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Better Branding means Better Recruits

As a student, you are constantly trying to determine what to do after graduation. Through your academics and extracurriculars, you become aware of what you are interested in and passionate about. You take tests, attend seminars and network as much possible.

But inside, there is the one.  

The one company that you know you would love to work for. 

The one that aligns with your values and beliefs. 

At least, that is what they have told you.

Through employer branding, many companies have told you about themselves without you even being aware. They have shaped their image to make themselves more attractive to their targeted audience: You.

Today, the recruitment process is more consumer-driven than ever before. The process of recruiting talent has become more and more difficult as the job market diversifies and opportunities widen. Recruitment is one of the most complex activities that an employer faces. It involves attracting and identifying the potential employees for a company with the goal of finding a sufficient number of qualified prospects.  It is not the responsibility for companies not to simply market to potential applicants, but to instead brand themselves as a preferred employer to these prospects. 

Employer branding is the process of forming a long term strategy for a company’s image and to manage the awareness and perception of the company from external people. However, one of the biggest dilemmas that companies face is finding employees who identify and belief in their employer’s brand. Employer branding will involve identifying the unique employment experience that a company can offer by considering the totality of tangible and intangible features that a particular organization can offer to its employees. 

Of course, we see the most successful branding come from the most successful companies.  Through having a positive image and positive reputation, employers encourage prospects to identify with the organization. If the brand is strong enough, people will side with the company over countering views.  Harvard Business Review recently noted the value of employer branding in their article CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding. HBR discusses the growing concern of recruitment for CEOS. Surveys state that we are in the largest talent shortage since 2007, which leads many CEOs concerned with finding the best people. 

The answer? Instead of finding the top graduates or going to schools to recruit, do the opposite. Companies should focus on their faults first, and work towards strengthening their personal brand.  This change of ideology is fuelled by decades of trends in the consumer market. Finding talent involves focusing on employer branding the same way as corporate and consumer branding as people trust a company based on what their employees say. Better branding secures long-term hiring needs, builds a global reputation but places the primary responsibility for branding with the CEO or marketing instead of HR.

Of course, a massive impact on employer branding is by social media. With so many young people online, this is the prime pathway for pitching a company’s brand and the easiest way for people to connect.  Social media shows companies customer service and communication skills but also provides a platform for companies to sell their own version of the story. As it is a form of owned media, they can exhibit total control.  Ultimately, social media can relate to the recruitment cycle through this. Studies link happy employees to happy customers as companies choose to align their employee and consumer brand strategies

So how can you brand yourself better? Companies must first develop an Employee Value Proposition. An EVP is a collection of the talent a company needs to exist to support the corporate value proposition. Using this, companies can progress their current social media streams in order to share their EVP with external people. There must be an ongoing evaluation of your company’s brand awareness and reputation, through survey research among your key external target audiences. This audience must include your consumers and your recruitment prospects.  

Furthermore, if you are depending on various departments to work together to improve your employee branding, you must ensure that every function within the organization understands the value of a strong brand to the success of the business. Current employees must understand their important role in sustaining a consistent brand experience and reputation for the company. This sense of loyalty and ownership is valuable in any company, but especially when your employees are your ambassadors and influencers. 

Happy employees are the key to a successful employee branding program though. Without them, recruitment becomes impossible. Companies still have a long way to go about communicating authentically about the employee experience. So often, the expectations of a job or company as a whole are not matched by reality.  How to Strengthen Your Reputation as an Employer from Harvard Business Review notes how the data from a multitude of surveys show that almost one-third of new hires leave voluntarily within the first six months. There is a great expense to training people who quickly leave but there's also a damaging effect on coworker morale and customer relationships.As you continue to increase your companies audience, you must ensure that you are being seen as authentic.   You own authenticity must be based on a realistic assessment of your distinctive strengths and then translated this into a clear and compelling brand.  One of the best ways to be authentic is to be transparent. It not only is better for company morale, nut for your company brand. Besides, it is the morally correct thing to do.

In short, building your brand can help build your talent pool. As three students in a globalized and online market, we are bombarded with brands. However, of the hundreds of brands, we face daily, the ones that we associate prove themselves to be trustworthy, relatable and innovative. When we picked McMaster University, there was a level of recruitment, but the biggest impact in our selection was the brand. We were all (and still are) excited to be associated with a brand that promotes innovation and excellence.  Moving forward, we know that McMaster’s brand will evolve like many companies, but the testament of success will be if it continues to stay with us after graduation.

This blog post is written by Emma Hamilton, Emily Gracie and Julia Bratuz-Rodas and will be submitted for assessment in IBH 2AC3 for the first course assignment.

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