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​Why CEOs Need to Prioritize their Employer Brand

​Why CEOs Need to Prioritize their Employer Brand

Employer brand may seem like the latest trend in a world of social media and high-tech recruiting practices. But it's not. Experts say it has been a game changer since the 1990s and will be a dominant force in your recruiting strategies in the future. So what does this ominous prediction mean for you, the CEO, human resources professional, or startup founder? The prioritization of your branding is crucial to your ability to hire and retain top-notch performers.

[Related: How to Enhance Your Personal Brand: A Toolkit for Female Leaders]

Concerns about a skills gap and a low unemployment rate of 4.9 percent as of June 2016 have contributed to the "movement." With job candidates having more employment opportunities, employers have to up the ante with more than just competitive salaries and benefits packages.

What is Employer Branding?

Employer brand can be synonymous with talent management or talent brand and is used to describe your organization's reputation as an employer. Employer branding is your company’s philosophy that resonates with and communicates to all of your employees. It’s your commitment and promise. Branding is an important part of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and includes your company's mission statement, values, objectives and culture. It has a personality that speaks the same message to all key stakeholders. Basically, a brand focused on the welfare of your employees communicates one thing: Your company is a great place to work.

Now; why is it important?

Candidate Experience

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and the quality and loyalty of employees have become a theme of campaigns. From receptionist to senior executive, every employee should be an active participant in your talent brand. According to LinkedIn's Talent Trends 2014 report, 56 percent of 18,000 respondents said "the company's reputation as a great place to work" influenced their decision to apply for a job. However, less than 60 percent of employers say they have a talent brand strategy.

Employee Retention and Engagement

The right kind of brand directly affects recruitment of employees, fosters engagement, and improves retention. According to Career Arc, a solid talent brand reduces the rate of early departures of "40 percent of new hires." They are also less likely to quit after six months .

[Related: Millennials Care About the Heartbeat of Your Company]

Higher Profits

"Organizations that were rated 'best employers to work' for achieved profit rates four times greater than other companies," according to Pendragon. LinkedIn reports that companies with solid, strong, positive talent brands see a 43% decrease in cost per hire as well as a 36% higher stock price. Remember, your talent brand is a major part of your overall corporate brand. When customers decide to buy your product or service, they will look for reviews, rankings, competitor's products, industry trends, etc. Perception is reality. Glassdoor has made companies more accountable for the employer brand and employees are utilizing the resource.

[Related: Lead with Honesty: How Investing in Employees Yields Dividends]

Who is Responsible for Branding?

HR is transitioning from the department that sources talent, screens candidates and facilitates the on-boarding process to a group that is responsible for promoting the brand to star candidates. HR professionals are handling the customer experience because the first customer starts with the candidate. The problem with this approach is that HR professionals are good at managing compliance and regulatory issues. They aren’t marketers and branding is really a marketing function. So where should ownership lie? Usually your marketing departments are primarily tasked with marketing a function or service and don’t perceive their role in employer branding as significant. Marketing budgets are often absent of employer branding line items and companies struggle with the ownership of the initiative. Because branding is expected to be at the forefront of your company's overall strategy, as CEO, you should focus your efforts toward creating a stronger brand by communicating an effective message to all levels of your staff. Your employer branding needs to be a collaboration of efforts with your HR and Marketing departments and then communicated to your entire organization.

Exemplary Brand Models

So who’s doing it right?

Google has a 96 percent approval rating from workers, and here is why: Google allows engineers 10 percent of their time to create and experiment on anything they’d like which really plays strong to those who need time to create and build upon innovative ideas. Did you know that Google donates $50 for every five hours an employee volunteers? Should a U.S. Google employee die while working for Google, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. For more insight check out Google’s Employer Brand- Is it Right for You?

Quicken Loans is America's No. 1 online retail mortgage lending company for a reason. With 150,000 employees located in over 10 states who enjoy an impressive benefits package, Fortune named it "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2016.

Sales Force has proven its dedication to not only its employees, but also to local organizations. They donated $200 million to a children's hospital.

NetSuite, a cloud service company, is noteworthy because of its strong ties to local and global charities. Employee-based projects include marathons that sponsor the building of classrooms in the Philippines.

To improve your employer brand, be sure to get to the truth and understand what your employees think now and what’s important to them. How does the public currently rate your employer brand? Begin by embracing your marketing and human resources departments. Ultimately, be sure your employer brand strategy includes every employee that will become your brand advocates.

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Tricia Lucas, Co-Founder of Lucas Select has over 25 years of demonstrated success in recruiting, marketing communications, social media, technical sales, business development, and project management. Tricia has been involved in 9 start up technology companies as well as sales and marketing roles at IBM, QMS-Minolta, SAS, and most recently Lucas Select, a sales and IT recruiting and consulting company to help organizations recruit more efficiently by focusing on: Recruiting Efficiencies, Employer Branding, and Social Media.


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