportunities for communities of color” during this year’s #BLM movement. They’ve also sent great examples of crisis communication all year long, often outlining how they will keep drivers safe.
I’ve been on Lyft’s side for awhile now and this year has further solidified my loyalty. I’m a great example of how employer branding can lend itself to customer branding, in addition to attracting and keeping top talent.
So here’s the million dollar question: How did your employer brand fare this year?
Let’s reflect together.
How did you respond to critical events that occurred this year? Even in challenging times it’s vital that organizations treat employees with dignity and respect. Some organizations really hit the nail on the head, while others communicated that employees were just line items on a spreadsheet. How did you respond to COVID and #BLM, and what messages did your responses send to your workforce?
What did recruiting look like this year? In other words, what intentional steps did you take to attract top talent? Did you use job advertisements that were inviting and spoke to your real culture? Did you interview people with safety in mind?
Do you have a strong understanding of what sets you apart from other organizations? Why would candidates choose you over others? When it comes to attracting top talent, organizations must find ways to stand out. This could be through creative marketing, employee testimonials, community efforts – the list is seriously endless. A good place to start is to develop an employee value proposition and use it to guide your branding efforts.
Did you communicate about your brand all year long? Marketing and sales people know it requires a lot of messaging to keep customers reminded of how amazing you are. Did you follow their lead? Are you sending messages that remind your employees about the great benefits you offer, the flexible work time, and your other awesome perks?
Meet with your team and talk through the answers to these questions. You’ll see your strengths and opportunities for improvement begin to emerge as you discuss – then you can work to set the tone for 2021.
Catherine and The Civility Partners Team
P.S. We’re hosting a webinar on how to shape your employer brand and employee experience in February 2021. Check it out here!
Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.
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