Transparency. A key aspect of employer branding, but an aspect that is often forgotten because we’re so caught up with communicating only what’s good about working with our company.
We sat down with Dee Murphy at Jobbio’s HIGHER 2017 event. She is the ‘expert in residence’ at Jobbio, and heads up the employer branding and marketing divisions of the company.
She tells us all about the importance of transparency when it comes to building an authentic employer brand, and how Jobbio has leveraged transparency and employee advocacy to build a genuine culture.
Have a listen to the interview below, keep reading for a summary and be sure to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.
What’s your definition of employer branding?
Employer branding is, to me, understanding your values, your mission, and your culture. Then communicating that to people in the right way.
Without a doubt, you need to start by understanding who you are and what you’re about. The ‘Warts and All‘ version. So a truly strong employer brand isn’t about a marketing blurb. It’s gonna prove it’s efficient because, talent, in particular, have very strong bullshit filters.
So their gonna see right through marketing blurbs. So what you really want in those environments, or when you’re attracting those kinds of candidates, is to be talking about the truth about who you are and what you’re about. The problems that you are trying to solve and what it’s really like to work at the company. It’s understanding that first and foremost, and then channeling that out in the right.
How do you go about truly understanding what your employer brand is?
As soon as you can I would sit down and really mold that:
- Why is everybody at the company
- What do they feel they are there to do
- What problems are they working
- What challenges are they conquering in the industry
As you grow and as the company expands, your in a really promising position because you can actually run 360’s and get everybody in the company to give feedback on what they believe the mission is. Crowdsource it and understand why you got into what you’re doing. Go back to when you were sitting your mother’s bedroom when you have the key idea when you were planting the first seed. What is it about, what were you out to conquer and what were you out to change. As the company grows and chances, leverage the employes that you have to get their feedback on what it is they believe their doing, for the company, and then on the greater scaler get the content team to mold that together into a story and cement that story early. It can change and it can evolve, but know your story early on.
How can you activate your employer brand through content?
When I joined Jobbio we had a content platform, we had a blog, we had social and we were definitely leveraging them in the right way. The more I was working the companies that were our clients, I found they were also funneling an absolute shed led of money into marketing.
As I said previously, marketing does not really work these days if it’s too obvious. So what you should be doing is focusing on your employees as your number one ambassadors and getting them to tell your story on your behalf. From an authentic place, using their channels to their audience.Your focus should be your employees and leverage them in the right way.
What type of channels would you use?
The first thing to do is to remove the fear around speaking openly about your company warts and all and then encouraging them to use their social platform. If each member of your company has an audience of even 100 to up to 1000 people within their network. They have got all these social avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or networking events. So first you should sit down and say listen – let’s remove the fear of you talking about us. Find out what they love about the company, get them to identify it and encourage them to share that story. What I found most interesting is that it creates psychological buy-in, I don’t call it that, but its a well-known term of phrase. But psychological buy-in is a very valuable tool for you to use as an employer because if your employees are speaking super positively about who you are as a company and what their role is within that company, it creates an allegiance and loyalty to the company that may not exist if they weren’t talking as positively about it.
Actually it creates a sense of them wanting to stay and champion what you’re doing which is wonderful. If you are creating any video content, we often work with companies and do video content with them as part of their employer branding project. You should be involving employees who are fresh in the door because they’re coming in with new eyes and a ‘newbie gloss’, where they are getting a sense of a place for the first time which is a really interesting perspective. As well as including people who have been there for donkey years because they really know the bread and butter of what you do.
You should also target people who are worried or about to drop off, and get them to put out videos and blogs about your company, or social channels, because the interesting thing here is that if they start speaking positively about your company through their social channels, they may pivot and feel more inclined to stay with you for the long term. So when your thinking about putting out content, look to the people that you’re most nervous about. The ones that are a flight risk, and get them talking positively about you. Even when you’re prepping people to talk positively about, you can even see if they’re feeling a little uncertain and you can address the issues they’re having. Ask them if you were to meet someone randomly in the street, what would you genuinely say. Remove the fear factor from that, and actually, it will help you get to the grassroots of any issues that you’re experiencing. But then coach them around getting to a friendlier story about you and it will create a strong sense of psychological buy-in. It renews their sense of loyalty.
What are some of the mistakes you’ve seen companies make?
I see it often. We work with a shed ton of companies on building out their employer brand. The ones that put the wrong person in the hot seat, so they go straight to the super senior management like CEO level of the company or their marketing people are often the ones that they funnel out. So I find that’s a really rocky error because their not the relatable characters perspective talent want to hear from.
Talent wants to know:
- Who is the person that I’ll be sitting next to every day of my life, working at grassroots level
- What do they have to say about the company?
It’s about getting the right people to start telling your story. Too many companies think that the message comes from the top.
The other major mistake is being inauthentic, so you can really sense somebody is talking about your company or about your job but you’re not really feeling what you’re saying. It comes across in your body language, your tone of voice and your turn of phrase. So finding someone who will either genuinely wax lyrical about who you are or allowing the ones that have two sides of the story to tell, and don’t be afraid of that because it will attract the right people for the right reasons because people understand what problems the company is having and they will want to come in and help solve them.
The million euro question – how do you calculate ROI?
That’s such a tough one because on one level, employer branding is quite subjective and it actually takes a long time for you to reap the reward of your employer branding efforts.
I think that great markers would be if you’re putting out strong messages about your company, and your start really ramping out your employer branding and content game, are you seeing an increased level of applicants for roles? Are you seeing a higher level of engagement in general with your brand?
For example, if you’re active on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And your proactive taking about your company, what’s the public engagement on that like?
- Is it positive? Is it negative?
- Is it increasing? Is it decreasing?
- Are you getting more likes?
- Are you getting more comments on what you’re doing?
All of that fundamentally is an ROI of some description, because your getting traction and getting your brand out there into the ether but everything should come back to the retention of employees and making the right hires.
So if your putting out the story of who you are what your about, are you attracting applicants that are a better fit and are they staying for the long haul because their coming into roles where they understand the truth of what your about as opposed to a vision that isn’t actually what it seems from the outside.
That’s a real indicator – people stay in companies when they know what they’ve got themselves into is a reality and people leave really quickly if they believe what they’ve been sold is a dummy. Retention is always key, and even doing a 3-month or 6-month health check to understand if they feel like if they have been sold a dummy or if they feel like they are doing the job that they set out to do. Have we done a good job at telling what we are about and explaining what you were in for?
What are your top 3 tips for employer brand managers?
- Leverage employees at the grassroots level. Stay away from the top senior management so that you get the most authentic story.
- Be warts and all, talk about the positives but also talk about the negatives.
- Leverage content channels and leverage your employees to funnel out through their networks because a lof it is free and they sit much more comfortably with talent because talent feels it is far more authentic as it comes from a talent they trust and relate with.
What is the future of employer branding?
Even up to a year ago, when I joined Jobbio, I was already in tune with what employer branding was about. But when I joined the company, it wasn’t the hot topic in the market and that was only a year ago. Today everybody is in tune with the topic and getting their heads around it.
The future of employer branding is a worldwide acceptance that it is important so, therefore, a lot more transparent communication through multiple media outlets.
I also think that video, interviewing and video content is going to be imperative in that companies are really going to invest in creating really strong video collateral to attract the right talent.
Connect with Dee on Twitter.