How Large, Global Brands Challenge Assumptions with Employer Branding

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft: these are large, global companies that don’t have any trouble recruiting top tech talent because they’re, well, extremely well-known tech companies. However, as digital transformation has rapidly accelerated in the wake of 2020, everybody is looking to attract tech talent, including global brands you might not necessarily associate with technology. These organizations face a challenge: how do you get a potential hire to see you as an attractive landing destination when they might not have ever realized you were a possibility for them?

The Challenges of Having a Household Name

Lisa MacNeill, Global Employer Branding Manager at L’Oréal, faces this problem frequently when talking to potential candidates. The biggest misconception she runs into is the belief that you need to be super obsessed with beauty to work at L’Oréal. Instead, MacNeill notes, “What matters to us is that you’re innovative and creative and willing to learn about the product.”

While there are many great things about doing employer branding for the largest cosmetics and beauty company in the world, the downside of being a household name is that people have already made up their minds about you. Talent may not even have you on their radar because they don’t believe that you could be a place they could work.

Freedom to Go Beyond

Another common misconception, according to MacNeill, is that, “Because we’re such a large company (which of course has its benefits), people are under the assumption that we operate like a large company.” There’s actually not a lot of red tape at L’Oréal—they value autonomy, curiosity, and an “entrepreneurial mindset.”

Mayu Iwasaki, Global Product Manager for Candidate Experience and Employer Reputation, explains what that was like from her own experience: “When I first got assigned to this role, it never existed. They said, ‘You’re the CEO of this topic and ask for resources if you need them.’” As she did research and saw what candidate experience and employer reputation work could do for their brand, she was able to make the case to leadership and get the resources she needed.

For Iwasaki, these values are summed up in their global employer branding slogan: “Freedom to Go Beyond.” It suggests both the autonomy that Iwasaki and MacNeill have experienced, and the idea that there may be more to working at L’Oréal than an obsession with beauty. L’Oréal’s careers page describes the organization as the “#1 beauty tech company,” and highlights what #LifeAtLOreal is really like—something Iwasaki and MacNeill work on hand-in-hand in their roles in candidate experience and employer branding.

Measuring Shifts in Attitude

When you’re trying to make these kinds of shifts in public perception, it’s important to have a consistent method for how to measure your success. To help get an idea of what impact their employer branding strategy is having on talent, L’Oréal turns to Link Humans and the Employer Brand Index. It delivers the quantitative, data-driven insights they need, while also giving important qualitative information.

The Employer Brand Index, Iwasaki says, “helps us to understand our strengths and our areas of improvement to see how we can tune or amplify the messages we would like to convey to our candidates and consumers.” It’s like a health checkup on how you’re being perceived, and the quarterly reports mean they get bite-sized learnings with a data-driven approach that helps them make adjustments mid-stream.

“We don’t have the privilege, as an employer, to pick and choose the candidates that we want,” MacNeill says, “that’s no longer the way that talent acquisition works. In order for them to choose us, they need to know that we’re a company to choose and why they’re choosing us.”

To follow Mayu Iwasaki’s and Lisa MacNeill’s work in employer brand and candidate experience, connect with them on LinkedIn. To measure your employer brand, you can use the Employer Brand Index. The EBI uses 16 key attributes that measure how you compare with others in your industry.


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