We all know how important customer directed branding is, but few businesses pay enough attention to internal brandings. Employee-directed branding, or “employer branding,” is becoming more necessary than ever. This is because it is becoming more and more difficult to hire talented workers, and this, in turn, also makes it hard to retain the talent you have. It is now a business necessity to build a strong culture and great atmosphere in which to work. Here we will explore some of the ways that successful corporations are branding themselves to their employees.
What you can learn from successful corporations
If a company is highly successful, it makes sense to analyze what it has done to contribute to that success. With that in mind, there is a lot to learn from the ways that large corporations brand themselves to current and future employees. One way to do this is to examine a successful advertising campaign. While a large-scale advertising campaign is off limits to all but the largest corporations, it is worth taking a look at what large corporations are trying to accomplish when they launch such campaigns. For instance, in GE’s famous “Owen” campaign, the company is sending a simple, clear, positive, and repeated message: Owen is changing the world just as you are changing the world by working at GE. This campaign shows the importance of having a clear and repeated theme to your internal marketing. Ideas such as specific ways your company helps others or the ways employees are supported are good because they are a clear and simple message that can easily take root. Whatever that message is, it needs to be reflected in reality in order to succeed, and some of these examples below should help get you thinking along the right lines.
Updating the work environment: Given that most people will spend nearly half their waking hours at work, it makes sense that people would be greatly impacted by the nature of their work environment. A drab, cramped, and old office will not only increase turnover, but it will also decrease the quality and efficiency of the work being done. Happier employees stay longer and are more productive, so it is a worthwhile investment to update your offices. There are a number of simple changes you can make right now:
- Add a water cooler system: Water coolers make employees feel cared about, increase employee health, and provide a good place for natural team-building to occur. Ideally, you can even step it up with a more advanced system such as a reverse osmosis system – this will multiply these benefits.
- Re-decorate: This can be something as simple as changing the furniture, all the way up to a complete overhaul with new paint, light fixtures, and art. Given the enormous impact changes like these can make, they are usually well-worth the comparatively small investment it takes to implement them.
- Add fun areas: Some of the classic communal areas such as break rooms and water coolers can be easily turned into a point of pride if you replace them with activities that encourage team-building. Even something as simple as a foosball table can help make work a far more pleasant place to be. If you really want to make an impression, many of the most dynamic companies have gone so far as to install entire game rooms and coffee shops.
Conduct an employer brand audit: You cannot craft an employer brand if you do not know what your brand currently is. To accomplish this, it is vital to use an employer brand audit. You are trying to find out the answers to two questions: how does my company present itself to employees and candidates? And how do employees and candidates actually perceive the company? To do an audit, first gather up everything that an employee or prospective employee might come across: internal communications, job postings, onboarding materials, social media profiles, etc. You can use these materials to determine how you currently present yourself to employees and applicants. Next, interview current employees to ask how they perceive the company and provide applicants with exit surveys. This information will give you information about how your message is received.
Attracting and retaining talented employees has never been more important than it is today. Unfortunately, it has also never been more difficult. Most businesses are used to cultivating a brand image when dealing with customers; however, it is now a business necessity to also cultivate a positive brand image within a company itself. The future of every business that has ever existed depends upon the employees that conduct business on a day to day basis. Take the time to review some of these ideas and develop an employee directed branding plan that will help take your business to the next level.