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The next frontier in the war for Canada’s talent


The next frontier in the war for Canada’s talenA positive and successful employer brand leads to greater retention and recruitment of top-notch employees and results in overall higher company productivity.

Now let’s talk about the next step…
It’s about becoming the Tide or Crest or Coke of employment. Example — you’re out of detergent. You go to the store and stare at hundreds of options, but one pulls at you on an emotional level. The good, tried, tested, and true, the one mom used, the logo and colours jump out at you…price isn’t an issue because you have faith in it — you reach up and choose the familiar, the trusted. That’s what good advertising is all about — creating an emotional connection and assuring loyalty.

It’s personal. More than just a detergent, it’s an old friend of the family. Understanding that it’s not just up to Employee Relations Specialists, but the job of the whole
HR department, to message and market your company as a top employer is crucial. Just like a marketing department, all HR professionals, from recruitment to management, are in charge of ensuring the employer brand is relevant, unique to you, consistent, understood, and promoted by the whole company, particularly the front line, when it comes to recruitment.

Though your marketing/communications departments can help you with general branding rules and regulations, human resources is the department best positioned to communicate your “human brand”. Every contact you have with potential employees leaves an impression of “who” your company or organization is that is as important as your service or product reputation.

Remember that you must make a memorable, meaningful, and emotional connection with your candidate. More than ever, HR or employee marketing must work to build a sustainable, favourable experience with your company, whether or not your “clients” ultimately become employees.

Creating employer brand loyalty
Advertising is not specifically about what you say or how you say it — it’s how you make your target FEEL. Think about your own life — the people you enjoy, the movies and books that have intrigued you, and the advertisements you have noticed — you may not recall the exact characters or dialogue or even the story line — but you will remember whether you liked it or not. You will remember how it made you feel.

Similarly, you must work to build positive connections through your employee communications. Communication of a defined, consistent organizational sensibility gives employees a sense of the collective objective and core values toward building employer brand loyalty, increasing employee retention, and ideally, simplifying recruitment.

Utilizing the services of an agency with recruitment advertising and marketing expertise is a commendable start. It says that you recognize the nuances and specialties of employee marketing and speaks volumes to your commitment to ensuring the most effective and efficient path to positioning you as an employer-of-choice with a strong and relevant employer brand image.

Here we grow again!

Long-gone are the days of placing a simple, impersonal ad in the career pages and raking in the resumes. Sure, you’ll still get responses, but it’s not about quantity and volume — only amateurs will view that as a successful recruit and money well-spent. A professional knows that it’s not “how many”, it’s “who”. It’s about QUALITY. To focus on the bottom line and what’s cheapest is futile — a band-aid solution with no lasting effects or grand design.

When considering the cost of a passive employment brand and its effect on ROI, it is short-sighted to ignore the result — a shallow talent pool and the risk of organizational malaise. A cost-per-hire mentality doesn’t make sense unless the hire is a top-notch candidate and that’s hard to price.

Successful companies understand that employer branding requires a campaign mentality, comparable to general advertising and marketing initiatives. Messaging to employees and candidates must be well thought-out, consistent, meaningful, relevant, and memorable. To achieve this, external and creative strategies need to be two-fold…

1.    long-term — a plan for building employment market awareness and relevance through image campaigns and materials
2.    short-term — a plan for filling immediate needs through well-researched, targeted, and integrated media mixes, from print to online to broadcast, befitting the requirements and overall, long-term objectives

Creating employer brand loyalty is an investment in your future.

If you aren’t prepared to invest in your employer image, then be prepared to struggle — just like any other product or service with a weak brand image and loyalty. Due to booming economies and globalization challenged by an aging population, a sparse generation following it, and the one after that in need of constant technological stimulation, change, and excitement, we are entering an era where not only has the world of recruitment advertising and marketing become a refined and specialized industry unto itself, but talent is on the decline while the need for talent is on the rise. The work world is changing. Mentalities about work ethics are changing. You may not like or understand it — but it’s happening.

As marketers and advertisers, we are available to assist you in forming the appropriate communications and messaging to attract your ideal target, but it’s up to you to bring the message within and steward your brand internally. Talk to your people, explore the strengths of your competitors and successful top employers, and work to redeploy management as cultural ambassadors to effect change. The catch (and there always is one) is that whatever core message you communicate as the essence of your employer brand must be absolutely true.

We’ve all fallen for a product based on great advertising and been greatly disappointed when it didn’t own up to its claims. Products like that don’t last long and neither do the reputations of like employers. Nearly all companies have a great, true story to tell and it serves as a communicating ambassador and works internally to unite your people around a common idea. The very best HR professionals are finding these stories and getting them out there.

Reprinted with permission from Tamm Communications

Related to employer branding
•    Employee branding
•    Company culture as a recruiting technique
•    Employer branding the Web 2.0 way


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