Employer Branding — more than just a Buzzword

Naama Zalzman posted on 13 Jan 2020

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Is it just me, or has ‘Employer Branding’ lately become a common buzzword in the tech ecosystem?

With today’s fight for talent across all sectors in tech, it is clearly important. But is it reachable for young startups lacking the resources that established startups and large companies have? Is it possible to create a strong and vibrant Employer Branding strategy on a budget?

I spoke to dozens of executives and companies about this and found Miri Bar Nathan to be one of the top experts in this. Miri leads the Employer Branding field in Taboola, and built the company’s employer branding from scratch.

She began her role in 2016 as a part-time job, and today she’s in charge of Taboola’s Global Employer Branding and Internal Communications. After a short conversation, I invited her to meet Vertex’s HR Club, in order to learn from her experience. I also was happy to host her in our new podcast series, a part of ‘Od Podcast for startups.

Miri has a unique point of view that has come from a pure marketing background and seeing the ‘recruiting funnel’ through the eyes of one. In her session, she compared the process of selling your organization to a potential candidate to the process of selling your product to a potential client.

This post is based on the session with Miri, and it’s a great opportunity to thank her for coming, sharing her knowledge with us, and allowing us to publish key insights so other companies can enjoy it as well.

So what is Employer Branding all about?

Is it your new cool recruitment video? Your new SWAG? Or maybe it’s a “Meet the Team” Instagram campaign you’re about to launch?

According to Miri, the right answer is ‘none of the above’.

Since branding is related to marketing, Employee Branding is basically like any other marketing strategy you need to plan and execute inside your company. It’s the whole customer journey any potential candidate needs to go through from the moment they first hear about your company, all the way into the recruitment process, and even includes their experience of leaving the company for one reason or another.

Or in the words of Jeff Bezos: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.

A step by step tutorial on how to build your company’s Employer Branding:

1. Treat it like any other marketing campaign your company is working on

2. Define your campaign goals, focus and messaging

3. Create your own EVP (Employee Value Proposition):

EVP is a combination of “What your talent wants” and “What your company wants”. Your EVP can be related to your tech, DNA, flexible working hours, financial compensation, career development and more.

Examples of EVP Statements

  • “Do cool things that matter.” — Google
  • “We’re Shopify. Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone — but we’re not the workplace for everyone. We thrive on change, operate on trust, and leverage the diverse perspectives of people on our team in everything we do. We solve problems at a rapid pace. In short, we get shit done.” — Shopify
  • “We lead. We invent. We deliver. We use the power of sport to move the world.” — Nike

4. Define your ‘target market’ (data scientists \ developers \ engineers etc…), the number of employees you wish to recruit. Remember that Employer Branding is an ‘always on’ campaign, especially since the “Sales Cycle” is long and you need to be ready to see the ROI after a while.

5. Map the most relevant marketing and reach-out channels for your target market.

Campaign Measurements

Any recruitment cycle can take a long time. Coupled with the fact that recruitment is a very ‘feeling’ oriented process (both employers and employees need to *feel* it’s a match), there are usually many people involved in the process and it’s not always as smooth as we want it to be. This is why measuring your campaign is necessary. Here are two small examples Miri used to show how we can measure our HR process:

  1. Any online activity or post needs to have its engagement level measured (Facebook clicks, blog post entries, etc…). We need to know how many Likes and daily visits our FB page has before and after launching a campaign. Although this sounds obvious, you’ll be surprised to hear how many companies don’t actually track the metrics on their social media and website accounts.
  2. Any offline activity also needs to be translated to metrics — keeping a Lead Generation list from an organizing a meetup, calculating your attendees’ MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) and measuring the conversion rate of the meetup — if 100 people showed up, how many are relevant candidates? How many applied? And eventually, how many became employees? If your MQL is high it means you invested in the right place for the right audience.

The bottom line is that you need to treat your HR processes as similar as possible to any other marketing and client-focused process. It needs to be authentic and to represent the company’s messaging and DNA.

Employees today are extremely sophisticated. They read reviews, talk to friends of friends over LinkedIn, check stats and information on Glassdoor and more. It’s impossible to fake it when recruiting a new employee and it can also attract the wrong people in which will result in a bad fit and ultimately high employee turnover.

So it’s not about the coolest video, the most colorful Instagram account or the funniest FB post — it’s just about being unique, and living up to the message you deliver to your future and current employees.

Originally published in Medium

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