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How to Brand Your Business Online to Recruit Top Talent

Branding, Retention, Recruitment...

What if we told you, that in most industries (including the highly competitive technology sector), that successful recruitment hinges strongly on effective branding of the corporate culture?

In previous decades, the investment in branding the corporate persona was substantial.  When you bought a product or service, you knew more about the people and the vision behind your favorite brands.   However, the economic downturn had businesses re-evaluate their promotional expenditures, and resources shifted toward consumer or B2B customer advertising for sales.  Brand identity remained important, but the practice of spending on awareness of corporate culture became superfluous for businesses.  A ‘nice to have’ aspect of marketing, but non-essential for operations or growth.

This informal step-back from sharing about the internal culture, and capitalizing on it for the purpose of public relations has in measurable ways, harmed many successful organizations, in terms of their ability to recruit new talent.   International brands are now investing more effort into sharing the work life and culture of their organization, to enhance recruiting success, in highly competitive sectors.   We’ll explain why branding of the business environment and culture is critically important.

The Perk and Salary Stalemate

Our recruiters experience the demand for qualified technology career candidates on a weekly basis.  From the employer side, finding the right fit for your team takes time, and multiple levels of interviewing and evaluation to find that fit.  The recruiter has another level of accountability; to ensure that there is a cultural fit for the prospective employee, to help ensure retention of the candidate.

It is easy to look at recruitment exclusively from the employer side (after all, the employer is our client).  But from the perspective of a technology career professional, someone who is in high-demand for their skills and expansive portfolio of work, employment offers have a degree of similarity to them, that makes it difficult to decide which employer to choose.  Thanks to social media, LinkedIn and online job resources, it’s never been easier for skilled workers to find opportunities, yet more challenging and costly for businesses to hire.

Technology professionals looking for new opportunities, frequently find that all contracts and offers sound and look quite the same.   Salary levels can be identical, vacation time, health and medical benefits, profit sharing and other perks can be unilateral across the board, when a tech professional is weighing numerous offers.

Employers need to be aware that salary and perks are comparable to other competitive offers, and the two factors are not enough to successful win talented professionals to your team.   Therefore culture, and branding corporate culture are essential.

What Kind of Culture Do Prospective Hires Like to See?

In our experience as global recruiters, working with SME’s and corporations, we know that how candidates feel about where their work, and the social dynamic of the workplace matter deeply. In an article by John Coleman, for the Harvard Business Review, six components were discussed as essential to a successful and appealing corporate culture:

  • Vision (clearly articulated missions and goals that employees can work toward)
  • Values (the moral code of the organization that aligns with employee beliefs)
  • Practices (value of employees, lifestyle balance, and openness to new ideas)
  • People (the ambient relationships and attitudes of management and senior officers)
  • Narrative (the unique history and story of the organization)
  • Place (office environment, and facilities)

The six attributes closely align with what our recruiters experience, through discussion with technology professionals from entry to C-Level candidates.  While many employers may believe that salary is the ultimate determining factor and advantage for recruiting, career professionals demonstrate that they need more than compensation to feel engaged and fulfilled.  They need to feel seen, valued, and understand what integral part they play in the overall success of the organization.

With the average professional working between 35 to 45 hours per week or more, who you work with and the interpersonal relationships available in the workplace, become an important factor that determines tenure in a role.  An impressive salary does not ensure job satisfaction, but a corporate culture that aligns with the professionals personal and professional needs, results in high job satisfaction, performance and employee retention.

How to Effectively Promote and Brand Your Corporate Culture Online

There are two scenarios where corporate culture is not present, or transparent enough to support recruiting efforts.   Some companies have an exemplary work culture, but because of belief that culture does not ‘impact the bottom line’, few marketing resources (if any) may be allocated to make the positive culture known.

Branding corporate culture falls into the content marketing wheelhouse. A strategic part of any annual content plan, should be to incorporate the following opportunities to showcase engagement with employees, and to punctuate the values and team ethic within your organization.

To start, include some of the following opportunities in your social media and blog content:

  • Organizational charitable events. Who was involved?  How does the charitable giving or volunteerism align with your corporate culture?
  • Length of service awards. This is beneficial both by providing acknowledgement to staff with tenure, and by demonstrating that the organization openly awards recognition for top performers.
  • Name your staff in pictures. Many businesses share corporate functions and event pictures, but fail to individually acknowledge team members.  From entry level to leadership, show that you value every employee.
  • Be transparent about the causes that the organization supports.
  • Share pictures of the team spaces. Do you have a great room for collaboration?  Have you invested in a new outdoor eating area for staff?  Show how important your organization considers the every-day experience for staff. Show that you care.

If you haven’t had the time or resources to invest in augmenting your corporate culture, consider professional recruiters to be an excellent way to find out what candidates are looking for.   Audit your communications and add more professional and personable content into the digital marketing mix, to demonstrate that your business is a fun, rewarding and pleasant place in which to work.  It does impact the bottom line by saving your business time (it is easier to recruit talent for organizations with positive cultures).  Both corporations and SME’s will also benefit from cost-saving through retention, and reduce turnover, when corporate culture is viewed as an essential asset.