Saturday, March 16, 2019

Want to level up your employer brand? Think like a marketer!

We're seeing a convergence between HR and marketing.

See this funnel? Talent acquisition got it from marketing. In fact, HR increasingly uses marketing terms like ‘hiring funnel’ and ‘talent pipeline.’

Not that marketing minds, of course. They think it'd be awesome if HR would put on a marketing hat when it comes to attracting and engaging talent.

Since filling the funnel and building a robust pipeline is what marketing’s all about, I'll share a few trade secrets with you.

To fill your funnel, you need to get people’s attention. And that’s challenging because there are a LOT of people and companies out there competing for people’s attention.  That means you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Getting attention starts with your employer brand. You may think branding is marketing’s job, but it’s HR’s job to create an employer brand that people want to work for and that attracts people you want to hire.

Marketing may be able help but since they aren’t typically paid to work on employer brand, don’t be surprised if they don’t feel the same urgency about this as you do.

Inbound marketing is about creating a space like a website where people can come and explore on their own and find information that interests them.

With inbound marketing you start creating relationships and brand awareness.

Stories are also a good way to build brand awareness. Marketers love stories, because they help create an emotional connection to your brand. Your company has an origin story, and your employees have stories about their journey with your company. These stories are an integral part of your brand.

Marketing uses personas to create the right messages for their target audience. Personas are hypothetical buyers you get to know in order to market to them effectively. HR can use personas to market more effectively to candidates and employees.

Content is how you tell your story. You can use videos, pictures, brochures, blog posts, job descriptions – it’s really wide open, the only caveat is it’s helpful to know your target audience and their preferences. This is where your persona research comes in.

Channels are how you get your content to your audience. Job boards, your corporate website and LinkedIn are examples of channels. How do you reach the people you want to hire? Again, you want to understand your personas and their content preferences rather than using the channel that you prefer.

Marketers know you don’t just hang your shingle and rake in the new business.

Similarly, you can’t expect a stuffy job description posted on your corporate website will bring in lots of top candidates.

 To build a strong pipeline you need to be persistent and try different channels where potential and future potential buyers or employees can get to know you.

Nurture is about moving people through the funnel. For example, a recruiter might promote general advice about career development, then follow up with people who engage with that content, either with more information or a call.

 Follow up’s important. Never leave a qualified lead or candidate hanging, especially after someone has taken the time to apply or request information.

Account-based marketing is personalized marketing (or so it should seem) to an audience of one. The goal is to build a relationship so you can be right there with the right solution or offer when they’re ready to make a change.

People are on a journey with your company. There’s a buyer journey, a customer journey, an employee journey and a candidate journey. Understanding and mapping out these journeys will help you create a more positive and engaging experience with your brand.

To create a positive brand experience, you have to ask what people want, need, and expect at each stage of their journey with your company. Then use that inforation to create moments that matter.

Engagement is a hot topic for HR and marketing. Marketing measures engagement by tracking what people click on, and it’s a pretty good indicator for candidates, too. That's why talent pipeline automation solutions like Candidate.ID track digital footprint.

Tracking digital footprint requires a certain amount of online stalking, which raises data privacy concerns. Marketing solves this by inviting people to ‘opt in’ and continue receiving valuable information or notifications, and this is an approach HR can follow as well.

What if instead of deleting qualified applicant data you invited people to stay in touch?

Marketers tell stories, but where possible they back it up with relevant business results and put a spin on it.  A metric like ‘time to hire’ is OK, but doesn’t have the same wow factor as ‘cost of empty seats.’

Similarly, a boring salary statement doesn’t have the same wow factor as a shiny ‘Total Benefits Statement.’

Marketing hates surprises so they practically live in their data, checking in on what works and doesn't work so they can change plans.

Customers are the best marketers and employees are the best evangelists for your employer brand.

Do you know who your most passionate employees are? You may want to cultivate them to help you define and evangelize your employer brand.

All of these marketing building blocks should be part of your employer brand strategy.

Having a strategy helps you focus and use your time doing the most impactful things to create a strong employer brand and create a robust talent pipeline.

So, instead of telling people about your company and your open roles - which is what everyone’s doing - try putting on your marketing pants and selling your company and roles as if they were solutions. After all, for someone they are.

Photo credits:


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