How Branding Helps You Attract Top Talent

The most important thing your company can do to make a lasting impression is inspire people: connect with them on an emotional level, convince them you have values they share, and prove to them that you’re a force for good in the world.

Yes, all this is true for your customers. But more and more it’s also true for the people that you hope will join your team. In an increasingly competitive talent market, you have to work harder than ever to win them over and differentiate yourself from the often crowded landscape.

Need proof? Just talk to the head of your Human Resources or Talent Acquisition department. Recent studies show that 86% of HR professionals believe recruiting has become more like marketing over the past several years. Part of their job (and our job) these days is convincing applicants that your company is a place where they want to work.

Job applicants are doing a lot of research about your company before they send in their resume. The first place they are going to look is your website or your LinkedIn. If it doesn’t make it clear what your company’s values are and how you are a force for positive change in the world, they are going to wonder why they should come to work for you in the first place.

This is especially true for top talent. In today’s labor market, where there are 10 million job openings and not nearly enough skilled professionals actively looking for work, those whose background and experience are in high demand have a choice where they work. They want to know that you are focused on things like diversity and inclusion, mental health, and work life balance, and that you foster an environment that allows people to grow in their careers.

I’ve thought about the topic over the past several months as we at JBC took a long look at our own corporate branding. Over the years we developed various sub-brands, such as JBCStyle, JBCconnect, JBCPlatform, and JBC|Reach, to reflect our growing expertise in a variety of disciplines. But today, JBC is a leader in so many industries that our original approach no longer made sense. That’s why this year we decided to roll up our brands under a unified brand and a singular voice.

At the same time, we paid particular attention to the message we were sending out about our agency to our clients and candidates. We aren’t the type of company that relies on algorithms to find the right person for a job. We use technology as a resource, not a replacement for real conversations. Our new website reflects this philosophy from the first page where we promise: “With people, it’s personal.”

From an internal recruiting standpoint, throughout the website we made it clear that we’re a company that promotes individuality, creativity, and growth among our employees, which is why so many members of our team have been with us for most of their careers.  Our new website is transparent in the fact that our employees' mental and physical health cannot be sacrificed, which is highlighted within our benefits and perks.

I learned a lot during our rebranding process but there were several things that really resonated with me during this past year of work to launch

Reputation is important. Overall, 84% of jobseekers believe that a potential employer’s reputation is important. When you break it down by gender, an employer’s reputation is top of mind for 86% of women and 67% of men. If you want to attract the best employees, especially women, pay attention to how you are perceived. Take time to encourage your employees to post honest reviews for you on sites and resources like Glassdoor and Yelp and address any negative reviews you might have. Encourage your HR and internal Talent Acquisition teams to publish their open jobs and include the positives of working for your company on their public postings. 

Money. You can’t throw money at the problem. A lot of companies are responding to difficulties in finding top talent by increasing the wages offered. But this isn’t always the most effective tactic and sooner or later as the hiring market slows down (and it will) this may come back to haunt you. For companies with challenged reputations, about half of jobseekers say they wouldn't accept a job with a company with a bad reputation, even if it came with a significant pay increase.

A bad reputation really costs you. Research shows that corporations are spending as much as $7.6 million in additional wages to make up for bad reputations. That means on average they are shelling out 10% more for every employee they hire. Over time, this is a huge drag on your bottom line.

Values. Want to know what job applicants are thinking about during an interview at your company? Kristi Hedges, a faculty member at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, addressed the topic in a recent article published in Harvard Business Review. She urged applicants to “flip the script” and ask probing questions about your company’s values.

If asked by applicants, are you able to articulate your company's values?  It's time to make sure your hiring managers are ready to answer questions like these. Better yet, have them discuss your company’s values every time they meet with a new applicant even before the question is asked.  I believe that addressing questions before they are asked is a hugely rewarding strategy in winning the talent race. Chances are your team has discussed your values many times, and even tucked them away somewhere on your website. It’s time to make sure they’re always front and center.   

Once you can articulate your company’s branding, get the word out. Ensure you start with internal education and that your employees mention it when they’re speaking about the company. Post articles about your values on LinkedIn and other networking sites, and talk about them on social media. (About 79% of all job seekers — and 86% of those in the first 10 years of their career — use social media to help find a job.) It will become an integral part of your narrative and start attracting the talent you need. 

P.S. Let’s keep the conversation going on social media! Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow JBC and Janou Pakter for the latest company news and insights. You can also find me on Twitter

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