By Stacey Piper
It’s no surprise that this year’s holiday season was markedly different than my family’s pre-COVID celebrations. The lighting of the National Tree near the White House wasn’t open to the public, but we masked up and went downriver to our first President’s home, Mount Vernon, which was offering candlelight tours followed by s’mores around a bonfire. I could sense a new tradition taking hold as we walked past the stables under the stars along the Potomac River, following the steps of George Washington.
In the last 21 months, most of us have re-evaluated our priorities in one way or another, weighing the potential risks of travel and large gatherings against missed opportunities. Some of our relationships—both personal and professional—have fallen victim to the stress, distancing, and economic ramifications. Meanwhile, experiences outside of our home sanctuaries seem more poignant and memorable because we’ve learned to live with less: fewer social gatherings, fewer restaurant meals, fewer movies at the theater, infrequent and limited vacations.
The Changing Employer-Employee Relationship
Living with less, which often resulted in reduced spending and hence the ability to live on less income, is one of the factors that has led to multiple waves of resignations in the United States during the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of more than 3.9 million workers quit their jobs each month from April through November 2021, and McKinsey reports that one third left the workforce entirely. Coined the Great Resignation, this exodus from traditional employment spans most industries, from corporate roles to service jobs, and is the largest ever recorded.
The Great Resignation is more than a financial decision. The way we work has been transformed, and as a result, many of us are questioning our relationships with our employers. To be competitive and increase the talent pool of quality candidates, companies must position themselves as preferred employers. As the father of our country said, we’re only as good as the company we keep. Employer reputation matters more than ever.
The New Need for Talent Brand Strategies
In today’s social world, recruiting must extend beyond Human Resources’ role in finding applicants. The strongest organizations will be the ones that develop a partnership between HR and Marketing who together focus on driving talent brand. The connection between talent brand and corporate reputation is now a direct one—customers want to work with people who love their work and with companies that treat employees well. Having a bad reputation has multiple repercussions, from a reduced applicant pool to higher salaries to entice applicants.
The Basics of Building Your Talent Brand
Start by developing strategies to strengthen and market your company’s reputation (or brand) as an employer. The tactics are similar to the ones you already know:
- Create personas for desired candidates for talent acquisition.
- Craft messaging in line with company culture…and live who you say you are.
- Communicate your commitment to company benefits and professional growth.
- Evaluate your community involvement and corporate-giving benefactors and publicize your employee activities.
- Be proactive on job websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed.
- Showcase staff and company culture on social media and your company website.
- Enlist your employees in being brand advocates and train them how to serve as company ambassadors.
Go beyond the traditional marketing of services and solutions to market your company’s identity and culture. You will increase general awareness and drive prospects to your door who are seeking a mutual investment in growth, while retaining employees who know you walk the walk. A positive employer reputation attracts quality, qualified candidates and cultivates commitment and retention among current employees.
Reap the Rewards
In professional services businesses, it is crucial to attract and retain top talent. Customers hire a company because of the people who they will be working with on the project. And savvy customers know—if an employer treats its employees well, it’s likely to treat customers well too. People are the face of your company. Talent Brand or Employer Marketing, whatever you choose to call it, reinforces your overall corporate reputation and boosts your business development and ability to grow. As you kick off your strategic marketing efforts for 2022, be sure to create specific programs to include dedicated Talent Brand campaigns.