One of the most popular modules in the Level 1 Certificate in Employer Brand Leadership is "Future Trends in Employer Branding (EBLTD)." In the article below, the course leader Brett Minchington outlines five key trends which companies should focus on to ensure their employer brand strategy is relevant by adapting to foreseeable changes in the external market environment.
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1) Strategic employer branding
Adopt a strategic approach to employer branding across the employment lifecycle.
Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole. In organisations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organisation healthy or unhealthy.
Too many companies and vendors still promote employer branding as a talent acquisition and/or recruitment function. Companies adopt this perspective usually due to a lack of awareness of the benefits of employer branding across the employee life-cycle whilst vendors usually take this approach to support the business development of their products.
Focusing employer branding solely on talent acquisition usually results in an improved recruitment and on boarding process that has usually very little impact on culture and/or business performance due to lack of consistency in the employee experience as they evolve through their tenure. Siloed organisational structures also do little to promote a strategic approach to employer branding because the HR personnel don't get along with the marketing and/or communications personnel.
Exacerbating the situation further is executives that have very little awareness of employer branding so it ends up as an operational project that lives in the HR department but has very little impact on business performance.
A strategic approach to employer branding requires a strategic perspective towards how your company attracts, engages and retains talent. Undertake an employer brand audit and/or employee experience mapping project and hopefully the results will inspire your leaders to change their perspective and thinking on employer brand strategy and management.
2) Employer brand ownership
Resolve the employer brand strategy ownership debate
It’s time to resolve the ownership debate. Research by Employer Brand International shows a shift in employer brand strategy ownership away from HR over the past 5 years. Marketing and Executive leaders is where the responsibility is starting to shift too as companies adopt a strategic approach towards employer branding.
Whether the personnel responsible for the employer brand strategy come from human resources, marketing, communications or other function is not the debate we should be having. The focus should be on how your company develops a competent team of professionals sourced from inside and outside the firm who can develop and execute an employer brand strategy that builds value.
The traditional siloed approach to managing the attraction, engagement and retention of talent is out of date and out of step with today’s candidate and employee needs. More needs to be done by organisations to facilitate cross functional leadership of the employer branding function to ensure a more cohesive approach. In more than one hundred events I have presented at I can only recall a handful of finance directors in the audience – There is little wonder why one of the biggest challenges for employer branding leaders is to gain budget approval for their employer brand strategy.
3) Employer brand leadership capability
Train and develop employer brand leadership capability.
Managing the employee experience across the employment lifecycle should be a shared responsibility.
Employer brand leaders need to build awareness and capability in employer branding principles and practices across the organisation rather than relying on only one or two leaders to manage the function as has been traditional practice.
Train leaders in employer branding and educate them on the role of employer branding in contributing to company value. As a minimum teach leaders to answer the following questions:
What is employer branding?
Why is it important?
Which companies are leading the way in employer brand strategy?
How do we measure return on investment (ROI) of employer branding?
How will market trends impact on how we attract, engage and retain talent over the next 5 years!
Ten years ago an employer brand strategy was a “nice to have”. It has now become a strategic imperative and whilst we see companies such as Google, UnitedHealth Group, Marriott, Ferrero, IKEA and adidas Group adopt a strategic approach to employer branding the majority of companies are still focused on using employer branding for recruitment only leading to an employee experience that is inconsistent, disjointed and far from what was promised on their way in to your organisation.
4) Digitalisation of employer branding
Digitalise your employer brand strategy and think mobile first.
The digital technologies underlying talent attraction, engagement and retention may not be new, but they are being used to new effect. Enormous amounts of information are accessible as never before-from what’s being said about your company online to internal forums focused on improving business processes.
Analytical and processing capabilities have made similar leaps with algorithms scattering intelligence across digital networks. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and phablets make that information and computing power accessible to users around the world.
As these technologies gain momentum, they are profoundly changing the strategic context of employer branding. Research by Employer Brand International found social media (58%) to be the number one channel for communicating the employer brand whilst only 21% are using a mobile optimized career website to communicate their employer brand.
Top companies are implementing a content strategy that aligns with the employer brand and employer value proposition (EVP) to communicate the company’s stories through a range of media. Short, infrequent bursts of advertising are not having the impact it once did and candidates are influenced by how they experience your employer brand online through social media, career websites, SMS, etc.
Companies such as Orange have innovated in the use of mobile technologies and have adopted a one platform for content and services to be broadcast on multi-screen, multi-channel and multi-lingual (one multilingual cms + delegation can be given to countries) using responsive design.
5) Data decision making
Make sense of big data at your disposal.
There are two types of data, 1) data that is technical in nature but complex and challenging to understand what it is telling us and 2) data that is easy to understand and provides for solutions that will impact on corporate performance.
Data assists to answer questions about the ROI of employer branding and is critical in influencing leaders to adopt the employer branding concept as a strategic business tool.
The technology exists now to obtain greater visibility of your talent community and application allows one to identify quite easily a few interesting relationships that may exist between the data sets such as a relationship between tenure and the ability to meet sales targets - (raises the question, should I change sales targets for people who start working here?) and/or there are diversity imbalances - (raises the question, how do I address this?).
Platforms such as LinkedIn and a number of start-ups now offer the ability to mine data to show the number of talents in a segment (e.g. IT engineers in the USA) based on the number of job listings in each city.
Analysing the data further allows you to better target your employer branding communications to ensure you reach the talent you are trying to hire. Don’t fish where everyone else is fishing! Find where the hidden gems of talent are and engage with those.
About the author
Brett Minchington MBA, Chairman/CEO of Employer Brand International is an International strategist, corporate advisor and educator who has trained leaders in more than 50 cities in 33 countries. The world’s most published author in employer branding, his publications have sold in more than 65 countries. His latest book “EMPLOYER BRAND EXCELLENCE - A CASE STUDY APPROACH" and other publications are available at www.brettminchington.com/bookstore
Study with Brett and become a certified employer brand leader.
Brett coaches and mentors leaders undertaking the global online Level 1 Certificate in Employer Brand Leadership program, the global standard in employer brand leadership certification.
For details about the next online courses please visit www.employerbrandingcollege.com