Jason Lauritsen was one of the facilitators at last week’s HRevolution, and I was lucky enough to catch up with him after his session on employer branding. He is vice president of human resources for an 800 employee regional Midwestern bank, as well as one-half of the professional speaking team, Talent Anarchy. You can contact Jason by e-mail at Jason.lauritsen (at) ubt.com or find him on Twitter via @jasonlauritsen.
First, a question for the newbies: What is “employer branding” exactly?
Employer branding, by my definition, is the process of aligning the behaviors of current employees (culture) and the perceptions of potential employees (recruitment) to support the success of the corporate brand. If we think of the corporate brand as the promise that the company makes to its customers, then it’s critically important that the people side of the business be designed to make good on that promise. As an example, if you ran a company that sold retail health supplements, it’s probably important that your culture promote employee health. How many of us would feel good about buying health supplements from a retail clerk who was in obvious poor shape and clearly didn’t care about his health? I’d take my business elsewhere, even though that store may very well sell the best health supplements in the world. That’s the power and importance of employer brand.
Who should handle this? HR? Marketing? Somebody else?
When we talk about employer brand, what we are really talking about is culture. And, any effective HR team is actively architecting, shaping and nurturing the organization’s culture. However, it has to be done in lockstep with the marketing or branding team, because that linkage and alignment is critical. HR leads the process but it is in close collaboration with marketing/branding with required executive leadership support since they ultimately set the tone through their actions.
What is the most common mistake you see companies make in developing their “employer brand”?
All too often, an ambitious recruitment function will take on an employer branding initiative that is really just a veiled project to create a snazzy new recruitment campaign with a new website and ad designs. This isn’t employer branding, it’s recruitment advertising. And, it can be really damaging if the campaign doesn’t represent an authentic picture of life as an employee at the company. That’s what they call bait and switch in the marketing world, and it leads to employee turnover — lots of it. The process of employer branding is hard work, but it’s worth it. It’s about authentic alignment throughout the organization so that every behavior of every employee makes good on the promise of the corporate brand to its customers. Done right, it leads to happy employees and happy customers. That’s a pretty good formula for a successful business.
Image credit, 3DStock, via iStock