You can’t tell people what they should think of your company, but you can influence their perception by updating and living the employer brand you want to be known. When you do, you will begin to reap the benefits that come with aligning brand perception.
If you’re not actively managing your company’s reputation as part of your employer branding strategy, you’re putting yourself at risk. Although you can’t completely control the perception of your business, you can control the shape of it. And that’s a critical power to wield as around a fifth of global workers say they’re about to resign in 2022according to PwC.
No employer can afford to lose 20% of their talent because of a lackluster reputation. Now is the time to update your employer brand and meet the expectations of modern employees. After all, even if you think the messages you’re sending are genuine, your internal and external audiences may not agree.
Why and how does this type of employer-employee disconnect occur? Often the culprit is an employee value proposition that sounds good but doesn’t match the overall reputation of the company. For example, let’s say you are an industrial manufacturer. You have been known for decades for making things by hand. The point is, you want to shift gears and integrate more advanced technologies into your business. You come from cannot get applicants to apply for tech jobs, though.
Here’s what happened: Your perception of the employer brand remained the same despite your changes. As a result, you’re not attracting top tech talent because you’re not perceived from the outside as a tech-driven company. So you have to find a way to influence your employer brand so that it better matches your current vision, mission, values and purpose.
How to know that brand perception and reality are misaligned
How can you be sure that the reality and the perception of your employer brand do not match? First and foremost, if you’ve become hybrid or aloof, your employer brand is probably not as accurate as it could be. If you have started losing talented artists or have a lot of vacancies, you definitely have a misalignment.
The second indication of a potential employer branding issue would be if you’ve been through a merger or other major shift in focus but can’t get a hire. Obviously, you’re not courting people, and it’s probably not because of your hiring efforts. It’s because your reputation is broken.
Finally, if a big brand with a strong and positive reputation has recently entered your industry or market, you should double down on your employer branding. Your employee value proposition needs to hit the mark, or you could end up losing serious traction to your new competitor.
How to Create an Authentic Employer Brand
Let’s say you’ve seen some red flags and are eager to start implementing change. Remember, transforming hearts, minds and feelings in the field through employer branding requires you to understand what you’re up against. Therefore, prepare to perform a “defect check” to understand and understand the the shortcomings of your employer brand.
For example, is a public relations crisis that happened 20 years ago still haunting your reputation? Or is your reputation plummeting after a social media fiasco last month? Maybe your reputation is suffering because you haven’t been as transparent as expected. Whatever your shortcomings, write them down somewhere and be ready to focus on change.
When you have a list of your “points of conflict” between perception and reality, begin to work through them to correct them. Example: Maybe you want to be the best in class service provider. As such, you should form several tangible action steps that would show your vision of great service. Then you could make the necessary changes to bring your vision to life.
As you put these service elements into place, you need to engage in a tactic of not just storytelling, but storytelling as well. The Airbnb COVID-19 Staff Reduction Process was a wonderful example of an organization using the power of storytelling to solidify their employer brand. Airbnb has been courteous and generous to the people the company has to terminate. In a very difficult time, they acted with benevolence to better defend the employer brand and the employee value proposition that they had developed for years.
You can’t tell people what they should think of your business. Fortunately, you box influence their perception by updating and bringing to life the employer brand you want to be. When you do, you’ll begin to reap the widespread benefits that come with aligning brand perception.
Written by Brian Adams.
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