How to Create an Employer Brand to Hire Better People and Retain Your Best Employees

A brand is a promise. Usually we think of a company brand as the promise made to their customers. For example, Geico promises that “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on your car insurance.” BMW promises to deliver “the world’s ultimate driving machine.”

To have a successful business, you need to deliver on your brand promise every day to every customers.

If you have employees who are entrusted with delivering on your brand promise, do they personify your brand? Do they even know what your brand promise is?

The key to delivering a brand promise is to have the right employees in the right seats with the right training and tools to make it happen, hour after hour, day in and day out, month after month. That’s the essence of an employee brand.

You need to hire the best people and make sure they truly understand the brand, and they feel engaged and empowered to deliver on the brand promise.

Here are some things to think about in order to engage your employees to deliver on your brand promise:

  • Do you have a written brand story, or brand manifesto, that is shared on your website and summarized in all of your help wanted ads, so people can decide whether or not to apply to work for you based on whether they believe in your brand promise?
  • If you look at the people who stay with your company and succeed in delivering your brand promise, what attitudes, behaviors and motivators do they possess?
  • What attracts new employees to work for your company?
  • What are the attitudes, behaviors and motivators of your most successful employees, those that you might call your superstars?

The most successful companies have not only a good understanding of their own brand, but they tie their hiring and training processes to their brand.

I would suggest that you answer these questions in order to establish an employer brand:

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of the brand, and to describe the brand promise you make to customers and the brand promise you make to customers and employees.
  • Determine whether you have the right employees in the right seats to deliver your brand promise to your customers. Do you have the right people? Do you need to reorganize your people to deliver on the promise every day?
  • Do you communicate with the same language and brand “look and feel” across all your platforms, including your website, help-wanted ads, posters, brochures, and training materials in order to reinforce the same messages?
  • Are the people conducting your interviews trained in the specific brand language so they can describe what makes your company unique and special when they are speaking with prospective employees?
  • Do you have a recruitment, selection and hiring strategy to assure you are hiring and promoting the right people to the right positions right now?
  • Are you coaching and training your employees on an ongoing basis to be sure they have what it takes to deliver on your brand promise?
  • Do you have a high level of employee turnover, which might indicate that your employees feel disengaged? If so, what is causing them to feel that way?

Once you have answered these questions, you can set about writing your brand manifesto, and creating a style guide to be sure that all elements of your brand are presented consistently in all your materials.

As business owners, we are taught to focus on our customers. Mantras such as “The customer comes first,” or “The customer is always right.”

Yet, perhaps we need to focus as much on the people who are delivering our brand promise to those customers…our employees. If we start to think of our employees as customers, and we seek to better understand who our employees are and which employees will excel in delivering our brand promise, we will be better equipped to deliver on our brand promise to your customers.

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