There are a whole lot of employer brand stories in the making right now as companies are figuring out how they will respond to the continuing COVID-19 public health crisis. We’re hearing some of these stories already. Some companies are finding ways to enable employees so that they can work from home. Others have had to temporarily shut down. Still others are operating at a reduced level. Many are stepping up to help their communities at the same time that they’re creating their own coping strategy.
Sarah Olson joins her mom, Lori Creighton, as a writer at Homestead Media, helping companies communicate their reputation as a good employer through employee experience storytelling.
“Organizing a person’s thoughts and feelings into a story helps them find their voice,” said Sarah. “Writing isn’t something that everyone feels comfortable doing. It takes skill and practice. I love taking on the challenge to find the right words while I get a glimpse into what their life is like.”
When you hear the word “branding” your mind might think of logos, colors and design. While a consistent visual presence certainly plays a part in creating a positive impression to the job candidates that you want to attract, employer branding encompasses a whole lot more than your graphic style. It’s your reputation.
Your employer brand is your reputation as a good employer and companies that actively manage their employer brand are using marketing tactics to help job seekers find the information they're looking for to make confident career decisions. The result is that they’re able to nurture relationships with candidates and develop their credibility as a good employer. They’re also seeing their efforts translate into cost and time savings for their businesses.
When you’ve decided that you’re going to be intentional about communicating your employer brand through employee experience stories, the next step is to decide who will be featured in your first story. Remember that the objective of employee storytelling is to answer the “Why should I work for you?” question and the answer to that question is different for different people. That means that you have to go for diversity, but to get your first story all you need to do is pinpoint one person.
Employee experience stories are huge trust builders in your recruiting process. When your employees talk about the value that your company brings to their professional and personal lives through their real life stories, you’re able to engage job candidates while providing them with answers to their “Why should I work for you?” questions. Because stories stimulate empathy, using them in a proactive recruiting process will build relationships with potential candidates, and stir up feelings of good will within your company.
You know a stock photo when you see one, don’t you? Authentic photos of a business and its people are much more effective at nurturing trust and building relationships with potential job candidates and prospects than a generic stock photo. Getting great employee photos, however, takes a lot more effort than just browsing through a library of stock images, and you need to take care to make sure that using real photos of your people will be a good experience for employees and that you’re not violating privacy concerns.
Would you ever buy a house without walking through it first? Do you think you could make a confident purchase if you weren’t even allowed to peek through the windows? Probably not. Yet that’s what you might be asking your job candidates to do if you don’t use employee testimonials in your recruitment marketing. Employee testimonials give your candidates a window to peek through to see if your company is a good place to work, and if the job you want to fill is right for them.
Technology has made us predictable. We use the same behaviors to explore, discover and research job opportunities that we use when we’re shopping for the products and services we need for our personal and professional lives. We seek out answers to our own questions and by the time we’re ready to contact a business or walk through their door, we have a pretty good idea of what direction we want to go. Asking and finding answers to questions helps us develop confidence that we’re making a good decision.
Lori Creighton has earned Recruitment Marketing Certification through the Smashfly* Transform Academy. The certification is recognized by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Professionals) and the HR Certification Institute as eligible for continuing education credits for HR professionals. Recruitment marketing is the use of marketing tactics to achieve recruiting goals. It’s considered an emerging discipline within the field of HR but it requires a very different skillset.