How to Create an Authentic Employer Brand

September 28, 2020

This piece is part of our community voices series where we feature articles written by professionals in the Talent Acquisition and HR space. Natalie Audelo is an employer brand marketer and culture builder. 

The social media landscape is the metaphorical equivalent of a fun house lined with reality distorting mirrors. I don’t need to write some apocalyptic introduction about the state of surveillance capitalism for you to know that these tech platforms have devolved to markets that specialize in the trade of human futures. Depressing, I know. The commodification of the human experience has coincided with the exploitation of psychological vulnerabilities that enable companies to predict our behavior and sell us solutions to problems that they fabricated for profit. The line is blurred between fantasy and reality.

That’s what happens when brands leverage highly evolved martech tools to serve their content online. We unknowingly take the bait on whatever behavioral nudges have been embedded in the web page. Want to be like a Kardashian? Add this painful, overpriced lip plumper to your cart. *Implants sold separately, sorry. The more accurately an algorithm can predict and shape our behavior, the more lucrative it is. Jackpot, baby!

So all this morbid overthinking about the state of technology and social networks got me thinking about my own role in all of this as an employer brand marketer.

When a company is advertising their open positions online, they’re selling you more than a job. They’re selling you one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. They’re selling you an opportunity that will eat up 40+ hours of your week. It’s a decision that no one should take lightly. Given that I’m in the business of selling career opportunities and building corporate cultures, I take this responsibility seriously. I’m not interested in selling you something fake. It’s not only shady, but bad for the bottom line.

So if you’re an employer brand marketer with a conscience, how do you do this authentically? Here are eight practical tips for keeping it real:

  1. First, do the work — Ensure that the story you’re telling online mirrors the actual employee experience. Otherwise, your leadership team will have heart palpitations when the topic of company reviews comes up. If you’re still in the building phase, share incremental updates and highlight the long term vision for the culture that you’re building. Make sure that the behaviors and motivations that are central to your culture are being rewarded and celebrated in meaningful ways (i.e. awards, promotions, L&D opportunities).
  2. Own your mistakes and shortcomings — If you’re consistently receiving negative employee feedback, don’t be dismissive. Take a proactive approach to managing your reputation. Don’t be defensive, reactive, and dismissive. Be proactive, thoughtful, and engaged. Own your mistakes and clearly communicate your plan to address those concerns. This is how you earn respect and trust.
  3. Trust your employees— They are the heart and soul of your company. Empower them to share their experiences. They are your best brand advocates and fans. Highlight them on your social channels.
  4. Show, don’t tell — Talk is cheap. Show what’s like to work at your organization by sharing photos and employee generated content (UGC) that highlight the real experience. Not only does this content perform best, but it’s helps people set realistic expectations about the opportunity.
  5. Add value — Share your learnings and insights publicly. This is how you build an engaged community and position your organization as a thought leader.
  6. Stay relevant — As your organization continues to grow and evolve, keep a pulse on employee and candidate sentiment to make sure that your messaging is still relevant. Be thoughtful and intentional about the language that you use. It matters.
  7. Keep it human — We aren’t factory farming candidates. Automation is great for speed and consistency, but nobody likes communicating with a robot. When possible, make your candidate experience feel human by creating thoughtful touch points. The little things matter most.
  8. Be bold— Don’t create a watered down version of an existing brand. No one likes a knock off. Create content that resonates emotionally. Think of your brand as a human- what qualities do they have, how do they talk, how do they show up, how do they connect and relate?

*This post was orginally published on Medium

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