Employer Branding Pt 2

Yes, six sigma coming to Google has got me down.
As I continue to research the subject of both Employer Branding and Value Proposition Management for facilitating an upcoming workshop on the subjects, I am fascinated by the amount of information put forth by supposed experts. Here’s an article I had earmarked to publish, written almost a year ago by esteemed Dr. Sullivan. In it, the two favorites: Southwest Airline and Google are cited as best case examples of Employer Brand Building. While the article touts long term branding benefits, it doesn’t speak to the impact of a negative economy, or increased availability of talent.
To my query last week on whether or not the Employer Value Proposition can change like a flavor of the month, I received this from my former colleague Mark Hornung (though I don’t know if he remembers me) at my former employer.

Absolutely not! The Employer Value Proposition consists of all the elements that comprise the relationship between employer and worker: rewards, the work itself, the opportunity to develop and grow, the people with whom you work, and the organization’s reputation. Those things are embedded in the organization and cannot change quickly.
And now, without further pontification, Dr. John’s article, condensed by me. Just wondering if it’s still going to be useful in Human Resources 2.009

Employment Branding: the Only Long-Term Recruiting Strategy

Almost every action and process in recruiting is designed for short-term gain. Despite talk about being strategic, most recruiters and recruiting managers alike respond only to requisitions, placing ads, visiting job boards, attending job fairs, and mining social networking sites in an effort to fill today’s job openings. There is lots of talk but little effort placed on building out truly long-term recruiting tools and strategies designed to impact the business. If all the talk were true, nearly every recruiting function on the planet would have dedicated resources to employment branding, the only long-term recruiting strategy that is designed to bring in a steady flow of high-quality applicants over a period of many years.

Employment branding stands alone as the only approach corporate recruiting managers can leverage to guarantee an end to their talent shortage problem. Unfortunately, most corporate recruiting managers spend less than 5% of their budgets on this powerful long-term solution. In direct contrast, firms that have taken the time to invest in building a great employment brand like Google and Southwest Airlines have not only dominated their industries, but they have also turned the common talent shortage problem into a more desirable talent “sorting” problem. If you’re tired of constantly fighting fires and of being continually bashed year in and year out by your managers for failing to produce a high volume of high-quality candidates, it’s time to shift your focus to the only solution that can reduce your job stress and make you a hero.

The Many Benefits of Employment Branding

I have found that the primary reason why corporate recruiting managers under appreciate and under utilize a corporate branding strategy is because they have done a poor job in making the business case for investing in their firm’s employment brand. You can’t make a compelling business case unless you first know the possible benefits of the branding strategy. Over the years, I’ve advised dozens of firms on building a compelling employment brand (including a Fortune #1 Best Place to Work winner) and, as a result, I’ve identified the many benefits that a successful employment-branding program can provide. When demonstrated, these benefits can help sway even the most cynical nonbelievers:

* A Long-Term Impact.
* An Increased Volume of Unsolicited Candidates.
* Higher Quality Candidates.
* Higher Offer-Acceptance Rates.
* Improved Employee-Retention Rates.
* Improved College Recruiting.
* A Stronger Corporate Culture.
* Decreased Corporate Negatives.
* Ammunition for Employees and Managers.
* Increased Manager Satisfaction.
* Increased Media Exposure.
* A Competitive Advantage.
* Increased Shareholder Value.
* Support for the Product Brand.
Additional Branding Benefits

Some additional benefits of an employment-branding program might include:

* Increased knowledge and competitive intelligence, as more employees from top competitors join your organization.
* The increased focus on excellence in people-management programs brought about by the branding effort will result in the continuous improvement of those practices.
* Getting talked about in the press reinforces the stories you have already spread to your employees.
* The increased notoriety might also have a positive side effect on the business by making it easier to attract strategic partners who are willing to link with your firm.
* Employment branding works not just for large corporations but also for smaller firms and for government agencies as well.
* A great employment brand makes it easier to attract top recruiters and branding experts.
* The high impact and ROI of the employment-branding program will help build HR’s image as a bottom-line contributor.

Final Thoughts

If you are part of recruiting management at an organization that has been facing continuous talent shortages, it’s time to get out of that rut and focus your resources on the areas that can have the highest business impact. Almost universally, that means shifting your recruiting talent, time, and budget towards the programs that will have the most impact, starting with employment branding (other high-impact programs include employer referrals, professional event recruiting, prioritizing jobs, bringing back key former employees (boomerangs), and making your corporate careers page compelling). Yes, I know it’s hard to find the time to step back from fighting fires but, at some point, you have to realize that you can’t just talk about being strategic. You have to act strategically by investing in the only long-term recruiting strategy that’s available.

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